The fall season in Ontario is truly one of the reasons we endure winter. Summer is wonderful but fall means fireplaces, sweatshirts, apple pie, and everything pumpkin! I have created a pumpkin spice smoothie (PSS) that I just LOVE and have had so many others enjoy as well, so I wanted to share that with all of you :)
It's so easy, here's what I do:
I use a Blendtec blender but really any type will do
- 1.5 Cups of almond milk, coconut milk, or whatever type you like best! When I'm in Toronto I pick up fresh pressed almond or coconut mylk from Donna at Mylk Run (she has many other goodies too)
- 3 Scoops of USANA's plant protein powder, Nutrimeal Free which is also super full of vitamins and minerals to help power your cells!
- ½ Cup of fresh pumpkin! I roast a pumpkin in the fall and then portion it off to cupcake sized servings to freeze and use at any time for smoothies. But at this time of year I am roasting pumpkins for pie anyhow so I just save some aside in the fridge.
- Pumpkin spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Vanilla. Use as you feel- more cinnamon and less of the others I find is less "spicy" for me!
- A handful of ice cubes
- ½ Scoop of USANA's Fibergy to bring in some extra fiber
- A teaspoon of MCT oil from Upgraded Self
And BLEND! Enjoy and feel free to share any fantastic modifications you make!
My Thoughts and Feelings After One Year of Eating a "Real Food" Diet.
If you followed my blog previously, you would remember me switching to a vegan "plant based" diet January of 2012. After 3 months of doing this and realizing that my heath was suffering, I found a whole new type of nutrition and in April of 2012 I focused on a real food diet (sometimes called Just Eat Real Food or JERF). I spoke about following a Bulletproof Diet, and eating foods for their nutrient density. This meant, after 17 years vegetarian, I started eating meat. I haven't posted in awhile, and I wanted to share with you all what it has been like through the past year my new way of looking at food.
What was I eating before? Vegan/vegetarian. High in carbohydrates through breads, cereals, fruits, and veggies. High in soy through meat alternatives. Cliff bars, oatmeal, ezekial bread with almond butter and honey. Previous to the 3 months of veganism I would eat cheese and fish, but in those three months I stuck with soy cheeses and tofu. Lots of fruit, plenty of vegetables. Avocado, olives, cooking with olive oil. Sounds fairly healthy right? I felt awful about one month in.
What am I eating now? Bacon, eggs, butter, steaks, roasts, coffee, plenty of veggies, berries, coconut oil, nuts, avocados, olives, fish, seafood, dark chocolate and coconut milk. Sounds delicious eh?! Those of you who know me, know why I put bacon first :)
And how does that make you feel? (Asked in a very professional psychologist type of way). I feel better than I have ever felt in my whole life! It is absolutely amazing to me how great I feel with eating so many things that I believed were bad for me for so many years. But belief is the key word. Much of our health and nutrition information is based on a belief that what the medial and the government tells us is well researched and correct. Better to "biohack" yourself. Try out different diets and see what works for you. For me, this is the solution at this time in my life.
So what exactly am I feeling? Plenty more energy, all day long. I can go many hours without eating and not feel any blood sugar drops at all, and this was a huge problem for me a year ago. I think I would have been considered pre-diabetic if I had told my M.D my symptoms.. maybe I should just ask my sister! I can concentrate and think more clear than I ever have before. I continue to avoid most colds and flus- I used to get sick nearly every month and now I rarely do (that began with taking my Usana vitamins though), but now even my allergies are greatly reduced.
What about my cholesterol though? If you can believe this, when I was in chiropractic college, we did a cholesterol blood test on ourselves. Myself and the other vegetarian, had the highest total cholesterol!! It was shocking. I now understand that total cholesterol is not a good marker of health, but regardless it seemed strange. I have had my blood work done a couple of times now, the first one was about 3 months into my new diet. For a life insurance policy. I was slightly worried hahaha... But in fact it turned out to be great with all of my levels being within normal, including my total triglycerides. This was great to hear since about 40-60% of my calories per day come from fat. I had my blood work done again a few months ago and my numbers had all gone down, except my HDL which is what you want to be up! It was really awesome to see. I also tested my vitamin D, since I take 3000-5000 I.U/day and wanted to be sure I am not too high. I was within normal and even on the low end. Considering my vitamins follow pharmaceutical standards, I knew it wasn't the product. I really can and need to supplement with that much or more! I will continue to test though, and you should as well, to be sure you are doing what is best for your own body.
Weight changes? Yes and no. I don't have a scale. It causes stress and I advocate that how your clothes fit is much more important. But my clothes still fit and I have switched to bacon and eggs and butter. Now the problem, I think, is that I eat 80/20 real food. I definitely have "cheat days" and my worst ones involve sugar. I will forever have to watch my sugar cravings, I can imagine many people understand this feeling. My plan for the next year of this is to really work on my sugar intake. Maybe that will be my post next year! It's a tough one, and will keep your body in a sugar burning mode (as opposed to fat burning) and can really halt fat loss. So basically I feel amazing, even significantly better in my own skin regardless of what has or hasn't changed. Oh did I mention I don't have to count calories or portion control? That is a huge bonus also. I eat until I am full, which is so easy to do with delicious fats and proteins and butter soaked veggies!
In my previous posts you can learn details on what I eat specifically and why, and resources to do this for yourself if you want to also! Feel free to email me with any questions or thoughts, I am happy to help!
Until next time,
Picking eggs from Bartel Organics.
I promised I would write after 100 days. It's been 107. It's Time.
I wanted to wait until 100 days had passed before really commenting on how my new diet is going. This is because that is what I had done while attempting veganism and I only felt it was fair to give this change an equal chance. At 100 days vegan I was very much ready to quit. My initial honeymoon phase with it had worn thin and I think my body was quickly depleted of it's stores of nutrients and fats. I studied the Bulletproof Diet and became intrigued and eventually convinced that this was the best method to being an optimal human. Who doesn't want that, right? So I jumped in and went for it. It took me a couple weeks to change from being a "bulletproof vegetarian" to eating meat. One thing that was interesting was that I never once felt any negative side effects from eating meat after having abstained for 17 years. I wonder if it is because I only eat pastured organic (sustainable and loved) meats. My wonderful husband is a huge fan of my food cost budget (not) (neither is my financial planner). But anyhow, I needed to do 100 days of self experimentation before I really began working with others to encourage them to do what I am doing. I can gladly say that this past 100 (sorry 107) days have been wonderful. I have been sleeping well, feeling energetic, seeing my skin clear and my hair soften. I have been thinking clearer, my overall mood is literally 100% improved, no more shaking and dizziness with extended periods of time without food, no more anxiety and my digestion is much improved. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to genuinely be optimal. And I would be extremely happy to help you get there!
Lakeland meats bacon & Bartel eggs.
So what the hay am I doing, right? What IS the Bulletproof Diet exactly? I know I have briefly explained it in the past but I think the best thing to understand is that it was created by a man named Dave Asprey who was searching for what allowed him to feel and function his very best. Unbeknownst to him during his creation of the diet, it is actually a low allergen/ low toxin version of a high fat Paleo diet. So I think I need to try to help explain what a Paleo diet is so that we can move on to what a Bulletproof diet is, after. I find that if you are COMPLETELY new to "diet-hacking", you should probably attempt a couple weeks of being Paleo and then optimize it by going Bulletproof. These can be humongoid changes for someone to go through and even though I'm a bit more inclined to jump right in and do it, I know that isn't the case for everyone. I definitely understand the "use it up and then don't buy it again" idea. So what is a Paleo diet. You may have heard about this lately, or maybe not. It is actually really interesting to me, being a biology major in University. I find a lot of Paleo advocates are science-y people. Note, we aren't very strong in english.. Many of the big names in the community are research minded individuals (ex. Chris Kresser, Chris Masterjohn, Matt LaLonde). Here is a link to Chris Masterjohn's story of leaving vegetarian/veganism. I could immediately relate to the idea of evolution and how our bodies have formed over time. Consider this, before agriculture began how on earth would we eat wheat, sugar, or vegetable oils? It wasn't possible. Not in the ways and quantities we are now taking in. Nevermind bananas in Canada in January! Ring ring ring ring... (who knows what song that is). Considering how long it takes for evolution to occur, it makes complete sense to me that our bodies and minds have not adapted to eating these foods that are essentially man-made. The mantra for many Paleo people (and me too) is to 'just eat real food'. If you could have eaten it before agriculture, then it's Paleo and considered real food. So that includes all meats and fish, eggs, raw milk if you like and butter, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. There is other things but that is the general picture. I am not saying we should live like cavemen (although that could be fun, as long as no one drags me by my hair), but I am saying that if we eat the way our bodies had eaten for thousands and thousands of years, we will feel optimal. Anyhow, the Paleo diet is very interesting and there are many great books, podcasts, and blogs that you can read/watch/listen to if you would like to learn more. Mark Sission has a great blog here and Robb Wolf has one here. I highly recommend The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf as a good read to start with. But moving on to where the Bulletproof diet fits in. You will see if you go to bulletproofexec.com and download the PDF that it very much aligns with the Paleo diet. Oh by the way, Paleo means from the Paleolithic era. Many of the differences are in the avoidance of mycotoxins (from molds) and other common sources of allergens and toxins.
The Bulletproof diet teaches your body to become fat adapted, to burn its own fat for fuel and then supplement wisely for your individual needs. For the past 107 days I have focused on eating 60% of my calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 20% from carbs. I would say everything has improved and I find my clothes to fit better. And I haven't cut calories, restricted myself, or counted anything at all. Now to be honest, I have only lost a couple pounds of weight on the scale. I do have to tweak what I am doing to be able to see that move some more but I know that I have lost inches and it is important for everyone (including myself) to understand that a) this takes a lot of time as you are healing your body from years of poor eating and b) the scale doesn't matter. Of course my husband has lost 25 lbs and can lift more weight than ever. MEN!
I plan to blog more often now! I want to share with all of you specific topics and information that I have studied. Rather than blab it all in one massive post, I will divide it up over time. But feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions and I will be happy to answer when I can, or at least direct you to the resource you need! I would also love to work with you in my office if you would like to do some nutritional coaching. I have seen some really exciting results and am so proud of my current Paleo/bulletproof-ers/optimal humans!. Send me an email here if you would like to get started.
Enjoy your butter!
PS I strongly recommend you clicking on the many links through this to learn SO MUCH more!
January 1st, my new years "resolution" was to become a "Vegan", which means no longer eating animal based products.
Those of you who know me, know I have been vegetarian for some time. I would say 12 years or longer. So you can imagine that becoming vegan hasn't been nearly the challenge it would be for someone who has not restricted their intake of animal products before!
The truth is, it is difficult to answer the question of "Why have you done this." For me, anyhow. Maybe other vegetarians and vegans out there can advise me on tactics. But the reason for this difficulty is because I have to ...almost... speak poorly of animal based products to those who are eating them gladly and happily. I have many inspirations for choosing to do this, some of them being: Forks Over Knives, The Kind Diet, Food Inc., Eating Animals, The China Study, and The End of the Line. (To name a few). And my easiest response is "Read/Watch (one of the above) and you will understand". And although it is tough for me to explain it to others, I wanted to share with you here some of my health changes, challenges, and things I am thankful for.
Some of the changes I have seen in my health.
Pre-christmas (all of December) I allowed myself to eat anything and everything I wanted. No meat- but anything else really (lots of sugar and dairy). I made a little notebook and listed how I felt. Here are just a few of the things that I wrote:
- Stuffy nose
- "Brain fog"
- Ringing in my ears
- Gained weight
I was also neglecting my nutritional supplements with the idea that if I'm not being healthy, I shouldn't waste them on me right now (bad idea..).
So, today has been one month, 31 days of being vegan. I have not had meat, fish, or dairy (except maybe some hidden ingredients!), and have also greatly reduced my refined sugar and flour intake. I have been to 2 raw vegan potlucks (Conscious Eating Niagara! You should go), and have incorporated some of the amazing Superfoods that I learned about in the Food Matters Mastery videos. These are some of the words to describe how I feel now:
- No more brain fog
- Sleeping well
- Breathing well
- Feeling good!
Each day I take my Health Pak multi-vitamin (which includes calcium), 2000 I.U of vitamin D, a probiotic every other day, and B12 every few days. I also add Optomega Omega Oils to my salads, oatmeal, or shakes every day. My favourite superfoods so far are Cacao powder, Cacao nibs, Goji berries, Chlorella, Chia Seeds, and Hemp Hearts.
Some of the Challenges.
My toughest challenge is when asked "why are you doing this." Again, any advice would be appreciated! But another difficult situation is when gifted food- especially home made food- that has dairy and refined sugar and flour in it. If I accept then they never know that I am now choosing this lifestyle, but if I don't accept I feel rude and have to explain the whole "why" story (which almost feels like I am insulting their cooking/baking). Another challenge is finding surprise sources of dairy products. Some of my most favourite bars and easy on-the-go foods contain milk ingredients. And I have even found eating out to be a bit of a challenge at times. On 2 occasions now I have been out to eat and found literally no options available to me. Of course if you just ask they will make you something (and I have found saying "I have a dairy allergy and I don't eat meat or fish" to work well). Definitely dodging the questions of "where do you get your protein/calcium" has been easy enough since I have been vegetarian for so long, but a good book that walks you through the science of it all is one called "Becoming Vegan".
I am Thankful For...
My loving hubby who supports me and will eat plant-based with me at any time (but still enjoys a Steak when he gets ahold of one!).
Twitter! Some of my best recipes have come from there- this image here is from The First Mess- Carrot Cake Pancakes with Lime Cashew Cream- delicious! There are some amazing, strong and beautiful people there who advocate a plant based lifestyle and they are very motivating that this is possible and fun.
I am grateful for easy access to Health Food Stores and Veggie Friendly Restaurants. Some of those being The Peanut Mill, Mahtay Cafe, Rise Above, and even the organics section of Zehrs!
My family and friends. It is much easier with those around you supporting this lifestyle. Some of my best friends don't even get it (I think they think I'm crazy) But they will eat vegan with me, go with me to Raw Vegan Potlucks, and buy me vegan cupcakes ;) <3
You Can Do It Too.
If you are considering the idea, give it a try. Even one day a week will allow you to feel better and help make a difference to the world.
And please feel free to post any questions, comments or suggestions here! :)
Thanks for listening!
I love to share health information, wealth building tips, entrepreneurial ideas, and travel experiences! Talk about a range! But doing what I love has truly paid off and I hope to help inspire you to do the same!