Why You Should Keep A Food Diary

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The very first activity I ask all my clients to do—yes, before hitting the gym or the farmer's market—is start a food diary. I like to understand someone’s eating patterns, likes and dislikes before making any suggestions, but I actually find journaling to be even more helpful and eye opening as a personal exercise.

The best way to change behavior is to pay attention to your actions. Studies show that self-monitoring (like food journaling) consistently leads to weight loss and more sustainable lifestyle alternations. Just writing down what you eat gives you more discipline and makes you more mindful and aware of your food choices, which leads to results.

When keeping a food diary, it’s important not to shame any of your choices, but instead interpret and learn from them. Did you do deep dive for the bread basket at dinner because you hadn’t eaten anything since lunch? Do you tend to crave sugar all day when you have oatmeal for breakfast? Do you eat more when you take a 6am spin class or have a bad night sleep? None of these things are “bad”. It’s actually really good to take note of where your food choices are not serving you and find productive ways to improve them without having to sacrifice too much of your lifestyle.

Often what we eat is less important than why or how. If we can better understand the nuances behind what drives what we eat, we can start creating more sustainable habits the promote healthier foods that support our wellness goals. 

How to start? You can get an app, take notes on your phone, or keep an old school journal. Here is the template that I use with my clients. Try it for a week and get your friends and family on board. Sharing your food diaries also helps keep you accountable. Feel free to share/tag me on Instagram (@the_rasa_life) if you want any feedback or have questions.


FOOD DIARY TEMPLATE

Breakfast

Time:

Food/Bev:

Lunch

Time:

Food/Bev:

Snack

Time:

Food/Bev:

Dinner

Time:

Food/Bev:

Questions/comments

How do you feel today?

What is one thing that went well?

How did you sleep last night?

Exercise:

Comments/notes:


Photo credit: Diana Davis Creative

 

How Much (if Any!) Meat Should We Really Eat?

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Meat is controversial; from raw vegans to hard core paleo dieters, there are arguments for both sides of the spectrum from health and environmental points of view. As a nutritionist, meat eaters often assume that I am vegetarian and plant-eaters worry that I am not. In truth, I'm neither. RASA was founded on the belief that we are all unique individuals; we have different preferences, lifestyles and moral/ethical values. Vegetables are my favorite food, so if you’re vegetarian/vegan and feeling good, keep doing that. I’m into it! 

Biologically speaking, humans are omnivores and benefit from eating some animal protein, whether it be from fish, poultry, eggs, red meat or dairy. But when it comes to eating meat, I have saying: eat better, eat less. Here’s why:

QUALITY MATTERS!

It matters so so much. The food industry (especially in the US) is f*ed up, and we eat what the animals we eat ate. If you don’t want to eat genetically modified corn and soybeans, you shouldn’t eat animals that were fed that. So if you’re not 100% sure of the quality, I would say you’re better off not eating it. Here is what to look for when buying animal products:

  • Seafood: Wild fish and seafood ONLY! Nothing farmed. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is an excellent resource to learn more about the quality of seafood, what to buy and what to avoid, and includes informational on the environmental impact on seafood consumption.
  • Eggs: Buying eggs is like going to the bookstore, so many covers/labels, it’s insane (WHY???). Look for organic, pasture-raised eggs. They do not need to be vegetarian (chickens are omnivores, just like us), or porch raised or free range…look specifically for pasture-raised. The yolk should be bright orange.
  • Poultry: When buying chicken or duck, you should also look out for organic, pasture-raised animals. Free range means nothing.
  • Meat: For red meat, look for all grass fed. Unfortunately, the label “grass fed” can literally mean that the animal was fed grass once in its life. Horrible and shameful, if you ask me. Cows were meant to eat grass. The meat from grass fed cows is high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, while the meat from cows fed corn, soy and hormones is full of highly inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids.

EAT LESS

We need some animal protein, but not as much as you might think. Our body is constantly breakdown and rebuilding, and protein plays an important role in pretty much every single biological process and cell. Your vegan friends are right: vegetables are full of protein too! Nuts, seeds, legumes, even broccoli are all great sources of protein. These awesome foods don’t, however, provide all the essential amino acids (i.e. the ones our body can’t make on its own), so we need to supplement our vibrant plant-based diet with a little animal protein. The best way to think of meat is as a condiment, not the main event. So how much is that? I would say 3 ounces or less per meal (about the size of a deck of cards) and not necessarily with every meal. 

Bottom line: if you eat meat, be mindful of the quality and don’t go overboard. Paying attention to the quality and quantity of your meat intake is not just good for your body, but for the environment as well. I love roasting a chicken and having it for the week. It’s economical, delicious and the bones can be used for broth. Here is my perfect roast chicken recipe from the spring RASA Challenge.

 

 

Intermittent Fasting 101

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There's been a lot of hype around Intermittent Fasting lately. So, what is it, how do you do it, and should you try it? Read on to find out if incorporating an Intermittent Fasting routine might work for you.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you sleep, you fast. Unless you get up in the night to eat, we’re all practicing intermittent fasting every day. That’s actually where the word breakfast comes from. You’re literally breaking your fast.

Intermittent fasting is kind of the opposite of dieting. While I always recommend following a healthy, balanced diet, you actually do not need to restrict food quantity or count calories to get the benefits of fasting.

While it’s become a trendy topic in the wellness scene as of late, fasting is not new. In fact, many cultures have a long history of fasting; Lent, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, and other religious holidays also incorporate fasting into their rituals.

What Happens When You Fast?

Your body needs a constant supply of glucose for brain, muscle and cellular function. In a fed state, this comes from the food we eat. When you fast, your body uses up all the dietary glucose, then it hits up your glycogen stores, and then dives into your fat stores to create ketones that fuel your brain, muscle and all the other tissues and organs that need energy. Ketones are incredibly efficient fuel source and don’t effect blood sugar levels.

Fasting is also like a daily detox for your body. The time and energy you’re not expending digesting food allows your body to work on eliminating toxins and cellular repair.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

The benefits and experience of Intermittent Fasting are going to be different for everyone. Here are just a few of my observations drawing from personal experience, my client work and scientific journals on the subject.

1.     Manage Cravings

Fasting eliminates feelings of hunger that result from low blood sugar. Breakfast foods—think oatmeal, cereal, muffins, fruit, even smoothies (gasp!)—are often carbohydrate-heavy and cause a spike in blood sugar levels. When you’re blood sugar levels raise early in the day, your body starts to ride a rollercoaster of sugar cravings all day to try and maintain those elevated levels.

2.     Become More Aware of Hunger Cues

Often times, we perceive feelings of thirst, fatigue, boredom or perhaps even a stomach growl as hunger, but we’re actually not hungry. Biologically, we were made to withstand weeks without food (btw I don’t recommend this). Compared with dieting, which studies show to increase hunger and cravings, fasting can help you get in touch with your hunger cues, have more willpower, and become more satisfied with your meals so you don’t overeat. 

3.     Cell Maintainance

During a fed state (i.e. when you’re not fasting), your body expends over half of its energy digesting food. That’s a lot of work! When you’re fasting, your body can allocate those resources to other functions. This is important for reducing oxidative stress, eliminating toxins, keeping your immune system healthy and improving biomarkers for disease.

4.     Regulate Hormones

Fasting can help increase insulin sensitivity, which regulates hunger and fat storage, and also increases the amount of HGH (human growth hormone) that you produce. HGH helps build muscles, burn fat, increase bone density, improve your sleep, elevate your mood and reduce signs of aging (yes, please!).

5.     Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting has been shown as an effective weight loss tool, without the need for dieting. Also, when you crave less sweets, are more in tune with your hunger cues and have healthy hormone levels, you will naturally lose weight (if that’s your goal) without any tedious calorie restriction/counting.

6.     Brain Function

Fasting has been shown to improve and preserve learning and memory function.

 

How to fast?

There are many different methods of intermittent fasting. Here are a few of them in detail:

Time restricted fasting. This means an overnight fast of a minimum of 12 hours, but up to 18 or 20 hours of fasting. This works for me and many of my clients, and is relatively easy. Eat dinner earlier and breakfast a little later. There's a good chance you already do a 12 hour fast a few times a week (dinner by 8pm, breakfast at 8am). You can experiment with different fasting periods a couple of days per week, or you can go on a 16:8 or 18:6 eating schedule, which means 16 or 18 hours in a fasting state and 6 or 8 hours in a fed state. 

Alternate day fasting. This means severe calorie restriction (under 500 calories) two non consecutive days a week. In my opinion this is too hard for most people, and the idea is not to be starving, grumpy, or hangry, but to find a way where fasting can seamlessly integrate in your normal life.

Daylight only. This means only eat during daylight hours. I like the idea of this, but I also like to go out to dinner after 6pm, so for me, this is no go.

What can you have while you fast?

I’ve seen some conflicting literature on this, but I go by the under 50 calorie rule. That means, black coffee, tea/matcha (with water), a little kombucha (check labels for sugar content!), bone broth and water. You could even put a pinch of stevia or a splash of milk in your hot drinks. Bulletproof coffees, while great for many reasons, do not count as fasting.

Working out in a fasted state.

Can you work out while you’re fasting? That’s a resounding YES. You’ll be surprised how much energy you have, especially when you are fueling your body with adequate protein and healthy fats. Depending on the type of exercise you do, you may feel like you don’t get as strong a workout in a fasted state, but everyone is different.

You can also take BCAAs to give your muscles an extra boost. Make sure to read labels, as a lot of the BCAAs are full of artificial sweeteners. I like THIS brand, which is stevia sweetened. You can also find a raw one, but the taste is a little harsh.

Who shouldn’t fast.

Pregnant women, anyone with fertility issues or who have experienced disordered eating should not fast. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If fasting makes you a hangry a-hole, don’t do it. And if you’re not sure, ask your doctor.

The bottom line.

There are lots of different fasting methods, but it all kind of boils down to this: eat well most of the time, indulge occasionally and give your body ample time to rest by fasting a couple of times a week. If you’re interested, try it! You certainly do not have to do it every day.

Start with 12 hours and see how you do. I’ve found that it gets easier the more I do it. But, as with all things nutrition, it works for some people, and not for others.

Xx Mia

 

Clean Beauty. Are You Ready To Make The Switch?

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Your skin is your largest organ. You've probably heard that before, but what does it mean? Basically, what you put on you goes in you. We care so much about what we eat, why wouldn’t we focus this same energy on the beauty products we use?

If you’re not sure if your makeup and skincare products are non-toxic, they probably aren’t. Most cosmetic companies use ingredients that can build up in our bodies to toxic levels or are so strong they kill all the good bacteria living on and around our skin.

How to start? Luckily, there are now many retailers and companies that exclusively make and sell non-toxic beauty products at various price points. Stores like Credo and Cap Beauty do the work for you. Everything is clean and the staff are always super knowledgeable and helpful. I began my collection of non-toxic beauty products by replacing old products as they ran out. I now am proud to use 100% non-toxic products and my skin has never felt better.

Some of you might be following my takeover last week with clean beauty sight The Moment, but for those of you who missed it, here are my favorite non-toxic beauty products.

 

SKINCARE

Marie Veronique Oil Cleanser: Removes makeup and dirt without stripping your skin. Also feels super silky. Apply to dry face and neck, and rinse with warm water.

Marie Veronique Eye Repair Serum: Protects the delicate skin around your eyes and prevents signs of aging.

Odacite Eye Contour: My other favorite eye serum. Really soothing, especially for tired eyes. Baobab oil is rich in Vitamins A, E and F.

Vintners Daughter Active Botanical Serum: The holy grail of clean beauty products, this company only makes one product and they make it really well. Worth the investment.

Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Serum: Lifting, firming, toning, tightening, basically all the things that matter when you hit 30+.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask: One of my favorite products. Super effective without being messy. I use this three + times per week.

Osea Advanced Protection Cream: Like La Mer but better, cheaper and non-toxic (no, La Mer not a clean beauty product!). Feels really luxurious on your skin.

Sun Potion Shea Butter: Serious food for your skin. So serious, in fact, that they don't even bother to scent it. Use on everything: cuts, burns, acne, scars, dry skin, wrinkles, hair, the works.

MAKEUP

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream: A little SPF, a little coverage, a little anti-aging magic, this is my all in one and I use it every day. 

Juice Beauty Ultra Natural Mascara: It's hard to find a clean mascara, but I think this one is the best.

Juice Beauty Perfecting Concealer: Made of pure coconut oil and perfect for covering up spots and discolorations. 

Vapour Foundation: Because sometimes I go out and want to feel a little extra special.

Kosås Cream Blush: Natural highlighter and cheek color that is super easy to put on.

Kosås Lipstick: The best long lasting colors.

HAIR

Innersence Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner: Great for taming, cleaning and conditioning my unruly locks.

Abhati Sacred Hair Oil: I use this for shine and as a mask the night before I wash my hair. Plus, it smells amazing!

Reverie Milk: For frizz. Enough said.

SCENTS

Cap Beauty Anointing Oil: A magic potion that makes you smell and feel good.

xx

 

10 Reasons to START THE YEAR WITH A Detox

 Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Many of us start the year with a detox because we feel guilty about all the Christmas cookies and cabernet we indulged in over the holidays. But when you actually do a detox, weight loss is just the cherry on top. Here are some other reasons to start the New Year off with a good reset:

 

1.     Set intentions.

What do you want to accomplish this year? Whether it’s a new job, a new home or running a half marathon, setting goals and an action plan will get you there. And if you’re not sure what you want, taking some time to yourself will help you get clarity.

2.     Get organized.

Purge old things and make room new stuff. Clean your sock drawer, get a new calendar, dust behind the couch. It feels good to start the year fresh.

3.     Get back into the routines you love.

Have you fallen out of your healthy habits during the holiday rush? Whether it’s a meditation practice, a spin class or even just having a lemon water in the morning, take the time to reestablish your favorite healthy routines.

4.     Save money.

You might be shocked to find how much money you save when you’re not buying lattes, cocktails and going out for all (or as many) of your meals.

5.     Kick a bad habit.

Smoking, too much coffee, chewing gum, midnight snacking, we all have them—use this time to get over it.

6.     Try something new!

Have you always wanted to check out Reiki, take a pottery class or see a nutritionist (ahem!)? Use your free time and extra pocket money to check a box off your bucket list.

7.     Chill out!

Treat your detox like a staycation and do all the things you never have time for: Go to bed early, sleep in late, take a nap…or a bath, watch a movie, all seven seasons of Game of Thrones, read a damn book.

8.     Clear your foggy brain.

Wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day; be more focused and productive at work and at home. Sounds simple, but trust me, it’s magical.

9.     Feel happier and more confident.

Did you know over 95% of our serotonin is in our gut? Taking time to eat healthy over a consistent period of time will make you feel better about yourself. Full stop.

10.  Fit into your jeans again. 

Ok ok, it's in here. A lot of us are motivated by weight loss, and that’s not a bad thing. 

 

This year, instead of setting broad, unattainable resolutions while we’re at our lowest (tired, hungover, anxious, cranky), let’s take some time to reset and reconnect with ourselves, so we can create tangible goals and muster the motivation needed to pursue them for longer than a few weeks. 

Who’s ready? Sign up for the RASA Challenge here.

 

Six Healthy Tips for Navigating Party Season

It’s that time of the year again: holiday parties, family dinners and cocktail events dominate your calendar. Just because your schedule demands a few more nights out than you might normally have, doesn’t mean you have to derail your whole healthy eating plan or be a total party pooper.

Before you stress about your seemingly endless schedule of restaurant reservations and cocktail parties, read these tips:


TRY NOT TO SHOW UP STARVING. This is a guaranteed bread basket disaster. If you’re planning to go out for dinner, have a high fat snack, like raw nuts or ½ an avocado, before and make sure to drink a lot of water so you’re not ravaged by the time you arrive. 

THE ONE BITE RULE RARELY WORKS. No one ever had just one chip. Ever. If you’re trying to stay away for the aforementioned bread basket or the fries your friend ordered, just resist. Or…if you want to indulge, add a decent portion to your plate, eat it, enjoy it and be done with it.

DRINK A LITTLE BETTER, AND A LITTLE LESS. When ordering alcoholic beverages, stick with wine or spirits with soda water and lemon/lime or bitters. Opt for premium spirits when you can and savor them, instead of throwing 'em back. 

BYO-HEALTHY FOOD. If you're headed to a friends house for dinner and cocktails, bake a batch of healthy cookies or bring some sort of treat that fits into your lifestyle so you can indulge guilt free. Not sure what to make? Try my favorite Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. No one will know that they are grain and refined sugar free, if you don't tell them. 

CHOOSE YOUR INDULGENCES AND GO FOR IT. If you just love your Mom's yule log, get yourself a piece and eat it. The whole thing. Stop cutting little wedges and going back for more, you probably end up eating more that way and feeling less satisfied. Just eat it.

IF YOU OVERDO IT, MOVE ON. There’s no point in beating yourself up over a dessert spread binge. It happens to the best of us. If you wake up in the morning feeling guilty about the night before, make up for it with a healthy breakfast, some hot lemon water and good workout. Don’t waste time feeling badly about it. 

 

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Pantry Clean Out: What To Toss And What To Stock

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One of the easiest ways to stay healthy and sane is to simply eat well at home. We can’t really control what oil is used in restaurants or how much sugar they add to their salad dressing. Of course, we can be smart in making restaurant and menu choices, but it’s no fun to be obsessive about it and let's be real: sometimes you just want to eat a basket of fries. Instead of feeling guilty about it, balance out your indulgences by having the healthiest foods you can on your own time and in your home.

Food marketers are savvy and find sneaky ways to hide sugars and processed oils into our foods to make them cost less, last longer and harder to put down (once you pop, you just can't stop). Even seemingly “healthy” food companies and grocers are guilty of stocking these products. Fortunately, there are good products out there, we just need to know what to look for!

So, what can you do? Spend an hour or so in your pantry and fridge diligently looking at the labels of your nut butters, milk, crackers, chips, granolas, condiments, cookies, etc.

Don’t be fooled by fancy terms on the box, like gluten free, no added sugars, or no trans fats, and get rid of the following products:

 

Processed Vegetable Oils 

I’m talking about those highly processed and tasteless vegetables oils, like canola, corn, soybean, safflower or sunflower oil. They are a major cause of inflammation, which leads to a variety of unwanted issues. Staying away from these oils will help you avoid processed foods in general. Note: some food companies are using non-GMO vegetable oils in their products, which in small amounts are not a huge deal.

Refined  Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners 

Get rid of cane sugar, products with high fructose corn syrup, sugary cookies and treats. Anything  with Splenda, NutraSweet, sucralose or aspartame should also go in the bin. These are chemicals.

Franken-Ingredients

Anything you cannot pronounce or that sounds like a chemical: Buh-bye.

Really Old Stuff

Condiments, spices, anything in the freezer that has frostbite. The general rule of thumb for spices is two years. Check expiration dates on everything else, and when in doubt, give it a whiff.

After you have detoxed your kitchen, take an audit of what you need and make a shopping list! Here is a quick list of pantry essentials that will ensure that you can always make a satisfying and healthy meal at home.

 

Good Fats & Oils 

Coconut oil, ghee, good quality butter, olive oil, avocado oil. When cooking, a quick rule of thumb is to cook hot foods with fats that are solid at room temperature and use oils, liquid at room temperature, for non-heated applications (like a salad dressing or garnish).

Vegetables and Herbs

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat a plant-based diet. Make plants the cornerstone of your diet. Adding variety in your meals will automatically increase your nutrient intake (and add flavor!). Shop the periphery of the grocery store or head to your local farmer’s market. And don’t forget the herbs too: parsley, basil, dill, cilantro—spice things up!

Good Quality Proteins

Find a local butcher or a grocery store where you can get organic, grass fed meats, free range poultry, pastured eggs and sustainable fish. 

Healthy Dried Goods

These items have a long shelf life and can make for easy snacking and quick meals. Examples include, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds, steel cut oats, beans and legumes.

Spices

Make sure to keep plenty of healthy and anti-inflammatory spices on hand. Some favorites include, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Getting high quality spices and storing them properly (away from heat and bright lights) is important too. 

 

Before you hit the store, do some research. Take your time to find products and brands that use good ingredients. Once you figure out what you like, it will be quicker and easier to shop. A few of my favorite brands to look out for:

If you find one or more of your pantry staples on the toss list, don’t freak out! Try to replace it with something a little better and consider moving that item from an everyday item to an occasional treat. It's all about balance and finding alternative products you enjoy just as much (if not more!).

Xx Mia

 

NUT MILK 101

 Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

If you’re not making your nut milk yet, this is your opportunity to get on board. I promise, it’s not nearly as intense as it may seem. Not only is homemade nut milk insanely creamy and delicious, but it is cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment than store bought varieties.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition labels on the various almond milks…cane sugar, carrageenan, natural flavor? Did you know that some Silk and Almond Breeze milks only contain 2% almonds? What's more? Although that $3.99 carton seems cheaper than $6.99 of raw almonds, the raw nuts actually produce more milk and are package free (especially when you get your nuts in the bulk foods section). Plus, if you've ever tried to buy legitimate nut milk (that is, with more than 2% nuts and less than 5 ingredients) a carton can cost you anywhere from $8 - $20 (gasp!).

Whether you are a homemade nut milk novice or devotee, we’re diving straight into the deep end here with walnut cinnamon milk (recipe below). This isn’t your basic almond milk; it’s warming for cooler months, doesn’t curdle in your coffee and is a great vegetarian source of those coveted omega 3 fatty acids. 

Walnut Cinnamon Milk

Cinnamon gives this creamy milk a warm, nutty flavor and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Use in your morning coffee, with granola, in a smoothie or drink on its own.

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts (feel free to substitute other nuts here; almonds, cashews, pecans, a combo…get creative!)

4 cups filtered water + extra for soaking

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla powder

Sea salt (just a dash)

Make It!

Soak your nuts in filtered water overnight, or for a few hours.

Drain nuts and add to a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water, sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Blend on high for about 2 minutes. Pour through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth into a bowl and transfer to a jug. Save your pulp for cookies, cakes, crackers and more (recipes and ideas coming soon!).

Your walnut cinnamon milk will keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. You’ll be able to smell if it has gone off.

Forgot to soak your nuts? No sweat. Soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, but you get more nutritional value out of the nuts when you soak them longer.

I’m challenging you all to give this a try. Tag RASA on Instagram in your nut milk making adventures for a chance to win a RASA Challenge for you and a friend. 

 

Anxiety Fighting Foods: What You Eat vs. How You Think

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Anxiety is rampant these days. It’s an epidemic, and even if you recognize that your anxious feelings are irrational and unproductive, they can still be hard to shake. If you’re plagued by those Sunday scaries or have a nagging feeling that just won’t go away, it might be worth taking a look at your diet for an answer.

Promising studies suggest that your gut flora, that is, the microorganisms living in your digestive tract, has a strong influence over your emotions. This implies that a happy tummy can lead to a happy mind (and vice versa). So how do you create and maintain a healthy gut flora? A few simple tips:

 

Decrease inflammation: Inflammation is both a symptom and a cause of poor gut health. To combat this, you should not only eat anti-inflammatory foods, but also limit consumption of pro-inflammatory foods.

Balancing your omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid ratio is a great start. That means eating more omega 3-rich foods (salmon, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds) and less omega 6’s (vegetable oils). We need both, but Western diets tend to be heavier on the 6 and lighter on the 3, so just try to balance it out.

You can also flavor your meals with anti-inflammatory spices, like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon, and cook with coconut oil instead of processed vegetable oil. 

Incorporate probiotics into your diet: Good and bad bacterial both play a role in gut health, but it’s all about ratio and you want more of the good than the bad. Probiotics are essentially the good guys. Some probiotic-rich foods include pickles, yogurt, kombucha, dark chocolate (yes!) and miso.

Ditch refined sugar and processed foods: Sugar is food for the bad bacteria, and processed foods are hard to digest, which causes inflammation and throws off this whole ecosystem of gut health. Cutting out processed foods will automatically lower your sugar and omega 6 fatty acid intakes.

Craving a cookie? There are good options out there with unrefined sugars. Check out my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Be mindful of alcohol consumption: Alcohol is processed in the liver. Your body likes to get rid of it fast, so alcohol gets prioritized and cuts in front of all the other foods your liver has to process. This can cause some digestive dysfunction and—you guessed it—inflammation.

Before you panic, the operative word here is mindful. A glass or two here or there might not throw you off, but 10 drinks on Saturday night could be the cause of your Sunday anxiety. Listen to your body. Also, when you drink too much, you run the risk of doing or saying stupid s***, which certainly doesn’t help. It’s okay though: we’ve all been there.

Avoid foods you cannot digest: Food intolerances wreak havoc on your digestive system and can cause anxious feelings. We are all different, so taking the time to learn more about your unique and amazing body can help and empower you to make the better food choices.

 

The good news is that you have nothing to lose by trying one or all of these tips, because they not only help with anxiety but overall wellbeing in general. There are other ways to mitigate anxiety as well: yoga, exercise, meditation, massage, taking a bath, hanging out with friends and family. Pair your healthy diet with some of these activities and you could be anxiety-free in no time.

If you’re looking for a jump start, try the RASA Challenge or get in touch with me about coaching packages. Consultations are always free.

xx

 

Which Fats Should You Cook With? Let's Break It Down.

Ever left oil in a hot pan and seen it start to smoke? That’s an indication of the fats' smoking point, or the heat at which it starts to oxidize, release free radicals and becomes rancid. This isn’t good for taste or health; think burnt flavors and harmful carcinogens being introduced into your food.

When it comes to cooking, you want to use stable fats that have a high smoking point. Generally speaking, these are saturated fats from animals (butter, lard, chicken fat) and some plants (like coconuts); their primary characteristic is that they are solid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats—including your beloved olive oil—are considered unstable. From a molecular standpoint, it just means that the bonds between the carbon atoms are a little loose and they’re more susceptible to degradation, especially when heated. This doesn’t make these oils bad—in fact, they’re very very good for you—just not ideal for cooking.

So what should you use and when? Here’s a simple breakdown to make cooking with fat a breeze:

BAKE, SAUTÉ AND FRY WITH THESE.

Coconut oil: The best plant based oil to cook with.

Butter: Look for organic, grass fed butter and only if you’re not sensitive to dairy.

Ghee: Basically clarified butter, which is made when you separate the fat from the milk solids and is better for people sensitive to dairy.

Animal fats: Duck, chicken, pork.

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SAVE FOR YOUR SALAD DRESSINGS, GARNISHES AND OTHER COLD FOODS.

Olive oil: Invest in a good cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, if you can. The taste and nutritional value are worth the few extra dollars.

Avocado oil: Great for making salad dressings.

Nuts and seeds (including sesame oil): Use as a garnish or in dressings to add healthy fats to your meals.

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ABORT! AVOID THESE GUYS ALL TOGETHER.

Processed vegetable fats: these are basically unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their smoking point. No Bueno! Be especially careful of fried foods, as they are often made with canola oil.

A note about canola (or corn) oil: last time I checked, corn was not an oily or fatty food (not like avocado, coconut or walnuts). Where do they get this “oil”? Doesn’t sound very natural, if you ask me.

 

I recognize that there’s a lot of confusion about fats these days. If you’re baffled by the American Heart Association’s recent attack on saturated fats (including coconut oil), you should be. It’s extremely misleading. To learn more about how these claims have been poorly researched and reported on, read this.

Xx Mia

 
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How to Stay Healthy and Still have Fun on Vacation

Summer isn’t over yet! If you have one last vacation in you before the leaves start to fall, you’re going to want to make it count. But the only thing worse than the end of summer holidays, is feeling like you have to start all over with your wellness routine.

There is a healthy balance binge eating and binge health; you don’t want to go overboard eating and drinking everything in sight–that’s not going to feel good, but at the same time, you want enjoy and indulge a little. Here are a few tips to living it up on vacation without totally blowing your whole healthy vibe.

 

1.     Pack healthy snacks. Make sure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re starving and there’s no healthy food around. Bring easy to pack, high fat snacks that will keep you satiated and energized when traveling. Try homemade trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and cacao nibs, or Vega One protein packets.

2.     Skip the breakfast buffet. Experiment with intermittent fasting, so you can indulge, while also giving your body time to rest, digest and reset.

3.     Stay active and plan workouts in advance.   Try to fit activities into your itinerary. If you’re going somewhere outdoorsy, try hiking, surfing, kayaking…whatever is available. Or, if you’re planning a city getaway, walk everywhere, rent bikes, try out a local yoga studio, make it a part of your trip. And if neither of these options work for you, get yourself some booty bands and a jump rope. They will fit in your bag and can guarantee a killer workout anytime, anywhere.

4.     Don’t use your holiday as an excuse to eat junk food.  Just because you’re going to loosen your “gluten free” belt for a few days, doesn’t mean you have to eat airplane peanuts and ketchup flavored chips. Make your cheats count and save your indulgences for really good food. Quality, not quantity!

5.     If you want to try something naughty, wait until your last day. That afternoon gelato run or morning chocolate croissant is a slippery slope; once you have the first one, you’re going to want it every day. Instead of denying yourself completely, just have it on the last day and you won’t have to worry about coming home with a waistline of souvenirs.

6.     Drink lots of water. Drink more water than you normally would. It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re moving around, trying new foods, help your body flush it out!

And what about when you get back? If you gained a few pounds, it’s probably a lot of water weight and your body should self-regulate, so just get back into your normal routine as soon as you can. If you want to kick things up a notch, try no sugar, fruit or grains for a few days or sign up for a RASA Challenge or RASA Lite.

Xx Mia

 

When life gives you collagen powder, make cookies

Collagen is the most dominant protein in the body. You can find it in your hair, bones, skin, muscles, tendons, digestive tissues, blood cells…pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, that abundance starts to decline with age, along with other factors like poor diet, smoking and too much sun exposure. When we have less collagen in our bodies our skin sags and wrinkles, our digestive lining is weakened, which can lead to leaky gut, and the cartilage between our bones starts to break down, along with other unpleasantries.  

Luckily, we can supplement collagen when we stop naturally producing it. These products are all the rage; you’ve probably noticed an entire aisle’s worth of collagen products at your local health food store (powders, lotions, potions, liquids), but what do you do with it all?

Aside from adopting a healthier lifestyle, here are a few ways to increase your collagen intake:

1.     Add collagen protein to matcha or coffee.

Blending collagen powder (like Vital Proteins) into your morning brew makes it frothy and creamy without any milk. I like to add a dash of stevia and Bulletproof Brain Octane oil or coconut butter for some extra energizing, fat burning fuel.

2.     Try a collagen face mask.

Your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on your body goes in your body. There are a ton of collagen-rich masks available on Amazon with the quick click of your browser. Always opt for non-toxic products.

3.     Drink bone broth.

Treat it like a savory latte. Try plain or with a little coconut milk and maybe some turmeric. It’s delicious and makes a great night cap or afternoon snack.

4.     Make cookies (recipe below!)

These bad boys are full of collagen, grain free and low in sugar. Oh happy day!

cookies

Better Than Botox Cookies

Makes 10-12 cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour*
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 scoops marine collagen
  • ½ cup vegan, sugar free chocolate chips**
  • Sea salt

Make it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix almond four, coconut, collagen powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips, followed by almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. Use a spatula or your hands to mix until fully combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a spoon to scoop out golf ball-sized pieces of dough, form into a cookie shape with your hands and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used (feel free to eat some along the way—they’re great raw too!) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown.

P.S. friends, these are 100% RASA Challenge-approved!

* If you make your own nut milk, you can dry out the pulp to make flour. Just spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and put in the oven at 175 degrees F for about 90 minutes. Give it a whirl in a dry blender to break apart any clumps.

** I use Lily’s Chocolate Chips

xx Mia

 

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM A BOOZY WEEKEND

We all know that post-holiday weekend feeling. You let it rip on the Tostitos, pizza and rosé for a few days straight and then reality sets in; Puffy, tired, a little thirsty, you’re dreading going back to work and slightly panicked about putting your jeans on.  

A weekend of indulgence shouldn't completely derail your wellness regimen, but it can definitely make you feel that way. That “puffiness” is most likely a combination of inflammation and bloating, aka temporary weight gain (cue sighs of relief).

What you might not realize is that your body is still dealing with Friday night on Monday morning (which is why cheat days don’t work, but that’s another story), so give yourself a break and your body a chance to reset. Here are a few tips for bouncing back:

1.     HYDRATE.

Drink lots and lots of water to flush out whatever is in your system. Adding a squeeze of lemon will also help you detoxify and de-bloat.

2.     GO GRAIN FREE FOR A FEW DAYS.

Easing up on grains (not just gluten) will give your digestive system a little rest, because hey, it deserves a vacation too!

3.     REDUCE SUGAR, EVEN THE NATURAL KIND.

Sugar is inflammatory and breeds bad bacteria in your gut. Laying off sugars (refined, unrefined, even fruit!) will give your body an extra hand so it can heal and reestablish a heathy ratio of gut bacteria.

4.     SWEAT IT OUT.

Get back to the gym as soon as you can. And while you’re at it, spend some time in the steam room or an infrared sauna, if that’s available to you.

5.     SLEEP.

Go to bed early and try to get a solid 7-8 hours to allow your body to reset.

 
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Before you head out for the holiday weekend, pack some healthy snacks: protein packets, raw nuts, carrot sticks, maybe an avocado. And if you want to plan your post-fourth of July reset, check out our new 10-day Challenge: RASA Lite.

Have fun, friends! 

Xx Mia

 

WHAT'S HIDING IN YOUR "HEALTHY" FOOD?

 

True story. I’ve been ordering almond milk cappuccinos from this local coffee shop for ages. I routinely pass on the delicious looking biscotti because I don’t know what’s in it. Then one day I peek the label on their almond milk of choice and notice that is has cane sugar and sunflower oil in it. WTF!? No wonder it tasted so naughty. 

Let’s be real, a little sugar is not going to kill you. But it’s frustrating when you make grand efforts to clean up your diet and still find sugar and processed oils hiding in your seemingly healthy foods. 

Here are some top offenders, along with my favorite brands of refined sugar, processed oil-free foods. And if you’d rather not know, I get it, just don’t read any further.

 

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NUT MILKS

When you’re not confined to the limited milk selection at the coffee shop, you’ve got a lot of options here. The best is, of course, to make your own, but if you don’t have time there are plenty of options at your local health food store. Look for dairy free milks (almond, cashew, coconut, rice, hemp, etc..) that have less than 5 ingredients and no added sugars. I’m really into Forager Project’s unsweetened cashew milk at the moment.


KOMBUCHA

Kombucha doesn’t naturally taste that great. We drink this $5 refresher for the gut healing probiotics, but when sugar is added to the mix it’s literally feeding the bad bacteria that we are trying to combat. Not cool! I love GT’s Kombucha (the gingerade is my favorite) and I recently discovered Pilot Kombucha. Their Turmeric Aloe flavor has even more gut-friendly anti-inflammatory ingredients and it tastes great.


NUT BUTTERS

Nuts are naturally oily, so why people keep adding palm oil to their almond and peanut butters doesn’t really make sense to me (Justin, I’m looking at you). I don’t know much about the nut butter business, but I’m assuming it makes the product cheaper and have a longer shelf life. Look for nut butters that are 100% nuts! The Whole Foods brand is great and doesn’t break the bank.


PROTEIN BARS

I could spend hours grazing the protein bar aisle at my local bodega. Don’t judge, it’s fascinating. 99% of them are crap; they all have some sort of sugar (brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, plain old cane sugar) along with a slew of unpronounceable ingredients. I’m yet to find any low sugar bars that taste good (please let me know if you do!), but I’ll settle for dates as my sweetener, because let’s face it, it’s kind of a treat. My current favorites are RX Bars and the Juice Press’ Clean Green Protein. Both use dates, so they’re not sugar free but it’s a better alternative.


GLUTEN FREE CHIPS & CRACKERS

Food marketers are going crazy adding gluten free to every label they possibly can. Popcorn has always been gluten free, just saying. The problem here is that food companies are making gluten free products using other refined grains, oils and ingredients that are frankly no better for you. Do your homework and read labels. Mary’s Gone Crackers are my jam; delicious and packed with healthy nuts and seeds.


Oh, and if you’re curious what I did about the coffee shop debacle, I started drinking black coffee with a dash of stevia. Try it. It’s not that bad.

xx Mia

 
 

Thinking About Going Gluten Free? Read This!

 via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Everyone’s doing it. Even my dad is now “50% gluten free.” So…should you do it too? Let’s break it down.

 

FIRST, a pop quiz: What is gluten? (Hey, it’s a valid question!)

Gluten is a family of proteins found is wheat, barley, rye and spelt. It makes dough sticky and elastic, and allows bread to rise. Funnily enough, the word “glu-ten” derives from its “glue”-like properties.

There are some people who absolutely cannot handle gluten in any form: they have Celiac disease. While this is increasingly more common (we’ll get back to this), it’s still not the norm. For the rest of us, it’s more of a grey area.

If you’re already on the gluten free train or thinking of jumping on board, ask yourself, WHY?

Are you trying to lose weight?

Replacing gluten with other carbs might not be enough to move the needle. Many packaged foods labelled as “Gluten Free” substitute with ingredients like processed corn and potato starches, which quite frankly are no better for you. However, if it keeps your hand out of the bread basket, it could be doing you some good!

Do you want to get to the bottom of a digestive issue?

Many of us have a certain level of gluten intolerance, meaning it’s difficult to digest and can make you bloated, fatigued, cause skin issues, say mean things to your Mom…the list goes on. This is pretty common, and the degree to which people are effected by gluten varies from person to person. If you want to find out if this is an issue for you, try an elimination diet like The RASA Challenge.

Are you looking to cut out processed and GMO foods?

Unfortunately, wheat is one of the most genetically modified foods on the planet. We are consuming so many wheat products that food suppliers are racing to make them quicker and cheaper. This means that not only is the wheat genetically modified, but it’s not cooked properly. So you are essentially eating raw genetically modified wheat and your body can’t digest it. These genetically modified strands are also contributing to increased gluten intolerances and the rise of Celiac disease.

That said, not all gluten is created equal! There are some solid artisan breads, pastas and other products that do it right, so if you can’t live without a Dutch crunch roll, do your research. Also, other gluten-containing grains are not as widely processed, so you may want to consider going wheat free, but not gluten free.

You’re not sure why, but it just seems better?

Well, kudos to you for reading this. Hope you now have a reason one way or another.

The best way to ditch the g-word is to eat products that are naturally gluten free instead of packaged foods marketed as such. Processed food is still processed food. Don't let the absence of gluten trick you. I laugh every time I see a bag of popcorn, pint of ice cream or bottle of vodka labelled as “Gluten Free”. It’s ridiculous. Educate yourself and don’t fall into the trap!

What do I do? As a general rule of thumb, I try my very best not to eat any refined grains (sandwich bread, white rice, Cheerio’s, cous cous, etc..), but I don’t make a fuss about a few breadcrumbs, sushi rice or a bite of birthday cake (on my birthday). Girl’s gotta live, no?

xx Mia 

WHY Is It So Hard To Drink Water?

5 Ways To Make Your Hydration Dreams A Reality

If you’ve ever opened a magazine and read about Elle McPherson’s, Jennifer Aniston’s or any other super human’s “secret” to looking young, staying fit and just being generally perfect, it probably included drinking lots of water.

Of all the possible wellness tips you could get, this might be the best! It doesn’t require a private chef, personal trainer, or some crazy expensive powder you can’t pronounce and don’t know where to buy. Plus, you already drink some water, it’s (basically) free and you can even order it at a bar. Easy. You totally got this one!

So, what happens next? You spend about 12-48 hours pounding water and peeing every 45 minutes, and then the next day you get home from work and realize you’ve barely had a glass. Meanwhile, you’re working out all the time, eating gluten free everything and even taking probiotics, but for some reason, you can’t just drink water. WTF? Why is this of all things so hard?

There’s no denying that staying hydrated is good for you—it helps eliminate toxins, clears your skin, aids in weight loss, gives you energy. It’s basically that magic potion you just bought online and are waiting to arrive.

Aside from the benefits of being well hydrated, we all know what the opposite feels like—headaches, dry skin, dizziness, fatigue (hello hangover, I know you). But I get it: It’s hard to remember to drink water when you’re busy and quite frankly, sometimes you just don’t feel like it.

So how do you make this whole hydration thing work for you? A few tips:

1. Go drink a glass of water. Like right now. Down it like a frat boy would a Yeager bomb.

2. Try it with a squeeze of lemon, or get fancy with some strawberries and cucumber. My favorite: a vanilla bean and mint leaves. Trust me, it’s so good.

3. Get a snazzy water bottle and take it everywhere. Invest in a good one that you really like, even if it’s a little more expensive. If you travel a lot, bringing an empty water bottle through security is totally allowed. And you can even fill it up on the plane.

4. Get a head start on the day by chugging two big glasses of water right when you get up. I don’t like to have really cold water first thing in the morning, so I leave it out at night or just mix it with a little hot water from the kettle.

5. Make visual reminders: Put Post-it note on your computer, a fancy water jug by your bed or set reminders on your phone. There’s even an app for it.

So how much water should you drink? Well...it varies by weight, gender and activity level and a host of other factors, but try for a minimum of 2-3 liters per day.

xx Mia

 

Why You Should Eat Chocolate. Like Every Day.

 In case you didn't know what a cacao bean looks like! (via Pinterest)

In case you didn't know what a cacao bean looks like! (via Pinterest)

Ancient Mayans referred to cacao as the “food of the gods”. And no, it’s not just because of its seriously delicious taste. Cacao beans—the base for chocolate, as you may know—are loaded with fiber and nutrients, like iron, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc and more.

Well that’s good news, right? But what do all these “healthy” things do? Here are just a few of the benefits of adding chocolate to your diet.

A mega source of antioxidants.

More than blueberries, in fact! Studies show that antioxidants protect cells from free radicals that contribute to aging. I'll eat to that.

Good for your heart!

Cacao has been proven to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Protect your skin from sun damage.

The flavanols (aka plant-based nutrients) in cacao beans increases blood flow to the skin, shielding it from sun-induced damage.

Improve your gut health.

Your gut has good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria really like to feast on dark chocolate, which helps them grow and protect your gut.

Be happier!

For real, though—cacao increases production of serotonin, which explains why we crave more chocolate during the winter months, when we get less sunlight and Vitamin D.

Before you hit up the candy aisle, make sure to choose your chocolate wisely!

To get the maximum health benefits from your chocolate bar, buy organic (preferably raw) dark chocolate without additives like dairy or processed sugar. Be sure to read the ingredients, and trust me: you will soon start craving the good stuff not just because of its nutritional value, but also for its taste.

A few of my favorite brands of chocolate bars are: Raiz The Bar, Pana, AlterEco Foods, Green & Blacks and Theo.

Raw cacao (powder and nibs!) are a pantry staple in my home, and used in everything from smoothies to hot drinks and baking.

In honor of the almighty bean, here is one of my favorite recipes using raw cacao.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY NO BAKE COOKIES

Prep: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes to chill)

gluten free vegan chocolate cherry cookies

Makes about 10 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup raw agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free oats
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, diced
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt

MAKE IT!

Start by mixing agave or maple syrup and cacao powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until fully combined.

Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, stirring until the dough is completely mixed together. Then spoon one tablespoon of dough onto a baking sheet or platter lined with parchment paper and form into a flat disc.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.

NOTES

  • These bad boys are totally customizable—use any nut butter, dairy free milk and dried fruit that you like (or have in your pantry already).
  • You can also make them into energy balls instead of cookies.
  • Great for traveling or as an “on-the-go” snack.

If you're looking for more healthy, delicious dessert recipes. Check out my ebook

xx Mia

Now For Some Good News: You Should Probably Eat More

But Before You House That Box Of Double Stuffed Oreos, Read This.

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via Pinterest

Our culture is obsessed with being thin, so it’s only natural that many of us are conscience about not eating too much. Eat less, weigh less—aside from totally sucking, it sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast, friends.  

Undereating is real! Dare I suggest that this is one of the most common diet issues facing both men and women today. Not only can undereating cause serious health issues, from bone deterioration to infertility, but not eating enough can actually inhibit fat loss (gasp!) and totally screw up your metabolism.

There are two types of undereaters.

The first is someone who consumes a lot of calories, but is not getting enough nutrients. These “empty” calories normally come from sugar, processed foods, alcohol and having too much of one thing (i.e. too much protein at one sitting or only eating one type of food).

The second is someone who just doesn’t eat enough to sustain their lifestyle. People who fall into category number two are often trying to lose weight and hitting the gym hard.

Before we move on, let’s clear up a couple of myths about calories:

1.     Consuming 1200 calories as day is not some magic weight loss formula for women. We all need to get over that. Like stat.

2.     Not all calories were created equal (cue undereater #1). 100 calories worth of Doritos is not equivalent to 100 calories worth of apples. Your body breaks down (or attempts to break down) these foods very differently.

3.     If you are working out and burning calories, your body needs food to recover. If you are overtraining and undereating you will naturally begin to burn muscle and conserve fat.

Worried that you might be an undereater? Here are a few signs:

1.     You’re trying to lose weight and the scale is not budging: your body is literally clutching to that fat like a mother to a newborn baby and your muscles are unable to build.

2.     You can’t get pregnant or are not getting your period: enough said.

3.     You’re cold all the time: OK, you can also be cold for other reasons, like if you live in Antartica, but if you're still cold in Miami that might be an indicator. 

4.     Moodiness: also known as being a HANGRY B****!

5.     Fatigue: your body needs fuel so you will have energy to do all of your things.

So how much do you need to eat?

We’re all different, but think in terms of quality, not quantity. It is very hard to eat 2000 calories of vegetables in one day. Try it, I dare you. Eat real foods—and plenty of them—and you’ll never have to worry about overeating.

I recommend 4-5 smaller meals per day with protein and vegetables to ensure your body is getting a steady stream of nutrients. You can only take in so many nutrients at once, so spacing it out over smaller meals is a good way to make all your calories count.  

If you think you might be an undereater and are in need of a new routine, give me a shout. I offer custom meal plans and health coaching packages to address just this.

OK…now run to the fridge and have a celebratory spoonful of peanut butter (or two). 

Xx Mia

Take The RASA Challenge: 10 Reasons to Get Involved

 Yes, you can eat all this on The RASA Challenge! 

Yes, you can eat all this on The RASA Challenge! 

Everyone is burnt out after the holidays, which is really no way to start something, much less set the tone for a new year of life. Travel, family, endless amounts of Christmas cookies and egg nog, that’s a lot to recover from. It’s like running a marathon with a massive hangover or trying to ride a bike with a flat tire. How are you supposed to do that?

No wonder so many of us have the same vague New Year’s resolution year after year. We’re freaking tired and afraid, too lazy or just unsure how to make the steps necessary for real change to occur.

Commitment is tough. Especially when there is no obligation to anyone but yourself. But this year, I’m asking you to be selfish; to say no to the things you truly don’t want to do; to stop saying “yeah, we should totally hang out”, when you know you never will; to commit yourself to a year of positive change.

The RASA Challenge is a 21 day whole foods program developed to clean up your body and your mind, change your relationship with food, curb cravings, create healthier habits and find a diet that suits your unique biological makeup and lifestyle.

Expect to feel awesome: lose unwanted weight, clear your skin, decrease stress, feel more energetic and productive. As a byproduct of all this, you will improve your relationships, your career, your confidence and so much more.

They say one person’s medicine is another’s poison, and this is SO true. We’re all different; we have different DNA, different upbringings and different daily routines. The key to optimal health is finding what works for you, not what works for someone else.

2016 has been weird and wonderful at the same time, but it’s almost over, so let’s start fresh. Enjoy your yule log and peppermint lattes, because January is a new year.

Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons to get involved:

1. Clear Your Mind

Clean food, clean thoughts. It’s really as simple as that.

2. Declutter

Why does it feel so good to throw things out? The Challenge 21 days, which gives you enough time to throw out old magazines, clothes you haven’t worn in ages, clean out that drawer you put random stuff in...you know what I mean.

3. Set Goals

Give yourself some time to figure out what you really want and how to get it.

4. Eat With Intention

The first step in changing your relationship with food is thinking about what you eat.

5. Heal

The human body is capable of amazing things—give it some space to do just that.

6. Reduce Inflammation

This is a hot health topic these days, friends, and super important for long term health. If you not sure why, read about it here.

7. Look Better

Lose unwanted weight, clear your skin, slap a smile on that mug….

8. Get Your Mojo Back

Sometimes we just need to slow down before we can speed up again.

9. Learn About Your Body

We all are beautiful and unique beings. Take the time to learn what serves you and what really doesn’t.

10. Kick Ass

2017 is yours for the taking! Start off on the right foot—rested, energized, confident, focused. You got this.

Find more information or sign up here.

Xx Mia

The Real Reason You're Not Losing Weight

Tired Of Trying, But Never Tipping The Scale? Maybe Your Goals Are To Blame

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via Pinterest

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? “Starting tomorrow, I’m not going to eat any crap and in 2 months I’ll be in the best shape of my life.” Did it happen? 

Why is it that so many of us make the same New Year’s resolution year after year expecting a different result from the year before? How is it that people go on crash diets, only to end up heavier than they were before they started? According to Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and associate professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, our goals are too big, too broad and too focused on the outcome over growth (listen to her talk on Big Think).  

If you’re feeling down about not being able to achieve your weight loss goals, you are not alone! A shift in your approach could be the answer to making a positive lifestyle change. Here are a few tips:

Change your mindset not your mind.

You want to be fit and healthy, awesome! Instead of obsessing over looking like Gigi Hadid or Ryan Gosling and getting all bummed out when that doesn’t happen, focus on personal growth, on becoming a healthier version of you. Making incremental change over a longer period of time will give you smaller, more realistic milestones to celebrate and motivate you for the next challenge. So ask yourself: what can I do today to make positive change? It could be as simple as drinking three litres of water or eating more vegetables.

Give yourself realistic, well-planned goals.

Trying to lose 15 pounds by Christmas? Rather than fixating on the outcome, focus on the steps you need to take in order to get there. When something feels impossible, it can be really demotivating. Think about what you want to achieve today or this week in order to get you to your three month goal, and make sure it's realistic. A healthy number would be one-two pounds/week—depending on how much you have to lose. Keep track of your progress each week to keep you honest and motivated. 

Focus on the process.

There shouldn’t be a start or an end date to your “diet” and making too many drastic changes to your lifestyle at the same time is not sustainable or fun. This is why crash diets don’t work. Let your journey guide you and your body will change—perhaps without even realizing it. And who knows? You may even enjoy your healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

Measure success based on how you feel, not how you look.

If you’re feeling proud of the progress you've made and motivated to continue, that is success. Remember, at the core of your weight loss goal is a desire to feel good about yourself.  Focus on your inner self and give your body some love—it will love you back! 

And if you’re totally lost, find someone to help you manage and plan your goals. An investment in your health—whether that’s a personal trainer or a health coach—will pay for itself in the long run.

xx Mia