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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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Sick Of It

athlete-fatigueDo you work out, eat well and take care of yourself yet often find you are sick or tired all the time?

Despite taking such good care of your body, if you are an avid exerciser and fitness enthusiast you can actually break down your immune system with overtraining. Many factors associated with overtraining compromise an athlete’s immune system. In fact, upper respiratory infections are actually very common in athletes.

This was a big topic during the training for my Nutrition Certification I just completed this past week. Let’s break it down.

What Happens?
When you exercise, there is an increase in stress hormones which leads to high inflammatory markers (bi-products of chronic stress). There is also a decrease in innate and acquired immunity.

Interesting Fact: 90 minutes after strenuous activity, your immunity is the lowest and you are more apt to get sick! It’s important to refrain from putting your hands near your mouth or eyes (the most susceptible areas of the body) post exercise & wash your hands immediately.

How Do I Keep The Sickness and Fatigue Away?

Protein is a key component to building immunity. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Your daily protein intake should be between 0.8-1.8 grams per 2.2 lbs. The high or low range depends on your activity level. An average adult needs about 0.8 – 1.2 g/2.2 lbs. where a strength athlete needs between 1.4-1.8 g/2.2 lbs.

Example: For a 150 pound active woman: divide 150 by 2.2lbs and multiply that number by about 1.2 grams of protein. Total = 82 grams of protein per day.

Vitamins and Minerals
There are several vitamins and minerals that work as anti-oxidants and help keep your immunity strong including Vitamin A, E, B6, B12, C and Folic Acid. Zinc and Iron are also important, but they should be ingested in moderation as too much can actually have the opposite effect and lower immunity. Most of these vitamins/minerals can be ingested in the food you eat: green leafy veggies, beans, eggs, dairy, lean meats, fruits and whole grains.

Ingest Carbs
Eating carbs post-exercise is said to help build your immune system and reduce stress hormones. We are not talking about eating a box of crackers or bag of pretzels – try to keep to “real” foods such as fruits, veggies and healthy grains.

Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical to helping your body function. Dehydration can be the main reason for fatigue. When you exercise, especially in hotter weather, it’s important to rehydrate 125-150% of fluid loss during exercise. Thirst is regulated in the brain. You are already very dehydrated when you even begin to feel thirsty.  You have to stay ahead of it.

I have professed my belief in probiotics for years – studies suggest probiotic and prebiotic ingestion in athletes reduces sick days.

Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. They are said to be great stress inhibitors and promote immunity. These can be found in foods like kale, hot peppers, onion, apples, etc. Here is a list of 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols.

As I preach to my clients all the time, adequate rest is crucial for an athlete’s recovery and keeps stress hormones low and repairs mental and physical function. Consistent sleep patterns and getting enough sleep to repair your body is crucial in keeping your immunity & performance levels high and stress hormones low.

And of course, keeping regular stress at bay is a big component. The more stressed you are, the lower your immunity levels and higher your fatigue. Your body may even start to hold onto some fat. The unfortunate result is when we are chronically stressed by life crises and work-life demands, we are prone to getting an extra layer of “visceral fat” deep in our bellies.

Nutrition is a big component of your day to day. It dictates everything – how your body responds to stress, your energy level and a strong immune system. Getting enough anti-oxidants, keeping stress levels in control and being able to replenish & repair your body are key to optimizing your health and energy levels.

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Drinking Your Greens

The explosion of green smoothies and juices is everywhere.  Within the last couple months, 3 new juice places have opened within one mile of my house and grocery stores and Starbucks are now selling pre-packaged juices.  Are they as good for you as they seem and what are the differences?  My friend, Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, wrote an excellent article that answers many of these questions and explains why we all should give green drinks a try.  We have posted a portion of her article below.  Read on to learn more.


I am often asked:  What’s the rage with Green Smoothies? 

This is a great question.  Many of my Healthy Eating Challengers still start off their days with a Green Smoothie – and here are a few reasons why!

Green Smoothies are:

1)  an easy way to get in more than 3 servings of vegetables

2)  easier to digest since the blender starts the digestion process for you by breaking  down the veggies’ cell walls.  This means your body can quickly assimilate the nutrients.

3)  a great vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant infusion to start the day.

4)  a nutrient dense powerhouse that can improve your immunity to colds, flus and other potential bugs.

5)  able to help alkalize our bodies which reduces our susceptibility to disease

6)  filled with dark leafy greens that have a lot of chlorophyll which delivers oxygen to our bodies that can increase our energy levels.

7)  able to help diminish cravings and reduce hunger as it is providing nourishment to your body.

8)  able to help you lose weight as you are adding in more vegetables and crowding out the less beneficial foods for your body!

Other related questions that I often receive are:

What’s the difference between juicing and blending (smoothies)?  And, is one better than the other?  And, does juicing increase my blood sugar?

Read the rest of the article at: http://tinyurl.com/pwr8w5h

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