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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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“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~Maya Angelou

Each post we will present you with a truth or dare. All you have to do is 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.

TruthGet rid of the excuses
How often do you find yourself making excuses for unhealthy choices? You know who you are: “I’m tired, so I need that double chocolate Frappuccino”; “I had a long day at work, I deserve that bottle of wine”; “I don’t need to work out today, I’ll do it tomorrow”.

The problem with excuses is they usually trigger bigger problems like a food coma, hangover and laziness.

Be true to yourself by thinking of the consequences over the immediate gratification. That’s how you’ll find long-term success.

We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts – but today, it’s our turn:

Oil, Man
Oil is good for you right? Omega 3’s, heart health, brain smarts, etc. Then why is fried food the enemy? Just like anything in life, there’s some good and some bad. Picking the right oil can make all the difference. So here’s your handy little guide.

Best Oils For Cooking
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 form free radicals and harmful compounds that are unhealthy to consume. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are more resistant to heating, but oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided. 

Coconut Oil: One of the best choices for cooking – made up of over 90% saturated fatty acids, it is very resistant to heat. It can also improve cholesterol, help kill bacteria and other pathogens, boost metabolism and increase feelings of fullness. Look for raw or virgin coconut oil.

Clarified Butter (Ghee): Grass-fed ghee is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 and 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. The milk solids have been removed from ghee, therefore is it considered dairy-free.

Olive Oil:  A heart-healthy fat, it contains beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Choose high quality extra virgin olive oil – it has many more nutrients and antioxidants than the refined oil olives and a much richer taste.

Avocodo Oil: Very similar to olive oil, it is primarily monounsaturated.

The Not So Good
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

Avoid the following oils altogether – as an ingredient, for cooking or ingesting:  Soybean, Corn, Rapeseed, Sunflower, Grapeseed, Safflower, Canola.  To create these oils, many are refined, bleached and deodorized. About 87% of canola oil is genetically modified.

It is recommended to avoid nut oils when cooking due to their high level of polyunsaturated fats, except for macadamia nut oil which is mostly monounsaturated (like olive oil) and has great properties and is safe for cooking 

Side Note: Fish oil and flaxseed oils are great as they are high in omega-3s, but should not be heated because they are sensitive to oxidation.

There have been many reports 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. Artisan or locally produced olive oils tend to be your safest bet. Olea olive oils are 100% pure olive oil.

Cacao. Nope, we didn’t misspell it. We are familiar with cocoa – chances are, it’s what you grew up on. But there’s a new kid in town. Raw cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder – which is typically used in chocolate bars. Raw cacao is known to be one of the best sources of antioxidants of any food source and the highest source of magnesium.  It is the highest plant source of iron, loaded with calcium and is a natural mood elevator & anti-depressant.

The key is to maintain the beneficial properties without adding sugar. Companies are getting smarter. There are some incredible, pure chocolates available that only use honey as a sweetener – so you get the added benefits of honey + cacao. Two of our favorites: Honey Mamas and Good Stuff Cacao.

Sometimes, you just gotta have it.

Thrive, Baby, Thrive
Bug season is upon us. Did you know certain homeopathic oils are said to have the same power as deet? We found this blend of 100% aromatherapy oils – a combination bugs, ticks and mosquitoes avoid. The best part? You can safely put it all over your body on a daily basis. Bonus – it has other therapeutic properties like purifying, boosting energy and promoting immunity.

Not So Fishy
We are consistently asked what is the best protein powder to add to smoothies, dishes, etc. The honest answer is most of them are loaded with junk, additives and artificial flavors. There is a much more efficient way to get your added protein through simply adding collagen. This is one of the purest sources we have found and has 9 grams of protein per serving. Better yet, it’s tasteless and super fine (no chunks). Oh wait, did we mention it also helps reduce wrinkles, promotes skin hydration and elasticity, promotes healthier joints, builds stronger nails and healthier hair? Um-hum.

Chippy, Chip
No matter how hard we try, we just can’t say goodbye to the chip. What would we do with all of that guacamole? The crunch, the texture, the satisfaction… We almost gave up hope, until we found these. Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, Paleo, yeast-free, non-GMO. Although it comes with a warning – do not sit down with the bag. They disappear quickly. P.S. they also have them at Whole Foods.

D to the H to the A
We hear about the benefits of Omega 3’s all the time. And they are legit. Omega 3’s support overall wellness including heart, brain, joint, eye, immune system and mood health. And this little ditty is the Ultimate. It contains 1,000 mg EPA + DHA with the added bonus of 500 IU of vitamin D3 to support calcium absorption, energy level and healthy bones. Pure, wild caught and sustainably sourced. Also safe (and beneficial) for kids.

It’s All Contained
If you were going to do one thing for yourself, especially if you struggling to get your nutrients by food alone, take a multi-vitamin. But not just any multi – they are not all created equal. We have talked about Mega Foods before – all of their products are made from pure food sources (which we love!) – they are not synthetically produced. This is as pure as it gets, “from farm to tablet.” One a day, that’s all it takes to help your body maintain optimal performance.

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.

Yeah, this one is killer.

No-Bake Crazy for Cashew Cups

  • 1 cup organic raw cashews
  • 8 pitted dates
  • ½ cup organic melted cacao butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • pinch of sea salt

This is the easy part.

Melt the cacao butter. Combine all ingredients in a small bullet blender cup. Blend at high speed until well blended and smooth. Spoon into small cupcake liners. Freeze. Ready in 1-2 hours.

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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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A Few Of My Favorite Things…

Ala Oprah style (without the freebies)

The more I read and learn about health and fitness, the more amazing products and trends I discover. Many of you have been asking, so here is a list of some of my current favorite things:

Green Vibrance
Green Vibrance is the “original concentrated green superfood”. It contains 58 certified organic, concentrated foods and extracts, all of the highest quality, along withan industry-leading 18 billion probiotics per serving. It’s a nutritional powerhouse that improves energy and endurance, strengthens immunity and improves digestion and circulation. According to the package, Green Vibrance has more nutrient density than any other green-food product on the market.

Where to get it: Found the best price on Amazon – but also available at the Summit Health Shoppe on Springfield Ave in Summit (which is one of our sponsors offering Heels To Laces members a discount on products! hint, hint).

Latest version with protein:
I originally used Green Vibrance daily and mixed in my own protein…until Maximum Vibrance came out! Each serving has 23 grams of protein, in addition to the original multi-vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and probiotics to increase vitality, energy and achieve
optimum health. Maximum Vibrance contains 120 ingredients including 80 plants, 26 antioxidants, 6g of fiber, 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, 7 vegetable based digestive enzymes, 23 grams of protein and is gluten free.

Where to get it: Amazon & Summit Health Shoppe

Whey Factors 100% Whey Protein
I have searched high and low for a pure high quality protein without artificial or added ingredients. And I finally found it:

Whey Factors, 100% natural whey protein powder, is a pure source of high quality whey protein. No GMO, BSE, rBGH or added sugar. No artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, starch, wheat or yeast. It is unflavored but still tastes good. It’s perfect to add to a protein shake or smoothie (suggest blending with fruit and/or milk to make it more tasty).

Where to get it: Summit Health Shoppe

Natural Vitality CALM – Anti-Stress Drink
Natural Calm is the most effective, fast-acting, pH-balanced magnesium available. It is a 100% natural, water-soluble magnesium powder of the highest quality. Magnesium is said to have powerful healing properties and most Americans do not ingest nearly enough of this beneficial mineral. It is said to help you:

  • sleep better
  • relax the nervous system
  • elevate your mood
  • build bigger, stronger muscles
  • have better flexibility
  • help with regularity
  • return the body’s natural pH balance
  • hydrate
  • and prevent several health conditions like diabetes

I use it as a natural anxiety remedy – and it works brilliantly. It comes in raspberry lemon or lemon.

Where to get it: In addition to the larger container, The Summit Healthe Shoppe on Springfield Ave sells single-dose packets for $1.00 each. Awesome for travel and convenience 😉

NOW Foods Liquid Vitamin D-3 1,000 IU Dropvitd
I was continually looking for a vitamin D my kids could take since my son couldn’t swallow any pills. I found this vitamin D with a dropper – which lasts forever and is super easy to dispense. The kids love it! And you all know by now after reading our blog how important Vitamin D is.

Where to get it: Summit Health Shoppe and Amazon.

Cruncha ma-me Edamame Veggie Snack salt n pepper
Yum, yum, yum! Salt n’ Pepa here!

Rich in protein (8 gram per bag) same as a large egg, high in fiber (3 gram per bag – same as an apple), gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients and great edamame taste!Perfect filling snack when you need a little somethin’ somethin’. Comes in several flavors including Salt and Pepper, my personal fav.

Where to get it: Kings, Whole Foods & Amazon

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacomole97951-reduced-guilt-chunky-guacamole-di2
I eat it by the tub.

Made with low fat greek yogurt, it has 50% less fat and 40% fewer calories that the regular guac with the same awesome benefits and it is DE-Lish! Simplest ingredients ever: low-fat Greek yogurt blended with hand-scooped avocados, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, black pepper, fresh lime juice, and a bit of jalapeño.

Where to get it: Trader Joe’s, of course.

Not gonna lie – our super amazing, young, hip, gorgeous cousin works for the company. She sent me a pair and I loved them. Ergonomically designed silicone ear buds to fit women’s ears. They twist into place so they won’t fall out during the most intense workout and feature water-resistant protection that lets you train in any conditions. Other features:  includes two sizes of enhancers, sweat, water and germ-resistant, “ambient noise awareness” and four-foot cord. And they’re super-cute too. Love the packaging.

Where to get it: They are all over – but found them at Target.

Riondo Prosecco
Pretty sure I wrote about this one before. Perfect summer drink. Cross between white wine, champagne and beer. My husband loRiondo Prosecco-500x500ves it too, so it passes the “manly” drink test. Refreshing and light, not too sweet, and no morning hang-over (even when you drink the whole bottle – for those seasoned drinkers like myself ;-).

Where to get it: I buy it by the case for a 15% discount at A&P Liquor in Summit right off Summit Ave by the Delta gas station (looks like a dive, but it’s a great deal!).

Had to include this one. For the past couple of months, I ditched my old-school one-hour workouts and replaced them with 30-minute Tabata classes– a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training).  Tabata has anaerobic and aerobic benefits – it is a perfect combination of cardio and strength training. Most of you know Lisa and I teach Tabata locally and our clients have had tremendous results! At the end of our first 8-week program, our Tabata Bootcamp group lost a total of 41 inches and dropped 7.9% body fat!

I have literally cut my workouts in half and have seen a huge difference.

Where to find it: Summit, NJ with Lisa and Debra. Email us for the latest schedule:  info@heelstolaces.com 😉

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You Are My Sunshine

What if we told you there is something you can take to build strong muscles and bones, improve your cognition, build a strong immune system and increase your energy level…and you can’t taste it?

Well, this is your lucky day. We are not talking about expensive, questionable supplements. We are talking about vitamin D. A little dose packs a big punch.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that can be found in some foods but, as many know, is also absorbed by the body from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for the formation, growth, Sources-of-Vitamin-Dand repair of bones and for normal calcium absorption. It is also a requirement for muscle movement and helps nerves carry messages between the brain and every part of your body. In addition, your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off bacteria and viruses. It has also been cited in helping to maintain a healthy body weight and healthy heart.

In fact, high levels of vitamin D were found to protect people at a genetic  level. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that higher vitamin D levels in healthy individuals have a significant impact on the genes that are involved in several biologic pathways associated with illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases. It is also a great defense against osteoporosis.

People can become deficient in vitamin D because they don’t consume or absorb enough from their food, their exposure to sunlight is limited or their kidneys do not convert vitamin D to its active form in the body.

How do you know if you are getting enough?

They best indication is through a blood test on your vitamin D levels. A level of 50 nmol/L or above are sufficient for most people. Vitamin D levels can rarely be high enough to be harmful, but it is possible.

How do I get it?

Not that many foods contain vitamin D. It is mostly found in fortified foods. Foods that naturally have vitamin D include salmon, tuna, mackerel, cheese, egg yolks (in small amounts), mushrooms and milk. Fortified foods (enriched by food manufacturers) include some brands of bread, orange juice, cereal, yogurt, soy beverages, etc.

The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Recommended intakes of vitamin D are based on the assumption of little sun exposure. On average, you only need 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per week. Skin exposed to sun through a window indoors does not produce vitamin D. Despite the benefits of vitamin D from the sun, is it critical to limit exposure of skin to sunlight, wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen with SPF to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

You can also take vitamin D supplements. The safe upper limit for Vitamin D is 1,000 to 1,500 IU/day for children 1-8 yrs old and 4,000 IU/day for children 9 years and older, including adults. You should not exceed these amounts. On average, the recommended amount of vitamin D is 600 IU per day. Just as a reference, I take 2,000.

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