Here's the Truth About Carbs

Sit down, honey. We need to have a talk. It's about... *breathes deeply* ...carbs.

If you’ve spent any time in nutritional circles recently, you might’ve noticed there’s a bit of a “war on bread” happening right now.

Fall down a low-carb-loving Reddit rabbit hole and you’ll hear lifestyle advice to the tune of:

Look at me, I'm eating pork rinds for breakfast and I'm healthier and happier than you’ll ever be!

(This is a real comment by the way.)

Or: “Bacon > Bread. Always. Period.”

(Also real).

Or this picture, accentuated by the caption: ”I gave up carbs and sugar, so this is how my family celebrated my birthday. I love them.

(The realest.)

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 4.05.07 PM.png

Then, on the opposite side of this argument, you have the whole #CarbsAreGood movement, filled with sourdough-obsessed biohackers and jacked up bagel-eating Instagram influencers.

Who to trust?

Let’s get to the bottom of this by taking a brief walk through history…

Rewind the clock to the mid-1800s with the invention of the roller mill. Before this, grains were ground in whole form, including the germ and the bran. Since the 1800s, however, we’ve found progressively ingenious ways to extract certain parts of the grain, primarily the starchy endosperm, to create fluffy-soft white grain with an exceptionally long shelf life.

As you might’ve guessed, this process of extraction diminishes the grains’ nutritional content, and the pillowy, white product that results is, at its core, what we’ve come to know as “white bread.”

Funnily enough, “white bread” is also what my neighbors used to call me when I lived in Washington Heights. It’s cause I’m so pillowy soft!

…Right?

Moving on.

Jump ahead to the 1960s, when Norman Borlaug, who would one day go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, invented a type of hybrid wheat that, when grown with fertilizers, produced three times the yield of normal wheat and, subsequently, helped nourish a famished India and Pakistan. “Go Norman,” right? Unfortunately, this came with some unintended consequences, as it sent an inspired agribusiness industry down a mass-monoculture-production-path of no return. (Mono-cultured crops, by the way, equal less nutritious crops.)

All of that brings us to today, where mass-produced, nutrient-depleted, refined grains have become utterly ubiquitous. 

But wait a second!

What about “whole grain” bread? That’s better, right? 

Mostly, yes. 

But let’s first start by acknowledging that many breads claiming to be “healthy” or “whole grain” are actually not that at all.

Make sure, when bread shopping, that the first word in the ingredients list is “whole” — you’d be shocked how many “healthy” bread products are actually just variations on refined white bread. Any labels claiming “Made with Whole Grains” or “Multigrain” most likely mean “Various Refined Flours with a Sad Pinch of Whole Grains.”

What’s more, depending on how much of a conspiracy theorist you’re willing to be, suspicions might arise once you start to explore the controversy surrounding whether these 100% whole wheat products are actually healthy at all, as many are simply roller-milled flour with the germ and bran added back in after the fact. And, in case you were wondering, no, the FDA does not currently verify these products’ compositions before they land on your supermarket’s shelves, where they miraculously still retain their long shelf  lives.

But just to be clear, none of this means that I don’t want you to eat bread.

My goal is for you to make better carb choices in general, and when you do consume bread, to remember the first-word-in-the-ingredients-list-should-be-“whole” principle. Or, ideally, opt for breads that are sprouted or fermented, two preparation processes which unlock the bread’s nutritional properties.

Cause here’s the bottom line: not all carbs are equal. Despite what many Reddit threads may have you believe, carbs themselves are not bad for you, nor do they make you gain weight. Processed carbs do, but healthy, whole carbs? No way.

Fruits, starchy veggies, legumes, and tubers are all nutritional powerhouses.

Steer clear of refined and processed carbs such as chips, baked goods, and all non-natural sugars.

(And, yes, sugar is indeed a carb. Sorry.)

That said, this day  and age it’s nearly impossible to avoid refined sugar altogether, so just do your best to reduce consumption as much as possible. Also, keep in mind that sugar goes by many names and is in nearly everything. Here are some of the disguises sugar wears on packaging and food labels:

  • Dextrose

  • Fructose

  • Corn  Syrup

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Evaporated Cane Juice

…And many others. (If you’re unsure what a certain ingredient is, Google it.)

Here’re some of my favorite healthier carb swaps:

  • Baked Goods —> Fresh Fruit

  • Candy —> No Sugar Added Dried Fruit

  • Processed Bread —> Sprouted Grain or (Real) Whole Grain Bread

  • Pasta —> Banza (Chickpea Pasta) — it’s sooooo good!

  • White Rice —> Brown Rice, Quinoa, Farrow, and Other Whole Grains

  • Potatoes —> Potatoes (See what I did there? Potatoes, as it turns out, are a vegetable, and vegetables, as it turns out, are good for you.)

In conclusion, a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie, which is to say that not all carbs (or calories) are created equal. Carbs themselves won’t make you overweight, lethargic, or sick, only certain types of carbs will do that. So eat more whole foods, less processed ones, and please, whatever you do, do NOT pretend that a steak could ever take the place of a birthday cake.

How to NOT Gain Weight This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: family, merriment, and a butter-soaked, booze-fueled shame spiral come January 1st.

Whether it’s that glass of wine (or six) at the Christmas Eve dinner table, one bite too many of your mom’s famous fudge brownies, or shots of eggnog with your cousins in the basement trying to forget your drunk uncle’s off color jokes, the holidays can be calorically challenging to say the least.

But they can also be joyous and merry and filled with love and gifts and hugs and no one judges you when you ugly cry watching "Love Actually" four consecutive nights in a row.

Yet, whether they’re euphoric or they’re stressful, either way, they will most likely be sugar-laden, calorie-charged, and totally un-sober. 

HOW TO FIND BALANCE IN YOUR DIET THIS SEASON:

1. Avoid the “F*ck It” Mindset

The biggest reason people gain weight over the holidays isn’t because they have a couple less-than-ideal meals, it’s because they let those less-than-ideal meals turn into an entire less-than-ideal month of uncharacteristic overeating, indulgence, and excess.

Strive for balance this holiday season and aim to indulge in moderation. “All or nothing” thinking will almost always land you on the “all” side of the spectrum, so pick and choose your “naughty” meals, and aim to be eat as “nice” as possible outside of those instances.

2. Practice Eating Slowly and Until You’re 80% Full

When you do indulge, it’s important to indulge intelligently. Just because you allow yourself dessert on New Years Eve, doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole damn cake. Have one slice, chew it slowly, and savor it thoroughly.

Another great way to ensure your indulgences don’t turn into pure gluttony, is to only eat until you’re 80% full. Just because you don’t leave the table feeling uncomfortably stuffed doesn’t mean you weren’t able to enjoy the meal to 100% satisfaction. Eat until you’re full, but not until you’re stuffed.

3. Find an Accountabilibuddy

As with all things in life, eating well will be harder if you try to do it alone. Rope in a family member to help you out and watch your back. Ask them to give you a little nudge or an eyebrow raise if they spy you overindulging. Even if they refuse to help you out, the very act of asking them will mean you’re less likely to make a total fool of yourself in front of them, at least in terms of eating.

And now…

HOW TO BOOZE BETTER THIS DECEMBER:

Golden Rule Number 1: Drink Water!

You absolutely, 100% need to be consuming water. Otherwise, you’ll wake up with a cruddy hangover, hungry as Fashion Week, and you'll most certainly skip the gym and be craving crap food all day. So here’s the rule: for every alcoholic beverage you have, you need to be chugging a full glass of water afterwards (preferably without ice). 

That goes for: Every. Single. Cocktail.

Minus maybe one if you’re feeling the need for some extra buzz— but just one.

Golden Rule Number 2: Eat, But Not Too Much

Eating before you drink might seem counterintuitive.

"I mean, if I don’t eat before, I’ll get drunker quicker and drink less overall, right?"

True.

But getting drunk and sitting down at a dinner table is like walking into a pick up bar with a nice buzz: you’ve got drunk goggles on. And reflecting back on your actions the next day, you might find them less attractive in the harsh light of morning.

In other words, you’re at high risk of overeating and making unhealthy choices. 

Go into your drinking situation with something healthy already in your stomach. If you’re going to a party, eat a light, healthy dinner before, not after. And if you’re enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail, have a healthy snack before that— hummus and veggies, cottage cheese and fruit, a hearty protein shake, etc. Just have something clean and wholesome in your stomach to buffer the booze. Buzzed overeating, more than anything, is what gets people during the holidays.

Drunk Goggles = Bad Choices

Which brings me to my final rule, which is:

Golden Rule Number 3: Make a Plan and Know Your Limits

If you know you’re going to be drinking on a given day, hydrate as much as you can ahead of time and plan your day calorically. Also, before you commence activities, be sure to make a specific plan about exactly how many drinks you are going to allow yourself and over what period of time. This concept goes for food as well. Be sure to state your intentions aloud to another human being, so you can actually be held accountable to them.

  • Helpful Hint #1: make these goals realistic.

  • Helpful hint #2: if you wanna double down on your goals, tell a friend or family member you’ll buy them a pricey bottle of champagne if you don’t stick to your plan. And trust me, everyone likes champagne, and that person will watch you like a hawk all night.

And, of course, know your limits.

  • Plan smartly.

  • Don’t be stupid.

  • And, more importantly, don’t be unrealistic.

Now go forth my friends and holiday your festive little butts off!

You got this.

In Defense of Wellness: An "Old Millennial's" Self Care Manifesto

It's been a rough week for wellness enthusiasts.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's $250 million lifestyle-and-wellness business, Goop, has agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties for promoting false and unscientific claims regarding— wait for it— jade vagina eggs and depression-curing "flower essence" sprays.

But who's surprised? Wellness scandals feel as ubiquitous as oat milk lattes these days.

Whether it's Activia Yogurt's scientifically unfounded "clinically proven probiotic bacteria", the hasty deletion of Kim Kardashian's weight-loss-lollipop post, or the stepping down of Lululemon's CEO for certain #MeToo shortcomings, the self-care movement is feeling more and more on the verge of collapse, like a house of Intuitive Healing Tarot Cards.

When I tell people I'm a Wellness Coach, I can sometimes sense I'm being perceived as just another entitled millennial snowflake, parading a passion for afternoon naps and aromatherapy salt scrubs as a job worthy of income and respect.

First off, I'd like to shake the hand of anyone that assumes I'm a millennial. (I'm 30. But yoga keeps me young!)

Second of all, before anyone goes throwing avocado toast in my face, I'd like to respectfully state my case in defense of wellness. 

So pour yourself a tall glass of matcha and saddle up my friend, cause I'm about to blow up everything you thought you knew about wellness junkies. (Before I start though, I'd like to invite you to soften your belly and take three deep inhales and three deep exhales. Mmm. You feel better now, right?)

Here goes.

Let me ask you something: what do you want most in life?

Love? Success? Power? Happiness? 

These aren’t destinations, they’re states of being— fleeting ones, no less. And no job title, income bracket, or loved one can give it to you unless you’re willing to give it to yourself. If you've ever had the experience of succeeding at something big but still feeling exactly the same afterwards, you'll know exactly what I mean.

You already have within you everything you want and need, hiding between the hastily pinging synapsis inside your own skull, it’s just a matter of recognizing and feeling it. 

You’re already “whole,” as they say in the wellness community.

“Oh, ok, cool, I guess I’m ‘whole’ then; problem solved, I’ll see you later!”

…Said no one ever.

Listen, deep down we all know this concept of internal plentitude to be one of the Big Capitol T “Truth”s (and money can’t buy you happiness, power won’t give you purpose, yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it), but knowing it and feeling it are two deeply separate things. So the question then becomes: how do we feel happiness, love, success, and all the other things we hustle so hard for in life?

I'd argue that it’s a practice, which, like any other practice, takes time, repetition, and an annoying amount of unwavering persistence. You can't just decide you're "whole," you have to practice feeling it.

So: what if, throughout the course of each day, you embedded within your life little rituals and habits that gently reminded you that everything you want and need can be found within? That you have the extraordinary capacity to gift yourself respect, love, happiness, and success on a daily basis, like a delightful little door prize awarded simply for surviving the day. That you can stop worrying about pleasing and pretending and instead sit back and enjoy this fleeting roller coaster life. To me, that’s what wellness is. It’s not a kale smoothie or an $80 bottle of cucumber lotion or even the Kardashian-status beach body you know deep down is a genetic impossibility for you. It's the daily practice of wholeness and self respect.

With every stair climbed and vegetable chopped you’re sending a signal to your brain— whether conscious or not— that you’re worth the things you do for yourself. Taking care of yourself physically means taking care of yourself physiologically. But it’s tangible, it's achievable, and, in my opinion, it's the world's best catalyst towards self-actualization and self love.

And, with that, I rest my case.

But not before I shamelessly promote an event, because, while I may not be a millennial proper, I still know the power of social influence in getting discounts for my "tribe" (and conveniently, free tickets for myself). So who wants $75 off tickets to the WELL Summit 2018 y'all?! Just apply code "WSCASEY." It's gonna be LIT AF! (Did I use that phrase right?)

Anyway, I'll see you there, my fellow Wellness Defenders.

Namaste.

When Healthy Snacking Gets Dangerous: "The Snackwell Effect"

Let’s set the scene: it’s the early 1980s and the “war on fat” has just began. The government, citing now-debunked research, decides that in order to be healthy, people need to reduce their fat consumption and focus on eating lower fat foods. 

The snack industry, of course, sees an opportunity here. 

They take their higher fat products, reduce the fat content (in many cases just replacing it with more sugar), and market these products as “low fat foods”. 

Consumers stroll through the snack aisle and think,

“Man, I really want some cookies, but I know I shouldn’t be eating them. Maybe I’ll just forgo the Oreos and get these healthy, Low Fat Snackwell Cookies instead. Win-win! Damn, I’m good at grocery shopping!”

And that is how the "The Snackwell Effect" came to be.

Our shopper, sitting down that night for an episode of Married with Children, grabs the box of cookies. 

But, instead of eating her usual 5 Oreos, she chomps away at the “healthy” Low Fat Snackwells and ends up eating a full 15 cookies.

"The Snackwell Effect" is a psychological phenomenon wherein people defeat the purpose of eating a lower calorie food by eating way more of it than they would its higher calorie counterpart, consuming more calories overall. 

In short, by buying a food they deem “healthier,” they end up being worse off than if they had just gone for the unhealthy food they wanted in the first place.

So next time you accidentally polish off that big bag of Skinny Pop or finish your second bowl of Go Lean Crunch Cereal, remember that, despite your best efforts, from a caloric standpoint, you were probably better off with the Jiffy Pop and the Lucky Charms.

Th is one of the many reasons why intelligent dieting is so important.

 

Nutritionism

Nutrition is an incredibly complex and largely mystifying science to us, even in this day and age. We actually know astonishingly little about why certain foods do or do not work well for the human body. 

But that sucks, right? To think that a practice you engage in three times a day is barely understood?

It’s the 21st century, damnit!

This is why you’ll see so many people (and industries) treating nutrition like a religion, like a set of beliefs based primarily on theory and faith. (If you’ve ever met a particularly fiery vegan or awkwardly aggressive Paleo-enthusiast, you know exactly what I mean.)

Michael Pollan, one of the most esteemed nutrition-writers of our time, refers to this phenomenon as “Nutritionism."

What Nutritionism aims to do is reduce all nutrition to its requisite parts, meaning that instead of looking at a banana and concluding that it’s healthy because many cultures have subsisted and thrived on bananas for centuries, it decides that bananas are healthy because they’re comprised of vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, biotin, copper, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

Sounds fair, right? None of this is untrue.

However, it’s undeniably reductionist and speaks nothing to why, when these particular vitamins and minerals are extracted and administered to a person outside of the food, that person doesn’t receive the same health benefits as the person who simply eats the banana.

This is all to say that a banana, or for that matter any food on this planet, is not the sum of its nutrient parts, but rather a food that, for some scientifically inexplicable reason, is healthy for us, and makes us feel good and live longer.

So while, like with any religion, we must respect other eaters’ beliefs, I also invite you to keep an open mind and a clear head when it comes to nutrition.

When people ask me what particular nutritional “camp” I fall into, I have no answer, since I believe that all sorts of diets work well for all different types of people, and to say otherwise would not be particularly humble.

Who am I, God?

So what CAN we say conclusively about nutrition, if anything?

The only thing that nearly every Nutritionism cult in the world can agree on is that fruits and vegetables are good, and processed food is bad. No matter who you are, if you follow these principles, you will be healthier, thinner, and, most likely, happier.

It’s important to keep perspective and remember that the nitty-gritty is less important than these  basic, overarching principles.

Heal Your Gut to Heal Your Life

Have you ever heard a pregnant woman make the classic pregnant-woman-joke that she’s “eating for two”?

Oh, Carol, you’re a hoot! Twelve tacos isn’t too many tacos!

But what if I told you that Carol is actually eating for trillions? And you are too?

It’s true. Inside your gut microbiome there’s a whole alien world of trillions of bacteria swimming around your midsection that live in you and on you. The foods you eat directly affect the diversity and health of this microbiome and in many ways determine whether this microscopic society will blossom or bust.

And some people are even going as far as eating freeze dried poop pills to heal it. (No joke.)

But why?

Because so much of your general health, wellbeing, and ability to lose weight is directly dependent on the health of your gut. It affects your immune system, inflammation, and your propensity for obesity or slenderness.

What’s more, it even affects your emotions, mood, and, subsequently, your choices.

Yep, the brain isn’t the only organ do the heavy lifting in this department.

Your gut, and the trillions of bacteria that live inside it, are indeed some of the most key players in your general wellbeing and emotional health.

Gut feelings, it turns out, are a very real thing. This is why you might find yourself running to the bathroom in times of high anxiety, getting stopped up in times of depression, or experiencing that dramatic Shakespearean pang to in your stomach when you confront a powerfully heightened emotion.

Who would’ve thought that your intestines had so much to do with your personality! 

In my opinion, gut health is the most underestimated and unknown element of health out there.

So what should you eat to support the health of your gut?

While clean eating will take care of most your concerns in this department, you’re still going to want to consume PRObiotic foods, which contain the good bacteria, and PREbiotic foods, which provide nourishment for the probiotics.

Fermented and cultured foods all contain different types of gut-supporting PRObiotic bacteria. These foods include:

  • kefir

  • yogurt

  • sauerkraut

  • kimchi

  • pickled veggies

  • miso

  • kombucha

  • tempeh

  • (real) sourdough bread (my favorite brand is "Bread Alone")

PREbiotics are a type of indigestible plant fiber that ensure the PRObiotic foods do their job. These include:

  • beans

  • legumes

  • apples

  • cocoa

  • flax seeds

  • oats

  • jerusalem artichokes

  • garlic

  • leeks

  • bananas

PROBIOTIC PRO TIP: When shopping for your probiotic foods, make sure they’re housed in the refrigerated section of the market, do not contain vinegar, and are “cultured” and “unpasturized” if possible.

While it’s true that we as a scientific society still have a long way to go with gut research, for many people, the proof’s in the pudding, and eating to support your gut has such immediate and visceral effects that, like all food, you don’t need a scientist to explain exactly why it makes you feel better to know that it’s good for your body.

Now tell me: what're YOUR favorite gut-healthy foods?

Intermittent Fasting: Healthier, Shaper, Thinner

Intermittent Fasting is one of the biggest budding trends in the health and fitness world right now.

And for good reason.

More and more research is being done every year, and so far all signs point towards improved cognitive function, increased fat loss, and enhanced immunity.

In other words, it'll make you healthier, sharper, and thinner. 

And I can tell you firsthand, it’s changed my life for the better.

What exactly does it do, you ask?

  • reduces inflammation

  • increases your metabolic rate (making it a great accelerant for weight loss!)

  • drops your insulin levels

  • aids with cellular waste removal

  • enhances hormone function

  • improves cognitive function and productivity

  • helps avoid Alzheimers and Parkinsons

In short, fasting gives your body the time it needs to repair itself in many ways, without the added stresses of digestion.

So what is Intermittent Fasting?

Now, there're a couple ways to do it, but, if you ask me, the easiest way to intermittently fast is to basically just skip breakfast and wait 'til the afternoon to eat.

And that's it!

Easy.

"But wait, wait, wait! Isn't breakfast the most important meal of the day?!"

If you look to the government, WebMD, or most people's mothers, you'll probably get an emphatic "Yes!"

And that's fair.

There's a lot of science out there to back them up, maintaining that this beloved daily routine improves focus, helps manage weight, and increases overall energy, making you healthier, sharper, and thinner.

Sound familiar?

Yep, that's because there's a lot of science (and pseudoscience) on both sides arguing for very similar health benefits, and, of course, everyone's got their proverbial panties in a twist over it.

Who to believe?

Well, first of all, everyone's body is different and, as is the rule with all things wellness, no single approach works for everyone. 

However...

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It's worth mentioning that a lot of the funding for these "pro-breakfast" studies have been conducted by the same people who sell you sugar-coated, hyper-processed cereal, promising healthy, happy mornings packed with "whole grain goodness," Vitamin D, and Calcium.

Thanks for that, Trix Fruitalicous Swirls cereal. 

(By the way, that whole grain ingredient they're bragging about is corn.)

So take all arguments on all sides with a grain of salt, and find what works best for YOUR unique body.

That said, I'd strongly encourage you to just try Intermittent Fasting.

You'll have to push through the first 2-3 weeks, but if you can make it past the hump, you'll know 100% if it it's for you cause you'll just feel so much better overall.

So you wanna try it?

It's really not hard, it just takes some extra planning.

Here're some tips for getting started: 

Make sure your dinner includes a good amount of healthy fat and protein (which will keep you satiated for longer) 

Keep drinking coffee (coffee, tea, and any other beverage under 50 calories won't break your fast, plus the caffeine will help suppress hunger)

Keep yourself busy (mental distraction is key when getting started)

Try to avoid smelling food in the morning (smells can subconsciously trigger digestion and make you hungry...so mouth breath as you walk past that Panara on your way to work)

Again, these first few weeks may not be easy. You’ve been eating one way for probably the majority of your life, and breaking from that may send your body into confusion, panic, or “hanger.”

You may experience temporary dips in energy or grouchiness— just know that that’s totally normal, and it only gets easier with each passing week, as your body adapts and resets its physiological habit responses.

Also know that a lot of the initial resistance you may feel is mental, so try your best to keep an open mind and a strong sense of willpower.

And even if you decide that this is not in fact the path for you, it's still wise to allow 12 hours between dinner and breakfast regardless, as your body still needs a daily break from digestion, which is a rather demanding process.

But try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments section below!

Here's a link to additional resources if you wanna dig a little deeper into this.

Are You Getting Your Protein The Right Way? Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

Think of protein as an alcoholic beverage. 

You’re standing at a bar, and you’ve got a bottle of gin, some Campari, and and a bottle of vermouth. You can only have one drink, and you’re trying to feel a nice buzz. 

There're a few ways to achieve this. 

One option is to pour out some straight gin and go for it.

Another option is to grab all three bottles and throw them together to make....

A Negroni! 

Either way you’ll get buzzed, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Got it?

Ok, so think of all these bottles as proteins. This gin is a complete protein. The others are incomplete proteins. 

Now in this scenario we can equate "trying to get a nice buzz on" with "trying to build muscle." In order to build muscle and feel satiated and get our ideal bodies, we gotta consume protein.

But not all proteins are created equal. 

Proteins are basically just chains of amino acids.

There are two types of amino acids:

  • essential

  • nonessential

Nonessential amino acids are created by the body (so you don't have to worry about those), but essential amino acids are not and must be obtained from food.

And in order to really build muscle, we wanna get all of 'em.

So, back to the bottles.

The gin is high proof and will get you drunk quick— this is the "complete protein." 

The others are lower alcohol and could be consumed alone, but they serve their purpose much better when consumed together in a mixed drink. These are the "incomplete proteins."

Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities, while incomplete proteins need to be combined together to create a complete protein. 

Complete proteins are typically animal-based (meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, etc.), however there're a couple other plant-based complete proteins as well, such as quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, and chia. 

Incomplete proteins (the ones that should to be combined) account for pretty much every other protein in the world-- grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, etc. 

In other words, the less animal-based proteins you consume, the more diverse you want your plant-based diet to be, to make sure you’re getting all your aminos. 

This is particularly important if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.

To take it even one step further, you want to aim to combine what are known as “complementary proteins” to create a complete amino acid profile. 

Good examples of this are:

  • brown rice and beans

  • yogurt and nuts

  • hummus and whole grain pita

  • tofu and tahini

  • peanut butter and whole wheat bread

So when it comes to protein, do as they say and "consume responsibly."

Cheers!

Diets Don't Work.

Wherever you are, take a deep breath, cause I got a big dose of reality coming your way and it’s gonna sting like a shot of dive bar tequila. 

Diets.

Don’t.

Work.

Sounds nuts coming from a nutrition coach, right? But hear me out.

Diets don’t work because 80% of people will gain the weight back in less than a year (and, in all but 15% of those cases, will end up even heavier). 

Yep, it’s been statistically proven that only a lucky 20% will actually keep the weight off.

“Wait, wait, wait. 20%?! That’s it?”

It’s alarming and totally unfair, yes, but before you go throwing your hands in the air and crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, let’s take a moment to examine how and why this happens, and how we can overcome the odds with a little thing I like to call the: 

**SECRET SAUCE**

Let’s start with why 80% of people fail at trying to lose weight and improve their health in significant ways.

The first has to do with metabolism.

Your body is, essentially, too smart for its own good, and it adapts to whatever you throw at it, for better or worse.

Think about it in cave man terms. If you restrict your diet harshly and only give it a certain amount of calories or certain types of foods, it assumes that that’s what your primal human body needs to survive. It says, 

     “Oh no! Not much food to be had in these woods right now, I suppose I should ration out this body fat and learn to survive on less.”  

And then when you’ve slimmed down and gone off your diet, resuming your usual calorie intake or lifestyle, your body says,

    “Finally— we’re not gonna die— that’s awesome! Better continue to store this body fat in a safe place in case there’s another dry spell.”  

And guess where your genius-of-a-body stores that extra fat? Your thighs, your love handles, your chin…you get the idea.

In short, any diet that has a start and an end date won’t work the way you want it to because it just doesn’t work that way biologically.

However, there’s a bigger reason people “fail” at dieting. It’s not because they’re lazy or lacking in willpower (that’s just a sad stereotype perpetuated by a society with a proclivity towards “fat shaming”), it's because they’re using temporary or misguided fixes to solve a bigger, more long-term problem. 

Which brings me to the key point here:

The reason these 20% of people succeed in dieting is because they understand something fundamental about health, which is that only way to really lose weight, tone up, and get healthy for good is to change your lifestyle.

Now that means a lot of things— some big, some tiny— and it means something different for every person. 

It could mean less carbs and more sleep. 

Or more fat and less cardio.

These changes could be as small as drinking a tall glass of water in the morning, or as big as getting rid of toxic people in your life.

Everyone has their own special **SECRET SAUCE**, they're own combination of things that’ll keep them in optimal health.

And you know what the biggest and most important ingredient of that sauce is?

Loving your lifestyle. If you don’t love it, you’re not gonna stick to it, it’s as simple as that.

And that, my friend, is the difference between those who fail and those who succeed.

The weight loss champions love their new lifestyle— they’re addicted to it.

But those healthy addictions don’t happen overnight. They take time, consistent exercise, habits work, and lots of accountability. 

But where to start? 

It’s starts with the little things. 

It starts with moderation. It starts by changing one small thing at a time so that, over time, you come to crave better foods and a better lifestyle. I call these sustainable changes “microshifts” and they’re surprisingly powerful.

You don’t have to go on the Whole 30, you don’t have to join a crossfit gym, and you certainly don’t have to give up a well deserved cocktail every now and then.

You just have to find a balance that works for you and get accountable to it.

And if you need a little extra help with that, I happen to know a Wellness & Accountability Coach who’d love to help you out.

Consider applying to the program and joining the elite 20% of people who actually do lose weight and get healthy for good; the elite 20% who refuse to take the “easy” route of denial, supplements, and short term quick fixes; the 20% who are willing to put in the time and do what it takes to get what they want and create their absolute best life.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

This is a question (and an excuse) I get a lot:

"How am I supposed to eat healthy without spending ALL OF MY MONEY?" 

Listen, I get it. Fast food and hyper-processed sugar-packed goodies are everywhere and they’re cheap AF! 

It can feel like a ridiculous choice to make, standing in the grocery store choosing between a $2 box of 6 delicious glimmering glazed doughnuts or a single $2 organic lumpy grapefruit from Mexico. 

But just because it’s harder to find the cheaper, healthier options doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. You don’t just settle for the first guy you meet on Match.com who’s over 5’6”. You got standards!

So here’re the exact steps to take to eat healthy on a budget.

1. Buy ALL of the fruits and vegetables!

Shop the perimeters of the supermarket. Stay away from the packaged foods in the middle aisles altogether, and go for the good stuff that’ll give you biggest nutritional bang for your buck. 

And, of course, go for the stuff that’s domestic and in season.

2. Replace "shit quality" meats with cheaper, more nutritious proteins.

Beans, eggs, hemp seeds, legumes, tuna, high protein whole grain, etc. Get out of the habit of buying crap deli meat and packaged nonsense, and go for the good stuff that’ll keep your pockets heavy and your stomach satisfied.

3. Get high quality meat and dairy for cheap by buying local.

Go to your local farmer’s market. Find a high quality butcher in your area. Are there any farms close to you? Get on Google, get creative, and do some research.

Fun tip: sometimes you can even find small, local farms that are secretly organic even if they don't have an organic certification, since the certification process is pricey and smaller places often can't afford to essentially "buy" the label.

4. Buy in bulk and seek out online deals.

Buy big, save money, and freeze as necessary. 

Don’t discount the power of shopping the interwebs. Sometimes my favorite health food store is Amazon. 

Just this week I got bulk packages of chia seeds, flax, hemp hearts, MTC oil, oatmeal, and a bunch of other great stuff for way cheaper than my local Manhattan Whole Foods.

5. Cook at home, Dummy!

Eating out is a surefire way to wreak havoc on your diet and ensure you spend more money than you’d like. 

Try getting into weekly meal prep, where you make all your meals for the whole week in bulk at one time and throw them into tupperwares in the fridge. It’ll save you time and energy and help you resist the urge to order in after a long exhausting day when you don’t feel like cooking.

And, of course, be smart and pack your lunch.

Hope that was helpful.

What're some of YOUR favorite affordable healthy foods?

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Working out without considering your nutrition is sort of like going to a mixology bar and ordering a vodka cranberry. 

Like...why are even you here? 

Just stay home, you just don’t get it... 🤦‍♀️

Today, I’m gonna tell you exactly what and when to eat before and after a workout.

First thing to get out of the way here:

I am one of the few people in the industry who is NOT a fan of supplements. Probably cause I don’t sell any.

(And you should be suspicious of the advice given from anyone who does). 

Unless you have a naturally-occurring or diet-dependent vitamin deficiency, or your prepping for a bodybuilding competition, 90% of the crap out there is must marketing in a tub, so, please, save your money, and get what you need from eating real food.

So let’s start with what to eat BEFORE a workout.

As you may recall, I’m a personal advocate of morning workouts paired with fasted training and intermittent fasting, meaning I’d always prefer you, if possible, to workout in the morning (since willpower fades over the course of the day, and you’re more likely to get it done), and to do so in a fasted state (on an empty stomach). 

This is what I practice personally, as well as a good portion of my coaching clients, and I’ve seen this path to reveal the best results the quickest. 

So if you can do it, all I want you to consume before a workout is: 

  • A lot of water

  • Coffee, tea, or any other morning beverage less than 50 calories (which won’t break your fasted state)

That said, not everyone can handle that routine, either because of their schedule, or maybe they just don’t like it or can’t lift as heavy, and that’s 100% fine.

So what would you eat in that case and when?

In order to max fat loss and prep your muscles for maximum protein synthesis (which we care about cause that’s how we build muscle), you’re gonna want to eat a small meal of protein and carbs about a half hour before your workout.

This could look like:

  • eggs on whole wheat toast

  • some cottage cheese and fruit

  • oatmeal

  • some lightly sweetened granola and yogurt

  • hummus and veggie sticks

  • a sandwich with a protein and mustard (or other non-fatty spread) 

  • protein pancakes

  • smoothies

Now let's talk about what you eat AFTER a workout.

Post-workout nutrition is super important! 

Make sure to consume a meal that includes a decent amount of protein, to maximize protein synthesis rates, as well as some carbs, to raise insulin levels and keep them elevated, further facilitating that muscle growth. 

And you’re gonna want to consume that within a 1-2 hour window after you workout.

So this could be:

  • a sandwich

  • a salad with grains and some protein on top

  • tuna on crackers

  • a turkey/chicken/veggie burger

  • quinoa bowl

  • a protein packed fruit smoothie

  • chicken and brown rice

  • basically anything else with a balanced amount of protein and carbs

Also, for a super easy on-the-go solution, just pack yourself a powdered protein shake in a shaker and simply add water when you’re ready to consume it.

Now I wanna know:

What’re YOUR favorite pre and post workout foods? Comment below!