Born To Be “A Little” Bad

A few weeks ago, in one of the online modules for school, there was a lecture  about “Being Bad.”  We were encouraged, if only for a day, to take on an activity that would be considered a little bad or selfish, if you will.  Although, I’ve never seen being a little selfish as a bad thing. If we are not taking care of ourselves then there is nothing left to give to others.  The encouragment wasn’t about being bad in the sense of going out and doing something illegal. No. It was encouragment to fulfill desires in life that we neglect to do out of other obligations like family and work. A lot of us feel guilty if we take time away from our kids or our jobs. We forget that in the big picture, we count too. Our physically and emotionally achy bodies need just as much attention as that 3 year old tugging on the back of your apron calling “Mom… Mom….Mom” until he finally gets what he wants. Before you know it, between the family, the job, and all the other life demands, you are spent. Ready to explode. And often times we do.

What would it mean for you to be a little bad? To go out there and really indulge in something that you would not do otherwise because it simply doesn’t fit into your regular schedule. To call up your husband or wife last minute and say that you are having a “Me-Night-Out” and go and treat yourself to something that would really make you feel good. Even if it’s a little sinful. Meeting friends for dinner and cocktails. Getting a massage. Having an extra scoop of ice cream (now you’re really living on the edge). Taking a personal day from work last minute regardless of how high the paperwork is stacked. Getting a babysitter and having a long weekend away with yours spouse or a group of friends…or even better,  by yourself.  Or whatever it is that you have been keeping yourself from in order to be able to give more to others. How would that feel?  Feels pretty good just to think about it doesn’t it?????

When I think of all the times that I kept myself from doing something that I know would have made me feel better, I cringe. I often times would forego the massage because I had a bill to pay. Yet, on other occasions I’d say just go for it and there was still money to pay my bill.  I’d forego the dessert because it was too high in calories/carbs/sugar/fat (whatever it was I was trying to avoid). Yet when I go to the Cheesecake Factory and have my favorite flavor, Lemon Raspberry ya’ll,  I never gained any weight from it and I loved every bite. Or when I overworked myself at the office because I needed the money and didn’t want to disappoint my clients only to be exhausted and more stressed. Yet when I took a week off for my birthday, it just so happened to be exactly what I needed and every one of my clients completely understood.

It really all worked out for the best. And that’s because being what we consider bad is actually a really good thing. I have heard so many people, even myself truly, refer to food as being bad. Yet they will go ahead and eat it anyway….regularly. The only thing that makes it bad is the label we put on it.  Because the truth is that even bad food is good food if done as a treat and in moderation. Same thing with all of these other “Bads”…….No we can’t get massages every day. And I wouldn’t recommend doing a double scoop every night. Every other weekend away with your friends or spouse might get a little pricey too. But these things, like a good piece of chocolate, certainly can fit into your lifestyle without the guilt associated with it.

Taking care of ourselves on a high level, giving ourselves the same kind of love and care that we would give another is just as, if not MORE important. If we burn out, we lose ourselves.  Unfortunately this happens a lot. Illness results from lack of self care. We start turning to expensive medications and supplements to manage stress when it really is all within our power to manage and balance things just by taking better care of ourselves. And those supplements are not only expensive, but the majority of them are ineffective.

The wisest investment that you can make in your life is YOU. So take the best care of you as you can. Be good….But be a little Bad too.

You’ll actually feel like you’re getting away with something……and that feels anything but bad!!

To Your Health!!

Tracy Lynn

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Apple Banana Bonanza

I read in a blog earlier this morning that “Your Skin Is A Mirror To What Is Going On In Your Body.” Whatever your struggles are with your skin, it can all be traced back to your inner health and balance.  If you are struggling with acne, eczema, psoriasis, or any kind of fungal infection like candida or athlete’s foot, it will show up either in your skin, hair, or nails. And this is a good thing. Sometimes we cannot always know if there is an imbalance. So the skin being our largest organ is a great indicator of how healthy we are on the inside.

More often than not, with some simple dietary modifications, you can truly improve the appearance of your skin giving it a clearer and healthier glow.  If you are struggling with skin issues, the first thing you will want to do is eliminate the most common food allergens like dairy and gluten. These seem to be the foods that are consumed the most and create the highest level of sensitivity in the gut. Add into that the daily consumption of eggs, soy, corn, sugar, and processed foods and you are just asking for trouble. Yes, I know there are people out there who eat nothing but junk and still have amazing skin. We love to hate them just as much as we hate the ones who can eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce of fat. But make no mistake…..somewhere on their timeline they will pay the price for it whether it be in their energy levels, chronic digestive problems, or something worse that awaits them down the line.  Processed food creates an acidic environment which reduces our immune system and ability to fight off infection including those that show up in our skin. Especially those that show up in our skin.

Sometimes, regardless of my diet, my skin will for no apparent reason just break out horribly. When I asses my diet and see that I’m eating loads of healthy veggies and fruits, properly prepared grains, no dairy or gluten, lots of healthy fats from coconut oil, hemp seed oil, GLA sources, and EVOO, the only conclusion I can come to is that my lifestyle and stress levels are what is acidic and causing my issues. And it’s true. I’m sure if I dissected my diet completely, I could find little tid bits here and there that could be corrected, but overall stress trumps diet when it comes to how we look and feel.

Taking all of that into consideration, there are certain things that we can do to assist the body in re-alkalizing itself on a nutritional level. Certain fruits and vegetables get a gold star over others. GREENS GREENS GREENS & MORE GREENS.  Go for your kales, chards, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, and dandelion. Excellent detox veggies and can easily be slipped into a smoothie or veggie saute. Certain fruits are extremely beneficial as well such as apples which contain Pectin, Pineapple which has bromelain and reduces inflammation, bananas (not super green and not spotted….but just right), lemons, cherries, strawberries, apricots, grapes, pears, coconut, and cantaloupe all have high vitamins and minerals to help heal your skin and rebuild tissue.

One of the fastest ways to ensure that you get maximum nutrition without your body having to work so hard to break down the components of food is through juicing and blending. Personally I’m a blender kind of gal. Juicing doesn’t satisfy me and it extracts all the fiber from the fruits and veggies. But do what works best for you.  Tossing a combination of these fruits and veggies or eating them individually have a tremendous impact on your health and your immune system. Start your day off with a green smoothie and see how you look and feel in the weeks to come. Rotate your foods so that your body doesn’t get too used to any one food and develop another sensitivity. And be creative. There are so many combinations and they are ALL GOOD!!

This was my combination for today and it really hit the spot. Play around and see what works for you.

Apple Banana Bonanza
½ cup Light Canned Coconut Milk
1 scoop vegan protein powder of choice (I used Nutrasumma’s Pea Protein)
½ medium sized banana
½ apple cut up
1 tsp coconut oil
handful of mixed greens (I used an organic blend of kale, chard, spinach from Earthbound’s Organics)
Ginger powder
Cinnamon
Stevia or sweetener of your choice/or omit
5-8 ice cubes depending on how thick you like it

Blend on high until veggies and ice are all smooth and drinkable
If you like it thinner, add more liquid

This drink offers you lots of antioxidant pH balancing nutrients. It has healthy fats from the coconut, fiber from the fruits and veggies, protein, and is low on the GI Index….which is important when trying to control skin issues. A high glycemic index diet spikes your insulin levels which can increase inflammation if this is the foundation of your diet.

There are other foods to consider adding to your diet to help with the health of your skin as well. Foods high in zinc like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, and coconut help to heal wounds. Healthy fats from avocados, nuts like almonds and walnuts, and omega 3 fats from fish have been proven to reduce inflammation in the body as well. And that’s what acne is…it’s an inflammatory response within the body that shows up in the skin when detox pathways are congested. Opening up those pathways via an alkaline based diet is one way to truly start seeing results.

So try starting your day off with a blended green drink or find a way to slip it in at some point through your day. I generally have mine after my workout and I’m working on incorporating more variety of fruits.  See how it makes you look and feel.

Cheers!!

“Every type of blemish you have acts as a messenger from the body. It’s suggesting changes in your DIET & LIFESTYLE that will only benefit you in the long run. Without eliminating the “SOURCE” of your condition, you will never get rid of your acne.”~ Mike Walden (Acne No More)

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Stress Kills

Kind of a scary title. But let’s cut right to it. Stress does actually kill. And if it doesn’t kill you directly, it certainly can dampen the well being of your spirit. Trust me on that one. We have ALL had a period of time in our lives whether it be short lived or chronic where we’ve been bombarded with the extra stresses of life. Some of these are day to day more manageable issues that we are able to balance and our bodies are equipped to handle. Some, eh, not so much.

There’s no getting away from stress. Not in today’s world. Just turn on the news and you start to sweat hearing about what’s going on in the world….like government shut downs, high unemployment rates, health issues, and natural disasters.  Other than the health issues part, we really don’t have all that much control over what’s happening  outside our immediate world. That’s why I love the little power button on the remote that shuts that noise off.  Yes, it’s important to be informed; however, it can be down right depressing hearing all that negativity all the time. But even with our televisions off, we still manage to beat the drum over and over with what’s happening in our personal lives. Most of the issues that are causing us stress are either blown out of proportion or we truly do not have control over. Yet we keep hitting the replay button and reliving it day to day as if it’s happening right NOW.

Stress has had the ultimate effect on me. I’m writing this now because I feel it’s time for me to put it in its proper perspective. It’s much easier said than done. But the physical manifestation is very real.  For many it shows up emotionally in the form of depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. But the physical stuff is there as well….strokes, heart attacks, weight gain/loss, digestive problems, skin issues, and yes, cancer as well.

Whatever it is is that it hits in you, it can truly kill your spirit and sense of well being. You start to not even recognize who you are anymore. All because of an event, or series of events, that already HAPPEN[ED]. Let me say that again. It already happened. It’s not happening NOW. It’s in the past. Done!! Finished!! And now you are left with the physical signs of your stress. We want so badly to right the wrong. By reliving it day to day, we hope that the situation will end differently. But it doesn’t. It never will. Only our outlook on it can change.

We all have our weak spots that stress goes after. For me, it’s my skin and digestive system.  For years I had been under a chronic state of stress and for years I tried to clear up these physical issues by changing my diet and exercise habits. I changed everything I ate. I did more balancing kinds of workouts. I tried to sleep more. Take more supplements. The list goes on.  Now granted, a good diet is very important. Unhealthy foods do cause a certain amount of undue stress on the body. But it was really about what was going on for me in my life. Problems both at work and at home took a major toll on me. My digestion was a wreck and my skin was broken out and had rashes. It was horrible trying to manage it.  It actually caused me more stress. I took out all the foods that I thought were causing inflammation and stress on my body and NOTHING worked. The only thing left to eliminate was the situation…..the actual stress itself. Or at least how I process it.

We will never be able to eliminate stress completely from our lives. It’s a natural day to day process. Issues will come up with family members. There will be days where you hate your job. And there will be days where the driver next to you will test your patience.  But how we manage the stress is another thing entirely. Some people find exercise to be beneficial. That’s my personal choice. But for someone who has been an avid fitness person the majority of my life, I found that the extra pounding away actually caused more damage on my body.  Being in nature. The beach, a hike, or just kicking your feet in the water pool side. Just being outside. Reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends. LAUGHING has been proven to reduce stress hormones.  Talk therapy, massages, yoga, or just pack it up and take a 3-day vacation either by yourself or with your family or friends. Remember this is to reduce stress….so choose wisely who you spend your stress free time with. I’ve gone on vacations and was more stressed out being away than being home. Deep breathing is something that you can do here and now and doesn’t cost you a penny.

I personally am finding that getting in touch with my spirituality has been so great for me.  Never underestimate the power of prayer. Letting the Universe/God take your burdens from you really takes the pressure off of having to figure it all out. After all, you were not meant to suffer. You were meant to thrive and be happy.

There’s an old saying–“Life’s A Gift–That’s Why They Call It The Present.” And it’s so true. We cannot enjoy the gift of the present if we are busying ourselves with the past. Yes, we have issues to clean up. But do it, be done with it, and move forward. We don’t get do-overs in life. But we do have other opportunities to look forward to.  If a relationship didn’t work out, allow yourself time to heal knowing that there are other opportunities for love in your life. If you are struggling to find work, keep plugging away, the opportunity is around the corner. If health and wellness are your sticky spot, there are coaches, trainers, and qualified professionals to help guide you to you place of feeling great.

We all have a past.  But it’s time to put it where it belongs, close the door, and step unto the present. Your future is just moments away.

I’ve missed out on some time in my life. I don’t believe it necessarily to be a mistake. However, I see so clearly that it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Whatever it is that has occurred for you in your life, it’s time to let it go and move forward and experience life as it’s happening. You’ll know you’ve moved on when the time comes and you do visit the past that you don’t stay there very long. It’s a quick trip down memory lane and then right back to the now.

Am I there yet? Heck NO!! But I’m a work in progress. My greatest blessing is the amazing support system I have. I have wonderful family, the best friends, and I know that God is keeping his eye on me. I’ll make mistakes, but I’m learning from them.

As you step into today, start releasing yesterday. Whatever it is–it already happened. Time to forgive, release, and move forward. You may just see that those physical ailments you experience will also be a thing of the past.

I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say. What is it that you do to decompress, release stress, stay centered, and thrive??

Blessings!!

Tracy Lynn

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“If I Figured It All Out Today…..Tomorrow Would Be Rather Boring.”

“If I figured it all out today…..tomorrow would be rather boring.”

This is something that I kind of just rattled off while in the middle of a heartfelt conversation with a new, and I must say now a VERY good friend of mine, on my drive home from church this morning.  Yesterday I posted a quote on my Facebook page regarding having new foundation, learning to trust the fact that things happen for a reason, and that what you have gone through in life was not meant to hurt you, but to help you grow. Painful as it may seemingly be, these things are meant to help encourage us to learn, grow, and develop into the best of ourselves. My friend replied to my post and lo and behold we ended up on the phone this morning for 59 minutes.

Everything does happen for a reason.  Whether it’s a painful lesson to learn by experiencing a health issue, a relationship that ends, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one…..these things do, in fact, happen for a reason. Trying to figure it out only adds to the stress of the situation. That has been my experience. The loss of a business and the loss of my marriage, which both happened within months of each other, had my head spinning. These were both very stressful situations in my life, both of which were extremely difficult to let go of. I truly believed my business and my marriage to be my lifeline. And so you can understand that there was a feeling of suffocation at letting them both go.

I was more concerned with making sure that the business and the marriage was taken care of and forgot to truly, on a deep level, take care of myself. It always seemed like I had. I exercised every day. I ate extremely healthy foods.  I remained social. But the stress was so overwhelming that I had developed some health issues with my thyroid and my bones. I became extremely exhausted and doing the day to day activities that normally would come so easy to me became yet another stressor for me.  Feeling sicker and growing more distant I knew something had to give. And it did. In a way that would be the beginning of truly my first life altering experiencing.

We all have little bursts of amazing little things that happen to us in our lives. They truly are blessings. We invite them in and pray for more. The birth of a child. A promotion. A trophy. A new car. Achieving the weight loss we’ve been striving for. Winning $5 at the 7-11 lotto. All these things are blessings and truly do put bounce in our step. Yet, when upsets and chaos happen in our lives, we run from them. We suddenly become angry with the same God who gave us our little blessings. We get depressed, scared, anxious, fearful, and ultimately withdrawn because we cannot face what “might” happen in the future.

I’ve been learning through my spiritual studies  and readings that it’s true, in fact, that everything really does happen for a reason. Whatever you experienced in your life was intended for you to grow from. And if it’s a painful situation, invite it into your life as if it were joyful. Let the Universe work it’s wonders and turn that bad boy around. And just stay the course. Don’t let the hard times stop you. Let them empower you. You don’t have to have all the answers today. If we did, tomorrow would be boring.  Life was meant to be lived day to day, moment to moment, year to year. And to truly experience these precious moments, whether they are pleasurable or painful, is to truly live.

Life may not be easy for me right now, but it is in fact happening for a reason. Where I will end up is based entirely upon my openness to allow this to happen and be receptive to the messages I am receiving. If it were easy and always joyful, it wouldn’t be worth all that much.  Remember that exam that you studied your butt off for in college. You put weeks and weeks into preparing for your finals. You stayed up all night long. Skipped parties with your friends. Gave up that hot Saturday night date because you knew that you had to stay the course, study, and ace the test. And that’s what happened. All that hard work and patience got you your “A”. That “A” got you into your graduate program. That graduate program got you the job of your dreams which lead to all the more blessings that you now have. But it wasn’t easy. It was hard. Now you reap the rewards.

Take your hardships as blessings. Be patient. Learn. And make those changes necessary to have the life that you love living. If you are struggling, ask for the answers. If you are unhappy, make the conscious choice to change that. If you are struggling in relationships, careers, love, spirituality, depression or whatever else “plagues”  you……know that these things are truly happening for a reason. Acknowledge it. Own it. And make the changes necessary……day by day, week by week, year by year, but most importantly, moment by moment.

You have to come first in your life. If you are not happy then you cannot put happiness into your work and your family. It’s not being selfish to take care of yourself. Ultimately your friends, family, colleagues, and boss will appreciate you that much more.  And during this time, be patient and loving with yourself. You don’t have to figure it all out today or tomorrow. If it helps you to connect spiritually, which it has me, then do it. If getting healthy is what you need….start exercising and eating healthy. If you are zonked, take a vacation.  Make the choice that you want a better life for yourself. And do it for yourself so that you can be the best you that you can be.

Blessings!!

TLR

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The Get Rich Quick Fix….I Ain’t Buying It!!

Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a huge MLM [multi-level marketing] meeting. Now before I even go into this meeting, I have to say that I was mislead regarding this event and lead to believe that I would actually be on an actual job interview. When I showed up at the Hilton to meet with this “team”, I saw a line of people out the door waiting to get into the next Herbal Life Pump ‘Em Up To Make Money Seminar. My first thought was to slip out. The crowd was huge and nobody would ever even know I was there. But before I could go invisible, I heard my name being called. So naturally I put a huge smile on my face and made it seem like I was happy to be there.

Initially, like a good salesman, the man who  was supposed to be “interviewing” me had a great pitch going. Talking about how the product is top of the line ingredients and that they are changing lives. Hey, I like changing lives. But I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to products and I’m even a bigger skeptic when these products have more than a handful of ingredients in them. But I made the trip and really felt I should at least listen to what they had to say. I sat in on an hour of the meeting listening to those who have been with the company boast about their progress with the products. Some women had claimed to be struggling with fertility and after being on Herbal Life Foundational Nutrition Plan got pregnant in 6 months. Impressive? Not really. It could very well have been the result of just losing weight and balancing their hormones which can be achieved by eating real whole foods. But they were getting results and that’s what matters.

The part that really turned me off, as everyone in the crowd is ooohing and aaahhhing as if a bunny had just been pulled out of a hat, was the remarkable fitness results that these people, coaches rather, were achieving. Rapid weight loss. Losing significant percentages of body fat and gaining the upwards of 6 pounds of muscle in a 4 week period. That’s where I started to shake my head and twitch in my chair.  Suddenly everyone was having the same results….

“I lost 57 pounds in 3 months, 10 inches off my waist, and I gained 10 pounds of lean body mass in 3 months”

“I was underweight and so skinny. After being on the program for 4 weeks I gained 12 pounds for my ideal body  weight….and none of it was fat.”

“My skin cleared up.”

“After 25 years of Irritable Bowel Syndrome I have NO problems whatsoever.”

and the best of all……

“I loved the product so much, I had to work for the company. Within 4 weeks I was making over 6 figures.”

That’s some chunky change to make in such a short period of time. And hey, I’d love to get rich quick. I’d love to be an over night success. But I won’t do it in a way that doesn’t feel right for me. After coming home and looking at the Herbal Life website, I was anything but impressed with the product labels.  Their new line of Sports Performance Protein Powders called Herbal Life 24 has fructose, sugar, soy lecithin and only has 9 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar. Not really what I would call a protein shake. Their protein bars again are based with milk protein concentrates, glucose syrup, fructose, sugar, artificial flavor, caramel coloring and have only 10 grams of protein and have 10 grams of sugar. Once again, not really balanced.

The big pitch was to get rich quick while helping people. And again, as I squirm in my chair, it just didn’t sit well with me. I understand that there are those out there where something is better than nothing. But in my personal view, setting people up with a lifestyle vs a product is what should be the foundational nutrition plan. Give a man a fish and he eats for a meal. Teach a man to fish and he eats for his lifetime. If you teach people how to feed themselves, products are not necessary.

Now I do use protein powders. I do take supplements. I’m not knocking the supplement industry at all. But it’s the whole hype on the multilevel marketing that gets me. This company, from what I can tell, is not truly about helping people get healthy. You can lose weight eating a lower calorie diet…but that doesn’t create health. And the ingredients that make up the products will often dictate the end result. Real whole foods with MINIMALLY processed products and supplements will take you a lot further than a system that’s designed to fatten up someone else’s wallet. Pun intended.

I do believe that there are certain products out there that really do help people lose weight, lose excess body fat, and optimize their health and well being. I’m not debating that. But the approach I experienced today was not truly in the best interest of the clients and customers.  This line might work well for someone who truly needs a rapid weight loss program because their health is at risk…again, something is better than nothing. But long term I can see damage being done. You may lose weight quickly. Yes you may even increase your lean body mass. But what are these artificial ingredients doing to your body long term. I did not see one ingredient on their label that possessed an antioxidant property. Perhaps that’s the vitamin department.  I didn’t stay for that part. But all I know, after working with USANA and Metagenics for a number of years…..a product can only take you so far. It’s the lifestyle that carries you through.

Use supplements wisely and for their intended use…..to SUPPLEMENT. They are not to feed your body. Yes, have your protein shakes. I do. But try to keep your diet as wholesome and real as possible. Don’t fall for quick fixes. Health can take a long time to achieve. If you haven’t been on that path for very long, be patient. Don’t invest all your hard earned money into cupboards full of powders, pills, and potions. I can personally attest to the fact that it simply doesn’t work.  Sound nutrition and fitness routine with the proper rest and supplementation for your body will take you a lot further.

I found these coaches really great at inspiring their colleagues. But I found them to be inspiring them to make money. And granted, that was their intent today. But as far as being health and wellness coaches, we all know that true health comes from lifestyle AND nutrition. Not just one or the other.

Shop smart and be well.

TLR

28 Day Primal Challenge Review

Proper nutrition is a challenge enough for most people as it is.  These days with the buffet of options on nutrition, diet, and health plans, it makes it even more of a challenge for us to keep our heads screwed on straight and make choices that are in OUR own best interest. With the best of intentions, we experiment with different products, foods, and fitness programs to enhance our lifestyles and well being. What it comes down to is that we want to look and feel our best. It’s the truth. And I’m no different than anyone else. All my life I’ve gone over, above, and beyond the norm in order to stay in shape and keep the extra pounds off.

So when I’m not looking and feeling my best, I’m quick, like everyone else, to jump to action and make necessary changes. With the media, internet, magazines, and books that are just calling out to us, it’s so hard not to be tempted to try the next best thing.

I recently, about 2 months ago, came across a lecture from Mark Sisson who’s website, Marks Daily Apple, got me really thinking about the way I have been eating in my life. And although I’ve always eating a clean wholefoods kind of diet, I never really considered going back to the primal/paleo way of eating. It just always felt way too restrictive and to be honest, there was way too much emphasis on meat and fats in the diet. No grains, no legumes, soy, beans, or any kind of starch. Well, at the time I wasn’t eating all that much starch as it was so I figured what the hell, I’ll take his challenge. So for the better part of a month I stuck with leafy green veggies, eggs, poultry, a bit of red meat, fish, and very low glycemic vegetables. I consume copious amounts of fats in the form of olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, olives, and whatever came from the proteins I was consuming. I thought I could do this with no problem. And I did. When I commit to doing something, I follow it through to a T.

The eating part was no problem at all. I love my proteins and I love my fats. But I also love my gluten free oatmeal, sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, and an occasional sushi roll….WITH THE RICE!!  But 28 days was short enough where I wouldn’t really miss the foods.

It wasn’t the foods that I missed. It was my sanity. Although I wasn’t hungry during the day, my blood sugar was substantially lower, too low in fact, to give me energy throughout the day. I became extremely moody probably due to low serotonin levels. And despite the information given that the extra fats eventually will be your source of fuel for energy, I felt weak and lethargic all the time. My digestion suffered severely. I became extremely constipated and my skin looked pale, blotchy, and I broke out. Supposedly this diet, being low (or no rather) glycemic, helps to reduce inflammation in the body by keeping insulin levels low and in check. I felt more inflammation than ever before.  I had a weight gain of about 6 pounds  and I felt bloated and puffy most of the time. I also had a great deal of trouble sleeping, constantly waking up in the middle of the night. But I kept going with it just to see if my body would balance out.

One morning I woke up feeling absolutely drained, as if I hadn’t slept at all the entire night. I decided to have a good old bowl of oatmeal along with my usual eggs. Within minutes I felt better.  I had an amazing workout that day. Within a couple of days, the weight gain dropped. Despite the fact that the paleo/primal diet has worked wonders for so many fitness minded people out there, it clearly wasn’t for me.  I felt heavy in the body and foggy in the mind. Adding back my oatmeal, yes the gluten free oatmeal, my sweet potatoes, kabocha squash was the best thing for me. My mind is clearer, and thankfully my digestion is back on track. My energy is in check. I’m stronger at the gym. And my skin isn’t pale like it was on this diet.

There are thousands of diets out there.  Every single one of those diets promises to be the be all end all of dieting. They say eat this way and you will get the results you are looking for. And I’m not against the primal/paleo way of eating at all. In fact, I do believe that there are many people out there who thrive on this way of eating.  Just as there are those who thrive on grains, soy, wheat, and dairy. There really is no right or wrong way to go about it.

The problem is that we depend too much on unqualified books and blogs to tell us how we should be eating. When in fact these diets really lack a significant amount of scientific data to support them, let alone they are not specifically written with one individual in mind. How can one single book cure everyone’s weight and health issues when the reasons for our health conditions are so individualized???

Having tried so many different programs out there, I have, and continue to, narrow it down to what suites my needs. Up until the past few years, I have never been one of those low carb type of people. I, like so many women out there, can be influenced by websites, articles, books, and people in my gym. I would have to say in all honesty that some of the greatest influences on my nutritional plan have been what I see on the fitness pages on Facebook, the industry I worked in,  and the lectures  I hear in school. I’ve been doing way too much experimentation based on what works for others and not just listening to my gut.

When I look at the healthiest people that I know, they are the ones who don’t take their diets to the extreme. In fact, they don’t diet at all. They eat a balance of macronutrients to support their fitness and overall lifestyles. Sure we all have specific needs. If you have a health condition that requires modification to your diet, then by all means, take that into account. But don’t take things to an extreme unnecessarily. Actually, I’ve seen more people, including myself, suffer with more digestive issues from extreme diet changes than those who walk the middle line and don’t really diet at all.

Clean eating, moving your body, and following a plan that is suited specifically for YOU, whether it be Primal/Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, high carb, low carb….whatever suites you is what’s important. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. Listen to your gut.

If you are in need of nutritional guidance, seek out a health or nutritional coach or someone qualified to guide you in the right direction. An article from “Fitness Today” isn’t going to cut it.

We are all individuals who require individual plans. What works for one person will not work for another. So don’t even go there.  And remember, if it doesn’t make you feel good, then it simply isn’t good for you. The most important thing with diet, nutrition and fitness is that it should make you feel good in your body….not just look good on your body.

So as far as my 28-day Primal/Paleo Challenge, it was definitely and interesting experiment. And I would recommend it to those who have tried many other diets that have failed them. But for me, I’ll stick to a balanced approach with all foods. This way I never feel restricted.

To Your Health!!

Tracy Lynn

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Mocha Maca Madness

Everyone needs a little chocolate in their day. Well, maybe not every day, but if you choose to, you can’t go wrong with some good old dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the amount of antioxidant.

Recently I’ve been playing around with some different protein powders and have been really impressed with the new line I’ve encountered. Emerald Essentials was brought to my attention by a friend of mine who works with the line. I’ve been on the search for a high quality grass fed whey protein powder. Something that stands out from the rest. And I believe I’ve hit a bulls eye with this one.

Aside from the health benefits of whey, that being high in biocystein3 which helps to increase your glutathione levels in your body, this stuff is just hands down the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever experienced. The texture is perfect in a smoothie and it mixes really well into other concoctions as well, like your yogurt or oatmeal.

I love my smoothies right after a good workout and this blend has really kept me satisfied for several hours. Here’s a simple recipe that gives you a nice thick protein shake, seriously almost like ice cream, that’s loaded with complex (good) quality high carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Cheers!!

Ingredients:

1 cup Milk of Choice (I used the almond/coconut blend from Almond Breeze)
30 grams Emerald Essentials Chocolate Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
20 grams Garden of Life Super Seed (you can use chia seeds, but this stuff really makes it nice and thick and creamy)
8 Grams Sunfood Nutrition Maca Powder
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger (feel free to use powder but use less)
1 tsp cinnamon
stevia to taste
10 ice cubes

Blend in your Blendtec/Vitamix/ or whatever blender you have until thick and creamy.

Ahhhhh!!! Wasn’t that yummy!!  Thought you’d say so…….!!!

I like to have this shake right after I exercise so that the high amount of carbs get stored in my muscle tissue rather than my tush tissue! But feel free to indulge whenever you prefer.

Nutritional Information:

Calories     338
Carbs.          45
Fiber            13
Fat                11
Protein        26

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