Did you know…? Benefits of COCONUT YOGURT (+ bonus recipe!)

Focusing on gut health can help prevent (even help eliminate) many diseases at their root, and is part of the foundation for a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. To support your gut, it’s key to add PROBIOTICS to our diet, via fermented foods and/or supplements.

One easy and delicious way to get your probiotics is with yogurt, BUT most traditional store-bought yogurts are highly processed, filled with sugar, and your common dairy-milk version can be irritating to the gut for many people, therefore canceling out the positive effects of the probiotics!

So instead, I suggest trying dairy-free (unsweetened) Coconut Yogurt!

Read more to learn BENEFITS of Coconut Yogurt, easy ways to use it, and a delicious recipe that you’ll LOVE!

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I Just Finished the Whole30 Challenge - Here are my 10 Takeaways

I am a believer in avoiding fad diets. Instead, I believe in finding the eating style that works for you longer-term. One that helps you reach and maintain your health goals.

But on top of that, when you feel you need a short-term boost to your health (and waistline), food-based detoxes are optimal.

In the toxic world we live in, we can all benefit from a light cleanse here and there. While they may not be necessary if you already eat a very clean diet, I find that the benefits outweigh any negatives, for almost everyone.

And, if you do have a particular health concern, doing a longer-term detox – like a 30 day elimination diet – can be EXTREMELY beneficial. And that’s what led me to trying the Whole30.

READ MORE to learn more about the Whole30, my takeaways, recommendations, and lessons learned!

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Why You Should Try a 30-day Alcohol-Detox

I strongly advocate for living and enjoying a balanced life, and that means giving in to your guilty pleasures (in small, safe amounts) from time to time.

For me, enjoying a glass or two of wine is part of my balance, and luckily, there are tons of benefits that come along with small amounts of wine consumption.

However, there are even more reasons to go on an Alcohol Detox for a month. This means not one drop of alcohol for 30 days. Which YES is hard for most of us, but 100% worth it.

Read more to learn 6 Benefits of a 30-Day Alcohol Detox, and a few tips to get you started and help you commit!

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Did You Know....? Best Exercise for a Healthy Pregnancy

Working out (safely) while you are pregnant is extremely beneficial for both you as an expecting mom and your baby.

As a woman, and even more as a mom (and mom-to-be), I strongly believe in the importance of you getting some “me time” everyday, to zone out from the daily to-do’s, to give yourself some self-love, and rebuild your inner and outer strength. Plus, we all know that when a woman is feeling good and happy, she's a better mom/better wife, etc., so everyone benefits when "mom" has her time to workout and “recharge”.

There are many benefits to practicing safe exercise during pregnancy, but there are definitely some workouts that tend to be better than others. In my experience, 

Read More to find out which exercise I recommend, why, and some tips for exercising during your pregnancy.

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Did You Know...? Benefits of Hemp Seeds (+ Recipes!)

Did you know that Hemp Seeds are one of nature's most perfect and nutritious foods? 

These tiny seeds have a concentrated balance of proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes, combined with almost no sugar, sodium, starches nor saturated fats. They’re super easy to digest and contain about 13 grams of protein in just 3 tablespoons. Plus, like most other seeds, they can be used almost anywhere – from sprinkling on your smoothies/salads/soups to a key ingredient in many yummy plant-based recipes. And personally, I LOVE them!

READ MORE to learn nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, and 4 delicious recipes of mine using hemp seeds.

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6 Fat Burning Foods

Burning fat is about much more than exercising and cutting back on fat. What you eat and how you eat are extremely important, and actually, cutting back too much on fat and over-exercising can backfire.

When it comes to the food-part, most people think burning fat is only about cutting back on certain foods and “dieting”. But actually, there are many foods that you can ADD to your diet, that have awesome fat-burning qualities which can help you a lot more than starving yourself. Plus, eating “fat-burning foods” can help you stabilize your blood sugar (so helping to prevent diabetes) and boost energy levels.

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8 Tips For Reading Nutrition Labels

Nowadays (unfortunately), a large part of the food we purchase comes in packages, and truly understanding the labels on these packages is tricky for all of us.

And despite more widespread awareness on health and wellness, most people still don’t pay enough attention to nutrition labels as they should, or don’t really know how to properly ready/understand the labels, in order to make the healthiest decision about what to buy (and what to avoid).

Therefore, I’m laying out for you my BEST TIPS to keep in mind when you next go shopping. This will make your shopping for healthy foods (and losing weight) a lot easier!

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My Beginner's Smoothie Guide

By popular demand from my readers, I wanted to share what I call my “beginner’s smoothie guide”.  I LOVE my morning smoothies (as all my ex-coworkers know very well and would make fun of me for!) because while they look green and weird, my recipes are actually delicious, and of course, they are the quickest way to get a nutritious breakfast that revs up my metabolism and leaves me satisfied for hours.  

I make sure to include a combination of organic greens, low-glycemic fruit, clean protein and healthy fats, so this way, my smoothies won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels the way most other quick breakfast options do, like cereal and even oatmeal (especially if it’s the quick oats you get on-the-go).  And of course, green smoothies are an easy way to get 1-2 servings of greens into your day!

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How (and Why) I Use Coconut Oil Every Day

Last week I wrote about why I still LOVE coconut oil despite the controversy on saturated fats. Today I wanted to share with you many of the fabulous ways that I use coconut oil.

Here are 14 ways in which I use coconut oil on a regular basis (7 in the kitchen and 7 in the bathroom & bedroom):

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Want a Flat Belly? 5 Things to Avoid

In my 6 Secrets to a Flat Belly WEBINAR last week, I shared 6 of my best secret tips to a get and maintain a flat belly. But even applying those (effective & proven) habits aren’t enough if you don’t start by AVOIDING THE KEY TRIGGERS that are leading to those extra pounds around your midsection. I always believe in starting by finding the ROOT CAUSE behind your health issues. And in the case of excess belly fat and bloat, it’s usually centered around inflammation as well as sub-optimal digestion.

Here are the 5 key things to AVOID (that will address the likely root cause of your belly fat) and what to eat instead:

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A Simple Ritual to Improve Your Health

As you’ve probably heard me say time and again, the health of your digestive tract has a lot of influence over your entire health.

Your gut is linked with your nervous system, your brain, your immune system, your hormones, and it’s extremely linked to your weight. The trillions of bacteria in your gut play a large role in: weight management and avoiding obesity; preventing diseases like diabetes, arthritis, MS, even cancer; balancing neurotransmitters (affecting our mood, stress, depression, etc.); boosting immunity (to avoid getting colds/flu/infections); supporting digestive health (pooping regularly and properly, avoiding tummy aches, bloating, gas), and more!

So clearly, it’s extremely important to keep your gut and belly healthy in order to both lose weight and stay healthy. One important way to do this is taking probiotics. BUT it’s a lot more than that.

Improving your DAILY HABITS and RITUALS to improve digestion is absolutely key. That includes paying closer to not only what you eat, but also HOW you eat.

Too often, we’re eating when we’re feeling rushed, stressed about work, our to-do list, etc., and this impairs digestion and usually leads to a bloated belly and/or gasses. And if we eat this way too often, we can end up with nutrient deficiencies, digestive symptoms, and gut issues (such as gut dysbiosis or leaky gut). And as I mentioned earlier, these gut issues can then affect the rest of your health.

So today I want to share a lovely ritual to apply at EACH MEAL before eating, that will help you get your body out of its sympathetic state (“fight or flight”) and into a parasympathetic state (“rest and digest”), in order to help your digestive system function optimally. When your body is relaxed and focused on eating (vs on other things), your body will better absorb nutrients (to boost your health) and avoid digestive problems.

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A Delicious Fiber- & Protein-Rich Breakfast to Fuel Your Metabolism: Sweet Potato Toast

I’m constantly being asked for new healthy breakfast recipes, as not everyone loves green smoothies (or they get bored of them), and same goes for oatmeal. So I’m always checking out new health trends and experimenting new recipes. Today I’m excited to share with you a healthy, fiber-, protein- and antioxidant-filled breakfast that I love and highly recommend: the SWEET POTATO TOAST. 

I know it may sound weird – “toast” with no toast – but let me tell you, it’s not only becoming a huge trend, it’s actually something that I have been suggesting as a gluten-free alternative to my clients for a while, and have had huge success with. I think it’s mostly because it actually works really well, it’s easy, versatile and DELICIOUS. The sweet potato adds a slightly sweet flavor but without overpowering the flavor of your toppings. Plus, it doesn’t have any inflammatory properties like regular bread (as it’s naturally gluten free), and it’s grain-free / Paleo-friendly.

Additionally, I’m a huge fan because of the added nutritional benefits. Firstly, its high in antioxidants, like beta-carotene that your body converts into Vitamin A, which is essential to strengthen your hair, nails, skin, vision, and immune system. It’s extremely high in fiber, and a great food to help stabilize your hormones. Additionally, it has vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin D and iron. And most importantly, all versions of my Sweet Potato Toast that I’m sharing with you today are high in protein and healthy fats, so my combos help to rev up your metabolism first thing in the day, and keep you full for hours. So, in my book, it’s an ideal breakfast for almost anyone, including those looking to lose weight. 

Here is my basic Sweet Potato Toast recipe with 4 amazing metabolism-boosting versions:

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Stressed? One Easy & Effective Tool to Melt Away Stress

Do you sometimes feel like your to-do list is never ending? Like every time you're finishing one thing, something new pops up, and there's just never enough time in the day to do everything you want to do? Are deadlines freaking you a bit? Maybe your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife are driving you nuts. Or maybe you secretly want to murder your boss or a coworker!

Whatever it is, it's sometimes hard to control the stress and anxiety that builds up from time to time. It happens - we're human, and we're busy people these days. But it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to find ways to manage your stress and not let it have a catastrophic impact on your health - because it will. 

Luckily, there are many things one can do to help manage stress (read more HERE), but this one simple technique that I'm sharing with you today, almost instantly tells your body that you're not in danger and everything is OK; it stops the production of stress hormones and allows your body to relax.

WATCH MY VIDEO TO SEE THE ONE TECHNIQUE THAT I FIND MOST USEFUL, AND HOW I DO IT.

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8 Ways to Activate Your GENES For Better Health & Weight Loss

One of the most fascinating studies that I've come across is regarding how we can program our genes to improve our health through food and lifestyle choices. YEP. If you eat poorly and live in stress, you make yourself even more susceptible to gain weight, but when you feed your cells the right way, that can start changing the behavior of your genes so that you (and your children) will have a tendency to be thinner and live longer.

We are all born with a FIXED set of genes (aprox 23,000) that determine our physical characteristics such as hair/eye color, and certain childhood diseases. Then we have many more gene mutations, which affect how genes express themselves in your body. And while we cannot change those 23,000 genes, new studies (called epigenetics) show that we CAN change the expressions of these genes, that direct our biochemical processes, and make us more/less likely to get certain health disorders.

Healthy aging is mostly due to how we “communicate” with our genes through our diet and lifestyle. OUR FOOD IS INFORMATION to our bodies, constantly giving “instructions” to our genes. If we eat nutritious, real food, it sends “good health” instructions to our genes. If we regularly eat foods loaded with sugar, trans fats and chemicals, its simply “bad data” for our genes that will stop our body from properly functioning.

Read More to learn 8 of the most important steps that you can take every day to optimize how your genes behave, helping to “turn on” the genes that promote good health (and “turn off” the genes that promote illness): 

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Is Your Gut Keeping You from Balanced Hormones and Weight Loss?

I work with a lot of people that are seemingly healthy, but struggle to lose those last few pounds. Often, they get tired most afternoons (and rely on coffee), have occasional skin issues, and some digestive issues. That’s when I usually detect that its related to their hormones. The problem then becomes that most doctors just have people treat these hormonal imbalances by taking more hormones, instead of figuring out WHY their hormones are off in the first place. (For ex., you have acne so you get prescribe the pill). But almost always, when there is any hormonal imbalance, there is an issue with the gut.

The first step to achieving optimal health and healing from the inside out is improving your gut health.

An unhealthy gut affects your body’s ability to produce the right quantity of hormones - including cortisol, thyroid hormone and sex hormones. A healthy gut is needed to fully absorb and metabolize nutrients from the foods you eat, which are necessary for the proper production of hormones (and for stress reduction!).

And if you're stressed and your hormones are off (for example, you're producing too much cortisol and/or not enough thyroid), this leads to symptoms such as: weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, as well as imbalances in your sex hormones, menstrual health and infertility.

So what can you do to improve your gut health and achieve hormonal balance, get more energy, better skin, stronger immunity, and weight loss?

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10 Healthy Snacks to Buy When You're On-The-Go

As a holistic health coach and foodie (yes I love eating!), I am a true believer in eating WHOLE FOODS as much as possible, and avoiding most pre-packaged foods. Even for snacks, I find that there are a ton of easy options based on primarily whole food sources that one can easily put together at home the night before and take with you to work/on your trip. (See my previous blog for more on healthy, homemade snacks).

But sometimes, we haven’t had the time to make your own snacks, we’re hungry, and need a healthy option to buy at the local deli market or airport vendor. For those times, I wanted to share some options that are nutritious and “clean” (have little-to-no junk/bad ingredients), and won’t ruin your healthy efforts. Because believe me, most of the snacks you’re used to buying are terrible for your overall health, and even those occasional snacks (unfortunately) add up!

Here are 10 of my favorite on-the-go snacks to buy:

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10 Easy, Healthy Snacks That Will Keep You Slim and Energized

I find that so many people are making an effort to eat healthier meals, but still have a hard time achieving their health goals. And when I look at their food journals, I see it...it’s in their snacks! 

I KNOW it’s hard when we’re always on the go. We get hungry when we’re at work or on the road, and the only things we can easily grab are processed, packaged options (filled with sodium, sugar and/or artificial ingredients). And unfortunately, they add up, and make it difficult (if not impossible!) for us to stay healthy and slim.

Making the effort to be prepared and keep healthy snacks on hand will make a HUGE difference in your health.

For a boost of sustained energy (and to support a healthy weight), your snacks should be small, high in protein and fiber, and relatively low in sugar and carbs.

Here are 10 EASY, HEALTHY SNACKS that are filled with BALANCED nutrition to give you the energy you need without packing on the pounds. 

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An Effective Way to Overcome Your Sugar Addiction

Nowadays, we're eating more and more sugar without even realizing it. 

Sugar is being added to EVERYTHING these days (in packaged foods, supplements, restaurants, etc). It's often disguised as different names, including: honey, agave, cane sugar, date sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, but also less obvious ones like: malt (barley malt or diastatic malt), syrup (corn syrup, maple syrup, carob syrup, rice syrup), evaporated cane juice, maltose, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltodextrin, and more!

And natural sugars also add up. So even if you're not big on desserts, chances are you're still consuming a lot more sugar than you think. (I bet that if you were to actually count the grams of sugar that you eat in a day, you’ll be shocked!)

And the hard truth is - sugar is bad for everyone, not just people at risk of diabetes.

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6 Ways To Make Your Workday A Little Bit Healthier

Staying healthy at the office is a challenge for everyone. There is always someone who brings in sweet treats from recent travel, or it's someone's birthday and cakes are in your face. And then there are the catered lunch meetings where it's just sandwiches and cookies!

I've worked in offices for most of my career, so I can relate. But somehow, in the last few years, I have been able to master the art of staying healthy regardless of where I am. It's not about perfection, but it's definitely about being prepared.

Here are my best tips to keep you healthy at the office:

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The Fats, Proteins & Carbs That Will Help You Reach A Healthy Weight

As a health coach, I'm constantly asked about the ideal amounts of carbs and protein for weight loss.

First, I think it's important to address that there is no magic formula because ultimately, everyone is unique, and I fully believe in the principle of bio-individuality.

That being said, I find some general things hold true for most people. When it comes to sustainable weight loss, balanced meals are key.

So while many people swear by no-carb, high-protein diets to lose weight, I have found that small amounts of carbs coming primarily from vegetables is very important and can aid in weight loss.

Healthy fats are also crucial for your health, will help keep you full, and can help you burn fat.

I usually suggest making half of your plate be vegetables (primarily low-starch), and the remaining can be divided between lean protein and healthy fats. But way more important than the percentage of carbs, protein, and fats is your SOURCE of these macronutrients!

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