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Stop the Chase: A Healthier You is Waiting

June 11th, 2019 | no comments

 

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

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Are you tired of feeling like a hamster on a wheel, chasing after good health with limited success? And just when you think you’ve got it…there it goes, like a feather being carried away by the wind.

When I ask people why they feel it’s so difficult to change their current lifestyle habits to achieve better health, I usually get answers like: “It’s too time consuming” or “I miss my favorite foods.” While both are legitimate, supporting reasons for falling off track, they are not at the core of why we really struggle to sustain healthy change.

Why do we really fail?

No, it’s not due to lack of willpower. Nor is it because we failed to find the perfect diet.

Now here this:

We fail because we continue to make choices as the version of ourselves we are trying to change. The one with aching joints, high cholesterol, and fifty extra pounds to lose. We aren’t living and making choices as if we already are in good health.

We aren’t living with the end in mind.

Understand, you can’t get “there” from “here”. In order for conditions to improve in your body, you must be open to the world of possibilities waiting for you when you have the courage to shift your mindset.  

Are you brave enough?

Are you courageous enough to stop the chase, shed the person you see in the mirror, and step into the shoes of the person you long to become? The one who is indeed waiting for your arrival? 

 

It begins with how you see yourself

This shift in mindset begins with changing how you see yourself. Let me tell you…it matters how you see yourself. It matters so much because:

 

How you treat your body– including what you feed it, whether you give it enough sleep and exercise– is directly related to how you see your body.

 

If you see and believe your body to be fat, unhealthy, diseased, broken, or any version of this, you will subconsciously make choices to keep yourself stuck in that body. You will choose the cheeseburger over the salmon at your favorite restaurant; instead of lacing up your tennis shoes, you will sit your butt on the couch; you will trade sleep for another sitcom episode you’ve seen a million times. Even though you instinctively know better, you will make the self-sabotaging choice because deep down you don’t feel worthy of anything better.

On the other hand, if you see and believe your body to be a healthy temple, a five-star resort, vibrant, strong, or any version of this, you will lather it with healthy habits. Because you sense your worthiness at a deep level, you will make choices to support this vision and keep it alive. 

 

Get out of “what-is” land and go Home

As I said above, you can’t get “there” from “here”. What I mean by that is, when you remain in a fog– in what I call “what-is land”– you are blind to your inherent worthiness. Seeing yourself as diabetic, overweight, or whatever your current ailments are, you can’t recognize the healthier, higher self that is waiting for you. Sustainable change in your eating and exercise habits becomes impossible.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this play out in the lives of people I meet. While I know the reason they fell off track, they are in total darkness as to the true cause, and so they blame it on lack of willpower or some other factor.

Listen, I’m not asking you to fire your doctor and ignore your diagnosis, just stop identifying yourself by it. Take off the blinders, open your beautiful heart and mind, and become a witness to who you really are. When you are Home, in the presence of your light, your higher, healthier self is shining bright, waiting for you. (Click here to understand what it means to be at Home)

Salmon or cheeseburger? Take a walk or plop your ass on the couch? When you are Home, there’s no decision to be made…you just know.  

Want to put an end to the chase after good health? Well, then stop running and embody that which is waiting for you…and live from that end.

Don’t you see? It already exists within you, you just have to step into it.

 

End in Mind visualization exercise

Today, right this very moment, you are the sum total of all of your past thoughts and beliefs. If you aren’t happy with the results, step out of the fog, shift your beliefs, and start feeding yourself more affirmative thoughts. 

Spend a few minutes every morning practicing this visualization exercise:

Visualize yourself in a healthy, vibrant body. The one you’ve been chasing after and longing for. What does this body look and feel like? See it in great detail, as clear as your favorite piece of art. What clothes are you wearing? Where are you? What foods are you enjoying? Imagine yourself with lab results in hand…what do they say? How do you feel in this body? See yourself ordering a meal at your favorite restaurant– what do you choose? Believe you are deserving of it and that it is in fact waiting for you.

Once you can see it very clearly, it’s time to embody that person and begin making the choices they would make. For example, even though you may love them, a healthy and vibrant individual would not eat doughnuts for breakfast. It’s not that they forbid themselves, it would just be totally out of alignment with who they really are. It simply wouldn’t make sense.

Understand, this isn’t a matter of exercising willpower, but rather an almost unconscious practice of living with the desired end in mind.

Really, it’s about stepping into that which is waiting for you.

 

This is SO IMPORTANT…

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of living as the end product of your desire and making choices from this place, as this person. Really feel yourself into it. Feel the energy as it courses through your veins. Take a good look in the mirror, believe and feel that you are this person.

The truth is, if your vision is strong and persistent enough, something you can’t get out of your mind, it is an indication that it’s already in you, waiting to be born.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Elmhurst Nut Milk

It’s not easy to find non-dairy milk without emulsifiers, thickeners, and added sugar. That’s why many people are making their own nut milk! Personally, I haven’t gone as far as to “milk” my almonds…yet. If you are interested in making your own nut milk using whole nuts, check out this recipe.

Still, it can be super convenient to just pick up a carton of non-dairy milk, so if you choose to go this route, I would recommend to first avoid carrageenan, then aim for unsweetened milk. For this you’ll have to look at the ingredient label because even the milks labeled “Original” still have added sugar. Choose milk specifically labeled “unsweetened”.

Elmhurst—specifically their unsweetened varieties– is the best brand I’ve found so far. Although a bit pricey, they’ve managed to create a non-dairy milk with only two ingredients: filtered water and almonds. So in my opinion, it’s worth it. Elmhurst also makes unsweetened cashew, hazelnut, and walnut milk varieties too!

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding

 

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7 Good Mood Foods for Your Lunch Box

June 5th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

Plus: Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Got an everlasting case of the “Mondays”? What you eat throughout your day can really make a difference in your mood. This is why it’s so important to pack what I call a healthy food environment, otherwise you’ll be tempted to reach for cookies, chips or any other highly processed foods that may be hanging out in the office junk food dispenser (aka: vending machine) or lunch room.

The key is to pack your lunch box with not only lunch, but also one or two Earthfood-rich snacks in case you get hungry before quitting time. 

See if you can pack some of these good mood foods in tomorrow’s lunch:

 

Fermented Vegetables

Fermented veggies are rich in healthy bacteria (probiotics)—which studies suggest may help reduce negative thoughts and improve our state of mind. They include: cabbage (sauerkraut), kimchi (a spicy Korean dish made of cabbage, radish, garlic and spices), beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, radishes, garlic, and broccoli. 

Ideas: Mix one or two tablespoons in tuna, egg or garden salads. Try my easy recipe for Lentil Quinoa Kimchi Salad!

Brands: Farmhouse Cultures, Cleveland Kraut, Wake Robin

 

Canned salmon and tuna

Salmon and tuna are both good mood foods with serious bragging rights. They are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a healthier brain and mental state.

Ideas: Mix with mashed avocado and serve with raw veggies or serve on top of a leafy green salad. Try my Cranberry Apple Tuna Salad Jar!

Brands that test for mercury and PCBs and take measures to control for these contaminants: Wild Planet; Safe Catch; Henry & Lisa’s 

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are high in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help activate brain pathways associated with improved mood and cognition.

Ideas: Add blueberries to lunch salads (like my Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad with Pecan “Cheese”), pop a handful as a snack, or try this week’s recipe pick for Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding! It makes for an amazing dairy-free yogurt alternative (with much less sugar too).

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are an impressive source of fiber– 5 grams per tablespoon– and can help prevent constipation and promote regularity. What makes it a good mood food? Have you ever gone a day without pooping? I rest my case. Sometimes I secretly wonder, if all the grumpy Gus’s and crabby Patty’s out there just had a really good bowel movement every morning, would they still be so darn cranky? I think not.  Chia seeds for everyone!

Ideas: Add a tablespoon to shakes, mix into salad dressing, beat afternoon cravings with my Craving-Crusher Water, add to chili (try my recipe for Earthy Turkey Chia Chili), or enjoy it as Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

Brands: Bob’s Red Mill; Nutiva; Navitas; Garden of Life

 

Eggs (especially the yolk!)

Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of choline, a vitamin associated with better neurological function and production of ‘happiness’ hormones!

Ideas: Eat a hard-boiled egg as an afternoon snack, slice into salads, or try my recipe for Egg & Hummus-Stuffed Avocado.

Brands: Organic Valley Free-Range; Pete & Gerry’s Free-Range Organic

 

Lentils

Lentils help keep blood sugar levels stable, which is super important for a balanced mood. This is precisely why you never want to run across me in a dark alley when I have low blood sugar and am ravenously hungry…let’s just say it ain’t pretty! 😈 Lentils are also loaded with folate, a B-vitamin which helps prevent mood disorders.

Ideas: Add ¼ cup lentils to lunch salads and soups or drizzle with olive oil and make it a side dish. Try my Creamy Red Lentil Hummus!

Brand: Bob’s Red Mill Lentils

 

Dark Chocolate

Yes, dark chocolate is a good mood food! It enhances focus and concentration and stimulates production of endorphins—feel-good chemicals that give you a mental lift.

Ideas: Add one tablespoon of cacao powder to your lunch smoothie (try my Gut-Loving Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake!) or for an afternoon pick-me-up, snack on one-ounce of dark chocolate (≥70% cacao) or a square of Chill-the-Hell-Out Fudge (PS: give a square to an angry co-worker and watch what happens!😆)

Brands: Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder; Endangered Species chocolate (70%+)

 

Please don’t be mistaken…

You can’t just add good mood foods to an otherwise crappy diet and expect to be skipping around like Mary Poppins. As you move through your journey to better health and gradually improve the quality of your food choices, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to include these foods in your repertoire of meals. 

I can hear you singing now…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 🎼  (tell me you’re not in a better mood after watching this ↓↓↓).

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

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Scarcity Thinking = Food Preoccupation (and overeating)

May 29th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Enrico Mantegazza on Unsplash

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This should come as no surprise to you, but I take pride in going against the grain of the diet industry. I don’t fight it; I do the exact opposite… and it has worked beautifully in my life and in the lives of those I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the years.

You may not realize it, but the diet industry promotes a scarcity mindset. Of course they don’t market it as such, but that’s exactly what it is.

How many times have you followed a diet or meal plan with these “scarcity language” guidelines?

“Don’t eat ___________”

“Eat only ___________”

“Limit yourself to ______________”

 

There’s something you should know about scarcity: as humans, we are born to fear it.

 

Scarcity thinking brings out your rebel nature

Tell me you don’t feel a little anxious when you imagine yourself: “having not enough money”, “running out of time”, or “having not enough food”. Read that last sentence again and really put yourself in the middle of each scenario.

Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach? I know I do!

When a diet tells us we can only have so many calories, ounces, or servings (scarcity, scarcity, scarcity), it’s in our DNA to become totally preoccupied with food. It’s all we think about! Eventually we break down and eat more…even if we aren’t physically hungry.

Don’t you see? A scarcity mindset automatically places food on a pedestal and assigns it power. Resistance then builds and into self-sabotaging rebel-mode you go.

There’s another way.

 

Abundance thinking = total freedom

Rather than an “eat this not that” or “you can only have this much” approach, I promote an abundance mindset solution, whereby the decision of what and how much to eat is made through this lens:

You can have anything you want, in any amount you want, as long as you are making the decision from Home and checking in while you eat to assure you haven’t drifted into a fog. And if you have, all that’s required is a conscious breath and you’re back.

I call this Home-based eating

 

I’m confused Melanie! What do you mean by “Home”?

Within you rests a gentle, quiet space. It’s where the deeper part of you resides, and when you connect with it, you feel at Home (capitalization intentional and to be interpreted in whatever way resonates with you).

Home is a place of peace and trust, and also the source of your greatest power. When you pay a visit, you feel good…and possible. You make better food choices with greater ease and treat yourself with gentle love and kindness. There is a sense of clarity and abundance—a subtle knowing that you are whole, and all is well.

Although you may only visit for a moment here and there, rest assured, Home is always open and waiting for you to enter any time you choose. I am here to tell you that when you make decisions from this place, you will never feel the need to find another diet to rescue you.

To read more about how to practice Home-based eating, check out THIS POST.

 

Can you really trust yourself?

Without the structure of calories and rigid rules, can you really trust yourself? After all, when face-to-face with a double pepperoni pizza it would be so easy to convince yourself that you are practicing Home-based eating.

Let your cravings be your guide.

When you combine Home-based eating with the practice of relentless consistency, over time your cravings will shift towards those foods your body truly desires—called Earthfoodsand pizza will become a food you enjoy on occasion. This shift is something that comes naturally and with zero resistance.

Craving Earthfoods is a sign that your human and being sides have merged…and when that happens, you my friend have struck gold.

 

Total freedom NOW

Exchange that scarcity mentality for an abundance mindset and you will experience a sense of freedom…like when you were a small child. Remember those days?

When you combine abundance-thinking with Home-based eating, and come from a place of presence, your cravings will shift towards those foods that are worthy of going into your body. 

This is food freedom; and it’s available to you NOW. 

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils

Lentils are ancient (I’m talking 7,000BC!) edible legumes known for their lens-shape. They are an attractive option for quick and healthy meals because unlike beans, lentils require no soaking and are ready in 15-20 minutes.

An excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron, lentils function beautifully as a meat replacement in vegetarian recipes. 

You can find them in brown, green (French lentils), yellow, black, and red varieties, however the texture is not the same across the board. When cooked, brown, green and black lentils are firm, while red and yellow are more mushy and work well in blended recipes like soups, chili, veggie burgers, dips, and spreads (check out this week’s recipe pick below for Creamy Red Lentil Hummus).

I like to boil up an entire bag of Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils and make multiple recipes. For example, this week I doubled the batch of Creamy Red Lentil Hummus and had plenty left over to bake up two loaves of Spicy Vegetarian “Meat” Loaf. 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Creamy Red Lentil Hummus

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Yes, Diabetics CAN Eat Pasta!

May 22nd, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Krista Stucchio on Unsplash

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Pasta can often spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for those of us trying to manage our blood sugar. But not anymore! When done right, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta without your blood sugar hitting the roof. 

But… (there’s always a but isn’t there?)

You must have an open mind and be willing to try new things.

 

Let me get real with you about your blood sugar

Listen, if you want to eat like you’ve always eaten, take a look at your most recent lab results…because that’s exactly what you’ll continue to get. I’m sorry if this sounds a little brash, but I’m really saying it out of love.

I want you to be well my friend; nothing would make me happier. 

And guess what? You have another ally—your body. It wants so badly to be well that it absolutely will adapt favorably to change when given the opportunity.  

Broaden your horizons and challenge your taste buds a bit! Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to drink a kale smoothie (yet 😉).

 

Pasta and marinara sauce recommendations

Let’s start by swapping your traditional wheat-based pasta for…hold on to your undies…chickpea pasta. 

Are you still breathing?

Banza is a low-glycemic (gentle on the blood sugar) pasta ideal for diabetics. It’s made from chickpeas and pea protein, so not only are you gaining plant-based protein, but also four times the fiber and 40% less net carbs. That’s a double hell yeah for your blood sugar.

There are no special cooking instructions; just boil for 8 minutes and it’s done! And it doesn’t fall apart or turn to mush like some of those other alternative pastas out there. 

Banza pasta is gluten-free, non-GMO, and comes in the following varieties: penne, elbows, shells, rotini, spaghetti, wheels, rigatoni, cavatappi, and ziti. Check them out HERE!

Now for the sauce.

If you aren’t up for making homemade pasta sauce, you’ll want to choose a jarred sauce with no added sugar or sweetener in the ingredients. It’s simply unnecessary! FYI…the majority of commercial sauces contain added sugar, so check the list of ingredients. 

Newman’s Own Organic Marinara Sauce tastes great and keeps a simple ingredient list: Organic Tomato Puree (Water, Organic Tomato Paste, Citric Acid), Organic Diced Tomatoes, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Carrot Puree, Organic Basil, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion*, Organic Black Pepper*, Organic Fennel. 

Another sauce worth mentioning is Mia’s Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce. It’s made with California tomatoes, tomato puree, kale, fresh onions, roasted red peppers, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, spices. Although the ingredient list on their website shows “cane sugar”, the actual sauce contains no added sugar. The company assured me they are in the process of updating the label.  

If you haven’t clicked off of this post by now, it means you have a fairly open mind. So of course I’m going to push my luck (it’s only because I love you!). Keep reading…

 

Instead of meat, try crumbled tempeh (a high-fiber plant-based protein)

Still with me? 

Tempeh is a probiotic-rich fermented soy product with a dense texture, making it a suitable replacement for meat.

The state of your microbiome (the collection of 100+ trillion organisms living within your intestines, mouth and nose) impacts virtually everything about you, including your: body weight, digestion, mood, immune system, and yes…blood sugar.

Because tempeh is full of healthy bacteria, it can help support a healthy, viable, and thriving microbiome. You’ll learn how to make crumbled tempeh in this week’s recipe pick for Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta!

If you draw the line at trying a meat alternative, I am still as happy as a pig in mud that you are willing to try chickpea pasta!

Because of your willingness (and because I know you can do this last one), I’m going to push you just a little further….

 

Finally…add a leafy green salad

As you learned in this previous post, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, greens improve the health of your microbiome and also aid in blood sugar management.

Enjoy these benefits and more by serving a leafy green salad alongside your pasta! In fact, I recommend getting at least a serving or two (or three) of greens in your diet every day. Add them to shakes, sauté and fold in omelets and stir into marinara sauce, or make them the base of a main course salad!

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

See what happens when you open your mind just a bit? Now get your fanny to the grocery store and make it happen! Trust me, your body will ❤️ you for this! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Four Types of Hunger

May 15th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Ayala’s Herbal Water
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Fruit-Infused Water
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Merriam Webster defines hunger as: An uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach. (Whew…talk about a mouthful!) 

This definition refers to physical hunger. We all know what it feels like—an unmistakable, uncomfortable sensation triggering you to go on the hunt for food. Thank goodness your body is equipped to sense physical hunger, otherwise you’d run the risk of starvation and entire organs and body systems would shut down! 

It’s very important for you to understand all of the ways that hunger can present itself. Some of these are quite sly, causing you to reach for a snack even though you aren’t physically hungry. But don’t worry, you’re about to learn how to recognize these little tricksters and put them in their place!

 

Pleasant hunger

This is a safe and trustworthy hunger. It’s the type that causes a baby to fuss just a little bit to let you know she is hungry. If you miss her subtle pleasant hunger cues, she’ll be sure to remind you with a piercing cry.  

How does it feel?

Pleasant hunger feels like: “I could eat, but the hunger is not controlling or bringing me down.”

To be pleasantly hungry means you have an appetite for nutritious food. It results from eating healthy and well-balanced meals throughout the day while minimizing unnecessary snacking. Meals that contain the proper balance of Earthfoods and healthy proteins and fats will keep you satisfied for around four to five hours, at which point you will begin to feel pleasantly hungry. Click HERE for ideas to help you get started.

Opt for the following meats and seafood when possible:

  • Hormone and antibiotic-free meats (organic when possible), such as free-range chicken and turkey, and grass-fed beef
  • Free-range eggs (organic when possible)
  • Omega 3-rich fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna

Some of the best plant-based protein options:

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
  • Hummus made with tahini or olive oil (versus inflammatory oils such as canola or soybean)
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Tempeh: fermented soybeans formed into “cakes”
  • Natto: fermented soybeans
  • Plant-based protein powders, such as hemp powder and pea protein powder

Healthy fats include:

  • For salads, stews and low-temperature cooking: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil (also good for higher-heat cooking), macadamia oil, walnut oil, almond oil
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Ghee, or clarified butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Unrefined coconut oil (good for medium-heat cooking)
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Olives
  • Omega 3-rich fatty fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • MCT oil

Be careful of processed foods like chips, frozen meals, deli meats, and artificially sweetened beverages (to name only a few), as they can disturb your hunger and fullness signals, causing you to eat more than you bargained for!

 

Urgent hunger

Urgent hunger is what causes happy Mel to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West!

Caused by insufficient calories in the bloodstream, while in the midst of it, you will eat just about anything in site with no regard for its nutritional content. Your body sends a signal to your brain saying “NEED FOOD NOW!”

When in a state of urgent hunger, I’m definitely not chopping vegetables for a nice garden salad. Instead, I’m ripping open the nearest bag of corn chips like a starving raccoon. Remember, it’s a food-emergency and your body needs food fast—preferably something that will raise your blood sugar quickly back to normal. We never make healthy choices in this state, so avoid it at all costs.

How does it feel?

This is what I call desperate hunger. Your stomach is growling loudly and you feel faint and unstable. When in this state, if someone dares to even say hello, you’re liable to bite their head off! 

How to avoid it

The best way to avoid urgent hunger is to never allow yourself to get there in the first place! Eat a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner (see above) and if more than five hours pass between meals, plug in a small snack like a handful of raw walnuts, raw veggies with hummus, or half of an apple with almond butter. 

 

Thirst hunger

Did you know that thirst can be mistaken for hunger in your body? All too often, we find ourselves reaching for a snack, when what we really need is a glass of water. How can you tell the difference? Drink a glass of water, and if the hunger pangs go away, then you know it was thirst.

How to avoid it

To avoid this false hunger, be sure to drink at least 48 ounces of water throughout the day—or enough to produce urine that is pale yellow in color and almost clear. 

Water recommendations are based on several factors:

  • Physical activity
  • Body weight
  • How hot it is outside
  • Illness/fever
  • Thirst

Keep in mind that once you begin feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you get to that point.

Don’t like the taste of plain H20?

Make your own fruit-infused water (see this week’s recipe pick!) or look for these naturally infused waters: Hint Water, Ayala Herbal Water, or La Croix Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water!

 

Head-hunger

If you use food to cope with life or find yourself eating when you aren’t physically hungry, you are most certainly feeding your head-hunger. Maybe you eat when you’re bored, stressed, sad, angry, depressed or happy—whatever the reason, this is a sure sign of disconnect.

When was the last time you witnessed a baby cry because he needed a diaper change and Mom came running with a bottle? She tries to feed him, but he keeps crying. If he could talk, he’d probably say: “Hey, dummy, check the diaper! I’m wet and uncomfortable…not hungry!” He’s upset but doesn’t turn to food to ease his emotions because he knows it won’t work!

Feeding your head-hunger is one of the driving forces preventing you from achieving your health goals.

To conquer head-hunger eating, answer these questions:

  1. I am about to eat because I am ______________.
    (i.e. Stressed!)
  2. Why do I feel this way?
    (i.e. I’m overwhelmed with end of the month projects at work!)
  3. How else can I cope with this feeling?
    (i.e. Practice deep breathing exercises)

For best results, put your #3 plan into place immediately.

 

Final words of wisdom

It only takes a little bit of awareness to be successful at this…so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.

Remember, it’s always speaking…

Are you listening?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Ayala’s Herbal Water

 

Ayala’s Herbal Water is the first nationally available organically certified enhanced flavored water made with all organic ingredients.

With flavors like lavender mint (my favorite), cinnamon orange peel, lemongrass mint vanilla, ginger lemon peel, and cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, Ayala’s Herbal Water sets a new standard for healthy beverages: zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors, and zero chemical preservatives. 

If you like a little fizz, Ayala’s offers these flavors in sparkling water too! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Fruit-Infused Water

 

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What’s the Deal with Gluten?

May 9th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

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Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, non-gluten free oats, and processed foods containing these ingredients (i.e. bread, cereal, pasta, pancakes, pizza, bakery and other packaged foods).

Gluten causes a whole spectrum of problems for many people, ranging from non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) to celiac disease— an autoimmune condition where ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine, creating iron deficiency anemia, joint pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and migraines.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, some people experience symptoms of celiac disease, such as foggy mind, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue, when they have gluten in their diet, but they do not test positive for celiac disease. NCGS is generally used to refer to this condition; removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms.

 

Why does it seem like gluten intolerance is more of a recent problem?

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as gluten sensitivity. Although it can seem like a fad, I can tell you it is indeed a real thing.

Due to hybridization of wheat grown in the United States, the quality and type of proteins and starches in wheat have changed, creating a higher gluten content than ever before. The result is an overwhelming increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Food allergies and sensitivities create an inflammatory state in the body, leading to weight gain and insulin resistance. So if you suspect you are intolerant of gluten, it would be wise to eliminate it for a six-week trial to see if your blood glucose numbers and weight improve. This also holds true for other common food allergies and sensitivities, like dairy, soy, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts.

 

Mel’s experience with gluten

Although I never officially set out to remove gluten from my diet, it turned out that most of the food I was eating just happened to be naturally gluten-free, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lentils, seafood, and natural, unprocessed meats.

After a while, I noticed a subtle, yet significant improvement in my digestion and also quite a bit less brain fog and joint pain. If a little gluten sneaks into my diet in the form of an occasional donut, brownie or cookie, it’s not like I suffer horrible side effects or anything like that, but I also don’t feel 100%. I simply choose not to make it a habit because it’s just not worth it to me.

Some of my favorite gluten-free alternatives include:

 

Recommended gluten-free grains

If you choose to eat grains, I recommend aiming for small amounts of what I call “upgraded” grains. These include whole, minimally processed, non-GMO, gluten-free grains such as:

  •    Brown rice
  •    Wild rice (which is actually a semi-aquatic grass)
  •    Quinoa (which is actually a seed)
  •    Amaranth
  •    Buckwheat
  •    Millet
  •    Sorghum
  •    Gluten-free steel-cut oats
  •    Teff

If you happened to eat a gluten-containing grain, opt for sprouted varieties. Sprouting— which involves soaking grains, seeds, beans, legumes or nuts in water until a sprout forms— can reduce the gluten content by almost 50%. Studies also show that sprouted grains become easier to digest and breakdown for those with diabetes because of changes in the amount of enzymes available, which is needed to properly digest glucose.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon

You preach about Earthfoods Melanie, and I fully respect that. But what about bacon? I’m not willing to give that up…no way, no how!

Listen, I get it. I’m not asking you to give it up for a couple of reasons: First, it’s not necessary because it can absolutely fit in small amounts on occasion. Second, thanks to companies like Applegate, you can now have your bacon and eat it too!

Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon is humanely raised, USDA organic, and free of: nitrites, nitrates, preservatives, hormones, GMOs, gluten, and antibiotics. Everything you should look for when purchasing bacon.

Check out this week’s recipe pick for Purely PMS Brownie Bites. These decadent little morsels are made without flour (so they are gluten-free), and are topped with drizzled dark chocolate, cacao nibs and bacon pieces.

You’re welcome! 🙂 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Purely PMS Brownie Bites

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Praiseworthy Earthfoods (you should be eating daily)

May 1st, 2019 | no comments

Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

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Earthfoods are the foods your body was designed to eat and truly longs for. They are powerful beyond measure and can heal your body at a cellular level.

They include whole, plant-based, nutrient-rich foods from the earth, such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, legumes, herbs, spices, and more. (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

The payoff of eating an Earthfood-rich diet is a body that is satiated to the core.

 

These foods won’t cause you to raid the refrigerator looking for more an hour after you’ve eaten them (think potato chips and chocolate chip cookies).

 

Moreover, you aren’t likely to feel the need to overeat them because they are so nourishing. They give you energy, help your brain function at optimal levels, and provide a sense of clarity.

All Earthfoods are health-rocking, however there are a few categories that stand out as praiseworthy. Actually there are more than a few, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I will focus on the top three here: Greens, berries, and cruciferous vegetables.

 

Greens:

One of the most nutritious foods on the planet, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, these powerhouses (still sadly referred to as mere “diet food” by many) offer so many health benefits, you’d be foolish not to include them in at least one of your daily meals.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Healthy aging.
  • Helps fight inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Aids in blood sugar management.
  • Improves health of skin and protects against harmful UV rays.
  • Supports a healthy immune response.
  • Improves gut health.
  • Supports your body’s detoxification system. The chlorophyll in greens binds to heavy metals and other toxins and carries them safely out of your body.
  • Decreases rates of cognitive decline as you age.

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

 

Berries:

Ever hear of oxidative stress? It occurs when unstable byproducts of metabolism, called free radicals, build up in the body and cause cellular damage. Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer, heart disease, rapid aging, and diabetes are just a handful of conditions linked to oxidative stress.

Although a small amount of free radicals are essential to help us fight dangerous bacteria and viruses, we must take steps to neutralize excess production if we wish to enjoy good health. One way to do this is by eating antioxidant-rich Earthfoods. Berries top the list, alongside other powerful foods like herbs, spices, cacao, green tea, and brightly colored vegetables like sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, and kale.  

Berries include:

Acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, elderberries, goji berries, raspberries, and strawberries.

 

Cruciferous veggies:

These are the veggies I always turned my nose up as a kid, followed by a “yuck!”. But it turns out, my mom knew something I didn’t. This class of vegetables, belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is named after the “cross-bearing” (Cruciferae) shape of their flowers.

Cruciferous vegetables made the praiseworthy list because they are rich in free radical-neutralizing antioxidants and other cancer-fighting compounds (called glucosinolates). When eaten regularly as part of an Earthfood-rich diet, they can also help you: manage your weight, normalize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, support heart health, and balance estrogen levels.

Cruciferous veggies include:

Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, maca, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, turnip, watercress.

 

What are you waiting for?

I just handed you three keys to better health, so what are you waiting for? Eat them and do so every day…with relentless consistency! Try one of these previously featured recipe picks to get you started…

 

Mel’s weekly recipe picks: 

Strawberry Banana “Surprise” Shake

 

 

 

 

 

Nourishing White Bean Chard Soup

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

 

 

 

 

Caulimash

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

Turmeric Roasted Vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad with Pecan “Cheese”

 

 

 

 

 

Celery, Date & Almond Watercress Salad

 

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The Power of Relentless Consistency

April 25th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

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Do you realize how many times you’ve been so close to experiencing a real, tangible shift in your health, but you quit just before the bloom? Maybe you didn’t see the number on the scale move fast enough so you threw in the towel (one of the many reasons why I dislike scales).

You were so close it’s scary.

When you plant a tomato seed, it doesn’t sprout the next day does it? Mother Nature decides when, not you. Your job is to water it with consistency, and within five to six days…bingo! If you expected an edible tomato on day seven, grew impatient and yanked the sprout from the ground because it wasn’t “happening fast enough”, you’d never know what it’s like to experience the divine deliciousness of a fresh tomato. It takes time.

So why should it be any different for you?  

Ever hear the story told by Napoleon Hill, of the gold-digging man who grew impatient and stopped digging…only to discover later that he was just three feet from the rich stuff? If he only hung in there long enough.

Get the point?  

 

Chocolate chip cookies are not the problem

The problem I see is not one of eating poor quality food per se, but eating poor quality food with relentless consistency. That’s what gets us into trouble. A chocolate chip cookie here or there, even every day, is not enough to drive your blood sugar through the roof and cause diabetes. It’s the cookie, the footlong sub, handful of M&Ms, and bagel the size of a small country, eaten on a relentlessly consistent basis, that eventually invites high blood sugar.

Said another way, it’s the relentless inconsistency of nourishing foods, regular exercise, and general self-care, that contributes to diabetes and other diseases.

If you want to experience tangible results, you must reverse this order.

Practicing relentless consistency sounds sort of like health food boot camp doesn’t it? Like I’m telling you to drop and give me 20! Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that!

 

The formula for relentlessly consistency (you’re going to LOVE this)

First and foremost, we are not going to complicate things with special meal plans and a long list of rules (you’ve been down that road…it’s called a diet). Second, you don’t have to purchase special food, your local grocery store or farmer’s market has everything you need to be successful. Third, you will not be given any limits.

I have only one rule for you:

Challenge yourself to eat at least ten servings of Earthfoods every day and follow through like your life depends on it!  (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

 

The only actual planning you will do is to take an “Earthfood inventory” of your kitchen the night before and then write down the ten Earthfoods you will eat tomorrow. It’s really not even so much about planning as it is creativity! How will you creatively plug these foods into your meals tomorrow?

For example, it’s Tuesday evening and as I open my refrigerator and pantry to plan for the next day, I notice it’s pretty scarce. But there’s still enough to hit the ten Earthfood minimum, so I add the following to tomorrow’s plan:

  • Large apple
  • Large banana
  • Half of a small avocado
  • A couple of large carrots
  • Fresh ginger
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen cauliflower
  • Can of black beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cacao powder

Now of course I don’t just sit and eat black beans out of the can (that wouldn’t be very fun would it?). Instead, I find a way to plug it into a meal.

 

Here’s what this looks like in meal form…

Although it doesn’t sound like much, with a little creativity, here’s what the above inventory would look like in meal form:

Breakfast (6 Earthfood servings):

A Peace of Health Shake made with ½ cup of frozen blueberries, ½ large banana, 1 tbsp. Cacao powder, 1 tbsp. Chia seeds, 1 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 tbsp. Fresh ginger.

Lunch (4 Earthfood servings):

Egg salad made with: ½ of an avocado, mashed (used in place of mayonnaise), ½ apple, diced, ½ cup black beans; served with carrot strips.

Dinner (1 Earthfood serving):

Eat the roasted veggies as a side dish with whatever you are serving.

Snack (1 Earthfood serving):

Handful of pumpkin seeds.

Once eaten, I simply cross them off the list. I just love crossing things off of a list, don’t you? Such a feeling of accomplishment! 

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. I only listed Earthfoods in the sample meals above. Your breakfast shake would also contain a liquid base and lunch may include some sprouted chips on the side.
  2. Notice that I wound up eating 12 servings of Earthfood. Even though my kitchen wasn’t stocked full of food, I still went above and beyond!
  3. If they aren’t in your kitchen, you can’t eat them! Shopping on a weekly basis is important, and even then you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money. Notice all of the shelf-stable Earthfoods in my example above: black beans, cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Stock up while you’re there and figure out what to do with them later.
  4. Please, please, please don’t get hung up on portion sizes. I only offer them as a guide to help you meet the minimum number of recommended daily Earthfood servings, not to perpetuate a scarcity mindset. Once you understand what a portion looks like, you can eyeball it from there.

 

The magic of an abundance-mindset

There is a certain level of magic built into an abundance-mindset. Because you aren’t placing limits on how much you’re allowed to eat, you are in fact putting faith and trust in your body and can more easily tap into how much it’s truly asking for. This is why I use the language of minimums: eat at least ten Earthfood servings per day. Could you eat 15 or 20 Earthfood servings per day? Even better!

Now you tell me, after a day full of 20 Earthfoods, how much room would you have left in that beautiful stomach of yours for pizza, chocolate cake and potato chips? You aren’t forbidding them, not at all! You are crowding them out with Earthfoods…and your cravings will follow suit.

How cool is that?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Native Forest Jackfruit

Indigenous to India and Bangladesh, jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit (can reach 100+ pounds) with a thick green rind. It’s rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants.

When marinated, jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement. Once ripe, it is often used in sweet recipes such as smoothies, cakes and other desserts.

Recipes abound for jackfruit pulled “pork” and Philly “cheesesteak” sandwiches, however my favorite is jackfruit taco “meat”. Check out this week’s recipe pick for Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad.

Jackfruit can be purchased fresh, but it’s a pain in the rear to cut. Save yourself time and aggravation by picking up a can of Native Forest Jackfruit or a package of Upton’s Jackfruit.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The #1 Secret of Successful Healthy Eaters

April 18th, 2019 | no comments

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OK, I won’t beat around the bush. The number one secret of those “gifted” individuals who are able to begin and stick to a healthy lifestyle is this:

 

They focus on the how of eating before the what.

 

Most people shoot straight for the food rules: what should I eat? And after about a week, where do they wind up? Back at square one, a little more confused, and looking for yet another solution.

The how of eating must come before the what, otherwise the mere whiff of an airport Cinnabon will be enough to lure you away from your healthy intentions. I’ve seen it happen a million times.

Enough of this ridiculousness already!

Don’t get me wrong, the what is important, but it’s always trumped by the how. Besides, the how is a much more natural place to begin…it’s where we started out as infants.

 

The how of eating: Being with your food

In my book Missing Peace, the how of eating is answered by Missing Peace #5: Return to Your Roots. It involves being fully present with your food while you eat it, a prerequisite of what it means to be a mindful and connected eater. 

Mindful eating means:

  • Eating in pure enjoyment and gratitude.
  • Really tasting your food— appreciating the flavors, textures and aromas.
  • Feeling the sensation of your body as it gently moves from ‘hungry’ to ‘satisfied’. 
  • Eliminating distractions like phone, email, texting, television, and yes, even reading.

Sound familiar? It should. These are all natural behaviors witnessed by observing an infant as she receives a breast or bottle.

Only when you are fully present with your food are you able to uncover and tap into your innate, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and satiety (fullness). This ability is rooted deep within; you were born with this gift, and still harness it today.

 

Being with your food: Which TV are you watching?

When you eat, there are three possible “televisions” you can have before you.

The first plays movies of your past, the second shows scenes of the anticipated future, and the third looks like a television, but the screen is actually a mirror, reflecting back to you this very moment: you sitting down with your meal. Let’s call this one TV-Me.

 

Just like you can’t watch the movie ET without a box of tissues in hand (no you can’t!), TV-past and TV-future can spark certain emotions, causing you to ignore the yellow light of satiety, blow through the red one, and get a ticket…in the form of an over-satisfied belly.

Both can also evoke feelings of anxiety, depression, restlessness, anger, guilt, and resistance— all sensations we tend to soothe with comfort food (and I’m not talking chicken soup here!).

 

Understand, I am not suggesting you push your emotions away. In fact, being present with your food involves being with your emotions too: noting and feeling them, in the present moment. It’s part of the experience!

Remember, what you resist, persists. Nowhere is this more evident than with food. Burying your emotions will only strengthen their hold on you. Only when you shine the light of presence on them can darkness dissolve, and peace be found.  

And if you’re doing this right, you may even discover that it’s not physical hunger you are trying to feed, but emotional hunger (or what I call “head-hunger”). 

 

TV-Me: The only place to be

When you tune into TV-Me, you are choosing mindfulness over unconsciousness; peace over conflict. You observe only you, with your food, experiencing all that it has to offer with complete gratitude. You pay attention to your body as it receives the food and feel the reward of nourishment and satiety. 

Watching any television other than TV-Me will pull you away from Home, into a fog and disconnected from your roots. It’s impossible to be fully present with your food.

Yes, the temptation to glance at what’s playing on the left or right will always be there, but it’s up to you to grab the remote, turn them off, and deactivate their power. And if they happened to “magically” turn on, take a breath, note the scene, and then move on to enjoy the rest of your meal in peace and presence.

 

You have what it takes to be a “gifted” eater

You have everything it takes to be one of those “gifted” and successful healthy eaters. So when you eat, just be with your food, in this moment and nowhere else! Because in this moment, with this breath, you really have no problems.

If you are tempted to challenge this statement, I invite you to think of a problem and then ask yourself if it’s tied to something in the past or future. The answer will always be yes.

Do the work and focus on the how.

The what is a piece of cake 🍰 (figuratively speaking). 😉

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Riced Cauliflower

An amazing alternative that works beautifully in virtually all recipes calling for rice. 

Riced cauliflower is just what it sounds like, cauliflower that has been chopped into itty bitty pieces using either a box grater, food processor, or blender. You can certainly make it from scratch (try this recipe), or indulge in the convenience of fresh cauliflower rice in the produce department at your local grocery store. 

Fresh cauliflower rice can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a large skillet with a bit of olive or avocado oil and used in stir-fries or hot side dishes (see my recipe pick below for Cauliflower Fried “Rice”). 

Cauliflower (along with kale, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts) is a cruciferous vegetable—a super powerful class of veggies that aids in boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and balancing blood sugar. I make it a rule to eat at least one hefty dose of cruciferous vegetables every day. Cauliflower rice can help you do the same!

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Often Should You Eat?

April 10th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

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  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips (grain and gluten-free)
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

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I would  for you to be my guest on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm for: Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). Seating is limited for this complimentary event, so hurry up and register!


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

What you feed your body most, it will crave. I mentioned this in last week’s post, and the truth is, it applies to more than just what you eat.

Your body craves the consistency of a schedule too. But make no mistake, it absolutely will adapt to prefer round-the-clock snacking if that’s what you’ve trained it to do.

If you’re nibbling all day long (even if it’s on carrot sticks), chances are you are doing it in a mindless, disconnected, foggy state. And to top it off, you’re not allowing your body the opportunity to experience hunger.

And that’s not good!

Hunger (and satiety) are natural and, dare I say, Divine sensations. They serve as a barometer, a built-in coach, gently guiding you to eat when hunger arises and stop when you are satisfied. The sheer ability to experience them is a sign that you are tuned into your body at the most primordial level. 

 

How often should you eat? Ask a baby

We can learn a lot from babies in this department. They don’t snack mindlessly on breast milk; they eat at regular intervals (meals) in direct response to their body’s hunger cues.

You’ll also never catch them with a little baby notebook, meticulously counting their calories. Because they live in a constant state of presence, tuning into and listening to what their body is trying to tell them, is effortless. There’s no in between. It’s either:

  • “I’m hungry…feed me now!” , or
  • “I’m satisfied…now get your boob out of my face!”

Ask a baby how often they eat, and if they could talk, they’d tell you:  “when my body tells me it’s time to eat…duh!”  

 

Calories tell you nothing…so please stop tracking them! (Pretty please with a cherry on top🍒)

Calorie-counting is so 1980’s. It’s also a glaring sign that you do not trust your body. No calculation in the world can tell you how much your body needs; you must feel it.

Furthermore, calories tell you absolutely nothing, and focusing on them will only lead you down a foggy, confused, and disconnected dead end road.

 

Stay with me here…

 

First, the deep stuff: What you focus on expands.

 

When you focus on calories, calories, calories, your emotional desire for more calories will expand. You’ll always want more! This makes it impossible to tap into your deep-rooted, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and fullness.

When you focus instead on tapping into your body and listening to what it’s trying to tell you, your ability to sense hunger and fullness will expand and become super sensitive. Just like when you were a wee little baby. 

 

But wait…there’s more!

 

Did you know that your body is in search of nutrients from food, not calories? Yes, when you eat and digest food, your body begins the search for the nutrients that it knows will satisfy it. But when it can’t find those nutrients, it continues to eat more, still looking.

If you are totally obsessed with sticking to a prescribed calorie limit—choosing low-calorie, nutrient-poor foods like diet yogurt, pretzels, and God-awful Lean Cuisine frozen meals—don’t be surprised if you never feel full. 

And please don’t be surprised when you eat the entire bag of pretzels.  

On the other hand, when you eat a nutrient-rich meal (regardless of the calories) such as a big plate of salad greens mixed with a variety of raw veggies, along with a nice piece of wild salmon and good fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, you feel completely fulfilled. You aren’t likely stuffed, but what I like to call satisfied to the core. Your hunger switch turns off because your body extracted everything it needed from that meal.

The message is simple: If your goal is to go mad, keep counting calories. If not, stop!

 

So, how often should you eat?

Let your body guide you. If you are really present and connected, it will tell you when it needs to be fed.

But what if you’ve trained your body to eat all day long? How do you get out of this tangled web of mindless eating?

Start by eating three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The length of time between each meal will depend on what you ate (how nutritionally balanced your last meal was) and how connected you are to the sensations of hunger and satiety.

When you become still, tap into the present moment and access your full power, you are in sync with your body’s needs. You eat when hungry and stop when you’ve had enough. You’ll also find that your body takes to its own schedule, because it really does crave consistency.

Yes, sometimes you will eat more than your body is asking for, but you’ll be OK with your decision…because you were conscious when you made it.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips

Made from organic coconut flour, cassava (a root vegetable native to South America) starch, and coconut oil, The Real Coconut Tortilla Chips are a tasty, fiber-rich alternative to potato and corn-based chips. 

Available in Original, Himalayan Pink Salt, Beach Barbecue, and Sea Salt & Vinegar (my favorite!).

Serve alongside a nice big salad with a scoop of homemade guacamole for dipping, or pick up a container of Wholly Guacamole on your next shopping trip.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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