Tuesday, March 31, 2015

happiness does not have to be conditional

I'll be happy when I have a job I love.

I'll be happy if I am financially stable.

I'll be happy when I have a boyfriend.

I'll be happy if I lose the last 5 pounds.

I'll be happy when...

I'll be happy if...

Do you find yourself thinking these thoughts?  Conditional happiness.  It's extremely common in our culture.  It's also extremely limiting and hurtful.  You deserve more out of life!

Conditional happiness depends on things or conditions. It is usually materialistic or vain. Have you ever reached these "goals"? These conditions?  Were you really happy then?

I can answer that. NO. Not really.

Happiness does not, and should not, be conditional.  The truth is unconditional happiness is a natural state of just being content, a peace of mind that is often hard to put into words.

Wake up and just decide to be happy.  Make it a goal to just have a good day. And if you are not content with your current situation, decide to love yourself enough to take a step in a direction that will be better for you.

Leave the conditions behind.  Write them down and then crumble that paper up and throw it away!  You are exactly where you need to be right now and you are allowed to be happy and at peace knowing that alone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Need a Little Sweetness in My Life

Do me a favor...before you read this post, just put on "Sugar" by Maroon 5.
(I would automatically play it for you but I've had those automatic sounds put me in awkward situations one too many times...)

(I asked you to listen to it because I wanted something positive in this post! Yikes!)

Sugar. Is. Everywhere.

Its even on our radio.

Consider the following:

  • 1 in 3 born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
  • 18.8 million people are diagnosed with diabetes.*
  • 7.0 million people are undiagnosed with diabetes.*
  • 79 million people are prediabetic!!!!*
  • The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2011 = $245 billion.*
  • The average American ate 196 pounds of sugar in 2005.
* = Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released January 26, 2012)

People ignore damages, symptoms, and warnings.
They would rather search for an excuse than a solution.

We are told diabetes is genetic, high blood pressure is heredity...and that diet has nothing to do with it...the biggest lie of all.  Unfortunately, even diabetes.org is providing TRAGIC information to their readers.  I refuse to reference the article as I do not want to encourage the spread of this information.  We have dug ourselves into a deep, deep, sick hole.

What do soup, yogurt, baby food, baby formula, bread, vegetables, peanut butter, salad dressing, all low fat and fat free food, prescription medications, and cigarettes have in common?  Yup, you guessed it. SUGAR!

The best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself! Save this photo to your phone, tablet, computer...where ever! Use it to help you stay away from foods that have copious amounts of these ingredients.

How much is "a lot" of sugar?
It is a simple division problem.  Look at the amount of sugar in the product and divide by 5.  This will tell you how many teaspoons of sugar is in that product.

Here is a powerful statement concerning the amount of sugar you should consume in a day: "If you consumed your fructose only from vegetables and fruits (where it originates) as most people did a century ago, you'd consume about 15 grams (3 tsp) per day ~ about equivalent to 1 modern apple."

Just as a reference: {Remember, these are for ONE serving}
  • Coke = 39 grams ~ 8 tsp
  • Yoplait Yogurt = 27 grams ~ 5 tsp
  • Protein Bars = 11 - 18 grams ~ 2 - 4 tsp
  • Granola = 16 grams ~ 3 tsp
  • Spaghetti Sauce = 9 grams ~ 2 tsp
  • Raisin Bran = 19 grams ~ 4 tsp'
  • Barbecue Sauce = 16 grams ~ 3 tsp
  • Milk = 11 grams ~ 2 tsp
If sugar or a sugary ingredient is listed as one of the first three ingredients, it is likely that the product is high in sugar.

Many people try to justify their sugar consumption.  "Well, I only use agave or honey."  The truth is your blood sugar spikes no matter what you use.  What about fruit's fructose? The reason fructose from fruit is a better source is because it comes naturally packaged with fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients to help slow the metabolizing process (...not as appealing as those Eggo commercials!)

In an effort to end my rant, I won't cover Artificial Sweeteners in this post.  But did you ever stop and THINK about the word ARTIFICIAL??

WE ALL have to start caring about sugar consumption...for ourselves, our families, our children. 

Keep track of the food you eat for the day.  Then, tally the amount of sugar.  See where you stand.  I guarantee you will be surprised.  Try to eat better (aka LOWER) the next day. Sugar is HIGHLY addictive (another reason why they lace it in cigarettes!)  It is extremely difficult to quit all at once.  However, little by little, one travels far!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My 5 Favorites This Week

Another series I'd like to start is "My 5 Favorites" : )  Ever come across some products that you just love and think others could benefit from? Yeah, me too!

So here is the first list!

1. Synergy's Kombucha Gingerade

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings.  I'm sure this sounds unappealing to some of you, it did to me at first!, but the benefits are wonderful.  It aids in detoxification, joint care, the immune system, and especially gut health.  Of course, it is always best to make your own, but I always like to pick up this brand when I find it on sale at the grocery store (or even Target!)

2. Green Pastures Cod Liver Oil Blend - Cinnamon Tingle

Apparently I'm all about the fermented foods this week!  Green Pasture's Fermented Cod Liver Oil has been life changing for me.  It has helped with inflammation, mental clarity, and very noticeably my hair, skin and nails.  It is also said to have benefits for promoting healthy cholesterol levels, healthy hormone balance, mood disorders, and many more!  If you currently take a fish oil, I highly recommend you look into this company and potentially FCLO.  Most fish oils unfortunately have fallen in the hands of greedy processing companies looking to just make a fortune rather than provide a sustainable, nourishing product.  If you want to read the difference between FCLO and Fish oil, check out this post from Balanced Bites. Everything you could want to know about the two!  I take my 1/2 tsp of the Cinnamon Tingle every morning with breakfast.  Fair warning, its not the most pleasant (it IS fishy liver oil), but the benefits are worth it!

3. George Stanley Notebook Journals

Unfortunately, these can be hard to find!  I got a few packs at Home Goods over the summer and now they are alluding me!  But I LOVE the smaller 40 sheet, lined notebook for organizing my crazy thoughts and life.  One for wedding shower/bachelorette planning, one for blog planning, one for nutrition school...they are great for keeping everything separate and organized.  Plus they came in cute designs.  I know there are plenty of companies out there that make similar journals (May Designs is one company!)

4. The Podcast App

I pretty much love podcasts and listen every chance I can!  I think it is so awesome how you have access to all these great minds for advice for free!  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Balanced Bites
  • The Health Bridge
  • The Chalene Show/Build Your Tribe
  • Team Beachbody Coach Podcast
  • Real Food Liz Radio
  • Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
  • Define Your Life with Shaun T
  • The Virgin Diet Lifestyle Show
  • Mind Body Musings Podcast

5. My Fanny Pack

That's right, I rock the fanny pack.  Okay, its not a TRUE fanny pack...or at least they tried to trick me and called it a "hip band" or "running band." AND I may not ROCK it. But Whatever it is, whatever it's called, it's fabulous.  I hate taking my pup for a walk while carrying and listening to aforementioned #4 on my phone, our apartment keys, his lease, and then stopping to clean up after him while juggling and tripping (yep, #firstworldproblems).  I ordered one of these from ETSY and I dig it.

So this first list was a little bit of health, nutrition, life...pretty much how it goes!  Do you have anything that you are loving this week?

Monday, March 16, 2015

QnA: "Where Do I Even Begin?!"

I sent out a quick message on my Facebook page over the weekend about my "Ask Kate" QnA form. I enjoyed reading the Qs I received! Here is a great Q to kickoff this series

"I really want to live a healthy lifestyle, but it just seems so overwhelming.  I read and hear so many different headlines and they never seem to say the same thing.  I'm really not even sure where to begin, so I try to be healthy, sometimes I start the week off really well...but then just fall into my old routine.  Do you have any suggestions for a beginner?"


Dear Anonymous,

Isn't this the truth?! You are absolutely not alone.  Sorting through the media is extremely confusing, especially when they can make such convincing arguments by skewing data and appealing to our emotions rather than the facts & how our bodies were designed to work.

The other confusing piece of this puzzle is that feeling that you have to be perfect right from the beginning...not the case!  In fact, prioritize a few changes each week to prevent your overwhelm.  Be happy about your small successes because over time, they will add up! (i.e. Choosing the salad side instead of the fries,  picking the oil & vinegar instead of bottled dressing, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, having a bowl of berries & plain greek yogurt for dessert instead of the ice cream).  So what should you change first?

There would be two things I would do to begin.

#1: Pay attention to how you feel when you eat.  Keep a food journal.  I'm not necessarily recommending the calorie counting apps on your tech device...sometimes those cause more harm than good.  I don't want obsession.  I'm talking a food journal where you write what you eat and then how you felt afterwards (bloated, tired, still hungry, satisfied, great, etc).  You may start to find patterns between what you eat and how you feel.  It can be very powerful to see it written right in front of you.

#2: Start to pay attention to added sugars and avoid harmful chemicals, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics, GMOs, MSGs, etc.  What does this mean?  Essentially, cut out the processed foods and eat whole, real foods.  Instead of putting Splenda in your coffee, use real sugar or honey (or potentially nothing!) and skip the flavored coffee creamers (use full fat coconut milk or almond milk).  Try to steer clear of meals out of a box with lots of added preservatives.  Choose good quality meats without the added hormones.  These may be more expensive at first, but you'll find they are more satisfying and leave you buying less "fillers" to keep snacking throughout the day. Do not use hydrogenated oils!!! (Margarine, Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil).  Choose grass-fed butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, or Red Palm Oil. Avoid picking the low-fat and fat-free option (this can be a very hard habit to break!).

Stop and ask yourself, does this look and smell like something that is going to nourish my body?  Does this seem natural?  If it doesn't look like real food to you, it's really not going to look like real food to your body.  An example that strikes me here are my days of eating Kraft Mac & Cheese...powdered cheese. Hmmm.

Just one final comment that was recently stated by one of my nutrition instructors of my NTC program..."Removing something from the diet is more powerful (most of the time) than adding something.  Supplements rarely make up for all the damage we do to ourselves.  I call this Addition by Subtraction."  Many people want a quick fix, a pill, a supplement to get their body to respond the way they want, but the truth is that real, whole foods that a much more healing effect on the body.  Do not be tempted by all of the hoopla about this diet pill and that slimming tea...those are not the solution to your health problem!

I hope this gives you a place to start! And I hope you'll visit my blog & ask another Q soon!  Best of luck...your desire to change is putting you on the path to health! <3


Sunday, March 08, 2015

What Are You Really After?

Serious question when it comes to eating clean and exercising...what are you really after?

As I've been around many women and men who are health-oriented, I started to sense a pattern this past year.  Many people walk into the gym saying "I want to get healthy"  But what they really mean is, "I want 6-pack abs, 0% body fat, and to look ripped" ......

Why do I say that?  Well, let's look at our actions...

We count calories and limit fat and carbs. We weigh our food to get exactly the right amount. We choose processed bars and packages. We grab supplements and pills.  Especially magic weight-loss & fat-loss ones. Low-fat, fat-free, no sugar added (...lie), sometimes no meat.  No oil, no saturated fat, no cholesterol.  The focus is on what we CAN'T have.  Give me rules.  And the exercise?  Every single day.  No matter what.  Sometimes 2 and 3 times a day if our schedule allows it.  High intensity - push, push, push!  If something hurts, pop an Advil and get back in there.  Measurements? What's the scale say?  Let me look in the mirror.  Are my arms defined? Are my thighs smaller?  My pants size better go down... And sleep is interrupted, probably from the number of pre-workout supplements...

But here is the thing...if we were really working towards health, the only thing we would be worried about counting are nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  We WOULD be limiting...but only any type of processed food.  We wouldn't be focused on a set of rules, but rather, we would eat foods that allow us to feel alive and well.  We would be moving in a way that was kind to our bodies and joints.  This doesn't mean we would cut out high-intensity workouts, but we would choose workouts that make us feel great, both during and after...it would be different for everyone.  We would be listening to the tweaks and pains instead of just pushing through them.  We would be kind to our body and provide it adequate rest and recovery...because that is what it needs to be healthy.  We would work to have a normal sleeping pattern, aiming for 8-9 hours a night. We would check our measurements in hours of sleep, hormone balance, the decrease in number of pills we take, the decrease in number of doctor visits...

Which one are you?

Are you after health? ...OR vanity

These two different thoughts became magnified towards the end of last year for me.  I started realizing how backwards most of us had this idea.  My hand is raised.  I was scenario number 1 for a long, long time.  I just wanted to look a certain way.  I saw women in bikini and figure competitions, fitness models...you know, they are plastered all over social media...and thought they were the picture of health.  But the fact is, you cannot measure health on the outside.  I have NO idea what is going on with those women's bodies.  I have no idea about their happiness. But I DO know when I was at my "smallest," I was also at my unhealthiest in terms of hormone regulation, mental clarity, body image, moodiness, and just overall happiness.  

Here is the real truth, when you focus on health, everything else will fall into place.  You can stop worrying about the scale.  Your hormones will be balanced.  You will be happier and more stable, and therefore learn to have a self-respecting and self-accepting body image.  You will stop striving to look like other people, because they aren't YOU.  You will eat for nourishment and you will workout to respect the body you have.

I am encouraging you to think about what you eat and what you do everyday...and I want you to think about how this is contributing to your health.  Are you really happy?  Or are you just following a set of rules?  You know yourself better than anyone else.  You may not know exactly what foods to pick or exactly what exercises to complete...this is why there are professionals in these fields...but no one knows you.  Do not discredit what you know about yourself.  If you know that you cannot stand the taste of salmon, then don't eat it! Ask for a substitute.  If you know that running hurts your knees, then don't run!  There are plenty of other ways to move.  Make yourself and your health a priority.  Be your own advocate for your health.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Do You Listen To Your Body?

Do you listen to your body? What's it telling you?

The trouble is, I'm 99% sure that majority of folks have no idea how to listen to their body.

I'm not talking about cravings. (Not, OMG, I NEED a cookie right NOW!)  I'm also not talking about whether you are full, hungry, satisfied, stuffed...

I'm talking about the subliminal messages that your body sends you daily: acne, bowel movements, grinding teeth, bloating, inflammation, joint pain, headaches, etc.  We have started to accept these signs as "the norm" or aging or stress or excuse after excuse....and then we pop a few pills or rub on a few medications to relieve them.  But the truth is, your body is not supposed to feel or react this way.  Don't you want to FEEL good and not only feel, but be healthy?

I hope so.

I'll use myself as an example.  Dairy.  No, I would not same I'm lactose intolerant, however, when I eat dairy - any kind - I breakout, pretty much overnight, and I get extreme bloating/water retention.  Unfortunately, my favorite food in the world is ice cream. (Is it food? Can I pretend it is?)  So here is the deal, the symptoms keep me away from dairy most of the time, but I won't lie and say it deters me away at all costs.  However, I have learned to listen to my body and I know the consequences.  Some days it seems worth it, other days it does not.

I choose my fate.

If you have some funky symptoms going on, don't just jump to a pill to solve it.  There may be a bigger cause.  Headaches? - Mostly caused by dehydration - drink some H2O!  And sorry, coffee and sodas and teas do not count.  Grinding teeth? - May be caused by adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels - take some more steps to avoid your stress and relax.

Learn to listen to the signals.  And then, learn to treat them in a different way.  If you get to the root of the issue, you'll be much happier and healthier for it!

Monday, March 02, 2015


I cannot remember where or when I heard this expression, but it has quickly become one of my favorites.  And NO, not just because I love everything to do with Princesses (but it doesn't hurt!)...

It is instinct for women to want to take care of everyone else: boyfriends, husbands, families, parents, kids, pets, etc.  And unfortunately, "self" gets throw to the bottom of the list day after day.  It is also common practice to think "Oh my gosh, I don't have time to make the bed, let alone do something I want to do!"

This constant go-go-go and viewing everything as an emergency is NOT healthy in more ways than one, but particularly because it raises the hormone, Cortisol.  Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone."  When it functions properly, it helps regulate blood sugar, glucose metabolism, immune function, inflammatory response, and much more.  Unfortunately, when it is OUT of balance, it causes suppressed thyroid function, decrease in muscle tissue, decrease in bone density, impaired cognitive function, higher blood pressure, and increased abdominal fat.

Hence, tiara time.  15 minutes a day.  Whenever you can "squeeze" it in, but it has to happen.  If necessary, go buy a tiara. Seriously, pick out a sparkly, be-dazzled, light-up tiara and literally PUT IT ON YOUR HEAD as a symbol - this is MY time.  (Hey, if you need one, I'm a small jog away from Disney - they have tons!)

So maybe the kids are crying about homework and the dishes are dirty from dinner...it'll all get done!  Take those 15 minutes to either sit in a dark, quiet room, or perhaps a walk or yoga, or maybe a bubble bath.  No guilt.  Feel your heart rate decrease and your mind quiet down.  Pay attention to that cortisol - get it under control before you emerge.  It is important - for your health, both mental and physical!