This picture you see here? I found it extremely difficult to post this to my social media platforms. If your instant reaction is, "Why? What's wrong with it?" I thank you. It has been everyone's reaction so far. What's so bad about this picture that you had a hard time sharing it with your social media friends? So, let me tell you the story about how this picture came to be.
If you are new to the paleo/primal movement you may not know this man. His name is Darryl Edwards. He is known as the Fitness Explorer whose Primal Play has taken the paleo world by storm... and me right along with it. I've been following Darryl for years, and pretty much ever since I first saw him at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia in the summer of 2013. Okay, yeah, it helps that the dude is tall, handsome and British!
This past weekend, Darryl was invited to speak (and move) at the annual conference of the Nutritional Therapy Association. He walked into the building Friday morning, and I about lost my shit (pardon the language). Serious fan girl moment here. No, he did not notice me, and no, I did not dare to approach him at the time. I was kind of busy anyway volunteering at the info booth. But I did have an opportunity to attend his workshop on Saturday morning. Bear crawling, bunny hopping and playing tug of war he managed to make an entire room erupt with laughter and break into a sweat. I won't get into all the swooning that was going on among the ladies...
A few hours later, my volunteer shift was over, I marched over to Darryl's booth, signed up for his Animal Moves Challenge and waited patiently to have a conversation with him. Those other fan girls sure were taking their time. But I did end up getting my turn, and at the end I shook hands with him and told him how excited I am about starting the challenge. I was just walking away when he called, "Hey, do you want to take a picture?" Why, yes, of course I want to take a picture with Darryl Edwards. In my mind, I was holding my phone out in front of me for a selfie. Perfect! So I returned, and I heard him say, "I'll farmer carry you." And this is how the conversation went.
D: "I'll farmer carry you."
U: "Uhm, wait what? No, no you won't."
D: "Yes, just put your purse over there. Let's do it."
U: "No, seriously, look I am a tall, big lady. You really don't want to do that."
D: "Don't you believe I can do it?"
U: "Oh, I know you can. I've watched videos of you carrying three people at the same time. I just don't want you to pick me up." Seriously flushed by now.
D: "Oh, come on, there is nothing do. Just put your purse over there. Let's go." Hands my phone to a gal next to me.
What is a girl to do? I agreed. Of course I did. Sweaty palms, fearful, worried about being carried like a sack of potatoes, all too aware of my weight, my looks, my everything. He picked me up, and it was almost ridiculously easy, or if it wasn't, he didn't let on. So there I sat on his shoulders, grinning, actually enjoying the moment but also dying a little on the inside. He set me back down safely, we had a good laugh, shook hands one more time, and I left.
And then I took a look at the pictures the other lady had taken. The first thing that practically jumped in my face was my leg. Take a look at that leg, folks, and tell me this is not big ass leg! My instant gut reaction was, I will never share this picture with anyone. As a woman, I still sometimes feel like I should be beautiful, graceful, skinny, graceful, graceful, graceful. This picture was not showing graceful Ute. This picture showed a gigantic leg next to Darryl Edward's face. I showed the picture to my friend. She loved it. She thought I was crazy for worrying about what I looked like. This was (is) a great picture!
I eventually took the picture out again, looked at it, analyzed it. I looked at Darryl's face. Never even broke a sweat. As a matter of fact, he looked like he does this daily. I could just picture him walking around London, randomly picking up people and posing for pictures. He smiled. I grinned. I think I gave the biggest grin of any picture taken of me that day. And then I looked at my leg again. Yes, it's a big leg. It is the big leg of a woman, who works out every day, who squats and lunges, and kicks. No, this leg is not all muscle, but a lot of it is.
This is me. I built this body. This body is not something to be ashamed of. It is my friend, my lifelong partner. This body keeps me healthy and strong. And there is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. NOTHING!
Looking at this situation from this angle makes me feel happy inside. I put myself into a position that had me feel quite vulnerable and a little scared. And it became a lesson in self love and acceptance. The theme of this year's conference was Live Nourished, nourishing your mind, body, and spirit for you and your client. I knew I'd get a lot of great input from all the amazing speakers. I had no idea that a seemingly harmless farmer's carry would become a lesson for me as well. Be a willing student and your teacher will come!
You made the decision to go for it. The Whole30 has just become very real and you are ready to make a 100% commitment. (This is one of the rules, btw, 100% compliance for 30 days!) But you're not entirely sure how to eat "like this" for a full month, let alone for a lifetime.
Here are a few options for you.
1. Google Whole30 approved recipes. But do be sure to check for ingredients if the source of your recipes is not directly from the Whole30 website. For a reminder on what is allowed to eat during your Whole30, check out their shopping list!
2. Use Pinterest to create a Whole30 meal plan. There are loads of boards for breakfast, lunch, and dinner idea and for snacks, too. Using Pinterest is free. It just takes some planning.
3. If you don't mind investing a little money ($30 for the full month), you should check out the RealPlans.com Whole30 meal plan and shopping guide. I have had a realplans.com membership before and loved it. The plans are completely customizable. You include foods you love, leave out those you don't, and once your meal plan is created, you can print your shopping list or use your phone for it.
No matter what you decide to do, remember that planning is a huge part of what makes your Whole30 a great success! So, let's do this thing and have some fun with new and exciting foods along the way!
Have a very happy New Year!
Well, it's been an interesting few months in my life. Not only do I work full time as the assistant manager at a kickboxing studio, but I was also involved in a 4 vehicle car accident (not caused by me). For the past 3.5 months I have been running from one appointment to the next to try and heal my back from the whiplash. This accident happened two days before my birthday. It is December 30th and I am still in a significant amount of pain every day. As you can well imagine, this situation makes it difficult for me to exercise. And when you're a kickboxing instructor, exercise is sort of your main activity.
I'll be perfectly honest, keeping up my good way of life and diet has fallen by the wayside. I may be a nutritional therapist, but I'm also still a human with emotions and these last few months have been difficult. But the beauty is, you can always start again. One thing that never does happen to me is that I lose sight of my goals, or that I lose hope or ambition. As long as you're alive you have the chance to start over new.
So, I'm starting over, and I'm inviting you to join me. On January 1st, I'm starting a Whole30.
The Whole30 is a clean eating program that allows you to learn the new habit of eating clean and learn how to stick with it. It takes about three weeks to form a new habit, so 30 days is an ideal time to form your habit and then stick with it.
The Whole30 website has a bunch of downloads available for your convenience. All you need is to click the button, and you will have all of the necessary information at your fingertips. Rules, Shopping Lists, Meal Plans, Seasonal Produce, Dining Guide, Travel Guide, you name it, they have it right HERE!!
Also, I will be posting regularly right here on my blog. Or you can follow me on Instagram. Just go and find me at "uterealfood4me". Have any questions? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's do this thing. It is always easier to do it with the support of a group, than all alone. :) Bring it on, 2018!
I've spent the majority of my adult life on some diet. I think I may have tried 15 different diets in an effort to be skinny. Skinny was more important than health, more important than strong, more important than sleep. Being skinny was my top priority in life. I stopped breastfeeding my second child early so I could take diet pills and lose my pregnancy weight. I was so brainwashed into believing that being skinny should be a woman's most important quest that I put everything else on the back burner. I spent hours on the treadmill. The more calories I burnt the skinnier I would become. I ate Lean Cuisine and canned soup for lunch, small salads for dinner. I took ephedra (before it was banned) for much longer than recommended. I suffered through the jitters every day just so I would lose weight. I fully admit how crazy this sounds. Forty three year old me wants to take 26 year old me by the hand and take her for a long walk and have a nice, long conversation. I'm certain my behavior back then may have taken a year or two off my life expectancy. Who knows.
After my liver resection in 2013, a lot of things changed for me. I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, worked as the in-house nutritionist for a doctor's office and worked with countless people on their weight loss and health journeys. I became a kickboxing instructor and am now in the happy position to combine my passions. I love to teach these classes, help provide people an outlet for their daily stresses and to make some nutritional recommendations as well.
Every time a new client walks in the door at our kickboxing studio, I am curious to understand where they're coming from, what their goals are, and how I can help them reach their goals. And I started noticing something in particular that makes me sad every time. I work with mostly women but also with a few men here and there. The women usually feel bad about their bodies. They are ashamed to show off their curves. They are the ones to warn me that they will probably suck at their first class. They apologize for making my job more difficult. Some go as far as to tell me they take up too much space in life.
I have never heard a man say such a thing. Sure, they want to get in shape. But they give their bellies a friendly pat. Their confidence is always strong. Their goal is never to be more confident. They never apologize for taking up too much space.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with men having such confidence. I have an issue with women not having it. The fact that they are so much more insecure and apologetic simply shows me that I am far from being alone in my own insecurities of the past and those that I'm still struggling with. And I want even more to help women become a better version of themselves not only physically but emotionally. I want women to give their bellies a friendly pat. That doesn't mean they shouldn't try to build muscle and burn fat. It simply means that they will be so much more comfortable on their journey because they don't have to hate who they are right now in this moment.
This is why I will start a series of posts on body positivity. I will talk about what this means, what you can actively do to be more at peace with who you are right now, and what you can do nutritionally and emotionally to get to where you want to be. Thank you for joining me.
Have a wonderful day.
Last weekend, I had the great honor of listening to Robb Wolf speak at the annual conference of the Nutritional Therapy Association. You may or may not know that Robb's new book "Wired to Eat" is about to be released in the United States. Many folks in Britain and Canada already have their copies. (No fair, right?)
Robb started his talk by sharing a couple of myths, that we, as 21st century humans buy into all too willingly.
"Eat less, move more."
"Everything in moderation."
If these statements were true, we'd have a lot more lean and healthy people among us. The idea that simply moving more while eating less helps you lose weight and then maintain it is just as wrong as the notion that eating everything in moderation is the solution.
First of all, the body doesn't care about how little you eat while you bust your butt at the gym. I'm a kickboxing instructor. I work out 4 to 5 days a week. But it is only when I dial in my diet to consist of real, whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats, that I start seeing results.
And everything in moderation is designed to make you fail. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, think of that bag of chips or that donut. Both have added sugars and other crap that make you WANT to have more. You don't want to quit after just 5 chips, because that happens to be a serving size. If you have that donut in front of you, you'll eat that whole thing, not just a serving size. As Robb Wolf put it in his keynote speech, every single study confirms that a lifestyle (paleo, keto, even vegetarian) actually works, while moderation of a crappy diet does not. And if you take the 108 million people trying a diet each year and consider that 4 out of 5 fail, the answer is clear. We have a myth on our hands.
Of course, as a person who actually wants to eat healthy, you are in a bit of a pickle. Boredom of certain foods is actually rooted in our ancestry. We call this palate fatigue. Simply put, you can experience palate fatigue during wine tasting. Too many different wines tried in a short period of time can make your taste buds tired, or as some researchers suggest, your brain grows tired of the similar sensory information. The same can be true for eating the same food every day. Is it any surprise then, that our grocery store shelves are stocked with 50,000 items and 11,000 new items are introduced every single year! All it takes are a few well placed commercials and ads to make you want to try that brand new food, and trust me when I say that you will not want to eat it just in moderation. It won't work.
Secondly, a person eating a healthy diet (say paleo) is still looked at like somewhat of an alien. Walk into a fast food restaurant and buy a burger, fries and large coke, and you're considered normal. Order a bun without a burger, a side salad and a bottle of water and people are quick to call you orthorexic. Think about this! A person trying to eat meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruit is considered somehow abnormal. Don't let that happen to you! You are not abnormal!
That said, boredom of these healthy foods can hit anyone. It takes a committed person to get past it, experiment with new recipes and ingredients, and maybe just find joy in a relatively simple diet. And when all else fails, then... well.... bacon!
I had a conversation with a man who wanted to know more about Nutritional Therapy. This man is in his late 30s, a bit overweight (and not happy about it), a father and businessman. He asked me one question after another. He wants to shrink his belly fat in particular and was hoping for belly shrinking foods.
I explained to him the basics of a good diet. Combine the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates (as vegetables), and fats. I explained what the body does with the food we eat, how it is converted to glucose, and how fat deposits happen. He listened intently, found out a lot of stuff he hadn't known before.
I explained also that he is a sugar burner right now, and as matter of fact, the vast majority of Americans are. After a lifetime of being preached to about eating low fat diets, we've become quite efficient at burning sugar. I told him that the body can relearn to go from sugar burner to fat burner. The question is, how much does he want it? The truth is that the first couple of weeks may be difficult. He'll experience cravings, maybe brain fog, irritability and in some cases even flu life symptoms, as his body rids itself of the inflammation and all the excess water it stores on a high carb diet.
Then he asked me if it is worth it, cutting out those foods (non-foods) and going through this rough time. My initial thought was to say, OF COURSE IT IS! Instead I asked him this: You are now 39. If you continue as is for the next 10 years, you'll be 49. Look at yourself at 49. Where are you? How do you feel?"
I could see his brain working. I knew he saw himself in front of his inner eye. He imagined life at 49.
After a couple of moments I asked, So, is it worth it?
He smiled. He hadn't thought about it that way. In his eyes, there was just the dieting, not feeling good about it, anxiety about giving up foods he loves. It wasn't about a lifestyle change, it wasn't long term. And he never once thought that changing his ways was a reward, not a punishment.
Where do you want to be in 10 years? In 20 years? Are you happy with where you are now? Can you truly say you feel healthy? Would you like to make some changes, but you feel a little intimidated... or a lot intimidated? There are a lot of resources out there on the world wide web. But sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and guide you through the process. Hit me up if this is you. And I can tell you one thing, it is most definitely worth it!
I've recently acquired the lovely nickname "Poop Lady". That's because someone at my kickboxing gym told someone else at my kickboxing gym that I like to talk about poop, and then I did a video segment for said gym on just that subject. If that makes me the poop lady, then I will gladly accept my new name and carry it with pride!
The reason I do love to talk about poop is because I understand that poop is a direct result of what happens inside our gut. And if the gut is the second brain, that we have a lot of thinking to do about our excrements. When is the last time you talked about your poop to anyone? Not exactly dinner conversation material, right? And unless you have constant and raging diarrhea chances are you never brought it up during a doctor's visit... nor have you been asked the question, "Hey, Patient, how's your poop these days?"
And even IF you have suffered from constant and raging diarrhea you may still not have told your doctor about it, and this is something I know because I have talked to countless clients about it. One of my very first clients came to me after suffering from diarrhea for 5 years. It took less than a week of clean eating and a couple of supplements to stop the diarrhea. The only thing this client had ever been told was that her "liver numbers" looked bad and she needed to change it. No instructions on how. Needless to say, she went back after a couple of months and her "liver numbers" looked almost normal.
If you started today to look at your poop every time you go to the bathroom you'd find very soon that it is a reflection of your lifestyle choices. Solid hard stools are the result of dehydration. Insoluble fibers like corn will pass through you undigested. Fatty loose stool or diarrhea is a sign that you are not secreting enough bile to break down fats. Undigested foods are occasionally fine, but if it's a regular thing and especially if it occurs with diarrhea can be the result of an intestinal infection or even an inflammatory disease that needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Check out the Bristol Stool Chart for more information on what poop should and should not look like and start taking care of your diet now! There is no better moment than the present moment.
Hello, my name is Ute and I am a sugar addict.
This may sound funny at first, but the truth is really not funny, and I know that I am just one of millions of people with this very same problem.
According to this post on Harvard Health Publications, added sugar makes up 10% of the calories of the average American's diet in just one day.
"A sugar-laden diet may raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you aren’t overweight. So says a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Added sugars make up at least 10% of the calories the average American eats in a day. But about one in 10 people get a whopping one-quarter or more of their calories from added sugar."
This is just one of the articles you'll find on sugar these days. The evidence really speaks for itself, what with about 65% of American adults being overweight or obese and suffering from diet related problems including diabetes right there at the top.
Here is the real problem, though. Sugar is in everything, and it is not regarded as an addictive substance. You won't find warnings on cookie or cereal boxes that the consumption of sugar may lead to obesity or even death. As a matter of fact, we mindlessly use sugar as a reward for everything.
Think about it!
The first time we get in contact with sugar is usually when we are small children (or we have small children) who were and are rewarded with candy for using the potty or behaving like a "good girl". We promise a piece of candy if the child can last through the grocery store trip. Dessert will be offered as a reward for eating dinner.
Doctors and even some dentists offer candy to children if they are brave during their visits.
Once school starts, sugar treats are offered for good grades, good behavior (once again) or simply a job well done.
On Halloween (which to this day I'm struggling with as a German girl), we send our kids out to retrieve copious amounts of candy which will send them into a sugar induced temper tantrum followed by "coma".
Vending machines with sugar laden snacks can be found in schools, airports, sports arenas and pretty much any public place.
And what do we find at the register in the grocery store? Trash magazines and candy.
I am the first to admit that I fell victim to the sugar trap, both as a child as well as a parent. I have gained and lost a ton of weight because of my sugar addiction, and yes, I promised sweet treats to my children for jobs well done or good behavior. To this day, I reach for sugar treats (chocolate preferably) when I fall off the real food bandwagon. I am an m&m's junkie! See me blush!
Recently, I spoke with a client (posted with her permission) who told me she would go on diets only to reward herself with a big bowl of ice cream if she made it to the end. Not a new dress, not a visit to the spa, not a movie with a friend... no, she would treat herself to a big bowl of sugar. This would send her on eating binges, and she would regain all the weight she had just lost through hard work, calorie restriction and suffering. She called it suffering. There was no joy in it. The only reason she went on these diets was to lose weight. It never occurred to her that she might suffer consequences other than just regained weight if she fell of the bandwagon. She hadn't made the connection between her headaches, fatigue, brittle nails, and constipation and her terrible sugar habit until she met me. I am pleased to say that she is doing so much better now. She has lost weight, yes, but she really shifted her focus on her health.
As for me, I tried to stay strong during the Christmas season, but of course I was not successful. I fell of the bandwagon, ate a bunch of cookies, drank too much wine, and started feeling like crap. I know what to do. I know how to help people find better health and wellbeing. I love the success stories on my testimonials page. And I know that I will continue to do this work for many years to come. But I cannot kill that demon that is addiction. This is a fight that each person has to fight for themselves.
The desire to beat addiction has to come from within. No amount of outside pressure will lead to the successful elimination of that addictive substance. The good news is that, even after you do fall off the bandwagon, you can jump back on and continue on your path. And I will be happy to guide you through the process of cleaning up your diet and on your whole body approach to health, physically AND emotionally.
In just a couple of days we get to say goodbye to, what lots of people are calling a challenging and sad year for a variety of reasons. They are ready to turn their backs to 2016 and invite 2017 with open arms and high hopes. New Year's Resolutions are posted to social media platforms by some, while others are adamant about the nonsense of it all. After all, January 1st is just another day.
Over the years, my opinion about New Year's Resolutions has changed. One year I'd make them, another year I thought "to hell with them". This year, I say that many of us love the symbolism of a new beginning, and I like the idea of putting this year behind me consciously and purposefully. Let the past be in the past and walk with confidence into the future.
As far as New Year's Resolutions go, I do believe that making them can be helpful, if it is done the right way. I've written about this a couple of years ago. And I still believe a lot of what I said then.
But this year, I would add that resolutions can go much deeper than the desire to lose weight or sleep better. Why not ditch the resolution to lose weight and turn it into "I want to run a half marathon by June. What do I need to do to get there?" Ideally, you'll take a full body approach. This means, you make the necessary dietary changes (a great way would be to join me for my clean eating challenge starting January 5th on Facebook only) and find a training program that will get you from where you to where you want to be.
If you have been dealing with gut issues (constipation, diarrhea, cramps) or even have a diagnosis, then make your resolution for the following year to dig deeper. What may have caused this issue and what do you need to do to get it under control? Heck, work with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! (Yes, that would be me.)
Think of what you miss the most in your life. More time to play with the kids or friends? Exercise? Reading books? Writing short stories? Maybe it's just simply time to look at your schedule and make time for the fun stuff in life. Think you're too busy for that? Think again. Did you know that the average American looks at their phone about 150 times in a day? Assuming that a good portion of that time is spent on checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat and/or e-mails that could wait until later, think of the time you're spending on your device. Maybe your resolution is to turn the phone off when you get home from work. Or maybe you set a time limit. We do it to kids. Maybe it's time we do it to ourselves.
My request for you for the coming year is to make it a more meaningful year for you. What do you want? And what do you have to do to get it? Sit down, create a list, and go for the things you KNOW in your heart you can accomplish, then go for it. Make 2017 an awesome year for yourself.
Happy New Year!
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I was asked how it was possible to get in all the necessary fiber if wheat and grains aren't great. This particular person wants to cut all grains from her diet.
First, what is fiber anyway?
The word fiber comes from the Latin word "fibra", which simply translates to string or thread. Fiber is also known as roughage, the undigestable part of plant foods. It travels through the digestive tract, absorbs water along the way and helps with ease of passage of food and therefore easier elimination of food.
There is soluble and insoluble fiber and both are present in all plants, though usually not in equal proportions. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gelatinous mass, where is insoluble fiber remains intact. Both can be fermented by bacteria in the colon.
Why are we not getting enough fiber?
Look around the grocery store. The middle aisles are packed with packaged and processed foods. I have never seen as many different kinds of cereal as in the United States. I vividly remember the first time I walked down the "cereal aisle" amazed at the variety of "heart healthy" cereal, fortified with fiber for better digestion.
Did I just say enriched? You better believe I did. As our diets have changed over the decades (centuries and millennia), the amount of vegetables and fruit we consume has decreased significantly, while packaged foods have seen a huge increase, hence the sheer size of grocery store middle aisles.
We claim we're too busy to cook. We just don't have the time. Besides, it is so much easier to just pop that pizza in the oven or eat a quick bowl of cereal. Because all of these "foods" aren't naturally high in fiber, we had to start "fortify" them. We still need fiber or we won't poop!
Can I get enough fiber from fruits and vegetables?
Yes, you can!!
I found this handy little description of just one day without grains on the Paleo Leap website!
Sounds delicious, right? And it's nutritious and of course, full of healthy fiber. When your choice is real food, you will naturally consume all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs for a healthy life.