Nutrition & Supplements

Gambling with Soy?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave (because you’ve taken the Paleo lifestyle literally) for the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard the latest on soy. It’s a “health” food that helps to protect women’s heart, bones, breast, plus reduces night sweats and hot flashes. Don’t believe the hype. Most of the research surrounding the benefits of soy for midlife women still warrants more investigation, as this research is in question now. What we know for sure is that all of the health benefits have been greatly exaggerated by the soy industry. So if it’s not good for us, just how deleterious is it? Here are a few key problems with soy:

  • Disrupts thyroid function. Soy contains goitrogens which impairs and depresses thyroid function, which makes it almost impossible to lose body fat.
  • Modern soy is overly processed. Most modern soy foods are highly processed. Typically, the more processed a food, the more it’s void of vital nutrients. Processed soy also contains “antinutrients”, like phytates, which block the absorption of minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.
  • It’s genetically engineered. Soy is one of the United States’ biggest cash crops. Why? Because large companies figured out how to genetically modify it to be resistant to poisonous herbicides. Farmers plant a ton of it and spray it down. Then it gets processed into animal feed or for human consumption. It is estimated that 90% of today’s soy crops are genetically modified.
  • Disrupts hormonal balance. The soy plant contains what’s known as phytoestrogens – which mimics estrogen, fooling our cells. For women, depending on how much you eat, soy can affect ovulation, cause weight gain and irritate the digestive tract. Although, phytoestrogens are being touted as beneficial for midlife women (by reducing night sweats, hot flashes), the evidence is not clear on whether soy is a positive or negative for women.

Now that you’ve heard some of the most well documented health concerns surrounding soy, it’s time for you to decided whether you can chance incorporating soy into your diet (or do more research for yourself). If you insist on soy, these are my top soy tips. On the occasion (please not daily), choose small amounts of organic, fermented soy (e.g. tempeh or miso). In addition, ask your OBGYN/functional medicine practitioner to order a full female hormone and thyroid panel (annually) for you.

Stay Smart, Strong and Sexy – XXX- Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

Good Sleep …A Step Closer to Perfect Hormonal Health!

Insomnia has reached epidemic proportions. It’s estimated to be the #1 health-related problem in America. More than 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night, and 51% of adults say they have problems sleeping at least a few nights each week. 43% of respondents report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their normal daytime activities.

These problems are getting worse, not better. The number of adults aged 20 to 44 using sleeping pills doubled from 2000 to 2004, and the number of kids ages 1-19 who take prescription sleep remedies jumped 85% during the same period. Prescriptions for sleeping pills topped 56 million in 2008 – up 54% from 2004 – with over $5 billion in sales in 2010.

Obviously we all know we need sleep to feel and look good, think clear, eat well, etc. So why don’t we do it? Or better yet, why doesn’t our body let us rest deeply? Let’s look deeper into this sleep subject. Starting with why sleep is important?

Long-term health depends on the regeneration that occurs during deep sleep. Growth hormone, or the “anti-aging” hormone, is secreted during sleep, which stimulates tissue regeneration, liver cleansing, muscle building, break down of fat stores and normalization of blood sugar. During sleep free radicals are scavenged in the brain, minimizing its aging. Many health problems are aggravated by inadequate sleep. Sleep gives us renewed vitality, a more positive outlook on life and energy with which we can become our full potential.

Here are some of the main symptoms of inadequate sleep:

You could experience drowsiness, fatigue, decreased concentration, impaired memory, reduced stress tolerance, mood changes, irritability, muscle tension, increased aging, changes in your body’s PH balance to more acidic, which increases health problems such as infections.

A basic but good protocol to improving the quality of your sleep would something like this:

1. Maintain consistent sleep and wake times. Do not push yourself to stay up past the initial signs of sleepiness. This can create epinephrine production, causing more difficulty getting to sleep later. It is good to have a “getting ready for bed” routine to relax and prepare your body for sleep. Avoid taking naps if you have trouble sleeping at night.

2. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only. Do not read, watch TV, eat, or worry in bed. Solve daily dilemmas outside of the bedroom. If you find that you’ve been lying awake in bed for 15-20 minutes, get out of bed. Do something mundane until you feel sleepy, and then go back to bed. Repeat this as often as needed.

3. Your sleeping environment should be quiet, cool and comfortable. The room should be clutter-free. Reduce the amount of ambient light as much as possible. Electronic devices such as clocks, stereos, TVs and computers generate electromagnetic fields that can disturb sleep for some people. Experiment with moving these into another room or using EMF shields. Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placement, can be valuable in creating an optimal sleeping environment.

4. Exercise regularly. Exercising during the day or early evening decreases the time it takes to get to sleep and increases the amount of deep sleep obtained. Most people do better avoiding exercise late in the evening.

5. Exposure to sunlight early in the morning and late in the afternoon or evening encourages a strong circadian rhythm. The hormone melatonin, which helps create a sleep state in the body, is suppressed in light and secreted in darkness.

6. If you have problems with waking during the early hours of the morning, have a small protein snack just before bed to ensure consistent blood sugar levels throughout the night. Consistently get exposure to sunlight as late in the day as possible.

7. Improving overall health will improve the quality of your sleep. Work towards improving or eliminating health problems. Treatment modalities such as massage, acupuncture or cranial sacral will help to relax the body. Effective stressmanagement is essential.

Things to relax the body to prepare for sleep:

• Warm baths, adding Epsom salts (4cups per bath) and/or lavender oil enhance the benefit.
• Meditating for 5-30 minutes
• Progressive muscle relaxation (the process of contracting and then relaxing each
area of the body in succession) is extremely helpful.
• Any other means of inducing the “relaxation response”. Including meditation,
breathing practices, orgasm and relaxation visualization can be a wonderful part of a nightly ritual to enhance sleep given their ability to increase the relaxation response.
• Special acoustic recordings that increase specific brain wave patterns for relaxation and sleep are available and helpful.
• Botanicals treatments and aromatherapy using herbs and their essential oils (examples include chamomile, valerian, vervain (verbena), hops, lavender, passionflower, avena (oat straw), lemon balm and scutellaria (skull cap). Consult your physician for dosages and recommendations. Two of my favorite over the counter teas are Bedtime Tea by Yogi brands (2-4 bags in 8-12oz water) and Honey Chamomile by Tulsi brands (1-2 bags in 8-12oz water)
• Magnesium glycinate at 300mg 30 minutes before bed, can be very relaxing.

Sleep Interference:

• Although alcohol may make you fall asleep, the sleep obtained after drinking is fragmented and light. Avoid alcohol to enhance the quality of your sleep.
• The stimulating effects of caffeine may last up to 10 or more hours in some people. Avoid it in the afternoon if getting to sleep is a problem. Caffeine is present in coffee, green tea, black tea, chocolate and some medications (pain relievers, decongestants, thermogenic weight loss products, energy supplements, etc.)
• The stimulating effects of nicotine (first- or second-hand smoke) can last several
• Sleeping pills, aside from being highly addictive and full of side effects, decrease
the amount of time spent in deep sleep and only increase light sleep.
• B-vitamin supplements can increase energy that keeps some people awake, if
taken before bed. Take B-vitamins earlier in the day.
• Low blood sugar at night can increase the likelihood of stress hormone
production. Experiment with starchy carbohydrate timing at the last meal.
• To aid falling asleep a good rule of thumb is to eat closer to bed and eat more
slowly digesting carbohydrates at night (e.g. high fiber veggies/fruit) and add
fat to these meals (e.g. almond butter)
• To aid staying asleep eat closer to bed and make sure you eat more protein at your
last meal.
• If you wake in the middle of the night, a small snack or carbohydrate and fat can
aid returning to sleep (i.e. spoonful of nut butter and half a apple).

Finally, what I recommend to all of my patients with sleep issues – and what I use myself – is a breathing and gentle movement exercises during the day which help us relax and promote a good night’s sleep. The premise behind this, is that the most important factor in getting a good night’s sleep is managing stress during the day.

Most of us run around like chickens with their heads cut off all day, and then wonder why we can’t fall right asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow. If our nervous system has been in overdrive for 16 hours, it’s unrealistic to assume that it can switch into low gear in a matter of minutes simply because we want it to. Of course this is why sleeping pills are growing in popularity each year.

This technique and the tips above have helped me and my patients find ways to get the most of our time in bed. Sleep well my friends!

xoxo – Amber 😉

1. Clinical practice of Dr. Jade Teta, Keoni Teta and Jillian Sarno Teta.
2. Dement MD PhD, William. The Promise of Sleep. 1999. Dell Publishing. New
York, NY.
3. Jacobs PhD, Gregg. Say Goodnight to Insomnia. 1998. Henry Holt and Company.
New York, NY.
4. Ross DC, Herbert, Brenner Lac, Keri and Goldberg, Burton. Sleep Disorders., Tiburon

Nutrition & Supplements

Red Meat, Butter and Vino, and Staying Lean?

Hope you all are having a fabulous week 🙂
I write a lot about implementing balance with our eating, and many of you resonate with that. But I think for some, there exists a small crumpet of doubt when we hear words like “moderation”, “reduction” and “treats.” We don’t like these words.

They are kiiiiiiind of not hardcore enough. They are a little wimpy. And they don’t really get results, do they? You might now be thinkin…what?? “I can eat my cheese, drink some wine and stay lean, seriously??”

Hee hee. Well, I get that. And I have poo-poo’ed the idea of moderation for a long time. I thought it was for Grandma and for those who had no willpower or who weren’t tough enough to hack the hard stuff. And agreeably, that’s actually not untrue … except for the fact that willpower and discipline eventually give out, and when they do, most of us end up binge eating like crazy. Im sooo guilty of this…
So in a way, throwing ourselves a few nutritional bones (…chocolate bones for me) ahead of time might actually make us more compliant in the long run, which (surprise!) DOES lead to overall sustainable leanness. Go figure! 🙂

In a previous blog, I talked about what I call Controlled Cheating -my strategies to keep indulgences sane. I break down tactics I use to feel less deprived overall and because of that, am less likely to binge, especially around my period (sorry guys, I had to bring this up). I sincerely believe strategic nutritional concessions can actually boost long-term compliance.

HOWEVER … this is where Skeptical Sally comes in. It’s all fine and well to indulge in small cheats here and there, but does that really get results???

I took the shot below (unfiltered) this week, the morning after dining out on the following meal: bison burgers, avocado slices, asparagus cooked in butter and 2 glasses of wine. No bread, no dessert, no extra starch. But yes, red meat, butter and vino. Is it competition-clean? No. But will it make me feel satisfied and satiated to the point that I don’t need anything else? Absolutely.


Everyone will be different, obviously. And it has taken me close to SIX YEARS to begin to master the moderate approach. But honestly, I do think less about what I am going to eat. I try to eat to feel satisfied and limit stressing about it. I don’t want to get anxious if I don’t have my Tupperwares and ‘safe’ foods with me. I TRUST that I can make the best choice possible wherever I end up, even if, yes, it is veggies dowsed in butter 🙂

I’d love to hear where you’re at with this stuff. Are you still caught up in the “all-or-nothing” crash dieting approach, where you are EITHER on a strict diet OR you are eating everything in sight?

I’m not judging … I did that for years. But mastering moderation takes a leap of faith, a willingness to try a new way and then struggle your way through it. It’s rewarding and liberating and awesome. But it starts with YOU letting go of the illusion of control you think you have over your eating. Deprive-then-binge is not a fun way to live. It’s obsessive and controlling and a nutritional prison (not to mention an emotional one).
So what do you say? Gonna take steps toward the middle? Hit the comment button and send me a sentence or two on your own process!
Stay Strong – Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

For the Love of My GUT

One of my favorite things to do is to experiment with my own health…in a positive, healthy way for the last 8 years. I would and never do recommend anything to clients or friends and family, unless I’ve research and tried on myself a certain health claim or product, ie. my N=1 experiments. We all hear about natural, organic, supplements that claim to make us super strong, smart, healthier, resistant to diseases or sexy, but do they work? Well that is up to us trying them out for ourselves. So, Im writing today about my latest personal health experiment. Today, Im talking about my love for my gut and how it has grown to become an “obsession” for me to maintain a healthy one with a real food diet (consisting of meats, real, unadulterated fats, colorful veggies and small amounts of fruit) and adding beneficial yeast and bacteria (ie probiotics) in the form of an ancient tea called Kombucha (a tea made with yeast and bacteria and some type of flavoring in the form of fruit, herbs, spices). My obsession with a healthy gut began years ago when I was researching on how our gut integrity and health play a major role in so many different aspect of our immunity, overall mental and physical health, wellbeing, and happiness. As of today, this has now become a full-on health and small business pursuit. So…about 4 month ago, while experiencing severe bouts of morning nausea (no my friends….Im not announcing that Im prego), I had a good friend recommend that I try G.T.’s Kombucha, Gingeraid flavor. From the first sip, I was addicted. If you don’t know what Kombucha is, this brief explanation is for you.
Kombucha is a ancient Chinese tea concoction made from a symbiotic, culture of live bacteria and yeast (ie. SCOBY-probiotics) which promotes healthy guts, skin, immune system, helps with hangovers, energy (stocked with B vitamins) and helps us digest food a bit better….and one thing is for sure, it’s becoming all the rage among the health-seeking crowd.

After I got over the initial vinegar-like smell, and the fact that I’d never tasted a tea or any other drink just like it, I began to experience subtle levels of benefits, almost immediately. My nausea went away, and within a 24 hours I had a successful poop, along with a few spurts of stinky gas. Totally, normal when you introduce a ton of health gut bugs into your GI track in order to restore it. 😉 Sorry, but I’m just being totally honest. Another thing I’ll be honest about is the fact that I just couldn’t drink one bottle and never return. I ended up buying another GT’s a couple days later….as the first bottle lasted me 2 days.

This gets me into the cost issue with drinking this wonder tea. If you don’t know anything about raw probiotic drink cost, let me tell you, they are expensive. It can cost as much as $5 per bottle. They average around $4 in organic speciality markets in NE Ohio. Not a whole pay check, but definitely a luxury item if drank daily. So, this year, my friend Debbie Nespeca and I began our very own Kombuchery (Kombucha Brewery). It all began by us wanting to have our own stash in the refrigerator at a lot less costs, with similar great flavors, but a more potent, non-pasteurized raw version. After sharing our drink with friends, and hearing great feedback, we decided to help afford them and everyone else the opportunity to enjoy and experience Kombucha. Below is a photo of one of our many beautiful SCOBYs.

One of our many beautiful SCOBYs we use to brew our home Kombucha Tea
One of our many beautiful SCOBYs we use to brew our home Kombucha Tea

We plan to release and supply an affordable, great tasting, raw probiotic tea, name brand called, Kombucha “For Life” with our local Youngstown, OH markets and restaurants starting in June 2014. We strongly believe in local commerce and see this whole venture as the best way to reduce our carbon footprint. So us girls are going to work.

We may have started with one SCOBY and a gallon of tea a week, but now after a few months in, and before we knew it, we are producing 4 at a time in Debbie’s kitchen.

About the flavor this gallon into single bottles with organic apples, grapefruit, lemon and ginger.
About to flavor this gallon into single bottles with organic apples, grapefruit, lemon and ginger.

Next up….another room full of tea and SCOBYs. 🙂 Check back here to get ordering and purchasing information in late Spring 2014. Can’t wait to share our love for our guts with each and every one of you.

In good gut health,

xo, Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

Steps to Prevent Thanksgiving Food Comas

Well, it’s Thanksgiving in the states tomorrow, and if you’re like me, you’re already pseudo-stressing about how you’ll manage “the big meal” Thursday.

You give yourself a mental pep talk: “I will only eat turkey and vegetables.” You repeat the mantra: “I don’t need dessert to feel satisfied.” You reinforce your goals: “I don’t want to be a whale on January 1st.”

I get it. Me too! And good for you! But if only managing reality was not as easy as what we imagine in our heads.

SO. For you, I’ve put together a list of the actual steps I use for navigating any big meal. These are guidelines that I use for all holiday events and parties, and hopefully they can help you enjoy yourself, while also not adding inches to your waistline:

1) I do drink alcohol, but keep a 2-drink-max rule. I also only let myself drink red wine, Nor-Cal Margaritas (tequila/soda/salted rim and fresh lime) or vodka/soda with lime please.

2) I don’t eat starch or sugar. Period. This is a hard & fast rule for me. I don’t eat “real” desserts; instead I make and BRING my own healthy, low-carb version (i.e. “dessert defense”). I don’t eat bread, potatoes, cranberry sauce (unless it is real cranberries reduced down with fresh oranges, balsamic vinegar and stevia), rolls, crackers, etc. Besides, I’d rather drink alcohol than eat starch–and this, too, is a good rule of thumb. If you’re doing booze, you’ll need to curtail the starch.

The last time I was in a Thanksgiving food coma, I felt and looked something like this…


3) I let myself eat as much fat, protein and fibrous veggies as I want. This includes butter and sauces on veggies, cheesy broccoli, cheese plates, (if I want to risk having a bit of intestinal discomfort from the lactose), fatty dark meat, etc. I don’t stress too much about fat (even saturated) because these foods make me feel more satisfied so I don’t need as much and I don’t reach for the sugary stuff (also I don’t feel deprived because I get to eat fat). If I want seconds, I usually add more protein to my plate.

4) I drink water like it’s my job, and I always drink AT LEAST 1 liter after the meal, before bed. With lots of extra sodium and alcohol, I always want to prevent water retention as much as possible. And one way is to drink more water. The fastest way to start SHEDDING water is to drink more of it. Sure, I might get up a few times to pee during the night, but that’s preferable, because it’s proof I am not retaining water.

5) I do an intense weight-training workout the day of the meal. I usually do a leg workout, or if not, I’ll do a full-body workout. The idea is to get as many muscles involved as possible and lift heavy to the point of failure. It is also to use the extra cals at the meal to push muscle building, not fat storage. Muscles are primed for growth in the hours immediately post-workout so I lift heavy & hard to ready them up.

My goal is to feel satisfied, but not blow it.

See what you think. Perhaps, try one or two of them, adjusting as needed. And remember, food will always be there, so the urgency of needing to try everything at this very meal loses its impact. My mantra: “I will not gobble til I wobble, but enjoy fellowship with family and friends.” 🙂

No stress! Do your best! You are always one meal away from being back in fat burning mode, so maintain perspective and don’t let your Thanksgiving meal turn into a weekend-long binge fest.

You’re amazing, never think otherwise.

Stay Strong, Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

Can Alcohol Fit Into My Healthy Lifestyle?

A cave man real food (and drink) diet doesn’t forbid us of alcohol. The key to successfully imbibing alcohol while living healthy is choosing the right adult beverages and consuming them in a responsible, intentional way. There’s an appropriate time to enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol to unwind or to celebrate. Aside from the positive aspects of socializing, some types of alcohol are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and they may also reduce the risk of infection with the bacteria that causes ulcers.

Here are a few key factors to help you decide whether you should pop a cork:

1. Alcohol is a toxin to the liver.

2. Alcohol is a drug, which means it’s addictive.

3. If losing weight is your goal, remember that your liver can’t help you with fat burning if it’s busy detoxifying alcohol.

Before you pour yourself a glass of something intoxicating, consider your health goals and overall eating habits, and then make smart choices about which type of alcohol you drink.

Steer clear of grain-based drinks that can also include gluten, such as the following:

  • Beer
  • Bourbon
  • Gin (some brands are processed with grain-based alcohol)
  • Grain-based vodka
  • Whiskey

To celebrate on special occasions, feel free to choose one of these:

  • Potato vodka
  • Red wine
  • Rum
  • Sparkling wine
  • Tequila
  • White wine

 alcohol and healthy lifestyle

To manage your body’s insulin response to the sugars found in alcohol, mix spirits, like tequila or vodka, with soda water, ice, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Avoid fruit juices, which are liquid sugar; and avoid tonic water, which is also high in sugar.

When uncorking wine, choose the driest (least sweet) wines possible. The driest reds include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot; the driest whites are Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors occasionally let their hair down when they were exposed to alcohol by eating fermented grapes. But they didn’t sit around the fire doing shots. You can’t maintain a high level of health if you drink alcohol frequently or in large quantities. The pleasant buzz that alcohol provides also places stress on your liver, creates a strong insulin response, and dehydrates your cells. Enjoy your cocktails in moderation.

Stay Strong!  Amber, XXXX 🙂

Hormonal Harmony Nutrition & Supplements

My Biggest Challenge Eating Real Food

Today I ask myself a tough question that I often ask my clients after they complete a 30 Day “Whole You” program.

What has been my biggest challenge eating a real food diet, and how did I overcome it?

There was a time when I had this nagging feeling that I needed to be “lean,” with a very low body fat percentage, to truly epitomize a real food diet “success”. I finally realized that health is the REAL truth-teller, and the body must be loved and appreciated for wherever real health brings it. There was nothing to be gained from giving old food neuroses a new disguise; or from allowing old insecurities to manifest themselves over and over again through different types of food. I had to forgive myself all those mistakes! I’m grateful to have come through that internal battle, because it has shifted my perspective entirely and allowed me to appreciate my body and my food in ways I never thought possible. But it wasn’t an easy mind-set to relinquish.

A Favorite, Quick, Real Food Lunch!

I would love to hear what challenges you have faced eating a real, whole food diet (paleo or primal diets). Please comment below to share your experiences with others and me. Thanks! 🙂
xxx, Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

Advice For Those Wanting Extreme Leanness

If you want to get extremely lean, that’s cool. Just make sure you realize that it will be difficult and it might not be the healthiest thing for your body long-term. If you do want to achieve this level of leanness, make sure you:

1. Do your research and find a great coach who will listen to your wants and needs.

2. Are being honest about your priorities. Whether you prioritize getting lean, being healthy, or achieving a high level of performance, this will help mentally prepare you for any consequences (goor or bad) of what you’re doing.

3. Recognize what you’re truly looking for. If you think being extremely lean will bring you happiness/respect/self-esteem/a significant other, you’ll be extremely lean and sorely disappointed.

4. Aren’t afraid to ask your coach questions. If they try to intimidate you or don’t listen to you, don’t be afraid to fire them. They work for you.

5. Don’t do/take anything that makes you uncomfortable. Listen to your body. It knows best.

Finally, please remember, this is your life and it’s your decision. If it’s something that you want to do, more power to you. But please, please, please take the advice of the people who have been there and done that.

Nutrition & Supplements

What is a Real Food Diet?

What is a 30-Day REAL Food Diet?

Basically it is a 30-day real food diet is designed to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, strengthen metabolism, identify food sensitivities, reduce allergic reactions, boost energy, regulate blood sugar and normalize weight, by eliminating certain suspect foods. Food is powerful medicine. No other therapy – natural or otherwise – can come even remotely close to accomplishing all of these goals.
It’s essential that you commit to making these changes for at least 30 days – without cheating. By removing the foods that most commonly cause problems, you allow your body to rest and recover from whatever symptoms those foods have been provoking. Just one cheat could trigger a whole new cascade of reactions. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
After the program, you may be able to re-introduce some of the foods on the “avoid completely” list, such as dairy (especially cream, butter, yogurt and kefir), white potatoes, white rice, alcohol (in moderation), white rice and buckwheat. But for now, it’s best to eliminate these foods to see if they’re causing problems.

What Foods Can I Eat?

Stuff to Eat liberally:
• Meat and poultry. Emphasize beef and lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, duck and wild game like venison, ostrich, etc. Organic and free-range is always preferable, but is especially so during this program.
• Organ meats (especially liver). Liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. If you don’t like the taste of liver, one good trick is to put one chicken liver in each cube of an ice cube tray and freeze them. Then, when you’re making any meat dish, dice up one chicken liver and add it to the meat.
• Bone broth soups. It’s essential to balance your intake of muscle meats and organ meats with homemade bone broths. Bone broths are rich in glycine, and amino acid found in collagen, which is a protein important in maintaining a healthy gut lining.
• Fish. Especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. Wild is preferable. You need to eat three 6 oz. servings of fatty fish per week to balance your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
• Eggs. Preferably free-range and organic.
• Starchy tubers. Yams, sweet potatoes, yucca/manioc, taro, lotus root, etc.
• Non-starchy vegetables. Cooked and raw.
• Healthy fats. Ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, palm oil, lard, duck fat, tallow and olive oil.
• Olives, avocados and coconuts (including coconut milk). Canned or packaged coconut milk is a good choice for most people. However, if you have digestive issues, you may be sensitive to the guar gum used in these products.
• Sea salt and spices.

Stuff to Eat in moderation:

• Processed meat. Sausage, bacon and jerky. Make sure they are gluten, sugar and soy free and organic/free-range meat is preferable.
• Whole fruit. Approximately 1-3 servings per day, depending on your blood sugar balance and weight loss goals (if you have high blood sugar or want to lose weight, aim for the lower end of that scale). Favor low sugar fruits like berries and peaches over tropical fruits, apples & pears.
• Nuts and seeds. A maximum of a small handful per day, preferably soaked overnight and dehydrated or roasted at low temperature (150 degrees) to improve digestibility. Favor nuts lower in omega-6, like hazelnuts and macadamias, and minimize nuts high in omega-6, like brazil nuts and almonds.
• Green beans, sugar peas and snap peas. Though technically legumes, they are usually well tolerated.
• Coffee and black tea. Black, or with coconut milk. Only if you don’t suffer from fatigue, insomnia or hypoglycemia, and only before 12:00 PM. Limit to one cup (not one triple expresso – one cup).
• Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is especially well tolerated.
• Restaurant food. The main problem with eating out is that restaurants cook with industrial seed oils, which wreak havoc on the body and cause serious inflammation. You don’t need to become a cave dweller, but it’s best to limit eating out as much as possible during this initial period.
Avoid completely:
• Dairy. Including butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, cream & any dairy product that comes from a cow, goat or sheep.
• Grains. Including bread, rice, cereal, oats, or any gluten-free pseudo grains like sorghum, teff, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.
• Legumes. Including beans of all kinds (soy, black, kidney, pinto, etc.), peas, lentils and peanuts.
• Concentrated sweeteners, real or artificial. Including sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.
eration:• Processed or refined foods. As a general rule, if it comes in a bag or a box, don’t eat it. This also includes highly processed “health foods” like protein powder, energy bars, dairy-free creamers, etc.
• Sodas and diet sodas.
• Alcohol. In any form.
• White potatoes. White potatoes are in the nightshade family and can cause inflammation in certain people. Yams and sweet potatoes are not nightshades and don’t have this effect.
Processed sauces and seasonings. Soy sauce, tamari, and other processed seasonings and sauces (which often have sugar, soy, gluten, or all of the above)

How Do I Do All of This?

I recognize this will be a dramatic change for many of you. The best way to do it is to just dive right in. Begin right now. If you procrastinate or delay, it just gets harder.

When Will I See Results?
The first few days can be hard. Your body will be going through withdrawal. Sugar and wheat in particular are addictive and you may notice symptoms like mood swings, strong cravings, irritability and fatigue as your body adjusts to life without them.
But at some point you will recover and start feeling better than you did before you began the program. Your energy will improve, your skin will clear up, your digestion will smooth out, your sleep will get deeper, your moods will stabilize and you’ll start shedding some pounds (only if you need to, usually). Aches, pains and mysterious symptoms you’ve had for ages will – seemingly miraculously – begin to improve.
This program has the potential to change your life. I realize that it’s difficult, I know how much work it is, and I remember what it was like to cut out all of these foods. I’ve been there myself. But I also know from my own experience and from supervising many people through this transition that the results are worth the effort.

What Are Some Common Pitfalls?

• Cheating. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. One piece of bread or one glass of milk could re-start the inflammatory process and throw your body back into the chaos that led you to this in the first place. If you can stick this initial period out, it will get easier. I promise you. At some point you won’t even miss those foods you think you can’t live without.
• Fat phobia. The biggest mistake people make on this program is not eating enough fat. You’re eliminating a lot of foods from your diet (bread, grains, beans, etc.), and you have to replace those calories with something. Healthy fat is that something. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Food toxins like wheat, fructose and seed oils make you fat. Fat is the preferred fuel source of the body, and should constitute about 60-70% of calories.
• Obsessing. Try to relax into this as much as possible. Don’t overanalyze what you’re eating. Enjoy your food. Make cooking fun and leave time to savor your creations. Find some recipes that look good. You’ve got real, delicious, nutrient-dense foods to choose from. Trust me, it could be worse.
• Lack of planning. If you know you’re going out to dinner with some friends this weekend, choose a place that can accommodate your needs. Call ahead and ask if they have gluten-free items on the menu. Pick a place that has meat and vegetable dishes, and order a salad on the side. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re starving because you haven’t planned in advance, and then eat a bagel with cream cheese because that’s all that’s available. If you’re going on a road trip, stock up on paleo-friendly snacks. This is all possible, but it does require some planning and foresight.
• Lack of support. No man (or woman) is an island. Making big changes is hard, and the more support you have in doing this, the easier it will go. See if you can enlist your spouse, significant other or a good friend to do this with you. (They may not be eager to join, but they’ll thank you later.) Have a “real food pot luck”. Invite friends over to cook with you. Connect with others online following this approach. Ask questions. Get help here by signing up for my “Whole You” 30 Day Program.

Nutrition & Supplements

My Favorite Way to Shake things Up!

There are few things in life that I enjoy more than a post-workout recovery shake to leave me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! I am also known to have a bit of a sweet tooth and protein shake/smoothies hit the spot every single time. There are countless ways to make shakes and I love to mix it up and keep things interesting using new recipes and ingredients.
For most people whey protein is a great source of protein post-workout because of the body’s unique ability to quickly digest it and rebuild and repair muscle tissue. For some people with intolerance to dairy egg-white, pea or rice protein powders are better choices. Any of these can be used in the below concoctions. The optimum time to eat more higher glycemic index and continue living the fat-loss lifestyle is within 30 minutes of an intense weight training workout. Some of the below recipes include fruits like bananas, oranges and peaches that are not recommended for regular consumption when focusing on fat loss. When eaten immediately post workout and combined with a good source of protein these fruits aid in the recovery process and protein absorption and can actually help the body to build muscle and burn fat.

My favorite shake right now is the Strawberry Milkshake, but all of these are so tasty and can be made in less than 5 minutes with any blender. Enjoy! ox Amber

1) Peanut Butter Banana
1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein
8 oz Unsweetened Vanilla or plain almond milk
½ banana
2 tbsp. Natural Peanut butter or Almond Butter
1 tbsp. cocoa powder (optional)
Stevia/other sugar substitute to taste
Add ice and blend to desired consistency.

2) Pumpkin Pie
1 scoop vanilla protein
½ cup Organic Canned Pumpkin
8 0z unsweetened Vanilla or plain Almond Milk
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/8 tsp. Vanilla extract
Stevia/Other Sugar Substitute to taste
Add ice and blend to desired consistency

3) Orange Crush
1 scoop Vanilla Protein
1 small orange
8 oz Unsweetened Vanilla or plain Almond milk
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar free vanilla pudding mix (optional)
Add ice and blend to desired consistency

4) Strawberry Milkshake
1 scoop Vanilla Protein
¾ cup frozen strawberries (or any other berry)
8 oz unsweetened plain almond milk
2 tbsp sugar free vanilla pudding mix
Stevia/other sugar substitute to taste
Cinnamon (as desired)
Add ice and blend to desired consistency

5) Peaches and Crème
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
8 oz unsweetened Vanilla or plain Almond milk
1 small peach (pitted and sliced)
2 tbsp. sugar free vanilla pudding mix
Stevia/other sugar substitute to taste
Cinnamon as desired
Add ice and blend to desired consistency