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Yes, We Are A Little CoCo

Heels To Laces is on a mission to break through the clutter of health and fitness and make it easier to live healthier – and have a ton of fun doing it.

As always, we love interaction so email us, comment, share and send your thoughts.

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“Good health is more than just exercise and diet. It’s really a point of view and a mental attitude you have about yourself.” ~Albert Schweitzer

TRUTH OR DARE
Each week we will present you with a truth or dare. It’s your job to tackle it with gusto and make it happen. Often, by just focusing on one change…just one, it’s much more palpable and achievable and becomes the jump start you need.

Truth: Flush it out.
How much water are you really drinking? You probably answered “plenty – I drink throughout the day.” But are you really? The human body can survive for up to 3 weeks without any food. Water? Maybe 1. Our bodies are made up of more than 60% water (your brain is 90%!). Want a tell-tale sign if you are getting enough? Check the toilet (it’s ok, we won’t look). Clear urine , you are an H2O rock-star.  Anything darker than a faint pale shade of yellow? Guzzle up. Same with your bowel movements – hard bowel movements or constipation can be indicative of not enough water.

It is the easiest fix possible to feeling good and optimizing the health of your body. Water gives you energy, relieves headaches (sign of dehydration), removes toxins from your body, gets rid of aches and pains, prevents cramping (especially during exercise), boosts immunity, helps keep you “regular”, moisturizes and plumps your skin and promotes weight loss. Not too shabby huh?

We typically recommend to get it in first thing in the morning to ensure you flush your body of the overnight toxins. Drink 1 liter before you leave the house. And then throughout the day.

ASK THE EXPERTS
We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts. Today, we are taking over the role.

How do you feel lately? 
Are you crankier, anxious, fuzzier, less patient, full of cravings, tired, feeling a little out of control? Many of these feelings are directly correlated to your eating (and drinking) habits. Look – we get it – Winter is tough. You are inside – a lot – and all you want to do is eat. Forget about the weekends with dinners and friends and just not wanting to cook. So off starts this roller coaster of poor eating habits and consuming too much of the wrong foods.

How do we get off the gerbil wheel and get back in control?
It’s not all or nothing and starving yourself for a day or two to “make up” for the extra calories. This daunting idea of having to give up everything and deprive yourself will only set you up for failure or cause you to go to the opposite extreme. We will stick to our theme: pick one thing to change. One thing. And do it every day. You’d be surprised how altering your mind set will often set you on the right track.

Suggestions to pick from:

  • Drink a cup of water with every meal/snack (now we’ve talked about water twice…settling in?)
  • Stop eating after 8 pm
  • Try time-restrictive feeding (TRF) – eat only within a 12 hour window (ie. 9 am – 9 pm)
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat 3 decent meals and snack on only fruits in-between
  • Give up the daily caramel latte
  • Remove candy from your diet (unless it’s a square of raw cacao)
  • Remove your go-to high carb comfort foods (pretzels, popcorn, cereal) and replace it with something light and filling (apple, banana, organic yogurt)
  • Avoid eating any food on the couch (always sit at a table/counter when you eat)
  • Brush your teeth after eating (this really works!)
  • Refrain from drinking cocktails Monday-Friday
  • Eliminate added and white refined sugar
  • Drink a glass of cleansing tea every night before bed
  • Add 20 minutes of exercise every day
  • Add 10 minutes of meditation every morning

By placing the focus on one thing – it makes it much easier to succeed and other pieces will naturally fall into place. Less emphasis on “I need to get it together” and feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, and more emphasis on improving one manageable thing that will get you to a more attainable goal.

WHAT’S TRENDING
Ah, the infamous words “Gluten Free”. Everyone and their sister is gluten free. As we all know, we are the biggest supporters of a gluten free diet. But what does that really mean? Gluten is a protein mostly found in wheat, rye and barley. The word gluten means “glue” – it holds the structure of food together. Gluten is an ingredient used in many processed foods including salad dressings, soy sauce, potato chips, lunch meats, candy bars (notice they are all processed?) Originally a gluten-free diet became a new weight loss fad that stemmed off of people with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease removing it from their diet and not only feeling great, but losing weight.

Are there benefits to removing gluten from your diet? Without a doubt. Gluten is a processed ingredient that is foreign to the body. The proteins in gluten are gut irritants and cause inflammation. And they mess with your microbiome (gut flora) that regulate your immune system, digest your food, synthesize nutrients and send hunger/fullness signals to your brain. However, people think they can simply substitute gluten foods with packaged gluten-free options. And, there are plenty – from pancakes to breads to cookies. We are here to tell you, that is not a healthier solution.

We picked up a typically gluten-free cracker on the shelf and the first few ingredients were (from highest content to lowest): corn starch, white rice flour, palm oil, modified corn starch, dextrose, guar gum, monocalcium phosphate…. Chances are, you do not want these additives in your body – nor will they fuel it for a healthy life. Many of the gluten-free options out there fit into the CRAP (Carbonated drinks, Refined sugar, Artificial flavors/Colors, Processed foods) American diet and can actually make you sicker.

If you want to truly follow a gluten-free diet opt for more veggies and fruits. Use nut flours vs. wheat and processed flours. Try to avoid packaged foods. Eat whole FOOD (Fruits/veggies, Organic lean proteins, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Drink Water). If you follow this path to a gluten-free diet, you will truly reap the benefits.

WHAT WE’RE OBSESSED WITH
Sometimes, you just gotta have it.

Whisper Sweet Nothings…
Just need to have that crunchy chip and want to avoid the processed corn/grain? These cheesy little crunchers do the trick. With one ingredient: Parmesan cheese, they will keep you satisfied. Careful not to bring the bag to the couch. Just sayin’.

May-Oh!
One of our favorite finds is a mayo – made from avocado oil. Made with cage-free organic eggs and vinegar, the avocado oil increases nutrition absorption, has antioxidants and anti-aging properties that support a healthy immune system and is a great source of vitamin E and beneficial omega-9 fatty acids. This mayo has a rich, full-flavor and supports both a paleo, SCD, Whole30 and primal diet. No sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, canola, soybean or industrialized seeds, artificial preservatives, fillers and trans fats (read a typical mayo jar and you’ll see the difference.) Comes in 2 flavors: regular and chipotle lime.

Give Me Some Color
President’s weekend is around the corner! If you are traveling (like most of the East coast) to some warmer climate and have been trapped inside for months, you may need a little somethin’ so you don’t scare off the natives. We have searched high and low for a safer, easier, streak-free self-tanner and we are pretty sure we found the winner. This find is formulated with organic and natural ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, green tea and witch hazel. No orange hands or by-products. They believe in their product so much, they guarantee the results. Sooo natural.

THE DISH ON DELISH
All of our recipes will always be quick, healthy, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, SCD legal and Paleo friendly. And yes, all sorts of deliciousness.

This bread recipe from Gastro Chef is a great SCD legal, grain-free alternative to wheat or multi-grain breads. We modified it slightly after several experiments and we are pretty confident we perfected it.

Coconut Flour Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 4-5 Tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 Tbsp unpasteurized honey
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce or SCD yogurt
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small bowl, using a hand blender, beat egg whites until they are stiff and set aside
3. In a larger bowl, combine the whole eggs, honey, butter and yogurt or applesauce and beat until smooth.
4. Add coconut flour, salt and baking soda and mix well.
5. Fold in egg whites until well mixed
6. Line bread loaf pan with parchment paper and coconut oil to ensure bread won’t stick to pan and pour in the batter
7. Top with unsweetened coconut if you wish to give the bread a nice garnish
8. Bake for 45 minutes – then cover the top with parchment paper for another 15 so the bread cooks all the way through and the top doesn’t burn. Keep checking to make sure it’s not over-cooking. You will know if it’s cooked through if the top is firm when you push down in the middle of the loaf.

Cool completely before removing from pan

We double this recipe (we know, 14 eggs!) but it’s the only way it truly fills up a loaf pan. We use 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 ghee butter (4-5 Tbsp each).

Once cooled, slice into thin slices and wrap in parchment and then into a container or baggie. Freeze or keep in the refrigerator.

SHARE THE LOVE
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WANT TO SHINE?
Have a product you’d like us to try and review for potential inclusion in our newsletter? Simply contact us: info@heelstolaces.com

WANT MORE?
Let the fun continue…Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to get daily doses of inspiration, knowledge & recipes.

Heels To Laces will be on a temporary hiatus for President’s weekend returning in full force the week of February 19th…stay tuned.

Disclosure: some product recommendations are affiliate sites, which simply means we get a small compensation from the companies that sell the products we endorse. We will never endorse a product we do not personally use or love. Opinions expressed are solely those of Heels To Laces.

 

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Wink, Wink

Heels To Laces is on a mission to break through the clutter of health and fitness and make it easier to live healthier – and have a ton of fun doing it.

As always, we love interaction so email us, comment, share and send your thoughts.

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.”~ Gina Carey

TRUTH OR DARE
Each week we will present you with a truth or dare. It’s your job to tackle it with gusto and make it happen. Often, by just focusing on one change…just one, it’s much more palpable and achievable and becomes the jump start you need. This week, we dare you.

Dare: Commit 3 days/week
We all know the new year garners the need to “get healthy”.  According to Business Insider, “80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks.” Why? Because most of us have an all or nothing mentality – which is the main trigger for yo-yo dieting and “falling off the wagon”. When we’re good, we’re oh so good. When we’re bad, well…you get the gist. You’ve heard it before…just be consistent.

Now here’s the dare: commit yourself to 3 days of exercise a week. Write it in ink and do not let anything get in your way. Preferably, every other day (ie. Mon/Wed/Thurs). Start with 30 minutes of walking, running, HIIT training, cycling…there are so many workout apps and Amazon videos there are no excuses. Commit to it. For 6 weeks. It will become a part of your weekly routine that you will look forward to and start to quickly reap the benefits (less stress, more toned, natural endorphins, mental clarity, clothes fitting better…and so on, and so on…)

ASK THE EXPERTS
We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts.

We received such an incredible response to the mention of food sensitivity tests, we thought we’d dig a little deeper this week and turn to one of our local experts – Kate Motz, INHC, AADP  founder of Integrative Wellness Advisors. Kate is a food sensitivity testing guru and opens our eyes as to why it can be a game changer. We asked Kate “what’s the deal”  and how does it work, and this is what she told us:

Food Sensitivities – Invaluable Insight
Food sensitivities cause inflammation in the body, which leads to weight gain and a whole array of conditions such as headaches, low energy, indigestion, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, skin conditions, mental fogginess and loss of libido.  When we eat foods we are sensitive to, the body correctly identifies the food to be foreign and sends a response to destroy and remove the offending food, much like it would for a bacteria or a virus.  To understand you body, it takes a deeper level of understanding of the interaction of our hormones, immune system, neurotransmitters, environment, emotions, and genes.

Food sensitivities are not the same as food allergies. Symptoms can be very subtle (such as bloating, indigestion or eczema), and it can be difficult to make the connection between what you’ve eaten and how you feel. Over the years, this sensitivity takes a toll on the immune system, which is mostly located in your gut, and we trigger a hormonal, immune and neurotransmitter response.

Inflammation is one of the biggest causes of weight gain and disease. A simple food sensitivity test (an easy finger prick, blood spot test done at home) can give you invaluable insight and critical component of any comprehensive approach to good health.  The blood test measures sensitivity to certain foods from an antibody-mediated immune response. The antibody measured in this test is IgG (Immunoglobulin G). Research and clinical studies suggest food sensitivities identified by IgG testing can be a major contributing factor in many chronic health conditions.

You can contact Kate if you’d like to learn more about potential food sensitivities that could be causing your health challenges: kate@integrativewellnessadvisors.com

WHAT’S TRENDING
Migitty -Mag
We also touched on a magnesium product last week that could help you attack stress issues. But why and how is magnesium a go-to for not only stress, but so many other health benefits?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and plays several important roles in the health of your body and brain. Almost 50% of the population does not get enough magnesium.

Modern scientific research reveals the top health benefits of incorporating magnesium into your diet:

  • Facilitates hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body – every cell in your body contains it and needs it to function. It is involved in energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movement and nervous system regulation
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits – low magnesium is linked to chronic inflammation. Adding magnesium to your diet can reduce inflammation in your body. It has been shown to reduces the inflammatory blood marker CRP.
  • Fights depression – magnesium is directly correlated to brain function, mood (including PMS), insulin and stress hormone levels. Low levels are linked to depression and mental illness. “In a randomized controlled trial of depressed older adults, 450 mg of magnesium improved mood as effectively as an anti-depressant drug.”*
  • Enhance performance – magnesium has been shown to enhance exercise performance.
  • Prevents migraines – In one study, supplementing with one gram provided relief from a migraine more quickly and effectively than a common medication.

The great news is magnesium is safe and available. The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg per day for men, and 310–320 mg per day for women – which you can get from both food and supplements.

Some food sources high in magnesium (from highest to lowest) include: pumpkin seeds, boiled spinach, boiled Swiss chard, dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa; raw cacao is the best choice), black beans, halibut, nuts (almonds & cashews), avocado and salmon.*

As mentioned in last week’s blog, we think Calm is one of the purest forms of magnesium. You can find it here.

*source: Healthline.com

WHAT WE’RE OBSESSED WITH
Sometimes, you just gotta have it…

Gimmie an M, Gimmie an S, Gimmie an M – What’s that spell? M-S-M!
This cheeky little supplement is more than meets the eye. It is marketed as helping reduce chronic joint pain (osteoarthritis, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis) – which it does…brilliantly (we use it!), leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, susceptibility to bone fractures, tendinitis, allergies and asthma. However, one of the other side effects of this natural phenomenon that is not so widely talked about is what it does for your skin, hair and nails. It is a key xomponent of collagen & keratin and eliminates free radical damage of your skin by supporting glutathione production. Double wammy. You can take the flakes mixed in a liquid (true confessions – it’s extremely bitter) or in a capsule. Read more here.

Feelin’ Bubbly…or Not
Our go-to beverage of choice here at HtoL is Riondo prosecco. Smooth, not to sweet or dry and just the right amount of happy. What we recently discovered is some health benefits of prosecco: it can reduce blood pressure/improves circulation, it has natural trace elements of zinc, magnesium, and potassium, it contains anti-oxidants and flavonoids, and can smooth, even and plump your skin. If bubbly is not your style, we recently came upon a new brand FitVine Wine that is specifically targeted toward health and fitness enthusiasts as it has less sugar, less carbs and low sulfites. We tried it and we liked it. Best Cellars in Summit, NJ is offering 10% off to all HtoL subscribers (and their prices are already competitively low). Just mention HtoL and ask for Jack.

Cinn’ing
Cinnamon has some stellar health benefits (anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, is immune building (it’s a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent)…however, not all cinnamons are created equal. Most cinnamon in supermarkets are the less expensive cassia cinnamon – which may contain coumarin (said to damage the liver). One of the best sources of cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon. Two great options: for those that use it a lot (like we do) this or less frequently, this.

THE DISH ON DELISH
All of our recipes will always be quick, healthy, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, SCD legal and Paleo friendly. And yes, all sorts of deliciousness.

Recipes that are sweet and savory can serve as a meal, a snack or just fulfill a craving. This yumness does it all while incorporating 3 cups of veggies you do not even taste – and it’s super, super easy. Put it in the fridge for a perfect go-to option.

Paleo Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread (thank you, Detoxinista)
Makes 1 standard loaf (or 12 muffins)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut flour
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (we sub raw organic honey – and use a little less)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, tightly packed

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard (9-inch by 5-inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. (If you’re making muffins, line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups.)

In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, eggs, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda and use a whisk to stir well, breaking up any lumps as you go. The batter will most likely be thicker than the cake-like-batter you’ve come to expect when making quick breads. Stir in the shredded zucchini then scoop the batter into the loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. (Or divide the batter into the 12 lined muffin cups.)

Bake the loaf at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden and firm. If baking muffins, bake them at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. It’s a very moist bread so it’s recommended to store it in the fridge for best shelf life. It should keep in an airtight container for up to a week– if you don’t eat it all before then!

WANT TO SHINE?
Have a product you’d like us to try and review for potential inclusion in our newsletter? Simply contact us: info@heelstolaces.com

WANT MORE?
Let the fun continue…Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to get daily doses of inspiration, knowledge & recipes.

Disclosure: some product recommendations are affiliate sites, which simply means we get a small compensation from the companies that sell the products we endorse. We will never endorse a product we do not personally use or love. Opinions expressed are solely those of Heels To Laces.

 

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Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom

The response to the last blog entry was overwhelmingly positive. So, why not continue the fun? Let’s consider this Part II…with a little twist. Following is a list of great finds that will help you cope with the stressful-excess-eating-pressure-filled-gift-giving-primping-indulging holidays.

The Holiday Hangover. You know the hangover is inevitable…but is it? This one is gold: Drink Before Elixir is a pre-cocktail beverage that claims “No hangovers & reduces redness”. The product’s goal is to “make it healthier and more comfortable for you to enjoy alcohol.” Giddy-up. Loaded with vitamins, potassium and amino acids, I was sold. So does it work? I say “Hell, yes.” Worked for me during a crazy weekend outing when drinks started pouring at 2 pm and the night ended at 3 am. Yep, I still got it. No hangover, no nausea, no problem. Find it on Amazon.

Loyalty Program. Who doesn’t love the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, especially for holiday shopping? I can’t keep them in the house. If I wasn’t enough of a loyal customer before, now they really got me. They started a new loyalty program where you pay $29/year for an on-going 20% off your entire purchase. If you receive this exclusive invite…jump on it. Pure brilliance. Here’s more info.

Learn How To Read Your Body. This one is key. Especially during the holidays. Note what causes reactions to your body. Are you unusually bloated after you drink dairy? Do you crash hard after eating carbs? Are you unbearable after eating sugar? Are you especially thirsty in the evenings or AM from not drinking enough water or eating too much salt? Are you super lethargic in the morning from over-eating at night? Listen to these triggers and avoid them. Keep a journal of these reactions and when they occur and you will have incredible insights on how to feel and look better.

Luscious Lashes. We think holidays and we think lash extensions and falsies. There’s a new solution. No more expensive applications or over-promising mascaras. Rodan & Fields just launched this product called Lash Boost with clinical trials resulting in 85% longer, 90% fuller, 63% darker lashes with results in 4 weeks. And they’re killin’ it. Forget the iris-changing, crazy side effects of Latisse. Started mine 2 weeks ago and the difference is remarkably noticeable. They are offering a holiday gift with purchase – free cosmetic bag and eye cream. And now that I have access, so do you (or your favorite gift recipient). Buy here.

Get Matcha’d: I have searched for a good, authentic Matcha Tea for a long time  – however, most of them (including Starbucks) are not the real deal. I recently stumbled upon Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea: made to “make you feel and think better”. For centuries, Matcha has prepared Buddhist monks for meditation and readied samurai warriors for battle. Ok, so I’m neither – but I do frequently adorn my Wonder Woman cape. This Matcha tea is supposed to be a powerful agent of health, wellness and natural energy. Sugars are higher than I would normally grab (13 per bottle) but no more than the natural sugars in my afternoon latte. Small handcrafted batches made up of sparkling water, Matcha green tea, honey, organic agave, fresh lemon juice, organic apple cidar videgar and natural plant extract. (found it at Kings)

Read The Label: The most important thing in weight maintenance is reading the nutrition label. All too often, especially during the holidays, we have this “all or nothing” mentality. “I’ll get back into shape after the holidays.” Which I never truly understood why you would sacrifice 2 months of your life to binge eating. It only results in a guilt-filled, reluctant New Year with unreasonable “now I have to make up for lost time” pound abolishing goals. Learn to read nutrition contents and ingredients and always practice portion control. You can start using 4th grade math: If a serving contains 120 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of saturated fat and there are 5 servings in the bag – and you eat the entire bag (and many of these bags are small and manageable enough to do just that), you have just indulged in 600 calories, 45 grams of sugar, 90 grams of carbs and 10 grams of saturated fat. Can you say sabotage?

Kill The Temptation. Want desperately to eat something on your plate you know is not the best choice? Spill water on it. Ever take a look at left-over food in the kitchen sink? Not very appetizing. Bet ya won’t want it anymore after it’s doused with water.

Talk In Code. We have all that partner in crime that we confide in at a holiday dinner. I mentioned The Skimm in my last write-up but what I forgot to mention was the kick-ass acronym cheat sheet they offer with the latest and greatest social uses. This one’s a must – read here (how fun to practice them over turkey dinner). And if you still haven’t joined The Skimm – do it now.

Burn Fat. There is a pretty good chance you will be indulging during the holidays (avoid making it a month-long habit). The key is to get your heart rate high enough to use up your stored glucose and get into the fat burning zone. How do you do that? Intervals. Workout example for a runner: Warm up 5 minutes at moderate rate (4.5 mph). Jog at a steady pace for 5 minutes (6.0 mph), then exert yourself running at a much faster pace (6.8-7.0) for 2 minutes. You should be breathing heavily and trying to catch your breath for those 2 minutes. Repeat that 5 min/2 min cycle for 30+ minutes, 2-3 times a week. This is the same concept of Tabata. High intervals with moderate rests in between. Adjust the times/pace to your level. Walkers walk for the 5 min and light jog/speed walk for the 2.

And that’s all folks. If you are looking for more tidbits or are interesting in a private nutrition counseling session, email me at dakarrat@yahoo.com. Happy, healthy holidays.

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