Halo Top Ice Cream: Health Halo?

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We may not actually scream for ice cream (we’re all adults here), but, to be honest, there’s usually a squeal of delight involved.

While visiting the beautiful land of Italy, we neither confirm nor deny placing an equal importance on finding the very best gelateria as visiting all the historic landmarks. We have priorities though and are happy to say we found the top-source gelato in Rome.

This is really to say that we love ice cream. Love it. From putting it in coffee at breakfast to having it as a meal (yes, you read that correctly), it’s pretty much a perfect treat for whenever.

However, anyone who has indulged on a regular basis knows that nothing seems to add on some poundage faster than this creamy delight. So, when our very favorite non-dairy ice cream was discontinued from Giant Eagle Market District, there was a mix of disappointment and relief. Then, curiously, Halo Top emerged into and around the space instead. Eventually we took the mint chip version home and found it to be very light (more air incorporated into the product) and, frankly, delicious.

So what’s in it? Here’s ‘the scoop’ on the mint chip flavor ingredients:

Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

How do they keep the calories low? Part of the reason why they can do this is because they use three different sweeteners: erythritol (a sugar alcohol), organic cane sugar (really just a fancy way of saying white sugar), and organic stevia. The erythritol contains less than .5 calorie per gram, sugar has 4 calories per gram, and stevia is a no-calorie sweetener which is a couple hundred of times sweeter than sugar.  The other reason is that the Halo Top ice cream is physically lighter (a 1/2 cup serving weighs in at 64 grams vs. about 95 grams for other ice creams). With more air incorporated, you’ll have less calories and ice cream in general.

The calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar content for Halo Top are less than traditional ice cream, while providing fiber and protein. This does not replace vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and fat sources in the diet, but, as far as ice cream goes, it’s a pretty decent choice.

That being said, this product still has dairy (so if you have issues with milk products, beware) and, for some people and in generally higher amounts, the sugar alcohol can cause digestive upset, headaches, gas, and diarrhea.

There is likely to be a bit of a health halo effect with this product – with less calories, it can be very easy to over-consume. Remember to exercise portion control and enjoy it mindfully.

Trauma: An Awakening to Resilience

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No one is free from trauma, even those who eat goji berries. One need not look further than the biblical story of Job or into the Buddha’s insights with the Four Noble Truths to see that suffering is indeed part of the human condition. Avoiding confronting painful events is like holding a beach ball under water. Sure you can do it, but it takes a lot of energy and it’s still likely to fly out of the water anyway (usually when you least expect it). It takes courage to examine these painful experiences and to follow a healing path, knowing that recovery is possible.

Dr. Peter Levine defines trauma as a result of instinctual resources of self-protection being overwhelmed, possibly as a result of perceived life-threatening experiences. We often think of trauma relating to soldiers returning from war, victims of severe abuse (including neglect) and violence, or those who’ve suffered catastrophic loss, accidents, or injuries. However, Dr. Levine suggests that trauma doesn’t have to originate from a single, major catastrophe; in fact, routine invasive medical and dental procedures, illness, birth stress (for mother and baby), natural disasters, or even minor car accidents can be traumatizing.

Childhood Trauma

Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are strongly correlated with the development of a wide range of health issues throughout a person’s life. Even if not a major event- for small children, just their parents yelling, thunder, or even a toy that scares them (i.e. a jack-in-the-box) can overwhelm their self-protective resources. Each person has their own resources and experiences that will influence whether something is exciting and fun or horrible and fear-inducing.

Effects of Trauma

Trauma can have debilitating after-effects in both mind and body. Unresolved trauma can be devastatingly life-altering and affect our thoughts, beliefs, habits, relationships, and decision-making abilities. For some, it can trigger physical pain and symptoms, even years later.

One of the wide-ranging ways trauma can effect us is by loosening the connection to ourselves, family, and even the outside world. We constrict our choices as we avoid certain places, people, and feelings. This can cause us to feel less energized and to lose opportunities for fulfilling our dreams and goals.

Begin your Healing Path

A gradual healing process can be helped by body-workers, therapists or psychologists, friends, family, life and health coaches, and more. This is a time to treat yourself gently and engage in extreme self-care. You may feel weak upon beginning your path, but your strength and your resilience will slowly build.

The good news is that we have within us the ability to master and transform trauma into triumph. May your inner journey help you recover a deeper sense of wholeness.

Recipe: The Best French Toast

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The Best French Toast is super-delicious and nutritious. Its list of credentials continues: it’s gluten- and dairy-free as well as vegan! Incredible.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes total
Serves: 2-4 people

Ingredients

8 pieces of gluten-free bread (we used Canyon Bakehouse)
1 medium banana, mashed
1 1/4 cup almond milk (DIY here)
1/2 tbsp flaxseed
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond meal (this will be used to coat the bread and add texture)

Instructions
Put all ingredients (except bread and almond meal) into a blender and run until well-mixed. Then transfer to shallow bowl. Preheat skillet to medium heat,  using coconut oil to grease the pan. Dip each slice of bread into the batter for about 10 seconds on each side then sprinkle almond meal carefully on each side. Place bread on skillet, cooking until golden brown on underside, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat the process. Lastly, add your desired toppings! We chose blueberries cooked with maple syrup.

Green Smoothie Challenge eBook Release!

Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, “I should really try having some green smoothies for breakfast or as a replacement for my 3pm-vending-machine-snack visit. I might have more energy and feel better. Ah, that sounds like a lot of work figuring out what ingredients I need and spending hours on Pinterest or at the grocery store. Maybe someday when _________ [insert your personal obstacle here].”

Well it’s time to bust through your own obstacles because when it comes to making a nutrient-rich meal, we have just done the lion’s share of the work for you!

The Green Smoothie Challenge eBook contains tips and tricks of the trade, 14 green smoothie recipes, ideas for substitutions, a food diary, superfood additions, and the grocery lists for week 1 and 2 of your personal challenge. Armed with this guide and your trusty blender, you’ll go far!

Spring is the perfect time to start adding in these green smoothies so you can experience having more energy, clearer skin, improved digestion, weight loss, or any number of benefits as yet unforeseen.

Get ready to experience the easiest and most sustainable way to enjoy some superfood-fueling smoothies; grab the guide and get started on the first week today!

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Client Spotlights!

There are so many hugs and high-fives on the road to clients reaching their goals; as March starts wrapping up, here are just a couple of stories from those are in-progress or have graduated from our Foundations of Health Program:

1. A New Father’s Post-partum Success

It’s no secret that most men whose partners are going through pregnancy tend to develop Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where some of the same symptoms and behavior of the mother are picked up – most often including minor weight gain.

“A year ago I was trying ‘go it alone’ to lose weight, mainly with working out and I saw some results but the workouts didn’t stick and neither did my results.

This year, everything is different and I’m thrilled with the results so far! I’m drinking more water and I’m looking for ways to exercise, even with my infant son, to make sure it happens. In fact, since the start of us working together in early February (it’s now mid-March), I’ve lost over 17lbs – basically the same weight that my son is! My jeans and clothes fit better, I’m back to exercising and have much better energy these days (without the 4 cups of coffee and energy drinks I used to have)!” – Kevin R., Columbus, OH
big changes

2. Success in both Eating and Living better!

 “Frustrated with post-menopausal weight gain, a thickening waistline, and a lower energy level, I reached out to Adrienne.  After 5 months of working together, I lowered my body fat %, dropped a couple inches off my waist, and increased my energy level.  Achieving those goals was amazing, but the even better part was that there was MORE!  I worked with Adrienne for another 3 months, and she turned out to be more than just a nutrition coach – she’s a lifestyle coach!  We tackled issues like self-care, relationship improvement, stress reduction, alcohol cravings, and more. So now, not only do I EAT better, but I’m LIVING better, too!”    – Renee W., Columbus, OH

St. Paddy’s Shamrock Smoothie

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St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and worldwide as both a religious and cultural holiday. This 17th of March, whether you feast on stew and Irish soda bread or fill up on green beer, this drink provides a healthy way to connect with your Irish heritage or is great for a morning-after hangover cure.

Ingredients

3/4 cucumber
1 medium apple
4 stalks celery
10 leaves romaine lettuce or 2 cups
1/4 cup parsley
4 cups water

Instructions

Rinse and prep all produce. Use either a high-speed blender or a juicer (we opted for blending to keep the fiber). Add all ingredients and blend until smooth. This recipe makes 32 ounces. Because the nutrients breakdown soon after making the drink, plan to drink within 1-2 days or share a healthy pint with a friend.

Also, the tradition of getting pinched if not wearing green is alive and well! Apparently Irish immigrants believed wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns and fairy creatures. They would pinch others as a reminder to wear the color and therefore protect themselves from those devious troublemakers. Double up with your green juice and clothing!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Our 14-day Green Smoothie Challenge is coming soon! We’ve been working hard on ingredient pairing, grocery list building, and taste-testing (okay, that part is pretty easy :)) so that we can bring you a complete, and convenient, DIY way to boost your energy and vitality everyday for 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more details!