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When In Doubt, Don’t…

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.

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QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life. ” ~Kerry Washington

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.

Dare (you knew it was coming): Get it in.
Get moving. This week challenge yourself every day (that’s 7 straight days, folks) to:

  • 10 push-ups (tight, straight plank – lower to the ground, squeeze up; do not arch your back or cheat on your knees)
  • 20 alternating lunges (one alternating right leg, left leg, count as one) – maintain a 90 degree angle on your front lunging foot, push off from your toe
  • 30 squats – shoulder width apart; knees and toes straight – sit down as if you are sitting in a chair, butt low, squeeze the glutes tight on the lift
  • 10 dips – start sitting on the ground – lift up into a “table” (pelvis up), dip your elbows up and down

It will take you all of 5 minutes. Note where you start at the beginning of the week – and where you end at the conclusion of the week. Having this type of repetition will challenge your muscles in a concentrated segment of time. Who knows – after you complete one week, you may want to continue (but up the anty – increase your numbers by 5-10 reps.

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

There is no doubt that most of us doubt ourselves on a daily basis (see how we did that?). Self-doubt is defined as “lacking in confidence in oneself and one’s abilities”. And sometimes, we just get in our own way of success or achievement. Imagine if you had no doubt or no fear? Even if we have done something many times in the past…it tends to creep in. But, why? And are there any benefits to self-doubt? We asked psychotherapist, Lauren Pardo, LCSW to help us dig a little deeper.  Here is her insight:

Self-doubt is a core, maladaptive belief which causes us to not trust ourselves or our innate abilities. It often causes feelings of inadequacy and causes us to seek advice/opinions from others for decisions. Self-doubters are trying to self-protect and ultimately rationalize their irrational thoughts.  Although, some amount of self-doubt can be beneficial as it can challenge us in a situation of discomfort, it can prevent a hubristic (excessively proud or self-confident) way of thinking

There are several implications for chronic self-doubt including a rise in cortisol levels, under and overachieving, interference with perseverance, personal will and determination, procrastination, avoidant behavior, depriving you of the opportunity to succeed, hyper-focus on perfectionism (will not settle for “good enough”) and not “showing up”.  Chronic self-doubters are more likely to have addiction and mental health concerns (anxiety, depression).
So how do you cope with self-doubt?
You need to learn to reprogram the self-doubt thoughts to self-acceptance thoughts.  Challenge the inner rumination by asking yourself “is that a thought I am having or a true fact?” Envision yourself talking to a friend who is in need of compassion – it is a helpful way to learn self-compassion (learning how to treat yourself with kindness). Focusing on the process, rather than the end result, will improve the outcome.
  • There are two great TED Talks by Brene Brown that can offer insight and guidance on self-doubt: “Vulnerability” and  “Listening to Shame”
  • Ground yourself – what connects you to you?  Being in nature?  Walk with a good, trusted friend?  Meditation? (love the Breethe app)
  • List 5 to 10 things you love about yourself (I know it may be hard when in true self-doubt mode, but if done earlier, it’s great to refer to)
  • Understand your strengths, we all have them
Just as a successful eating or fitness program can challenge you and create a body you are proud of, mentally challenging yourself to combat your thoughts of self-doubt is something everyone needs/deserves.
Lauren Pardo works out of Summit, NJ: lpardolcsw@gmail.com
WHAT’S TRENDING
Sickness. Everyone around us is sick. It’s unavoidable. Other than walking around with masks on (it’s become the new fashion trend) or in bubble wrap, we believe there are some incredible homeopathic preventative and healing options. And they work. We’ve tested them tried and true.

  • Elderberry – this is a well kept secret that is not so secret anymore.  It is an immunity booster that works quickly. Aside from making your own (which you can do), Elderberry is readily available – you just need a great source. We found 2 options that are said to be the strongest in the industry, that come highly recommended from nutritionists and health food specialist aficionados. Same brand, one is a syrup (9 carbs, 1 gram sugar) and one is an extract (0 carb, 0 sugar). Same potency. Local and an instant gratification kinda person? It’s available at The Health Shoppe on Springfield Ave in Summit.
  • Garlic – Garlic contains allicin – a powerful antibacterial only present shortly after garlic is crushed so you need to eat it raw, and quickly. It’s more satisfying than you think – mix it with ghee butter and put it on a cracker or small piece of bread. Tastes just like garlic bread. (caveat – your breathe might be kickin’ but it’s worth it).
  • Vitamin C – High doses of vitamin C are said to help kill the bugs causing sickness. It is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, and also helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Our favorite option? Mega Foods (this is the “Farm to Table” brand we talked about in our last post). It is one of the purest forms available and is made from whole foods. Sometimes too much is too much, so try to stick to under 1,000mg/day.
  • Oregano Oil – Not gonna lie, this one has a very strong taste – but packs a punch. It is said to get rid of any respiratory ailments that you may have and it’s health benefits are attributed to it’s properties as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emmenagogue, and an anti-allergenic substance. Whew. We told you.
  • Tumeric – Tumeric has been widely recognized as an anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed with lemon, mint or green tea, honey and raw ginger – it’s a potion in which illness has no chance.
  • Gargling – This is a mom favorite from the 80’s and beyond…and it works. Salt and hot water, gargled in your throat. The salt is said to clean and kill bacteria in your throat and loosen up mucus.
  • Pineapple Juice – Fresh squeezed, organic pineapple juice contains bromelain, an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples, that can help suppress coughs as well as loosen mucus. Side note: Bromelain may interact with antibiotics, so check with your doctor if you are taking any medications.
  • Pre and probiotics – we have preached before in multiple posts. Get your fill and continue to build up your microbiome.

Can you do all remedies together? YES. Alternate a remedy every two hours until you start to feel better.

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

Whee!…It’s Ghee
We have been taught to avoid butter – due to saturated fat, dairy and excess calories. Not the case. We use Ghee butter when we want an alternative to dairy butter.  Why is ghee a healthier option? Ghee is a clarified butter that has a high smoke point (can be heated at high temps before it will start to smoke), it’s abundant in fat-soluble vitamins, it has no lactose or casein, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid with incredible health benefits), it’s loaded with butyrate (plays a central role in gut health), it has an intense buttery flavor, it strengthens your bones, it reduces inflammation, and contains vitamins A, D and E. This is our favorite.

Magic Fairy Dust
L-Glutamine, a free-form amino acid, and when converted to glutamic acid, it is a usable energy source for the brain and a precursor to the important inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). It improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair, helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by protecting from further damage, is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration, improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production (healthy bowel movements), promotes muscle growth, improves athletic performance and recovery, improves metabolism and cellular detoxification, curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol, fights cancer and improves diabetes and blood sugar. We use it for all of those reasons – and found this one to be the best source. It doesn’t have much of a taste. You can sprinkle it in yogurt or blend into a smoothie. Contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, soy, wheat, sugar, starch, salt, preservatives, or artificial color, flavor or fragrance. Source: Dr. Axe

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 is a healthy, gluten free, filling power meal:

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese (slightly modified for ease)
(thank you, Lauren Miyashiro)

Ingredients:

  • Organic cauliflower rice (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded white Cheddar
Instructions:
  1. Defrost cauliflower if frozen
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and oregano. Mix until evenly combined then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with olive or coconut oil. Scoop the cauliflower mixture on one side of the pan and shape into a bread shape.  Repeat to form a second patty on the other side. (These are your “bread” slices.) Press down on both pieces with a spatula and cook until golden underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden, about 3 minutes more.
  4. Top one cauliflower slice with cheese then place the other cauliflower slice on top. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes more per side. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

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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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Best Oils to Cook With and Which to Avoid

Is olive oil or coconut oil better for you? Which oils are safe to cook with and which ones should you avoid? All of the information out there can be confusing. Even though an oil might be deemed healthy, it may not stay healthy when heated.

When you’re cooking at a high heat, you want to use oils that are stable and don’t oxidize or easily turn rancid. When oils undergo oxidation, they react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds that shouldn’t be consumed. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are rather resistant to heating, but oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided when cooking.oil_and_pan

Best Oil Choices for Cooking:

Coconut Oil

This is one of the best choices for high heat cooking. It is made up of over 90% saturated fatty acids, making it very resistant to heat. This oil is semi-solid at room temperature and it can last for months and years without going rancid.

Coconut oil has powerful health benefits: It is particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol and help kill bacteria and other pathogens. Also, the fats in coconut oil can boost metabolism and increase feelings of fullness as compared to other fats.

When buying, look for virgin coconut oil or raw on the label – they offer better flavor and more health benefits. Smoke point is 350°. Refined coconut oil can be used occasionally for recipes, which require heats over 450°, but make sure it isn’t hydrogenated or treated with hexane.

Clarified Butter (Ghee)

Grass-fed ghee is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. It is also rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) — the essential fatty acid found almost exclusively in grass-fed animals, which is now believed to protect against cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

Because the milk solids have been removed from ghee, the elements in dairy that many people are sensitive to, have been removed. The removal of the milk solids also allows you to use ghee at a higher temperature -up to 485° F.

Olive Oil

No surprise here, olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that that contains beneficial antioxidants and has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure to choose high quality extra virgin olive oil. It has many more nutrients and antioxidants than the refined oil olives and it tastes much better.

And contrary to many reports, high quality, extra virgin olive oil can be used for high heat cooking as it has a high smoke point (365°- 400°).

Note – there have been many reports lately about unsavory olive oil dealers who have been combining olive oils with cheap vegetable oils. As a result, you might be unknowingly ingesting unhealthy oils. It is very hard to determine if an olive oil is pure. Artisan or locally produced olive oils tend to be your safest bet. Olea olive oils are 100% pure olive oil. They can be found at oleaestates.com.

Avocodo Oil

Avocado is an excellent choice for frying as it has a very high smoke point (475°- 520°). The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated, with some saturated and polyunsaturated mixed in. It can be used for many of the same purposes as olive oil. You can cook with it, or use it cold.

Oils to Avoid When Cooking:

Industrial Seed and Vegetable Oils:

These are highly processed, refined products that are much too rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. The world health organization’s (WHO) recommended ratio for omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is about 4:1. However, the average ratio American’s ingest ranges from 10:1 to 25:1! (Look out for a future blog post on Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s).

Based on this overconsumption of Omega 6’s, it is recommended to avoid the following oils altogether, whether cooking with them or simply using them cold.o-5-NEW-USES-FOR-VEGETABLE-OIL-facebook

  • Soybean Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Safflower Oil

Canola Oil

Canola Oil should be avoided as well due to its harsh processing method. To create canola oil, rape seeds (what canola oil is made from) are heated to high temperature so that the oil can be extracted. This oil is then refined, bleached and deodorized Processing the oil under high heat causes it to go rancid, which is why industrial carcinogenic bleaches and deodorizers like hexane are needed. Additionally, about 87% of canola oil is genetically modified.

Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil:

These are high in omega-3s, but should not be heated because they are sensitive to oxidation.

Nuts and Peanut Oil:

There are many nut oils available and many have amazing flavors, but due to their high level of polyunsaturated fats, it is recommended to avoid them when cooking.

There is one exception. Macadamia nut oil is mostly monounsaturated (like olive oil) and has great properties and is safe for cooking

Happy cooking 🙂

  • Elizabeth Girouard

    Great article Lisa! Thanks for the useful information.

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