Category: Healthy Eating

Calories Count, But Don’t Count Calories

Calories Count, But Don’t Count Calories

How do you lose weight without slowing down your metabolism or losing your mind?

Gone are the days of low fat and calorie restriction…right? Are they? I’m not so sure.

If you are low carb you totally don’t have to worry about calories, right? Wait, is that true? I’m so confused.

If you ask people about either of these subjects I can promise you will receive different responses and they will be all across the board. You will likely become quite confused and left wondering “now what?”

Calories are a tricky thing. The first thing to understand is that the way your body metabolizes a calorie will be different than how it works for your best friend or neighbor and it’s dependent upon many things. In fact, this also is different for your own body in your 20s versus your 40s, etc.

Let’s put age and genetics aside for a moment. What factors impact our metabolisms that we have control over?

Body composition, meaning your body fat % compared with muscle and skeletal mass. Clearly the more muscle and less fat you have going on, the higher your metabolism will be. Good motivation to get to lifting weights or doing some functional fitness using your bodyweight!

Thyroid levels. I go into detail on which labs to have run here, but what you need to understand is that if your doctor checks your TSH only or your TSH and Free T4, that is NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION!! We need TSH, Free t4, Free T3 and Thyroid Antibodies (Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies [TPOAb] and Thyroglobulin Antibodies [TgAb]) at the very minimum for thyroid labs (yes there are more numbers involved!). Go read that article I linked above because it will also explain how your doctor might look at your labs and say “you’re fine” when you don’t feel fine and it’s because YOU’RE NOT! You need to understand this stuff if you are going to be able to advocate for yourself!

Hormone Balance. This is another one that I dive into more here. but what you need to understand is that the relationship between estrogen and progesterone is extremely important at any age. AND what you need to know is which is higher than the other? If your progesterone is lower than your estrogen, there’s a problem. Even if both hormones are low, If you have more estrogen than progesterone you will experience symptoms of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE which will mimic low thyroid hormone. A couple of these symptoms are slow metabolism and weight gain around the hips and thighs (is this sounding about right?).

Toxic (tox-sick) Load. Yes, our bodies are beautifully designed to detox continually through our skin, digestive system, liver, kidneys, endocrine system and respiratory system; HOWEVER, the culture in which we live in is inundated with toxins through food, electronics, chemicals in our cleaning supplies, scented “everything”, plastics, stress (it’s a toxin), makeup, body products, detergents, etc. Our bodies are OVERLOADED! When this happens, the scale (literally and figuratively) will tip in the wrong direction because toxins store in fat! In addition, the high toxin burden creates systemic inflammation which is part of the whole paradigm when it comes to our hormones, thyroid, adrenals and therefore metabolism.

Now that we have that snapshot of some of the big ones that impact our metabolism, let’s throw another one in there, and it happens to be the topic of this post. CALORIES RESTRICTION.

Calories, while they DO matter, clearly are not a black and white “thing”. We could line 5 people up and all 5 will burn the same food differently, even if they are the same “size”, and that is dependent upon the factors outlined above. What your body needs will be different than mine, for sure. So it really doesn’t make sense to follow some program that is generalized, right? My first word of advice with this is to track what you eat for a few days, being super honest, and then reduce your caloric intake by even just a couple of hundred and go from there.

Here is what we want to avoid: I see many people start to follow some kind of plan (and I am sorry but these plans often include food you have to purchase from them that is just FULL OF CHEMICALS [speaking of toxic]) and they tend to be SUPER low in calorie. Usually it’s around 1200 and below.

Here is the typical scenario:
Let’s call our person Daisy (name of my dog!). Daisy signs up for a weight loss program and is super excited because of all the amazing testimonials she has seen and heard about. She gets all of her products (which cost hundreds of dollars. It was a stretch for her, but she’s sick and tired of…well…being sick and tired, and overweight). She feels super hungry the first few days because they have her at 900 calories and those calories go fast! However, she’s determined and likes that she doesn’t have to plan the food…she just opens a package and there you go! She had a hard time with energy and focus for the first few days because of her low calories but she’s already lost 7 pounds so she’s jazzed and committed to this amazing program.

Fast forward: Daisy ended up losing 13 pounds over just two weeks which was amazing! But things just kind of STOPPED. The scale wouldn’t budge. So, she decided to lower her calories just a tiny bit more and add some HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes in to burn more calories. Thankfully, the scale started moving again! Slower now, but she expected that because “they say” you lose mostly water weight at first.

Once again, however, the scale stalled. Daisy was starting to feel bummed, her energy wasn’t where she had hoped it would be and she could swear her hair was getting thinner.

What’s going on??

According to Dr. Westin Childs, “calorie reduction, especially in hypothyroid patients, will result in the combination of ‘metabolic adaptation’ and ‘thyroid damage’”. What this means is that your body (which is freaking smart) will detect this calorie restriction and interpret as “danger”. From there it will change things up within the metabolism in order to adjust so that the body can do more important things for survival (it is far less concerned with our weight than we are!).

Think of the thermostat in your house…it’s just like this. Your body is designed to regulate itself well, so when things change, it will adjust so that it can reach that state of equilibrium once again. We just don’t always like it!

This is something that people need to take seriously. The way your body reaches that state of equilibrium again is by doing things like lowering the free T3 (this is our active thyroid hormone…we don’t want it to lower!). Or it will raise the reverse T3 which is the hormone that is produced when stress is detected and, unfortunately it will attach to T3 receptor sites but it is inactive, so it is basically blocking those receptor sites from receiving the active thyroid hormone it needs.

Your TSH might not reflect a change at all, or maybe just slightly, therefore if your doctor tests your thyroid and that’s the number he’s most concerned with (SO typical…sadly), he will send you on your merry way with a pat on the back telling you “it sucks getting old”, or something equally helpful.

From here you will go home and “recommit” to your program! You are going to exercise more and harder and eat less or try a different diet altogether! In fact, this is stuff your doctor may have encouraged. In reality, your body is in distress and going “harder” at this will cause the situation to get even worse. Down the road, you will give up because you can’t possibly eat less or exercise more and what’s the point anyway? So, you start eating your “regular” diet again and you could swear you are gaining weight faster. It’s like you just look at food and the scale goes up.

You’re not crazy; your metabolism has slowed down and so the whole scenario is going to be a tough one now.

Big sigh.

If this is you, please know that the very most important thing to focus on now, if you want your body to respond well again, is to send messages to it that it is NOT in danger. You are NOT starving it. It is NOT being over stressed with too much exercise.

This doesn’t mean start eating dozens of donuts and watching hours and hours of TV in the name of selfcare. What it means is easing up, having a balanced approach, and getting some help.

It’s a good idea to know where your thyroid levels are. It’s a good idea to know where your sex hormones are at as well. If you have any imbalances going on in these areas, your body will have a very hard time with weight loss, you will struggle with energy, brain fog, motivation, moods, digestion, sleep, and all the things.

Do I recommend KETO?

Maybe, maybe not. This would require some assessment to see if this fits your lifestyle (it is a commitment) as well as to determine if your body is too stressed to try something like this at the moment. Most importantly if your thyroid is low or adrenals are out of whack you can absolutely do KETO, but it needs to be modified.

Confused? I don’t think this is the kind of advice most people want from a health coach. I mean, where do you go from here? This is not an easy answer, as you should know from reading the above. It all takes a very individual approach.

Please do reach out if you are in this position and feel stuck. I am here to help. I offer free consultations via the phone so we can hash some things out and see if there are some things I can help with. Please head here to my calendar to schedule a consult or simply email me at

Now, consider having a healthy snack and going on a gentle walk! <3

What Exactly Are Ketones and What is So Great About Them?

There sure is a TON of hype about the ketogenic diet these days! I used to be SO against the concept of low carb and especially going much further with it into ketosis. I thought it was unhealthy, a fad and for people looking for a quick fix.

Fast forward, I have been following the ketogenic protocol for almost 3 years now (with some carb cycling in there as well)! I can attest that the benefits are awesome and go far beyond fitting into your jeans better. But, rather than just take my word for it, let’s take a dive into what ketones are and just why they are beneficial above and beyond weight loss.

What we know is that when we starve our body of glucose it ends up switching to using fat for fuel and producing ketones which are also used for fuel.

What are ketones?

Ketones are an energy source. They occur when the liver breaks down fat into fatty acids and glycerol — a process called beta-oxidation. There are three types of ketone bodies {molecules} that are created in the liver once we have run out of glucose: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.

Ketones are a preferred fuel source for the brain:

  • Glucose build up in the brain causes inflammation and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. This build up starves the brain. Ketones are a clean fuel source that the brain thrives on.
  • The ketogenic diet increases the permeability of the blood/brain barrier which provides more nutrients to our brain to increase our brain health and productivity. Although the brain uses glucose as about 30% of it’s fuel source, we do not need to get glucose from the diet in order to have it for fuel. Our body will create the needed glucose itself!
  • Ketones limit neuronal loss and preserve synaptic function. This means communication from cell to cell is more efficient and effective. This all increases brain function and clarity.
  • Ketones are a more efficient fuel source for our entire body. Fuel sources need to be converted in to ATP for our body to use it for energy. Converting ketones into energy rather than glucose is a much more efficient process which takes less effort and gives us more energy!
  • Ketones offer increased mitochondria function. Mitochondria protect our cells, regulate cell growth and death. This can protect us from oxidative damage, disease, cancer and just give us more energy in general.
  • Ketones help reduce inflammation. Eating healthy fat and less carbohydrate helps reduce inflammation. BUT, ketones add to this! Back to the oxidative stress as seen above. Ketones help reduce this oxidative stress which creates inflammation.
  • Increases adenosine which naturally fights inflammation and acts as a pain reliever (this why often people notice a reduction in joint pain). Down regulation of the inflammasome nlrp3 through the production of ketones.
  • Increased Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a naturally occurring protein in the brain that improves brain function and lowers risk of mental disease.
  • Cancer prevention. Cancer results when cells grow faster and live longer than they should. Ketones give mitochondria the boost they need to be able to regulate this overgrowth much more efficiently.
  • Increased GABBA. GABBA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Responsible for reducing activity in the nervous system as appropriate. Without enough GABBA we can feel depressed, stressed, anxious…Also increases our growth hormone which increases muscle and helps boost metabolism.
  • Regulates insulin and blood sugar levels beyond just low carb/high fat
  • Ketones help regulate appetite
  • Ketones help balance leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone that tells us we satisfied).
  • Ketones help balance ghrelin which tells us we are hungry.
  • Ketones will balance this leptin/ghrelin relationship.
  • Improves cardiovascular markers. Ketones has been shown in studies to increase HDL and reduces triglycerides. This will improve overall cardiovascular function and risk of disease.
  • Better mood. A ketogenic state reduces the intracellular sodium levels. This is the same thing we get form mood stabilizing drugs.
  • Ketones can increase athletic performance. Gives us more efficient access to fuel during exercise/competition.

If you are interested in applying this to your own life by following a ketogenic diet and would like some help, I offer a monthly group for Women that is run through a private FB group. I also offer individual coaching. Please email me at for more information!


My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

Once upon a time I was vegetarian. Now we own and operate a pasture raised meat business. (Grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and chicken all minus antibiotics or added hormones)

Quite the switch.

When I was ohhhhh around 20 (feels like just a couple years ago) and I went to Alaska for the first time (as a vegetarian), I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with a family who was homesteading in the middle of absolute nowhere. The nearest town was 30 miles away by dog sled or snow machine during the winter and by boat in the summer. And that “town”…well if you’ve seen the show Northern Exposure {popular in the early 90’s} then you know what kind of town I’m talking about. You know, where the “airport” and post office are all in one and smaller than my house. You get off the plane outside on the tarmac regardless of the fact that it’s 30 below outside. Oh, and the plane is half cargo. Some of the cargo was fresh produce that people living way up there eagerly anticipated once a month.

ONCE a month! Can you imagine fresh veggies and fruit only once a month??

Needless to say, when the woman of the house {i.e. cabin with no running water and heated only by wood stove} I was staying at asked, “what should we have for dinner?” my first night there and it turned out my options were moose, caribou or….well…moose, I was not surprised.

“My first experience in temperatures so frigid. No store anywhere within reach. Yup, I’ll be eating meat” was how my thought process went. Then, off we went into the “yard” with a chainsaw where she started uncovering something from under a mound of snow. There was dinner. Not even kidding.

My reasons for following a vegetarian lifestyle back then were pretty weak. I was early into my whole health and fitness journey and was very much following trends {and more interested in being skinny than anything else related to health}. So, low fat and vegetarian it was! I would go out with friends and order a pizza with just veggies {cheese was too fattening}. No joke. Thankfully I had good friends who didn’t give me too hard of a time or try to force feed me pepperoni and cheese *gasp*. I will tell you, however, the biggest driver for me was my disgust with how meat was farmed in our country and I really associated it with fast food. Yuck.

Eating meat in the far Northern regions of Alaska in the dead of winter with a family that was completely living off the land, changed my perspective.

After that experience, I moved to a small town in Alaska, not nearly as remote as Kotzebue, however the grocery store was a 2 hour drive away from where I lived (still accessible any time of the year). {I lived in Healy, just north of Denali National Park}

What I noticed when I lived up there was that people hunted and would feed their whole family for the entire year from a moose they shot; and they were SO thankful. I hunted with friends and the experience was completely different than what I expected. The word honor comes to mind. When you work hard for something versus just picking up a package at the store or ordering it off the menu at a restaurant…it makes you really understand and appreciate what you have in front of you.

This was such a far cry from what I was used to down in the lower 48. Not to mention, wild meat had SUCH a different taste.

There is a lot of confusion today with what is good and what isn’t good for you. What I find that many people overlook WHERE things come from and what that means for the integrity fo the food. I haven’t ate a burger from a fast food restaurant in ….you know I can’t even tell you how many years. But, I was still buying meat from the grocery store and not really thinking much about it until in the recent few years. Then I started getting grass fed beef locally and fast forward to now where we have partnered with Pacific Northwest farms who meet our strict standards and we are selling it!

One of the biggest reasons to go for grass fed over grain fed is that grass fed beef contains far more omega 3 than omega 6. Why do we care about this? On our Standard American Diet {S.A.D.} we eat an alarmingly off balance ratio of omega 3/omega 6. This causes systemic inflammation which is at the root cause of basically any known chronic disease in our modern culture. Meat is not the only culprit; not by a long shot. We get an overabundance of omega 6 from all the highly processed vegetable oils in our processed foods {canola, soy, corn, safflower…}.

According to holistic practitioner Chris Kresser, “Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef, and the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all the way up to 7.65:1”. {For more on this subject AND why meat and saturated fat are not to blame for heart disease like we’ve been told for so long, go here.}

Minus the hormones, minus all the inflammatory omega 6, minus the antibiotics, what do you get?

You get significant amounts of B vitamins, including B 12, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. You get vitamin D, iron & zinc. You also get a good amount of other vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium. And the best part is that these nutrients from a meat source are far more bioavailable than any other sources {meaning your body will actually absorb and use much more than it will from other sources}.

I totally respect those who choose to be vegetarian. That’s not what this article is about {and I’m not interested in debates. You respect my decision, I’ll respect yours}.

What this is about is my own journey, and digging deep into the science behind health rather than just following trends.

It sure feels good to know exactly where our food comes from, to know that they are happy, healthy, well cared for cows! And I will say that I feel like a happier, healthier, more cared for human being having much more nutrient dense food in my diet every day.

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

There really is no one size fits all approach. We all know that.

There are some key ingredients to any kind of “plan” out there that I would argue are essential for anyone, though:

  • Based on whole foods
  • Includes a good amount of healthy fats
  • Eliminates (or at least drastically reduces) processed foods
  • Gives your body what YOUR body needs (this is where things get confusing)

So. This list really leaves a lot under its umbrella. I consider this a good thing.

We all have different needs, but also different values surrounding our diet and lifestyle and different things we just plain are or are not interested in.

It’s no secret, I am a big fan of the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m also a big fan of the paleo lifestyle. Why do I promote KETO so. darn. much?? Because I have seen it help people over and over again, get to a place they JUST COULDN’T no matter what they did. It allowed them to start burning fat for fuel and reduce inflammation and FEEL GOOD.

My goal is to share how to follow a keto diet focusing on a whole foods approach AND my programs are targeted toward women. This is HUGE. We are so very different in how our bodies operate then men. You just can’t put your body on the same exact protocol as your husband or boyfriend and expect things to go well.

“Aside from all of this stuff, how do I know it’s the right avenue for me?” Is this what you’re thinking? Well…let me share a few ways to know when it’s NOT right for you:

1) You’re just doing it for some quick weight loss
You need to do your research. The ketogenic diet is not something meant for just dropping a bunch of weight fast and then going back to the standard American diet. This should really be thought of as part of a lifestyle: teaching your body how to burn fat for fuel and creating habits that are sustainable and that promote a healthier overall you.

2) You’re not ALL IN
The ketogenic diet is not something you can “sort of” do. You’re either following it 100% or you’re not. Now, there are big benefits to eating a higher fat/lower carb diet of any kind. However, the ketogenic diet is very specific in terms of how much fat and how little carbs in order to get into ketosis. If you’re not willing to fully commit, it’s not for you.

If you are married to your excuses more than your desire to be healthy: not for you.

3) You’re vegetarian
Ok hold on here: before you get ready to send me a nasty-gram, hear me out. I am not saying that you CANNOT be vegetarian on the ketogenic diet. But, if you are, it will be DIFFICULT. If you are dairy free on top of it…10x harder. Lots of people are dairy free and do amazing on KETO {in fact some people say it’s absolutely necessary but I disagree}. BUT, dairy free AND vegetarian…different story.

I am a big fan of seeing people include good grass fed, hormone free, organic meats in their diets. The ketogenic diet is NOT high protein, but moderate. And those protein sources are important. I also don’t like to see women try to meet their protein needs with soy based products do to potential hormone disruption.

Here is some further information on the topic: red meat in particular.

4) You’re mourning over the thought of giving up your sugar and fast food.

Okay. I’m not saying the ketogenic will NEVER be for you. However, a much better plan if this is you, would be to taper down. Start with Paleo, which cuts out the sugar and processed foods and go from there.

Truly, there is A LOT of tasty food you can eat on the ketogenic diet that makes it pretty easy for people to follow compared to other plans. But, if you have not yet pried your little fingers off the convenience foods and sugar, it will be harder.

5) You feel like you’re “all in” but you don’t want to worry about the “details”

Well, you’re going to have to worry about the details if you want good results AND if you want to feel good doing this.

The ketogenic approach is not just any old “diet”. Think of it like this: your body has been used to a certain kind of fuel for quite awhile. That means at a cellular level your system has adjusted and adapted to what you feed it. Truthfully, the ways in which it has adjusted and adapted are very likely NOT IN YOUR FAVOR! But, any change, even good change, takes some deliberate effort.

Changing the type of fuel your are giving your body will mean changes big and small from the outside in…all the way down to your individual cells.

This is why the type of fats & proteins are crucial. This is why {you will hear this in my programs} electrolytes are CRITICAL. This is why you HAVE TO BE PURPOSEFUL.

Okay, I know I probably made KETO sound like a big scary, hairy, overwhelming thing to jump into: but it’s not.

You just have to have a good talk with yourself and do your homework before deciding if this is a good fit for you or not. No one wants to try a program without being fully committed only to walk away feeling like they failed. Again. I sure don’t want that for you.

Did you make it through the list and you’re STILL interested in KETO? You’re saying: “heck YES. I went through that list and I know: I’M 110% READY!!” Then I want to invite you to join one of my upcoming programs OR, if you’re the person who has done gobs of research and you just need a meal plan and a little jump start: I have an option for that too!

Starting January 1st my KETO for Women Groups are starting {I run them monthly}! Find out more and/or sign up here.

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC Christmas and that NO MATTER WHAT you do with your health and fitness, that you do it with purpose and intention and that you FEEL AMAZING! <3

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:

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!

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!! ? ☀️

The Sweet Spot

When I was younger…in my 20’s (I swear that was just yesterday), I was so obsessive about my fitness that I would be a bear if I didn’t get my minimum number of workouts in per week and it had to be for a minimum amount of time as well. It’s as though I thought my body would puff up in one day if I missed a workout. I struggled hard with body image and weight in childhood & adolescence. It’s amazing how wide that pendulum swing can be. It took several years to settle. Thank you, God, that it did.The journey has been interesting and eye opening, however.

A few years ago I went to see a holistic doctor after struggling with my energy level and being confused by it. After all, health and fitness is my thing…I thought I was doing everything right. My diet was spot on, my exercise was spot on…what the heck? To my surprise, the doctor sat down in the office and started asking me about my life starting back in childhood. I was very impressed by this, given that I was in the midst of earning my masters degree in Health Psychology and really learning how tangled the web is that connects our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual selves. What a concept that a doctor would ask me about my mental/emotional health from childhood on. I had never had a doctor spend time fully listening to me about surface level issues let alone asking me all this stuff. This is when I first learned about Adrenal Fatigue.

Truly the man scared me. He talked about what chronic stress can do to a body and there I was thinking I was not part of that population. I have never smoked, drinking has amounted to one or two glasses of wine a few times a week (hello antioxidants). I never eat fast food. I exercise 5+ days a week. I have awesome friends and a solid network and my faith is integral to me. What’s the problem? What stress? If there’s any there I know how to deal with it…or did I? I was a single mom, working and earning my masters degree at the same time. Sleep was something I did not do much of.

So really, what does all of this mean? Since that appointment I have done a lot of research on Adrenal Fatigue and it has made a lot of sense looking back. I realize this has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Now, I know when I am dipping back into it. In fact, this past year has been the worst ever (you’d think a girl would learn, right?). I had so much transition in my life, a lot of it actually good, but change nonetheless, that my body just decided it had had enough. My energy levels plummeted, my immune system took a nose dive, my sleep suffered horribly…

What do you do when you hit bottom?

You breathe. You pray. You rest. You take care of your body by not overworking it.

This stuff is NOT easy for me! Thankfully I found PiYo a few years back and started teaching. It has been such a Godsend for my body. The strength and balance I get without the hard impact has been amazing. However, I stopped teaching classes at night for now. That was a huge step for me toward simplifying my life. I didn’t like leaving a dinner time and coming back when it was pretty much bedtime 3 times a week. Plus it made it hard for my body to settle down at night. I gave up running for several months to let my body heal as well. Running is such a love of mine, but it can also be so hard on the body. I’m back at it and thankfully it feels good again!

I have been practicing the art of saying “no” as well. Seriously not easy for me! And I say “practicing” because I have a ways to go yet. But, it’s amazing how freeing it feels to protect your little world by saying that. When I say no to something that doesn’t fit my own schedule or goals or that of my family, I am saying yes to the direction I am really trying to go in and I am saying yes to my family. That part feels amazing.

So now, I am enjoying exercise on my own terms rather than having it dictate me and how I feel about myself. I am being more purposeful in decisions I make and making sure they line up with what I want life to look like for my family and myself. I am embracing “no” as something that can can be such a gift. It’s always an adventure, life is. I love that I am operating less on caffeine and autopilot and more from intention. It’s kind of nice.

If you are caught up in the constant going, always busy, saying yes to everything cycle….I encourage you to sit back and breathe. Then pick something today to say no too and say yes to something better.

Bone Broth

So there is all this chatter about bone broth going on in the past few years. It has gotten more and more mainstream. As with anything, I like to do my research before deciding if I should jump on whatever bandwagon has presented itself.

One thing I love about bone broth is that it’s been around forever. People have been using bone broth for generations and in many different cultures. This alone says something huge to me.

First off, let’s clarify that regular broth and stock are different than bone broth. What makes it different is really in how long you simmer the broth. Broth is a short duration simmer, 45 minutes to 2 hours, roughly. Stock is a longer simmer, around 4-5 hours. Bone broth is a much longer simmer, anywhere from 8-24 hours. The purpose of a longer simmer is to release gelatin from the collagen-rich joints as well as important trace minerals.

So there’s the “what”. Now, how about the why?

Bone broth a are very rich in protein and minerals, for starters. But there are many other amazing benefits. Bone broths offer glycine which aid in detoxification as well as digestion, hemoglobin synthesis and a number of other important functions. In addition, the gelatin that is released is amazing for the skin. Who doesn’t love that??

Plus, the whole chicken soup remedy when you have a cold…that’s a thing. It’s because of bone broth and the fact that it mitigates cold symptoms. So, reach for the real stuff and not the canned chicken soup on the shelf at your local grocer.

We recently made some. Bone broth recipes are a plenty on the internet (hello Pinterest!). We picked up an organic chicken from a local store (it’s amazing how much more accessible & affordable organic and natural options are nowadays!). We baked the chicken, used the meat in a recipe for dinner then put the bones in the crockpot with salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onions and cilantro…simply because we had some & love it. I put the crockpot on low and just let it go for 12 hours.

From there you have options. Some people just drink the broth daily. In fact, some cultures keep a pot on simmer and drink it like tea regularly. I prefer using it in recipes. This time around we used it in chicken soup adding fresh veggies (first straining the broth), quinoa and chicken.

My mother & father in law recently had 2 steer butchered and we will be using some of those bones in a broth pretty soon. It is best to use grass fed, antibiotic & hormone-free meat as to not release all of that into your broth and then into your body. Makes sense, right?

There you have it. Bone broth. I would love to hear your experiences & recipes!!

Happy health!