How to Ditch the Diet & Get Healthy for Life

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I’m really not a fan of fad diets. Sure, they’re interesting, and they may work to de-bloat and lose some weight fast, but I’m more about making healthy eating and obtaining a healthy weight into a routine that can last, into a lifestyle.

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I AM a big fan of eating. And eating real, whole foods, not packaged meals, meal replacement bars and shakes, or getting a lot of my nutrients from supplements. It’s just not my thing. I like to cook (in simple, quick, and/or low-maintenance ways). As silly as it may sound, I like to chew. I like to eat things that taste good. I think there are probably a lot of people out there that can agree. So, when I began my journey into healthy eating and healthy living, I knew that in order to make changes last, I had to be able to cook, chew, and eat. A lot.

And I can tell you, I wasn’t giving up chocolate either. or coffee.

Now that I’m spreading the message that “healthy is a way of life” to my family, friends, and clients, I’ve come up with 6 steps to get out of that yo-yo diet mode for good and grab onto a life full of healthy nourishment (and without deprivation) with both hands.

  1. Understand where you are right now and start from there. Don’t think about what everyone else is doing or compare yourself to them. You are on your own journey. Every person is unique, at a different place in life, under a different set of circumstances, and has different needs and goals for their body, their health, and their life. Find YOUR place here and now. Don’t dwell on the past. Start anew today.
  2. Follow the 80/20 rule. Who likes deprivation and denial? To feel guilty for eating the huge piece of birthday cake at your friend’s party? Not me. Besides, denying yourself is not a healthy habit, and it is rarely sustainable to be on a diet that says you “can’t eat this or that” – doesn’t that just make you want it more?
    This is where the 80/20 rule comes in: make sure about 80% of your diet each day/week is filled with wholesome, nutritiously dense choices, and then you have about 20% for wiggle room, that piece of pizza (or two )on Friday night, or that holiday cookie baking day when you decide to taste-test each batch, etc. No need for guilt. That’s not “failure.” It’s all good. Just focus on getting at least 80% of the good stuff each day.
  3. Learn to be a prepper. Yes, buying fresh produce, whole grains, and fresh meats usually means more work when compared to piling your freezer and pantry full of quickly-prepared packaged foods.
    My solution: prep ahead. When you come home from the grocery store, wash and cut up all of your produce so it’s ready to go when it’s time to whip up a quick stir-fry or to grab for lunch or a snack with some hummus or other dip. If the food’s cut up and waiting right there in the fridge for you, it’s much harder to ignore. Also, try to cook once, and eat twice (or three, or four times!): for example, cook a big batch of a whole grain on the weekend, and use it throughout the week for any meal. Grains will usually hold up in the fridge for at least a week.
  4. Get support. Tell your family and friends about what you’re doing and the goals you have. This not only helps to hold you accountable, but it can also help to create a support network for you on your journey to reach your goals.
  5. Love yourself up. Remember, slip-ups happen. We all have bad days, week, or even months. Life happens, but it’s all okay. This is about a lifelong change, not a quick fix. Always take time to take stock of just how far you’ve come. And keep going.
  6. Get direction and have a plan to get you going.When I first started changing my diet to become vegetarian, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I became the stereotypical junk-food-college-vegetarian real fast, and my health suffered. I had no direction, no real knowledge about going vegetarian, and no plan. Looking back, I realize how naive I was, but hey, I was 18, and I’m just glad I caught and changed my unhealthy pasta-tarian ways when I did. You really do need to be informed. There is so much misinformation out there, and it’s hard to cut through the junk. Read up, ask professionals, talk with others dealing with similar concerns or who are interested in adopting a healthy lifestyle too. Make sure to always talk with your doctor about any changes you are thinking about making.

Are you ready to the jump into a healthier lifestyle?

  • 20131010-111749.jpgDo you want to learn which foods are right for your unique body?
  • Do you need direction and support to get you going in the right direction?
  • Do you want to learn how to make changes that last a lifetime?
  • Do you want to slim down and feel better than ever this holiday season and be that one that everyone asks “WOW, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?! You look fantastic!”?

Yes. You are so ready.
Jump over to: http://sarah-schott.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program
and check out my 11-Day Fall Revitalize Your Body Program

spiralized zucchini pasta with red pepper sauce

**
+ Get the limited time special price of: $49.95 before October 23!
+ Grab a friend (yay buddy system!) and save an additional 10% total!

Click here for more information and to start your transformation: Revitalize Your Body Fall Program

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What is YOUR Happy? Plus, My 5 Tips to Get Happy Now

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness IS the path.”

Gautama Buddha
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When was the last time you took a minute to really think about what makes you happy?

For me, the past two years included a lot of time spent contemplating life and happiness, as I began making my decision to stray from the traditional path most doctors take after medical school and instead build my own path to create a career that I want and that reflects who I am and what I love.

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So far, it’s been a scary but exciting process trying to knock down all the weeds, briers, (and even a few trees) that exist just off the smooth, paved road to residency and beyond (not that residency is easy by any means – believe me- my fiance is a first year resident! Nonetheless, it is a fairly well-laid out, step-by-step process). At times, I’ve even gotten really stuck, pricked, and down-trodden; however, I recently realized that those times tend to occur during a single mindset: when I lose sight of “my happy” – the picture of what I really want for my self and my life.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and just keep going with the flow, without much thought beyond what needs to get done and how much there is to do, that we forget to take care of ourselves in the process. However, if you never even make time for you, you certainly won’t be taking time to assess your goals, path, or happiness –> which is crucial to your health, well-being..and well, your happiness!

Along with getting caught up in the whirlwind of everyday life, it can sometimes be difficult to separate society’s version of happiness and what your life “should” be like from what you, at your heart and soul, truly desire. Society tends to project this image of happiness that is full of:

  • enormous wealth
  • unattainable beauty and body size
  • lots of expensive stuff
  • fame and attention and ego
  • power, and
  • often as having one talent or passion that basically defines you

Although I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when lose sight of adequate self-care and what I want vs. what society says I should want, it’s still quite easy to fall into that trap. This is one reason why I feel it’s very important for each of us to contemplate our own answers to questions like:

  • who am I?
  • what is my truth?
  • what is my version of success?
  • and what is my happy?

You need to define happiness on your own terms.

And while it’s vital to work towards your goals and toward future happiness, we still need be happy today. This is a lesson I’ve learned through the process of my education – on the pre-med and med-school treadmill, it became second nature to just keep my head down and worry about whatever came next, thinking happiness (and actually living) should just be deferred until I reached the end. Big mistake. I feel like I missed out on a lot of my early-mid-20’s. Besides, how do we know if we have tomorrow, much less years down the road? We each need to cultivate happiness now, in addition to working toward a smiling, content future.

Happiness has been said to be the key to life.

20130926-155756.jpg Here are five steps I’ve incorporated to find MY happy and cultivate it in my life each day:

  1. Write a “My Happiness Note” – take an active, participant role in your happiness. Take 10-20 minutes and write out the core things that make you happy and that you need (and even what you want to be able to say you did/lived for when you reach your later years).
    Mine include: constant world travel; a solid, close family life; a flexible daily/weekly career & routine to allow for my many (and always evolving) passions; a need for daily self-improvement…and helping others to do the same; and adequate financial security to allow me to help provide for family, get quality food, a decent roof over my head, healthcare and other essentials (like paying the essential bills), and to let me travel and see the globe.
    You can also include other things like activities or hobbies that make you feel good – for example, I know I need to make time each week for exercise and to relax by myself in order for me to stay sane and centered.
  2. Accept yourself, in all your flaws and amazing-ness. You are who you are meant to be and where you are meant to be in this moment. Stop thinking you “should be further” than you are. Tell yourself that you are enough (because you are).
  3. Ask a question. When you’re struggling to make a big decision or with not having something you want, ask yourself: Will getting that thing (or saying yes/no to that decision) make me happy? Then ask yourself: Can I be happy if I don’t achieve/do/have that?
  4. Practice gratitude. You will be happier. By focusing on bringing a sense of gratitude into my life each day, I realize just how much there is to be thankful for. Try keeping a gratitude journal – I like to keep mine by my bed and write down a few things I’m grateful for each day before I go to sleep.
  5. Share it. Others want to see you happy and will actually feed off of it. Have you ever noticed how much happier you become when you hang around others who are joyful and smiling? It’s probably the best thing that’s contagious.

So, as we begin to fully transition into autumn, now is a great time to reflect on the seasons past and assess where we are now. Take some time for you this weekend to get yourself feeling refreshed, light, and grinning from ear to ear. You deserve it.

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What is YOUR happy? Do you have any tips to cultivating a greater sense of happiness in your life? Share below!

Are Toxins to Blame for Your __(Insert Health Concern Here)_?

The unfortunate news? We’re all a little bit toxic.

Toxins in Personal Care Items.
(Image source: taramillernutrition.com)

Each one of us has varying levels of toxicity in our bodies. We live in a world surrounded by things in the environment that are “poisonous” and harmful to our health – pollutants in the air, water, and soil; pesticides on our food; some ingredients actually IN our food; chemicals in our personal care products; and certain molecules in our some of our plastics and cookware.

We all know this, but did you know that these kinds of toxins (and their buildup in our bodies) are not only linked to allergies, headaches, and stomach aches, but also much more serious illnesses, like:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • cancers
  • fertility issues
  • nervous system disorders

as well as more ubiquitous signs, symptoms, and health concerns (many of which surprised me and I didn’t know until fairly recently!), including:

  • early aging
  • blood sugar issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • brain fog
  • acne and other skin issues
  • hormone imbalances
  • cravings
  • weight gain
  • depression

It’s actually quite shocking how many of the common health complaints seen and experienced today may actually have links to the toxic load in our bodies!

When we absorb toxins from whatever source, they can end up affecting our digestion, metabolism, hormones, and our nervous system! And although we have mechanisms and organs built into our bodies to naturally take care of toxins for us (like I discussed in my previous post), our liver, lungs, and kidneys often become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of toxicity that makes its way into our system today. Once these natural detoxers get overloaded, toxins build up, get backed up, they can get pushed throughout the body; this then leads to things like weight gain, skin eruptions, gut issues, and various other health issues like those mentioned above.

Did you know that one of the body’s natural protective measures for toxin exposure is to store them inside adipose (fat) cells in order to keep them away from our vital organs? Unless we give the body a way to adequately get rid of that toxic waste, our bodies are not willing to let go of those fat cells (2)!
Talk about some stubborn pounds!

So, what can we do about it?
I’ve personally struggled with fully answering this question (and even with feeling I have little control of what toxins are getting into my body) – it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, in my opinion, for most of us to truly limit our exposure to toxins down to zero. However, I am trying to do what I can, and there are numerous things each one of us is able do to decrease the toxic burden we place on our bodies each day. Here are some of my tips to combat your toxic exposure today:

6 Simple Steps You Can Take TODAY to Decrease Your Toxicity

  1. Switch up your cooking and food storage containers – get rid of any scratched Teflon pans and purchase stainless steel, glass, or ceramic cookware when you can; switch to BPA-free reuseable water bottles and plastics. Also vow to never heat up your plastic containers of leftovers in the microwave again.
  2. Sweat it out – exercising helps rid your body of toxins! Just another reason to get your sweat on every day!20130917-123151.jpg
  3. Get off the sugar – sugar has been labeled by many in the health community as a toxin in and of itself – it wrecks havoc on our blood sugar and can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and digestive issues.
  4. Stay clear of the center aisles (and pick your produce right) – processed foods, often found in the middle of the supermarket, usually contain chemical-laden, fake, manufactured ingredients that harm our health. It’s best to limit these “foods” from our diets as much as we can and stick to foods naturally found in nature. I like the adage “if your great grandmother didn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.”

    With regard to pesticide exposure and buying organic produce, if your budget is tight but you still want to reap the most benefits you can by buying some organic fruits and vegetables, try to stick to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists – I’ve found that printing out this image and keeping it in my purse helps me to remember which items are much better for me to buy organic and which are okay to eat conventionally grown (because of the way they are grown and/or how they metabolize toxins, the items on the Clean 15 generally don’t concentrate too many toxins).

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    COOLA: A safer alternative to some common personal care products.

  5. Go natural, beauty! – opt for more natural beauty and personal care products that don’t contain ingredients like parabans, PEGs, sodium laureth (and lauryl) sulphate, petrolatum, coal-tar dyes, BHA, BHT, DEAs, dibutyl phthalate, perfume, siloxanes, triclosan, etc. These chemicals are suspected or have been shown in studies to either cause cancer, function as endocrine disrupters or reproductive toxins, and/or contain heavy metals (1). Since your skin is your largest organ and can absorb a lot of what you put on it, I’m working on transitioning all of my cosmetic, personal hygiene, and house cleaning products to natural versions of the standard conventional brands.

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    I love Lunette! A safe alternative to feminine hygiene products.

  6. Detox safely – a good detox helps support your body’s natural detox and cleansing processes, reduces inflammation, and decreases the toxic load in the body. It does so gradually, so as to decrease a lot of those negative detox feelings (like headaches and fatigue) that arise as toxic waste is being loosened up in the body. By detoxing, we reduce the sugar addiction and work to “crowd out” foods that don’t serve us or enhance our health and well-being. By detoxing and removing toxicity, you can more easily:
+ Lose stubborn weight
+ Have more energy
+ Kicking cravings to the curb
+ Boost focus and productivity
+ Have clearer, younger-looking skin
+ Improve digestion and nutrient assimilation
+ Increase immunity
+ Balance hormones 

Apple in Hand

“ Toxins from food and the environment can make you fat. Toxins may come in the form of medication, bacteria, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals such as mercury. These pollutants can damage or block the signals that control your appetite. You can detoxify your body with the right balance of protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients found in plant foods.”  – Dr Mark Hyman

For more information (PLUS THE TOOLS YOU NEED!) on how you can reduce your toxic burden to help you: improve your sleep, boost your mood, pump up your energy and your digestion, jumpstart your metabolism, and completely recharge your body…

Check out my 11-Day Revitalize Your Body Fall Detoxsquash pic

You will learn how to eat to naturally fuel your unique body

You will gain the tools needed to feel refreshed, lighter, and more energized

You will be eating meals filled with scrumptious whole foods created specially by a chef to leave you feeling satisfied and nourished  (and never hungry)

The program is easily adapted to your unique dietary needs (paleo, vegan, grain-free, vegetarian, etc.) and is allergy friendly and gluten-free.

 

Click here to find out more: http://sarah-schott.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program
& take advantage of A SPECIAL LIMITED TIME PRICE – a savings of almost $120!
to see how you can get yourself REVITALIZED in just 11 days!

___
References:
1. Colquhoun, James and Laurentine Ten Bosch. Hungry For Change. Harper One. 2012. pg 86-7.
2. Snyder, Kimberly. Beauty Detox Solution. Harlequin. 2011. pg 5-6.

How to Make Detox Easy and (dare I say) Fun

I don’t know about you, but just hearing the word “detox” can be a little intimidating to me.

I mean, I like to eat! And aren’t detox programs all about crazy juice cleanses, fasting, just eating soups, and feeling hungry all the time? Aren’t hunger pangs, irritability, and fatigue the telltale signs that a detox is “working”? Well, as much as I want to improve my health, decrease bloating, and feel refreshed, those things don’t sound like a fun way to get there.

Something I learned over my time spent studying nutrition, and then through my own personal detox experience, is that detox really doesn’t have to be that way. What a relief, right?

Upon seeing the fabulous results of a short detox on my own body – brighter skin! less brain fog! so much more energy! and so much less daily bloat! – I knew a detox program would and should be a part of my practice. I need to share what I learned about using food to enhance the body’s innate cleansing processes, which are so often dampened and hindered by the toxic burden of our diet, stress, and our everyday environmental exposure to toxins.

But like I said, I like LOVE to eat. And I’m talking about eating real food, not meal replacements, a ton of supplements, or just slurping on smoothies (although you know I do swear by my daily green smoothie). That’s why when I began working on my detox program, I knew it had to contain lots of honest-too-goodness real, nourishing, fill-me-up meals and snacks that:

  • consist of foods that naturally support the body’s natural detoxing organs (like the liver, lungs, colon, skin); foods that supply the necessary nutrients to ramp up these cleansing process and get all that waste and toxic buildup up and out of our systems, and foods that give my immune system a boost (because who has time to be sick?). Foods that help me reboot, renew, and revitalize!
  • contain foods that are found in abundance during the current season, as our bodies naturally crave the current harvest and use their nutrients and energies to help us balance during the change of seasons.
  • are meals and foods that you’ll want to make into a permanent part of your diet. Some of my most favorite feel-good foods are in here that I use weekly (or even daily!)
  • keep me satisfied. There is no point in starving yourself and suffering through a grumbling belly all day, as severe calorie restriction is unsustainable; plus, one of my nutrition mantras has always been “eat when you are hungry; don’t eat when you’re not.” Furthermore, the foods in this program fuel your body with what you need, rather than empty calories and processed junk.

Here’s just one recipe I just had to include – Sweet Potato Hash. It’s meant to be a nourishing hot breakfast, but I recently made it for dinner as well. I’ve decided it’s delicious any time of day! 🙂

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If you, like me, love to eat and desire to give your body and health that boost you need –

  • to lose a few stubborn pounds
  • get rid of bloat
  • gain a pile of energy
  • bump up your immune system as we move into cooler weather
  • decrease your stress, or
  • just learn the ways to truly fuel your unique body for success and health

then please check out my brand new, signature “Revitalize Your Body” Fall Detox Program!

With one simple click, you’ll gain access to 77 chef-created recipes (and a shopping list and guide to make things simple and stress-free) that will help jump start your metabolism and enhance you digestion, as well as the necessary tools to learn how to fuel your unique body in a way that is not only free of denial and deprivation, but also simply delicious.

Check out all the details (AND A SPECIAL LIMITED TIME PRICE – a savings of almost $120!) to see how you can get yourself REVITALIZED in just 11 days!

I am so excited to finally be launching this amazing program!! Take a peak for yourself of all the goodies I have in store for you: http://sarah-schott.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program

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H
appy Friday everyone!!

Sarah
DO, Certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

A Top-10 Ode to Raw Foods

To be quite frank, I haven’t turned on the stove in over a week (besides to heat up water for
my morning elixir – warm water, lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, and cayenne). The reasoning is two-fold:
(1) I’ve been busy training for a marathon and recovering from a running injury, as well as getting a new fall program going (so excited about this..look below for the first details!)
(2) raw foods are just too tasty to pass up for me right now, especially with all the fresh produce this time of year (don’t get me started on how sad I will be when winter comes!).20130906-081325.jpg

Besides their YUM-factor, adding some/more raw foods to your diet can do so much to help improve anyone’s health and daily life!

So without further ado, here is my Top-10 Raw Food Love Fest List:

  1. Raw foods can help you lose weight (and prevent obesity): raw foods, especially fruits and vegetables have a very high water content (often more than 90%), making you feel fuller faster. They’re also typically high in fiber (think fruits, veggies, raw nuts and seeds), which also fill you up and help balance your blood sugar! Another bonus to your waistline? Raw foods are often low in calories!20130906-081430.jpg
  2. Improved digestion: raw foods come with all their natural enzymes intact (they’re killed off once a food’s temperature reaches 118F), and these enzymes help your body digest food more efficiently and effectively. Although we have our own digestive enzymes to digest food, it is believed that we possess a limited number of them; so, as we age, our storage becomes diminished. If we aren’t digesting our food well enough, we aren’t getting nearly as many nutrients from the food we’re eating, and all the leftover undigested waste, which can lead to health problems, builds up faster.
  3. More energy: The majority of our body’s energy each day is spent on digestion, so the more efficient ours is, the more extra energy we’ll have to keep us moving onto bigger and better things!
  4. Mega doses of antioxidants and other phytonutrients: just as enzymes are killed off in cooking, many of the healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are lost when we cook – just look in the pot of your boiled or steamed veggies –> that colored water is full of nutritious goodness leached from your food.
  5. Decreased exposure to harmful chemical by-products of cooking: certain foods, especially meats and fried foods, produce toxic chemicals when cooked at high temperatures; these chemicals include Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Acrylamide, and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs); they have been linked to various cancers and other diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimers, and diabetes. Raw foods do not produce these by-products, or do so at very low amounts (ie. AGEs) (1).
  6. Lessens the toxic load: eating more raw foods (and whole plant foods in general) leaves less room in your stomach to consume refined, processed, preservative-filled junk. It’s “crowding out” 101.20130906-081655.jpg
  7. Better immunity: a greater amount of nutrients + a decrease in toxins = a more equipped, ready-to-act immune system. You’re giving it what it needs (phytonutrients, vitamins, antioxidants) while taking away things it would need to fight off (the junk). Raw vegan diets have been shown to directly help symptoms in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia (1).
  8. Lower heart disease risk: Naturally lower sodium and trans fat levels in raw foods help slash your risk of cardiovascular issues, including hypertension and atherosclerosis.
  9. Supports natural detoxification processes: the phytochemicals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and non-clogging nature of so many raw foods boosts your body’s natural detox activities, leaving you feeling lighter, fresher, younger, and prettier!
  10. (and last but not least) Raw meals are usually quick and easy to prepare! This is especially true if you want to keep things generally simple and spend a little time once or twice a week washing and cutting fruits and vegetables to use in your meals.

^^ Want some RAW-some recipes and meal ideas? Grab my brand-new FREE 3-day Raw Love mini-detox..it’s hot off the presses! These meals are gorgeous, and will leave you feeling gorgeous as well!
Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/EBiKr

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***You’ll also be the first to know about my highly anticipated signature “Revitalize Your Body” Fall Detox Program! ***
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Packed with 77 Chef Created Recipes, and perfect for anyone looking to shed a few stubborn pounds, decrease inflammation, boost their energy, feel more alive and great in your skin, and banish crazy cravings! Allergy friendly and gluten free to boot!
Information coming soon! Get on the list to be the first to know the details!
http://eepurl.com/EBiKr

And to provide some proof that eating more raw foods doesn’t mean just chomping on celery sticks and eating boring salads…

1-Minute No-Guilt OMG “Ice Cream”20130906-081110.jpg

ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/3 cup water, or homemade non-dairy milk
  • 1 frozen sliced banana
  • 1 cup fruit of choice (peach is my favorite right now)

set the timer, and go:

  • dump everything in blender
  • blend for 45s -1min (get your spoon ready!)
  • pour into your favorite bowl, and enjoy!


Resources:
1. Davis, Brenda. “Raw Food Diets: Separating Fact from Fiction.” Presented at Institute for Integrative Nutrition.