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

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…)

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

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

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.

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.

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)

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

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!

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

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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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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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Just Got Burned

I was invited to one of those home-business direct sales parties this weekend – loving the social aspect of great company/eats but apprehensive about the sales pitch that often leads to hypocriteobligatory purchases to support my friend, “the host”.

However, what transpired that evening was life-changing.

I wear a health and fitness badge proudly on my chest for all to see, and live and breathe what I preach.  I spend all this time and energy focusing on my inside, I completely disregarded my outside and feel like such a hypocrite admitting it.

Here’s what I learned:

  • There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today in the health and beauty industry. Many don’t have any safety data.
  • 80% of the ingredients used today have never been tested for safety.
  • The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.
  • The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the US has only banned 11 to date.
  • Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products have safety data.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful (lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates) in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids every day. And they don’t necessarily have to list them on their products.
  • Our skin is our largest organ – it absorbs up to 60% of what you put on it; on average we use 12-20 products on our skin every-single-day.

I felt nauseous thinking of all of the skin and beauty products I purchase for my family that could potentially be detrimental to their health and mine.

According to BeautyCounter, “Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including, but not limited to asthma, learning disabilities, cancer and infertility) are on the rise, and due in some part to our on-going exposure to toxic chemicals”. 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer. ewg

In panic mode, I immediately went through my cabinets that night – zapping everything I had with the EWG (Environmental Working Group) safety rating app I learned about that evening. Phenomenal tool that helps you determine the safety of a product by scanning the UPC code and giving you a rating (the app is: EWG Healthy Living).

The next day, I replaced nearly everything – hand soaps, facial cleansers, body washes, soaps, shampoos, oils, sunscreen, disinfecting sprays, wipes, facial cream, etc. I looked like a crazy woman zapping every label in the store until I found a worthy winner. And I have continued to follow this crusade daily since that evening.

Once you know, you know – and you can’t go backwards and pretend like you never heard it. And now, every effort counts.

Just as my philosophy with food – you do as much as you can do to lead a healthy life without becoming neurotic. 80/20 rule.

The presentation I went to was for BeautyCounter. Their mission and movement is outstanding. I bought a few products (excellent selection) but also sourced many products separately on my own (with my scanner) that were not as much of an investment. Harmon Discount is a great resource.

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