Author: Vibrant Life

5 Basics You Need to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet (psst: it’s pretty simple!)

You’ve been spending months pinning keto recipes on Pinterest, reading blogs and watching YouTube videos all on this high fat way of life. You’ve even made yourself a bulletproof coffee or two. It’s time, you’ve decided, to jump in with both feet!
Now what?

Here are a few basics that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone getting ready to embrace this awesome lifestyle!


Please let me take a minute to let you know that this whole keto thing does NOT have to be complicated! It really doesn’t! You can easily get overwhelmed and tripped up by all the differing opinions and perspectives out there. But if you take ONE piece of advice from me let it be this: YOU DO YOU! You decide how you want to do Keto and let everyone else do it in their own way as well.

What do I mean by this??

Some people like to track macros, some don’t. Some include dairy and peanut butter, some don’t. Some people test their ketones, others don’t…. and on and on. You get it. There are only truly a few MUSTS for success on the ketogenic diet.

Here are my recommendations:


This is a FREE APP you can download on your phone & it makes it super convenient to TRACK YOUR MACROS.

Do you have to track? NOPE. But, I would recommend doing it in the beginning if you are totally new to this whole thing. Why? You will be surprised with what foods have carbs and how high they can be! If you truly want to get into ketosis, it is important to figure this piece out early on.

Do you have to use myfitnesspal as your tool of choice? NOPE. But, it’s FREE and pretty easy to use. There are others out there. If there’s something else you prefer: go for it! Remember: YOU DO YOU. I just caution against making things too complicated for yourself.

Do you need to purchase the PAID version of myfitnesspal? NOPE. Don’t need it. Everything you need you get with the free version.


They are important for everyone, but EXTRA important when you’re following a ketogenic protocol. When you are starting out with this new way of eating your kidneys will shift from retaining water & sodium to getting rid of them at a faster rate. Of course our bodies will work to keep everything balanced and due to this our blood volume shrinks to maintain sodium blood concentration. What does this feel like? Irritability, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, constipation…KETO FLU

But don’t worry! We can do something about it! ??

Making sure you are getting enough electrolytes will help stave off these keto flu symptoms! You need:

  • Sodium (5000-7000mg)
  • Potassium (1000-3500mg)
  • Magnesium (300-500mg)

SODIUM: I use sea salt & Himalayan salt & just make sure to use it on my food. If I am having a day where I am particularly fatigued, irritable, having brain fog…I’ll put some in my water with lemon. I also take a little pinch before a workout & it helps with stamina.

POTASSIUM: You can typically get what you need from potassium rich foods (listed below) & you do need to be careful that you do not overdo Potassium as that can be dangerous.

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Kale

You really need to supplement for this. Over 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient which causes a whole host of issues. When you are following a ketogenic diet, your levels will drop even further, as mentioned above. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! You MUST supplement in order to feel good and replenish your electrolytes!

You can find a pill form or powdered drink. Also, soaking in a bath for 20 min in Epsom salt is an excellent way to absorb magnesium into your body {magnesium also helps with muscle fatigue & cramps, constipation and sleep}. What I recommend and use {a couple different options}:

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Plus Calcium Magnesium Anti Stress, Organic, Raspbery Lemon, 16 oz

Triple Calm Magnesium – 150mg of Magnesium Taurate, Glycinate, and Malate for Optimal Relaxation, Stress and Anxiety Relief, and Improved Sleep. 120 Capsules.


In order to stick to this, you need to set yourself up for success! Remove the garbage from your house & keep a basic supply of keto foods stocked at all times so you don’t find yourself reaching for things that will derail you.

As a holistic health coach, I encourage people to buy things that don’t just match the macronutrient profile you need to aim for, but also are free of chemicals, hormones, preservatives, nitrates & nitrites & pesticides, etc.


All of these artificial and harmful substances in our foods cause underlying issues that have HUGE long-term impacts on our health. Everything from hormone disruption, chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions to neurological conditions. I sure hope your goals in regards to your health go beyond just looking good in a bathing suit.

Where can you shop and not spend a FORTUNE??

The good news here is that a lot of grocery stores are starting to carry healthier options that are free of all the crap. This is AWESOME! However, if you’re like me you A) like a good deal and B) love convenience.

If this is you, I invite you to check out Thrive Market online! They offer TONS of amazing options that are organic and HEALTHY at a fraction of what you would pay at most grocery stores. Their mission is to make healthy foods more accessible to everyone both financially and by delivering them right to your door {I know not everyone has a grocery store in their that offers good options}.

With Thrive Market you pay a yearly membership fee {like Costco}. HOWEVER, you get to try your first 30 days FREE! Also: shipping is always FREE on orders over $49 {HELLO…do you EVER walk out of the store with less than $49 worth of groceries when you go for more than just a couple of items?? Me neither!}.

Use my link for Thrive Market here and get 25% OFF your first order!

Some of my favorites from Thrive: macadamia nuts, NuCo wraps {coconut wraps}, coconut oil, Lily’s dark chocolate, pink Himalayan salt, Swerve, Primal Kitchen mayo & dressings…to name just a few!


There are 3 ways you can test your ketone levels:

1. Urine Strips: super cheap but I would NOT RECOMMEND this.

When your body starts producing ketones at the beginning of your journey the urine strips will indicate this by showing you a color on your strip that lets you know what level of ketones it detects. HOWEVER, in the beginning your body spills ketones out through urine because it is not efficient at using ketones for fuel ⛽️. Weeks and months down the road your body becomes a pro at using ketones for fuel {yay!! ?} but then they won’t be as prevalent in your urine. DO NOT mess with your head by using urine strips!!! ? You could be deep in ketosis and not know it with these because we need to know what your ketone level is at in your BLOOD, not urine!!!

2. Breath meter: measures acetone in your breath. New machines are becoming available for this as we speak. I personally do not have experience with them so I cannot recommend either way. Research suggests that the level of acetone in your breath is a good indicator of ketones in your blood.

3. Blood ketone meter: ❤️
This is what I personally prefer & recommend. I want true measures of ketones in my blood therefore I love this method ?? There are spendy devices out there but I found one that is very affordable! {They also offer helpful tutorial videos which I watched to help when I first started and to be SUPER HONEST: I was scared to prick my finger ??‍♀️ But the video really helped calm my nerves and it’s truly no big deal now. Plus, the guy has a cool accent and somehow that just makes it all better. I know I’m not the only one thinking this.}

KETO MOJO is what I use. Any other device I found was well over what I was willing to spend. I bought mine for $49.99! AND the ketone strips are .99 right now {if you get in on their founders club offer} rather than $3-4/strip! NO JOKE.

SIDE NOTE about testing your ketones. Is it an absolute NECESSARY thing in order to be successful?? NOPE. Is it helpful YES! This is totally a personal choice and I started out not testing, but it sure does help keep me on track and teaches me a ton about how my body responds to certain foods and even exercise in terms of ketones.


When your body produces ketones they are considered “endogenous” ketones. When you consume ketones and take them into your body, they are considered “exogenous” ketones.

Considering the fact that you are reading a blog post about the ketogenic diet, it is highly likely you’ve heard of exogenous ketones and have seen advertisements for them. Let me give you a little insight into exogenous ketones:

Are exogenous ketones necessary to have success on the ketogenic diet? NOPE {are you surprised?}. Are they useful? They sure can be!

So, these guys are awesome in several different circumstances, but once again, it is a personal choice as to whether or not you use them.

1. Getting through the dreaded keto flu. Exogenous ketones can really help boost your energy and stamina through this period! If you are good about getting your electrolytes in, then this will add one more awesome tool against keto flu!

2. Mental clarity. I personally like using my exogenous ketones when I have a project to focus on or if I have had a crappy nights’ sleep and need that extra energy. What I LOVE about ketones is that you don’t get that caffeine high and then crash. It feels like natural energy…because it is! Our bodies LOVE ketones for fuel!

3. Before a workout. Exogenous ketones can offer that extra energy source for an intense workout.

4. To help get you back into ketosis. So…for my birthday I chose to indulge with my favorite meal: fish & chips and a hard cider. (Excuse me as I drool.) The next morning I took my exogenous ketones AND got right back on my keto plan with a bulletproof coffee!

IMPORTANT: Exogenous ketones are NOT meant to replace following a ketogenic diet. This is not a tool to use so that you can eat whatever you want. It does NOT work that way and you will cheat your body out of becoming a fat burner {and your results {or lack thereof} will show this. If used correctly, exogenous ketones can be a fantastic tool in your tool belt on your keto plan!

What I use & recommend {and WHY}:
I have tried several different exogenous ketone brands. I LOVE Perfect Keto because they were created by a functional practitioner (Dr. Anthony Gustin) who aims to provide a product without all the unneeded “junk” in it. He also purposes to have a more affordable product (there are some EXPENSIVE ones out there!) that you can easily access by just ordering online. I like simple. I like effective. I like functional. We have a winner!

Now for a plan…

If you are going to be successful with a ketogenic protocol, you need to be committed. Make sure it’s the right time for you. Make sure you are ready to dive in and not let distractions derail you {life will ALWAYS bring distractions: its ultimately up to you}.

If you’re ready but need some extra tools I would like to offer some of mine!

For $19 you will receive:

  • A list of keto friendly foods to stock your kitchen with
  • My very own list of staples that I personally always keep stocked in my kitchen
  • A 4 week meal guide complete with recipes that you can use & modify to help you start out on the right food

**please note, part of how I support this blog and my desire to help people with their health and fitness goals is by partnering with companies that I personally use and recommend. Therefor, there are affiliate links on this post. One of which includes: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to “” (, or,,, or

The Pursuit of Happiness: 3 Steps You Can Take to Retrain Your Brain

Every single thought you have creates a chemical reaction in your brain. EVERY. SINGLE. THOUGHT. This changes the physiology in your body.

Our negative thoughts, therefore, if left unchecked, will obviously takes us down a road toward anxiety, depression even obesity, violence, job dissatisfaction…etc. This is according to Dr. Amen, who I would consider to be a brain guru. He attributes our overall health and success to our brain health.

Now, before you get all carried away and think we all need to have a Pollyanna perspective on life, do understand that there is an appropriate amount of anxiety that is designed to drive us to make positive changes. If you are an individual who practices more of the “ignorance is bliss” way of life, and your responsibilities get lumped into what you ignore…this is absolutely the WRONG direction to go down. Or if you choose to stuff your feelings, so speak, rather than dealing with them…same outcome. It will lead to more UNHAPPINESS as you are not living in reality, letting problems mount and feelings fester. These things WILL come out someway or another {not to mention, people in your life tend to suffer from this way of living}.

If, however, you find yourself “stuck” in a negative thought pattern and you are able to be real enough with yourself to know that this steals your happiness: there is hope. There is a ton of hope, in fact.

Here are three very practical things that you can start doing TODAY to help retrain your brain <3 PROTECT YOUR BRAIN

Our brains are far more susceptible to damage than most people think. One reason for this is that we are used to walking around like this and the symptoms we deal with seem “normal” when in fact they are not. For example: sleep issues, mood disorders, problems with focus and brain fog, memory issues…just to name a few: these are issues that we attribute to age or stress, and some of that is true. However, we can do a lot to experience far better brain health and therefore, far better overall health than we give credit for.

Start with the obvious stuff: wearing a seatbelt, wearing helmets when appropriate, being careful with how sports are played (there is a plethora of information out nowadays regarding the brain damage football & soccer players in particular sustain and how it impacts their lives later on).

Think about what goes into your body: drugs, alcohol, too much caffeine, certain medications, smoking. Many of these substances reduce brain flow by a tremendous amount, which in turn decreases brain activity.

In addition to those things we take into our bodies, it is important to reduce your toxic load from the things we don’t mean to put into our bodies: Cleaning supplies, detergents, dryer sheets, fragrances, beauty supplies, pesticides… Research is finding that this toxicity is connected to ADHD, Autism, lower IQ, chronic inflammation and more. These issues are even being found in babies born to mothers exposed to environmental toxins

Sleep: too little sleep, or poor quality sleep will cause damage that can appear like heavy drug use or even chemo on your brain. Our brains repair during sleep. If you are chronically lacking sleep, you are depriving your brain of this repair.

Manage stress: this can be a hard one, with the fact that some stressors are unavoidable. However, consider ways in which you can reduce or better manage any chronic stress you currently have. This might look like counseling, adding exercise to your routine, perhaps saying “no” to some things and reducing the load you have on your “plate”, it might mean changing jobs… The bottom line is that chronic stress will cause stress hormones to build to the level that is toxic to the brain and will even kill brain cells.


Our brains thrive off of healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Our Standard American Diet {SAD} greatly lacks in these areas and instead is extremely heavy in sugar and simple carbs which leave the brain deprived and us feeling, lethargic, craving more junk, moody, with blood sugar issues, with chronic inflammation, with brain fog. Diets like PALEO & the ketogenic diet are PRO BRAIN! It is important to get rid of old messages we have been taught about saturated fat and cholesterol {both things our brains NEED!!} and to let go of the “low fat” mentality! ALSO: eat your eggs, most importantly the yoke!


This takes some dedication, but it can do WONDERS!

“Research by Mark George, MD and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that happy, hopeful thoughts had an overall calming effect on the brain, while negative thoughts inflamed brain areas often involved with depression and anxiety.” Amen Clinic

How do you do this?? You can start here:

Consciously challenge your thoughts: rather than let your negative thoughts run wild and direct your day, your mood, your outlook, face them, challenge them and change them. Of course it won’t feel natural to do so and your mind will want to snap back to that comfortable negative space, but just keep doing it! “Fake it ’till you make it”! Get yourself in the habit if switching to a positive thought and eventually it will happen automatically.

So there you have it: three things you can start doing TODAY to change your brain from limping along and being unhappy, to thriving! I know the first step contained a lot of different things. So: cross off the ones that are not an issue for you. From what is left, pick one item and work on that one thing until you have effectively changed it and can move to the next thing.

DO NOT try to change too many things all at one time!! This is a sure way to fail and then feel worse than when you started.

If you are at a stage in life where you need some guidance along this journey, a health coach can be a great benefit to you. I am happy to set up a free 30 minute consultation with you and come up with a plan/program to help you become the happier, healthier, more vibrant person you want to be!

Set up a consult through email:

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup (Keto/HFLC/Paleo)

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup (Keto/HFLC/Paleo) Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Chicken Avocado Lime Soup (Keto/HFLC/Paleo)

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  • Author: Jessica Parker


‘Tis the season of SOUP! I just LOVE a good soup during the Fall/Winter seasons. Having a delicious soup cooking on the stove or in the crockpot just makes me feel cozy <3 Plus, it’s easy and you can easily have enough for days {easy to freeze for later too!}. Of course, with the shift in seasons we also tend to have a shift in immune systems. This is a definite health bonus to eating soups. Not only can you stock your body up on antioxidants and all the micronutrients it needs to ward off whatever “ick” is going around at the time… if you use a high quality, organic bone broth: the benefits you will gain grow exponentially! {For more on the awesomeness of bone broth check out this article by Dr. Axe} This soup I’m sharing today is SUPER easy to make and I love that it’s filling and yet light at the same time. Plus, cilantro & lime are two of my favs! Both Paleo & keto friendly: you can opt to use tortilla chips and cheese and/or sour cream as toppings if you so choose. *ALSO: there are jalapeños in this recipe. I actually love my food a little more than medium spicy and this soup was NOT spicy at all because I cleaned out the seeds. So, if you are not a spicy hot fan…don’t let the jalapeños scare you off! Just make sure to get the seeds cleaned out and you’ll be good to go.


{recipe adapted from mama miss}


If you are intrigued by the high fat/ketogenic diet and would like some guidance and support as you jump into your own keto journey, join me in one of my monthly KETO for WOMEN groups! You will learn all the tips and tools you need to have a successful keto experience that you can customize for YOU.


  • 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (including whites, mince the whites)
  • 2 jalapeños , seeded and minced (leave seeds if you want soup spicy, omit if you don’t like heat)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 54 oz low-sodium chicken broth {4 -14.5 oz cans. used organic bone broth! You can make your own or buy it}
  • 2 Roma tomatoes , seeded and diced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 medium avocados , peeled, cored and diced


  1. In a large pot heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add green onions and jalapenos and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes, adding garlic during last 30 seconds of sautéing.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cumin, season with salt and pepper to taste and add chicken breasts.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has cooked through 10 – 15 minutes (cook time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts).
  4. Reduce burner to warm heat, remove chicken from pan and let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes, then shred chicken and return to soup.
  5. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Add avocados to soup just before serving.
  6. ENJOY!!


  • Serving Size: 1

Pumpkin Spice No-Grain Granola

Pumpkin Spice No-Grain Granola Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Pumpkin Spice No-Grain Granola

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  • Author: Jessica Parker
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25


OH man. I’m IN LOVE! This stuff is so delish. I decided last night to experiment with making my own “granola” sans grains with LOTS of healthy fats and HELLO pumpkin spice {of course you can omit and add whatever spice you prefer. But, come on now…it IS October!}. I honestly have been just enjoying this by itself. However, do what you like with it. Eat it with some full fat milk of whatever variety (I LOVE cashew milk) or have it on some full fat yogurt OR enjoy with some coconut cream (the canned, thick, delicious stuff).


  • 5 tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • 5 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 5 tbsp hemp seeds {I had never used these and really love their bold, nutty flavor…& they have a TON of healthy fat!}
  • 5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 2 tbsp erythritol {or sweetener of choice. just adjust amount according to sweetener}
  • 3 tbsp DARK chocolate {or cocoa nibs}. I use 85% dark chocolate for less sugar/carbs
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a med. sized bowl. Mix well. Melt butter and pour over mixture. Mix well again.
  3. Spread granola on a rimmed cookie sheet {parchment paper is great to use if you have it. Just makes it a little less messy and easier to transfer from the cookie sheet}.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until granola turns golden. Stir a couple of times while baking to make sure granola gets baked evenly.
  5. Cool and enjoy! Keeps well in a mason jar.


  • Serving Size: 1

Beyond Your Jeans (and Your Genes)

If you would have told me even a year ago that I would be headed into my 5th month of following a ketogenic protocol I would have laughed.
Although I started out with a Paleo approach, I still really preached “balance” and that meant “all things in moderation…every day”. Because I was still keeping my weight where I wanted it, I felt that I could still have my ice cream, crappy coffee creamer and wine EVERY NIGHT and it had nothing to do with my sleep issues, hormone issues, blood sugar issues or adrenal issues {ignorance isn’t always bliss}.

Well, I guess the blessing in disguise was that life got more stressful for me and my body decided it would try to get my attention by putting on a few pounds and NOT LETTING THEM GO. Now, a few pounds {and literally I mean just a few} might seem like nothing to some. However, we all have our happy place, our set point, the spot where everything fits just right. And when you are a whole 5 feet 4 inches tall, a “few pounds” can quickly move you from that happy place. So, not sleeping well, PMS symptoms I hadn’t had since I started my period eons ago, sever adrenal issues and now the pounds. Cue the white flag! I surrender!

Isn’t it funny how things work? Just as I am surrendering and needing to find better solutions to my health issues, the ketogenic diet starts taking center stage in the health and wellness world. I don’t mean it just started showing up on facebook and in fitness magazines {which I don’t even read anymore}…I mean health professionals who I respect and follow started talking about it. People who base their profession on science were in the keto camp and I was astounded! My only impression of keto {which was super negative} came from the Atkins craze. I was not at all impressed and the word keto was a FOUR LETTER WORD as far as I was concerned!

What I didn’t realize, but thankfully took time to find out, was that a true ketogenic diet is not like Atkins. Atkins is higher in protein, doesn’t prescribe as high of fats and really allows far too many artificial ingredients. This is just some of what I don’t love about that plan.

So, imagine, this girl who was hardcore on the “low fat” train listening to all of this “high fat” stuff! But, wow, I was intrigued. What really gets me is all the neurological benefits and how much it can help reduce inflammation in your body overall. I really was not aware of how much carbs can contribute to brain fog…something I am all to familiar with. I think what I might have expected was some kind of caffeine induced kind of feeling when I got into ketosis…but that’s not it. I just feel…clear. Clear and like my energy is consistent. Having been on a blood sugar roller coaster for some time, this has been quite a welcomed state of being.

In addition to this mental clarity, something I was very drawn to when researching the ketogenic approach was how it can help with depression and anxiety. This stuff runs rampant in my family & I am pretty sure I am the only one in my immediate family not on medication. Now hear me out: I know medication can be super beneficial and NEEDED for some. However, I am not that person. I know that I can lean toward depression and anxiety genetically and have learned how to manage and maintain and not fall into those holes so deep that I can’t pull myself out {by God’s grace, truly}…but I have to remain aware and proactive. Not only do our brains love ketones for energy, but pushing glucose to the side really helps reduce inflammation in the brain {and throughout the body}. This is such an excellent thing when it comes to mental health issues whether it be mood disorders, attention issues, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.

So, although I appreciate the physical outcomes of the ketogenic diet, the things that happen beneath the surface are even more worth it!

If you have been contemplating the ketogenic diet, I would encourage you to check it out. However, a caveat: understand that you need to commit to this approach. The ketogenic diet is about switching from burning glucose to burning fat {ketones}. This won’t happen if you just “dabble” and don’t fully allow your body to transition. If you aren’t serious about it and don’t really follow a true ketogenic diet you will likely a) feel like crap, b) not lose weight, c) possibly gain weight {if you are eating tons of fat but also too many carbs and not in ketosis}.

If you are ready to check it out and would like some guidance, I am currently taking clients and am happy to schedule a 30 minute FREE consultation with you to chat about setting you up on a plan. I also run monthly private FB groups for women and that is another option! Email me for more information or to schedule a consultation:

Understanding Inflammation and What to do About it

I used to think that inflammation was something that strictly had to do with the obvious, such as arthritis. I didn’t understand what it was, what caused it or how deeply it affects so many of us and in ways that I had never connected. Chris Kresser {one of my favorite holistic practitioners to follow} stated that “inflammation is at the root of nearly all modern disease, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, allergies and many more. He went onto include mental health conditions such as depression.

So what IS inflammation? Well it really is designed to help us in a lot of ways. When our body is fighting issues such as damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, etc. it is a protocol meant to help and heal. What has happened, however, is that our modern day, American culture has created a situation with chronic inflammation that is not beneficial to us. This is due to our sedentary lifestyles, our highly processed foods, high stress, gut issues {because of a lot of these same things}, food sensitivities, etc.

One huge culprit is the oils and processed carbs in so much of our food such as: corn, soybean, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. Unfortunately these oils were pushed on us for years and our foods are so highly laden with them that we have developed a huge imbalance in Omega 6 & Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory (best source: fatty fish -> sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon). Because Omega 6 fats are EVERYWHERE & in EVERYTHING (seriously, even the “healthy” stuff you think you’re buying…READ YOUR LABELS!), the ratio has just been too hard for our bodies to fight. Inflammation has taken over. And this is just ONE cause of inflammation!

Highly Inflammatory Oils to STAY AWAY FROM! One of the best things you can do TODAY to reduce chronic inflammation in your own body is to pay attention to your diet! Here are some tips:

  • Reduce sugar and processed carb intake {shop the perimeter of the store rather than buying mostly boxed/packaged items that are FULL of inflammatory ingredients.
  • Eat fats that reduce inflammation and protect our hearts and brains:
    • Organic coconut oil
    • Extra-virgin olive oil (organic)
    • Avocados
    • Grass-fed meats
    • Grass-fed butter
    • Nuts—walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia
    • Fatty fish—sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild salmon (NOT Tilapia! It has almost ZERO omega 3 & unfortunately a lot of people love it because it is such a mild fish. Sorry friends! It’s not benefiting you like you might like to think it is!)
  • Use herbs & spices that help reduce inflammation:
    • Basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry powder, garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric and thyme (you can even get creative and make drinks/teas with these!)

Beyond the diet…here are some other tips:

Incorporate essential oils that help reduce inflammation:

  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Helichrysum
  • Basil
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Wingergreen
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Blue Tansy
  • Cilantro
  • Clary Sage
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Lemongrass
  • Melalouca
  • Melissa
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Sandlewood
  • (You can order oils here & I am happy to help with any questions/guidance!)

Reduce stress, physical & emotional/mental
If you don’t have a good support system, plug into one! Find a church, find a support group, check out for local groups there’s something for everyone, moms, hikers, singles, runners…etc. I started my own moms group when I was a stressed, working, single-mom in college and it was a SAVING GRACE!If you need a counselor, find one! Google therapists in your location. Many are willing to charge based on a sliding fee scale. There are lots on-line as well (even apps!). If nothing else, pick up a good book to help you trouble shoot things you are going through. One I love is Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It’s great for those of us who say “yes” FAR TOO MUCH and end up spread thin, stressed out, resentful and left with no energy for the things we need to pay attention to in our own lives.Listen to your body! I see way too many people over exercising thinking it will help them reach their goals. The sad thing is that I watch them get themselves stuck in a cycle where they can’t fathom the idea of peeling back {and don’t you dare suggest it to them} but they feel like crap and/or their body is holding onto fat, their immune system is breaking down and injuries occur all too easily.

So, there you have it. I hope you really take some time to switch things around if you are dealing with chronic inflammation. I know it can be confusing. Start with small steps…choose ONE THING to change and then go from there. No need to add more stress by trying to change everything all at once.

If you are in need of some support and more individualized guidance, feel free to connect with me for a free consultation. We can determine if some health coaching is what might benefit you! Just email me here:

The Magic of Electrolytes

Okay, so there’s nothing magic about them…but seriously. They are IMPORTANT! Listen up!!
What exactly are electrolytes? I’m sure most of us are at least vaguely aware. I mean who doesn’t notice the electrolyte infused crap drinks at the store? You can even get electrolyte enhanced water. So, we’re paying attention…but perhaps not in the best way. Here’s some more insight:

Electrolytes are ionic solutions that are essential for basic functions. They are in our bodily fluids {urine, blood, sweat…}. These minerals occur in our bodies in the forms of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, and phosphates. This is a little nerdy/sciency…but it’s important to understand this stuff because it will seriously affect how you feel. These little guys have an electric charge {hence the name}. According to Dr. Josh Axe once they dissolve, they separate in to positive and negative charged ions and our nerves react to this process! Hello. Are you already getting that these things are important? Our nerves talk to each other and send signals based on the messages they receive from these chemical exchanges.

So. Really. What does this all mean?

Here’s a little snap shot for you from Dr. Josh Axe:

Some of the major roles that electrolytes have within the body include:

  • Calcium: helping with muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, and forming/maintaining bones and teeth
  • Potassium: helping keep blood pressure levels stable, regulating heart contractions, helping with muscle functions
  • Magnesium: needed for muscle contractions, proper heart rhythms, nerve functioning, bone-building and strength, reducing anxiety, digestion, and keeping a stable protein-fluid balance
  • Sodium: helps maintain fluid balance, needed for muscle contractions, and helps with nerve signaling
  • Chloride: maintains fluid balance

We typically pay attention to our multi-vitamins and macros more than we do electrolytes. In fact, I’m not sure I really hear people say much about it when they are talking about their own health. I’ve experienced some things that I’ve realized were the result of not watching my electrolytes. For a time I was having heart palpitations that really scared me. Not surprisingly, this would pretty much happen only when I was running. You know… when I’m depleting my body of electrolytes. I like to run hard to, so it really all adds up.

I have also struggled with {and I have written about it} adrenal fatigue. It is crazy how much electrolytes help us maintain a good solid level of energy, clarity and vibrancy. With adrenal fatigue in particular certain things are typical such as insomnia and fatigue. A lack of electrolytes can exacerbate this and in turn, making sure you get enough can be paramount in getting your body back in balance.

Here are some common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance {from}:

  • Muscle aches, spasms, twitches and weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats
  • Digestive issues like cramps, constipation or diarrhea
  • Confusion and trouble concentrating
  • Bone disorders
  • Joint pain
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Changes in appetite or body weight
  • Fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • Numbness and pain in joints
  • Dizziness, especially when standing up suddenly

I cannot write about this subject without touching on the huge disservice that has been done to us regarding SALT. We have been told for years that salt {along with fat} is EVIL. We’ve been eating taste free, salt free, fat free foods for years and getting SICKER! What happened is that people blamed sodium for things like high blood pressure when there really wasn’t solid evidence to back it up. In fact, at a closer look it became more evident that people who had good results, such as lower blood pressure, as a result of lower sodium levels in their diet, were really getting results from less processed foods in general. Sugar and foods that are void of nutrients are a problem that deserve the kind of attention salt was getting. If you are eating all sorts of highly processed foods with little to no nutrients, you will be causing all sorts of inflammation in your body and stripping it of the essentials it needs to be able to heal itself and function properly. If you would like to know more about the salt conundrum, a great place to visit is Chris Kresser’s website and series on salt.

Another important thing to note: if you have regular table salt sitting in your kitchen, throw it out! Table salt is highly processed, minerals are removed and usually there is an additive used to prevent clumping. Gross. Sea salt, on the other hand, is produced through evaporation and is far less processed typically. You will get more trace minerals and elements and it will be more flavorful. Himalayan Pink Salt has an enormous amount of minerals… a few of which happen to be: calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

If you happen to be following the ketogenic protocol, electrolytes are even more critical for you to pay attention to. As you enter into ketosis, your kidneys shift from retaining water and sodium to releasing them. As your sodium level decreases, your kidneys will also get rid of potassium in effort to keep a sodium-potassium equilibrium. This is when you get headaches, brain fog, dizziness, irritability… so, take note! This is just as important as paying attention to how much fat/protein/carbs you’re eating! If you ignore your electrolytes you can end up feeling like a pile of lethargic poo. That is not the goal and just does not need to happen.

Where to get electrolytes:

Sodium is obvious. I’ve already touched on sea salt & Himalayan salt. Don’t be afraid to use it! Dump the old “salt is evil” messages! I will add sea salt, lemon juice and a good quality lemon essential oil with to a big glass of ice water, especially after a hard run. LOVE it! Recovery is amazing with this!

Potassium: you can up your potassium levels with foods such as: salmon, avocado, broccoli, spinach, coconut water {make sure it doesn’t have added sugar}

Magnesium: Spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, chard. But I would recommend a supplement. I love Natural Calm by Natural Vitality. You can find it at your local health food store or order on Amazon.

If you are really struggling and want to know just where your body is with your electrolytes and what you need to specifically pay attention to, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND seeing a holistic/functional practitioner. So many main stream medical doctors are not up on current science regarding such topics {especially things like salt}. Rather than get put on some sort of medication, dig a little deeper and see what you can do naturally!

KETO: My Story

The first time I heard anything about the Ketogenic diet was in the late ’90’s. Well…I thought it was the Ketogenic diet. It was Atkins and it was all the rage {more about this later}. I was just on the brink of turning 20. I had bounced around with my weight a lot since my first “diet” {no coincidence it’s a four letter word} in the 7th grade. I had lost 20 pounds on my first diet following a very strict plan resembling something like: dry toast & plain tea for breakfast, salad with cottage cheese and 6 walnuts for lunch and chicken and veggies for dinner. It was tough but I managed to stick to it and lose my adolescent chub. However, I am sure anyone reading this knows that the plan I was on was not in any way sustainable. Nor was it likely good for long-term metabolism vitality. The calories had to have been ridiculously low, which it’s no wonder my body adapted and then struggled later. I was a stereo-typical yo-yo dieter for a long time after that {Atkins was one of many diets I tried}. Lucky for me, I was into sports and that led me to seek other activities that helped keep me active after high school {step aerobics anyone?!}. I still struggled with being super over the top with my exercise regime…but I did find a healthier balance…eventually.

Fast forward to September 6, 2016. I turned 40 on this day {cue scary music}. In all seriousness, 40 doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is what happened when I turned 40. Aside from the fact that I swear to you that very day I suddenly needed reading glasses for the first time {funny but so true} hormone issues became something real to me rather than something “other people” deal with that I somehow believed I would always be immune to.

In between my 20th birthday and 40th birthday quite a lot happened. I took on the title “runner” more seriously than I had as a high school athlete and it became a huge part of who I was. I went through treatment for an eating disorder and learned how much food was a drug for me and that I needed to deal with the underlying issues in a healthier way. I got married, had a baby, got divorced, finished my bachelors degree, then my masters degree sometimes working 5 different jobs to support myself an my kiddo. I was always engrossed in science and research having to do with health and fitness as I pursued my degree, made friends with food and became a fitness instructor.

One day, though…things just hit me in the face. I was pretty convinced I was balancing my life very well. Yes, I had a lot of stress if you looked at my life on paper…but to me I managed well. After all, health and well-being was my field of study. I worked hard, but I was deeply connected with my friends, church family and I even had a moms group that I ran. I felt like that all balanced out rather nicely. Why, when I was one of the healthier people I knew, did I have ZERO energy? Was I lacking in vitamins & essential nutrients? Was something seriously wrong that I needed to figure out? It really didn’t make sense. So, I went to a holistic practitioner for the first time {as I was not interested in someone listening to me for 5 minutes and then handing me a prescription}. I had learned enough to connect the dots with how EVERYTHING in our lives, physically, biologically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, are very strongly connected. I was not interested in a band-aid. Well the doctor came in, sat down and started asking me about EVERYTHING, including my childhood, sleep, stress… I was impressed. He also really opened my eyes to what I was unknowingly doing to my body.

Even though I felt I had great balance even in my busy, stressful life… I rarely asked for help. Sleep was not something I felt I needed much of. When I was exhausted or not feeling well, I would exercise anyway. Too much sugar for sure. Likely too many environmental toxins….and the list goes on.

So what did this all mean? I was dealing with adrenal fatigue. This is a whole big issues that I have covered before and will cover some more in another upcoming post. The point is, I was running myself into the ground in ways I didn’t give enough value to. As time went on I am sorry to say that I did not take enough steps to get myself back on track.

This brings us to present day. I got remarried last summer, started and then closed a business. We moved out to the country and have started building a {tiny} house. My husband totally changed up his job situation. We are now both working from home. Is it any surprise that in the midst of all this and turning 40…last summer this “runner girl” couldn’t run? Literally my body would not allow it. I had adrenal fatigue worse than EVER. My immune system tanked. I actually had bronchitis when we got married {had it for a month}. I ended up coughing so hard I tore a rib muscle and was prescribed an inhaler for the bronchitis induced asthma I suddenly had. *whew*

SO. I dove deeper than ever into research with all of this.

{I have to share that during this time my mom was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That lit a fire under me even more.}

I’ve learned so much more about listening to your body… What inflammation means… What causes inflammation… How this plays into hormones… How stress is related to all of this… How critically important sleep is… How I thought I was avoiding crap food, but really not nearly enough… How toxins in your environment can affect you mentally & physically {all our artificially scented stuff we use for example!}… what a lie the whole FAT FREE era was…and on and on…

My hubby an I decided to go Paleo after doing a lot of research and really being encouraged by how healing it can be. We LOVED it! We had so much fun trying new recipes and cooking together. We both felt pretty good. But then after a time it seemed perhaps it wasn’t enough. Not for us. I for sure was still really struggling and my sleep was just crap.

This is when I started taking a closer look at the Ketogenic diet. I admit, I had been super turned off by it back in the day when Atkins was all the rage. Seriously, it lasted like 2 days for me. I thought it was so lame. I gained weight and really didn’t understand it. Now, I realize that it was not what I needed at all. I wouldn’t characterize it as ketogenic. It was higher in protein and honestly, the foods that company markets I would NEVER eat! FULL of chemicals and preservatives! Not at all what our bodies need to operate at their optimum level of health! I finally decided to give the Keto concept another glance after hearing so many health professionals that I respect and admire and who are science and research based in their perspectives advocate for it.

The more I learned, the more intrigued I was.

So, my hubby and I dove in. Honestly, after living Paleo for a time, it wasn’t a hard adjustment. Some things we have LOVED: more energy, my sleep went back to normal {hallelujah!}, better mental clarity {people talk about it…but it’s really a thing!}, WAY less cravings {this is the sugar princess talking…and I am telling you I NEVER crave sweets like I did! Give me one of my hubbies homemade jalapeno poppers ANYTIME over something sweet!}. We even went on vacation and lost weight which was pretty amazing to us. Our appetites are way down as well. That’s just what happens as your body adapts …and it’s pretty great! Oh, and you may have seen one of my social media posts recently: my nails are amazing! They have been a mess for so long and I couldn’t figure out why. Healthy fats for the win!

I have also integrated essential oils into my life. I love that not only are they amazingly beneficial: the simple act of removing harmful chemicals, cleaners, artificial scents and other junk from your home and body and using theses natural products is quite the gift to your overall health and that of your loved ones.

If you are interested in trying the Keto approach yourself and/or if you have any questions {same goes for essential oils}, please shoot me an email: I would love to help!

Shutting it Down

I am going to attempt to write what is on my heart and mind without sounding super esoteric and “woo woo” as I hear people say. First of all I am neither of those things and secondly, I really don’t take myself so seriously.

I am sure I’m not the only person bouncing through life who feels that the messages out there regarding health and fitness are just OVERWHELMING. I mean how is anyone supposed to figure ANYTHING out and stick to anything long enough to solve a problem for themselves? And, the impression I get from some schools of thought is that I just am not safe ANYWHERE eating ANYTHING. In truth, our environment is CRAZY compared to how it was during our grandparent’s generation. The water was better, the soil was richer and cleaner, we weren’t inundated by chemicals, relationships were better, technology was far less distracting and all consuming, people were less busy (understatement), our movies and music polluted our hearts and minds with WAY less CRAP. This is just the surface of what I could go on and on about. But what the heck are we supposed to do about the stress on our bodies, our relationships and mental and spiritual health short of packing up and moving to some remote island where we can live a sustainable lifestyle with a small tribe of people (sound like a cult yet?).

What I see more and more with folks trying to figure out why their body doesn’t cooperate with them anymore, why they have weird ailments, can’t lose weight, have zero energy, etc. is that they get swept up in a whirlwind of mixed messages. Anyone relate to this?? Yes, all of this stuff is tied together. Yes, we are complex creatures with complex bodies and complex lives. Yes, we need to fix things at a fundamental level. However, we don’t have to stress ourselves out MORE and add to the problem on the way to figuring it all out. Right? Right.

Let me just take a minute to look you in the eye (figuratively of course) and give you permission to just shut that junk down. Quiet all the chatter for a bit. Listen to what the heck is going on in YOUR body, your spirit, your mind. What is going on in your life, with your relationships, with your home, with your surroundings? NONE of the other stuff matters if you aren’t in touch with this stuff.

Now, please hear me out. My faith is most important to me and I am not saying you need to go meditate in the desert until your inner child emerges. What I am saying is that we are so confused with messages being shouted at us in so many different forms of media daily, and we are so DISTRACTED from how our lives were divinely designed to be that… DUH… of course we’re sick! Of course our hormones are revolting against us. Of course we are gaining weight, stressed out, have all sorts of health issues and are taking 9 different pills. That is the perfect image of a modern day American right there. But, it doesn’t have to be YOU.

Okay, so you agree to turn off the noise for a bit, stop being quite so busy and turn things OFF (cell phone, TV, computer…) long enough to think and be real with yourself. Now what?

On the journey to better health and vitality it is important to try things out and figure out what works for YOU. There just is no one size fits all with any of it. What is pretty universal is all the stuff I already mentioned that we need LESS of. Now what do YOU need MORE of? More prayer? More time outside? More uninterrupted time with your family? More time away? More real, whole foods? More sleep? More movement? More water? I mean it can be pretty basic. However, we tend to ignore all these things and it just piles up until the mountain of neglect is so huge we just don’t know where to start. That’s when the messages around us really become tempting and we forget that we are our own experts.

I hope that you feel even a little inspired to turn down the noise of our modern life and get in touch with your reality. From there, I hope you make some small changes toward a healthier, more balanced you. Don’t for a minute think this is selfish. Your kids will thank you. Your spouse will thank you. Your coworkers and friends… people will thank you because you will be more present and happier and I can guarantee that you will inspire someone along the way.

Traveling Healthy

We are in the middle of a long road trip down to Legoland in California. Lots of driving but we’re saving money by not flying! We are also camping on the way down and back. Shaving money off there as well. We are staying in a hotel tonight and tomorrow night so we’ll be well rested before and after our day at legoland (as much as I LOVE camping, I rarely sleep well).
Now for the food! One thing that’s taking up a lot of space in our jam packed car, is our jam packed cooler! We wanted to not only save money, but also come home feeling good and not like crap from all the…well…crap we ate. Instead, we packed lots of healthy stuff (trying to keep it simple though…nothing requiring lots of prep or difficult to cook).

We had been focused on a PALEO type diet and were feeling pretty good on it. However, I personally had been struggling so much with hormone issues. After doing lots of research I decided to try a high fat, low carb approach to see how my hormones react. That’s a side note, but just to say that our menu reflects that! Both my husband and I have been doing it. We’re both down several pounds and feeling great! (More about that in a later post. I am, however, starting a 4 week, online health & fitness group focused on high fat, low carb on June 19th. If you would like info on joining, please email me:

Here are some of the items we’ve brought on our trip:

  • Mixed nuts (salted & including macadamia…which I used to NEVER eat do to their night fat content and my lack of self control with them!)
  • Salad fixings
  • Broccoli & cauliflower to munch on
  • Zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, brusselsprouts and BUTTER for a foil in the fire meal
  • Avocados
  • Almond butter
  • Cheese & hormone/nitrate free sliced turkey
  • Jalapeño peppers (made at home)
  • Cheesy {almond Flour} biscuits (click for recipe)
  • Hormone/nitrate free jerky
  • Coffee & heavy cream
  • Hormone/nitrate free chicken sausage dogs

We will go out for one meal, not sure how much of a splurge it will be. I’m really not tempted to splurge because I feel so dang good and the food we’re eating is amazingly tasty!

There you have it!! ? ☀️