Life On Purpose

Day 21 : Carbs Kill July 22, 2013

By now we have eliminated the worst nutritional offenders: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. It’s time to tackle another painful truth: carbs are making you fat and sick. I’m not just talking about bread, I’m talking about all the pasta, juice, and sugary sweets we love as well.

The worst carb offenders are:

Here’s how it goes:
1. You think about carbs>
2. You make insulin>
3. You get hungry>
4. Your blood sugar gets higher>
5. Digested carbs enter your blood stream as glucose (sugar)>
6. You make more insulin>
7. You eat>
8. You make more insulin>
9. The fat in your meal stays in your cells in the form of triglycides>
10. Fat cells get fatter>
11. You get fatter

When insulin levels rise we get fatter. When insulin levels drop, we use excess fat for energy. Carbohydrates drive insulin levels. The quantity and the quality of carbs you eat determines how much fat you store and burn. A study comparing a high fat/high protein diet low in carbs (Atkins) to a calorie restrictive/low fat diet. The participants on Atkins lost an average of twice as much weight, decreased their triglyceride levels by twice as much and decreased their diastolic blood pressure by twice as much.

What I think we should glean from this is NOT that the Atkins diet is the way to go, but rather a more conceptual lesson that carbohydrates are dangerous when consumed too often and in poor quality forms. They make our blood pressure high, our waist big and our cholesterol panels dangerous.

Focus on eating high quality protein and fat for most of your calories. You will find your self satiated for longer periods of time and more full of energy than ever. Insert disclaimer here: if you are used to eating a high carb diet, you will feel like crap for several days when you quit carbs. Tis is normal and will pass. Flush your body with water to aid the process.

The challenge for today: let your plate be high in protein, veggies and fat. Let carbs be your afterthought. Your body will thank you.

Creative carb alternatives coming soon!


Credit to the info graphic pictured and its cited sources at the bottom.


Day 16 : Back to Basics July 11, 2013

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The sad thing about the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) is it has robbed us if the knowledge and experience of cooking. It has effectively reduced “cooking” to adding water and a few processed ingredients and microwaving. We are losing the art of both cooking and the family table. Food has become about instant gratification and pleasure instead of true nourishment and fellowship.

Cooking can be made fairly simple and much less intimidating if you consider this: most cooking methods are the same every time you employ them no matter what food you are cooking. The variation will come were time and temperature are concerned (and in the Google age, no need to panic!). Here are some basic cooking methods to begin trying at home:

Pan sauté: use a healthy cooking fat in a pan on the stovetop, melt it usually over medium heat for produce or medium high for meat, add ingredient and cook to desired doneness. Stir any produce frequently to prevent burning and make sure to turn meat halfway through cooking. Stainless steel dishes are ideal for this type of cooking and always come clean-salt, baking soda @ blue dawn make a great cleaning agent for anything stuck on!

Steam: use a metal colander over a pot with two or so inches of water in the bottom of the pot (you don’t want the water touching the bottom of the colander) and put any veggie or fish down into the colander over the water, cover, bring water to boil and let steam to desired doneness. I did green beans yesterday and they took 20 minutes. Google your veggie for cooking time estimates.

Roast: line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, heat your oven to 350-400 degrees depending on your ingredient, melt butter or coconut oil and toss with ingredient and add seasoning according to your recipe or desired flavor. For example, I do this with asparagus using 1-2 TBS coconut oil and add salt and pepper. Spread ingredient on baking sheet and roast 15-30 minutes depending on desired doneness (remember your cooking assistant, Google!)

Grill: wet skewers and cut up fruits and veggies. Skewer them and grill them until just marked.

When cooking whole grains like rice or quinoa, use about 1 cup of uncooked grain to 2 cups water or liquid of your choice (try free range chicken stock -yum!). Bring liquid to boil, stir in grain, cover and reduce heat to low. Do not remove lid until liquid has been mostly absorbed. Then season to taste or recipe.

Each of these methods can be applied to whole foods like broccoli, greens of any kind, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and on and on. You will want to invest in a cutting board for produce that is sturdy and a high quality chef’s knife. These will be your best friend as you prep whole foods. If your meals don’t require any washing or chopping, chances are you aren’t consuming whole foods. If you are intimidated by not knowing what temps and times to use, remember, your eyes and your mouth are a great tool for testing doneness.

For some of you this is nothing new. For others, this is scary new territory. These are just a few basics to get you started. Cooking cannot by any means be condensed into one blog post.

I challenge you to try to make food that must be washed and chopped. Just TRY. If you fail, I promise you will learn and the next time it will be easier. Pinterest and Google are the two best resources in my home for getting new ideas, tasty recipes and proper cooking times and temps. Get out of your cooking comfort zone and do your palate a favor: make something new!


Day 15 : Pay Now or Pay Later July 10, 2013

Take hold of the present. It is a gift. In my profession I’ve seen countless unsuspecting individuals suffer strokes, heart attacks and dramatic, dangerous, and sudden recognition of diabetes. We are no longer surprised by these things, but we should be! it is concerning to me the young ages at which people experience such health issues. Their effects last a lifetime. If survived, these things lead to a life of what you can and can’t do and what you can and can’t eat and pills that must be consumed. In fact, its statistically likely that you either have a family member or friend/acquaintance in this very predicament.

What you eat and how you live greatly determines your risk for chronic disease. What you do now determines your future quality of life. It is never too late to begin your life-changing journey to wellness!

Let us translate this to dollars. I’m going to be transparent so you can see how this really looks:

We used to spend $400 per month on groceries to feed a family of 4 (two small children). We now spend $550 per month on groceries to feed a family of 5 (3 small children/including one bottomless pit!). That’s reality. We made our health and wellness a higher priority. So what’s the alternative?

The average heart attack costs $1 million for one person. Swallow this: the average after-insurance-out-of-pocket cost of diabetes ( not counting any other care) per year per person is $7,900!!! That is $658 dollars out of pocket every month just for diabetes care alone.

I’m not trying to scare you as much as open your eyes. It is a MYTH that you can’t afford to eat healthy. The truth is: you cannot afford NOT to eat healthy. It is well worth the sacrifice.

Can you eat out less? Have a movie night at home instead of going to the theater? Get unlimited Netflix and turn off the satellite? Cancel that magazine subscription you never have time to read anyway? You weigh the cost and then decide what it will take. Do the best you can with what you have. If you just CAN’T up your grocery budget, figure out how you can buy more wisely with the money you have. Get active. Drink water. Get sunshine, and keep changing the little things you can! Next time you get a raise, why not use that money to invest in your health?

My challenge today is this: count the cost. The cost of eating well now versus the cost of a lifetime of disease…what’s your choice?



Day 14 : Cheaters are Winners July 6, 2013

Are you ready for a fun post? Me too!

This is real life: we all need a break. I eat well 90% of the time. But let’s just be real for a second:

I need a break! And you will need them too as you journey toward health and wellness. If we don’t take a break, we are more likely to give up.

Cheat day is the day you get to count your victories for the week and enjoy some of your favorite meals and treats. I usually cheat on the weekends- a little each on Saturday and Sunday. I try not to cheat more than 2 meals total. For me, it’s a slippery slope back into old habits. If you eat 21 meals per week, and only 2 of them are cheat meals, then you’ve eaten well greater than 85% of the week! That’s going to pay off if done consistently.

My challenge to you is this: eat well at least 19 meals per week! And enjoy the heck out of 2 more 🙂


Day 13 : Intensity Matters

What is the ideal workout? One that is short, burns fat and gets results, right? Is there such a thing?


It is called high intensity interval training (HIIT). The beauty of this type of workout is that it’s short and you can do it at home without buying any special equipment. As I have said before, I’ve been asked by a lot of people how I lost so much weight and got in shape. This is my story: HIIT 5 days a week + excellent nutrition!

The idea of HIIT is that your heart rate stays elevated throughout your workout while still performing strength-building exercises. It’s a triple threat: cardio, strength & intervals all in one. Three ingredients to effective exercise smashed into one workout. HIIT workouts burn fat for up to 2 days after your workout. Many HIIT workouts also incorporate plyometrics (jump training) which also boosts your fat burning for several hours after exercising. The anatomy of HIIT is usually a set of exercises done over a certain period of time and repeated as a circuit. For example:

50 seconds jumping jacks/10 seconds rest
50 seconds lunges/10 seconds rest
50 seconds push-ups/10 seconds rest
50 seconds squats/10 seconds rest

Repeat Circuit 3 times

Will 12 minutes really change your body? Yes. How do I know? It worked for me.

You can spend one hour at the gym or you can spend 15 minutes at home…yeah it seems like a no-brainer to me too! It isn’t easy. It is hard. it will challenge you. You will be dripping with sweat and short of breath. But it will change your body. And you will get stronger.

Some suggestions:

1. Modify to your level. Push-ups can be done from your knees, and you don’t need weight as a beginner. Also, jumps can be done as steps.

2. Try just one or two rounds as a beginner.

3. Check out the free interval timer app for iPhone if you want to do these workouts without following a video. The 7 minute workout or Sworkit apps are also great!

4. If something hurts your back or knees STOP!

Check out the daily hiit or Zuzka Light to get started!

I never expected to “like” these workouts, but as I gained strength and added weight, I found that I LOVED them! I hate missing my workouts now because I think they are FUN! Keep an open mind and try it. That’s my challenge to you.