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 email@example.com.
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 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.
Testimonial from my last RESTART class:
"The RESTART program has changed my life! Learning what certain foods do to and for my body was eye opening - a real game changer. Growing up in the corn country of Midwest, the Standard American Diet was king and I feel that I'd never really learned how to eat. I thought I was eating healthy, yet couldn't figure out why I was so exhausted and sick all the time. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to give myself the gift of this class. I have more energy than I've had in years! I have fewer mood swings, I've lost a total of 17 lbs. and I have adopted a whole new lifestyle thanks to what I learned from this class. The online classroom space was supportive and fit my personal schedule beautifully. Ute's instruction is knowledgeable, supportive, fun, and exactly what I needed to get my life back. THANK YOU!!!" ~Whitney, Beaverton, OR
I wrote a blog post about RESTART last year:
I've been talking about the RESTART® a lot lately, and I think it's about time I talked about in a bit more detail!
The RESTART Program is a 5 week nutrition class for anyone who wants to learn how to push that RESTART button, but doesn't want to do it alone. Built into the 5 weeks is a 3 week "detox". I'm not a huge fan of the word detox, so I will call it a challenge instead. It is a challenge to restart your health and wellness, to eat well, reward your body for its hard work.
Why do we make it 21 days? Because it has been proven over and over, that it takes us about 21 days to start a new habit. And we want this challenge to be much more than that. We want to see your success, and we want you to continue on this path to better health and wellness.
Why do we offer this as a group class? Because it is incredibly helpful to have a group of people to discuss problems, to offer support, to share your progress!
What is offered during the 5 weeks? My support as a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner first and foremost. You will receive weekly handouts, recipe recommendations, and of course a platform to chat during the program and after it is over. Check out the details right here!
Week 1: Preparation! You will introduce yourself to the class, fill out a questionnaire, talk about your intention for the 5 weeks, and learn what to eat and what not to eat and why!
Week 2: Digestion! You will learn how digestion really works, talk about poop, dietary fine tuning, and suggested supplements.
You will also start your actual "detox" this week for 21 days.
Week 3: Blood Sugar Regulation! You will learn how blood sugar is supposed to work, stages of dysglycemia, how to find balance once again, and all the different sugars out there. You will also discuss your progress with the group.
Week 4: Fats! What are the roles of fats? Why do you need them? What are some myths and facts, and which fats are the good fats? There will be room for discussion, questions, and always for some laughter.
Week 5: Celebration & Moving Forward! You've made it through 21 days of eating a new diet. You've created a new habit. Now it's time to talk about moving forward on your own. Also, learn how to reintroduce foods after the RESTART Program!
In the meantime I've taught quite a few of these classes, and I am incorporating so much more information than I did in the beginning. I am a big believer in making lifestyle changes in addition to changing your diet. Sleep, play, work, it all plays into your overall well being!! Find out for yourself! New classes start every few weeks!
I'm writing this post from the comfort of my bed. I caught a virus that left me weak and sick and with a fever. Throughout the past three days, my need for calories has naturally decreased. Firstly, when the body is working on healing itself, there is just not that much room for food and digestion. Plus, you simply do not require the same amount of calories when you're sitting around more or less useless. It is almost 12:30pm as I'm writing this post. I had a delicious breakfast of two eggs cooked in butter at 7:30am. Nothing else... and I'm just now starting to experience a mild hunger feeling. Had I eaten a bowl of cereal, however, chances really are that I would have started feeling hungry a lot sooner.
Why is that?
A bowl of cereal may be close in calories to two eggs cooked in butter, however, it is the macronutrients that make all the difference here.
The three big macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Together, these macronutrients nourish you in the most perfect way (that's assuming you're getting your carbohydrates from mostly vegetables). Each macronutrient has a number of jobs in the body.
Carbohydrates are digested quickly and easily, because they are basically shorter and longer sugar chains that need to be broken down into the simplest form of sugar: glucose. Glucose is the stuff that keeps you running every day. When consumed as vegetables, the breakdown will take a bit longer than when consumed as a processed carbs such as cereal. Carbohydrates help fuel the brain, they provide a quick source of energy, they help regulate protein and fat metabolism, help fight infection (together with protein and fat), lubricate joints, and they provide an ever important source of fiber! (Why do you think they fortify every boxed food with fiber??? You still have to poop!) In Nutritional Therapy, we recommend that about 40% of your daily food intake comes from carbs (the good carbs, not the candy bars and cookies).
Fat and protein get an equal 30% each in your daily need of macronutrients. Again, this is a general recommendation. Each person is different and may have to experiment with their macronutrient intake a little.
Fat (such as butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil) also provides a source of energy, slows the absorption of other nutrients, is absolutely necessary for adequate use of protein, manages inflammation, and is needed for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (which in turn help assimilate proteins).
Protein (coming from meats, seafood, and eggs) is the building block of many functions in the body. Enzymes are the catalysts for all biochemical processes in the body. Antibodies help fight infection, hemoglobin is a specialized protein in the form of red blood cells and those carry oxygen, and hormones regulate your metabolism
Back to our bowl of cereal, which is mostly sugar, broken down into simpler sugar with very little protein and fat, even if consumed with whole fat milk. As a liquid, your milk is still digested faster, and lactose is yet another sugar (a disaccharide to be exact). Cereal is practically devoid of anything nutritious (despite the fact, that it's touted "heart healthy" and "fortified" with this, that, and another thing) and is digested in no time.
On a good day, my breakfast would include eggs, some greens, maybe half an avocado and/or a tomato. All macronutrients included, it makes a delicious and nutritious first meal of the day!
In a 2010 article, the Harvard Business Review discussed the usefulness of Corporate Wellness Programs.
"Since 1995, the percentage of Johnson & Johnson employees who smoke has dropped by more than two-thirds. The number who have high blood pressure or who are physically inactive also has declined—by more than half. That’s great, obviously, but should it matter to managers? Well, it turns out that a comprehensive, strategically designed investment in employees’ social, mental, and physical health pays off. J&J’s leaders estimate that wellness programs have cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs over the past decade; from 2002 to 2008, the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent."
These numbers are impressive considering the ever increasing cost of healthcare. Is it any surprise that large companies employ on-site nutritionists and other health experts and encourage their employees to eat well and exercise daily?
However, small to medium sized businesses usually do not have health care professionals on staff, but could still benefit from Corporate Wellness Programs.
This is where I come in. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I lead programs that last anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks. I use the RESTART Program as a challenge for employees (and employers!) and I partner with a certified personal trainer who creates an exercise program that is doable for beginners and advanced athletes.
With a friendly competitive spin, employees will be thrilled to participate in the program, and they will be rewarded with prizes at the end of the challenge. Participants will experience a significant boost in overall wellness and fitness and they will be enthusiastic about their work and the company they work for.
"A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health shows that organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness (9% vs. 15%). At the software firm SAS Institute, voluntary turnover is just 4%, thanks in part to such a program; at the Biltmore tourism enterprise, the rate was 9% in 2009, down from 19% in 2005."
If you are ready to take the plunge, contact me at ute [at] realfood4 [dot] me or click on my
Contact Page so we can set up a meeting to chat about details.
The quotes used in this article were taken from What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?
This morning I was interviewed for a great podcast by Kelsey Albers from Ignite Nourish Thrive. The subject was surgery and recovery from a nutritional standpoint and we discussed my 20 page guide that is for download right here on my website.
This interview brought back a bunch of memories as my surgery nears its 3 year anniversary. On a daily basis, I don't even think about it anymore. The gigantic scar on my belly has faded that I barely notice it. It is as much a part of me as my freckles. You don't think of it unless someone mentions it to you. And the only person to ever mention my scar is my husband just to let me know that he can barely see it either.
Of course the journey has been an interesting one and it has left me wondering how many people are out there with the same kind of surgery that I had (a liver resection, hence the term Chopped Liver in the headline) but unaware of the consequences one might face following such a major surgery. In my personal experience, symptoms didn't show up until months after my surgery. At that time, the stomach cramps and chronic diarrhea started and I had to figure out for myself that it was the missing gallbladder that made it impossible for my body to properly absorb and digest fats.
Also, and my surgeon did not prepare me for this, my liver is a lot more sensitive now. When I say sensitive, I really mean that it cannot handle as much stress as before. Not that I ever was much of a drinker, but nowadays I really notice how little alcohol it takes for me to feel tipsy or even drunk and how much longer it takes to recover from a hangover. I don't get drunk, and I do give my liver a friendly pat every day and thank it for its service.
I suppose the take home message of this post is this: if you or someone you love has to have surgery, please do your homework! Download my 20 page guide for FREE. Eat well! Ask a lot of questions. And if your surgeon doesn't have a satisfactory answer for you when it comes to nutrition, it is really up to you to research! Your surgeon does not have a responsibility to tell you what impact your surgery may have on you nutritionally. Their job is to be a great surgeon. I am grateful for my surgeon every day of my life, because she did a heck of a job and her team kept me alive. What's not to be thankful for, right?
Everything else is up to you. The prep, the food you eat, the recovery. And with my downloadable guide you'll be well equipped and ready to go!
Listen to the podcast now!