Guzzle

Hello Friends, this is a post that I wrote some time ago… but with the summer approaching, I felt it was good to share it again. Below is a post all about water and why it is important to be drinking enough of this miracle liquid. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you don’t mind me post this again.

Everyday I'm Guzzling

Water…. where do we even begin?

– Our bodies are about 60% water (source). With out adequate water, function cannot happen at the proper rate, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • lungs are 90%
  • blood is 80%
  • brain is 70%

– We lose water when we urinate, sweat and even breath (source).

– When we lose water we also lose vital minerals and/or electrolytes (source).

– Although we can get some of our water intake through other beverages, some of the chemical aspects of substances in those beverages can actually be dehydrating (alcohol, sugar, caffeine). Thus these drinks often cancel out the water intake considered from those beverages (source).

– Illness also factors into our water intake needs as symptoms can often dehydrate us as well as the fact that extra water is often needed for immunity efficiency (source).

– Adequate water intake increases your metabolism as well as decreases calorie consumption (source).

It’s vital for our health and we already know that, but let’s be honest… it’s a touchy subject. Some people tell you to drink 8 glasses a day while others hand out a formula that includes your weight to get the answer. Whether your only water comes through the form of fizzy drinks or you are throwing back 100 oz. a day, water is vital to us.

Stressed? Drink more water.

Tired? Drink more water.

Retaining water? Drink more water.

Trying to lose weight? DRINK. MORE. WATER.

When people ask me how much water they should drink, my heart felt response is to drink so much water that you crave water tomorrow. I don’t give out numbers, because well I think they are crap.

Please forgive me dear math for speaking so negatively about you…. I love, I always have and always will but sometimes you get in the way of people living healthy. Think, the number on the scale, the whole calories conversation and now water intake.

I’ve had enough of the numbers game and I am suggesting that today we all drink water… so much water that you think you may get “in trouble” by your boss for going to the bathroom too much. Then tomorrow wake up and ask yourself, “Am I thirsty?”. If the answer is yes, then drink as much water tomorrow as you did today. If the answer is no, well drink more water!

Some days, I drink 150 oz. of water without thinking twice. Generally speaking, those are days I do a lot of running/sweating, this may also have to do with caffeine intake, hormone levels and even the previous night’s sleep. All of those same factors are often the reason if I only drink, oh… let’s 80 oz. of water one day.

Do you know why it’s OK that my water intake fluctuates in that way? Because every day I drink plenty of water, and I drink it until I am no longer thirsty. My body fluctuates, and it is not a constant therefore my water intake isn’t a constant.

I do think it is important to monitor your water intake and make sure that it is somewhat suitable for your weight. By this I mean that a 200lb. adult man should not be drinking 25 oz. a day and think that is acceptable. The 5 year old I take care of drinks more than 25 oz. of water a day so you should to! Therefore, I can appreciate the formula and 8 glasses golden rule that so many people “swear” by. However we should all be going a step further, listening to our bodies, paying attention and thinking for ourselves.

So dear friends, I leave you with this today… go drink water. Get up where ever you may be and go get a bottle/glass or whatever other method you would like to use and fill it with water. Drink it. Guzzle it. Sip it. Just drink it! And when you are done, go get more. Keep getting more until tomorrow morning. Allow your body to have so much of this beautiful thing that you crave it tomorrow. If you crave water, drink water. Before you know it, you will be drinking water based on your bodies need for it! Who would have thought that maybe our body knows how much water it needs. Amazing isn’t it!

Please note that these instructions are NOT for those who drink enough water currently. Instead it is for people who drink soda every day and enjoy multiple cups of coffee. If you are drinking your far share of water, which can be somewhat checked by the formula and/or 8 glasses rule, continue drinking water and feel free to disregard this post.

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Julie’s Story

 Today I want to introduce my dear friend Julie to you. She has been in my life since I was about 16 and we have developed a friendship over the years that I am extremely thankful for. She has recently been on a bit of a health journey and I asked her if she would share with all of us what it is she has done to regain her health lately.

Everyone, meet Julie!

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Julie

Body image and being overweight has been an issue for most of my life. I can recall beginning to feel self-conscious of my weight in middle school and I struggled with my weight ever since. I am your typical, notorious “yo-yo” dieter. I grow extremely motivated, commit fully until I reached my goal and then I would gain all the weight back.

When I grew tired of the extra weight I would find another quick fix, and another, and the cycle repeated continuously.   I tried weight watchers, counting calories, food journaling, paleo diet, my-fitness pal app, but could never stay consistent with the programs. I could tell that my eating habits were effecting my mood, my skin and hair, my digestive system, my sleep and really my overall health. I decided in early February to put a stop to the “yo-yo” dieting and try a program called Advocare 24 Day Challenge.

This program intrigued me because it was a combination of a cleanse along with allowing your body to absorb maximum nutrients while training your body to eat properly. I loved the program because it incorporated a schedule to follow and what categories of foods to choose from. I am an extremely structured individual, so I was able to follow the program effortlessly. I eliminated sugar, coffee, sodium, red meat, processed foods and dairy out of my diet. I strictly only consumed complex carbs, proteins, fruits and vegetables.

I taught my body how to eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals. I began looking at food as fuel, instead of a treat. I also drank 80-120 ounces of water daily. I immediately noticed a change in my mood, my sleep, my skin and my digestive system. I began to learn my body’s negative reaction to certain foods. By not consuming foods containing sugar or gluten I felt less bloated and sluggish. I also became increasingly aware of my sensitivity to dairy products.

By eating from the recommended food groups, eating every 2 hours daily and consuming 80-120 ounces of water daily I noticed my body slimming down and dropping weight. One thing that made this change of lifestyle successful was my dedicated time to grocery shopping and meal prepping every Sunday. I would cook & store my lunches and dinners for the week so that I would always have a meal to eat. This allows you to control what you are eating and it eliminates having to rely on eating out or eating something unhealthy.

Incorporating exercise 3 days a week for 60 minutes was important to me because I knew I could see maximum results if included some light weight lifting and cardio into my weekly routine. To maintain my results, I plan to continue exercising 3 days a week, continuing to make healthy meal choices for 80% of my meals and allow 20% of those meals to be what I consider a “cheat” meal. Allowing myself 2 cheat meals a week keeps me from feeling deprived or restricted and less guilty when I do want to enjoy a slice of cake or a piece of pizza! Another tip is trying new recipes. Finding healthy alternative to your favorite foods is so fun and is very satisfying!

The word “diet” is a drag to me. I like to think of it as a lifestyle change. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale, but rather focus on how you are feeling and how your clothes are fitting when you are trying to achieve results! Learning how to eat properly and making your goal to be healthy and happy is what is going to lead you to success.

Apple Cider Vinegar

What can suppress you appetite and boost your metabolism? Apple cider vinegar can… or at least new research is hinting that it can. Why? Because apple cider vinegar contains something called acetic acid. Acetic acid helps to hault the accumulation of body fat. Add that to the fact that apple cider vinegar is also known to stabilize blood sugar level and we have a winner!

So what do we do with this information? We add apple cider vinegar to our diet. Preferably in the morning, whether in a “detox drink” such as this one, or as the new star in our salad dressings. Start adding apple cider vinegar into your diet and observe what happens. If you see and/or feel any results please pop back in here on this post and let us all know.

Guzzle

Everyday I'm Guzzling

Water…. where do we even begin?

– Our bodies are about 60% water (source). With out adequate water, function cannot happen at the proper rate, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • lungs are 90%
  • blood is 80%
  • brain is 70%

– We lose water when we urinate, sweat and even breath (source).

– When we lose water we also lose vital minerals and/or electrolytes (source).

– Although we can get some of our water intake through other beverages, some of the chemical aspects of substances in those beverages can actually be dehydrating (alcohol, sugar, caffeine). Thus these drinks often cancel out the water intake considered from those beverages (source).

– Illness also factors into our water intake needs as symptoms can often dehydrate us as well as the fact that extra water is often needed for immunity efficiency (source).

– Adequate water intake increases your metabolism as well as decreases calorie consumption (source).

It’s vital for our health and we already know that, but let’s be honest… it’s a touchy subject. Some people tell you to drink 8 glasses a day while others hand out a formula that includes your weight to get the answer. Whether your only water comes through the form of fizzy drinks or you are throwing back 100 oz. a day, water is vital to us.

Stressed? Drink more water.

Tired? Drink more water.

Retaining water? Drink more water.

Trying to lose weight? DRINK. MORE. WATER.

When people ask me how much water they should drink, my heart felt response is to drink so much water that you crave water tomorrow. I don’t give out numbers, because well I think they are crap.

Please forgive me dear math for speaking so negatively about you…. I love, I always have and always will but sometimes you get in the way of people living healthy. Think, the number on the scale, the whole calories conversation and now water intake.

I’ve had enough of the numbers game and I am suggesting that today we all drink water… so much water that you think you may get “in trouble” by your boss for going to the bathroom too much. Then tomorrow wake up and ask yourself, “Am I thirsty?”. If the answer is yes, then drink as much water tomorrow as you did today. If the answer is no, well drink more water!

Some days, I drink 150 oz. of water without thinking twice. Generally speaking, those are days I do a lot of running/sweating, this may also have to do with caffeine intake, hormone levels and even the previous night’s sleep. All of those same factors are often the reason if I only drink, oh… let’s 80 oz. of water one day.

Do you know why it’s OK that my water intake fluctuates in that way? Because every day I drink plenty of water, and I drink it until I am no longer thirsty. My body fluctuates, and it is not a constant therefore my water intake isn’t a constant.

I do think it is important to monitor your water intake and make sure that it is somewhat suitable for your weight. By this I mean that a 200lb. adult man should not be drinking 25 oz. a day and think that is acceptable. The 5 year old I take care of drinks more than 25 oz. of water a day so you should to! Therefore, I can appreciate the formula and 8 glasses golden rule that so many people “swear” by. However we should all be going a step further, listening to our bodies, paying attention and thinking for ourselves.

So dear friends, I leave you with this today… go drink water. Get up where ever you may be and go get a bottle/glass or whatever other method you would like to use and fill it with water. Drink it. Guzzle it. Sip it. Just drink it! And when you are done, go get more. Keep getting more until tomorrow morning. Allow your body to have so much of this beautiful thing that you crave it tomorrow. If you crave water, drink water. Before you know it, you will be drinking water based on your bodies need for it! Who would have thought that maybe our body knows how much water it needs. Amazing isn’t it!

Please note that these instructions are NOT for those who do not drink enough water currently. Instead it is for people who drink soda every day and enjoy multiple cups of coffee. If you are drinking your far share of water, which can be somewhat checked by the formula and/or 8 glasses rule, continue drinking water and feel free to disregard this post.

6 Months Later

In this post, I shared with you all the story of my sister and her current healthy lifestyle haul. She is still doing great however has had 2 surgeries in the last 3 months or so and I thought I would share with you all the details.

My sister has always been a nauseous person, even as a baby (via my mom). Her nausea was so bad and common that we all just grew accustom to it. She was generally a picky eater and I figured that between her weight, inability to eat many foods and nausea, well I guess I just thought she would just live this way. After all, I see and hear many people who are in a very similar situation regularly.

When my sister started making her health a priority earlier this year, everyone around her was unbelievably proud of her and cheering her on. However some things just didn’t change despite her weight loss, specifically her nausea and inability to do long exercises because of asthma. She had been exercising regularly so her stamina should have been increasing and she was clearly eating the right types of foods because she was losing weight and doing it quickly. To say we were perplexed is an understatement.

Shortly after going to the doctor or for a mild case of strep, she was sent to an E.N.T. doctor to see what was going on. Here she found out that she had absurdly large tonsils and that they needed to be removed quickly. She had the surgery and the recovery, was, well pretty rough.

Just a few weeks after finally feeling like herself again, her nausea became much, much worse than it has been in the past. After going back to her doctor and having a few tests done, it came back that her gallbladder was only working at around 20%, her liver enzymes were elevated and that she had bilirubin in her urine. Long story short, she needed her gallbladder out and a.s.a.p.

Two weeks ago, she had it out and although the recovery is happening, it is taking quite a bit of time. She is still in a bit of pain and has days were she is totally and completed exhausted and still nauseous. After taking to her surgeon and doing a bit of investigated myself, I found out some very interesting information.   All of this information leads me (and her surgeon confirmed it) that her gallbladder troubles were in fact due to her rapid weight loss. Tomorrow I will be going over in depth the gallbladder, how it works and how to properly take care of it. Until then, here is a picture of my beautiful sister after losing 83lbs. in only 6 months.

Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt

original source 

Greek Yogurt is my new best friend. Fine, not really but I definitely have developed a new relationship with it. I’m sure many of you have seen on Pinterest (or some other website) all of the uses for greek yogurt lately… and well I am here to confirm these theories! Recently, I have been using non-fat plain greek yogurt in everything from my smoothies, to topping my tacos, in egg salad and tuna salad, and it has even began to make an appearance in my baking.

The beauty of greek yogurt is that it is packed with protein. It also has live cultures that I find greatly nourish the growth on my hair, nails and skin. In terms of baking, it leaves baked good extra moist and takes the place of oil at times. This means I get to ditch the bad fats and add in the good ones. In fact, two weeks ago my sister had her gallbladder out. After the surgery she was finding it very difficult to each much of anything. Smoothies came to her rescue and greek yogurt was a part of that. She was getting good fats that her body could break down without causing bile backup as well as protein in a form that is also easily broken down.

In other words, the verdict is in and greek yogurt is here to stay! I personally go for non-fat plain organic greek yogurt but I know for many this may be difficult. If that is the case, try for a low-fat vanilla flavored yogurt if you are just planning to snack on it alone, and if you are trying to get away from processed oils and mayonnaise type of sauces, well start using 50/50. Over time you can continue to increase the non-fat plain greek yogurt and decrease the processed ingredients.

Do you ever use greek yogurt rather than another ingredient?

If so, what and how did you find it?

The Sister Diets

sisterdiets

What do all of these diets have in common? Well, they are sister diets. Or at least that is what I call them. Yes, they are all different but they all have one core thing in common. They suggest that you cut down on your carbohydrate intake to enhance weight loss.

Now if you were to ask someone on the Paleo diet if they were doing low carb, my guess is that they would say no. Quite frankly, it’s understandable. Some of the diets listed below are very low carb while others are moderate. Some of the above diets are high in fat, some are unlimited and some specify which fats can be consumed.

So why then is cutting carbohydrates such a hot ticket in weight loss?

The process in which all of these diets are foundational on is Ketosis or the process in which the body depleats it’s supply of glycogen in the liver. This then forces something called beta-oxidation to happen within the body, In other words the body uses it’s fat stores to supply the cells and in return the body with energy.

In simple terms, when their isn’t glycogen (sugar) available for use by the body for energy, it will convert stored fat into energy.

Now back to those sister diets… some claim that this process of Ketosis must be reached before weight loss can be achieved, some suggest that a mild form of this process along with large muscle exercise will allow for maximum long term weight loss. Another uses this process as well as many other bio-chemical processes within our bodies as the reason to without saying so boldly, cut out carbs, while another ultimately claims that slow and steady wins the race as long as quality carbohydrates and fats are consumed.

I could easily go on for an hour or so breaking down all of the details of these diets and let you know what millions of books say about which is the best and why another isn’t. But that isn’t what I am attempting to do today. Instead I am suggesting today that low carbohydrates diets do in fact yield the greatest weight loss long term.

As always, please do some of your own research on all of these diets (links provided below) and then bring your gained knowledge into the doctor. That last part of the previous sentence is vital… if you are having heart, kidney, insulin or a long list of other medical issues, then it is even more vital for you to run all dietary changes by your doctor. This is due to the fact that medication can and does interact with food.

Here are some links for reading!

The Atkins Diet

The Paleo Diet

The G.A.P.S. Diet

The South Beach Diet

Ironically, all of these diets are easily manipulates around gluten sensitivities.

Happy Wednesday friends, read something today… it’s good for you!

Faking It

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today continues our series on sugar…

sugarseries

And today we’ll be talking about artificial sweeteners.

I am in Nashville this week (thank the Lord, because time with Coop has been missed), and there have now been 2 different incidents that have only confirmed the importance of today’s post.

First off, Coop and I went to Cracker Barrel the other day. He had been hearing a lot about it, but had yet to go. Once there, he definitely understood all the hype. As we sat and ordered our official first “sweat teas”, Coop reached for some artificial sweetener. I gave him a confused look and he said “What? I don’t want the calories in the sugar”… I responded with “I’d rather you be fat and healthy then thin and full of cancer”. And honestly, that’s how I feel about artificial sweeteners. I’m not alone in this artificial sweetener ideology, and mainly because there is science to back it up.

The second “faking it” offense came via a phone call I received. It was from a woman who was drinking about 8 cans of soda a day. She got concerned about her habit after reading an article in a magazine about artificial sweeteners causing formaldehyde poisoning within a human body. Although I cannot speak for the article (I’m not sure exactly what all it claimed), I can speak in a general way and claim that people still aren’t well informed about artificial sweeteners.

So let’s dive into this topic a bit today!

Let’s start by discussing the way in which artificial sweeteners are made.

Artificial sweeteners are made in a lab, and they are only a few chemical bonds away from being sugar. Although they taste like sugar, your body perceives them as a protein. However, even as a protein, your body still cant break them down because they aren’t chemically speaking a true protein. This is because when our brilliant bodies detect even the slightest chemical structure change, it will halt all digestion of the micro-nutrient at the effort to save our enzyme health.

Depending on the artificial sweeteners (yellow packet vs. blue packet vs. pink packet), your body halts this digestion at different points in our intestines. That is why you may hear someone say… I don’t use _____________ because it gives me heart burn. Or someone else claim that ______________ sweetener gives them indigestion. This is because the umbrella of artificial sweeteners is in fact a few very detailed chemistry experiments.

How then, do artificial sweeteners work?

Well, you see… artificial sweeteners are sweet, so when you need a sweet flavor in, oh I don’t know, your coffee, you use the pink packet stuff. Your taste buds get satisfied by the stuff in the pink packet and send messages to your brain that it was just given sugar. However the artificial sweeteners are close to, if not calorie free so they go through your body unidentified, and pass through without causing any caloric havoc on your system. Perfect, right?

Not quite…

You see, they picture I painted for you was fantastic except that there is more to the story then that. The rest of the story happens in your brain. Remember reading about those taste buds sending messages to your brain that you consumed sugar… well your brain does something with that false information. It makes insulin, ok well It itself doesn’t make insulin, but it sends messages to your pancreas, intestines, stomach and blood stream to make and even maintain insulin levels.

At least you won’t gain weight though… right? WRONG! When insulin is produced, it eventually makes you crave more sugar (or fake sugar) and it’s a terrible cycle that is misleading and counter productive.

So why then did your doctor (or you husbands/sisters/friends doctor) tell you to lay off sugar and use that _______ colored packet stuff? Because you should be laying off sugar and in the last 10 years about 20 different artificial sweeteners have been released onto the market without any long term affect studies available to make educated decisions off of.

Let me tell you a little story…

My dad, we’ll call him George (that’s not his real name, like most names on my blog are not real) is a type II diabetic. For years now, he has been a diet coke drinker. For years now he has also been taking diabetes medication. But guess what… despite those pills being a part of his daily routine, his sugar was often up in the 300’s. That number is 3x what it should be if you aren’t familiar with blood sugar levels and numbers. So, naturally, his doctor would put him on some more medication.

In last 6 months, for what ever reason… George decided he was going to stop drinking so much Diet Coke. Excuse me for a second as I publicly praise my dad for making this decision.

YAY GEORGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously so proud of you. You just did something that I believe will give you a longer and better life. Your future grand children and I thank you as we would like you to be around for, well… forever!!!!!!!

Back to the story… so George now only drinks a diet coke once, maybe twice a month. Guess what happened… his blood sugar when tested last was about 120. Nothing else in his life has changed… he still considers pizza to be the perfect food, still has back issues that make exercising close to impossible, he is still taking his medication… so simply by observing habit, the conclusion is drawn that although artificial sweeteners have no caloric impact on a individuals health, they do reek havoc on your insulin and blood sugar levels.

Obviously, the point of this series is to bring attention to the impact sugar has on your health. One of the ways most people think you can cut sugar from your health is to use artificial sweeteners, but please reconsider this idea. Do some research on the subject if you don’t like what I have to say about it. Because, well… you know the saying, it is always better to be safe then sorry.

Here are a few links to check out if you would like to read a bit more about this subject.

The Chemistry of Artificial Sweeteners

Whats really in Aspartame

Weight Loss as Artificial Sweeteners

Weight Loss – Ella Style

Happy Thursday!!! It’s officially 2 weeks until I see Cooper and I can’t wait. This new journey of using being far from one another and learning to have a healthy relationship all the while, isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But I also know I’m very fortunate, so I should stop complaining 🙂

So, back to the meat of today’s post… Ella and how she has been losing all of her weight. I know I told you before that my sweet younger sister has been taking care of herself and her health a few weeks ago but this girl is tearing it up and I wanted to share with all of you how.

IMG_8755

She has so far lost 63 pounds and is hoping for another 60-70. She has more energy, looks fantastic and it’s all because of hard work.

About 6 months ago my sister called me and informed me that she was officially trying to lose weight. She asked about the types of things she should eat and even a few exercising tips. So I thought that today I could share with you what I shared with her.

*** Before starting any weight loss program or exercise routine, you should consult your doctor ***

Portion Control: As much as we would all love to be able to eat what ever we want when ever we want, the truth is that no matter how you approach losing weight, portion control is key. Whether you are cutting out fat, carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, meat or whatever else you might be able to come up with, portion control is still important. Make sure you are eating only until you are NOT HUNGRY rather than full.

Water: Drink lots of water… it’s good for you and helps maintain your metabolism. I personally don’t use the “8-8oz glasses of water a day” rule. Instead, I prefer to go by your body weight. In fact, let’s do a little equation together right now. If your body weight is 150 lbs divide that by 2, resulting in 75, therefore you should be drinking 75 oz. of water everyday.

Artificial Sweeteners: Get rid of it… no matter where it is. Soda, sugar free anything or any other avenue, artificial sweeteners slow down your metabolism and trick your brain into thinking your are consuming sugar so you just end up craving more sugar.

Exercise: It’s not rocket science but people don’t seem to do it. Exercise… any form will do, running, walking, swimming, playing a sport, calisthenics… just get that body of yours moving. In fact, if you can, exercise immediately when you wake up and then again before going to bed. Try to do you cardio (even if only for 20 min), in the morning with some strength or body weight exercise before going to bed. Try for only 2 weeks and I promise if nothing else , you will sleep better.

Well that’s it… that’s actually all she has been doing. And in 4 months she has lost almost 65 pounds. Amazing,!

How about you… what are your go-to lose a few pounds rules?

If you have lost a large amount of weight, how did you do it?

Ella’s Success!

My sister, Ella has officially lost 50lbs. She knew before I did that Coop was going to propose and has made great efforts since to lose some weight for that special night. That motivation has turned into a complete life style haul which has resulted in her losing a medium size 5 year old.

Congrats girl, you beat the statistics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For anyone who is struggling in their weight loss journey, keep going. A pound today and another next week adds up to success in the long run. And along the way, you r mind will be a completely different and strong mind.

Ella had her tonsil’s out this week and is having a rough go. Please keep her in your prayers, And be encouraged by her story if you need it today and this weekend.

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