SUGAR - SUGAR EVERYWHERE!!!

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Halloween is over and the holiday season is upon us! For most of us, this means parties full of sugar filled snacks and drinks!

Sugar exists in many forms besides just the white (usually GMO) sugar we can pick up at the grocery store. There are effects of sugar in all of its forms (including corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, FLOUR and even fruit) and we are consuming more of it now than ever before.

I often get the question, "is sugar ok in moderation?" Eliminating a specific food group (like protein, carbohydrates or fat) can be harmful, but sugar in itself is not a food group. Though sugar in some form is naturally present in many foods, by itself, it contains:

  • no nutrients

  • no protein

  • no healthy fats

  • no enzymes

Just empty and quickly digested calories that actually pull minerals from the body during digestion. It creates a hormonal response when consumed that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to encourage more consumption.

5 clues you may be addicted to sugar, flour and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings (hello ice cream at night in front of TV).

  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.

  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating (hello sugar fog)!

  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.

  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

If you are among those whose brain chemistry, taste buds and hormones have been hijacked by the food industry (up to 70 percent of us, including 40 percent of children), then it is time to stop blaming yourself and consider a SUGAR DETOX!

Join me for my FREE 7 Day Sugar Buster Challenge starting November 12! I will educate you on the effects of sugar on our bodies and teach you how to crowd out your cravings for sugar and processed foods by replacing with yummy options that fuel your body!

This will set you up with new motivation going into the holidays, help you break the sugar cycle and reduce cravings!

This challenge is not about dieting, restricting or counting calories!

It is about creating a lifestyle that you will learn to LOVE because your always satiated and energetic!

  • Are you ready to feel amazing, healthy and energetic?!

  • Are you ready to have group support and an accountability partner (ME)!

  • Are you ready to crowd out the unhealthy foods and replace with foods that fuel your body?!

Send me an email at melissa@enduralife.com to sign up for this FREE CHALLENGE!

You DON'T want to MISS OUT on THIS!

How to get Swimsuit Sculpted Abs??!!

Summer is HERE and it's Hot!  Are you excited to cool off at the pool or beach, or do you dread swim suit season? 

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You probably know that crunches and sit-ups alone won’t give you sculpted abs. Only a drop in overall body fat will uncover your hidden muscles.

It is fully possible for you to do this with an effective combination of fat burning cardio, resistance training and clean eating. My fitness and nutrition clients routinely drop fat and transform their bodies. With a few changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can do it too!!

Here’s how to get sculpted abs…

1) Exercise a minimum of 4 times per week. It is important to dedicate yourself and make a routine of working out a minimum of 4 times a week if you want to transform your abs (or any part of your body). Anything less than this won’t make a large enough impact on your progress.

2) Make sure your workouts are effective. What makes a workout effective? It includes intense cardiovascular training coupled with effective resistance training. Walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes isn’t a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that you can dramatically increase your results while investing less time when your workouts are effective.

Cardio exercise is all about maintaining an effective level of intensity. This doesn’t mean that you should be out of breath or gasping for air, but it does mean that you need to push yourself.

Resistance training is the second key part of a fat burning workout. This means working your major muscle groups against resistance in a way that stimulates your metabolism. Again, the key here is to find the right intensity and to keep each muscle group guessing.

3) Eat a clean diet. Diet is a big stumbling block for most people. If your diet is out of control then your abs (and gut) will be too. You can’t trim your waist without trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how intensely you exercise.

Keep calories in check. Do you know how many calories you eat? I am not an advocate of counting calories, but to see visible changes, it is essential.  The best way to find out is to record everything you eat for a few days on some type of phone app.  This will tell you your total caloric intake vs expenditure along with macro nutrient intake.  You can then make adjustments as needed.  Feel free to reach out to me to help out with this part. Together we’ll make adjustments to your diet and exercise routine to provide maximum results.

Eat REAL FOOD.  Avoid processed foods from a box or package.  Say “No” to junk food. While this may seem obvious, your definition of “junk food” may need an alteration. Refined sugar is one of the biggest culprits in the junk food world—it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, sport drinks, cookies, crackers, packaged snacks, and other treats. Processed fat is another monster. As a rule of thumb you can safely view all processed or refined items as junk food.

Eat more frequently. The key here is to never let your metabolism “crash” by going hours without eating. Stick with eating small meals every few hours and always avoid stuffing yourself.

Do you want to flatten and sculpt your abs once and for all? Simply decide that you really want it. Commit to yourself—you deserve it.

I would love to help fuel your body with healthy, satisfying foods and with fat-blasting workouts that deliver results. Together we will create a program unique for your body and lifestyle that will melt the fat off your abs, exposing shape and definition.

Portable Snack to Fuel Your Body!!!

I love creating different kinds of muffins because they are easy to reheat and carry for a snack, or serve with a big salad and veggies for a quick easy dinner!  I made these muffins in 2 varieties!  One with grass fed beef for the meat eaters in my family, and 1 with wild salmon for the pescatarian!

Sweet Potato, Flax & Beef (or Salmon) Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass fed beef or 16 oz wild caught salmon (I used canned)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (1/4; cup whole flax ground in a coffee grinder yields 1/2 cup ground)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/4 sweet onion chopped (optional)
  • 1 large sweet potato, quartered and cooked
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • various spices to your taste
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until everything is well blended. If you don't have a food processor, mash the sweet potatoes with a fork and combine well with the other ingredients using clean hands.
  3. Spray a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide mixture into 12 muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

These are great because they can be stored in refrigerator or you can freeze them for later!  Full of all essential macro-nutrients to fuel your body!

 

 

Whole Foods that Combat STRESS!

Stress is a part of our daily lives and it’s not going away anytime soon! Whether you are a mom managing an entire household or a CEO making important decisions in the boardroom, we all deal with stress in today’s always-connected world.

Stress is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s not uncommon to find me over-scheduling myself (I have a hard time saying no), rushing around trying to fit it all in (any typically running late). But while doing so, I am harming my body. I’m creating chemical reactions that lead to obesity, illness and depression.

Did you know that stress makes it impossible to lose weight? Or that stress leads to belly fat? Stress can cause you to become tired and worn out, which leads to moodiness and over-eating. Stress makes you feel forgetful and older than your age.  Stress causes wrinkles and dark circles or bags under our eyes. Stress decreases our immune system, which leads to more frequent colds or allergies.

How do we beat stress without quitting our jobs and moving to a deserted island? The answer is found in your diet. Eat whole foods that decrease cortisol production!

Cortisol is our fight-or-flight hormone that is released when we are under attack or in an emergency situation.  We need cortisol to survive these uncommon situations (for example, a bear is chasing you in the woods or you are in a car accident). Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves in situations everyday that increase our cortisol. Running late, fighting with a spouse, spending all day in front of a computer, eating processed foods, worrying, fighting traffic or a long commute to work…the list goes on and on.

Stress leads to high cortisol – which when sustained – is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, belly fat, brain changes, depression, suicide, insomnia and poor wound healing. Fat cells in the belly have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells located in other parts of our body. So as your cortisol continues to climb, your muffin top gets bigger and bigger.

Here’s the good news. We can fight stress with healthy food choices. Dump the processed food (anything that comes in a box, bag, can or package) and choose whole foods. These are foods that don’t come with a label. They are just one ingredient. Whole foods contain vitamins and minerals that decrease cortisol in our body and lead to feelings of relaxation, joy and fulfillment. My top stress busting foods include avocados, blueberries, almonds and salmon.

Avocados

We need B vitamins for healthy nerves and brain cells, and feelings of stress may be rooted in a B vitamin deficiency. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. Next time stress has you reaching for a pint ice cream, opt for a non-dairy DIY version made with avocado blended with banana, raw cacoa, coconut milk, and stevia. Freeze, then chill-out. 

Blueberries

Blueberries may seem small, but just a handful pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and vitamin C, making them colossal stress-busters. When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells (because stress damages our cells in a big way). Vitamin C also reduces the secretion of cortisol. A serving or two of this fruit may also help curb those sugar cravings that are common when you’re under stress, especially if you eat it with some filling protein and healthy fat.

Almonds

Get some stress-relief munching on almonds, which are rich in vitamins B2 and E. Both of these nutrients help bolster the immune system during times of stress. Just a quarter cup of almonds each day does the trick. For variety, spread some almond butter on apple or add to your smoothie. The magnesium in almonds can be especially calming. Nuts can also stave off hunger and regulate your blood sugar when you can’t sit down for a balanced meal.

Salmon

Put more fish on your dish to help you feel at ease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you’re feeling tense. According to Dr. Barry Sears, developer of the Zone Diet, protein can help reduce cortisol production because protein doesn’t significantly increase blood sugar levels and induce insulin spikes, which is stressful for the body. Replenishing your body with dietary protein while under stress is important because cortisol can break down your body’s protein stores for energy. Protein-rich foods are also calorie dense, filling and usually a good source of vitamins and minerals, which all help combat the physiological effects of stress.

What is your favorite stress-reducing whole food to eat? Please comment below, I would love to hear from you!

In Good Health,

Melissa

A Yummy Meal full of HEALTHY Fats!

This is one of my favorite meals packed with protein, healthy carbohydrates and essential Omega fatty acids!  All of the macro nutrients your need in one cake!

 

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Wild Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely diced
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup orange-fleshed sweet potato (yam) puree
8 ounces wild salmon, skin and pin bones removed (or use wild caught from the can)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
Avocado Cream, optional

Preparation

  1. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottom pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  2. In a bowl with the sweet potato puree, combine the onion mixture, salmon, eggs, almond flour, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, cumin, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat skillet and add coconut oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Scoop 1/4 cup of the salmon batter, gently create patty and lay in the skillet. Use a spatula to press down slightly so the cakes are about 1 inch thick. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes (if they’re browning too quickly, turn the heat down). Carefully flip each cake over and cook until the bottoms are deeply golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the salmon cakes to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining cakes. If needed, carefully wipe the skillet clean and add more oil.
  6. To serve, arrange the salmon cakes on individual plates. ­Garnish with the lemon wedges and top with a scoop of ­Avocado Cream (if using).

Note: The cakes can be made ahead and arranged in an airtight ­container between sheets of parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating at 250°F until heated through, about 20 ­minutes.

Recipe Adapted from:  Run Fast, Eat Slow