Iced Matcha Latte

It is warm here in North Texas and as summer looms, I am cooling down with this lovely iced matcha. It has a hint of sweetness and it is perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up!

Iced Matcha Latte

Ingredients:

1/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp organic matcha powder

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of Himilyian salt (optional)

Raw local honey (use local to you for added allergy-fighting benefits)

Fresh homemade oat milk and coconut milk (or use whatever milk you prefer, but I like mixing oat and coconut)

Directions:

Boil 1/4 cup water. Add the 1 tsp of organic matcha powder to the boiling water and mix well. Into the matcha mixture, add the vanilla powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt (if desired). Mix it well and let it cool for a moment.

In a tall glass, fill it with desired amount of ice (I fill mine up halfway), add fresh oat milk and a large tablespoon of coconut milk and mix. Make sure to not fill it up all the way to the top as you need space to pour over your matcha mixture.

To the iced milk glass, pour over the matcha mixture and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

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Are the Foods You’re Eating Healing or Killing You? – Part 1: Calories and Fat

I have shared briefly about my rocky relationship with food in the past and how I did not have a healthy relationship with food. I had enough of battling my eating disorder and unhealthy lifestyle, but didn’t know where to start or how to have a love for food. I thought “fat-free”, “light”, “skim” was what was best…that was all I knew!

I did some research and found the book The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno and absorbed all the information like a sponge! It finally made sense! I learned all the basics to eating clean and what that term actually meant. Reno states that “clean eating is avoiding all processed food, relying on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains rather than prepackaged or fast food. It may sound counterintuitive, but eating clean allows you to eat more and weigh less because you are making smart food choices.” For me, that also means that what I am eating is organic and free of GMOs and pesticides (which I will go into more detail in my next posts). It took some prep work and planning, but I loved eating clean! I loved feeding my body nutritious, wholesome food!

Then about seven years ago I started following Vani Hari (aka The Food Babe) on Facebook and started reading her blog. Man, did that open a can of worms…in a good way 😉 Haha! I learned so much more about ingredients and additives…which then led me to watch more and more documentaries (like What the Health, Food Inc.Forks Over Knives, GMO OMG, and many more!) and researching more about our food and where it comes from and how it is made/raised. To me, eating healthy is more than just “eating clean.” It is plant-based, organic, pesticide-free, eating sustainably. It is a lifestyle. It is necessary. It is important. God gave us this one planet and this one body, and in order for it to work with us and for us, we need to fuel it the best way we can. In order to prevent illnesses, cancers, diabetes, obesity, we need to give our body wholesome, nutrient-rich foods, free of cancer-causing ingredients. 

Over the next few months, I will post some myths about food and share more of what I have researched over the last seven years, including factual information from reliable sources.

This post we are looking a two big myths:

  1. That calories are created equal and
  2. That fat makes you fat.

So let’s dive right in!

Calories are Not Created Equal

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“While cutting calories might help you lose weight in the short-term, it can be horrible for your long-term health. This is because the ingredients that the industry is packaging up for us are designed to increase their profits while expanding our addiction to their “food-like” concoctions – which eventually expands our waistlines too. Many packaged low-calorie diet foods contain ingredients that can rob us of our health, some cause us to eat more than we should and most of which you would never cook with at home.”

The Food Babe

I use to be obsessive about counting calories and would restrict myself to a completely unrealistic number of daily caloric allowances. If only counting calories, I could eat two chocolate “fat-free” cookies and be thrilled because I stayed under 300 calories…or I could drink a massive chocolate protein shake that is full of healthy, nutritious ingredients with no added sugars and still be at 300 calories. Dr. Mark Hyman stated, 

“It is true that, in a vacuum, all calories are the same. A thousand calories of Coke and a thousand calories of broccoli burned in a laboratory will release the same amount of energy. But all bets are off when you eat the Coke or the broccoli. These foods have to be processed by your metabolism (not a closed system). Coke and broccoli trigger very different biochemical responses in the body—different hormones, neurotransmitters and immune messengers. The Coke will spike blood sugar and insulin and disrupt neurotransmitters, leading to increased hunger and fat storage, while the thousand calories of broccoli will balance blood sugar and make you feel full, cut your appetite and increase fat burning.  Same calories—profoundly different effects on your body.”

Please, stop counting calories! Healthy food is just that – HEALTHY. Stop counting and start living! Enjoy your food! Enjoy the goodness that comes from great nutrition.

Fat is Not the Enemy

Image: Brook Health

In the 80s/90s, “fat-free”, “reduced-fat”, and other “health” trends emerged and we all quickly jumped on board thinking that fat was the enemy. We started drinking the skinny drinks and eating the ‘fat-free’ items, but for some reason obesity was on the rise faster than ever.

Coincidence?

Dr. Mark Hyman stated, “When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. In fact, studies show 75% of people who end up in the emergency room with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels. But what they do have is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.”

A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

Let’s shout that out again…

There is no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

As with all foods, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon cheeseburger will have a completely different effect than the saturated fat in coconut oil. So we need to stop classifying it as all the same.

However, some fats are unhealthy, like trans fats and inflammatory vegetable oils, like corn, soy, and safflower oils. “These fats have increased in our diet and foods and they actually make us fatter and cause a rise in inflammations, and that plays a role in most every chronic disease found on the planet. Trans fat is the only kind of fat that has been shown to be categorically detrimental to health.”

You probably have seen the term “partially hydrogenated oils” on some of your food labels. That is a byproduct of an industrially produced trans fat. This ingredients was so common and found in so many processed food items that it was linked to more than a half a million coronary heart disease deaths worldwide…in just one year.

Think the food system won’t do you in like that? I mean, if the FDA allows it in our food, we should be ok, right?

WRONG.

Just look at this data that another reporter found:

“Industrially produced trans fat was banned in the US in 2015, and all products were supposed to be phased out by June 2018, but manufacturers received an extension until January 2020.

Here is the ACTUAL FDA statement from their website:

“In 2015, FDA released its final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from stakeholders during the public comment period.

PHOs are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. To learn more about trans fat, see our Trans Fat page. It’s important to note that trans fat will not be completely gone from foods because it occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, and is present at very low levels in other edible oils.

Implementation

FDA is extending the compliance date for certain uses of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). For the majority of uses of PHOs, June 18, 2018, remains the date after which manufacturers cannot add PHOs to foods. However, to allow for an orderly transition in the marketplace, FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to work their way through distribution. FDA is extending the compliance date for these foods to January 1, 2020 (there is a chance that some products you are currently buying could still have PHOs and may still be on the shelves!). This action balances the health benefits of removing PHOs from the food supply with the need to provide an orderly transition in the marketplace.

At the same time, the FDA is denying a food additive petition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) requesting approval for certain limited uses of PHOs. To allow for time for reformulation, the agency is extending until June 18, 2019 the compliance date to stop manufacturing foods with these specific, limited petitioned uses of PHOs, and until Jan. 1, 2021 for these products to work their way through distribution.”

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/final-determination-regarding-partially-hydrogenated-oils-removing-trans-fat

The FDA is aware that PHOs are BAD for you and can KILL you, and have known this since 2015…but products can still be on the shelves till 2021…SIX YEARS.

It just makes me so mad. And unfortunately, it is not just with PHOs, but a slew of ingredients that are banned in other countries but allowed here.

And the thought that eating fat makes you fat is completely WRONG. We have GOT to get that OUT of our heads!! Dr. Mark Hyman states that eating fat can actually make you lean:

“Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger, and reduce fat storage.  Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG types of fat make you fat.”

Also, did you know that your brain about 60% fat? Yup! 60%! “Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (Dr. Mark Hyman).”

The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair, and nails, while protecting you against Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and so much more.

Now when it comes to cooking, there are some great healthy oils that are a must to use…and some that you need to toss in the trash immediately.

Canola oil is one of the highest GMO, chemically-laden oils on the market. If you change ONE thing, please swap out your canola oil for avocado oil. It is so simple and the swap is created equal…you won’t even notice it…but your heart and body will feel sooooo much better! I personally love organic avocado oil to cook and bake with, and I also use it to season my cast iron skillets. Organic unrefined coconut oil is another great oil. I use that in baked goods and even raw in my smoothies (and I use it to take my eye makeup off at night!). Organic olive oil makes its way into my diet daily as well! I use it for my salads with a squeeze of lemon and sometimes use olive oil it to bake and cook. Organic grapeseed oil is another good one for baking.

To read more about cooking oils, read The Food Babe’s post about it here (click the image):

To sum up…

Calories are NOT created equal. So don’t worry about how many calories a food has…worry more about where it comes from, how it is cooked, the ingredients and if they are organic or highly processed. Stop counting and start enjoying.

Fats will NOT make you fat! Enjoy healthy, high quality fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, hemp, flax, and more! Stop using the highly processed, GMO-laden corn oils, peanut oils, cottonseed oils (don’t forget to read your labels on shelf-stable foods, like bars, cereals, breads, chips, etc. as many companies use these oils because it is cheap. They don’t care about the health effects it has on you…they just want your money).


I hope that this helps to answer some of your clean eating questions and helps to squash some unhealthy thoughts you had about food.

Check back next time for ‘Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? – Part 2: Ingredients’ where I will share a list of ingredients to watch out for and why.

See you all back here Wednesday for my ‘What’s Up Wednesday: July’ post!

Sources:

Top 20 Nutrition Myths

Dr. Mark Hyman: Separating Fat from Fiction

Dr. Mark Hyman: Time for an Oil Change

Dr. Axe: Top 8 Healthy Cooking Oils


Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

This Indonesian anti-inflammatory elixir is so refreshing and full of fabulous immune-boosting ingredients and phytochemicals! Traditional Jamu Juice, or Jamu Jamu, is an Indonesian medicine made from natural ingredients, like roots, fruits, flowers, seeds, and leaves. More recently, Jamu has been kicked up a notch with the addition of turmeric. Jamu is a natural anti-inflammatory tonic that boasts a ton of health benefits. You can drink it cold, how I like it, or warm it up like a tea.

This recipe will make you more than enough to get you through your week! I usually freeze a jar and keep another fresh jar in the fridge.

Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh organic ginger roots
  • 1-2 TB organic turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 fresh organic small pineapple
  • Juice from one organic lemon
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB raw organic honey

Equipment Needed:

  • Heavy-duty large blender, like a Vitamin, or a juicer
  • Fine mesh strainer and spatula
  • Quart-sized jars with airtight lids

Instructions:

  1. Pull out your large heavy-duty blender (or you can use your juicer instead) and have it ready!
  2. Wash your fresh ginger roots really well with warm water and slice into disks (no need to peel). Toss into blender.
  3. Add in the turmeric powder and 3 cups of water.
  4. Slice up your pineapple and add it to the blender.
  5. Add in your fresh lemon juice and 1/8 tsp black pepper and honey.
  6. Blend on high speed for about one minute.
  7. Grab a fine mesh strainer and pour the blended Jamu through the strainer into a large bowl for a smooth drink (you might need to smash the pulp through the strainer with a spatula to get all the goodness out of it!). From the bowl, pour your strained Jamu into large jars with lids!
  8. Now it’s time for SHOTS! 😉 Pour a bit in a glass and enjoy hot or cold!

Store in the fridge with an airtight lid or in the freezer and thaw a couple nights before drinking!

Cheers my friends!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


What is Candida?

My Healing Journey

I’ve stated in the past that I have been battling many health issues. One of which is Systemic Candida…that means it is in my blood. Everyone, EVERYONE, has Candida. However, it is contained in the gut and in a good balance. However, as soon as you add antibiotics, sugar, gluten, stress, anxiety, it can cause your Candida levels to get out of control. Throw in leaky gut (which is basically little holes in your gut), and now the Candida is free to move out of its home (your gut) and travel into your blood, and even into your brain and other organs.

Amy Meyers MD’s website states it well:

Candida has the unique ability to change shape in order to protect itself from harsh environments. It responds to a shift in temperature or acidity levels by transforming from a rounded yeast cell into an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated cells have the ability to permeate the gut lining, causing leaky gut. Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues. This means that Candida can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem. It can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere. For this reason, symptoms of Candida overgrowth can be experienced in many different forms.

I was finally diagnosed with Candida in November 2019. This was after spending YEARS getting blood work and seeing doctor after doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Candida symptoms vary for each person and you don’t always get them all. I didn’t get a lot of the tell-tell symptoms (like yeast infections). I was just tired. Not just mom-tired. I was exhausted when I woke up. Lived on caffeine. I would drink 5 cups of black coffee in the morning, drink a Starbucks in the afternoon, and crash as soon as my kids went to bed at 7pm. I would sleep all through the night and still wake up tired. That’s not normal.

In addition to extreme exhaustion, I was experiencing horrible breakouts. I also had digestive issues, which is very common with a bunch of other ailments and thus why I did a comprehensive food allergy testing…and guess what? It came back CLEAR! At that point, I was literally about to cry. I had all this other blood work telling me everything was mostly normal (other than some hormonal imbalances and thyroid not optimal…I’ll get to that in a minute). I was sure I had Celiac or Crohn’s…but nothing. No food allergies. I was desperate for answers and knew something was wrong.

After feeling defeated, I figured I could start with healing my thyroid, so I joined a holistic thyroid Facebook group to try to find a doctor and glen from others. My GP (General Practitioner) told me that my thyroid was not great but never mentioned getting on a medication or something else to help heal it. He focused more on my hormonal imbalances, thus why I joined the Facebook group. I called a few doctor offices and left messages but never booked anything…doctors were too far away, first appointment would be 5-6 months later, etc. I posted again in the Facebook group and asked specifically for a doctor that could help my thyroid and hormones that was close by. One lady commented about an OB/Gyn that specializes in hormonal and thyroid imbalances. I looked up her information online and decided to give it a go. I made my appointment for about a month later, which was a lot faster than seeing a thyroid doctor. In the meantime, I got more blood results back and shared it in my portal with this new OB. I added all my symptoms and she emailed me back asking for me to get one more test done (yup…she added the test for Candida).

The time came for my first appointment with my new OB and I felt welcomed and knew in my gut that I made the right decision by going this route first. As soon as she walked in, she introduced herself and then went right into it. “Know wonder you are exhausted! You have Systemic Candida!” She then showed me all of my blood work, and boy was I a mess!!

In addition to the Systemic Candida, I also had pretty much no testosterone, hypothyroidism, low estrogen, a ton of vitamin deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, MTFHR mutation, and Epstein Barr Virus (a few of these things I found out later with a different integrative doctor that did more extensive blood work and microscopy blood work).

Our first item to tackle was the Candida. She believed that that was the root cause to a lot of other issues I was experiencing. If we could get that in control, then hopefully the other issues would start to balance out.

My Symptoms

There are so many symptoms of Candida overgrowth. These are just a few of the many and these were the ones I was experiencing:

  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue
  • Digestive issues (bloating)
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, and/or brain fog
  • Skin breakouts
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
  • Sinus infections (I was getting a TON of them!)
  • Weakened immune system (I was getting sick all the time)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep problems and night sweats

How Do You Test for Candida Overgrowth?

Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and they can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it.

Remember, Candida has the ability to suppress the immune system so it is important to ask your doctor to test your total IgG, IgA and IgM levels along with the Candida antibodies.  Low levels of total IgG, IgA or IgM could cause a false negative response to the Candida antibodies, meaning you have Candida but since your immune system is lowered, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. I see so many patients with suppressed immune systems, so I find that blood tests can often be negative even when the stool or urine tests are positive.

From Amy Myers MD

Mine was found in blood work. I now see an integrative doctor that works on whole body healing and specializes in cancer treatments, healing Candida, and other health issues. Since seeing him, we’ve been tracking the Systemic Candida with microscopy blood work. It is the coolest thing ever! The nurse pricks my finger and places a small drop of blood on a slide, then places it under the microscope. We are able to look at the blood right then and there! The nurse is able to point out Candida, toxins, and allergens. My blood looked so much healthier at my last visit (at the end of March) – blood cells were larger, spaced out more, and moving much better than last time! It is seriously amazing to see! I still have some Candida floating around but not as much, toxins still present (we are doing a push-metals test next visit), but overall it is looking promising!

“How Did You Get Sick When You Eat Healthy Foods?”

I have been asked this numerous times. Or, “why do other people not get sick when they eat crap foods all day?”

Honestly, I don’t know the definitive answer to this because everyone is different. But I will share my thoughts.

I believe a lot has to do with your genetics and how you ate growing up. I ate a TON of McDonalds and Kids Cuisine in my formative growing-up years. My dinner almost every night (up until 5th grade) was a Kids Cuisine, sitting in front of my great-grandmothers tv, watching Wheel of Fortune. I ate McDonalds breakfast on the weekends, chicken nugget kids meal way to frequently, and the Filet-O-Fish.

In the grand scheme of things, I only recently started eating clean. I ate processed, sugar-loaded, chemical-laden food from childhood all the way into my late 20s. I am 36. So I have only had good, clean food for a few years.

I was also abusive to my body as a young adult. I took more diet pills than you can imagine, I suffered from bulimia in college, and would punish myself with over-exercising (I will go into these things in a later post). In recent years though, I was so tired and reliant on my caffeine to keep me going. I would drink a Starbucks Venti light-ice Pink Drink about 4-5x/week. I knew better!! Those things have over 35 grams of sugar (keep in mind that the suggested amount for women a day is 25 grams). I got MORE than that in 15 minutes! In addition to sugar, I was consuming GMO’s, chemicals, and other horrible ingredients. I was also consuming way too much sugar in other foods. My body had no chance!

Stress is also a HUGE factor. And I have had my fair share. I didn’t deal with it well and my body took the toll.

As stated before, I was getting sinus infections a lot. I was always catching something. It seemed like my kids would get a little cold and would get better in a day…I would catch the same thing and it took me 3-5 days to get better. So when I would get sinus infections, I was placed on antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy your gut flora and I was not replacing it with pro/prebiotics, so my gut was never going to fully repair.

How Do You Heal Candida?

First, you need to starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet: all sugar (even from fruits), alcohol and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes. I followed The Candida Diet (which is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes gut health and eliminates the sugars that feed Candida) to a T. I started as soon as I walked out of that doctors office in November (though it did cross my mind to have just one more Starbucks). I went home, purchased their eBooks and guides. I stuck to it though Thanksgiving, Christmas, even a cruise that we took in January!

Photo by John Lambeth on Pexels.com

I also took prescription anti-fungals (Nystain and Diflucan), as well as a slew of vitamins, 100 Billion CFU probiotic, and another sporebiotic.

For the last couple of months I have not taken any anti-fungals or Candida Cleanse supplements. I am continuing my regular vitamins and supplements, including a really clean probiotic, as well as continuing to eat good, whole, organic foods. I am not sticking to The Candida Diet anymore and able to eat more organic fruits and vegetables. I still see my integrative doctor for follow-ups and I get an IV every visit. So far I have had an H2O2, Ozone, and Diflucan IV therapy treatments. I have one more test to complete in July, along with a follow-up and more blood work to see how my thyroid and hormones are doing. Then we’ll go from there!

How Are You Feeling Now?

Y’all.

I use to LIVE on caffeine and still pass out at 7pm. Now, I don’t drink any coffee or tea and I still have energy at the end of the day to workout after my kids to bed at 7pm. Almost every night after putting our boys to bed, I am sweating it out to a good Tone It Up workout, followed by a quick additional weight-lifting session from Body Beast, and then cap it with yoga or a walk with friends. All without caffiene.

In addition to more energy, my skin has improved SO MUCH! I posted my new skin care routine last week and that has definitely helped to repair, but I am certain that healing the Candida as well as repairing my gut has been the biggest help. Take a listen to this podcast for more about acne and the connection to your gut.

I will have a few other posts to follow up with this one that will go into more details of my diet, how I am continuing to heal, as well as healing my other health issues that we are working on.

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions regarding Candida and maybe even shed some light on something that you may have been questioning.

If you have battled Candida or wondering if you have it yourself, feel free to message me and I’d love to help you find answers! If you live in the Dallas Metroplex, I would love to share my integrative doctor with you! He is awesome!

Check back in on Friday for my weekly Friday Favorites! Till then, friends, stay healthy!

xoxo Lauren


My Favorite Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Since battling Candida and other health issues (which I will address all of this Wednesday), I had to avoid most all fruit (until recently). Which meant I could not have my normal fruit-loaded smoothies. I also struggled to find a protein powder that tasted delicious and was safe for my Candida. That is until Truvani!

Truvani’s plant based protein powder tastes AMAZING! One of the main reasons I love the Truvani company is its commitment to real food and supplements without added chemicals, toxins, and they source only the best organic ingredients. In addition to being certified organic, it is also gluten-free, super clean with just six simple ingredients, and safe for my Candida.

Speaking of, since my Candida is getting better, my doctor and I decided that I could reintroduce a little bit of fruit! I could not be more happier! Now I am able to make smoothies that taste great and cure my sweet tooth!

Without further ado, here is my favorite chocolate smoothie recipe:

Chocolate Plant-Based Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Truvani Chocolate Plant-Based Protein
  • 1 TB organic almond butter
  • 1 TB organic coconut butter
  • 1 TB organic hemp seeds
  • 1 scoop Vital Proteins collagen
  • 8 oz liquid of choice (I like homemade hemp milk or coconut milk)
  • Handful frozen organic spinach
  • 1/2 really ripe frozen banana (optional)
  • 1/3 tsp ashwaganda
  • Ice

Blend and enjoy!

Let me know if you try this smoothie recipe!

Links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost is the same but I automatically receive a small commission. The money I make from these links, I use to further my blog and support my family. I only refer products that I personally use and trust.