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!

Photo

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!

 

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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

comfort

celebration

guilt

boredom

stress

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.

 

Smoothies!

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

Optional:

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!

Ingredients
  • 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

Directions:

  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 🙂

 

Toppers, Sauces and Condiments OH MY!

I really do love sauces. I think every meal can be improved with some sort of dipping sauce or topper. These toppers or dippers can add just that bit of complexity and zing to make a meal go from good to amazing! But whenever I go to the store these items seem to have ingredient  lists so long my brain gets tired before I reach the end. Do you know that mayo only needs 5 ingredients yet the store bought ones have 9 or more (do we really need to put sugar in mayo??).  Making ketchup takes 10 minutes and has zero high fructose corn syrup, regular corn syrup or so called “natural flavorings” (if they are really natural why wouldn’t you just list them?).

I know you are sitting there thinking, “Mary, are you crazy? You think I am going to spend my Saturday mixing mayo and ketchup?” I promise the 30 minutes it takes to make both of these recipes will produce you not only the best condiments you have ever tasted but the base to then create some pretty delicious toppers and dippers!

Mayo Recipe

Egg-free mayo recipe

Ketchup recipe

These recipes are my go to condiment recipes for fail proof deliciousness! Once you have your base the possibilities are endless.

  • Add some chipotle or curry to your ketchup for a little extra kick to go with sweet potato fries or chicken nuggets.
  • Add saffron, chipotle and garlic to some mayo for a topper on fish
  • Add chives and lemon juice and zest to mayo for a light tangy sauce which goes well with fish and chips!
  • Add turmeric and garlic to mayo to top on burgers (remember turmeric is a super food!)
  • Make your own 8 ingredient Ranch Dressing (which you should because the ingredients in Hidden Valley is a little suspect! Really 19 ingredients!)
  • Mix in what you got! My best creations have come from mixing ketchup/mayo with extra herbs and left over lemon, lime or vinegar that I have from whatever I am cooking.

If you add any spices to your mayo/ketchup let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours so the flavor has time to marinate!

But if you aren’t fully ready to take on the very small burden of making your own ingredients here are some good alternatives you can buy at the store

Mayo:

Best: Sir Kensington

Better: Spectrum Mayonnaise Olive Oil

Good: Hellmann’s Olive Oil Mayo

Ketchup:

Best: Sir Kensington

Better: Westbrae Natural Saugar Free Organic Ketchup

Good: Heinz Organic Ketchup

Toppers:

I love relish, salsa and guacamole to use as toppers! These three things are SO simple to make and go with pretty much everything.  Guac is great for burgers, omelets or tacos. Salsa ingredients can be mixed up to make them sweet, spicy or tangy to go with fish, burgers, eggs or salads. Relish just like salsa can be manipulated to match the dish but adds a tangy taste to burgers, chicken nuggets or meatloaf.

Guacamole

2 avocados

1 tomato, diced

1/4 onion, diced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 jalapeño

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T cilantro, minced

Directions: Mix all ingredients together!

Relish:

2 dill pickles, diced

1 tomato, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 T lemon juice

1 t garlic, minced

Mix together and let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Great on top of burgers!

Salsa:

Base:

6 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 juice of lime

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Add ins:

1 jalapeño, diced

1 cup pineapple, diced

1 cup mango, diced

1 cup cucumber, diced

1 cup black beans

1/2 cup olives, halved

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup purple grapes

Directions: Mix your base then choose a couple add ins if you fancy and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Hope this post has inspired you to try creating your own toppers and condiments that are all natural and made with real ingredients 🙂