Nutrition

The Mango Meltdown

It’s summer! And what do I think of when I think of summer? Fresh fruit! Specifically? My favorite: mangoes.

Also, my oldest, better known as the picky, I’ll eat only chicken (not from Publix or with sauce or fried weird or with something on the outside) and cheese (only natural, not processed or white) child, actually will eat a Mango. It’s like the sky opened up and threw me a bone for once.

After doing some quick research, I learned that mangoes are the most popular fruit in the world! And for good reason. Not only do they taste great, but their versatile and healthy, making them an iconic summer staple. While mangoes can be in season during most of the year due to different strains, they really peak in the summer months. Last summer, I went to Mexico with my two besties, also known as health bloggers and health weirdos and a vendor walked by and hollered, “Mango on a stick?” We just looked at each other. “Duh Mexican guy.”

And so what does all of this make me wonder: what are the nutritional values of mangoes? Here’s a quick guide for the best fruit of the summer.

Mango benefits:

  1. Hair and Skin Health: Mangoes contain lots of Vitamin A, which helps in the sebum production that keeps your hair and skin shiny and moisturized. It also contains Vitamin C, which helps collagen production and builds the structure of the cells.

  2. Bone Health: Mangoes have lots of Vitamin K, which low intake of is an indicator for bone fractures.

  3. Heart Disease: Mangoes have potassium, fiber, and many vitamins that ward off heart disease. For example, to reduce symptoms of hypertension, doctors say to decrease sodium levels and increase potassium levels.

  4. Digestive Health: The fiber and nutrients in mangoes help you to avoid stomach issues.

  5. Diabetes: For Type 1 Diabetes, fiber helps lower blood sugar levels. In Type 2 Diabetes, fiber improves blood sugar, lipid count, and insulin levels.

  6. Cancer Prevention: Mangoes have proven to help certain cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon.

  7. Macular Degeneration: The antioxidant zeaxanthin filters out harmful blue light rays and plays a protective role in eye health.

With all of these amazing health benefits, mangoes are a staple of the summer diet. Healthy, nutritious, tasty, and juicy; what can’t mangoes do?

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Enjoy your Mango! And if you can eat one that was just picked and put on a stick while sitting in a chair at one the world’s top beaches - you freaking do that!

Love, Molly

The Supplement Situation

I understand the appeal of supplements, really, I do. My attorney will get mad if he don’t see this: I am NOT a doctor NOR am I giving you medical advice. There you read it.

Every day you might hear about the different nutrients you need. You need this to sleep, this for your knees, this for that, that for this. It can be overwhelming.

Then you have to wonder if you’re getting enough of these nutrients in your diet. Maybe? Maybe not? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have a deficiency.

So what sounds like the easiest way to get your fill?

Supplements seem like the clear answer. They promise flowing hair, clear skin, weight loss, healthy guts, and more. Here’s a list of the most common vitamins and supplements:

  • Vitamin D: Antidepressant and energy-stimulant.

  • Magnesium: Nerve and muscle function.

  • Calcium: Bone health, blood clotting, heart.

  • Vitamin C: Artery health, connective tissue, and good skin.

  • Omega-3: Healthy hair, eyes, brain, and nails.

  • Probiotics: Aid in digestion and immunity.

But do they really work? Are they worth your money?

For hundreds of years, doctors and scientists believed that vitamins were the key to treating sicknesses and diseases. They prescribed huge doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and many more in last ditch efforts to cure everything from the common cold to cancer to heart disease. However, after many years and many studies, these scientists were proven wrong, indicating almost no evidence that supplements can treat or cure any diseases.

For example, Vitamin C has been proven to only cure scurvy and Vitamin E does nothing.

Other vitamins have mixed effects. For another example, Vitamin B is commonly taken by pregnant women to reduce neural diseases and increase the health of the baby. However, other studies show that Vitamin B increases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. So what should you believe? Well, it’s a little more complicated (and way more scientific) than that. Basically, Vitamin B aids in growth of cells. This means it’s good for pregnant women and children because they’re constantly growing! But for adults, this is unnecessary and can be harmful!

So basically, supplements are way more involved than you might think they are. What works for one person can be absolutely detrimental for the next.

So why are supplements not as helpful as you might think? The answer is actually quite easy. A long time ago, it was very common for most people (especially the lower/working class) to contract diseases caused by not getting the right nutrients. However, in today’s day and age, the most common diseases are NOT caused by nutrient deficiencies. Obesity, heart problems, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more are caused by other problems and cannot be cured by vitamin supplements.

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins (Vitamins B and C) need constant replacement in the body because excess amounts are quickly expelled. For example, if you eat too much Vitamin C, your body will keep what it needs and flush out the rest. But excess fat-soluble vitamins (aka Vitamins A, D, E, and K) are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, meaning they are flushed out of the body much slower than the others. Basically, too many fat-soluble vitamins in your body could become toxic easily, which is why you have to be super careful when taking supplements you might think you need.

With this being said, supplements can be helpful to certain people. Here’s a small list of people who may need to take supplements: But remember, everyone is different. Consult with a doctor before you make any sudden changes to your supplements or diet.

  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding: Folate or other neural vitamins

  • Vegans/Vegetarians: Vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium

  • Individuals who do intense training or exercise

  • Anemic: Iron supplements

  • Other health problems: Do your research before choosing what’s right for you

  • Elderly: Many supplements can help, including Vitamin D or Omega-3

So while most don’t need to take supplements at all, they’re essential for certain individuals. Make sure to do your research and talk to a doctor before doing anything!

And the point is: DO YOUR RESEARCH. I get SOOOO frustrated when I see people at the gym in their supplement store t-shirts sucking down 5 different pre-workouts, vitamins and so on. “The cashier at the vitamin store said these were good.” My response is the same. “They said cigarettes were good 100 years ago too.” or “Does the cashier have a medical degree by chance?” or “How much did you spend? It was a lot wasn’t it?”

DO YOUR RESEARCH and if you need something to supplement your already awesome diet of healthy vitamins and nutrients, then you go for it!

Enjoy your day and step outside for some awesome Vitamin D.

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Love,

Molly

The Breakdown of Kombucha

I'm sure you have seen all the hype about Kombucha. I've researched it a ton but I didn't really want to try it until I was at a conference with a girl that made her own. We discussed how she broke it down and how she nursed it for months. It was very fascinating. Especially since my disease has pretty much killed my stomach! I'll try anything to get it back to normal.

So, what is it? Kombucha was invented over 2000 years ago in ancient China. They used it as an anti-inflammatory and treatment for 'ailments' or what we call arthritis today. 

How is it made? You probably don't want to know.. It is made of a fermented tea (green or black mostly) with added sugar and yeast bacteria. Basically, it sits and ferments for days and a layer of bacteria is created on the top, called a Scoby. These bacteria are said to help many functions of the human body. 

What does it do for you? Mostly, Kombucha is said to be great for gut health, where the ingestion of the healthy bacteria will hopefully colonize or help the preexisting bacteria in your gut. 

A healthy gut is linked to a healthy mental state. 

Two scientific studies found that Kombucha can be antimicrobial, anticancer, and antidiabetic. But studies on humans is very limited. Kombucha does contain DSL which is a known inhibitor of cancer cells.

This is a great one! It's sold tons of places as well. This flavor is a tad robust but still good!

This is a great one! It's sold tons of places as well. This flavor is a tad robust but still good!

You can find numerous varieties and brands. I try to stay with the organic ones just to make sure there aren't added stuff I don't want. I also suggest buying the smaller bottles to see if you like it first. It's an acquired taste for sure.  

I like this brand too. Except the Ginger Spice. I have an aversion to all things Ginger though!

I like this brand too. Except the Ginger Spice. I have an aversion to all things Ginger though!

Bottom line: Just try it. It you feel that it works, then keep drinking it. It has wonderful properties and benefits! 

Let me know if you have a good brand that you love! 

Love, Molly

Friday Faves 5

1. Fresh Fruit in the Summer. This is an easy one. Who doesn't love fresh fruit? I have a little one that will literally eat herself sick when it comes to fruit. I have actually hid fruit from her. I love fruit too and I am happy that my girls will eat it, so I keep tons around. I have always kept a fruit bowl out just in case they wanted a snack. We eat it plain, with yogurt, in pies, on pies, with whipped cream, in smoothies, anyway really. Yum to fresh, summer fruit!

Cost: Varies

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2. Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Dessert Ice Cream. I sure have included several ice creams on my lists, even though I rarely eat it! The ice cream market has been flooded with healthier options and it intrigues me that we are trying to find healthier options for just about anything. I'm not sure why we can't just use self control and have the normal stuff, but whatever. This ice cream/frozen dessert is more of a frozen yogurt consistency. For 35 calories, well worth it. 

Cost: $3 ish a pint

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3. Willy's Salsa.  Not all salsa is created equal. Especially if you are dealing with gluten issues or eat a low FODMAP diet, like I do. Plus, who wants tons of sugar and fake crap in their salsa? That's why I love Willy's Salsa. I send it in school lunches with my little one  and she loves it. It's all natural and very good! I'm a baby, so I get the mild one. I have tried the hot one and it's HOT! But, still good. Find it in the fresh veggie section. 

Cost: $5 ish but it does go BOGO at Publix often. 

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4. Ocean Spray Pact Infused Water.  If you follow me at all, you know I have been on a quest for something to drink that's not full of sugar. Or juice. Or caffeine. I am a natural drinker, all day. Tea, water, tea, tea, orange juice, water, etc. All day. That's a ton of sugar into one day. I tried to cut some tea out first. Then out went the orange juice completely. While at Aldi, I found these Ocean Spray infused waters. Whoa - I really like them. They have very low sugar and only 10 calories. I only bought these two flavors, but I would love to try some others. My new favorites!

Cost: $1.29 each

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5. Watermelon Sorbet. My oldest decided to try her hand at making her own sorbet. Heads up, if you need an excuse to mop your floors, give your 17 year old a broken food processor and an entire watermelon. I've mopped twice and we are still sticking to the floor. However, the sorbet turned out fantastic! I love anything  with watermelon, so it was a win win for me. Don't be scared by the recipe either, it's not that complicated to make your own sorbet! Here's my post with the recipe: Here

Cost: Varies on cost of watermelon

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Thanks for reading. Don't be scared of a little fruit! 

Love, 

Molly

Watermelon Sorbet

My oldest decided she wanted to make her own sorbet. My first thought was, "Um, isn't that complicated." She is a tad persistent.. And I learned that my 21 year old food processor with a crack isn't meant for a 17 year old. Whatever, my cabinets and floors needed a cleaning at 10:00 pm on a week night. 

I love watermelon. It's my favorite fruit actually, so if she wants to waste a $7 watermelon, why should I stop her, right? Eek! It turned out fantastic! I had my doubts that she could pull it off, but she did! And she claims it was easy to make. (After the exploding incident, I bolted!) 

Here's Annabelle's Watermelon Sorbet recipe: 

8 cups of seedless watermelon cut into chunks

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar, honey, or sugar alternative

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

In a small pan, boil the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Add the lemon juice to the cooled mixture and set aside. Blend the watermelon in a blender or food processor until completely pureed. Add to the sugar mixture and stir well. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish and freeze until firm. 

Serve and enjoy!

Love, 

Molly & Annabelle  

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5 Ways To Improve Your Health

Welcome to my new series! First up - 5 Ways To Improve Your Health. I know that is a broad statement but here are some simple suggestions to get you started in the right direction.  

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1. Cut out processed foods. Processed foods are so simple and quick and readily available but they are so unhealthy for you! They are generally full of "fake" things, unhealthy fats (trans fats), sugar and calories. Almost everything we eat is processed in some way - I have to pick my cucumbers from the garden, etc. But chemically processed foods are what I'm discussing. They are made from artificial substances and refined ingredients. They have added ingredients to make them last longer. They add color so it looks more appealing. Processed foods are the highest source of sugar in our western diet and the main cause of obesity. Why? Because they are good and addictive! Our brains want the feeling we get when we eat something familiar and "rewarding." We are literally having to have the "reward" constantly. BUT... you have to cut them out! I truly no longer eat processed foods and feel horrible when I do. They have no benefit or nutrients and are holding your nutrition back! Just try eating whole, fresh foods for a day and see how well you feel! 

2. Eat tons of plants. Growing up, my parents always fought with my brother - "You have to put something in your body green." That would start a huge argument but my parents never gave in. Now, Mr. Crossfitter eats 80% green. (Ok, maybe not that much.) Eating plants each day will ensure you are getting tons of nutrients! TONS. They are low fat, a good source of carbohydrates, full of fiber, lower your blood pressure, reduce your cancer risk, boost testosterone, reduce fat, lower cholesterol and any other thing you might want to add. They also fill you up. So, increase your plants! Add at least one serving at each meal. I mean, why not? 

3. Eat all your varieties. (Carbs, Protein, Fats and Veggies) Eating a well rounded diet is VITAL. Ours bodies are made to eat a variety. We need the nutrients from all sources! You can not safely remove all carbs from your diet. You will crash and burn. Fat is good for you. Fat plays an important role in the proper functioning of your body. Protein is our building blocks. Too much of anything is bad, but we need to maintain a good balance. There are good carbs, good fats, good protein sources and so on. Eat like your great grandparents did. Simple, fresh and full of variety. 

4. Eat more "good" fats. Good fats are my everything! I'm currently eliminating avocados and I've been in full withdrawal! I walked over to the avocado bin yesterday and just stood there looking at them. Seriously. Fat is a necessary component in our nutritional health. Fat provides much needed coating for our nerves. Certain fats are essential for regulating blood pressure, inflammation, and blood clotting. There are different types of fats and you should know what is needed and so on. 

  • Monounsaturated Fats are are found in many fruits, avocados, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and olive oil. They aid in lowering bad cholesterol and and raise good cholesterol.

  • Polyunsaturated Fats also fight bad cholesterol. They are in salmon, fish oils, sunflower oils and seeds. They are fantastic sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Saturated Fats are very misunderstood but are essentially our "bad" fats. Diets high in saturated fat are linked to heart disease but they can be consumed in small amounts. However, avoid Trans Fats like the plaque. Trans Fats are generally man made (not all are though), think french fries, chips, etc. They are great for sitting on shelves in a pre-packaged box.

5. Limit alcohol. This is a no-brainer. Alcohol is loaded with calories. It also makes you snack and want more! Limiting alcohol can cut your weekly intake down significantly. 

I know this list is simple and I didn't go into great detail but it's a start for you. I hope you enjoy the up coming series on 5 Ways to Improve. 

Much Love, 

Molly

 

 

Friday Faves 3

1. Elli Quark German Yogurt. I'm not a huge yogurt fan, but I do like a good, all natural one every now and then. I found this awesome one at Target. They are all natural, high protein, very little sugar, 95% lactose free and gluten free. They also have probiotics in them. I've only tried a few flavors, but I loved this Vanilla Bean flavor. I stick with vanilla or no flavor yogurts typically. The Brownie Batter was good but I'm more of a plain girl. I mixed mine with a few blueberries and raspberries and made a healthy snack/breakfast. They are much thicker than traditional yogurt, more like a cheesecake consistency. So, if cheesecake is your weakness, here's a great solution! I have to admit that I really liked them! If your local Target doesn't carry them, I also found them at Sprouts. Worth a try, I promise! (Yes, I had been digging in the dirt. Clearly my nails reflect that!)

Cost: $1.19

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2. Duke's Smoked Sausages. I found these at my local grocery store and they are yummy! I was drawn to them for being gluten free and low in sugar. They come in a variety of flavors but I figured I wasn't brave enough to tackle the Hatch Green Chile just yet. I settled on the original and I really liked them. My stomach is the most sensitive thing on the planet and I was able to tolerate them well. It's a win win for me. Plus they have 9 grams of protein per serving and very little carbs. And they are yummy. Did I mention that? Click the name above and it will take you to their page and store locator. These would make the perfect snack for your gym bag! 

Cost: $1.29 

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3. Ripple Milk. It's not a secret - I hate milk. I gave it up years ago in hopes that my stomach would begin feeling better. But recently, I have tried to cut some other foods out of my system (AKA, massive amounts of orange juice) and needed something to replace it. So, my journey for a milk like product began. I can tolerate lactose-free milk well so I decided to try Ripple milk. It is stupid yummy! It was on sale, so I bought both the regular and chocolate milk. Both were fantastic. It is a pea, plant based milk and is full of Omega-3s and calcium. I did cook with it one night where milk was called for and it didn't cook as smoothly as regular milk. But, I'm fine with that, if it means that I can eat certain things again. If you have a milk allergy in your family, give this a try. It really is yummy. 

Cost: $4.50

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4. Fresh Carrots. Oh, am I the luckiest girl alive! I have parents that are phenomenal at gardening. I have mentioned numerous times that they have an organic garden. Their carrots are 100x better than the store bought ones. They visited this past weekend and thankfully delivered some yummies! I always ask for them to keep the tops on because of this. If you ever have the opportunity to purchase fresh carrots, do so. He had a variety last year that was very sweet. It was like eating candy. I'm dying to make a new gluten free carrot muffin this weekend, so perfect timing dad! They also brought Kale and Radishes. All my favorites!!

Cost: Free from Daddy

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5. Bare Apple Chips. I am notorious for pushing my meals WAY back during the day. I will eat my first meal around 1 and then a second around 6. Plus, I stay up really late each night. So, by 11 pm, I am hungry again. This is when I would grab a snack and not always the best ones. I found these apple chips at Publix. Ingredients: Apples. That's it. They are very good in my opinion. My little one who will eat anything didn't like them though. They do have a strong apple flavor of course, so that threw her off. She generally loves apples. Oh well. I like them though! If you are the type that needs a "crunch", try these out. They have several varieties, such as granny smith, coconut and banana chips. 

Cost: $2.99 ish 

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I hope you find something that you can't live without!

Enjoy!

Molly

Friday Faves

Happy Friday!

I have wanted to start this feature and today is the day!

I get asked frequently about certain products and I would love to share my favorites with you. I try fitness and nutrition products often and I'm lucky that I get to see new things discussed as they come out. They aren't always "healthy" or easy to use. I'm here to break it down for you. Click the names and you are heading to yumminess. 

Remember this is my opinion only! 

1. Brownie Batter Hummus by Delighted by Hummus. So, my friend, Stephen introduced me to this product and now he is a loser because I will now consume mass quantities of it. Brownie Batter Hummus by the Delighted by Hummus company. Yep. It tastes like brownie batter. Yummy brownie batter that is actually good for you. I have deliberately not tried the other flavors but maybe I should... I did thoroughly review the ingredients and they are awesome. All natural and free of loads of sugar like most products. Oh, and it tastes like brownie batter. It is fantastic on strawberries, pineapple, pretzels, a spoon. The website has a store locator and I actually found it at the Publix a mile from my house. Try it out for an awesome, chocolate treat that won't kill your nutrition goals. 

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2. Ghee by The Thrive Market. I LOVE GHEE. I have tried several varieties and I always go back to The Thrive Markets. Ghee is a clarified butter that originated in South Asian cuisine. It has fantastic health benefits. Such as, it's lactose free, it doesn't spoil, it supposedly helps with flexibility and it's high heat tolerant. I need to write an entire post on Ghee! I replaced most of my butter with ghee. When cooking in my cast iron skillet, I may have to replace the butter four or five times. Adding tons of calories. With ghee, I can add one tablespoon and use it for the entire dish. It will rarely burn away. So, one tablespoon of ghee replaces maybe 4-5 tablespoons of butter. It's more expensive that butter, but it lasts forever! I need you to try it. Like, we might not be able to be friends anymore if you don't. You will never go back. Side note: I do not like the Trader Joe's version. It's not bad, I'm just spoiled with The Thrive Market version. Need a discount code? Of course you do.  Here is 25% off your first order. (Yes, I will get a small something from the company) http://thrv.me/cLsS1b

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3. Grab the Gold. I was at a conference years ago and the speaker was a nutritionist. She was full of nutrition information and began picking apart protein bars. She made a ton of sense and boom, my interest in nutrition was born. Most protein bars are full of sugar, calories and shit. Companies slap labels on their bars and somehow people believe them! Grab the Gold started when a teenage girl needed to create a snack for her home economics class. She turned that into a business and now she's making yummy, all natural snack bars and killing the protein bar world.  In my opinion, Grab the Gold bars are the best bar on the market, nutritionally and taste wise. They have lower calories, are gluten and dairy free, have zero trans fats and have a high fiber content. Add a good quality yogurt and a handful of walnuts and you've created a perfect breakfast. If you are near me or my facility, ask me and I might share a sample.. Or check their site for a local retailer. Or just trust me and order a box. They ship very FAST too. I usually order multiple boxes and they will arrive the next day. It's crazy! They have two flavors, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter & Jelly (recently released and my favorite)!

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4. Unique Splits Pretzels. I have been changing my nutrition up lately and I wanted a healthier snack option. I found these babies at my local Piggly Wiggly. They are VERY salty so proceed with caution but VERY good. I can eat one and be satisfied. They are cholesterol free, trans fat free, sugar free, preservative free and artificial color free. PLUS, each 1 ounce serving has very little fat (2 grams), low calories (110), fiber (1 gram) and protein (3 grams)! My favorite thing though is that they are made from only 5 ingredients. No shit hiding anywhere. They make several varieties, including a 100% whole grain sprouted flour one. If you are looking for a great product that is certified organic, kosher, vegan, and diabetic friendly- then you need to try these. I am currently out, it's midnight and I'm seriously considering a grocery store trip. 

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5. Bubly Sparkling Water.  I'm not a sparkling water fan. (Ask Liina about my dramatic episode when I accidentally bought one instead of regular water recently). I do not like La Croix. Pepsi recently came out with these babies and it took me some searching to find them locally. They have several flavors and ALL taste like cans of yumminess. They have zero calories and zero sweeteners. I encourage you to find some!

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There you go! My first Friday Fave list! I hope you try and enjoy them all!

Much Love,

Molly

Eating for Disease Prevention

Can we really eat to prevent the onset of diseases? Absolutely. Not some, but a lot! Yet, we still eat corn chips all the time. And drink sodas constantly. And we eat twice as much as we should. Why is that? Because we get uncomfortable and need to find things that help us cope. We live in a stressful world and need "things" to make us feel better. We also have very little time in our stressed worlds, so we go to the easiest options. I get it.

So, what do we do to stop this constant cycle? In my 24 years in this field, I have learned ONE important thing - you have to want it. I actually can see when that light comes on with clients. It may take a few minutes with me or weeks or years! But when it comes on, the real magic begins. 

If you want to change, then you have to find the strength from within your own self. Without that strength and determination, nothing will change.

Often the fear of a disease will kick start you to beginning a new, healthier lifestyle. I mean you feel decent, but you went to the doctor to discuss something and boom, you walk out with a new diagnosis. Like:

  • High cholesterol

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Autoimmune disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Thyroid issues

  • Heart disease

  • Arthritis

Or what is more important - you already know of a disease that runs in your family and you haven't made the decision to protect yourself yet. We want to feel our best. We don't want to take medications daily. We want to be physically able to do whatever we want! We want control of our lives! So, what's the next step?

I'm going to pick a few diseases and discuss your options. Don't worry, we don't have to pick the elusive fruit from a mountain in the rainforest. That would be fun to be on an adventure to find some ancient remedy! As long as I had an air conditioning hotel room at night! 

CHOLESTEROL

We need cholesterol in our bodies and it actually has some vital roles. But if we have too much, it will get caught in our artery walls, causing clogs. High cholesterol can be genetic unfortunately. Other times, it's from eating too much saturated fats (from animal foods) and not enough plants. Cholesterol also rises with age, although it doesn't have too! 

Need more help reading your results or want to test your cholesterol levels? Check these two options out: https://labtestsonline.org/ or https://carehere.com/ (if you are with Mercedes Benz, CareHere is your go to!) 

I'm your fitness and nutrition blogger, so let's discuss those two things. Of course, I am NOT your physician, so please discuss with them first! Sometimes, a lifestyle change is all that is needed for you to improve your cholesterol numbers. If that's the case, DO IT FOR HEAVENS SAKE. 

Diet: The goal is to lose body fat. Losing body fat can lower cholesterol, especially triglycerides. 

  • Add plants and/or fruits to each meal. Examples: Dark leafy greens, carrots, blackberries, blueberries

  • Look for whole grain options. Adding quality whole grains can lower your risk for clogged arteries by almost 30 percent. Examples: Wild rice, steel cut oats, sprouted bread

  • Add legumes. They are high in fiber, which binds to cholesterol in the digestive track. Examples: Beans, lentils, chick peas

  • Add healthy fats. Healthy fats aide in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and aide in raising HDL (good cholesterol). Healthy fats have also been proven to improve body composition!

Exercise: Exercising can help you lose body fat (and blood fat in the process), help change enzymes that decrease triglycerides; and aide in reducing stress. 

  • Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise (cardio and strength training) each day.

  • Begin a walking routine daily.

  • Add weights to your routine. Any size weights are better than nothing! Start with a small number, such as 10 reps and move up from there.

  • Add body weight training if weights aren't available. Or, add it anyway! Body weight training is an excellent way to build strength. Examples: Squats, lunges, planks, plank taps, side leg lifts, push ups

  • All activity will count! Play with your kids/grandkids outside. Walk your dog one extra time each week (your dog will be excited)! Park a little further away from the entrance. Turn on some music and dance while cleaning. Add a "commercial break" move (do one exercise for each commercial).

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is characterized by obesity, cardio vascular disease, inflammation and muscle issues. Diabetes is a serious disease that must be managed properly. The good news? Diabetes (Type 2) can be prevented and managed! Diabetes is a major factor in heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure. Lifestyle changes are such a huge part of your treatment. 

Diet: Eating a diet of mainly fresh, whole foods is always my recommendation, especially with Diabetes. Having a healthy, less processed diet will typically allow you to lose weight, ultimately improving your blood sugar levels. 

*Discuss a full healthy diet with your doctor of course.*

  • Decrease carbs/starches. This will reduce blood sugars. (Notice I said decrease, not eliminate completely.)

  • Replace saturated fats. Replace saturated fats, such as butter and red meat with healthy fats. Examples: Fish/Algae oils, olive oil, sunflower oil, ghee

  • Add more plants. Adding more plant based foods will add much needed phytonutrients.

Exercise: Exercising is so important in monitoring and controlling your diabetes. Benefits: Losing body fat, improving insulin sensitivity, improving blood sugars, reducing stress, and improvement in cardiovascular function. 

Diabetes affects the way your body metabolizes energy as well. That's why disease management is so important. Follow your doctors recommendation on exercising. Considerations when beginning your program are medications, blood sugar levels before exercising, how your blood sugar levels react during exercise, what you've eaten prior to beginning, and what type of exercising you are doing. 

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can put you at risk for numerous issues. Just like diabetes, you can improve high blood pressure with lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which can possibly cut your risk of future problems dramatically. 

Diet: Again, eating a diet of mainly fresh, whole foods is my recommendation. Maintaining a lower body fat percentage is the goal. 

  • Add more plants and/or fruits to each meal. Adding more plants will help lower sodium levels and will add much needed nutrients that are important to lower your blood pressure.

  • Add healthy fats. (I feel like I say this ten times a day!) Healthy fats have been proven to lower blood pressure. They have also been linked to improving body composition and depression. Examples: Avocados, olive oils, mixed raw nuts, coconut oils, chia seeds, fish/krill/algae oil, olives

  • Reduce processed foods. Reducing processed foods will help you maintain a healthy weight and will reduce your sodium intake.

Exercise: Maintaining a healthy weight is important and will likely keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. It will also keep your heart healthy! 

  • Begin a strength training program.

  • Add a low-intensity cardio routine as well.

  • Add yoga or a meditation program to monitor your stress levels. Stress will raise your blood pressure.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are unfortunately on the rise. They can be hard to diagnose, cause countless health issues and are extremely painful to deal with. Most are hereditary, however studies have shown that environmental and dietary factors may play a huge role. Some diseases in this category: Lupus, various Arthritis conditions, Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Eczema, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, various Thyroid conditions

Diet: A healthy diet is vital with an autoimmune disease. Each disease may have its own diet, so please consult with your doctor first. Its also very important to do an elimination diet to find the foods that cause you more problems. 

I do understand the symptoms and issues associated with an autoimmune disease. So often your diet and exercise routine will suffer and need to change daily. That's the frustrating part but you can successfully manage your disease. Keep a symptom diary so you can adjust if need be. 

  • Research your disease and the elimination diet. Research foods that trigger you.

  • Eliminate processed foods completely if possible.

  • Eat a diet of mainly fresh, whole foods.

  • Try the Paleo diet. Studies are showing that autoimmune diseases react well to this diet.

Exercise: This is a touchy subject! exercise is very important if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease. However, you must find the activity that you can tolerate and recover well from. Be careful and start slow.

  • Add small activities. Start with 20 minutes daily and add as you can tolerate.

  • Be careful with your specific issues and always allow yourself ample recovery time.

  • Try body weight exercises. Examples: Squats, Push-ups, Planks, Leg lifts

  • Add a core routine. Maintaining a healthy weight, especially in your mid-section is important. Begin with 10 minutes daily.

  • Add a stretching and meditation routine. Be careful, as some autoimmune diseases make your muscles more elastic.

Need more info on autoimmune diseases specifically, try this blog post: HERE or a core workout HERE.

With each disease outlined here, the main takeaways are basically the same. Eat a healthy diet for you and do your best to maintain an exercise routine. I'm not saying that you have to eat only that elusive fruit or compete in a ultra marathon to be healthy. Be the best version of you. And do it for you, not your family or society - do it for you. 

Eat a healthy diet for you and do your best to maintain an exercise routine. Do it for you.
— Molly

I encourage you to always find what helps you feel better and what helps you cope with your disease. Having a disease is a horrible thing and why not prevent that if at all possible? If you have concerns or questions about your health, ALWAYS fight until you are satisfied with the answer. I know I only touched a tiny tip of the information that is out there about disease prevention but I hope this sparked something inside of you to begin your research. 

As always, if you need nutrition or exercise recommendations specifically to you, please reach out to me. Best of luck!

Much Love,

Molly

P.S.- Here's some extra info!

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Reference: Precision Nutrition textbook, blog, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superfoods. Really?

The word Superfood has been around awhile, but it has recently been plastered on every blog, book and child's toy for a thousand miles. I like being dramatic sometimes. 

Superfood Definition by Wikipedia: A marketing term for food with supposed health benefits.

The Macmillian Dictionary: A food that is considered to be very good for your health and that may even help some medical conditions.

The Oxford Dictionary: A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

As your friendly, low key fitness and nutrition blogger, I'm here to help. 

Are there really good foods and bad foods? I'm so tired of the mentality that "this" is the only way. I recently read an article that was perfect for my point by Precision Nutrition. It discussed that all foods can be good and bad. A high protein diet for a person with kidney disease is detrimental. Eggs are bad for individuals with high cholesterol and so on. 

Bread will kill you. Really? 

Soy is horrible. Really?

Eggs are bad. Your cholesterol will spike and you'll never recover. Really?

Chocolate will send you straight to Hell. Really?

Carbs should never be eaten. Ever. Really?

Fruit is bad for you. Really? 

I actually googled death by bread. No such results. Except the two guys that were baked alive in a bread factory in the U.K. If you have a severe gluten allergy, yes I know your view point. My point is, all things are bad to some. All things can be good for some. Excess of anything, even a "Superfood" can be bad.

So, why make the statements that you can't eat something to someone? I did have the client that said to me, "You should NEVER eat sugar. EVER. I'm smart enough to know that." Maybe that's why I'm having such horrible neck problems. I tried desperately to stop my head from spinning off its axis and clearly injured myself. I did get a nasty look when I commented on the sports drink she was holding and how she might need to restart her "never drinking sugar" thing, because she was holding a shit ton of it. 

OMG. I'm suppose to be discussing Superfoods, not my neck issues and the bad wrap sugar gets. 

THERE ARE FOODS THAT HAVE MORE NUTRIENTS AND SUPERIOR INGREDIENTS THAN OTHERS. THESE FOODS ARE FULL OF ANTI-OXIDANTS AND PACK A HUGE PUNCH FOR THEIR WEIGHT AS FAR AS NUTRITION GOES. ENTER THE WORD: SUPERFOOD. 

I don't typically use the word, Superfood, but in order to reach my clients and readers, I decided to write this piece. So, I spent nine years making awesome graphics for you. But for some reason, I decided to research some more facts and now I'm second guessing bringing you the information. Why? Because it's just all dependent on you and your body type, metabolism, cellular makeup, and a zillion other factors. 

AND truthfully...

I don't want to be apart of the hype. I'm weird like that. I want to be honest and for you to believe me. But instead, most believe the fad people who have themselves plastered everywhere.

Since, nine years of my life are in these awesome/beautiful/someone should buy them graphics, I'll forge on.  

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Protein sources

Stop with the grilled Chicken Breast already! Try some other options!

I would like to caution you with just any protein source. They are not created equal. Proteins are vital for our health in numerous ways. Amino Acids (AKA, our building blocks) that make up our proteins are responsible for our hormones (most of our non-steroidal ones), our enzymes, our immune chemicals (immunoglobulins and antibodies) and our transport proteins. Protein is THE key to muscle building. 

RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE: 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb)

*So, the more you weigh, the more you need. Example: A 200 lb (91 kg) person would need 91 x 0.8, or 73 grams of protein a day. That is a very general recommendation though. More is needed for weight training, certain illnesses, breastfeeding moms, etc. I generally recommend between 110-225 daily for my clients needs. 

Is it vital that you eat only animal sources? Heck no. I was a vegetarian for years while growing up. I have several vegan clients that are thriving marathoners. No steak has assisted their 26.2 miles! It's harder but very doable. My top protein sources are in the graphic above. 

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Veggies and Fruit

Eat your greens people!

I could eat only everything in this slide for the rest of my life and I would be fine. Okay, I would not be able to build muscle, but whatever. No seriously, eat those foods as much as possible. End of story. I do feel compelled to caution the acid sufferers here. If that's you, be careful with too much acid based foods of course. I had not tried beets until several months back and now my life is more complete. Crazy!

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Good Fats

AKA, the good stuff! Don't be scared!

Good Fats are everywhere now and they are very misunderstood! I have this argument constantly. There are three main types of dietary fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. 

SATURATED: Animal Fats, Tropical Oils (Coconut, Palm, Cacao)

MONOUNSATURATED: Olive Oils, Avocado, Peanuts, Ground Nuts, Tree Nuts

POLYUNSATURATED: (Omega-3) Flax, Fish Oil (Omega-6) Most Seed Oils (Safflower, Canola, Sunflower)

Which are healthy? Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. We need healthy fats for various reasons. It supports our metabolism, cell signaling, supports healthy body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and aides in absorption of vitamins (especially A and D). It also keeps you full longer. Eating more good fats has also proven to improve body composition and helps with depression. And you will finally find true happiness in life. I added that for dramatic effect but a perfect avocado with Himalayan sea salt and cracked pepper is close to true happiness! 

The key is finding a good balance. So, play with it. Just don't be scared. See my client progress slide below!

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Extras

More awesome stuff that feels left out everywhere else.

I swear I'm not sending you an invitation straight to Hell because I put dark chocolate on that slide. Dark chocolate has soluble fiber and tons of minerals. There are also studies proving that dark chocolate may lower blood pressure and your risk for cardiovascular disease. Be careful with the sugar though. Again, too much is too much! Wild rice is fantastic for disease prevention, digestive health, boosts the immune system and a zillion other benefits. Quinoa is a complete protein containing ALL nine essential amino acids. It is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and is full of fiber.  Lentils are essential for diabetic improvement. Just like wild rice, lentils are great for disease prevention, digestive health and they also have been shown to fight cancer and anemia. Turmeric has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in treating cancer. I could say a ton about all those in that slide, but you get the picture! Just incorporate them into your diet as much as possible.   

Yes, there are foods that we should incorporate into our diet as much as possible. Some are better than others. Some aren't so bad, but can affect people differently. If you are a healthy individual that is eating a well balanced and mostly fresh, whole food diet and exercising regularly, then why restrict certain things? Eat basically a 80/20 rule diet. 80% fresh, whole foods. 20% not so much. Eating for you is so important. Remember this blog post: https://www.mollyblomeleyfitness.com/blogg/2018/3/1/eating-for-you I go into more detail about eating for your specific body type. If something bothers you, (keep a food diary!!) then its an irritant and you should not eat it. Duh! I talk about my love for corn chips in the post. I don't eat a lot, but still. They kill my stomach. They are also my weakness. I actually make my partner take them to bed when he goes to sleep. He sits them on his nightstand. I will not steal a bag of corn chips right beside his head. That's so true, one of my secrets! If you have an off workout with very little energy, start looking at what you ate 2-4 hours prior. And don't eat that before your next workout! 

Think I'm crazy? (My partner will agree.) Anyway, take a look at my numbers from my current clients. They are 6 weeks in and EVERY ONE of them feels better, has lost weight and has a new confidence! I'm one proud Trainer Mom!! 

10 Clients

6 weeks in - 52 pounds lost!!

An average of 5.2 pounds each or .87 pounds a week. Studies have proven that losing one pound a week dramatically increases your chance of keeping the weight off.

Think about it this way: If they keep up the exact same rate, in 6 months, they will be down 17.4 pounds. 17.4 pounds that has a huge chance of never coming back! That's a big deal! 

Guess what? I restricted nothing. I just taught them to eat the correct things, at the correct time.  They ate a TON of the SUPERFOODS on my lists. I encourage you to do your research and find the foods and plans that work best for you. And please for the love of spinach, don't listen to every person on the planet. Remember, all things in excess can be bad. 

Your plan: Start by adding a superfood to each meal. Good luck on your journey! As always, if you need me - find me!

Much love, 

Molly

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Eating for You

I know you've heard of a zillion different diets BUT have you thought about eating for you and your body type? I'm sure you haven't. 

I've been on a mission to find foods that my body reacts well too. I began with eliminating certain foods and journaling how my body reacted. Unfortunately, corn chips at night did not make the cut. I would have the worst stomach cramps the entire next morning. I cut them out and no more cramps. Interesting and sad. That's when I began exploring other foods and whether my food was helping or hurting me. Let's call it eating for you. 

Most people think that "body type" is just the way someone looks. "She has the apple look." Or the famous, "She has the hourglass figure." In fact, your body type also dictates how you respond to food intake, hormones, and various other areas of your body. Yes, your body type is genetic, so go ahead and thank your parents. They love you regardless! Once you have determined your body type, you can adjust your nutrient intake to maximize body composition and health related goals. 

The three main body types are: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. You can change your body some and fall within two types but we generally fall within one category. 

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Ectomorphs are thin individuals with a smaller bone structure. They are the ones eating corn chips at night with no weight gain. 'sigh' They love endurance sports, have a higher metabolism and a higher carbohydrate tolerance. They don't have any issues with eating carbohydrates at each meal, they enjoy moderate protein and lower fat intake. They do need more carbs to drive their energy and endurance. 

Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Think football lineman and powerlifters. They are generally less active, thus meaning that their excess calories are more than likely stored as fat. They have a lower carbohydrate tolerance. They do better on a higher fat and protein diet with carbs being controlled and properly timed. 

Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure and athletic build. If they are active, they typically have a considerable amount of lean mass. Think wrestlers or gymnasts. They tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant, leading to a predisposition for muscle gain and lower body fat. They typically do better on a mixed and balanced diet. 

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Macro planning is an easy way to succeed in my eyes! It's the first step in making things less "OMG, I'm dying already." When you have the proper information, things just start working. It's wild! I have some clients that have seen remarkable success with my programs and I always start with body type. Every single time. If you want a more detailed plan, let me know. 

Hopefully this gives you some insight into thinking a little different about your nutrition. Mine has been off this week and it has been miserable. It's not hard to adjust your intake and get feeling better. I'm on vacation this week with my two best friends, both are fitness and nutrition bloggers too. We had a conversation today about getting started and how hard people think it is. They get this idea that things are horrible on the "other side" and they will live out their lives in misery. But at the same time, they want to change so badly. So, what's the one thing that makes you make that move? Go ahead and tell me, so I can help! Or maybe you don't know what it is yet. Either way, in order to succeed you have to find that desire, even if I give you all the tools - it's up to you. 

Start with finding your body type and eating on the above macro suggestions for a few weeks. See what happens. I know the answer.. Good luck and find me if I can help!

Love,

Molly

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Protein Balls

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I have been eyeing some different chocolate protein options for awhile. After running into a recipe from Living Well Mom, I decided to try my own this weekend. I'm very pleased with the result. 

I have also been discussing some chocolate options for a few clients that are struggling with afternoon sweet cravings. Found It!

I started with really good ingredients. I struggle with stomach issues regularly and I have been eliminating certain grains and flours from my diet. Which has helped tremendously, so I made sure to buy the gluten free option of steel cut oats. I also left my almond butter at work, so I used natural peanut butter instead. I was just experimenting, but I like it. It will naturally make it sweeter though, but the guys I was feeding, didn't mind. 

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Start with a food processor and add all the ingredients. It comes together very quickly and can be made in ten minutes! 

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free steel cut oats

3/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of cacao powder

I am fortunate to have a client and good friend, Jim that raises bees and makes the best honey. I prefer fresh, natural honey over the store bought processed stuff. So, I used local honey. 

Back to the recipe. Mix everything in a food processor until fully combined. Roll into balls and put on wax paper and place in the fridge until cold. Eat immediately or store in an air tight container for a quick snack full of goodness. 

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Even Beau approved. No, she didn't eat any. 

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I would recommend eating 2-3 each afternoon when you are about to attack the candy machine. At least here, you know all the ingredients are good quality. Enjoy and leave me a message if you try them!

Enjoy!

Molly 

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Carrot Top Pesto

I have a new recipe to share!

I'm in love with it and I hope you do as well! It was freezing outside and I flat out refused to go to the grocery store. I have been researching Pesto lately and I had a ton of fresh carrots from my parents garden that I needed to cut in the fridge. So, Carrot Top Pesto it is!

My parents have a wonderful garden and I LOVE getting deliveries!!! I visited my parents several weeks ago, which meant I came home with organic, fresh vegetables. Their garden is pesticide free and organic. My dad grows carrots and I swear, they are like candy. If you eat fresh carrots, you will always like them more than the store bought kind. So, anytime they have carrots, I clean them out! 

I had a big pile of carrots that still needed to be cleaned and cut. I just hate throwing the tops away. We do have a horse farm near my house and I thought about taking the tops to them, but remember it was -10 degrees outside. In comes the Pesto. 

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I cut the tops from the carrots and actually soaked it all in warm water. I then, scrubbed the carrots for snacking and salads and allowed the tops to dry on a towel. 

Once the tops were dry, I trimmed them and made sure there were no sticks or leftover dirt hanging around. They literally went from the dirt, straight into the bag I brought them home in. You MUST try fresh carrots. If you are weird and scared, get over it. It's like carrot candy. 

Next step: Add walnuts or pecans. I decided to use pecans. (Also from my mom.) She is my mom and you may not borrow her.

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In a food processor- pulse 1 cup of walnuts and/or pecans just until they begin to form a paste. Add 2 garlic cloves and pulse until a paste forms. Add 2 cups of carrot tops. 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. A dash of Himalayan sea salt. Pulse this together for a few seconds and begin drizzling in a good quality olive oil. I used about 1/2 a cup. 

Taste and add more salt or olive oil for your taste. I made mine a little thicker than usual because I planned to spread it on bread for snacks. 

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Super simple and quick! Serve with thin, Italian bread slices or mix with zucchini noodles for a yummy side dish. You can also add to fettuccine with some baked chicken. Yummy! 

Several things:

1. Do not be scared of making your own pesto. It's simple and you can control the ingredients and calories!

2. You MUST try fresh carrots. 

3. ENJOY!

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Everything you need to know for your January health goals!

Happy January and all things health and fitness! The end of 2017 was literally a crazy pile of shit for me! It wasn't all bad but just full of stuff. I did end the year with my first four months as a big girl business owner. It's true, had the meeting with my accountant and everything. Big girl. It seriously went like this:

Him: Blah, blah, serious stuff, blah.
Me: Do you need me to sign something for you?
Him: I need you to spend $7000 by the end of the year.
Me: In 6 days? Can I borrow some money?
Him: *explains it 2x* Do you understand this fully? I wrote it all down for you.
Me: *glares for about two minutes*
Him: Do you need me to start over?
Me: Well, I had $200 in my checking account yesterday. And you just handed me a bill for $375.
Him: I’m starting over.
Me: It probably won’t work even if you do.
Him: We’ve got this Molly. I’ve written it all down, highlighted everything and even included addresses for everything.
Me: I’m going to need to see your license.
Him: Molly. I feel like you don’t understand.
Me: Uh huh.

It has been an awesome four months though and I owe a ton to my awesome Assistant Director, Anna Whitfield. She is mainly running the facility and is a little spit fire of energy to have around. I look forward to watching her continue to grow. 

BUT.. It's January!!

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Back to all things health and fitness! How can I help you in your goals to become healthier? I can toot my own horn here but I also want to include some other options too. 

Me first! Clearly, you know I have a website devoted to nutrition and fitness, since you are reading this! I hold over 10 fitness certificates, I am a licensed Strength and Conditioning Coach and a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach. Surely, I can create a plan for you! OR we can create one together. OR I can mesh several together to create one with your own name to it.

Scared of me? I also LOVE Beachbody products and I am a coach with their organization, so we can find a program there too if you want. They have countless options for in home programs. I have tried them all (except Country Heat bc I would rather break my toe with a hammer) and can help you find one that will motivate you. I have several clients that have the On Demand option with Beachbody and they love it. It allows you to sign in and do any of their workouts any time that you want. I have met many through out Beachbody and they are a wonderful company. Yes, they sell products as well. Yes, there are bad coaches out there that will drive you crazy and demand that you join their challenge groups. But, there are also phenomenal and brilliant coaches too. I have tried all their products as well. I would never recommend anything that is full of sugars and fake crap, actually I rarely recommend any product unless I have used it at least three months personally.  I LOVE their Energize product. And my daughter has a Shakeology shake most mornings. I do not run challenge groups anymore, but I will mention one below that does. If you are interested in becoming a coach or trying any of their products, please let me know and I'll be happy to help! 

More interested in the nutrition side of things?  I.Am.Your.Girl.  I have a remarkable program with Precision Nutrition that is a habit based program that teaches you small, attainable goals to find the healthiest you possible. I have been blown away by my clients in this program. They love the smaller goals that are given each day and find it easier to remain successful this way. A new habit is given every two weeks that builds on the previous ones. Check out my Procoach tab at the top of the page. OR watch this awesome video. 

And I should mention that I'm only adding 5 spots with this program! I want to make sure that I can devote enough time to you! Please find me quick. (I have 3 meetings tomorrow to discuss it!) Look, I even have a graphic. I'm legit people. 

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Think you know the basics but just want some extra help with your nutrition? Or you prefer to start a tad smaller? I.Am.Your.Girl. I can design a nutrition plan just for you. I can not slap the food out of your hand though. I can teach you how to put macros together and to find foods that will make you feel a million times better. Check out my info over here:

https://www.mollyblomeleyfitness.com/nutrition/

Curious what my favorite protein bar is? I ONLY eat Grab the Gold bars. It's true. I am a protein bar snob. If I had to dissect all the different bars, I would always come back to Grab the Gold bars. They have a great balance. Most have too much sugar, too many carbs, some fake crap, and some other stuff that we can't pronounce. The bars are organic, gluten free and taste like a no bake cookie. They sent me their new flavor that launched yesterday and holy smokes, YUM! The original is peanut butter and chocolate. The new one is peanut butter and jelly. Here is their site if you're curious. I'm not getting a commission, just FYI. If you live near me, I can order for you. I will also be carrying them at my facility soon if you want to try them. 

Do you love TRX products? Me too! Check this link out if you have been thinking about ordering a TRX system. (affiliate link)

www.trxtraining.com

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Interested in the Whole 30 concept or a High Fat Lower Carb lifestyle? I have studied them both extensively but if you are interested in a challenge group with a coach that is freaking brilliant, especially with both of those - then over to my best friend you must go. Stacey Greenside runs an awesome site and has a group going almost continuously. She is very down to earth and will help you achieve your goals effortlessly. She has some fantastic resources and recipes. She is so good at it that she will fly across the entire United States, sit down to eat with you and still pull out a perfectly ripe avocado out of her purse. Perfectly ripe. 

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Here is her site:  staceygreenside.org

I could probably keep going here for hours. But, I'll stop! I encourage you to find what makes you happy. There are a ton of ideas flying out there and one is perfect for you! There are a zillion coaches as well and one will fit! I would love to help you find it. Good luck and Happy Januarying! 

Love, Molly

National Peanut Festival

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Once a year, my family eats more fried food than is ever suppose to happen. Ever. We use to always have someone sick or throw up. Now, thankfully we have learned to budget the grease. 

The National Peanut Festival is this crazy two week tribute to the amazing peanut. The peanut. When I first moved to the area, aka peanut capital of the world it took me years to understand the concept. Umm, no I don't want to go to the peanut parade. I don't want to eat peanuts twenty different ways either. But, if you live in south east Alabama, western Georgia or the Florida panhandle, you go to the festival. Then I had kids. So, now I drive FOUR hours to allow my kids to eat as much grease as possible. They look forward to it every year. 

My mom has always stated that she wants to drive in the Demolition Derby, so now we have to attend the derby's. It's hilarious. Grown ass men (and one woman this year) driving cars that they have taped or chained together and hitting each other. People are screaming and clapping when you knock someones wheel off. It's fantastic. Every American must attend a demolition derby at some point in their life.  

My quest this year was to focus on more food options. I'm currently in a documentation phase of my eating with another nutrition coach, so I was being extra cautious with my food intake. Plus, I am broke and my stomach was already hurting. Win win for my grease intake. My girls also showed restraint. I swear I did not lecture or bribe them in anyway. I almost gave a speech on the ride down but I refrained. If they throw up, that's on them. 

The famous Corn Dog Man's line was around the corner as usual. My favorite roasted corn vendor was also packed, so luckily I was too impatient to stand in line. The ONLY boiled peanut guy that I will ever buy from was there again. He's awesome. He has the waving peanut man in the picture above. My mom wanted some too but she walked away from me. So, I bought the large one in hopes of sharing with her. I sit down beside her finally all excited and she is eating some from hers. So, the two of us had two containers of boiled peanuts. <Insert two belly aches> Boiled peanuts are an acquired taste. You need to try real ones! Not, the canned ones. 

I did find some fruit though. 

Bananas were available.

Bananas were available.

Everyone should eat apples. Good quality apples.

Everyone should eat apples. Good quality apples.

I also found some vegetables. I had a vegetarian with me, so no worries. Vegetables were available. Cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, okra. No excuses for not getting your daily vegetables.   

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The girls ate some fried oreos. I was secretly hoping one would buy some fried peanut butter cups, but mom was shafted. No one ate a turkey leg thank goodness. We skipped the fried kool aide. One girl ate Chick Fil A. I did lecture her about choosing the option that is a mile from our house. We did manage to buy cotton candy, boiled peanuts, fresh lemonade, hot dog, two nachos, brunswick stew (my dinner), fries, and fried oreos. Believe it or not, that was a success! AND no one threw up. We did stop for some stomach medicine though. Still- successful trip. 

My brother also drove up to see us. Which was awesome! We missed Aunt Steph, AKA the cool aunt. 

All in all, successful trip to the Peanut Festival! Now, we have a full year to recover/detox.

Love, Molly

Annabelle loving an alligator.

Annabelle loving an alligator.

The stare down.

The stare down.

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It's a real thing. 

My sweet little.

My sweet little.

My beautiful Annabelle!

My beautiful Annabelle!

Annabelle, Haley and Kaytie.

Annabelle, Haley and Kaytie.

Salad Dressing

Salads. The ONLY thing that you can EVER eat if you want to be healthy. A handful of lettuce and one carrot. AND add a bag of cheese.  

Don't let salads scare you. They are nice. They love you. They are full of happiness and colors. Just be smart and add tons of veggies, spinach, avocados, and a good quality dressing. 

Please for the love of all the perfectly ripe avocados in the entire world, learn to make your own dressings. My girls are spoiled and will barely eat ranch dressing unless it's homemade. They both can make their own! Mom win.

You can easily control your sugar intake and fat by making your own. There are a zillion recipes so play around and find one that you and your family will love. Good luck!

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Jumping Off The Wagon

Is it vital that you stay on the healthy eating wagon every second of every day? It's not!

We all do it. Here's my story of falling off the wagon. More like jumping off and rolling around for awhile. Darin and I just returned home from our 2 year anniversary trip. I have decided to not eat for at least 6 weeks. That sums up the trip. 

Keep in mind that I don't eat large quanities. I'm just not good at it. I am certain that we both ate enough to last us weeks. Here's a perfect rundown. 

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We started in Charleston, South Carolina. We were so excited to stay in an awesome Airbnb. Check out Brett and Shannon if you ever need a place in Charleston! The location is perfect and has some cool little bars and restaurants within walking distance. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1121648

We researched many restaurants and decided on several of the top ones. S.N.O.B., Slightly North of Broad was fantastic. I had a Pork Chop and Darin had Shrimp and Grits. Both were great.

Our S.N.O.B. dinner. Great cocktails too!  http://snobcharleston.com/

Our S.N.O.B. dinner. Great cocktails too! http://snobcharleston.com/

The next day we decided to check out Poogan's Porch for brunch. My friend, Warren suggested it and it was remarkable. I had the breakfast platter and Darin ate a grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich. BUT.. the best thing was the Fried Green Tomatoes. I don't even like tomatoes. Really, I could have eaten baskets of those. It can be a bit pricey, so we were happy that we tried it at brunch. I could eat a basket of fried green tomatoes right now actually. I'm only on day two of the trip and we both have already eaten enough calories for a week.  Whatever. Tomorrow will be better. 

Poogan's Porch pimento cheese sandwich with a fried egg, spinach and tomatoes and a side of duck fat fried potatoes.  https://www.poogansporch.com/

Poogan's Porch pimento cheese sandwich with a fried egg, spinach and tomatoes and a side of duck fat fried potatoes. https://www.poogansporch.com/

The next part of our eat-across-the-carolinas landed us in Asheville, North Carolina. Big mistake. Tomorrow will not be better. Tomorrow will contain more eating and more eating. We should have skipped Charleston all together and gone straight to Asheville. It was a wonderful city! We both fell in love immediately. I of course, fit right in with the hippie, healthier vibe. Darin fit PERFECTLY into the brewery and cycling vibe. We pulled up to our Airbnb and we started sweating a bit. It looked "different." But once inside, it was lovely. With the new mindset of less food from now on, we failed immediately. Darin began riding his mountain bike each day while I slept in with my food coma. I did visit The Biltmore House one day. (Which is an entirely other post!) I managed to not eat while there thankfully. I did accidentally join a family for a wine tasting. The guy asked if I was with a group and I joked, "Yep, I'm with them." And the father of this group just smiled and said, "Yeah, she's with us."  Ok, so now I have a new family that likes to drink wine and I had to fit in. It was new family peer pressure. It's a real thing. I left with a bottle of wine. New daddy did not pay for it.  I enjoyed my time there.

Every meal in Asheville was phenomenal. All Souls Pizza is this quiet, wonderful pizzeria. We eat our fair amount of gourmet pizza and this has been our favorite anywhere on the planet.

I'm telling you everything that I don't like, yet loved in Asheville. I guess it's some cosmic food universe where all things are fantastic. Next place:  Hole Doughnuts. Seriously, I have no love for donuts. This is a tiny place in West Asheville where they make the donuts as you order. They really were awesome. I can appreciate the small business atmosphere and eco-friendly vibe. There was a tiny house out back as well. All I could think of was living in this awesome city, in a gorgeous tiny house, with a donut shop within ten feet. My little Haley Jane would be in paradise. 

I also do not like beer. Yes, my partner likes everything that I do not, yet somehow I end up at his choices. They usually are good though. As this list proves. Sweeten Creek Brewery was great. And we went to 400 Asheville breweries. I swear. Maybe 600. This was the only beer that I actually liked. I might drink it on occasion if I had it locally. The vibe is a bit off and it's not the fanciest place, but that was fine. They have an attached sandwich shop that was great as well. We highly recommend this place. 

Jalapeno Hot Dog at Sweeten Creek. With the best English Pea Potato Salad!

Jalapeno Hot Dog at Sweeten Creek. With the best English Pea Potato Salad!

Darin is the guy that can ride a mountain bike effortlessly. Rain, no problem. Mountain bigger than a state, easy. Drinks tons of beer, no issues. I walked up a small hill to find the non-existent bathroom once and was out of breathe. So, he mapped out several big, scenic rides and loved them all. He has already mentioned staying in Brevard, NC next time. I went with him one day and played around the city while he was riding and loved it. It had these wonderful little shops and cafes. We ate at Magpie Meat & Three and once again, it was fantastic. We did declare this our best meal of the entire trip. Which is saying a lot!  

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Sunny Point Cafe was a few blocks from our Airbnb and we passed it several times and noticed it was packed but decided against it. Finally, our last dinner and we decided to go there. If this place was in my city, I would have to get a job there for discounts on food. It was great. Darin got a Pork Chop and Potatoes with Gravy. Behold... the first salad of the trip...

Sunny Point Cafe . Finally some green!

Sunny Point Cafe. Finally some green!

Sunny Point Cafe  Tomato Basil Soup.

Sunny Point Cafe Tomato Basil Soup.

Overall, our eat-across-the-carolinas-so-we-can-gain-five-pounds was a great success. We recommend all the places mentioned. So, the point is, we had a good time and enjoyed some wonderful food, drinks and sites.  Even though we ate a TON of food, it was mainly from quality, organic places and was worth it. Darin gained at least 5 pounds, even after cycling 100 miles. I refused to get on the scale. We both are back home and back on the good eating wagons.

I (normally) try to stick to the 80/20 rule and have even pushed it up to about 90/10 recently. 90% good/10% not so much. I enjoyed the new food options and pairings. This trip reminded me of one of my friends, Tammi. She has just launched her new website and her dishes are so AWESOME! She is not afraid to try new pairings. She also cooks gluten free a lot. She would have loved this trip!

Check her out here:  https://www.forkingepic.com

My favorite from her site: https://www.forkingepic.com/gluten-free-epic-meatballs/

So, stop whining and get back on the wagon. It's okay that you fell off and rolled around awhile. We ALL do it.

I'll leave you with some of the beautiful trails. 

Big Rock in Dupont Forrest.

Big Rock in Dupont Forrest.

An actual bike trail in Dupont Forrest.

An actual bike trail in Dupont Forrest.

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Not a trail of course, but my favorite site of the trip! Live Kombucha on tap. I was SOOO jealous.

Not a trail of course, but my favorite site of the trip! Live Kombucha on tap. I was SOOO jealous.

Love, Molly

School is in session!

Happy New School Year! I hope all the kiddos are settled into school and enjoying themselves. It's no secret - I despise the school year. It's monotony and running everywhere trying to stay alive. And someone needs $10 by tomorrow. And someone needs the damned poster board for a project at 9 pm. Did we not need this poster board at 6 pm? And I forgot to buy lunch meat, so you will be eating carrot sticks and bread. I hate it all!

My girls also attend schools that are 50 miles apart. 50 MILES. Not 5, 50. Yeah, it's easy. On Fridays, one gets out at 3:12 and the other 3:15. It's joy. And I live right in the middle. Either way, I am backtracking or something. We do car pool and one parent works closer to at least one kid, so that works. It is just a logistical nightmare. But, we make it work. We two-wheel it into gas stations and holler for the kid to get out or jump in. And off we go. It works. And now, my oldest is driving and plans to start driving at least one day a week. That's another topic though! Eek. 

Both my girls are also picky with food and I might be a little picky about what they eat... so, they bring their lunches. I taught them early on to help with making their lunches. Because, let's face it, if I'm in charge their lucky if they show up with actual food! I tend to forget...  I've lasted four weeks so far this school year, I'm sure I'll give up soon! I place a big basket with snacks on the counter and they can grab what they like. I also try and keep the refrigerator stocked with yogurts, natural juices and cheeses. But there was also this -

The 2012 candy corn incident. This actually came out of my mouth- I swear.

Me: My child has only candy corn in her lunch box? Well, I like for them to be independent sometimes.
Teacher: Maybe she can be a little less independent tomorrow.
Me: I will give you credit for that statement.
Teacher: I’m glad.

Child gets in the car that afternoon.

Me: What did you pack for lunch?
Child: Candy corn.
Me: I heard.
Child: Yea, my stomach hasn’t felt so good.
Me: Uh huh, maybe you should have wrapped the candy corn in turkey or something.
Child: You’re gross.
Me: Well, you’re the one who packed candy corn for lunch.

My family still laughs about the candy corn incident. My brother laughed for days and days. 

My gorgeous 11th grader.

My gorgeous 11th grader.

Annabelle, Anna and Kaytie.

Annabelle, Anna and Kaytie.

My mini me and Beau.

My mini me and Beau.

My beautiful 7th grader.

My beautiful 7th grader.

Here are a few of the lunches I have made this year. 

Carrots (organic from my dad) and celery with homemade ranch dressing. Turkey and cheese roll up. Cherries and strawberries. Snack cake and water. Score!

Carrots (organic from my dad) and celery with homemade ranch dressing. Turkey and cheese roll up. Cherries and strawberries. Snack cake and water. Score!

This is one of my favorites! I love making roll ups and sending to school. My girls love them too. This has turkey roll ups, cheese cubes, cauliflower, green pepper, cucumber and apple slices. With my homemade dressing again! They grab what they want and another score!

This is one of my favorites! I love making roll ups and sending to school. My girls love them too. This has turkey roll ups, cheese cubes, cauliflower, green pepper, cucumber and apple slices. With my homemade dressing again! They grab what they want and another score!

I typically only send chips or pretzels with my girls 1 day a week. I think they take chips from their dads house a few days, so I try and curb chips from being brought every single day. I have friends that say they don't care what their kids eat at school, as long as they are eating. I disagree. I don't mind if my girls eat crap sometimes, but not constantly. One daughter has a friend that will barely come to our house because she claims she don't have anything to eat or drink when she's there. I have a ton of food, just not soda, chips and cookies. Sorry. 

My girls don't have sugar crashes and caffeine headaches either! Wonder why? Mom win. 

Kids will try you and prefer the sugar snacks and crap! Just don't give in. It's really simple. And don't make a big deal if they do choose the not so awesome choice. I had a mom try and hire me as a nutrition coach for her overweight daughter. It did seem that genetics was playing a role in her weight but the more I dug around, the more I started to feel sorry for this little 9 year old. The mother was naturally slim and ate fairly well. (and was a licensed social worker!) The father was not slim and ate poorly. The mother CONSTANTLY talked about this. She made comments to the little girl everyday. She told the little girl to take the trash out each afternoon because that would add some exercise to her day. She labeled foods with signs that said, "Not for you ___." She made comments like, "You are so beautiful, hopefully you will lose your baby weight." She truly did not understand why her daughter was hiding foods in her room and gorging herself when she went to friends houses. She asked for my honest advice and I gave it to her. And I lost a client that day! She was to blame 100%. She bought the bad foods. She shamed her daughter daily. She bought the older, slim daughter cute outfits and bought this child clothes from discount stores. She made her daughters weight HER issue. She was ashamed to have a chubby daughter. I did tell her that she needed to reevaluate her thought process and to imagine how she made her daughter feel. I did tell her that she needed to consider counseling for herself. She did follow my advice somewhat. 

There's one thing I try hard to never do around my girls - discuss weight. I have never mentioned to one of them about gaining weight. Losing weight, etc. If they mention my weight, I will answer their question and that's it. I don't call myself skinny. Or fat. I don't use the word diet in my house. I will explain to them if I'm doing some type of exercise program or trying a new food plan, but the D word is never used. If they want to discuss some diet fad, I will discuss the benefits and cons. They are curious about nutrition and exercise and not scared of it. That was my goal. Mom win again.

Here are some great options for kids: 

Veggies: Carrot Sticks, Celery, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cucumbers

Natural Peanut Butter (Not the low fat version please!)

Pretzels, Baked Chips, Pita Chips w Hummus

Greek Yogurt

Fruit of any kind

Here's one of my favorite graphics for you -

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Also, be a good example for your child. Don't be frantic and go running to slap the chips out of their hands! Fix a variety of whole and fresh foods and you eat them too. Don't make a huge deal out of food. Food is for nourishment remember. My youngest has just started running cross country and she has really gotten heavy into her diet. I gave her some suggestions and answered her questions but I have kinda stepped back hoping that she would think about her diet on her own. I strategically placed some veggies and fruit around. I accidently made a smoothie with fresh fruit one morning. She loves any type of fruit and immediately jumped on that. After a few runs, she began saying things about her eating and how she felt better when she ate good. No comment from me. It was all I had to not roll my eyes and scream "about time someone in my life says that." Two weeks in and she has taken control of her eating with no help from me (except I did buy the food she put on her grocery list). I am so proud of her! I hope she can maintain this even after her season is over. Especially, since candy corn season is among us. Have you tried the Candy Apple kind? What's going on there? 

Try and make one healthier choice a day this week for your kids. Put the veggies and fruit in their lunch boxes. They may not eat it at first, but they are noticing. Keep doing it each day and you might be surprised what happens. 

Good Luck,

Molly

-Be curious about nutrition and exercise and not scared of it.-.png