sasquatch in the shower

As I dig into my whole food journey I have come to realize that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put into it. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it has giant pores which soak up what you put on your skin.

Ingredient list for Bliss Blood Orange and White Pepper Sugar Scrub

Sucrose, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrated Silica, Cocamide MEA, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Cocoamphopropionate, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerin, Sodium Sulfate, Piper Nigrum (Pepper) Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, DMDM Hydantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, BHA, BHT, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Red 33 (CI 17200), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)

This scrub costs $36.00 on the Ultra website. I don’t know what the majority of those ingredients are or what they do or how they would act once put on my body. So I use my rule of 3 (which is the same rule I use when picking food at the store) if I don’t know what three ingredient are or can’t pronounce them then that product is too processed for my body.  Instead I try to find a cleaner brand or just make it myself. I have a few staples now that I make for myself and for gifts. These body products are super cheap and easy with real food ingredients!


Sugar Scrub

1 cup white sugar (or a mix of brown and white if you want)

1/3 cup light olive oil (I use light because it makes the scrub smell less like olives)

1 T honey (make sure you buy raw honey)

10 drops of vanilla essential oil (this is different from vanilla extract)

Mix up everything into a bowl then pour into an air tight container. Grab a handful and scrub away! This scrub is even gentle enough to go on your face just be careful to not scrub too hard.

Detox Bath Mix

1 cup epsom salt

1 T baking soda

1 T olive oil

zest of 1 lemon (or whatever citrus fruit you have laying around)

5 drops of vanilla essential oil

1 t dried flowers

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour into an air tight container. Add a couple scoops into your hot bath!

Clay Mask

1/2 t Bentonite Clay

1/2 t apple cider vinegar or water

Mix equal parts clay and liquid into a non-metal bowl and use a non-metal spoon to mix. Apply a thin coat over face and wait until it hardens. Then remove with a warm washcloth or washing it off in the shower tends to be the easiest. Then moisturize with coconut oil. Your face will be red for a couple hours after so do this at night.

Other Skincare Products

  • Coconut oil- great for moisturizing skin or hair and oil pulling
  • Castor Oil and Almond Oil: This mixture is a great face wash! Squeeze equal parts into your hand (about a dime size each) massage over your face then use warm wash cloth to wipe off.
  • Pure-Castile Soap: This is a great soap to use for body wash, dishes or food. It is highly concentrated so a little goes a long way.
  • Anything from Primal Life Organics: They have makeup, deodorant, face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen and toothpaste. Everything is made to order and is from 100% real ingredients!



Food For Thought

I have been toying with the idea of writing this post for awhile and have finally decided to do it.

Food comes in many forms






Everyone has a complicated relationship with food and a lot of times this relationship is fueled by emotions, particularly emotions about self-image. In 15 days I am graduating from college and I found myself getting back into the habit of calorie restriction and feeling shame from eating something I “shouldn’t” have eaten. I want to look good in my graduation photos and resorted back to old habits. Like most girls I have had my share of disordered eating. High school it was preparing to wear a tiny dance team uniform in front of the whole school and college it was Halloween, Spring Break, Summer or my “21-Run”. There is always an event to countdown to that you want to lose just 5 more pounds for. So you restrict calories and workout like a maniac and then relief hits you when its over but so does binge eating. Then you gain back that 5 pounds you lost plus another 5 pounds and the countdown for another event starts and so does the cycle.

There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way and a lot of opinions on how to get there. Being a personal trainer, the number one question I get is: what do I eat to lose weight the fastest? I am in no means an expert on the topic but I have found a few things that help me focus on the long term goal of health instead of the roller coaster ride of preparing for an event.

Have a treat and don’t feel bad

In the fitness world “cheat nights” are a common occurrence. I never have understood this. Why deny yourself something you want all week to just have it on Friday?

My good friend came up with an awesome system for letting herself have the treats she wants while still keeping herself accountable and not getting sucked into having treats every night. She puts three sticky notes on her calendar and throughout the week she can choose her treats. When she has a treat she moves the sticky note to that day and writes what she had on the note.

I love this system because it gives you the structure you need to not go overboard on junk food while still giving you freedom to not deny yourself the food you want. Be mindful with your treats and enjoy them.

Food is fuel

When did we forget this? We eat because our bodies need food to run. Just like your car needs quality oil; your body needs quality food.

I think everyone can agree after eating a plate full of grilled chicken and veggies our bodies feel good, energized and happy. After eating a plate full of pizza our bodies feel sluggish, oily and crappy.  Pick foods that are full of nutrients and protein to help your body do what it needs to do. Your body will never need a bag of sour patch kids no matter how hard your brain tries to tell you it does.

Eat with the intent to fuel your body not to fuel your emotions.

there is no food reward for exercising

Sorry to burst your bubble but just because you spent 30 minutes on the treadmill or walked around the block doesn’t mean you get to eat a slice of cake. Break that connection.

Exercise because you want to feel the endorphins and do something good for your body not because you are punishing yourself for eating pizza for lunch. This works the other way too; don’t let yourself justify having pizza for dinner because you worked out that morning. This disordered thought process will lead to shame and guilt for not working out which can lead to serious eating disorders.

stop thinking about what you can’t have

When I started my first Whole30 all I could think about was I can’t have sugar, I can’t have bread, I can’t have beer, I can’t have cake, I can’t have, I can’t, I CAN’T, I CAN’T! After eating something I shouldn’t have I got back on board and changed my perspective.

There is a lot you can have when eating real food. I found I actually like spaghetti squash over real spaghetti noodles. I like brussels sprouts even though I had always been convinced I hated them. Portobello mushrooms with tomato sauce and cheese on top is a healthy and delicious alternative to pizza. I found kale, stinging needles and bok choy which I had never heard about before.

Find new foods and experiment with new recipes. When you focus on the positive it makes eating clean enjoyable and easier to sustain than focusing on the negative.

Stop buying junk food

You are cooking roasted vegetables and lemon chicken for a healthy dinner. The veggies need to be tossed in two minutes so you are standing in the kitchen waiting. Absentmindedly you reach into the cupboard and grab a handful of (enter your choice of junk food here) and munch while waiting then reach for another and another and before you know it you are full and don’t want the healthy dinner you just made. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you? Yeah, me too!

Your kids don’t need it, your significant other doesn’t need it and you don’t need it.  Don’t buy the junk. Just don’t have it around! This goes back to mindful treats. If you are going to eat junk make it memorable and significant not just bored eating in the kitchen.

don’t wait until you are starving to eat

This is the most important tip. Whenever I ask my clients what made them fall off their healthy eating pattern it is always the same story:

Well, I was doing so good and then I got so busy and I forgot to go grocery shopping so I didn’t have any food in the house. I didn’t pay attention and I waited until I was super hungry and drove to the store to buy stuff for dinner but I passed Boomers on my way and turned in and got a double cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake because it just sounded so good!

Don’t fall into that trap! Be prepared, make meals ahead of time and don’t wait until you are starving to preparing your meal. Along with that don’t ever go to the grocery store hungry! You will impulse buy things you don’t need and eat them in the car while you drive home (guilty of that!)

Dont stress

Health, fitness and body size is going to be a lifelong journey. Don’t stress out about it. There is no quick fix or magic pill. It takes time to lose weight in a healthy manner. Don’t feel guilty for a slip-up, brush yourself off and get right back onto you healthy eating plan. Find what works for you and do it. Everyones bodies work differently so figure out what you need to have a happy and healthy relationship with food.



Now that it is getting warmer in Bellingham my favorite thing to make in the morning (after my coffee of course) are smoothies! But I am picky about my smoothies. Fruit has a surprisingly large amount of sugar in it and I don’t like to start my morning off on a sugar high. Also I love to sneak super greens into everything for a little extra nutrient kick. So I have found these magical smoothies which have the perfect amount of fruit and still are a green powerhouse.

marys epic green smoothie (makes 2 SERVINGS)

2 handful of spinach/kale (start small and work up as you get use to the taste)

3 cups of frozen fruit (banana and strawberries are my favorite)

1/2 cup greek yogurt (make sure this is plain and with no added sugar)

1/2 cup* liquid (water, milk, almond milk or soy milk) *depending on amount of spinach and berries might need more or less


1 Tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter

1 teaspoon cacao powder

1 T chia seeds

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 scoop protein powder

1 Tablespoon Gelatin

Place greens into blender and mix with liquid first then add fruit.

You can get creative and use whatever is in your kitchen. Smoothies can be a quick and delicious morning breakfast just watch the amount of fruit you put in and always try to add in some greens 🙂

My FAVORITE Green smoothies

PaleOMG Green Apple Smoothie is my favorite smoothie because it has VERY low sugar yet is so delicious you don’t even realize that!

  • 2 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 green apple, peeled and cored, roughly chopped
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1½ cups water
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • handful of ice


  1. Pour liquid into your Blendtec or other blender.
  2. Then add the apple, avocado, spinach, and lemon juice.
  3. Then add ice.
  4. Mix well until completely smooth.
  5. Drink up buttercup.

Minty Kiwi Kreme

Microbursts Melon Smoothie

All Green Smoothie

Raw Green Smoothies for Beginners

Mango Pineapple Green Smoothie

Summertime Backyard BBQ

My favorite thing about warm weather is BBQ’ing. The best and easiest dinners are marinated meats and veggies thrown onto the grill. Kebab veggies are an easy way to add more vegetables into your diet and sneak them into picky eaters since most marinades disguise the vegetable taste! So I am sharing my absolute favorite summertime marinade recipe!

Shish Kebabs*

Worlds best marinade

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 Tbs worchershire sauce

1 Tbs dry mustard

1 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1sp parsley flakes

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 gloves garlic minced


Mix all ingredients in a large plastic bag. Then chop up veggies such as onions, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Chop some meats into bite sized pieces. Marinate the veggies first then scoop out veggies and marinate the meats. I normally marinate the veggies overnight and then switch out to meats in the morning and grill that night. The longer the meat sits in the marinade the better!


More delicious grill recipes

Shish Kebabs*

Zucchini/Summer Squash

Grilled Steak

Grilled Green Chicken

Steak with Cherry BBQ Sauce

Grilled Avocado, Scallion and Red Onion

Teriyaki Sirloin Kebabs

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Honey Butter


Sweet Sunshine!

Today was a gloriously sunny day in B’ham with hopefully more are coming as we spring into summer! I absolutely love laying out on my deck with some bubbly water with a couple lemon slices in it and soaking up some vitamin D. But with sun comes sunscreen or sunburns.

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your sunscreen bottle? I haven’t! I just grab it and trust it to keep me from burning or getting skin cancer. But did you know that 9 out of the 15 chemicals in sunscreen are endocrine disruptors?? These chemicals disrupt the way your hormones are produced which can cause infertility, cancer and cause developmental issues during puberty.

Sunscreen is great for protecting against sunburns but there hasn’t actually been any solid evidence proving it protects against cancer or melanoma. The best way to protect yourself but get a good shot of vitamin D is to spend about 20 minutes in the sun. After 20 minutes the danger to your immune system overweighs the benefits of vitamin D.

Most of the great PNW residents need sunscreen to protect of pale skin but did you know that you can actually add food to your diet to decrease your chances or sunburns as well as make your own sunscreen!

What to eat to decrease chances of sunburns

  • Lycopene
    • this is a carotenoid that is found in cooked tomatoes
  • Astaxanthin
    • This is an antioxidant found in algae
  • Eat more long chain Omega-3s and cut out Omega-6s
    • eat more fish or supplement with fish oil/fermented cod liver oil
    • cut out processed oils like vegetable oil, peanut oil or canola oil
  • Saturated Fat!
    • Butter, palm oil and coconut oil are great sources
  • Green Tea
    • another great source of antioxidants
  • Proanthocyanidins
    • these can be found in wine, grapes, blueberries, hazelnuts and pistachios

To read the reasoning behind these suggestions and scientific backing click here.

How to make your own sunscreen

sunscreen you can buy


So next time you head out to enjoy some wonderful vitamin D grab a glass of wine, cook up some fish with tomato sauce, butter and seaweed and then have some green tea ice cream for dessert 🙂

Common Diet Myths

After an amazing spring break and a hiatus from blogging, I am back and with my favorite post so far and we are gettin’ serious. This blog post is dedicated to diet myths everyone has heard over and over again. Some people don’t even realize these are myths because they have read them in magazines, seen them on talk shows and heard them from their friends. Today I hope to shatter some windows and shed some light on these myths!

Fat will make you fat

  • Fat does not make the body have a spike of insulin like it does after eating carbohydrates therefore there is no crash after eating fat which keeps you feeling satisfied and energized longer
  • Fat stimulates a full response so your stomach can easily tell your brain when it is done eating. This keeps you from stuffing yourself silly with insulin spiking carbohydrates.
  • The fat that comes from happy animals raised in natural living conditions is full of vitamin A, D, and K. These are the vitamins the majority of the population are deficient in. They are fat-soluble so even if your multi-vitamin says it contains them that doesn’t mean your body is absorbing them like it would from a natural source
  • Eating fat will not increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases
  • This myth makes sense logically. Fat has 9 calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates that only have 4 calories. But what is wrong with having half the portion size and getting a greater benefit from it?

Eating eggs will give you high cholesterol

  • In 1984 an article in Time Magazine came out speculating that eating high cholesterol foods would increase your cholesterol (sounds a lot like fat makes you fat, right?) this one article that was not supported by concrete evidence started the myth that eggs will give you high cholesterol.
  • There are two types of cholesterol, one that our bodies make and one that we consume. Recent studies have shown that these two have very little correlation.
  • Studies have shown that eggs increase the “good” cholesterol in your blood
  • Gary Taubes wrote an amazing article about this topic for the New York Times which can be found here
  • A lot is still unknown about cholesterol and diet

Saturated fat is bad for you

  • This myth started in 1958 when Ancel Keys presented a study called the Seven Countries Study which compared fat intake vs cardiovascular disease. He found a positive correlation and his study made it on the cover of Time Magazine. Later it was discovered that he intentionally left out 20 other countries data which would have ruined his discovery. Holland and Norway eat large amounts of saturated fat yet have very little heart disease but of course he couldn’t tell anyone that!
  • According to this study and this study there was no link between cardiovascular disease and intake of saturated fats
  • New studies have shown saturated fat actually increase “good” cholesterol!
  • New research is starting to emerge which is showing that the real danger is processed fats like canola oil and vegetable oil (when the study comes out I will post their results)

Whole grains are healthy for everyone

  • Whole grains are actually fairly low in nutrients compared to vegetables and vegetables tend to have less calories and carbohydrates
    • 100g of bread has 289 kcal,  56.44g of carbohydrate2.4g of fibers513mg of sodium128mg of potassium, 0 UI Vitamin A and 0.6ug Vitamin K.
    • 100g of broccoli has 34 kcal6.62g of carbohydrates2.6g of fiber33g of sodium, 316mg of potassium, 623 UI Vitamin A and 101.6 ug Vitamin K.
  • Whole grains contain phytic acid which has been shown to decrease mineral absorption in your intestines. In other words, the whole grains you eat steal nutrients from you
  • Whole grains contain gluten which have been linked to a laundry list of diseases like, schizophreniaautismgut permeability leading to bloating, constipation, pain and tirednessdepressiondiabetes and dementia

Diet soda is good for you because it has zero calories

  • Diet soda is sweetened with aspartame which is known to cause depression, headaches, decreased memory, and increased chance of cancer 
  • Diet soda may have zero calories but your body reacts to diet soda the same way it reacts to any other sugary drink by increasing its insulin secretion to help metabolize the sugar. Since diet soda doesn’t contain any sugar this spike in insulin with nothing for it to actually work with can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity which can cause obesity and diabetes.

Low fat products will keep me from gaining weight

  • Fat has more calories in it which means you have to eat less of it but fat also tastes amazing. When fat is removed from a product it is replaced with sugar, flavorings and chemicals to keep the product appitizing which is worse for your body than eating fat
  • This study shows no difference in weight change between women who ate full fat products and women who ate low fat products
  • Eating full fat products can actually keep you from developing any cardiovascular diseases as seen in this study
  • Full fat dairy has vitamin A and D. Non-fat dairy has been processed and the vitamin containing fat has been removed so milk producers replace it with synthetic vitamin A and D. Both of these are fat soluble and if they are added into a low-fat or non-fat product your body cannot utilize them like it can when coming from a natural source.

Hope this sheds some light on common diet myths everyone has heard. Now go fry up some eggs, bacon and broccoli and drink a tall glass of water 🙂


Spin on the classics

I love comfort food. There is just something about spending some time in the kitchen cooking up a delicious homemade comfort food that makes me happy. The only thing I hate about comfort food is the way my body feels after eating it. My comfort food in mostly carbohydrate based so I challenged myself to make changes to four recipes to make them less-carb filled but with the same amount of comfort!

Mac and Cheese


My Mom made the best mac and cheese. When I was younger it was the dish I always wanted when I needed some comfort food. But the worst part in mac and cheese are the noodles. There are 221 calories in one cup of noodles but one cup of butternut squash only has 63! So to switch up this recipe I swapped noodles for diced butternut squash.


1 butternut squash, diced or made into noodles if you have a spiral slicer like this one

1 cup of kale, chiffonade

8 oz of cheddar cheese (I used Flagship), shredded

1/4 cup milk (I used whipping cream because fat is my friend not my foe)

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

dash of cayenne

5 slices of bacon


Set oven to 370 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and remove the seeds then slice off skins and largely dice the remaining squash. Place squash on cookie sheet and cover with coconut oil or any oil of choice (but you better not be using that vegetable or canola oil in this delicious meal and here’s why). Bake these until soft but not squishy! We want them to resemble noodles not mush.

If you have a spiral slicer then spiral out your butternut squash into noodles. Throw them into a pot of boiling water and let them cook until they are al dente.

While the squash is cooking, fry up your bacon in a skillet until it is crunchy! Then wait for it to cool and chop into large chunks.

Once your squash is done, place cheese and cream into a pot and turn on medium-low. Let the cheese slowly melt while constantly stirring it. When cheese is melted mix in paprika, squash and kale. The kale adds a little nutrients to this meal as well as more noodle like texture and with that much cheese you can hardly taste any vegetable!

Finally, scoop out some mac and cheese into a bowl, top with bacon and add a dash of cayenne pepper on top!

Shepherd’s Pie


Growing up potatoes were my favorite food. If I could eat just mashed potatoes for dinner I would have been the happiest child in the world but obviously my parents wouldn’t let me so we compromised. Shepherds pie was an easy way for my parents to hide some protein and vegetables under a huge dollop of delicious creamy mashed potatoes! But as we saw in my Healthy Low Carb Swaps post, potatoes have about 5x more grams of carbohydrates than cauliflower does. So for this swap all I did was nix the potatoes and add mashed cauliflower!


1 head of cauliflower

2 T cream

1 pound of beef

1/2 pound chorizo or italian sausage

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup peas

1 cup spinach, chiffonade

4 oz mushrooms, diced

1 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock

1-2 T arrowroot powder

6 T butter

1 T garlic


1 beef/lamb liver, chopped (this meal has so many flavors and meats already incorporated it is easy to hide this amazing superfood!)


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roughly chop cauliflower and place in bowling water until soft. Strain and place into food processor with 3 T of butter, 2 T cream and a splash of the water used to bowl the cauliflower. Mix until it resembles mashed potatoes. Set aside.


Melt butter in large pot on medium-low then add in garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft then mix in tomato paste and stir for about two minutes. Add chorizo and beef and crank up the heat to medium high to brown the meat. I added chorizo because I like the spices in it better than the traditional rosemary and thyme.

Once meat is browned add in wine and chicken stock. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Then add in arrowroot powder which will thicken up your liquids. Mix in 1 tablespoon and wait if that isn’t enough add another. Adding too much arrowroot powder will make your shepherds pie have a gummy goo texture instead of a gravy feel so be careful.

Turn off heat mix in vegetables and salt/pepper to taste. Poor mixture into a casserole dish then top with mashed cauliflower. If you want you can sprinkle on some cheese or paprika. Then place in oven for 30-40 minutes of until the top is brown.

Chicken Tenders


Who doesn’t love some crispy chicken tenders with crazy good dipping sauce?? Sometimes I catch myself dreaming of McDonalds nuggets and ranch sauce but then I remember how many ingredients are actually in those (38 according to the McDonalds website) and how that chicken doesn’t even really look like chicken anymore! So my fancy hack for this one was to get that crispy texture of the McDonalds nuggets without gluten and add something with some good nutrients in. I swapped out breading for Trader Joe’s plantain chips and added in spinach to get some of our favorite dark green vegetable!


1 pound chicken breast

3/4 cup shredded plantain chips

1/2 cup spinach

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 cup cream

zest of lemon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice up chicken into nugget sized chunks. Try to make them all about the same size so they cook at the same speed. Place chicken into a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of cream. Put to the side.

Take plantain chips and run through food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add in lemon zest, spinach and parmesan and mix until everything is about uniform in size and looks like green breadcrumbs.

Take each nugget of chicken and let excess cream drip off then fully coat in spinach, plantain and cheese mix. Place all nuggets onto a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Grease your aluminum foil with a little coconut butter before cooking so the nuggets don’t stick.

Bake chicken nuggets for about 20 minutes. The mixture should be crunchy and the inside no longer pink. Then serve up with some awesome sauce!



I think everyone can agree pizza is a comfort food. Warm doughy crust, zesty tomato sauce, gooey cheese, spicy meat and crunchy veggies on top! Writing that made my mouth water. This one took me awhile to figure out. I have tried many gluten free pizza recipes and have always been very disappointed with the results so I went a different direction this time. I pulled out my favorite vegetable, cauliflower. Low carb and with a mild flavor can be molded into just about anything you want.


Half head of cauliflower

1/2 cup cheese of choice (I used Flagship but you could use parmesan, mozzarella or a combination of all three) , shredded

1 t garlic

1/4 t oregano

1/4 t basil

1/4 t red pepper flakes

1 egg

1 T coconut flour

Your favorite pizza toppings


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Place half head of cauliflower florets into food processor and chop until it resembles wet rice. Place cauliflower in paper towel and squeeze out excess water.

Then mix in all other ingredients except for toppings. This should give you a thick mush but don’t except it to be the consistency of regular dough.

Oil up your aluminum foiled cookie sheet again and make two small pizzas (I did it this way to regulate the cooking of the crust easier but it would work as one large pizza just decrease the heat and increase baking time).  Keep pizzas thick and make sure you have a bit of a “crust” around the edges to keep in toppings.

Spread some olive oil on the top of the crust and cook for about 10 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Top with your favorite toppings and place back into the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and toppings are warm.


Next time you are in the mood for some comfort food try swapping out something that is high in carbohydrates for a vegetable based carb like squash or cauliflower or adding in some dark green veggies to give it a nutrient kick! If you come up with a good swapped comfort food post it below I would love to try it!