The Dangers of Gluten

Gluten is one of the most common food sensitivities a person can have. It is linked to over 55 diseases!!! Gluten is actually a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and some oats. It is extracted from these grains and used in other foods to add texture and protein as well. No human can digest gluten from wheat, rye, and barley.

Gluten is highly addictive. You have receptors in your brain that are affected by gluten much the same way that Opium affects them. This is one reason why it can be so difficult to eliminate from your diet. Gluten is known to cross the intestinal barrier, either intact or partly digested and can disproportionally feed the bacteria in the gut, leading to gut dysbiosis. It also stimulates the release of zonulin, which acts directly on the tight junctions in the gut; this causes them to open up and allows the contents of the gut to leak out. Once gluten has leaked out, it interacts with the immune system of the gut.

What is Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity is a disorder of the immune system that has a wide range of manifestations throughout the body and brain. When gluten is consumed, the immune system responds by producing inflammation, and this inflammation damages tissues throughout the body. The immune response from gluten is delayed (from 10 minutes to 2 days) but long lasting. Many people who have gluten sensitivity seem to have zero symptoms, which can make the diagnosis and avoidance more difficult. Whether or not we experience a reaction to gluten is due to crossing an imaginary threshold in the body. This is an internal process so most of us don’t even know when it happens.

Symptoms can vary but no tissue, organ, or glands in the body are immune to the affects of gluten. The brain and nervous system are commonly affected causing: difficulty concentrating, memory problems, fatigue, and irritability.

“In children, gluten sensitivity is linked to disorders such as ADD and ADHD, depression, anxiety, and apathy.”

-Dr. Tom O’Bryan

The following are examples of diseases and symptoms that can be triggered by gluten. This list includes but is not limited to:

Fatigue Liver Disease Hormonal Imbalance

Infertility Diarrhea/Constipation Brain Ataxia

Obesity Some Cancers Dermatitis

Diabetes Headaches/Migraines Being Underweight

Depression ADD/ADHD Muscular Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis Acid Reflux MS

Anxiety Autism Alzheimer’s

Thyroid Disease Brain Fog/Poor Memory Osteoporosis

Gas/Bloating

Where Gluten Hides

Any packaged or prepared foods, candy or beverages such as hot chocolate and soda, need to be checked for hidden gluten containing ingredients. This includes salads, soups, and, so-called “healthy” options. Common hidden sources of gluten include but not limited to: artificial colors, baking powder, broths, caramel color, emulsifiers, food starch, modified food starch, French fries, hydrolyzed protein, maltose, natural flavorings, and non-dairy creamers. If you are buying anything in a package you MUST read labels carefully to make sure the item is gluten free. The good news is that animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are naturally gluten free!

Do I need to Avoid Gluten Completely

“Just a little bit” of gluten is enough to cause a significant reaction from the immune system and the effects can last weeks or even months. It can take up to 6 months for the immune system to calm down and heal from a single small exposure! With that being said, if you have a known autoimmune disease/condition (overactive immune system) I encourage you eliminate gluten from your diet for the rest of you life. Trust me, your body will THANK YOU!

“Gluten is the most common environmental toxin that we are exposed to.”

-Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Why would we continue to eat something that causes/increases inflammation and increases gut permeability (leaky gut) every single time we eat it?

If you have not done so already, I HIGHLY encourage everyone to pull gluten out of their diets for at least 21 days and notice how they look, feel, and perform.

The 3 Biggest Reasons to Detox

Detox is a hot topic right now. In today’s environment detox is no longer a luxury but instead a necessity. Unfortunately, our world doesn’t truly support health and well-being. Everyday we are exposed to and consume things that decrease our ability to naturally detox. If you haven’t ever considered participating in a detox program, please let me shed some light on why it’s important and why it will help you to look, feel, and perform better.

“People do not know just how good they can actually feel.”

-Janell Yule

Reason #1

You don’t know how good you can actually feel.

Most people do not know just how good they can actually feel when they make changes to the way they eat, move, and think. Symptoms that you may be experiencing are not normal. Those symptoms can range from afternoon fatigue to a full on autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I am here to tell you that symptoms of ANY kind are NOT NORMAL. They are not just part of life or getting older. Symptoms are your bodies’ way of telling you that something is not right. Your body wants to be healthy and free of disease and excess weight.

“Your body does not want to be overweight any more than it wants cancer.”

-Jonathan Bailor

I used to experience extreme fatigue at times, be prone to depression, have little to no desire to exercise, and not be able to lose weight no matter what I did. I wasn’t satisfied that this was “just how it is.” I sought out help and education to rid myself of these nagging symptoms. And you know what happened: by making lifestyle changes, I can now say I feel better than I ever have! For me the change that made the most noticeable difference was cutting out alcohol, processed foods, refined sugars, gluten, and eating more protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. I stopped putting so much “crap” in my body and it started functioning more optimally.

It truly is AMAZING what happens to how you look, feel, and perform when you give your body what it was designed for (whole, real, unprocessed food, uninterrupted sleep, and movement) as well as decrease inflammation and toxic load.

Reason #2

The toxic load on the body is too much for it to handle.

The toxic load on our body comes from our diet, chronic stress, and our environment. A diet high in sugar, trans fat, food additives & preservatives, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics is very toxic to our bodies and our minds. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) puts a tremendous burden on our bodies’ ability to detoxify naturally.

Your liver is your largest internal detoxification organ, and it is responsible for a variety of life sustaining and health promoting functions, including those that make healthy weight loss and weight management possible. When the liver is clogged and overtaken with toxins, it can’t do a very good job of processing nutrients and fat. The liver produces bile, which is critical in the detoxification of our bodies. Bile is where the liver dumps all the drugs, heavy metals, xenoestrogens, excess sex hormones, medication, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and other toxins so they can be eliminated from the body. When our environment and diet are highly toxic it becomes too much for the bile in our system. Detoxing the liver helps it produce healthier bile.

Toxins can be both external and internal. External toxins include: chemical toxins and heavy metals. Chemical toxins are most commonly found in cleaning products, personal care products, pesticides, herbicides, and food additives.

Reason #3

Chronic inflammation is the root of all disease.

Inflammation comes from the sugar we eat, high doses of the wrong types of oils and fats in our diet, hidden food allergies (most commonly gluten, dairy, soy, corn), alcohol, lack of exercise, chronic stress, hidden infections, and our fat cells. This low-grade chronic inflammation that you can’t see or feel leads to every one of the major chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more.

“Unfortunately, chronic inflammation typically will not produce symptoms until actual loss of function occurs somewhere. This is because chronic inflammation is low-grade and systemic, often silently damaging your tissues over an extended period of time. This process can go on for years without you noticing until a disease suddenly sets in.”

Dr. Mercola

A Healthier Halloween

The Beginning of the Holiday Season

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. The next couple of months are filled with treats, parties, family gatherings, alcohol, and a packed schedule. So how do you continue to pursue your health and fitness goals despite this time of year?

The definition of insanity is…

Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

This year as the holiday season approaches, do things differently than you have in the past. It’s not about “depriving” yourself of your holiday favorites but rather substituting with healthier foods and behaviors. (Although I would argue that choosing your health and well being over sugar and less healthy food as well as the health of those you love is NOT deprivation).

Non-Candy Alternatives

Halloween is later this week; do you plan on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Let’s face it; kids will receive enough candy filled with high fructose corn syrup between parties at school and trick-or-treating. What if you handed out something that wasn’t candy? My guess is parents would Thank You and your house wouldn’t get egged!

Ideas include:

· Glow Sticks

· Temporary Tattoos

· Stickers

· Pencils

· Plastic jewelry that is glow in the dark and Halloween themed

· Mini Play-dough containers

· Halloween themed mini-toys: plastic eyeballs, fake fingers, etc.

Bottom line is be creative…ask your kids what they would like to get other than candy.

Better Choices

The biggest issue with Halloween candy other than the obvious…sugar… is the high amounts of high fructose corn syrup and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). You can read more about the danger of sugar HERE. You can bet that any product that contains high fructose corn syrup is a processed industrial food that is void of any nutrients. To increase health we want to seek whole, real, unprocessed foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

If you still want to hand out candy here are some “better” choices free of the ingredients above.

· Endangered Species individually wrapped chocolates

· Yummy Gummy Candies

· Annie’s Gummy Snacks

· Trader Joe’s Organic Pops

· Unreal candy

· Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups

I have seen most of these products at Lakewinds in Chanhassen and all Whole Foods stores.

Switch Witch

What is the Switch Witch?

The Switch Witch lives on the dark side of the moon. She LOVES candy. The Switch Witch loves candy so much that she’s eager to trade toys to girls and boys in exchange for their candy stash.

The girls and boys can choose to keep a little candy for themselves, but the more they give the Switch Witch, the better their toy will be! The Switch Witch eats the candy over the course of the year. Just when she runs out it’s Halloween time again and time for another visit from the Switch Witch.

The Switch Witch can also be known as:

· The Candy Fairy

· Great Pumpkin

Have the Switch Witch come to your house this year…

Make Halloween 1 day this year, after trick-or-treating on the 31st allow your kids to pick 5 of their favorites pieces of candy. Place the rest on your front step for the Switch Witch. In the morning, your kids will find a new toy, book, or something else they would value more than candy in exchange for the candy they left the night before.

Recipes to Try this Halloween

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 mashed bananas

1 cup canned pumpkin

4 Eggs

½ cup Almond butter

4 TBSP melted coconut oil

½ cup Coconut flour

½ TBSP Cinnamon

½ TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Vanilla

Pinch of Sea Salt

¼-1/3 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine your bananas, eggs, almond butter, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Mix well.

Add in coconut flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Grease a metal loaf pan with coconut oil. Pour in your batter and spread evenly.

Place in the pre-heated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

2 frozen bananas

¼-1/3 cup canned organic pumpkin

¼ cup canned coconut milk

¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)

Directions

Add bananas, pumpkin, coconut milk, and pumpkin pie spice to a food processor.

Process until mixture becomes the consistency of ice cream.

If you like the “soft serve” texture enjoy right away. If you want it to be thicker, put in bowls and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

½ – 1 frozen banana

½ cup canned organic pumpkin

½ cup canned coconut milk or 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 scoops Prograde Vanilla Protein Powder

¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Add all ingredients to a blender and enjoy!!!

Final Thoughts

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year to connect with family and friends. Remember it doesn’t always need to be centered on food and treats. This is a great opportunity to start family traditions that do not involve food. Examples include: pumpkin carving, cutting down a Christmas tree, ice skating, etc.

Or you can enjoy a healthier version of your favorite treats and not completely derail your supportive nutrition plan!

Time Management vs. Time Investment

Well, how many of us talk about time management or lack of time to get it all done? Yeah, pretty much all of us… It’s probably the number one excuse I get from people who don’t workout or cook supportive meals.

Number two, of course, is money…Although, I call BS on that most of time. I won’t go on a rant about that here though. 😉 I’ll stick to the time management issue.

I thought I’d share a little bit of my take on the subject…

When you look at time, do you look at it as time spent or time invested?

That may seem like semantics, but it’s not…

When you spend (time/money/resources) ON something your mindset is generally more focused on lack, limitation or waste. When you invest (time/money/resources) IN something your mindset is generally more focused on abundance, growth, getting/making things better.

That’s an interesting way to look at it, isn’t it?

I mean, if I had to choose to spend my time between getting in a workout or emptying boxes that obviously have things that aren’t that important to me, the workout is going to give me a much better return (for my goals), right?

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should only spend time on the things you want to do or bring you the most return. After all, you gotta do the dishes and take out the trash… Although, when you think about those tasks they do have a specific return – dishes you can eat on and no stinky garbage in the house. ;-b

So, I guess then, it all comes down to goals and priorities. I heard a long time ago, that you can always tell what your priorities are by examining your calendar and your check book…



Have a look for yourself. Where are YOUR priorities?

OK. Let’s dig a little deeper into this time management thing…

First of all, you can’t manage time. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. What you can manage is ACTIVITY – got that one from the late, great Earl Nightingale. 🙂

What Nightingale meant is that you have to schedule your activities and then stick to your schedule – something that has become harder and harder these days with all the modern-day distractions (social media, hundreds of TV channels, cat videos on YouTube, etc.), not to mention that kids today are WAY over-scheduled (causing all kinds of issues too broad for this article) and are therefore causing parents to be overscheduled and sacrificing their health & well-being… I could go on another rant here. ;-b

Simple Fact: If you want to get/stay healthy & fit you’ve got to lead a lifestyle that will produce that result.

Working out regularly and eating supportively are critical. If you don’t make room in your schedule (invest your time) then you can forget about accomplishing your goals. Quite frankly, they’re not really goals at that point, just worthless wishes…

If you’re just “so busy” that you “can’t do it all” then maybe you need to rethink what “it all” is.

  • What are your goals – your most important goals?
  • Are you spending your days working towards them or are there hours/days lost on things that just aren’t that important?
  • Would being more organized help you do things faster?
  • Can you put a better system in place (or one at all) to review your goals, plan your objectives, and schedule your tasks?
  • Can you cut some things out (trade late night TV for sleep), delegate some things (use www.OriginMeals.com for lunches), and limit time spent on some things (pick set times and use a timer for Facebook)?

You can argue with me and kid yourself all you want, but the bottom line is you’ve got one life, there’s no getting back days past, and there are only 24 hours (16 if you’re getting proper sleep) in your day to get things done.

EVERYTHING IS A CHOICE. You choose your schedule.

So, are you spending time or investing it? If you’re investing it, are you getting the return you’re looking for?

You wouldn’t hang on to a bad stock with no hope for a profit. Don’t keep a schedule that sucks your life away and makes you wish you would have done things differently.

What’s in Your Glass? (It could be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss!)

If you feel like you have hit a plateau in your weight loss efforts, you are not alone. It is not uncommon to lose several pounds and then suddenly find that those numbers on the scale have turned stubborn. They aren’t moving up, but they aren’t moving down either—in spite of your best efforts to be healthy.

When this happens it is necessary to look for hidden sources of calories in your diet. Often, the culprit is your beverage choice. What you drink can have a profound impact on how much you weigh.

Proceed with caution

You may be surprised to learn how many calories your favorite drinks are hiding. That 12 ounce can of soda has 124-189 calories! Love your Latte? The 12 ounce nonfat Caffe Latte at Starbucks has 120 calories. And even fruit juice is guilty—a 12 ounce glass of apple juice will set you back around 170 calories.

Those calories quickly add up. If you are on a 1,500 calorie diet, you can drink away almost one fourth of your daily calories in just a couple of glasses!

The problem is that many people do not stop to consider the calories in their beverages when they are calculating their calorie intake for the day. What this means is that those liquid calories end up being extra—and therefore can bring your weight loss to a grinding halt, or worse, reverse your hard work.

Dangerous calories

The trouble with drinking calories goes beyond a few pesky pounds. The source of the calories in beverages is usually sugar. Many beverages contain sugar. And it’s not just a little sugar. It’s a lot of sugar, to the tune of 10 teaspoons per 12 ounces of both Orange Juice and Coca-Cola classic! And don’t turn to Vitamin Water to reduce your liquid calories. It delivers a surprising 4-5 teaspoons of sugar! Trust me: there are better ways to get your vitamins!

Sugar causes weight gain in a couple of different ways. The obvious way is by slamming your body with extra calories. But there is a more sinister way as well. When you drink that sugar, it ends up in your bloodstream as glucose and raises the glucose level in your blood. Your body recognizes this as dangerous, so your pancreas starts working overtime to release insulin to clear out the extra glucose.

But that extra glucose has to go somewhere! And that is why insulin is called the fat storage hormone. Insulin sweeps the glucose out of your blood and stores it in your cells as fat.

Therefore, if you are drinking your calories, your weight loss plateau may be the unhappy consequence.

The solution is to train your taste buds to enjoy less sugary beverages. Water is the best choice. This summer, try putting slices of lemon or lime in your water. You can also freeze fruit in ice cube trays and let the fruit slowly flavor your water as the cubes melt.

Learn to drink unsweetened tea and coffee as well. Just be patient with yourself—it may take a few weeks for your taste buds to stop complaining and begging for sugar! Decrease the sugar in your drinks gradually, for a painless transition, and get ready to break out of your weight loss plateau!

Tips & Tricks for Adding More Movement into Your Day

Too much time in a chair can cause cancer, blood sugar spikes, heart disease, mental health problems and even early death. Reading that, may make us want to toss the chairs out of our homes and offices, but of course that is not practical.

Working out every day doesn’t completely solve the problem either. As it turns out, the problem has more to do with how long our muscles are inactive rather than how much time we spend working out.

So what is the answer? Our lives are very sedentary—much more sedentary than even our parents’ or our grand parents’ lives. And as a result, we are a sicker society. Is there a way to fight the threat of our chairs?

Yes, there is. The answer is to get up and move.

It is really as simple as that.

Now, you definitely need to make time for an intense workout at some point during nearly every day of the week. That goes without saying. But beyond the workout, if you want to combat the threat of sitting, it is crucial that you sit less and move more.

What do we mean by move more? It’s just a matter of getting up and walking around, taking the stairs, going to the mail box, or visiting a colleague’s office rather than sending him an email.

The bottom line is that we’ve got to move more, and the secret is to not only increase the duration of time that we are moving, but also the frequency. In other words, we need to move more and we need to do it more often.

In fact, some suggest that we get up and move around every 20 minutes. Others recommend getting up every 60 minutes.

Does this seem like it would be distracting?

Actually, you will probably find that you focus better and are more creative if you step back from your work a couple of times every hour or so. The mind can only stay in laser-focus mode for so long before it needs to be recharged with a little rest. Taking ‘movement breaks’ will not only help your health, it will help your productivity as well!

Of course, since most of us are not used to taking frequent breaks in our work, half the battle is simply remembering to stand up and move. The solution is to simply set a timer to remind yourself. Decide how often you want to get up, and set the time on your phone, your computer or even an egg-timer on your desk. When the timer sounds, get up.

The next question becomes then, ‘What to do when you get up?’

Use the following tips and tricks add some life-giving movement into your day:

1. Hold walking meetings. Some people have found success in taking meetings outside. Walking along a park’s trail works just as well as sitting around a conference table.

2. Install a treadmill desk. Treadmill desks are simply treadmills with a desk attachment upon which you can place your computer, phone and other office supplies. You can work while walking at a slow speed.

3. Take the stairs. If you typically use an elevator to get to your office or your apartment, consider taking the stairs instead. You can also use the stairs to just get a little movement in during your sitting breaks.

4. Keep hand weights handy. Engaging the muscles in your upper body is a great way to get your blood moving and give your metabolism a boost.

5. Choose a different parking spot. Rather than choosing a close parking spot, choose one that will force you to have a good walk when visiting stores or arriving for work.

6. Stand up when the phone rings. Make it a habit to not take calls sitting down.

7. Mingle while standing. If you are used to sinking into a chair in the break room or at networking events, resist the urge; socialize on your feet.

It is worth the effort to find ways to sit less and move more. Your life depends on it!

Small Steps to BIG BENEFITS

Going organic is one of the healthiest choices you can make for yourself and your family. You really can’t put a price tag on investing in your health and the health of those you care about. However, I wanted to give you some money-saving tips when it comes to buying organic and higher quality foods.

SWITCH STORES

Stores that specialize in fresh, organic foods like Whole Foods and local co-ops are reasonably priced and take a lot of the guesswork out of going organic.

SHOP LOCAL

Find nearby organic farmers and buy your meats, eggs and produce from them directly. Farmer’s markets or CSA’s (community share agriculture) are great options.

PICK AND CHOOSE

Generally, grass-fed free range ground meats are less expensive than grass-fed steaks. If you have to choose between spending money on higher-quality meats/proteins and organic produce, pick higher quality meats/proteins. Antibiotics, pesticides and hormones run rampant in non-organic meat and eggs.

SHOP FOR SALES

When grass-fed meat or other staples go on sale at Whole Foods or your local co-op, buy a bunch and stick it in your freezer for later use.

GET INTO GARDENING

Start small – you will be amazed at how much money you will save.

Though there are several ways to start down an organic path, just remember: you don’t need to dive in headfirst right away; small changes go a long way!

Staying Fit While Still Being Social

When you think about getting together with friends for an evening, what activities come to mind? Catching a movie? Meeting up at a favorite restaurant? What about an office party or a summer get-together?

More than likely, the center of the activity for these functions centers around food and leisure, rather than physical activity or working out.

It also doesn’t help that we tend to indulge a little more when we are with friends and in a celebratory atmosphere. If we’re with a group of people enjoying a night on the town or a weekend getaway, we’re likely to treat ourselves to an extra drink or a dessert that we would otherwise resist.

For this reason alone, summer can actually work against your fitness goals. When the weather is nice we tend to socialize more—which is fine. But when that socialization brings more tempting treats and moves us off track from our good habits, it’s time to make a plan to say fit while still enjoying an active, summer social life.

One thing you can do is be the instigator. In your circle of colleagues or friends, suggest get-togethers that require physical activity. Suggest an afternoon of walking or even a weekend hiking trip. When the main attraction of a gathering requires physical exertion, people are less likely to gravitate to the lounge chairs and beer coolers!

You can also put your fitness first. Don’t sacrifice your daily workout for the party. Even if you have developed the habit of consistently working out, it is easy to get busy and skip a workout here and there because of a busy schedule or a fun invitation. Before you know it, you will wake up one morning and realize that it has been weeks since you had a really good workout. Make every invitation you accept conditional on whether you get your workout in that day. Parties and social gatherings then become a reward for sticking to your fitness routines!

Be a leader. Seriously. Did you know that researchers have demonstrated that if your friend becomes obese, you are 57% more likely to become obese yourself? And if your close friend becomes obese, then your chances of also becoming obese rises to 171%! But the researchers also think that it works the other way around. Namely, that while weight gain is contagious, so too is weight loss.1 This means that as you work hard to protect your own fitness level this summer, in doing so you can also have a profound affect on the fitness level of your friends. Be known for health and discipline in your circle of friends.

Finally, one of the smartest things you can do to stay fit while keeping up with your social circle is to get accountability. Don’t be a lone ranger. If you have others who are working hard to live a life of vibrant health checking up on you and holding you to your comittments, your chances of staying on track skyrocket.

1 http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1646997,00.html

Back to School Lunches

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “Schools have become hazardous health zones full of empty calories, junk food, and stripped-down physical education programs that are cultivating a nation of fatter, dumber, and more aggressive kids.” While that may be a bit harsh, I think we can all agree there is some truth to it. School kitchens contain deep fryers, microwaves, and displays for candy and junk food, how can children stay healthy or learn? When we watched the film, Fed Up, I was shocked that schools allow fast food to be served!

So what can you do as parents to raise smarter, fitter, and happier children? Here are two suggestions for improving the quality of nutrition your children are receiving.

1. Take Back Your Homes by eating at home together as a family and feeding your children a protein rich whole food breakfast.

2. Pack your child’s lunch.

Packing a Whole Foods Lunch

Packing a whole foods based lunch may be challenging if you have a picky eater, that was me growing up but I quickly grew out of that when I started to learn about nutrition and what was good for my body. Use packing lunches as an opportunity to educate your children on how the food they eat can affect how they feel and perform. Encourage your kids to be the ones to choose what goes into their lunches from whole food options that you give them. This way, the food you pack will actually stand a change of getting eaten. Don’t get caught up in the fact that lunches for you or your kids have to be fancy. Often times the simpler the better…ensure there is protein, vegetables, healthy fat, and fruit or a starchy carbohydrate.

Below are some suggestions of whole food and more optimal processed foods to pack.

Hard boiled eggs Chicken Sausages

Applegate or Thousand Hills Hot Dogs Leftover Crock-pot Chicken

Apple sprinkled w/cinnamon Dried fruit: mango, apricots, etc.

Raw or cooked veggies: carrots, celery, etc Banana or plantain chips

Ham or turkey roll-up Kerrygold cheese

Fruit: grapes, strawberries, clementine, etc. Dark choc. Chips or a square

Popcorn made with coconut oil Honest brand chips

Nut thin crackers Lara or Kind bars

Paleo muffins or breakfast cookies Paleo Kits

No sugar added applesauce Leftover beef or pork roast

Applegate pepperoni or salami Leftover meatballs

Medjool dates Maple Hill creamery yogurt

Homemade tuna salad Soups, chili

Clif Kid Organic Fruit Rope YumEarth Organics fruit snacks

Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit strips That’s It bars

Homemade grain free granola Homemade trail mix

Justin’s Nut Butter packets Coconut butter packets

Chocolate covered almonds

Lunch Box Options

LunchBots is a wonderful stainless steel option for packing lunches. They have a variety of sizes as well as thermal options to keep soups or chilis warm.

Opting for a stainless steel lunch box is important for a variety of reasons:

· Recent studies have shown a correlation between chemicals found in plastics (BPA&phthalates) and short & long-term health concerns.

· Only food grade stainless steel comes in contact with your food. No toxins.

· Refill your LunchBots over and over, save money and add zero waste to landfills.

· Your child has the coolest lunch boxJ

Find LunchBots here: www.lunchbots.com

Kicking the Crazy Life

There’s no denying it – every hour of every day, you’re pulled in what feels like a million directions. We scramble from task to task and it’s never enough! More and more, we push those moments of personal appreciation further into the background with the idea that we’ll take the time of ourselves “later”. That elusive idea of “me-time” is a myth as far as most of us are concerned, but should it be? No way, my friend!

WHO NEEDS “ME”?

You actually need some chill time. Time devoted to you recharges your social batteries, helps you regulate your needs and responses (even assisting in strengthening your self-control) and de-stresses you. Going without, on the other hand, compounds matters – and grinding though your work and social calendar day in and day out can actually be harmful for your mental and physical health. So, how can you unplug in a world where you are constantly wired (or 4g-ed) into the grid?

TIME BANKING

When you’re struggling to figure out just when you should be taking some time devoted to you, the old adage, “time is money”, is a fave – your time is worth some serious dollar bills! But, while we certainly use that mentality when thinking about wasting time, we’re not good at managing our time like we would manage our money. When you’ve got to have that new pair of shoes, you know just how to save for them, and you shuffle the cash around accordingly. Think of your time in the same way! Keep the priority level for some good old me, myself and I time high, and you’ll be feeling it in every aspect of your life.

COULD YOU USE A TRIM?

Other than the obvious, is there a reason why you keep yourself busy? More and more, we find that people are actually scared of downtime. It sounds bonkers, but let’s face it, when you do have a spare hour, how do you spend it? If you find yourself more often that not worrying about future to-dos or past tasks, then you might be subconsciously avoiding “me-time” in general. With this in mind, what are you doing in your life that is contributing nothing (or very little) to you or your community’s well-being? Put those parts of your busy life on the chopping block and substitute some well-deserved recognition of the almighty you instead.

Remember that time devoted to yourself is not a waste! Studies show that people comfortable with alone time actually have lower rates of depression, better self-satisfaction, and fewer physical maladies. How’s that for a mind-body connection? Invest in yourself, and devote some time to YOU! Trust us, you’ve earned it.