No More Self-Care

No More Self-Care

“We cannot give to others unless we fill ourselves up first.”

“It is important to take care of yourself first so you can take care of others.”

Everydayhealth.com defines self-care as “taking care of yourself so you can stay healthy and accomplish all the things you need and want to.”

This buzzword “self-care” has steadily increased over the last few years, and I understand the reasoning: as moms, for instance, we constantly pour ourselves out to our children and husbands, to coworkers, bosses, etc. But the two quotes above can be dangerous if we don’t look at it the right way.

Self-care is often thought of as activities to “fill yourself” with joy, like yoga, hot baths with all the bath bombs (well-played marketing gurus), long walks, manis and pedis . . . the list goes on. But here’s the thing:

WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO FILL OURSELVES WITH EARTHLY THINGS. WE WILL ALWAYS COME UP EMPTY.

Unless we are filling ourselves with the Word of God, we will always feel empty, depleted, exhausted.

It will always be a never-ending cycle of trying to fill a void with earthly pleasures but always coming up empty.

God is the ONLY way to true, everlasting joy, peace and contentment.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Trusting our Sovereign God – knowing that He is in control – leads to a life full of joy and peace. 

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

The only source of true everlasting happiness is found in the Lord. 

“These things have I spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

When we ask for forgiveness of our sins and truly repent, believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us and took our punishment for sin, we are given the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, which results in true peace and joy.

The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. 
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. (Psalm 19:8)

If we are not reading God’s Word, we are ignorant in the way we are to be living. God has given us a clear standard of living that will bring joy and goodness to our lives. But how do we know if we aren’t actively reading His Word?

“We cannot give to others unless we fill ourselves up first” . . . It is better to say, “We cannot give to others unless we fill ourselves up with God first.” Take care of yourself by reading the Bible, which will flow out to others as well. 

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3)

As mothers, we are to be selfless – caring for our children and their needs. God gave us these babies to raise on this earth – they are His children, entrusted to us for the time being. They are helpless sinners that need a Savior, but they also need our guidance. They need food, love and care. They need our time. They need our attention. Taking care of our kids is not the problem: the problem is we aren’t living the way God’s Word tells us. We are not living each day by His standards, His way. Instead, we take the bull by the horns and plow our own path, which will only lead to destruction.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33)

The only way to find life is to find it through God. Life everlasting is only found through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Mommas, hold your babies close and let the Word of God pour from your heart and mouth, but you can’t pour out His truth if you don’t know it yourself. Find real self-care by reading the Bible. Then you will truly be filled.

Lifestyle with Lauren Podcast: Episode 10 with Darlene Taylor

Lifestyle with Lauren Podcast: Episode 10 with Darlene Taylor

My guest for the Lifestyle with Lauren Podcast Episode #10 is Darlene Taylor, creator of Sweaty Mommy, a fitness and nutrition program designed to help moms get fit and healthy!

She and her husband recently moved from California to Hawaii with their 4-year old and pup and are living the HI life on the beautiful island of Oahu. Darlene shared how they accomplished this goal of living their dream life in Hawaii, how she launched Sweaty Mommy, plus all sorts of other health tips and tricks. I know you are going to love this conversation with Darlene!

CONNECT WITH LAUREN:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Pintrest

CONNECT WITH DARLENE:

Instagram | Facebook | Website

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LINKS AND LOVES MENTIONED ON THIS EPISODE:

Dying To Be A Good Mother: How I Dropped the Guilt and Took Control of My Parenting and My Life by Heather Chauvin


FIND THE SHOW ON THESE PLATFORMS:

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Go & Tell Podcast with Lauren Greci: Episode 30 with Scharlee Glenn | Living Eternally

A few weeks ago, I was asked on my friends’ podcast to chat about my book, Mercy in the Mess, and when I was chatting with Emily about the next topic for the podcast: living eternally, she immediately told me that I needed to chat with her mom, Scharlee. And boy was she right! Scharlee is so wise and I loved my conversation with her about living eternally. I know you will, too. 

Keep reading

Go & Tell Podcast with Lauren Greci: Episode 25 | Contentment

Happy 2022, friends! This month we are diving into the topic of contentment. This quick listen is just a glimpse of what we will be discussing this month regarding this topic. It’s a new season and I am excited to bring you content-specific topics this season, special guests and so much more! 

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© 2021 Lauren Greci

Music was provided for the show by Matt Bowen.

*As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

10 Reasons Why I Love My Peloton

10 Reasons Why I Love My Peloton

If you didn’t catch my blog post about my favorite Peloton classes, check that out here.

I got my Peloton as an early birthday present and gift to myself back in October 2020. Since then I have done over 70 rides, some boot camps, meditations, Pilates classes, yoga sessions, stretches and weightlifting classes.

I LOVE MY PELOTON and the app is SO WORTH every penny!!

Here’s why I love my Peloton:

  1. I can view the playlist and class before I take it. This is huge! I always scroll through a ride and see if I like the songs and that is how I pick my classes … based on what I hear during my scroll and stop preview. If you ride based on music, this is the way to go! Just looking at the title of the songs isn’t enough – I need to scroll and hear for a moment and see how the ride will progress and I love that I can do that.
  2. Variety. I love that there are a variety of classes! I can take a low-impact ride, dance ride, cool-down ride and more … PLUS all of the other workout options, like yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, running and walking courses, etc.
  3. Progress tracking. I enjoy seeing my progress and badges when I complete a ride. I can see if I got max output, if I earned a badge for output or group rides, weekly and daily streaks – all of it pushes me and keeps me motivated.
  4. Competition factor! If you don’t like competition and it makes you more anxious than motivated, you can hide the side screen and never know where you stand on the leader board. However, if you like competition and being challenged, SHOW THAT SCREEN! 😉 What is fun is you can see your max ride output on the screen as well so you can focus on beating yourself, or you can see everyone in class and see your ranking on the leader board, and you can even just view your friends and compete against them.
  5. The instructors are AMAZING! In my other Peloton post I shared my favorite classes but also shared my favorite instructors. They MAKE the workout! It is so much fun and you become virtual friends with all of them! As another Peloton friend stated, “The size of the touchscreen (22” High Definition) makes me feel like I’m right in the NYC studio class and like the instructors are talking to us. And sometimes they are. They can monitor each person’s metrics, and if they see we’re slacking, they’re not afraid to call us out!” LOVE IT! It really does feel like the instructors are looking at you. I’ve only taken a couple live workouts but I will make sure that my 100th ride is live so I can possibly get a shout out! 😉
  6. Convenience. This is HUGE, especially now in our post-COVID world. I don’t have to go anywhere – I can clip in whenever I want and I love that. If I feel an energy burst in the afternoon, if I have only 15-minutes, if I decide to wake up early – anytime I can hop on and get a great workout in. Plus the ease of accessing classes thought the app on my phone is awesome. I often do the yoga and Pilates classes after the kids go to bed and I just watch the video from my phone in my bedroom and get a quick session in before bed. Same with the meditation – I’m often laying in bed before dozing off and listen to a quick mediation to ease into sleep for the night.
  7. Judgement-free zone! I am usually riding in just my yoga pants and a sports bra, grunting, dancing, singing, sweating profusely, and sometimes swearing and it doesn’t bother ANYONE because I am in the comfort of my own home, in my bedroom.
  8. GERM-FREE ZONE…minus my own sweat 😉 I love that no one else is riding my bike and sweating on it…other than my husband (I’ll let that slide). But gym bikes always grossed me out – even before COVID. I was ALWAYS grabbing many sanitizing wipes and wiping it down, plus I had to adjust the seat and the handlebars…now everything is set and stays where I like it.
  9. Therapy. Haha – no joke! Sometimes my rides are just that – very therapeutic! There have been many times where I have cried during and ride and I think, “Where did THAT come from?!” and I just needed that emotional moment handled and the bike does just that. If I’m angry, those rock rides just get. it. handled! 😉
  10. Life-long health investment. In addition to the emotional benefit, obviously the Peloton is going be a health investment, strengthening your heart and lungs, building muscle and core, increasing blood flow, releasing endorphins, all of it.

Well that is it my friends! My top 10 reasons why I love my Peloton! I could write more but stopping myself at 10.

Another fun perk that Peloton offers is their Refer a Friend program – if you decide to purchase a Peloton and use my code, you can get $100 in free accessories (shoes, mat, clothing, etc.)! I did it when I purchased my Peloton and used my friends code and got shoe cages for my hubby for free, plus a free mat (this is a MUST!), and shoe clips (I already had cycle shoes but needed the Peloton clips).

Use my code TY9FE5 for $100 towards accessories at purchase.

Do you ride? Share your handle below and let’s ride together!

See you all here next time! Have a blessed day!

Friday Favorites: Peloton Classes!

Yup – I am one of those people now! A Pelotoner, a peloperson, a pelorider … whatever you want to call it – I AM HERE FOR IT! I ordered my Peloton when they were on “sale” (I say that […]

Friday Favorites: At-Home Workout Edition!

Happy Friday friends! We made it to the end of the week! We have officially ended week THREE of homeschool and I am still loving every minute of it! Monday provided such sweet encouragement and words from both of my […]

A Busy Mom’s Practical Guide to Strength Training

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, designated in 1983 by the President’s Council on Fitness to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.[1] The World Health Organization recommends that the average person get 2.5 […]

Friday Favorites: Peloton Classes!

Friday Favorites: Peloton Classes!

Yup – I am one of those people now! A Pelotoner, a peloperson, a pelorider … whatever you want to call it – I AM HERE FOR IT!

I ordered my Peloton when they were on “sale” (I say that loosely because it was still an investment) because the new model was coming out and it finally was delivered on October 15, 2020 (yes, I actually remember the day!).

I jumped on immediately and did a 30 minute Britney Spears ride with Cody and it was INCREDIBLE! Man, it really reminded me how much I love riding and how much I missed it!

I use to take spin classes at the local gym YEARS ago, before kids, and never got back into it. Then after starting my job and being in quarantine far too long, I decided it was high time to invest in myself, my health, and my sanity! 😉 And I am SO GLAD that I did!

Since October 15th (and writing today on January 7th), I have completed 103 workouts: 63 cycling classes ; 17 strength classes; 7 mediations; 7 yoga sessions, 6 stretching classes, 2 bootcamps and 1 cardio class. I have hit a 13-week streak and have done 12 consecutive workout days thus far, earning me the 10-week and 10-day streak badge.

You can tell where I live on the Peloton 😉

The bike and the classes are just so much fun! Yes it is hard at times but it is just so much fun!I love the music, the beat, the instructors – all of it! But I specifically pick my classes based on the music, then I look to the instructor.

My favorite instructor is Jess King and The Jess King Experience is my fav! I also love Emma Lovewell, Robin Arzon and Cody Rigsby. Jess King is very motivational and inspirational. She does a lot of motivational talk, which some may not like. Personally, I like it and I honestly don’t hear much because I am listening to the music and focusing on my ride. But she always has a nice mix of sitting and running and her music choice is always great! Emma Lovewell is also so much fun! I love her energy and her music choice as well. Cody is just straight up FUN. He is a hoot to ride with and loves his Britney, much like myself 😉

Here are just some of my favorite cycle classes:

Rides:

I would list EVERY Jess King Experience but that would be too much! I didn’t add them in this list but they are by far my favorite and every single one of them is so fun!

Cool-down ride:

This cool down ride is a MUST! Sam is wonderful, calming, very “zen” if you will and I just love this quick cool down ride after all of my intense rides.

Post-ride stretch:

Leanne Hainsby is just fun to listen to! I love her British accent and for this class, we listen to a Prince song while stretching and I love it!

Every ride I have taken, I have loved! Well … there were a couple that weren’t hitting it for me, but I am VERY picky about the music matching the tempo/speed of the beat and one of the classes I took just didn’t line up and another I wasn’t digging the music – but both I still did it and completed the ride, so it was definitely better than NOT riding.

Do you have a Peloton? If so, drop your handle below and let’s ride together!

Next time I will share my top 10 reasons why I love my bike, so be sure to subscribe so you can catch that blog post when it comes!

That’s it for now! I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

Many blessings!

Use my code TY9FE5 for $100 towards accessories (like bike shoes, cages, mat, etc.) at purchase.

ARE THE FOODS YOU’RE EATING SLOWLY KILLING YOU? PART 3: Ingredients

ARE THE FOODS YOU’RE EATING SLOWLY KILLING YOU? PART 3: Ingredients

Welcome to Part 3…finally! 😉 I know it has been a minute, but if you need a refresher, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 and then come back to read all about ingredients!

So let’s jump right on in! As previously mentioned in my other posts, I don’t read the nutrition label…ever. I ONLY read the ingredients. The ingredient list tells me what my food mostly contains, if it is safe or full of cancer-causing ingredients, if it is clean or full of additives, etc. So what are some ingredients that you want to avoid? Let me start by saying that the ingredients label will now become your best friend. Ingredients are listed from greatest to least, so if an ingredient is first on the list that means it is most prevalent. The ingredients section is so much more important and informative than calorie content or fat content.

There are so many ingredients that can be added to our food and what I am sharing with you today is just some of the big no-nos. This is your basic list and a good starting point. I’ve used research from Vani Hari and the Dirty Dozen List of Food Additives to Avoid to compile this list (please feel free to visit their websites to learn more about any of the ingredients mentioned).

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredient found in most milk substitute products, infant formulas, toothpaste, deli meats, cottage cheeses, some flavored coconut waters, supplements, juice…the list goes on. Even if food is organic, carrageenan can still be in it!! It has been known to cause digestive problems and intestinal inflammation as well. For a detailed shopping list of specific brands to avoid that contain carrageenan and what products to purchase instead, see Cornicopia.org.

Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are just that – artificial. They are synthetic flavors made from chemicals. They are used to make fake food taste good. And we are not just talking a single ingredient either. Each “flavor” can contain hundreds of ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and solvents, parabens and more. 

Artificial Sugars & Aspartame

Again, just like artificial flavors, artificial sugars are just that – ARTIFICIAL. Just stay away from anything that says artificial. Artificial sugars stimulate the brain to actually want more sugar! Aspartame is the same way. It has been linked to an increased risk of brain tumors, lymphomas, leukemia, and heart disease. The University of Texas conducted a study that showed replacing sugar with aspartame actually increased hunger and the subjects compensated by eating even more calories…thus not so “diet” anymore, is it? 

BHT & BHA

BHT is a synthetic preservative (you will see a lot of synthetic preservatives in this list). BHT is an endocrine disruptor. BHT in particular has been shown to affect the signaling from the gut to the brain that tells us to stop eating. It has also been linked to cancer in some animal studies. The EWG has listed BHT on their Dirty Dozen List of Foods Additives to avoid, thus stay away! 

BHA, much like BHT, is a synthetic preservative that is also an endocrine disruptor and also linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. SO WHY IS IT IN OUR FOOD? If agencies and food organizations can show that an additive is cancer-causing, how on earth is it still allowed in our foods? More reason to just avoid heavily processed foods whenever possible. 

Canola Oil

Step away from the canola oil! Throw away this highly refined GMO-laden oil! If you are going to make one change in your cooking, make this your thing! Swap canola oil for organic avocado oil or organic grapeseed oil…but please, no more canola! Why you ask? Canola oil goes through a huge amount of processing with chemical solvents before you purchase it. The FDA does not require food manufacturers to test for hexane residue and canola oil is basically bathed in it. Switching to a healthier oil, like avocado oil, is super easy and no one will notice the difference.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are synthetic preservatives and are commonly found in deli meats. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. When purchasing deli meats, make sure it clearly reads ‘No Nitrates’ or ‘Nitrate Free’. Don’t assume “natural” means that it doesn’t have nitrates. Make sure to read the label!

Natural Flavors

Oh those good ol’ “natural” flavors! What are natural flavors? Well, it could literally be anything! Castoreum (or beaver butt excretions) is just one of the ingredients that could be called a “natural flavor.” We’ll never know what natural flavors are because the food companies won’t tell us as they consider this information proprietary.

According to the FDA, natural flavors can include:

“…the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).

Soy Protein Isolate

I know! You think you’re doing good buying that protein powder because ‘Soy Protein Isolate’ sounds so much better than others. Let’s first discuss soy. Soy can possibly cause hormonal disruptions because it has estrogen-mimicking properties and in women it can cause an increase in estrogen, thus increasing your risk for PCOS, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other hormonal-imbalance disorders. Soy is also almost always made from GMO soybeans (unless it is certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified). Most soy products are terrible for your health (this includes soy protein and soy milk) because of the phytoestrogens and being genetically modified, however, not all soy is bad. Organic (meaning no chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides) fermented soy is actually good for you because of the increase of probiotics that occurs when fermented. Organic fermented soy is loaded with Vitamin K2, and probiotics. I personally like tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor. When marinated, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and tastes delicious!

Stevia Extract 

I know many of you are confused…so let me state there is a difference between WHOLE LEAF stevia and stevia EXTRACT. I am passionate about avoiding stevia extract! If you don’t know if the product you are buying is using the whole leaf or extract, just avoid it. When I was shopping for protein powders, a lot of them list ‘stevia’ as an ingredient and I personally reached out to the representatives of a very large company to see what was being used (the extract or the whole leaf). They couldnt say! They said their information was “proprietary” so telling me if it was the extract or whole leaf I guess means I can basically copy their recipe, right?!

Back to the extract…

The extract is highly processed! We’re talking a 40-step method using chemicals to process the extract from the leaf, chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, and others! And the chemicals they are using are known carcinogens! So again, when purchasing, make sure it says “Whole Leaf Stevia.”


I know this may seem overwhelming and for quite a few of you, shocking. But honestly, if you are eating organic, healthy, fresh food, you don’t have to worry about all those cancer-causing ingredients and additives. And, sadly, the list above is only about ¼ of the ingredients you want to avoid. Those are just some of my top ingredients to avoid, but certainly not all. If you are interested in a more in depth list, check out Food Babe’s list and also the EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Food Additives.


If you are needing a CLEAN plant-based protein powder that doesn’t contain any of those nasty ingredients mentioned above, then check out my girl Vani Hari’s company, Truvani.

I have shared a few recipes on my blog using her protein powder and I seriously LOVE it! It is clean, organic, healthy and tastes delicious! I drink a shake everyday and honestly start panicking when I am nearing the bottom of the bag!

If you want to snag your own Truvani protein powder, click here and save BIG when you sign up for a subscription. While you wait for your order to be delivered, check out my smoothie recipes here:

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking. I used only seven […]

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! […]

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to […]

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

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

Friday Favorites: At-Home Workout Edition!

Friday Favorites: At-Home Workout Edition!

Happy Friday friends! We made it to the end of the week! We have officially ended week THREE of homeschool and I am still loving every minute of it! Monday provided such sweet encouragement and words from both of my boys and it just reinforced our decision to homeschool.

Today for my Friday Favorites, I am sharing some of my favorite at-home workout plans and products!! Please share below what you are loving and what is working for you!

Note: Click the image to go directly to the product on Amazon.


Have to start with shoes! These are by far my favorite jogging shoes! I have them in the color Blue Mirage/Purple Plumeria. I got them at a local running store last year, where they watched me walk and I tired on so many different shoes. This one provides JUST ENOUGH foam, not too thin, not too much. I usually love Aesic’s but it had too much foam compared to these. Now, I go in running spurts…I will run for a few weeks, then be over it! Haha! Recently I’ve been into walking and these are prefect for my morning walks. But they are great for running, too!

I LOVE weight lifting and need to be better about doing it! My favorite at-home DVD routine is this one! Even my 7-year old son asks to do Body Beast! It is nice because it is more like how I use to workout, with reps and drop sets. I love it!

Another plan that I LOVE is the Tone It Up app! I love how fast the workouts are, that they workout multiple body parts at one time (thing lunge with a bicep curl), and it’s just fun! The app also has a nutrition center with all sorts of recipes!

Currently I am on Day 5 of the 21 Day Challenge and it is really great! I am totally sore and feel a difference already!

Now to do both of those workouts, you need a little bit of equipment, but not much. I LOVE our Powerblocks, but it is so hard to find weights right now that don’t cost an arm and a leg! We found our Powerblock set on Craigslist, so search around and find a few weights that work best for you (recommend a set like this where you can easily move up and down in weights but it doesn’t take up a ton of room. Or get light, medium, and heavy individual weights).

These resistance bands are fabulous! They don’t ride up on you, don’t slip or fold, are durable and hold up really well! The TIU workouts use resistance bands (and sometimes puts a weight behind your knee for donkey kicks, but with my Powerblock, I can’t do that…so I use these bands and they are perfect!).

We have this DYNAPRO exercise ball (in pink!) for Body Beast workouts since I don’t have an incline seat and it works really well. And right now this one is on sale!!

I try to get some yoga in a few times a week at least, so a good yoga mat is key. And it is nice, depending on your floors, to have a yoga mat for workout moves that you go on the floor for (sit-ups, donkey kicks, push-ups, etc.). I love that these Jade Yoga Mats are made with sustainable materials, they plant a tree with Trees for the Future for every mat sold, and it is American-made.

For my yoga workouts, I do free yoga videos with Yoga with Adriene. She has a ton of series and yoga for specific ailments. And can’t beat free!!

Speaking of yoga….THESE PANTS ARE THE BOMB!!! I don’t buy expensive workout clothes and when I heard these pants are like some of the more expensive brands, I had to try it! And boy oh boy…they DO NOT disappoint!!! So soft, stays in place, love the pockets and the high waist…they are just fabulous!

Always need a good protein powder to fuel your muscles and recovery after working out and you all know my love for Truvani’s super clean, organic, plant-based protein powder! I drink a smoothie EVERY DAY and love love love it! You can see some of my smoothie recipes here:

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to […]

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking. I used only seven […]

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! […]


What else do you use for at-home workouts? Comment below!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you back here on Monday!

Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

This yummy, refreshing Ginger Lemonade is full of metabolism boosting, anti-aging, blood purifying, bloat-minimizing ingredients! And it is oh so simple to make!! This immune-boosting, hydrating delicious lemonade is only made with five simple ingredients!

Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

Makes 2 large servings (drink one fresh and store one for the next day!)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 TB fresh grated ginger root
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • For serving: 2 tsp raw honey (or more to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Place the water in a saucepan over high heat and let it come to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add your fresh grated ginger and let simmer for about two minutes.
  3. Take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and mix.
  5. Strain the ginger lemonade into a large jar (with lid). Let cool completely.
  6. When ready to drink, pour your fresh Ginger Lemonade over a bit of ice and add just a squirt of local raw honey and mix. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

*Recipe adapted from EarthyAndy

Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

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 (Version 1):

  • 3/4 cup fresh organic ginger roots (skin on)
  • 1-2 TB organic turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 fresh organic small pineapple, peeled and chopped
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB organic raw local honey

Ingredients (Version 2):

  • 3/4 cup fresh organic ginger roots (skin on)
  • 1-2 TB organic turmeric powder or 1/2 cup fresh organic turmeric roots (skin on)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 fresh organic pineapple, peeled and chopped
  • 3 peeled oranges
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 TB organic raw local honey

Equipment Needed:

  • Heavy-duty large blender, like a Vitamix, or a juicer
  • Nut milk bag / fine cloth
  • Large glass 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 toss into blender (no need to peel).
  3. Add in the turmeric powder (or roots – again, no need to peel).
  4. Slice up your pineapple and add it to the blender.
  5. Add in your fresh lemon juice. Optional for Version 2: Add in peeled oranges
  6. Blend on high speed for about one minute.
  7. Grab a nut milk bag or fine cloth and pour the blended Jamu through the strainer into a large bowl for a smooth drink. Pour back into the blender and add the black pepper or cayenne and honey then blend for 30 seconds.
  8. Pour your strained Jamu into large jars with lids and seal!
  9. 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 of nights before drinking!

Cheers my friends!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking.

I used only seven ingredients (not including ice and water)!

  • organic almond butter
  • organic coconut milk
  • organic coconut oil
  • Truvani vanilla protein
  • organic hemp seeds
  • collagen
  • d-ribose powder
  • ice and water

What is D-ribose powder and why should I add it to my smoothies?

According to Dr. Axe, D-ribose, or Ribose, is created naturally by our bodies. “It is important because it helps provide our cells with sufficient energy. This is key to all of our many cells maintaining both their integrity and their function. In fact, scientific studies show that D-ribose may help a number of serious health concerns, including heart diseases, fibromyalgia symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Is D-ribose a sugar?

By definition, ribose is a type of simple sugar or carbohydrate that our bodies produce and then use to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Dr. Axe explains,

ATP is the fuel burned by the mitochondria found in our cells. As you may already know, ATP energy production is absolutely key to health since ATP is the body’s most basic form of energy. Even though D-ribose is a simple sugar, it’s important to note that it is not known for raising blood sugar. In fact, takers of the supplement are often warned that it can lower blood sugar.

Benefits of D-ribose

There are many benefits of adding D-Ribose to your daily routine. It has been found to boost skin health, may help manage Myoadenylate Deaminase Deficiency Symptoms, helps treat fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it enhances exercise and supports heart health.

You can find high levels of naturally occurring D-ribose in the following foods:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Poultry
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Mushrooms

Are there any dangers to supplementing with D-ribose?

Some potential side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and headache. Does ribose raise blood sugar? Actually, it may decrease blood sugar so, typically, people with hypoglycemia or diabetes should not take these type of supplements. In addition, you should not take it two weeks prior to any surgery due to its possible blood sugar effects.

Drugs known to moderately interact with this naturally occurring sugar include insulin and other antidiabetes drugs. Other things that may have more minor interactions include alcohol, aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate), propranolol (Inderal) and salsalate (Disalcid).

Dr. Axe

After some research and discussing it with my alternative doctor, we decided that I would benefit from adding D-ribose to my diet. I purchased this one on Amazon.

Now back to the smoothie!! Here is my delicious recipe for this vanilla almond smoothie:

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Prep Time: <5 minutes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to your high-power blender and blend for a few minutes. Add some extra almond butter to the back of a spoon and spread it on the inside of your glass cup. Pour your blended smoothie into your prepared cup and sip away!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!