Could You Benefit From an Elimination Diet?

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Are you experiencing adverse reactions such as acne, eczema, or digestive issues? An elimination diet may be a great way to discover the root cause of your problems.

During an elimination diet, the most common allergen foods are removed from your diet for 3-6 weeks. The body makes antibodies when it is reacting negatively to foods, so three weeks is the minimum time to be sure they have dissipated. Once the antibodies are gone, the foods can be gradually reintroduced every 3-4 days. In food sensitivities, reactions can be delayed up to 72 hours, so it’s very important that you give yourself time in between.

The elimination diet includes the following foods:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Peanuts
  • Processed/added sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Packaged/processed foods
  • Nightshades

After an elimination diet, you can expect to feel major improvements within your body and mind. The correlation between nutrition and disease is remarkable. Some common illnesses effected by diet include, but are not limited to:

  • autoimmune diseases
  • depression and anxiety
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • cognitive disorders
  • joint and muscle pain
  • fatigue and insomnia
  • learning disabilities
  • thyroid conditions
  • skin issues, including acne, eczema, and rosacea

Our bodies have amazing healing abilities and when provided with the proper nutrients we can thrive. Just as you wouldn’t fuel your car with soda, or feed your pet a bag of chips, we shouldn’t fill our bodies with substances it cannot breakdown and utilize properly.

Beginning any new lifestyle can be challenging, but one great way to keep yourself on track is to surround yourself with support. This could be family and friends, a community group, or a coach. Find people that are going to hold your hand through the journey, hold you accountable, and most of all, provide you with love, care, and compassion. Making change takes courage, perseverance, and hard work. But anything in life worth anything doesn’t come easy.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out. I would love to be a part of your support system. If we all take care of ourselves and each other, the world will be a much better place.

With love & gratitude,

Brittany

 

Weight, Bloat, & Skin Problems? I Have a Solution.

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As I sit here in my new favorite coffee shop, I am thinking a lot about my goals as a health coach. I explained in my last post what a health coach is, but while I am trained in all of those areas of coaching, my main focus is elimination diets and women’s nutrition.

I follow the belief system that there isn’t one diet and/or lifestyle suitable for everyone. As a coach, I will get to know you, your habits, and your preferences and together we will design a nutritional program customized for your unique needs and specific health goals.

I believe that the struggles we endure are insights into our life’s purpose. Struggling with food in my personal life started as a major frustration, but turned into my biggest passion. I want to share my story with you in hopes to inspire you, give you hope, and let you know that if you share in any of these feelings, you are not alone.

Throughout my late adolescence and into my early twenties, I struggled with disordered eating. Initially it was all about losing weight, but then it became more of a mind game. I loved the feeling of having power over my body and felt proud for being so “disciplined”. I thought I was in control, but in truth, my disorder took complete control over me. After years of treating my body poorly, filling it with artificial sweeteners, fat free and low fat garbage, counting calories, and eating just enough to keep my heart beating, I passed out off the toilet. This was my wake up call. I started to educate myself about whole foods, real foods, the importance of proper nutrition, and the relationship with food and wellness.

In the years to follow, I began another health journey. I was suffering from bloating, breakouts, IBS related symptoms, joint pain, and fatigue. I saw many doctors and all left me with same useless diagnosis. They said I had “IBS”, but provided me with no information regarding why I had it or what I could do to help myself. This is when I began to be my own best health advocate. I was discouraged by the professionals and new the one person who cared the most about me getting well was me. I began researching holistic ways of healing, and it always came back to the same thing – food. The quality, the source, the ingredients, and the food groups. To make a long story a little shorter, I discovered that I was intolerant/sensitive to dairy and gluten. When I cut these from my diet, my skin never looked better, and I had no more belly bloat, painful gas, and irregular bowels. I felt light, lively, and free for the first time in a long time.

After years of researching for my own wellbeing, I realized that I am not unique. Hundred of thousands of people suffer with discomfort on a regular basis and accept it as normal. I have something to tell you. While this may seem “normal” because so many people experience it, it certainly isn’t natural. You are meant to feel alive and nourished after you eat, not sluggish and in pain.

Now that you know my story, do you consistently suffer from acne, eczema, bloating, or IBS? Are you unhappy with your weight or do you often feel lethargic? By learning about your body and discovering your unique nutritional needs, you can get to the root cause of these symptoms and begin to feel comfortable in your skin from the inside out.

Everything comes back to what we eat. When we eat well for our bodies, we feel well in our bodies. Treat yours well and live the beautiful life you deserve.

With love & gratitude,

Brittany

 

P.S. For recipes, tips, and support follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

What’s a Health Coach?

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A few days ago I shared that I am a Holistic Health Coach. But, what is a health coach exactly? That’s a great question, so today I am here to explain.

Health coaches work with clients to support their individual health goals. As your health coach, I would assess your overall wellbeing and together we would address the areas of your health that require attention.

Health coaching is a growing field in the wellness community. Most people have heard of nutritionists and dietitians, but health coaches are different. Although my main focus is nutrition, health coaches also focus on non-food forms of nourishment, including your career, relationships, physical activity, and spirituality. These elements play a key role in our health and wellbeing. They can impact our stress, weight, mood, and energy levels.

If you are seeking more balance on and off your food plate, please visit my website and book a free consultation appointment. I look forward to our sessions together.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

What the Heck Should I Eat!?

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We are the only species on this earth that makes eating so complicated. All other life forms have a specific diet that they follow without ever getting together to talk about. Generally speaking, birds eat nuts and seeds, insects eat plants, and many animals eat plants and/or other animals. So what happened to us?

Our evolution and domestication has made the act of eating a very complex topic. There is controversy about whether or not humans should eat meat, dairy, and grains, how much protein, carbs, and fat we should consume – and wait a minute – do we need supplements?! In a world where information is always at our fingertips, in this area we have way too much of it. It’s no wonder why our nation is so confused and overwhelmed!

When thinking about what a person should consume, I like to go back to the basics. The food that comes from nature (plants and animals included) often times are not the problem. I believe the real problem lies in the decline of home cooked meals and an increase in convenience eating, packaged foods, frozen meals, fast food, and regularly taking out or dining in at restaurants. These types of meals will always contain more sugar, more salt, more processed/GMO ingredients, and more unhealthy fats than anything you would prepare at home.

Before starting a radically new approach to eating, I would like to encourage you to start small by introducing foods that you do not typically consume. Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN™, coined the term “crowding out” which focuses on inclusion rather than avoidance. By nature, humans do not like to be restricted. Have you ever noticed that day one of your new diet your body suddenly craves everything on the “do not eat” list? We are all children at heart that crave positive reinforcement over negative. Rather than cutting out bread, meat, dairy, or any other food groups, try to add a healthy one instead. By filling up your plate with more vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed real foods, you are automatically leaving less room for less desirable ones.

Using this approach, I think you may find that instead of always being on a “diet”, you will easily be able to adopt a new healthy way of living. For one, you will feel amazing and nothing beats that! But also, when you don’t restrict anything, you aren’t leaving room for yourself to “fall off the wagon” and find yourself on a binge happy downward spiral.

If you give this method a try I would love to hear your feedback. Leave me a comment here or head to my website and send me a message there.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

 

 

Open for Business!

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Hello there, sweet friend! I have an announcement to make. I just completed my mid-certificate at IIN™, which means my (metaphorical) doors are officially open to start my health coaching practice.

I am going to be honest with you. The idea of making myself known is terrifying and the little self doubting mean girl in my head likes to chime in and try to discourage me, but because this is my passion, I am going to be brave. I will trump my feelings of fear with feelings of excitement (after all, we cannot feel both at once!), and I will continue to tell myself that any failure I encounter will be a time for growth and reflection. I truly believe I have the tools, the heart, and the devotion to help my future clients reach their individual health goals.

I want to tell you a little bit more about myself to help you better understand what led me down this path as a health coach. Anyone can go to school and learn health and diet theories, but for a person to truly help and understand another, I believe they have to have “gone through it” in some capacity. They have to have experienced low points to appreciate high points, they have to have empathy regarding what it feels like to struggle, and they have to understand the fear and anxiety of starting from the bottom.

Hi, my name is Brittany. I am a wife, a mother, a child of divorce, the daughter of an alcoholic, and a recovered anorexic. I have struggled with abandonment, judgement, approval, relationships, food sensitivities, and all aspects of self-love and care. Although I am a health coach, I will always be a work in progress. I have come to realize that you do not have to have it all figured out in order to help other people. I will never speak from a pedestal because I do not believe anyone has that right. It’s the people who can admit they are still learning that we can benefit from the most.

My main goal is to serve women and assist them in achieving their nutritional and overall wellness needs. Career women, domestic women, mothers, those that are new to healthy living, and also the current healthy goddesses out there. No matter where we fall on the spectrum, I believe there is always room to better ourselves. My goal is not to make anyone strive for perfection, but to create the most balance possible within your way of living, enhance your quality of life, and keep you hungry for learning and growing within yourself.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this introduction. I am looking forward to the journey ahead and eager to meet you and hear your story. If you would like to inquire about beginning a coaching program with me, please head over to my website and schedule your free 3o minute consultation. There’s no better moment than the present.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

Is All Exercise Created Equal?

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I am a huge advocate for physical activity, and believe that moving our bodies daily has a tremendous impact on our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. But, as with diets, there are many different theories around exercise and the types we should be doing. From yoga to running, CrossFit to spinning, there are many opportunities, so which is best?

I approach exercise just as I approach eating. Everyone is different so individual preference, age, personality, and many other factors need to be considered. Ultimately, find something that you enjoy doing, that way you will be far more likely to make it a habit.

There are four categories of exercise. Try to find something from each category that feels right for you. Here are some examples:

  • aerobic/endurance – increases your heart rate, works cardiovascular system
    • running, walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, hiking, rowing
  • strength – increases lean muscle mass
    •  weight lifting, push ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, tricep dips, yoga
  • balance – improves ability to control your body’s position, find center of gravity
    • yoga, tai chi
  • flexibility – improves range of motion, stretches muscles
    • yoga, tai chi, stretching
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Aside from promoting heart health, losing weight, and toning up, exercise has many other great benefits. It can calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, create feelings of happiness, boost energy, and improve memory and thinking skills.

When considering what exercise will be best for you, think about your personality and your typical day to day activities. Are you always go, go, go, with a busy schedule and a restless mind? Perhaps yoga or tai chi would be a great option to help eliminate physical stress and promote relaxation. On the other hand, if you are often sedentary and have low energy throughout your day, something more energetic may be good for you, such as spin class, zumba, or brisk walking. The key is to find balance.  Too much energy in our days will eventually burn us out, and too little energy will facilitate the growth of disease in our bodies.

If you are a person living a sedentary lifestyle looking for ways to increase your mobility, there are ways to encourage yourself to keep on track. Many watches and fitness trackers are a great tool to track steps, count calories burned, and allow you to compete with friends/family if you are a driven competitor. It is recommended that people take around 10,000 steps per day, and trackers are a great way to give you an estimate of your progress. If you respond well to group training rather than going at it alone, perhaps you could get together with friends, family, neighbors, or members of the community for group walks and activities. Trying out state forests, parks, and local trails may be a fun way to start.

Be easy on yourself when adopting any new lifestyle. Moving even a little bit is better than not moving at all – and keep in mind that you don’t have to be pouring sweat and out of breath to have done wonders for your health and wellbeing.

 

With love,

Brittany

 

 

 

Finding Balance to Promote the Most Vitality

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I believe that life is meant to be a journey of growth and evolution for everyone who walks this earth. We are all students throughout the entire course of our lifetime, and even the greatest teachers are never done learning. We will never have all of the answers, but by seeking out truths within ourselves, and striving for balance in our lives, our time here in our physical bodies can be lived with the most vibrance possible.

I am currently a student at IIN (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition). I went back to school to become a health coach because deep in my soul I believe that helping others to achieve health and happiness is my calling. My passion and desire comes from wanting to achieve these things in my own life, and we teach what we’re meant to learn. Few people have a perfectly balanced life, but by being a guide to help others take a look at the big picture and uncover the origins of their symptoms, together we are getting closer to harmony.

At IIN, we are taught about The Circle of Life. This consists of 12 areas that effect your vitality. These areas include:

  1. joy
  2. spirituality
  3. creativity
  4. finances
  5. career
  6. education
  7. health
  8. physical activity
  9. home cooking
  10. home environment
  11. relationships
  12. social life

By looking closely at these aspects and rating them on a scale from unsatisfied to satisfied, you will be able to see where you need to focus a little more of your time and energy.

To live your best life, we must strive for balance within all of these areas, so I highly encourage everyone to check in with yourself often. It is important to make note of any symptoms you are currently feeling. After you’ve completed your scale, consider your symptoms and your areas of least satisfaction. Could they be related? Do you notice any patterns?

For example, a client of mine is often tired, has troubling focusing, has an irritable bowel, and frequent headaches. Looking at her circle of life diagram, I see she ranks joy, social life, relationships, and home environment the lowest. Is it possible that there is trouble within one or more of her relationships causing these symptoms? This exercise requires honesty with yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes we don’t notice our underlying causes until they’re written down and spelled out for us.

Once you’ve completed this exercise. take action on the areas that need to be addressed. Like anything, this will take time, dedication, and love for yourself. But remember, you are worth it. Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

Wishing you only love and happiness,

Brittany

“Reeses” Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Let’s be honest about something. Most store bought protein bars are glorified candy bars disguised as health food. They are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, highly processed, and some even contain unhealthy trans fats! Eating most protein bars is the equivalent to reaching for a snickers – and does that sound like a good weight loss or body building strategy? I think we can all agree – absolutely not.

With this knowledge, could there possibly be a way to enjoy a protein bar while not sacrificing taste or sabotaging our health goals? I am here to tell you, YES. The best way to achieve this is to make your own at home. This way, you can select the best ingredients, you will know exactly what you are consuming, they will be fresh, and will not contain any preservatives (anything on a store shelf contains some level of preservative ingredients). But, of course, always enjoy in moderation to reap the most health benefits.

I never want my family to feel deprived, but I also put our health at the top of my priorities. Finding ways to enjoy all food groups with my children will hopefully result in a healthy relationship with food and an understanding of what it means to care for ourselves from the inside out. I want to instill healthy ways of cooking, baking, and daily living in my children while they are young, because these early developmental years are crucial for establishing their habits and preferences as they grow into adulthood.

This recipe was inspired by my family’s love for sweet treats, my desire for convenience, and my constant quest for healthy alternatives. It has minimal ingredients and is super easy to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

 

To start, make the bottom layer.

Peanut butter Dough

Ingredients:

1 16 oz jar organic peanut butter (or any other nut/seed butter of choice)

¾ cup coconut flour

¼ cup raw stevia or 3 tsp stevia extract (I used powdered extract)

Method:

  1. Blend ingredients in a high speed blender
  2. Spread into a baking dish. (I used an 8×6.)
  3. Put in freezer to set while you make the chocolate.

 

Dark Chocolate 

Ingredients:

1 cup cacao butter

1 cup cacao powder

¼ cup raw stevia or 3 tsp stevia extract

1 tsp vanilla

(Note: this makes a bitter dark chocolate. Add more/less sweetener to your taste preference)

Method:

  1. In a double boiler, melt cacao butter.
  2. Add cacao powder and stevia. Mix well. Add vanilla.
  3. Remove pan from freezer, and gently pour chocolate over peanut butter evenly.
  4. Top with any extras you’d like – coconut, walnuts, fruit, cinnamon, etc.
  5. Place back in freezer until chocolate hardens.
  6. Cut into portion sized pieces and enjoy!

 

(I often enjoy mine broken up into pieces over a morning smoothie bowl. How will you enjoy yours?!)

 

Always remember, you have the power to take control of your health. Think of how your food is serving you. Thank you reading.

With love,

Brittany

The Greatest Gift You Can Give to Yourself

 

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I recently gave myself something that I desperately needed. Something I had been putting off for a while. With the encouragement and support of my husband, I gave myself the gift of time.

For me, this gift came in the form of a hiring a nanny. Our nanny provides me with some much needed weekday hours to myself, and enables my husband and me to get some time alone together as well.

I am a stay at home mom so wrapping my head around hiring a nanny seemed absolutely ludicrous at first. So many questions and judgements ran through my head at  – How much will this cost? Why do I deserve a nanny? Why can’t I manage this on my own? What will everyone think? Am I a bad mom? Will my kids be upset with me? But you know what? I put all of that aside. All of that noise in my head wasn’t reality. I have found that this decision has made me a better mom and a better person. I am more present, more patient, and softer with my children, and I know everyone will benefit from this choice in the end. The gift of time that I give to myself is ultimately the gift of more quality time for all of us when we are together. 

Before hiring our nanny I felt that my identity as an individual was long gone. I felt my only role was in the household – mom, caretaker, and wife. I absolutely love the role I play in my family, and I am extraordinarily grateful for it, but I need time for me.  I crave time to be creative, to learn, and to truly relax and recharge without distractions. Some of the things I do with my new found time are school work (I am studying Integrative Nutrition at IIN), podcasts, audiobooks, blog posts, quiet time to reflect, yoga, and the ability to get anything done that’s difficult to accomplish with two young children in tow.

These days we all wear many hats, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves to take those hats off. It’s so important to offer ourselves the time and space to take a deep breath, relax, and do things we love and things that simply make us feel good inside. If we don’t make our self care a priority, we will not have the opportunity to show up as our best selves. When we are run down, exhausted, or anxious, we (and the people around us) pay the price.

I think many of us have a tendency to view self care as selfish, but what is selfish about being kind to ourselves? There is a big difference between being self absorbed and having self love. Treat yourself like you would your child, your parents, or your best friend. Give yourself the advice you would offer them. Changing the vantage point will help remove all the judgements and fears getting in the way of taking care of yourself.

I wish we could all allow ourselves the gift of time. The world would be a much better place if we all took time to slow down, find our center, and focus on what really matters. For me, what really matters is my family. They deserve the best version of me possible, and each day I am taking steps toward that.

What will you do for yourself today?

Brittany

 

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Intentions for Year Thirty

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I turn thirty in a few weeks. For some, this number is scary, daunting, and depressing, but for me, I am truly excited and looking forward to this decade with an open mind and heart.

Many of my friends have already turned thirty, and instead of a eagerly looking forward to their special day, like they had done in the past, they completely dreaded it. When I observed this pattern, I decided that I was going to try to change their mindsets, while also reaffirming mine.

We recently celebrated three thirtieth birthdays at once, so I gave my friends an assignment to prepare beforehand. I asked them to write down their intentions for their thirtieth year, and we discussed our thoughts over dinner. I didn’t know who would actually do it, but to my surprise, everyone had something to say. The conversations that exercise sparked was really wonderful and eye-opening. It gave us insight into each other’s lives on a level we had never gone to before.

It’s so interesting what one question can unlock in a relationship. We learned so much about each other in minutes, and I gained a newfound appreciation for each of them in unique ways. Asking open ended questions and looking at a situation in a different light can makes all the difference. Saying, “I am turning thirty, my twenties are over, and I am getting so old” sounds so dispirited and sad, but saying, “I am turning 30! Here is a list of my intentions for my next decade and what I am going to accomplish” sounds so inspiring and optimistic.

Our minds are powerful and we cannot underestimate the abilities it has to impact our lives. We have the power to decide whether we will breed positivity and growth or fear and anxiety. We are not the result of our circumstances, but rather how we react. Growing old is inevitable, but many who reach a certain age start to focus on the negative instead on the positive, and in turn start looking backward instead of forward. Growing old needs to be celebrated more because the more years we are here, the more we learn to enjoy what life has to offer in more abundant ways.

I want to encourage everyone, no matter what your age, to come up with a list of intentions for your years ahead.

To get you inspired, here is mine:

  1. Take time to go outside and be in nature as much as I can
  2. Schedule phone calls with family and friends in my calendar and treat it as an important task
  3. Sing more
  4. Start creating content for my blog and stay focused on my end goal
  5. Just be me and put less pressure on myself in every day life
  6. Continue to make myself a priority, and schedule daily acts of self care
  7. Start morning pages and meditation to release anxiety and spark ideas
  8. Reduce social media usage
  9. If it’s not a “hell yes”, say no to invites
  10. Plan “Goddess” days with my favorite ladies to rejuvenate, inspire, and support each other  – I learned this term from Melissa Ambrosini 
  11. Stop judging myself and others
  12. Practice being more mentally present in my everyday actions and conversations
  13. Talk less, listen more
  14. Focus less on the future and more on the now
  15. Establish “no phone hours”  at home
  16. Stop caring how other people perceive me
  17. Avoid being defensive and try to understand alternate points of view
  18. Be kind to myself, especially in front of my girls

 

This is a lengthy list. It is in my nature to get excited about things and get carried away, but often times that leads to a loss of focus. While I listed many ideas, I am only working on a few at a time. I recommend starting with a few and growing it as you start to check off line items.

This is going to be a great! I hope you feel inspired and ready to make positive changes to improve your quality of life.

 

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Wish you health & happiness,

Brittany