“We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don't know where you're aiming, you don't have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared.” - Mary Kay Ash
September 13, 2018, marked the 55th anniversary of Mary Kay Cosmetics. The company opened the doors on Friday the 13th which, according to superstition, is bad luck. When Mary Kay Ash was asked why they opened their doors on that day the answer was simple: that was the day the lease started.
When I joined Mary Kay in February of 2005, I was shy, insecure, and had very low self esteem. I joined Mary Kay to make extra money as I was a soon-to-be college graduate going out into the real world on my own for the first time. Even though I was shy, I knew I had the ability to share skin care and cosmetics that I loved with the women within my circle of influence. I listened to my Mary Kay consultant say, “Put this on. Now how does your skin feel?” I thought, I can do that. The extra income from my Mary Kay business helped in times of need but the money I earned paled in comparison to the personal growth I developed.
Everyone is doing the best they can at any given time.
Judy Brack is a retired National Sales Director in Mary Kay. She retired not long after I met her so I’m grateful I had the pleasure to spend time with her and learn from her even though it was a short period of time.
She always said to us, “We’re all doing the best we can at any given time.” This made me think about when people make mistakes, whether they’re big or small, that was the best they could do at that time. They could be distracted by a stressful event happening in their life or maybe they were just be plain tired.
Keep this in mind when someone is rude to you when you’re out and about. Maybe they just heard bad news about a family member or they’re in a negative home or work environment. You don’t know their background so just be kind to them as they are doing the best they can at that moment.
Do it anyway!
About a month before Mary Kay opened their doors, Mary Kay’s husband passed away suddenly. He was a huge support system for her and the business. Instead of postponing opening day, they opened their doors anyway. They had come so far and they weren’t going to let anything stand in their way. Even if I’m not “in the mood” to go to work, I do it anyway whether I’m working for myself or for someone else. Even though I love working out, if I have a workout planned and I feel great physically but mentally I’m not into it, I still workout. I always feel better once I get started.
It’s important to have a group of women as part of your tribe.
We had weekly success meetings in Mary Kay lead by our sales directors. If our director wasn’t local to us we were adopted by a local sales director and invited to attend her weekly meetings. This was such a powerful experience. Now, in high school (and sometimes beyond high school) women are known for competing with each other in a negative way. This was not the case in Mary Kay. We all became like sisters to each other and supported each other not only with our Mary Kay businesses but in our personal lives as well. Women connect with each other on a whole different level than they do with men. We understand female issues because we go through many of them ourselves. And it’s fun to do girly activities that men don’t want to do with us.
How to set a big goal and achieve it step by step.
I learned so much about goal setting in Mary Kay. I learned how to break down an annual goal down by month, week, and day to achieve it step by step. One big lesson I learned was not to use stress or being “busy” as an excuse not to achieve a goal.
Scot and I moved to Portland, Oregon, in September of 2013. Before I share our Portland adventure with you, lets rewind for a minute to April 11, 2012. We were on our first date when he told me he wanted to move Portland to attend Trackers Earth, an outdoor survival school. My first thought was “Cool! This guys likes adventures!” I didn’t think much of it after that. I don’t remember talking about it too much after that. Fast forward to February 2013 when he told me he was moving to Portland at the end of June of that year. Now, we were moving in together at the end of March and he was going to leave three months later. Well, I decided I wanted to go with him. So, I packed up my stuff and we moved to Portland together in September. He was there for the summer and came back down to get me in September.
That was a very stressful move for me for several reasons: I had never been Portland before we moved there, I was in a new relationship with a man and I didn’t know where it was going, and I quit my secure job in insurance. So, I decided I was going to join a Mary Kay success meeting to make friends. It was definitely a very stressful year for me and on our relationship. I had my most successful Mary Kay year while in Portland.
The importance of daily inspiration and motivation.
There’s always inspiration and motivation somewhere in the Mary Kay environment at all times. A group of top sales directors put together a Million Dollar Message. They took turns recording an inspirational and educational message each day for all of us to call in and listen to. I listened to this every day in Portland (that’s when I learned about) when I was getting myself ready in the morning.
Before and after I learned about the Million Dollar Message, I always had an inspirational CD ready to listen to with a top Mary Kay sales director. It’s so important to constantly be filling your head with positive and motivational language. This includes self motivation. I always had my list of affirmations I would say to myself throughout the day. I still carry a 3 x 5 index card with my affirmations on it and review it daily.
The importance of having your spouses support.
Mary Kay is so brilliant to allow spouses to attend the annual Mary Kay convention, Seminar. Scot has always been supportive of my endeavors but when he attended Seminar with me he was in awe. They offer mens classes at Seminar to taught by spouses of top Mary Kay sales directors. They pretty much say, “If you support your wife (not just monetarily but emotionally) while she’s building her business, she’ll have the ability to support you financially in the future. This will give you the freedom to do what you want with your career.”
Scot also helped hold me accountable for my actions. I filled out a weekly plan sheet every week with my schedule and put it on the fridge. After dinner, if I had “booking calls” on the schedule for the night, he would take care of the clean up so I could book appointments. This was extremely helpful when I was tired and didn’t feel like making calls. He held me accountable.
Make people feel important.
Mary Kay Ash always said, “Pretend everyone has a sign around their neck that says ‘Make me feel important.’“ This goes for every person you come in contact with. It can be as simple as smiling at anyone who makes eye contact with you. Or giving them a genuine compliment on their clothing, makeup or hair style.
When you’re having a conversation with someone put your phone away and don’t look at it when it vibrates or makes a noise. Really focus on the person you’re talking to at the time. When we allow ourselves to become distracted it’s sending a message to the other person that the conversation you’re having with them is not important. Maintaining eye contact and focus shows that person that you’re listening to their words.
It’s ok to eat dessert first.
Two of my favorite things about Mary Kay Ash: she always carried hot sauce in her purse and she wasn’t afraid to eat dessert first. I don’t do this often but sometimes I just want to eat a piece of dark chocolate before dinner or lunch. I have yet to do this at a restaurant but maybe that will get on my to do list for next week.
Sales is finding a need and filling it.
When I joined Mary Kay in 2005, I was working in insurance transitioning from a customer service representative to a sales representative. It was fitting that I began my insurance and skin care sales careers at the same time. I had an amazing mentor in insurance as well as in Mary Kay and I truly felt blessed to be getting the best training from two amazing sources.
The first thing I learned is sales is finding a need and filling it. I would and will never pressure anyone to buy a product or service I’m promoting if they don’t need it or want it. Now, I do believe everyone needs a skin care routine regardless of what it is. However, I met women who absolutely loved the products they were using and simply didn’t want to switch to Mary Kay. I never took it personally because they weren’t saying no to me, they were saying no to the product. If they couldn’t afford to buy the product at that time, they would find the money and buy it at a later time.
Only take advice from someone you’d trade places with.
This is a big one for me. When I wanted to grow my customer base, I went to a consultant that had a lot of customers that reordered regularly to learn how she gets them and keeps them. It’s the same with health coaching and personal training. I wouldn’t want to take advice from a coach who is overweight, unhealthy, and rarely exercises. If someone tells me they’re plant-based (or vegan, meaning they don’t eat any animal products) and they want to continue the lifestyle with the help of a health coach, I would refer them to my friend who is plant-based herself and is in great shape. I feel she is more qualified than me to give advice to someone in the plant-based world.
The decision to move on from my Mary Kay business was a simple but difficult one to make. My heart broke a little when I made the decision to sell the remaining product I had in stock and refer my customers to other Mary Kay consultant. I knew in my heart it was time for me to move on to a new adventure. Not long after I left Mary Kay, Mark Sisson launched his Primal Health Coach Institute Certification (back then it was called the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification). It was perfect timing for me to finally get a health coaching certification after many years of having the burning desire to do so.
Even though I’m not a part of the Mary Kay environment I will be eternally grateful for my ten year Mary Kay journey. Mary Kay was just a small part of my personal growth and health journey in comparison to how big life its. It was truly a powerful one. I encourage you to reflect on a part of your life journey that you’re no longer on that served for a specific time in your life.
As someone who’s really passionate about working out (seriously, I get excited when I’m going to do a burpee or sprint workout), I do have guidelines I’ve set for myself when it comes to my workout program. I encourage you to do the same.
Here is a list of guidelines I use for myself and when I’m working with a private client.
I always start with the end goal in mind and work backwards from there. For example, I’m currently training for the Toughest 10K (6 miles) trail race in the beginning of December and a 21K (13.1 miles) trail race in January. I create workouts that incorporate movements that will train my muscles to develop slow-twitch (endurance) muscle fibers. This consists of strength training with low weight and high repetitions. I also incorporate cardio training sessions keeping my heart rate no higher than a medium intensity. I enjoy riding my bike, going for trail runs, or going for a long hike.
If a private client just wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I would program a workout routine that involves basic movements that incorporate basic push and pull movements for upper and lower body based on movements they enjoy doing. Push and pull movements helps maintain muscle balance and avoid muscle imbalance. When you have muscle imbalance it can negatively effect your basic daily movements. I would start with body weight and build up to heavier weights as needed. Step ups with a plyometric box or bench are great movements for basic healthy lifestyle maintenance.
I very rarely do a workout that I don’t enjoy. I’m a big believer in only doing workouts that are fun and enjoyable to you. Life’s too short to be doing things we really don’t want to do. When I was going to a local crossfit gym I always participated in the workouts regardless of whether or not I enjoyed them. I always want to be a team player when I’m in a group setting so I suck it up and do the workout. Occasionally there are things that we have to do to survive (i.e. pay bills) that are not the most enjoyable but working out should always be fun. Our bodies are designed to move frequently so why not move them in a way that brings us joy and puts a smile on our face.
Exercise should be viewed as a time to play not just maintain or improve our health. When I was a kid I was always outside playing. I remember laughing a lot with my friends as we were chasing each other playing tag or racing around the neighborhood on our bikes.
If a clients tells me they dislike running, I don’t incorporate running into their workout program. Instead, I give them exercises to do that they do enjoy yet are challenging enough.
I absolutely love challenging myself from a fitness perspective. I believe the only way to improve ourselves (and our life) is by stepping out of our comfort zone and doing things that are difficult for us. This is one of the reasons why I’m training for a 21k trail race in January. I’ve completed two half marathons but the course was on asphalt and there was not much elevation change. This trail race has steep hills to run up (and down, which can be more difficult) and there is a three hour time limit. After three hours they pick you up and kick you off the trail. I’m confident in my training program that it will get me to my goal of finishing the race in under three hours.
Once a client (or myself) have mastered the movements in their workout, it becomes too easy for them. When I see them just going through the motions I know it’s time to change up their routine and give them more difficult movements. This could be anything from increasing the weight for a particular movement or doing exercises on a BOSU ball. Anything to help them get stronger, learn a new skill, and improve their balance.
Time is one of the most common objectives I get when I ask people why they don’t workout. There’s been a shift in the fitness world about the amount of time needed to exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The old school way of thinking is to get at least 60 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise five days a week. That’s five hours of your week spent exercising. What research is saying now is this is not necessary and can even be harmful to your health.
Through my training as a health coach and personal trainer, I’ve learned that we should move frequently at a slow pace about 2-5 hours a week, strength train two times a week, and sprint or complete a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. A slow pace being low to medium intensity cardio. This can be anything from walking a mile to and from the grocery store once a week or going on an easy to moderate hike with your family or friends on the weekend.
If you are limited on time, spend 10-15 minutes in the morning or evening working out. Choose 2-3 movements and complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each movement. You can do a quick 2-3 minute warm up and walk around for a few minutes after your workout to cool down. You can also incorporate your movements in throughout the day. If you have quick five minute break do 10 burpees with full push ups. This gives you a full body workout. Do this five times throughout the day and you’ll have completed 50 burpees (and push ups) by the end of the day. It’s not necessary to complete your entire workout all at once.
Commuting to work, if possible, is a great way to incorporate workouts into your daily routine. When I was an office manager for a local collectibles company I used to ride my bike to work and home when my schedule permitted. Our office is about 8 miles from our house and it was an easy ride. There were a few hills on the way home but it was fun to be challenged a bit.
Workout with Family and Friends
A large group of us decided to hike to the summit of Mt Whitney in the Sierras last fall. We knew it would be a challenge as some of us had already attempted it and failed while others succeeded. We decided it would be a good idea to train together to encourage each other along the way. There was something so powerful about being on that journey together every step of the way. We inspired each other to keep on keeping on when it got hard. This carried over to the day we hiked Mt Whitney. There was a sense of camaraderie as we were making the 6,000 foot climb to the top of the highest peak in the lower 48 states. I believe a lot of this came from our training together.
Having a workout partner is helpful for accountability purposes. I have a lot of self motivation when it comes to working out but I understand not everyone is like me. Know how you operate. If you have to commit to meeting up with or checking in with someone else to get motivated to workout then do it. Find someone who is will hold you accountable. If need be, both of you could sign a “contract” committing both of you to it.
I’m here to help you learn what the best workout is for you. I offer private and group training. I’m also happy to design a workout program for you to do at home. Just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. Thanks for reading!
I recently married my best friend of the last six years. For those of you who know Scot and I, we live our life a little differently than society says we should. So, it was fitting that we tied the knot in a non-traditional way.
While there were some traditions that were important to us, we knew we wanted our wedding to be completely personalized to our lifestyle and our value system. There were a few areas in which we compromised but for the most part we did things exactly the way we wanted to.
Here are my tips for having a personalized primal friendly wedding.
Attend Premarital Counseling with Your Partner
This one is usually required if you choose to get married in a church and I understand why. Scot and I agreed in the beginning of our relationship that if we ever decided to get married we would attend premarital counseling. After we decided 2018 was the year we were going to tie the knot, we immediately scheduled an appointment with a psychologist whom Scot and his family have known for years. We wanted to make sure we were both on the same page with the big things in life (finances, children, etc). We also wanted guidance on how to create and maintain a successful marriage. One of exercises our therapist had us do is finish this sentence, “In our marriage we...” For example, in our marriage we encourage each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We each made our own list and then read it aloud to the other person. This was a very powerful exercise because it helped us focus on the positive things we can do to keep our relationship strong and healthy.
Announce Your Engagement to Your Family First
One thing that was really important to us was that we tell our immediate family that we were engaged before we announce it to our friends and coworkers. For the most part, this all worked out beautifully. We were having dinner the following Saturday with Scot’s mom, step dad, and brother who live local to us so we told them at dinner. We were leaving in a few weeks for Austin, Texas, where my parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephews live so we would tell them during our visit. I knew I wasn’t able to see my brother in person so I told him over the phone. He lives 3,000 miles away and it was just not feasible at the time to tell him in person. Scot’s dad and step mom live about three hours from us so we tried to set up a weekend to visit them. Unfortunately, this did not pan out so we told them over the phone.
Do You Elope or Have a Big Ceremony?
Eloping was important to us because we wanted to say our wedding vows to each other in an intimate private setting. We knew we wanted to elope somewhere that was meaningful to both of us and our relationship. We also knew we wanted to be barefoot during the ceremony. We decided to get married on the top of Mammoth Mountain since that is the place we took our first trip together and it’s become a special place to us. We had a camping trip planned in the summer with three friends so we saw that as a great opportunity to get married. We found an officiant online that specializes in outdoor adventure elopements. His name is Donny Alexander and his website is www.yosemiteadventureelopements.com. Even though ours was not as adventurous as other elopements he has officiated (we took the gondola up to the top of Mammoth Mountain instead of hiking up), Donny was the perfect person to marry us. When we met him in person we we felt like he was part of our tribe.
We were initially going to film our elopement and show it at our celebration but the day before we left for Mammoth we decided to have another ceremony instead. This was awesome because since we were already legally married we could have anyone “officiate” our second ceremony. We made a short list of friends and family that we wanted to ask. Scot’s step dad and my mom were the ones that “officiated.” This was so much fun! They were both ecstatic to be involved in this capacity. And they both did a fantastic job!
If You Elope I Encourage You to Have a Celebration with Your Family and Friends
Getting married is big step forward (if you’re getting married for the right reasons) in your life. You’re officially joining your lives and families together. Even though Scot and I have thought of ourselves as married in spirit for a while, it was meaningful to us to celebrate our marriage with our families and close friends who have been such an important part of our lives. It was also a great opportunity for our friends and family to meet and get to know each other.
Serve Food and Beverages at Your Reception That is Within Your Food Values
Scot and I eat real nutrient-dense foods about 80-90% of the time. Thankfully one of our favorite local restaurants, Urban Plates, offers catering services. We served grass-fed grilled streak, organic free range chicken, sesame broccolini, and rosemary potatoes for dinner. Urban Plates always offers complimentary rustic bread with their meals, which we normally don’t eat, but we served it for our guests. This is an area in which we compromised. For dessert I made primal friendly s’more cupcakes. The cupcakes were made with Simple Mills Chocolate Cake Baking Mix. The cupcakes were topped with homemade primal marshmallows with gluten free graham crackers and soy and dairy free chocolate chips. I love baking and experimenting in the kitchen so this was so much fun for me. If you’re not a baker or simply just don’t have the time to bake search for a local bakery that offers a variety of dessert options for different eating styles.
We served Omission gluten free beer and Mammoth Brewing Company 395 IPA. I’ve been hooked on pinot noir wine the last year so we served one of my favorites, Estancia, along with a chardonnay by Pacific Grove. We also had our fresh spring water that we get delivered at home.
We bought small mason jars four our guests to use for water. We also bought real stemless wine glasses. You can pick both mason jars and real stemless wine glasses up for cheap if you’re willing to take the time to shop around. We always try to avoid using disposable utensils and glasses whenever possible so it was important to us to get real glasses. The mason jars are really cool looking and can be used for homemade Christmas gifts as well (candles, hot chocolate mix, etc.).
Gift Wedding Favors that You Would Enjoy
One of the things Scot and I enjoy is a great cup of coffee made with organic coffee beans from local and/or artisan coffee roasters. I found these adorable brown bags on Etsy to put the coffee beans in as favors. We usually request non-material items as gifts for our birthdays and Christmas so we thought we would gift a consumable product to our guests. Our guests loved them!
Spotify is a Great DJ
We had the most affordable DJ: Spotify. We started making our wedding party play list as soon as we decided to have a celebration. As we were making the playlist, we came up with the idea to add songs that our family would enjoy as well. We had Jimmy Buffet, Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and many others that we knew our families would enjoy. When I was dancing with my dad, he told me he was happy to hear some Nat King Cole during dinner. This made me smile.
At first we had one long playlist. The day of our wedding celebration Scot had the idea to split the songs up on two different playlists: dinner and dance party. He thought it would be pleasant for our guests to listen to a slower melody rather than Weird Al while they were eating dinner.
We also chose songs to walk down the isle to that were meaningful to us. I walked down the isle to a condensed version of True Colors (the version from the Trolls movie). My sister, who was my maid of honor, walked down the isle to the theme of the tv show Friends. We are both huge Friends fans and watched it while it was still on the air. Scot and I walked down the isle together after the ceremony to Movin Right Along by Kermit the Frog and Fozzie. If you haven’t heard this song from The Muppet Movie from 1979 it’s a really catchy tune with a great melody and lyrics that describe Scot and I’s relationship.
Looking back I wouldn’t change anything because it reflected us. Make sure every part of your special day is meaningful to you. This is your celebration of your relationship with your family and friends so it should reflect who you are as individuals and as a couple.
It seems to me that smoothies and juicing are increasing in popularity these days. Jamba Juice franchises are everywhere and boutique juice shops are popping up left and right. Are there benefits to smoothies and juices or is it just a trend?
I’m not a huge fan of juicing mostly because the sugar content increases in whole foods through the juicing process. And, from my understanding, the nutrients are more abundant in the vegetables and fruit as whole foods rather than their liquid form.
When it comes to smoothies, I believe there is a time and a place for them. The quality of the ingredients are just as important as they are when preparing a whole food meal.
Here is when I recommend enjoying a smoothie:
You’re on a liquid only diet. Maybe you had dental surgery or your tonsils removed and you’re unable to swallow for a week or two. This is where a nutrient dense smoothie will come in handy.
You’re crunched on time. In today’s world, we try to pack everything we can into one day which makes it difficult to consume the nutrients our body needs to have the energy to get everything done on our constantly growing to-do list. One thing I love about smoothies is you can make them in a big batch at once. Gather a few mason jars with lids and divide your smoothie mix up for a few days. Just shake it up when you’re ready to enjoy it as some of the ingredients may settle to the bottom. Most homemade smoothies should last a for a few days in the fridge.
You want to replace your favorite beverages with a healthier version. I used to love getting mochas and peppermint mochas from coffee shops before I was primal. I didn’t drink them too often, about once a week if that, but as I look back I realize it was probably too often. I’ve created my own mocha and peppermint mocha with high quality Primal Kitchen Chocolate Collagen Powder, raw cacao powder, and peppermint extract. Check out the recipe here. When I drink it I feel like I’m nourishing my body rather then putting it into a diabetic coma with low quality ingredients.
You just don’t want to cook or eat whole foods. I’m a firm believer in eating W.H.E.N. (when hunger ensues naturally). I usually fast in the morning and don’t eat anything until about 11:00am. Often times when I am hungry in the morning, I just don’t feel like making eggs, bacon, and veggies so I whip up a smoothie in less than five minutes. Or I’m just craving a smoothie. I fill my smoothie with healthy proteins and fats that keep me satiated until I’m hungry for my salad.
Here are the ingredients I recommend for a satisfying smoothie:
Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen is the largest protein in our body. It’s great for our skin, hair, nails, and joints. Everyone should be eating collagen every day. Primal Kitchen makes a great tasting, high quality collagen protein powder (e-mail me at email@example.com if you’re interested in a sample). It’s made with grass-fed bovine collagen peptides, coconut powder (the coconut taste is very mild), monk fruit extract, konjac root, vanilla extract, and sea salt. It comes in chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate powder is made with organic fair trade coco powder.
Raw Cacao Powder
Raw cacao powder is one of the most delicious and nutrient-dense foods you can enjoy. Cacao powder is different than coco powder in that it comes from un-roasted cacao beans rather than from roasted, which is what coco powder comes from. It’s less processed than coco powder and cold-pressed rather than processed at high heat.
Raw cacao powder has many health benefits including monounsaturated and saturated fats in it to help you feel satiated longer. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium and manganese. In additional to the vitamins and minerals, cacao powder is high in antioxidants, which help prevent oxidation in your body. Oxidation in your body can cause chronic inflammation, negatively effecting your immune system, and premature aging. It has also been known to decrease stress levels and increase energy levels.
Maca powder is from the root of the maca plant which is the part of the plant that is most edible. It has a nutty flavor to it but I can’t taste it in my smoothie.
There are a number of benefits that come from maca powder. It’s high in vitamin C, iron, and copper. It has also been known to increase energy, endurance, and improve your mood. This is especially beneficial for folks who are have challenges with anxiety and depression.
Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices. Cinnamon is a sweet and savory spice that’s delicious in pumpkin pie and cinnamon rolls. I love sprinkling my whole milk grass-fed yogurt and raw walnut pieces with cinnamon. One of my non-primal treats is cinnamon flavored gluten-free oatmeal. And cinnamon my “secret” ingredient in my HBK Taco Seasoning.
Cinnamon has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. All you need is about ¼ tsp in your smoothie to add a little extra flavor and get the health benefits.
MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) and olive oil are two fantastic healthy fats to include in a smoothie. These healthy saturated fats are a great addition to smoothies to help keep you satiated (feeling full) longer.
It’s widely known that olive oil is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat. But what’s MCT oil? MCT oil is concentrated coconut oil. We buy the flavorless MCT oil so I can’t even taste it when I put it in my smoothie. In addition to helping you feel fuller longer, MCT oil has also been known to give you mental clarity, more energy, improved digestion, and keep your hormone levels in check.
Nut butters such as almond or cashew add flavor, fat, and protein to a smoothie. I will occasionally add peanut butter to my smoothie as well. Yes, I know peanuts are technically legumes and not primal or paleo, however, I still love the taste of it. And it’s better than other non-primal/paleo foods.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are high in antioxidants. They also have a lower glycemic index than most other fruits which means our bodies process them slower. Your insulin levels won’t spike after eating them.
I love the consistency bananas bring to a smoothie. It adds a nice smoothness and creaminess. When bananas are more on the green side they are a great source of resistant starch. Resistant starch is food for our good gut bacteria that we want to keep alive. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha are also great sources of resistant starch.
Water, Milk, or Cold Brew Coffee
The type of liquid used in a smoothie can make all the difference. I prefer to use almond milk because it gives it a creamier texture than water or cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is delicious when I’m on the mood for a coffee beverage that’s a little on the sweet side yet nutritious.
Of course, there are so many more nutrient dense ingredients you can include in your smoothie. The one common denominator in most of these ingredients: they help you feel satisfied longer.
Check out my smoothie recipe here.
The Ketogenic (or Keto) Diet. You’ve probably heard of it somewhere or know someone who’s following it right now. Some say it’s just another fad diet while others swear by it and make it a way of life. Throughout my training to become a Primal Health Coach, I learned about the keto diet but never tried it myself. I eat clean, nutrient-dense, whole foods most of the time. When I occasionally indulge in non-primal foods (i.e. desserts, pizza) it’s made with high quality ingredients and gluten-free. I do love me a good slightly green banana by itself or in a shake with chocolate collagen protein powder or roasted sweet potatoes with butter and salt.
For those of you who are not familiar with the keto diet, it’s a way of eating in which you eat real nutrient-dense foods and keep your carbohydrate consumption at 50 grams or less per day. There are many health benefits to a ketogenic diet (many of which I will get into more detail in another post) including starving cancer cells. Cancer cells feed off of glucose so when you consume a super low carb diet the cancer cells have no food and they die. It’s also been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes. Of course, everyone should continue working closely with their doctor while treating a disease naturally.
I was inspired to do the keto diet for six weeks (this is the length of time Mark Sisson recommends in his book The Keto Reset Diet) for two reasons. The first reason was to conduct a personal experiment on myself to see how my body reacts to a super low carb diet. The second reason was to experience the keto diet so I can coach my clients who want to follow a keto diet.
I wanted to journal my personal six week keto journey with you. Enjoy!
The first two days were surprisingly really easy for me. I believe this is because I had never consumed less than 50 grams of carbs in one day, I have been following a primal lifestyle for six years already. I was also really excited to try new recipes. As an artist in the kitchen, this was a way for me to express myself and expand the menu of meals that eat.
There were two challenges to the first week.
Number one: I was REALLY hungry all the time, even after I ate a meal full of healthy proteins and fats. I was tracking my macros using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone which was extremely helpful. I learned that I was eating a bit too much protein and not enough fat. Fat is more calorically dense than protein and carbs so it keeps you feeling full longer.
Number two: I felt really fatigued during my workouts, especially during sprint workouts. I did ride my bike to and from work one day and I felt a little fatigued but not as much as during a sprint workout.
At the start of week two I was still feeling hungry most of the time and struggling to get through my sprint workouts. I decided to temporarily cut out my sprint workouts and stick to my strength training and low level cardio.
I increased my fat in take and decreased my protein and that seemed to help me feel more satiated. I was craving bananas and sweet potatoes just about every day. The interesting thing is that I was not having any sugar cravings. This was surprising to me because I have a big sweet tooth. Put a dark chocolate gluten-free cheesecake in front of me and I’ll devour a piece while making weird noises.
This was the week that I would be tested. We were heading up to Reno for my friend, Stephanie’s wedding in which I was a bridesmaid. Stephanie and I have been friends for many years and I was truly honored to be a part of her big day so I wanted to celebrate as much as I could with her.
The morning of the wedding, the bridal party went to get pedicures at a really cute boutique nail spa called Soak. After we sat down and our feet were soaking in a warm bath of soapy water we were offered an adult beverage. Whenever I do a strict primal eating challenge I usually avoid alcohol. However, I gave myself permission to make an exception since it was Stephanie’s wedding. I promised myself I would not go overboard. I’m not a big drinker to begin with so going overboard would not have been an option even if I wasn’t doing a keto.
So, I ordered a Bailey’s and coffee with whipped cream. It came in a giant mug with lots of whipped cream. I only enjoyed half of it before it became too sweet for my taste. Later on I had a few glasses of champagne while we were getting ready.
I may have exceeded 50 grams of carbs (though probably not by much) that day but I wasn’t hard on myself because of it. I knew the next day I would get back on track and that’s exactly what I did.
At the beginning of week four I started to get a sore throat and it became a full blown head cold within a few days. This was most likely from the lack of sleep from the previous weekend. I’ve learned to pay attention to what’s happening in my life when I get sick (which is not that often). If I’m eating clean when I get sick, I’m usually feeling anxious or not sleeping enough and my immune system shuts down.
Whenever I’m sick my go-to comfort meal is tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. Of course my craving for this made it very difficult to stick to my keto challenge. I was very tempted to go to Trader Joe’s and buy all the ingredients. Instead, I ate some tomato soup with broccoli to help me feel better. We tend to eat comfort foods for psychological reasons rather than the fact that our bodies actually needing the nutrients. Even though the tomato soup was not that low carb, the ingredients weren’t too bad.
Week five was a real challenge for me because I knew we were over half way done. By this time, I was really craving a banana every time I laid eyes on one. Especially the bananas that are still slightly green and when you bite into them they’re the perfect consistency: not too hard and not too soft. This week felt like the never ending trail when we hiked Mt. Whitney last October. After hiking 11 miles with 6,000 feet in elevation gain up to the summit of Mt. Whitney we still needed to hike 11 miles back down to the portal. We had about 3-4 miles to go and it felt like the trail was never going to end. Every time we turned a corner I expected to see the signs at the trailhead and all I saw was more trail. I kept walking (eating keto aligned foods) and I knew eventually I would get to the finish line.
And the finish line was in sight. During week six, I was reflecting on my keto journey. I learned a lot about myself and my body the past six weeks. Toward the end of the week I gave myself permission to give in to temptation and enjoyed some gluten free toast and white potatoes.
1. My favorite workout workout to do is sprints, preferably hill sprints. When I ran sprints during my keto challenge I did not have as much power as I usually do. I learned this the first week and thought maybe my body just needs to adjust. During my sixth week I still didn’t have as much power. I learned that my body does better during a sprint workout when I’m eating clean starchy foods like sweet potatoes and bananas.
2. It was more difficult for me to fast during keto. I rarely eat breakfast since I’ve switched over to a primal aligned eating pattern so I’m not hungry in the mornings. While eating keto I was usually always hungry in the morning. I like getting the benefits of fasting.
3. Before our keto challenge, I was getting a little lazy with my food intake and eating more non-primal aligned foods than I should have been. I definitely felt very energetic and had a clear mind while eating keto. Even though I’ve chosen not to eat keto 100% of the time it was a good reminder to be more mindful of what I put in my body. Even as a Primal Health Coach it was a really good reset for me.
What I Ate During My Keto Journey
Breakfast: Coffee shake with Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel protein powder, MCT oil, and cacao powder or eggs and veggies.
Lunch: HBK Salad with healthy proteins (sardines, grass-fed sausages, hard boiled eggs) and fats (HBK Ranch Dressing, olive oil, avocado, etc).
Dinner: Healthy protein (salmon, mahi mahi, grass-fed burger, grass-fed sausages, grass-fed bison, or eggs) and non-starchy veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, kale, or spinach).
If you’re interested in seeing if keto is a good fit for you, please feel free to reach out to me for coaching. I’m happy to help!
The holidays are coming soon, at lightening speed this year it seems. With the holidays comes many stresses including choosing the perfect gift for your special someone, potential weight gain from indulging in too many sweets and adult beverages, dealing with crowds, and many more. I’ve found the holidays tend to become more stressful and not as enjoyable as an adult.
I’ve always loved this time of year when the leaves were turning color, the weather starts to get cooler, and it’s ok to start making and eating everything pumpkin. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to getting the 1,000 page JC Penny catalogue and turning the pages for hours on end circling all the cool toys and gadgets I wanted Santa to bring me. I never felt stressed about the holidays coming up, just excited to see what would be under the Christmas tree the morning of December 25th.
As an adult, my values have changed (obviously) and the holiday season has a different energy to it. I no longer think about the presents I want to find under the tree. Instead, I decide which steps I’m going to take to be proactive to lower my stress levels instead of allowing them to rise due to the pressures of the holiday season from our current society. Do I indulge a little on non-primal food and drinks this time of year? Yes, absolutely! After all, I am human and there are still certain foods and beverages I like to enjoy occasionally.
It’s so easy to get on the internet and spend money on material items that will likely take up space in someone’s home and not be used. It’s also easy to allow ourselves to eat anything that’s in front of us because “it’s the holidays, it’s ok to indulge.” We tell ourselves, “I’ll start my eating better and working out on January 1st. Until then I’ll enjoy the holidays and eat whatever I want.”
In my opinion, the holidays should be treated like any other time of the year. You should still focus on eating nutrient-dense foods but also indulge every now and then. You should also focus on keeping your stress levels low as much as possible. And you should keep moving.
Here are my tips for having a fun, relaxing, and meaningful holiday season:
Focus on quality time spent with loved ones and friends rather than which material items to buy them. My siblings and I decided years ago we were only going to buy gifts for the kids and not for each other. Even though we all live in different parts of the country and we can’t always spend the holidays together, a phone conversation getting caught up on everything exciting happening in our lives is more meaningful than an item of clothing or piece of jewelry. I have more fun hanging out with my family enjoying a good meal together or watching Christmas movies than I do opening gifts.
When purchasing gifts, focus on gifts someone will use frequently or give them an experience they might not otherwise give themselves. When I do give a gift, it’s usually an item they can use on a daily basis or a gift certificate to a place they can have a meaningful experience. For example, we usually get my parents a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or a restaurant that they might not normally go to.
When my mom asks us each year,”What do you want for Christmas?” I usually don’t have an answer for her. Last year Scot and I told her we want a burr coffee grinder. We make homemade cold brew coffee quite frequently in a large batch. This requires grinding lots of coffee beans at once. We have an easy-to-use hand grinder but we found it was too time consuming to grind all the beans using this we need for a large batch of cold brew. So, we asked for nice burr grinder that we would use frequently. This was one of the best gifts we’ve received because we use it quite often.
Instead of focusing on the foods you don’t eat since you’ve started eating real nutrient-dense food, focus on finding new fall comfort food recipes that are primal friendly. I’ve become really good at recreating my favorite comfort foods and making them primal. I do this because I love to cook and create new recipes. It’s one way I like to challenge myself and I always learn something new related to cooking. One of my favorite recipes I’ve created in my kitchen is my Bacon Kale Butternut Squash Soup. Butternut squash is a great fall starchy vegetable to have after a sprint session or high intensity workout or if you’re just wanting a hot soup. You can make and freeze this soup in single size portions so you can enjoy it on a busy day by just heating it up. However, you don’t have to do this on your own. There are so many recipes online and many primal/paleo cookbooks that have done the job for you.
Get moving! Keep up your normal workout routine regardless of how busy your schedule is this time of year. Take 10-15 minutes breaks every few hours or so to go for a walk or do 20 burpees, 20 push ups and 20 squats. If you don’t have 10-15 minutes, take a one minutes break and do 10 push ups or 10 squats. When you’re at the mall shopping for gifts park really far away from the entrance so you have to walk farther. Better yet, park on the other side of the mall from the entrance and walk all the way around. If you haven’t started a workout routine get started. If you need help figuring out how to fit exercise into your busy schedule, please reach out to me. I’m happy to help!
Give yourself permission to indulge in some holiday treats in moderation. This is really important because if we’re stressed out over what we eat our cortisol levels increase which could cause weight gain regardless of what we eat or don’t eat. One holiday tradition that we have in our family is to drink mimosas and Bailey’s Irish Cream in our coffee on Christmas morning. This is a holiday treat I look forward to every year.
If I’m having a holiday dinner at someone else’s house I always offer to bring a side dish or dessert and make sure it’s primal friendly. I don’t get caught up in whether or not the turkey is pasture-raised or the vegetables are organic. I also indulge in a piece of bread if it’s available. As long as you don’t have celiac or a gluten intolerance I think it’s ok to enjoy a piece of bread every now and then. The one food I won’t eat at all is margarine or any other kind of fake butter. Besides the fact that it’s not good for you due to the vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, I won’t eat because it is I just don’t like it. However, I will enjoy a piece of bread with real butter on it every now and then. I fill my plate with a little bit of protein and the rest with vegetables, focusing on eating the protein and vegetables first and the bread last. I have a big sweet tooth so I usually always have dessert especially if pumpkin pie is served.
Take time each day to be alone and enjoy some quiet time. This is a great way to start your day before the busyness of the day takes you away to your to do list. Take frequent breaks throughout the day to take a few deep breaths or go for a walk to get some fresh air. Give your mind a break from focusing on the task at hand and just be still. Even one minute of this can make a difference in your mood and stress levels.
Hire a health coach to be your accountability partner throughout the holiday season. One of the reasons I chose to become a health coach is to help others become the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves. One of the benefits of having a health coach (or a coach of any kind) is having someone who is your ally and will hold you accountable to taking the action steps that will help you reach your health and fitness goals. I have a 30 day program that will help you get jump started on your health goals. I also offer a 12 week program that will help get you through the holiday season and have an amazing start to the new year. If you’re looking for a longer commitment I offer a 6 month program which will get you through almost half of 2018.
The holiday season shouldn’t be a time of worrying about whether or not your favorite jeans are going to fit at the end of the year. It should be a stress-free time of celebration and fun along with a little indulgence in your favorite holiday treats. They should be enjoyable!
Thanks for reading! I’d love hear your takeaways from this post.
We had such a great time in Austin, Texas, this past week visiting family and friends and making new friends at Palo f(x). If you haven’t been to Austin and you like to eat delicious food and enjoy the outdoors (when it’s not 95 degrees and 100% humidity), I highly recommend visiting this fun city.
Austin is considered the Paleo capital of the United States so it’s only fitting that the ancestral health convention, Paleo f(x), is held there. The conference was held downtown at the Palmer Events Center right next to Lady Bird Lake, renamed in 2007 from Town Lake to Lady Bird Lake in honor of the former United States First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. This reservoir type lake is great for kayaking or paddle boarding. We kayaked on this lake when we were in Austin last November. There’s also hiking and bike trails around the lake to enjoy as well.
Here are a few highlights from my first Paleo f(x) experience.
When I walked into the expo for the first time on Friday morning I was thrilled to see the Primal Blueprint booth right in the front. Primal Blueprint was founded by Mark Sisson, who is one of the people on the forefront of the ancestral health movement. Mark writes the widely popular paleo/primal blog marksdailyapple.com, which I have been reading for the last five years. Scot referred me to his blog when we met and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Mark is also the creator of the best healthy mayonnaise in the world, Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise.
About three years ago, Mark launched the Primal Health Coach Certification, which is the first ancestral health coaching certification. When this certification was launched I signed up for it and became certified. I was excited to have the opportunity to meet Mark and take a picture with him. And he gave me a hug for completing the health coaching certification. I also met two of the ladies, Erin and Laura, on the Primal Health Coach support team. It was awesome to be able to thank them in person for they’re hard work they do behind the scenes to support us and give us the resources that help us build a successful coaching business.
I also had the pleasure of sitting in the audience during Mark’s keynote talk about creating your life’s work out of your passion. The number one takeaway from his message for me was that your passion finds you and you don’t find it. And it can change depending in your interests and where you are on your life journey. My passion on this part of life journey is helping others optimize their health by living a primal lifestyle. It brings me so much joy to teach a cooking class on how to create nutrient dense meals at home that are quick and easy. Or coaching a client to help them achieve their weight loss goals by making small changes that are simple but not always easy. Not only are they losing weight, but they are healthier in all areas in their life by making better lifestyle choices.
One of my other passions at this time is fitness. Although I’m really passionate about improving my own fitness level, I’m also passionate about helping others achieve their fitness goals. Darryl Edwards is well known in the paleoshere for his expertise in primal play. He teaches folks how to incorporate primal play into their lifestyle. Part of this play is teaching folks how to move like animals: bears, ducks, cats, rabbits, etc. It may sound and look easy but it is definitely challenging. Scot and I attended one of Darryl’s Animal Moves workshops at Paleo f(x) and it was definitely one of the most challenging workouts I’ve done. It was a lot of core strength in which I don’t have a lot of at this time but I’m working on improving. He is a master at primal play and animals moves and makes it look easy. He moves like a bear or a monkey with such grace that it looks so simple. I was definitely inspired by Darryl to incorporate animal moves into my daily movement routine.
After the workshop, I asked Darryl if he would take a photo with me. He said, “Yes, but you have to give me a piggy back ride.” I said, “Are you serious?” He said, “Yes!” I said, “Ok, let’s do this!”
There’s always something unconventional coming up in the paleoshere. The newest up and coming thing is camel milk. Yes, it sounds weird, but it actually tastes a lot like cow’s milk. We had the privilege of sampling camel milk at the expo. It’s lower in lactose which means it’s more easily digestible for most folks who are lactose intolerant. It also has less fat and calories and more vitamin C and B3 than cow’s milk.
They were offering free camel rides at the conference. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to ride one of the camels. One of the camels did agree to take a photo with us.