brown bag monday: morning motivation

brownbagmonday

Although I’m usually a morning person, there are some days when it’s hard to get out of bed at the crack of dawn. Or before it, during the winter months. The promise of a few extra winks of sleep or warm blankets on chilly mornings are awfully tempting to ignore. But for morning people, this often is our most productive time of day so lingering in bed can throw off our entire day.

If this also is a struggle for you, here’s the tip to take with you this week:

morning motivation

When I add things into my morning that I love and look forward to, it’s much more likely that I’ll get up and moving instead of hitting the snooze button endless times. For example, I love starting my day in prayer and in studying the Bible as these anchor me for the day. When I need extra motivation, I’ll brew a warm mug of black or lemon-ginger cleansing tea and diffuse a favorite essential oil. These activities wake me up enough that I’m ready to tackle my workout and my work.

There are endless possibilities of things to get you going…the satisfaction of crossing chores off your list first thing, the color of a favorite mug, the texture of a blanket, a favorite spot to curl up, a friend to meet or talk with, a place to go, music to listen to.

And while these activities, routines or favorite things might change over time or with the seasons or when they no longer hold wonder, the important thing is to find that certain something that puts a sparkle in your eye as your feet hit the floor in the morning.

Are you a morning person? What are some favorite things you love to do that could be incorporated into your morning routine?

Need a little help brainstorming…send me a message for a free mini coaching session on this.

brown bag monday: food focus tip

brownbagmonday

As I’ve made a major switch in my diet four years ago by choosing to eat a plant-based diet and then tweaking that to reduce my sugar intake a couple years later, I’ve come to appreciate just how closely food is tied to our emotions, memories and sense of community.

Suddenly, many of our go-to foods are off the list and we may need to learn new cooking techniques or try new foods that are foreign to us. Depending on the dietary change, it can be a small or steep learning curve. And if you’re making these changes for health reasons, like discovering a gluten-intolerance  or cancer or heart disease or diabetes, you also may be dealing with emotions and frustrations related to the diagnosis.

So here’s the tip that you can take with you for this brown bag monday:

focus brownbagmonday

Whenever we focus on what we can’t eat…a list that may be quite extensive…it’s easy to become frustrated and even depressed. Focusing on what you can eat frees you up to be creative, to appreciate the variety that is available to you and helps keep your outlook positive.

I learned the value of this tip two years ago when I did the anticandida diet for the first time, especially during the strictest part. By switching my mindset, I was better able to come up with a solid meal plan that didn’t make me feel deprived.

If you’ve had to make a change to your diet, what was the hardest part? If you know you need to make a change and haven’t what is one thing that is holding you back?

new series: brown bag mondays…tips you can take with you

brownbagmonday

New series: Brown Bag Mondays:  I see Mondays as a fresh start, another opportunity to face the week head on and move forward living life. But as the week wears on, I recognize our ideals don’t always play out the way we think. My heart for this series to provide you with something you can use or chew on as you go about your hours and days in the week ahead.

 

This is how my family calendar has looked for the first half of this month.

may calendarNot that we had nothing to do…quite the opposite. But I hesitated to write down all the things that were filling it up, because, well,  I rather liked the look of those blank spaces. It is my soul craving some unstructured time amidst all the structure that keeps us on track.

I find it easy enough to plan for things that are consistent in our days…time with the Lord, school, work, church, chores, weekly or monthly gatherings with friends. But sometimes I fail to plan for the unexpected like school events and appointments and suddenly our unstructured time is nibbled at bit by bit.

As summer vacation draws near, I want to be mindful of our time…to balance the structured with the unstructured. To allow breathing room for the unexpected to be easily accommodated into the structure of our days.

So here is this week’s “brown bag monday” question:

time may calendar

I think when we feel overwhelmed, it’s because we’re not leaving enough time in our schedule to handle the things we can’t plan for…the extra load of laundry required from an ill child, the repairman we need schedule for a leaky faucet, the errands we need to run because we forgot something on our list, the moments our children ask us to sit and read, or color or play a game, the friend who would love to get together, the unexpected blessing of sun in string of rainy days.

Care to explore this topic a little more? I would love to do a coaching session with you on this. Click on over to my contact page so we can set something up.

coco’nuts’ about these products

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blueberry banana bread bars featuring fair trade coconut oil

Who else likes to check these boxes?

✅saving money
✅buying food that’s good for you
✅giving a hand up to those who need it by buying fair trade
✅sharing the secret with others

Today, I was able to do all four when I bought two of my favorite pantry essentials from Vitacost: Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos and Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Fair Trade & Organic Coconut Oil.

Yes, these are more expensive than similar products, but there are times when I feel it’s important to “vote with my fork” and pay the extra money for a good cause.

Here’s the skinny on why I shell out the few extra pesos:

coconut aminos

coconut oil

So where does the saving money part come in?

Glad you asked. 😉

These two products are available at through Vitacost.com for a better price than I can find them in local stores and are priced better or competitively with other online suppliers.

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Leng’s salad featuring coconut aminos

And here’s where saving you money comes in…if you click on this link which takes you to the Vitacost site, you will receive $10 off your first order of $30 or more. Free shipping happens when you spend $49.

What I usually do is plan in my grocery budget to make a bulk purchase so I can save on shipping. So today I placed an order for six Coconut Aminos and two jars of Coconut Oil which brought be a hair over the $49 mark. Since these are shelf stable, I won’t need to order again for several months.

Want to give it a try to make a difference in someone’s life and fuel your body with better ingredients?

Head on over to Vitacost. Then come back here and tell me what you put in your cart.

*I participate in Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program. If you click the link and make a purchase from them, you will get $10 off on your order of $30 or more and I will also get a $10 credit. All my opinions are my own.

Celebrating Success…#LowSugarNaturally

Today I’m excited to share a #lowsugarnaturally success story with you since we are just completing the first week of the free Sugar Pretox Challenge. I met Stephanie through a Facebook group when I shared about this article I wrote for our local paper. I asked her to share her story and she graciously agreed…

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Tell me about yourself…

I am a stay-at-home mom to my five-year old daughter McKenna! My husband and I will be married for six years on May 15th! I love crafts and spending time with family and friends. Laughing as much as I can, and making others laugh too- sort of the class clown! I like to cook and decorate and honestly do a little of this, a little of that!

Why did you decide to cut sugar from your diet?

I have always struggled with my weight, especially after having my daughter when I topped out at around 380 lbs. I tried random diets and counting calories, I added walking with my daughter to my weekly routines….nothing helped.

One of my friends suggested I try cutting carbs and sugar from my diet. So on January 6th, 2014 I decided to stop eating sugar, processed foods and most carbs. The weight melted off and within about a month I felt the best I can remember. I was sleeping better, my skin improved, had more energy, and of course lost weight at a pretty steady pace.

In about a year and a half I had dropped 125 lbs. But then I hit a plateau and didn’t lose much after that year and a half.

This past November, I was frustrated and decided for the holidays to go ahead and add sugar back in my diet…..horrible idea! I gained about 25 lbs super fast and felt like garbage! So, after the new year, I went right back to no sugar and low carbs and have already lost 15 lbs.

It was a good reminder of how I used to feel and how I never want to feel again!

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Any other benefits? My blood pressure and cholesterol levels also have improved.

What was the hardest part of cutting out sugar for you? The first 2 weeks. It feels like you have the flu as you go through withdrawal. Plus, being around tons of sweets at parties and holidays and the fact that people don’t “get it” and can’t seem to see why I won’t just have the cake or some cookies, etc.

How can you encourage others in trying to go sugar-free? Keep at it for 3 weeks, no matter how you feel. It may not be fun or easy at first but it gets better! I’ve also found that foods with processed sugar crap don’t even taste good to me at all anymore! It coats your mouth with this weird taste and immediately feels like a brick in my stomach! I also try to encourage people through my low-card Instagram account: Lowcarb_stephaknee

Favorite recipe?

My Brussel sprouts that I get great compliments on:

1.5 lbs of halved Brussel sprouts
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons stevia
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced.
Splash of apple cider vinegar.

Add the butter and Brussels to a pan and keep on medium heat, stirring every few min.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a sauce pan and whisk up (sometimes I add more stevia, sometimes more mustard….I do it to taste). Keep both on medium heat stirring occasionally. Once the Brussels are cooked to your liking, and the sauce has thickened a bit pour the sauce over the Brussels and keep on low heat for a few min. These are like a sweet and sour glazed Brussel sprouts…I make them 1 to 3 Times a week and there’s never leftovers!!!

Thanks, Stephanie!

If you are interested in learning more about the Sugar Pretox/Detox Challenge and would like to take this on yourself, please visit this blog post. If you would like to join the #lowsugarnaturally community, please follow this link to my #lowsugarnaturally facebook group.

food journaling

FBhead3This week marks the first full week of the Sugar Pretox Challenge.

As part of the challenge, I’m asking participants to keep a food journal and record everything they eat and drink (with the exception of pure water) for five days.

Why start here?

Because I believe we all underestimate the amount of fat, calories, processed foods, and sugar we actually are putting into our bodies. The only way to be sure if our perceptions match with our food reality is if we take the time to record what we eat – every meal, every snack, every little tiny nibble.

According to this article in The Huffington Post, it’s also important to record items like how you were feeling, portion sizes, time of day and even location, especially if your goal is to lose weight. For the Sugar Pretox Challenge, I’m modifying that list slightly since the focus is on creating awareness around the amount of sugary items we eat.

You can see a sample of the food journal page we’ll be using. If you’d like to take on this challenge yourself – either keeping a 5-day food journal or the free Sugar Pretox Challenge – please, go to this post to submit your contact information so I can add you to our group and provide access to the food journal pages.

And if you’ve had experience keeping a food journal, I would love to hear about your findings…did it help? What surprised you most? How did it help you modify your diet?

Food Journal record page

sugar detox challenge

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“I need to eat less sugar.”

“I’m addicted to sugar.”

“I have a hard time stopping myself from eating too many chocolates…cookies…desserts?”

“I wish I had more energy.”

“I need to lose weight.”

Sound familiar?

So often, I encounter people who share their struggle with eating too many sugar-laden foods or are frustrated by their lack of energy or their weight. Yet, they struggle with taking the next step to kick the sugar addiction.

Our culture doesn’t help. Cupcake wars, cake bosses, and Pinteresting parties with cakes and candies taking front and center encourage us to believe no special occasion or informal gathering is complete without some sort of sweet confection. And sugar, its cousins and chemical stepsisters are everywhere and not just in our desserts. For goodness sake, I’ve even found it in salsa.

In salsa!!!

As a fitness and nutrition coach, I am passionate about helping people live healthier lives. While I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor, in my own life, I’ve found that maintaining an extremely low-sugar diet is one of those keys to a healthier life.

Two years ago, when I completed a three-month fast from sugar, my anxiety levels significantly decreased, my digestive health improved, and as an added bonus, I radically reduced the amount of allergy medicine I was taking to combat seasonal allergies. I did this fast without consulting any doctors, but after much prayer and research.

My heart in offering the Sugar Detox Challenge is to encourage others to explore the benefits of eliminating sugar from their diet, and, hopefully, maintaining a low-sugar diet once the challenge is complete. Since going “cold turkey” on sugar can be difficult, there will be a one-month Sugar Pretox Challenge to help challengers step down their sugar intake.

I invite you to join the full Sugar Detox Challenge (fee involved) which starts May 1,  if you:

  • Want to make a positive change in your health
  • Currently struggle with eating too many sweets and need some extra support
  • Suspect you have a systemic yeast overgrowth and have decided to try the Anti-Candida Diet
  • Are feeling tired, anxious, depressed, fatigued, angry and irritable, have a hard time sleeping and are often sick
  • Don’t believe me that cutting out sugar will make any difference in your health.

Join the free Sugar Pretox Challenge which begins April 1, if you:

  • If you are committing to the full detox
  • Are curious about coach and how coach it works
  • Believe you can do the full detox on your own

To sign up for either the Sugar Pretox and/or Sugar Detox, please complete the contact form below, indicating in the comment section whether you are interested in the Pretox, Detox or both and I will get back to you within one business day with more information.

 

Clean Eating Works!

CEC horizontal logoI’m so excited to share a few results from the 5-day Clean Eating Challenge that took place last week. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first if anyone would really notice a difference in just five days, but they did!

Here’s what a few of the Challenger’s said:

We both definitely feel better overall. We don’t feel so bloated and we felt more energized so that two of the days we didn’t even have coffee.

This is just what I needed. I think my favorite part was the snacks – being intentional and packed with raw foods. Plus, I have had such a hard time pumping enough milk and this week I didn’t…I am going to keep this up!

I think honestly it’s a menu I may use a guide because it helped me to maintain a more regular eating schedule. I am guilty of skipping meals (breakfast in particular), so I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to start having breakfast more regularly.

My takeaways: I noticed myself that by taking the time to plan out every meal in detail and spend a few hours over the weekend preparing what I could, I ate better during the week when I’m on the go. Usually I do well at planning breakfast and dinner, but lunches often get overlooked. And I was excited to rediscover the joys of homemade hummus.

We also challenged our participants to increase their water intake – something I struggle to do. As a result of this challenge, I realize I want to step up my own meal planning game and continue drinking more water throughout the day.

BLT salad
One of the recipes featured in the plant-based meal plan and a challenger favorite!

I’ll be hosting another FREE 5-day Clean Eating Challenge sometime later this year, but if you want to give this a try and just can’t wait until then, gather a group of five friends and contact me via email: andrea(at)wildberrypress(dot)com and I’ll set up a private Clean Eating Challenge group for you.

If you’re looking to make clean eating a permanent goal and would like some support, I’d love to coach you in this! Just leave a comment, email me at andrea(at)wildberrypress(dot)com or visit my Beachbody website: www.beachbodycoach.com/wildberrycoach.

5-day clean eating challenge (starts February 29)

CEC horizontal logo

Although this challenge is now over, you can visit this post where I share the results and positive feedback our participants experienced and learn how you can participate in a Clean Eating Challenge.

What is Clean Eating?

It’s simply choosing to eat foods in their purest, unadulterated form and saying good-bye to additives, preservatives, processed, artificial and otherwise chemically-altered foods. And with the way the food industry works today, getting clean food is a challenge!

Why Eat Clean?

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, just because…

It doesn’t take much to derail our best intentions to eat healthy foods, especially when we’re with other people. It was the thing I struggled with most when I transitioned from eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a plant-based one. Over time, all these added extras add up in our bodies, running us down and it’s not until we stop eating all the processed foods that we notice just how much it affects us.

So I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button with this 5-day Clean Eating Challenge I’m doing with one of my fellow BeachBody coaches beginning February 29.

During this 5-day challenge, we will provide you with a meal plan + shopping list, tips and encouragement. We usually offer a prize or two as well for extra motivation in persevering and participating in the challenge.

If you’d like to join us in Clean Eating for five days, here’s what you need to do by Monday, February 22:

1. Please visit my personal BeachBody page @ www.beachbodycoach.com/wildberrycoach first. When you’ve reached this page, click JOIN and create free account. This is completely FREE and gives me the permission to coach you in the challenge

2. Go to Facebook and send me a friend request + a message that you signed up at my BeachBody page . If you do not “do” Facebook, no problem. Just send me an email @ andrea(at)wildberrypress(dot)com and I’ll include the plans, list and encouragement via email. However, you might want to consider signing up for Facebook even temporarily for this group as it will provide a space to gain extra encouragement from the Clean Eating Challenge community.

3.Once I “friend” you on Facebook, I will add you to our Clean Eating Challenge group. This will be a private group for challengers only and is the space where you will have access to the meal plans + community support.

4. Get EXCITED!!!!! This is a great step in the right direction to a “New Healthy YOU!!!”

Please note: I will be offline for personal reasons from Friday, February 12 through Friday, February 19, so please don’t panic if you don’t hear from me. I will get in touch with you by Monday, February 22.