💀 Don’t Diet in Winter: Why

It’s been at the top New Year’s Resolutions for at least the past 50 years: “lose weight” or “improve diet.”

At first glance, these goals seem health-promoting and socially acceptable. What usually follows though is a rather rigid set of rules around eating: what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to avoid. This is popularly referred to as a diet and, it’s the worst. Especially during winter. Here’s why:

What’s wrong with dieting?

Anyone who has followed these rule-bound ways of eating will probably tell you two things: yes, they are losing weight and how many days left until they can come off of the diet. This points to a few problems with a restrictive diet:

1. The most popular diets are built primarily on deprivation. And absolutes. There is solemnity to the rules, as if divinely written onto tablets like the 10 Commandments rather than one person’s opinion written on paper. As long as you follow the rules of the diet, you’re a saint. Otherwise, you are one of them, the sinners and failures of the world.

2. Diets are often crazy-making in all their rules and even choosing the right diet (as many are contradictory). Is it okay to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice per day or should you be grain-free? Is the paleo diet better than a vegan one? Confusion abounds before even starting.

3. It’s not intuitive or customized at all. For example, most diet books will tell you to eat something specific, like half of grapefruit with a piece of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast. It completely ignores the fact that you might be on a medication with which grapefruit interferes, that one of your kids is allergic to peanut butter, and that you are gluten-sensitive. So, is that a “healthy” breakfast? Maybe for someone else, but not for you. Following the diet’s recommendations might just cause more issues than it solves. Also, it usually encourages using willpower to deal with cravings rather than learning how to sate them.

4. We are often dieting for the wrong reasons. We think being thinner or leaner will automatically improve our lives, but we haven’t even addressed our thoughts or the areas of life we want to improve and how to get ourselves to step into the next version of ourselves. Confidence can, and does, come from many other aspects of life that don’t involve squeezing yourself into a smaller size.

5. Lastly, they are not sustainable. Diets don’t work. Once our days of waiting for the 3-day raw juice cleanse or 30-day paleo diet have come to an end, we often slip right back into our bad habits of late-night snacking, sweet treats, having “cheat meals”, or rationalizing stress-induced overeating.

What’s wrong with dieting during winter?

This has got to be one of the absolute worst times to introduce a cold, low-fat, crash diet.

Among the many mistakes of dieting discussed above, the added the layer of this season can cause things to go south pretty quickly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective (here’s a primer), there’s an ancient, time-tested and rather intuitive way of eating and caring for your body in each season.

If we look at what the earth produces in each season, it gives us a clue as to what we should be eating to maximize our health. Spring is a wonderful time to have salads, greens, berries and sprouts. Summer is when we can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables being offered by our gardens and farmers markets. Fall and winter is when the squashes of the season, nuts, meat or plant-based proteins, hearty grains, and root vegetables are best. Cooked, warming foods are key during this cold and dry season.

People generally, in their quest to cut calories, often decimate the fat in the diet. On the face of it, this change makes sense – fat has more than twice the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. However, what is often not taken into account is that during the winter season, our bodies need healthy fats to help protect our skin and lubricate our joints.

This is simultaneously an old and new way of looking at how best to fuel our bodies with nutrition. Though we all often act like every day of the year is the same, especially with foods being available year-round in grocery stores and our with temperature-controlled environments, the fact is that we need to live in concert with winter.

The antidote to winter’s cold and dryness is eating warm, nourishing, oily foods. That’s why you’ll find you’ll find the recipes for meals and beverages that support your body’s detoxification processes in our Express Detox: Winter Edition masterclass.

Your Exercise Plan for Winter 🏋️

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

In just a few short weeks, the holidays will be over and New Year’s resolutions will have people flooding into the gyms and eschewing sugar. For a short while. Most of us know reasons why our resolutions fizzle out not long after the champagne celebrations and the Times Square ball drop. One, we’ve overloaded ourselves with drastic changes and, two, we didn’t even give ourselves a stretch or running start. Hopefully we will inspire you to start now with bringing exercise into winter.

Express yourself

What do you like to, not should, do? What forms of physical activity do you enjoy engaging in that get you into a state of flow or make you feel the best?

Think back to toys, games, sports and activities you enjoyed in your youth. Did you enjoy softball, kickball, soccer or tennis? There are teams and leagues for those activities in most towns.

What about swimming, street hockey, playing tag, or spending hours bicycling on your own or with friends? There are elements of each activity you enjoyed that can be brought back into your present state.

For example, ballet as a youth might have turned into dancing at clubs or bars and now could further morph into salsa, ballroom, or even Irish dancing.

Flying solo? It’s adventure time! Perhaps you loved ‘field day’ at school; you may not find it fun to potato sack race by yourself, but that’s what Meetup groups are for! You can find others who enjoy the same activities you do, like hiking combined with mushroom hunting, even if they are relatively obscure.

If you enjoyed martial arts when you were younger, you might enjoy taking it back up and going to classes at a studio, or you might want to consider practicing punches on a boxing bag.

Equipment needed

Indoors

These should all be easier to obtain after the buying sprees of 2020, thankfully. Check out your local buy/sell/trade groups or even Ebay for some secondhand equipment. If you want brand-new, consider what you truly need and where to start.

For example, since we aren’t traveling to our Pilates and barre classes during potentially hazardous weather, we have obtained the bands, ball, and mat needed to do the activity.

Like biking? We’ve put our bike on this stand for the third year in a row and have it set up in front of a TV so we can run YouTube videos and pretend we are riding through Europe. Do what you need to do to make life fun and get the exercise done.

Yoga is probably one of the most accessible, least equipment-heavy activities. A simple mat, a YouTube video (we like Yoga with Adriene), and maybe a cute bunny or two is all we need.

Ready to walk around with better posture and stronger bones and muscles? Look into equipment like the ones we use in our home gym area: free weights (2lb, 5lb, and 10lb) and these adjustable free weights, a medicine ball, more resistance bands/cords and this beastly Power Tower.

Want more fun? If your ceilings are high enough and you have good balance, consider an indoor mini-trampoline (it’s on our wish list from Santa this year too :)).

If you have a partner, kids, or friends who will play, a ping pong table is pretty great.

A gym might be the place to join when you are looking to swim indoors or to lift a number of heavy weights and don’t want to fill your basement with stuff that will gather dust.

Outdoor protection and gear

Protect your core temperature (no pun intended) with an insulating shirt for cold weather. We’ve had this one for over a decade and it fulfills the duty for which it was intended. This is the men’s version.

If you want a soft, warm hat that shows you have a sense of humor about winter, our sister site CraftyBeavers is the place to go.

Ice and snow grips are worth having for your shoes, especially if you plan to walk or run during the winter months; this is the one we have. It has saved us from falling and injury; well worth the monetary exchange.

If you want to be able to pause or play a podcast on your phone, try these mittens that open into fingerless gloves so that your entire hand doesn’t freeze.

Need extra warmth? Call upon the trusty air-activated hand warmers or some rechargeable ones.

Remember sunscreen! Just because it’s cold and cloudy doesn’t mean we can’t have our skin damaged by the sun’s invisible radiation rays.

Or, try a thermal fleece breathable balaclava or ski mask which will help protect your skin from UV rays and the cold.

As you can see here, there are plenty of options to keep our hearts and bodies healthy! Keep in mind that you can slowly build up your equipment. Just start with picking one or two items that will help you achieve your goals.

Winter is not the enemy of our exercise, we just have to adjust to the season. A truism the Nordic people like to share is “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Now that you have an idea of the most suitable type of exercise for you as well as the equipment required to perform the activity and protect yourself from the elements, you’re ready – half the battle has been won! Start now; don’t wait for January 1st.

In the Client Spotlight with Teresa Curtiss! 🎉

How did this program change things for you?

This program was a game changer for me. I knew I had food sensitivities and thought I had cut all of them out of my diet, but yet I was still sick. I learned that I had a reaction to some of the healthy things I was eating daily [emphasis added]. I finally have a list of foods to stay away from, no more guessing at what might be the issue. I stay clear of these, plus some additional food intolerances, and I feel great. 

What surprises and new strengths have you gotten from this experience?

I have my health back. I’m starting to enjoy food again instead of dreading eating and getting sick. I was just sticking with the same items that I thought were safe, not wanting to try new recipes.

My diet has opened up to more options now that I know what to avoid. I’m surprised at how much more variety of foods I can eat now. Even though there are quite a few foods I need to steer clear of (for now), I still have more options than I did before. I’ve just recently gone back to recipes in my cookbooks that I loved in the past, but thought they were making me sick. I can eat them again with no issues.

What is the thing you benefited from and/or enjoyed the most so far?

Getting my health back!

I had hoped to find out all the foods I had a food sensitivity to and to relieve my symptoms. I didn’t know I could feel this good again! It’s wonderful to be able to consistently feel good and not have to worry about my symptoms interfering with my day and holding me back from the things I want to accomplish.

I really appreciate our time together and definitely hope to stay in touch (I just referred someone to you last week).

Thanks,

Teresa Curtiss


Imagine something ‘healthy’ you eat almost everyday – like a banana or maybe some kale – and it actually being the culprit behind your symptoms! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to assess for food sensitivities and intolerances – a problem food could be flying beneath the radar because it’s a ‘health food’. Luckily, Teresa has figured out some of the major ones and her symptoms have improved! Could identifying potential food sensitivities do the same for you? Find out here and schedule a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started!

10 Healthy, Plant-based Fall Snacks 🍂

Maybe it’s all the autumn activities or just the season of our lives, but we’re probably not alone in feeling like a squirrel on a sugar-high. Scattered. Busy. Trying to maintain a mental map of the yards where we hid our nuts. Okay, maybe not the last one.

Still, the increase in activity, even if just shopping on Early Prime Days, tends to lend itself to eating more snacks. And that’s okay. Let’s try to have some that land on the healthier side of the spectrum. Here are healthy, plant-based fall snacks that run the gamut from no-bake and about 10 minutes to delicious, baked goods that might have you salivating at the ding of the timer after 45 minutes of somewhat patiently waiting at the oven door.

Gold Mine Pudding

Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies

The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

Gluten-free Cashew Coconut Bread

10TV Recipe: Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls

Just another Mochi Monday

Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies

‘Nacho’ Average Nachos

Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Roasted Root Vegetables

Enjoy!

Why you Need to Eat Honeynut…Squash?!

Truth be told, the only ‘honey nut’ food item we had heard of, before a couple of weeks ago, was of the breakfast cereal variety. Luckily, one of our favorite organic produce stands at the farmers market added to our lexicon AND our playing with a new, rather cute food in the kitchen.

What exactly is honeynut squash?

Honeynut squash is the ‘child’ of butternut squash and buttercup squash. This crossbreeding gives it a flavor and shape akin to butternut squash, but it is sweeter and more the ‘pocket-size’ version of its parent. Perhaps think of honeynut squash as your own personal butternut squash.

Why you’ll want to eat it

It’s delicious. As mentioned above, it is sweeter than butternut squash- and spoiler alert! – even more so if roasted. And we haven’t even dove into why it’s great for your health yet…

What honeynut squash does for you nutritionally

As with most winter squashes, honeynut squash contains a high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene (which gives it the yellow-orange color). It’s also a wonderful source of minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc. Known for helping with energy production, B vitamins are in good supply here in this squash too.

How to incorporate it

One of the best, and easiest ways to cook honeynut squash, just like butternut, is to roast it. Then you can turn it into caramelized cubes of golden-orange sweetness that can be added to a salad. It can also be added to pasta and even turned into a quick, blended soup.

Stay tuned! We’ll have an easy, delicious recipe for you coming up in the next few weeks.

Top 11: One-minute Energy Boosters 🤣

Unless you have the exuberance of a young child, most of us could use more energy – whether to fulfill our dreams or even just our quotidian responsibilities. The good news: there’s no need to artificially jolt yourself into action with another coffee or energy drink. A few of these natural energy boosters can provide enjoyable, longer-lasting energy for you. Give them a try!

  1. Bouncing or jumping in place and shaking out your hands can be a nice way of shaking off a negative feeling or worries and giving you a bit more energy.

  2. As your shower comes to an end, turn the knob for cool or cold water and let it run over your head, each raised underarm and on your lower back.

  3. Drink a glass of water – this can boost your energy and your detoxification processes.

  4. A minute of laughing can be an excellent mental health and energy booster. Prepare for tears of laughter with this.

  5. For a little pep in the afternoon, place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in your palms, cupping hands over your face. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

  6. Sing the chorus of your favorite song, aloud if you can. Today’s pick was the oldie-but-goodie “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

  7. Go outside – stand in the sun (if it’s out) and notice the temperature, breeze, smells, the birds communicating, colors of leaves and whatever else your senses are picking up.

  8. Play with your pet. A laser pointer or dangly toy for your cat or hide-and-seek with your dog. We like to play ‘tag’ with our bunnies then ‘catch’ and provide cuddles.

  9. Squats. One minute of these will get your blood flowing to and from those large muscles (quads). This can be easily done during breaks from desk work.

  10. Have a small snack – perhaps DIY Hippie Granola with yogurt, a banana with nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.

  11. Engage with a friend or loved one who lifts your spirits. Even a quick text during the day can boost both of you.

Which ones worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Recipe: Coconut Almond Smoothie 🥥

After chilly rain earlier this week, the Ohio weather gods have bestowed 60-degree weather upon us. Time to break out your blender and get some chocolate & spring greens in.

Join us in relishing this delicious, anti-inflammatory smoothie that is great for gut health!


Ingredients
2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
2 tsp chia seeds
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup spinach
2 medjool dates
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp shredded coconut

Instructions
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well. Add additional non-dairy milk or water
to reach desired consistency. Enjoy!


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!


Start adding in these green smoothies so you can experience having more energy,
clearer skin, improved digestion, weight loss, or any number of benefts 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!

Build a Better Body Bootcamp

You know your health and body image aren’t where you want them to be. You also realize that short-term resolutions and yo-yo dieting is not the answer.

The Build a Better Body Bootcamp is a 6-week program designed to help you improve the elements of your diet that lead to sustainable changes in body composition and weight loss. During these 6 weeks, we will cut through the confusion and provide the tools you need to jumpstart your better body. Topics include:

  • Deceptive marketing and nutritional confusion
  • Navigating nutrition facts labels
  • Building better meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • MyPlate and portion sizes
  • Healthier snack and dessert options
  • Measuring and tracking your success
  • Sodium, sugar and fat
  • Navigating social events with ease
  • Better restaurant & fast food options
  • Styles of eating

Many of us have been stuck in nutritional confusion for so long (“are eggs good for me? What about coffee? Am I eating too much fruit?”) without support to actually make the changes we desire.

By using the tools and getting clarity and support from our private community, you’ll be able to take this dedicated time to springboard yourself into healthier habits. Benefits include:

  • Jump-starting your new eating protocol, not a fad ‘diet’
  • Learning how to feed yourself, and your family, better
  • Changing your body composition – feel stronger, leaner, and more toned
  • Feeling better
  • Having more energy
  • Better digestion and regular bowel movements
  • Improvement of chronic health issues

Here are the details. The 6-week Build a Better Body Bootcamp starts on Wednesday, April 27th and ends Wednesday, June 8th.

  • Includes weekly live meeting with Integrative & Functional Dietitian-Nutritionist where we breakdown topics into bite-sized action steps
  • Tools and recipes
  • Private Facebook group for community support
  • Skills practice
  • Accountability and resources

Ready to rock a better body? Let’s go!

By making this purchase, you agree to our terms and conditions

$497.00

Pay now

Paid-in-full, save over $100

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$297.00

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2 monthly payments of $297

Fast-action BONUS: for those who know they are ready to make the changes and sign up by Monday, April 18th you’ll be able to join our next Sugar Detox Challenge, beginning May 22nd, for FREE!  (Valued at $197)

Questions? Schedule a complimentary 20-minute call.

How to: Deep-clean the Whole Fridge 🧽

Ever since completing the pantry organization project, the fridge has practically been begging for a deep clean. With cold weather encouraging indoor activities – and with spring around the corner – we decided it was time to load up our favorite music as we worked towards the vision of a gleaming fridge.

Time: about 45 minutes total, including back of the fridge

Materials needed: paper towels, vinegar or cleaning spray, vacuum for back of fridge and floor, organizational bins (optional), your favorite music and beverage to hydrate

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Step 1: Pull everything out of your fridge. Keep a cooler nearby and fill it with the fresh meats and other temperature-sensitive perishables. Throw away any old, moldy ‘science experiments’ that have taken residence at the back of the fridge.

Step 2: Remove the shelves and clean them; wipe down the sides and doors inside of the fridge.

Step 3: Because the fridge is lighter without food inside of it, this could be a good time to carefully pull fridge out a few feet to gain access to the back (this took two people for us). Unless you’ve cleaned the area recently, there’s probably everything from dog hair to Nerf gun balls and crumbs. And that’s just the floor. We were surprised by what we found too, relics of previous inhabitants:

Unplug the refrigerator before doing any sort of maintenance or cleaning to avoid electrocution. Vacuum the floor and the coils. We used canned air to get ours clean too. You might also want to wipe down the area behind the fridge, including walls and floor. Ah, that’s better.

The coils help keep your fridge cold and when they are covered and dirty, the fridge has to work extra-hard to do its job. You’ll likely notice better-performing, quieter fridge operation. Your electricity bill might be lower too. All types of winning here! Now you can plug your fridge back in, roll it back into its proper place, and pat yourself on the back.

Step 4: Put bowl or box of baking soda inside, near the back fridge, to help absorb odors. Put fresh paper towels into drawers; use or obtain plastic bins for organization and easier clean-up in the future. We used Bino Stackable Storage Bins XL (4 pack).

Step 5: Quickly check expiration dates and wipe down bottles and jars of various food items as you add them back in.

Step 6: Wipe down the top, sides, and front of the fridge after removing any old coupons, save-the-dates, and magnets. Cut and curate, then place desired artwork or magnets back.

Now that you’re done, step back and admire your handiwork.

How long will the gleam last? Probably not long enough, but there are some ways to keep your fridge fresh between deep cleans. How often should a deep-clean be done? Quarterly. Put it in your calendar and start working on your energizing playlist now. You might want to check behind the fridge every quarter to every six months to ensure the coils aren’t covered in dust and dirt. In the meantime, here’s what to do monthly:

  • Keep up with your first-in, first-out system.
  • Consider replacing drawer linings with fresh, absorbant paper towels to help with moisture and any leaking from forgotten foods.

It’s not quite a heavenly experience, but opening the refrigerator doors and the seeing light bouncing off the clean surfaces and colorful foods might just make you smile.

5 Tips to Spark Creativity!

sparkcreativity

Early on in our sessions, every client fills out a circle of life handout. This assessment looks a bit like a wheel with a bunch of spokes, some of which are labeled “home environment” and “relationships;” then there’s a spot with the word “creativity.” As clients complete this exercise, there’s an awareness brought to the areas of life that aren’t working for them or aspects they’d like to enhance. Creativity is typically one of those areas. Even those who profess themselves to be the antithesis of artistic can find that creativity exists in so many forms. Increase your happiness and productivity by boosting your creativity:

1. Find an absorbing, slightly challenging pastime that allows you to feel some mastery – could be singing, a lively debate or conversation, rock-climbing, creating a story, piano playing, or wood-working. In the state of flow, psychologists say, you forget yourself as you merge yourself with the task; this can also lead to higher self-esteem.

2. Let your ideas FLOW before you try to filter them. Not everything we dream up will be a smashing idea. The purpose and process of brainstorming can lead to several great sparks; however, if we censor them on the outset, we are less likely to find a successful solution or experience a stroke of brilliance.

3. Silence!? While too much noise can distract from your creative process, ambient noise (think coffeehouse-level at 65-70 decibels) can be beneficial. Consider listening to some theta brain wave music to get into a flow.

4. Daydreaming & following your thoughts. Contradictory to the idea that day-dreaming is something we are supposed to outgrow, it has been hailed as important to creative thinking (by none other than Sigmund Freud, for example). No matter where they wander, playing follow-the-leader with your thoughts can improve your mental performance according to a Psychological Science study. The perfect anti-dote to willful focus on a task is daydreaming. Think of it as a brain HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout!

5. Body movement = brainstorms! Exercise gets blood flowing to your brain and even 20-30 minutes can be enough to give your brain a boost for more innovative thoughts. Bonus: playing with a child often involves physical activity and creating stories to go along with the toys.