Healthy Eating Archives | Allons-y Coaching | Certified French Health Coach
Category Archives for "Healthy Eating"

Tips and strategies to eat healthy without being on a diet or feeling deprived. If you want to eat healthily but feel that you love food way too much, you will be happy to know that you can eat very healthy without giving up wine, chocolate, or sweets. Discover my French Approach to eating healthy!

Your first step to healthy eating

If you are struggling with weight loss or prediabetes, chances are your Doctor told you to "eat healthy" and "be more active". So you might wonder: "What is my first step to healthy eating?".

We are just going to focus on the "eat healthy" part in this article and we will assume that you are clear on what "eating healthy" means to you. Which honestly is not necessarily the case, but we will come back to this topic in another article. Hint: eating healthy doesn't mean the same thing to you, your neighbor, your doctor, or me.

Couple cooking and eating healthy in a kitchen they enjoy

Now let's say you know what eating healthy looks like for you. If you want to stick to your healthy eating plan, the most important thing you have to do is to make sure that your environment is promoting the healthy habits you want to implement.

Otherwise, I can promise you, you will fail. 

This is where most of us go wrong when trying to adopt healthy eating habits: we focus on ourselves and we try to change what we do and who we are, instead of focusing on what is around us and changing our environment.

Are you relying on Self-Control to be healthy?

One of the worst mistakes you can make, when trying to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle, is to think that you can rely on your self-control. Don’t get me wrong. I know you are strong, and I know you are dedicated. That’s not the question. I know that once you set up your mind to do something, you follow through, until… well... until it’s just unbearable and you can’t do it anymore! I know… I am the same. Most of us are!

Self-control is like a muscle.

Self-control can be trained and strengthened, but it also gets tired.

You might have noticed how usually in the morning, we don’t eat crap, we drink our water, we are patient with the kids... And as the day goes by, we start snacking, we get more easily frustrated, and we find excuses for all the things we don't want to do. We become tired, and so does our willpower. As the day goes by, it gets harder and harder to resist temptation. And in case you are wondering, no, that’s not being weak! That’s not giving up! It’s just being human, that’s how it works.

 If we hike for 5 hours, do we expect to be full of energy at the end of the day? No, we don’t! At least, most of us don’t… So if we consciously make good choices all day long, why would our self-control remain strong and intact? It gets tired, just like our body does.

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That’s why we have to rely as little as possible on self-control when trying to lose weight. We have to tweak our environment so that bad choices are not even an option.

Make sure your environment forces you to be healthy

What does that mean? Well, it means that if you are trying to eat healthier, you really have to look at all the opportunities lying around for poor eating. Are there places in your life that promote unhealthy snacking for instance? Thing about your car, your desk, the break-room at work, your game room, your pantry, even the night stand by your bed. What's in your workout bag? What's in your purse?  Look around and question everything. And of course, don't forget your kitchen!

Your kitchen is full of traps

Our kitchen is often the most “dangerous” place when we embark on a weight loss journey. This is where food is stored, this is where food is prepared (or at least reheated). And for many of us, this is where food is eaten.

Find out in seconds what is your kitchen score on the "healthy scale"!

if you have decided to eat healthier, either because you want to prevent diabetes, to lose weight, or just because you realize that aging won't be as smooth if you keep eating the way you eat now, start by reorganizing you kitchen to make sure it's not constantly tempting you into eating the stuff you know you shouldn't eat too much of. 

Not sure where to start?

You can start by reading my Step-by-Step Guide To Optimizing Your Kitchen for Health and Weight Loss. It's all backed by research and experience!

Of course, don't forget to DOWNLOAD my FREE Kitchen Makeover Checklist. It will give you 25 steps you can take if you want to end up with a kitchen that will truly support your wellness efforts. 

If you feel that you need some help to get started, apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Session.  If I feel that I can help you, I’ll be happy to chat with you for 30 minutes and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

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Disclaimer

None of my content is intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided on this website is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.

Optimize your kitchen for weight loss and health

Did you know that you can easily (and for FREE!) rearrange your kitchen in order to support your weight loss and your prediabetes reversal process? I am going to walk you through 10 steps to reorganize your kitchen so that it will help you be healthier rather than play against you.

Those tips are easy to implement and don’t require a kitchen redesign! 

Stella's kitchen with lots of room for cooking and no snacks

They are just tricks that make all the difference for your weight loss and your health in the long run. Your kids/roommate/spouse won’t notice a thing. And you? Not only will you be in your kitchen without running the risk of binge eating on chips, ice cream, or even nuts, but you will also move toward a healthier and leaner you, without dieting of course!

If you need some extra help to implement those tips, you can download my KITCHEN MAKEOVER CHECKLIST. It will make the whole process even easier with 25 tips to make your kitchen an ally in your weight loss and health journey

Are you ready to learn all about those weight loss secrets?

Read all the tips to see exactly how you can make sure your kitchen is not a self-control sucker and then decide on where you want to start.

By the way, do you know how your kitchen scores on the "Healthy Eating Scale"? Find out in seconds by taking a FREE Healthy Kitchen Quiz!

Tip #1 - Declutter your counter

Take a look around and tell me what you see on your kitchen counter. Cookies? Bread and crackers? Breakfast cereal? Books? Coupons? Pictures? Unpaid bills? Dirty Dishes? Pots and pans that don’t fit in the cabinets? Whatever you find on your counter, the first step to a healthier kitchen is to remove as much as "stuff" you can. Keep the space free and clean for peeling, dicing, chopping… In a nutshell, for cooking! Most of your countertop surface should be used to prepare meals so, go ahead and clean up the mess, even if you don’t cook much (yet!). Not only will it make food preparation possible, it will also force you to remove all the tempting foods from your sight.

Messy kitchen with cluttered counter top

The only items that should have a dedicated spot on your countertop are:

  • Appliances that serve your weight loss and cooking goals, that you use regularly, or would like to use more;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Non perishable foods that are healthy but can’t be snacked on: you know, foods that need preparation, such as rice, flour, dried beans, spices... Except for fruits and veggies, no snacks should ever stay on the countertop… not even healthy snacks like nuts;
  • Items that make you happy without making you gain weight: flowers, a radio, your coffee maker…

Tip #2 – Get the fruits out

Weight Loss Tips: Fruit BasketThe only “Grab & Go” foods that should be promoted on your kitchen counter are fruits and vegetables. You should ALWAYS have a big bowl of fresh fruits on your counter, with at least 3 different types of fruits in it, depending on the season.

The idea is simple: we want what we see. This is not rocket science; this is the very basis for advertising. We are bombarded by images that make us desire stuff we did not even know existed, and we become convinced that not only they are appealing, but we even need them. Do the same in your kitchen!

Expose yourself nonstop to a colorful bowl of fruits and when you want to snack on something, fruits will become more and more often your first choice. Because you see them, and because you don’t see anything else. Try it, you’ll see! At first, you will still want that muffin top, that you know is somewhere in a cupboard, but after a while, it won’t come to mind as often anymore, and that beautiful mango or kiwi will seem irresistible.

Tip #3 – Hide your stash

Weight Loss Tips: squirrel eating nutsJust like we want what we see, we also have a tendency to forget what we don’t see.  So, make it easy on yourself and have everything disappear from your sight that is not serving your weight loss goals. Some “health perfectionists” suggest that you get rid of anything processed, sugary, or with saturated fat. I don’t recommend such drastic moves. First, because you might not be the only one using your kitchen and you don’t want to become the “enemy” or the “party pooper”. Second, because saying a permanent good-bye to everything you love or are used to is the best way to feel deprived and miserable, and to eventually fall of the wagon. Don’t make that mistake! Snack food, ready-to-eat meals, deli meat, pops… keep them, but hide them.

Make sure processed food is stored in opaque containers or covered with aluminum foil, and stored in places that are hard to reach. This way, there will be no visual trigger for you to think of it. Your brain will have to do all the work, and when it does and you really want those chips, you will have to dig deep to reach them from behind piles of veggies, boxes of whole grains, and jars of preserved fruits.

If you can store some of your “tempting” food outside your kitchen, that’s also a good move. This way, it will require a little extra effort to go get snacks, cups of chicken noodle soup, baking supplies, etc. Your house does not allow for that? Think twice! I have made room in my kitchen cabinets for school supplies, and store chocolate chips, nuts, spreads and other “risky” food in the hallway closet where glue sticks and construction paper used to be. Who says food has to be in the kitchen?

Think about it and do it! It’s an easy step that makes a big difference! And if you are ready to throw away some really bad stuff, then ditch anything in your kitchen that contains trans fat (known as partially hydrogenated oil).

Tip #4 – Shrink the dish

Weight loss tips: photo of salad in small plateNo beating around the bush here. The bigger the plate, the bowl, the spoon; the more we eat. I usually don’t recommend throwing things away or going shopping. But in this case, if your plates are bigger than 10 inches, or if your individual bowls contain more than 12 oz., then, yes. Get rid of them! Replace them with eating plates that are no bigger than 9 inches and with bowls 12 oz or smaller. If you drink alcohol regularly (wine included) or juice, it’s worth shopping for glasses that are narrow rather than wide, as this will help you pour smaller quantities. Try also to find smaller serving and eating spoons.

Living in a smaller world helps us focus more on quality rather than quantity. And once we start shrinking our food portions without having to think about it, we start shrinking too. Yes, it works!

Tip #5 – Make food prep easy

Ok, so you are thinking… now that all my “Grab & Go” food is hidden, am I just going to survive on this bowl of fruits? Well, not quite! Remember tip #1, when we talked about getting rid of the clutter on your countertop? Did you think we would keep it all empty and useless? Not exactly! Of course, we will always try to keep as much free space on the counter as possible, but we will also make sure that all the tools necessary for cooking are right there, always available.

Weight loss tips: photo of person chopping herbs for cookingThere are very easy ways to make food. Using super quick recipes, precut ingredients, frozen vegetables, etc. But if every time you want to make a meal, you have to dig in your cabinets to find a cutting board or the salt, it turns sour pretty fast.

So make sure that the following items have a permanent spot on your counter:

  • Cutting board. If possible, by the sink so that you can wash it easily after every use and always have it ready.
  • Spices, garlic, salt, pepper… the basics to make anything tasty without adding calories.
  • A blender or a food processor is a great addition if you want to cook fast and easy. An electric kettle, a steamer, a rice cooker, and a stand mixer are quite handy as well. If you can afford them, it’s a good idea.

By the same token, make sure the basics are not only available but also easy to access in your cabinets: pots and pans, stirring spoons, oven mitts, but also cooking oil, vinegar… and good recipes!

Tip #6 – Portion, proportion

As I wrote earlier, you don’t have to throw away all your treats. But if you want to make progress toward a healthy life and a leaner self, most of the food in your kitchen and pantry should be healthy and whole. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, plain yogurt, real cheese, whole grains, beans… You know, the type of food that you cannot just grab and snack on (fruits are the exception). You can keep your favorite chips and the kids’ cookies, but aim for at least ¾ healthy foods, in your fridge, in your freezer, in your pantry… Make junk food the exception, not the norm.

Once you hide everything that’s not serving your weight loss, you will notice that you start forgetting about certain foods. When that’s the case, get rid of those! Replace them with cans of beans or vegetables, boxes of whole grains, nuts… And of course, fill up your freezer and fridge with vegetables, fruits, more vegetables, and more fruits! I know, you already have that bowl of fresh fruits on the counter, but you never want to run out of fruits. So make sure you always have a back up in the freezer. Same with vegetables. It’s hard to always have them fresh, but that’s no excuse. If you have a freezer, use it! Don’t stock up on ice cream and pizza. Stock up on veggie mixes, cut up carrots, broccoli florets, and all the good stuff. If it’s available to you, you will eat it, and you will end up liking it!

Tip #7 – Healthy foods take the stage

You have stocked up on the good stuff already? Good for you! Now, make sure you see it. You don’t want to rely on your brain to remind you that you have some celery sticks somewhere in a paper bag at the bottom for your veggie drawer. Every time you are in your kitchen you want to see the good stuff. So, just like you hid snacks and junk food in Tip #4, now work on making healthy foods visible everywhere. Store them in clear containers. Cover them with plastic wrap rather than aluminum foil. Put them in the front of your fridge/freezer and at eye level.  Don’t hide them in the back of your cupboards!

While unhealthy foods should be removed from tempting packaging, you should always try to make healthy foods more appealing with nice dishes, a nice display, etc. Again, think advertising and how well it works. Use this to your advantage. It’s an easy trick and it will not only work for you, but for all the other people who might be using your kitchen. Give it a try today!

Tip #8 – Measure!

When you want to indulge on your favorite snack, go for it. But make sure that you have established quantity rules ahead of time (NOT when you are starving!). And follow those rules :-). Again, don’t rely on self-control or on intuitive portions. If you have decided that ¼ cup of almonds is a good snack for you, next time you want almonds, measure ¼ cup. End of story! You’ll see, it’s actually easier than it seems if you have taken the time to decide on the amount of almonds you want to eat, and if you have taken the time to put a measuring cup right by the almonds.

OK, I hear you… I am talking about almonds, but your favorite snack is actually not quite as healthy. No surprise here! I love Peanut M&M’s! You might have noticed, I love nuts! I even wrote a blog post about nuts 🙂 Anyway, you get my point. You know your triggers. You know your “dangerous foods”. Just prepare for them. Think about what amount you are comfortable having in one go, make sure the measuring tool is right there, and don’t think twice. Take that amount, and go away. If you come back for a second serving, that’s fine, no big deal… But keep measuring. Make that amount of pleasure become the norm, rather than indulging without being aware of how much you eat. Measure, measure, measure… Slowly, you will eat less of what is not good for you and for your weight loss goals. Believe me!

Tip #9 – Make your kitchen enjoyable

Weight loss tips: photos of kid cooking with grandmaWhether you take your meals in your kitchen or elsewhere in your house, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat more whole food and less processed food. Whole food, often, is food that needs to be prepared. When you move toward a healthier lifestyle, you might need to spend a bit more time in your kitchen so make this experience as pleasant and easy as possible.

Turn your kitchen into a room you like. Make it comfortable, bring chairs in, make sure you can listen to the radio… Also, try to draw people to your kitchen (unless you want a break from them all!). Make room so the kids can do their homework, have the family laptop in a corner, get a puzzle going… Having loved ones in the kitchen while you are cooking will make you feel less lonely and will slowly change the dynamic around food and meals. Others might start cooking with you (or cooking for you!). Give it a try. It might be a more subtle change, but it has a big impact.

Now, be careful! This step is the last one to implement. Because if you get yourself and your entire family to spend more time in the kitchen before you have made temptations disappear from your sight, you might all end up eating more junk food and putting on weight. So do everything else first, and once your kitchen has become your ally for weight loss, lure people in.

Tip #10 – What about TV?

TV can be your best ally if watching it helps you stay happily in the kitchen and prepare healthy gourmet meals for yourself and your family. But it can also be your worst enemy if it takes your attention away from food while you are eating, and leads you to gobble up large amounts without noticing what you’re putting in your mouth. In a nutshell, turning on TV while preparing food is a nice way to make cooking more fun. But please, turn if off when dinner-time comes. Focus on what you are eating, take your time, and enjoy every bite. If it’s not enjoyable, well, you might want to browse for some new recipes 🙂 Stay tuned, I’ll publish my favorite super fast recipes very soon. Your taste buds are going to dance!

That's it!

OK, now if you haven't done so yet, go to your kitchen, and start making a few small changes using the KITCHEN MAKEOVER CHECKLIST.  Among the 25 TIPS listed to help you turn your kitchen into an ally of your health, pick the health and weight loss tips that make the most sense to you or start with the ones that seem easiest.

Take your time, but DO IT! One step after another. Once you are done, you will see that many struggles will go away. And chances are that the weight will start coming off more naturally! Of course it does not happen overnight, but it happens, little by little, and with very little effort once you have done the work of "fixing" your kitchen. See how it goes and keep me posted by commenting below! Don't forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because, together, we are healthier!

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If you feel that you need a little more help to get started, I have a great gift for you! Because you have been reading this article all the way to the end, I am assuming that you are quite dedicated to your health. So I suggest that you apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Consultation. If I think a free coaching session might be beneficial to you, I’ll be happy to give you one for free. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

Disclaimer

None of my content is intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided on this website is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.

What to do with nuts when trying to reverse prediabetes

If you are prediabetic or at risk for Type 2 diabetes, there is a good chance that your doctor recommended that you lose some weight or make sure you don't gain any extra pounds. On the other end, your doctor probably told you to eat more healthy fat from nuts, in order to help manage your blood sugar.

Yet, we all know that nuts are super rich in calories, so how the heck are we going to eat more nuts and lose weight at the same time?

Squirrel eating nuts on a tree

Let me tell you what you can do to avoid the extra calories and extra pounds, in the following 7 tips (and a BONUS!). These tips are easy to apply and straight-forward (as opposed to most information about prediabetes reversal!). They will help you navigate the nut aisle like a pro and keep your nuts in check! And by the way, if you are not sure yet whether you should eat nuts at all to help prevent diabetes, check out my article "I am prediabetic, should I eat nuts?"

Tip #1: Replace saturated fats with nuts

Do NOT eat nuts on top of saturated fat! Look at what you eat every day and see where fat is coming from. When you see saturated fat (mostly animal fat), think about replacing that food item or part of it with nuts.  If you need help identifying saturated fats in your life, contact me, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Tip #2: Trade unhealthy food for nuts

Do not eat nuts to replace a cup of fruits! Nuts have fiber, good fat, and many other nutritional benefits. So you will want to eat them instead of unhealthy food. But don't start eating them instead of other super healthy foods. If you are used to eating fruits for snack, you can add a few nuts to that piece of fruit. Don't replace the piece of fruit with nuts! Adding nuts to a carb-rich snack will also help monitor your blood glucose, so that's a double win. Nuts can be a great way to make your snacks and meals more balanced.

Tip #3: Don’t have nuts in sight

Unless they are not very appealing to you, you don’t want to be tempted nonstop by a jar full of cashews or pine nuts. Store them away in your pantry. If you love them, you will remember to eat them anyway. But make sure you cannot just grab a handful every time you enter your kitchen, it would be a weight loss killer.

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Tip #4: Measure and stick to it

Decide on a serving size (about 15 almonds) and ALWAYS stick to that serving size. Measure and put your stash away before you start eating your nuts. If you want more, that’s fine, come back and get a second serving (and don't feel bad about it!). But don’t just dig your hand in a bag full of nuts. Measure, one serving, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Better yet, before each serving, drink a cup of water. This way you will also get the full benefit of all the fibers in your nuts and your stomach will end up being full much faster.

Tip #5: Choose whole, plain, not blanched nuts

They can be roasted or not, whatever you prefer, but unless that's all you like, avoid nuts that are covered in chocolate or in a sweet mix. Ideally, pick them in their shell, so that you eat them more slowly. This way you will eat one nut at a time rather than a handful at once. Remember, the more work it is to eat them, the less you will eat at once. It’s a simple trick but it works every time and it can make a huge difference calorie wise.

Tip #6: Nuts are not a "free add-on"!

If you don’t eat much fat or have no saturated fat you can eliminate from your diet (because don’t forget, we all some good fat!), then make sure that when you eat nuts, you are eating a bit less of all the other high-calorie foods in your life. For instance, eat less dairy, less meat, less bread, or maybe drink a less alcohol (beer, wine, liquor). You don’t need to substitute. Just eat or drink smaller portions so that the nuts don't come on top of everything else. Remember: the add-on item is not a free item :-).

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Tip #7: Nut butter counts... big time! 

If you eat peanut butter or almond butter, don’t forget to include that as part of your nut intake. It usually takes less than 2 TBSP of nut butter to get the same nutrients as with 1 oz of nuts. So don't just dismiss the butter, because that adds up as well.

Bonus Tips: don't skip this one!

Pick the nuts you really enjoy. Don't eat anything and everything. Only eat your favorite nuts. Try them all and eat the ones that give you the most pleasure. Nuts are high calorie and high fat, so they should also be high reward for you, otherwise, it's not worth it!

When it comes to food, prediabetes reversal is often a combination of eating healthy, losing weight, and controlling blood sugar. With nuts like with pretty much anything else, just being mindful of what you eat and when you eat it will help you keep things under control. And also being aware of the traps you might fall into. So prepare and follow the tips above and you will set yourself up for success. I know you can do it, but it you feel that you need a extra support establishing a healthy lifestyle, apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Session. We could chat on the phone for 30 minutes and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2019 Allons-y Coaching, LLC - Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

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Should I eat when I am hungry?

No! Don’t trust your stomach! Yes, you read that right: don’t trust your appetite, it’s not reliable!

We all know that the feelings of “hunger” we have are not always due to our body needing food. Sometimes, we feel hungry because we are bored, stressed, emotional, happy, pissed, or lost… You name it! Sometimes we could devour the entire planet just because it is that time of the month (hey ladies, I am talking to you here!). Not to mention all the occasions when we feel hungry just because there is something to be “hungry for”. You know, you had lunch an hour ago, you are walking down the mall, and all of a sudden, this delicious cinnamon roll smells attacks you; you start feeling your stomach growling, but is that really hunger?

Confused woman: not knowing if she should eat or not

It is hard to know whether we are hungry or just feeling like eating something tasty.

And that’s the tricky part. It is very hard to differentiate between being really hungry and just “wanting to eat”. So my advice to you for the holidays is: don’t even try to tell those two apart. You will end up exhausted because, during the holidays, we get so many more opportunities to wonder “Am I really hungry?”.

Rely on your tested eating habits

The point here is to keep up the wellness efforts that we have all been making for a while already. We are not trying to set up new goals, bump up our ambitions, or even start working on implementing a new lifestyle. We are talking about maintaining our current efforts and not falling off the wagon during the holidays.

If you want to STAY healthy and happy during the holiday season and avoid some stress and extra pounds, don’t let your stomach rule the game. Instead, rely on the eating routines that you depend on the rest of the year. When you think about the busy days to come, look at where your meals usually fit into your schedule and make sure you organize your day with those meal times in mind. Plan to bring healthy snacks with you, or even full meals such as a thermos of soup, a good homemade sandwich, whatever makes you happy and satisfied.

Don’t try to skip meals thinking that it’s going to save you some calories for later. This strategy always ends up backfiring. Just stick to what you have been doing so far when it comes to your meals. If you are used to having 2 or 3 meals a day, keep doing just that. If you are used to having 2 snacks per day, keep your 2 snacks. Maybe they will be more festive and rich: a cupcake instead of an apple, or a Christmas feast instead of a Caesar salad. Yet by sticking to your routines, you will greatly limit the amount of unwanted food you ingest. Plus, you will reduce all the debating, the “should I/shouldn’t I” that not only is draining emotionally, but also keeps you from fully enjoying the food you are eating.

Are you an intuitive eater?

Oh, wait, someone tells me “I trust my stomach all year long, that’s my routine, that’s what keeps me healthy”. Maybe you are super good at it. Then you probably don’t even have an issue with indulgences and cravings over the holidays. Lucky you! But maybe you have been working hard on intuitive eating and are worried that you won’t keep it up over the holidays. If that’s the case, take a few days before the holidays to record your food intake and look at the pattern that comes from this. It will give you a good idea of when you are really hungry. Once the holiday season kicks in and temptations are coming at you like bullets, you will have something to refer to when differentiating between real hunger and temptation.

Prepare now for healthy holidays!

Sit back for a minute, and try to get a good picture of what your eating routines are right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your purse. Keep those routines in mind. And if you think you are hungry 15 times a day visiting booths at the Christmas Market, remember: most of us cannot trust our appetite, especially at a time of high stress and temptations like the holiday season.

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, share with them! Because together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Start your day healthy

Staying healthy over the holidays, keeping up good eating habits, not falling off the wagon when it comes to exercise… To be able to stay on track, we have to BELIEVE we can do it. Let’s be honest, if we are not even sure it’s possible, what are the odds we will try, right?

Do you know what’s the best way to remind ourselves every single day that YES, we can stay healthy, and YES, we are that healthy person? It is to take one small action every single morning and use it as a proof. Yes! Healthy morning routines are the key to a healthy day and healthy holidays.

Cat stretching outdoor as example of a healthy morning routine

Stretching, walking, drinking water… Morning routines put you in a healthy mindset. Choose yours!

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Morning routines make the difference!

Start your day doing something (anything!) that will put you in the shoes of a healthy person for the rest of your day.

It can be as simple as drinking a large glass of water as soon as you set foot on the ground. It might be hard at first, but you will soon get to appreciate the feeling of awakening and purity that comes from drinking water first thing in the morning. And you will be less likely to eat unhealthy, greasy, or sweet processed food for breakfast, because you will want to prolong the beautiful feeling of clean insides.

You can take a 20-minute walk (before breakfast if possible!), or stretch for 15 minutes, or do a solo workout in your bedroom for 10 minutes, or go up and down your condo stairs for 5 minutes. All those actions won’t take much time and will put you in the mindset of a healthy person. If not for the rest of the day, at least for the next hour or so, which will help you make more healthy decisions, one thing leading to another. Yes, there is a snowball effect to this!

If time is a real struggle for you, skip the extra physical activity, but make sure your breakfast is as healthy as can be. Not only will it give you energy for hours, but it will also remind you very early on that you ARE a healthy person, and can be the entire day.

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Keep your morning routine simple

Your “healthy morning action” should be easy and enjoyable enough that you don’t dread it. You might not look forward to it (at least not at first!), but it should not require much willpower. Because you want to do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. So make it short, easy, and sustainable.

Yet, not too easy!

It should still be some kind of effort though! Not a tough battle like showing up at boot camp class or spending an hour cooking a 5-star vegan breakfast. But you want to make sure that the achievement feels just good enough that you don’t want to ruin it within the next hour. That’s the secret to success! If you have to push yourself a bit to do some yoga for 15 minutes, will you want to gobble up 4 waffles covered in syrup right after? Most likely not. Otherwise, you would have done yoga pretty much for nothing.

What’s your healthy morning plan?

You have to find the right activity and the right level of difficulty. Why not start today and experiment with different things? I suggest that you think about what you are going to do tomorrow morning! Write it down and start experimenting. Try it until the end of the week and see how it works. Check off on your calendar every day you successfully complete your activity. If you are not happy with an action or can’t do it every day, find something else. Keep experimenting until you find the short activity that will make you FEEL healthy.

This little tweak in your day will make a big difference in your holidays, and it won’t stop there, believe me!

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That’s it!

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share! Together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be happy to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

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PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Lower your cholesterol naturally

Not happy with your latest cholesterol count? There are lots of steps you can take to lower your cholesterol naturally. Sometimes, medicine is inevitable, but not always. Lifestyle changes can, for many of us, do the trick in the long run.

And even if you need medicine, changing your eating habits and increasing your activity level should remain TOP priorities too. If you think of it, taking meds without lifestyle changes is a bit like driving your car into poles and walls all day long and stopping by the auto-body mechanics on your way home each night. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

So while you might want to check with your Doctor whether or not you need cholesterol-lowering medicine, it’s important that you start taking lifestyle measures right now to keep your pipes clean on a daily basis.

Clean pipe to illustrate arteries free of cholesterol

10 ways to improve your cholesterol numbers naturally.

The first and often easiest thing to do is to increase your fiber intake.

1/ Eat a lot of veggies

Make sure half of your plate is covered with veggies at each meal. When I say veggies, I don’t mean starchy veggies, so, potatoes don’t belong here. But all other veggies work: zucchini, eggplants, cucumber, carrots, string beans, celery, you name it. If you are still hungry, have second servings of veggies, rather than extra starch or meat. And if you really want more protein or more grain, have another half plate of veggies with them. You can’t go wrong with veggies; knock yourself out!

2/ Eat fruit

You know, most French people eat one piece of fruit at each meal. We consider fruit our dessert. Why don’t you try that? Eat fruit instead of a treat, you will get a nice sweet taste with tons of vitamins and good fiber. Bring an apple or banana with you for snack rather than energy bars or crackers. Fruit is super convenient, you just have to get into the habit of eating more fruit, all kinds of fruit.

3/ Eat beans and legumes

Lentils, split peas, chickpeas, white beans, etc. Whether you buy them dry and cook them or buy them canned and rinse them, they are a great way to add fiber to your diet and can easily replace meat in some of your meals. Think hummus or bean dip – with veggie sticks of course, not with chips! – Lentil soup, roasted chickpeas, edamame. There are so many ways to add them to your diet, start with once a week and increase the frequency little by little. Plus, they are cheap, so you really have nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds!).

4/ Eat non-processed whole grain

We are not talking whole wheat bread and pasta here, but more like real whole grains such as brown rice, wheat berries, barley, quinoa. Buy whole grains in bulk, they are cheap and extremely filling. Just like beans, they are a great way to eat a super healthy diet without blowing your budget. If you don’t know how to prepare them, think salads: any pasta salad can be turned into a whole grain salad pretty easily. Use your imagination or web browser, inspiration will come!

Oatmeal to help lower cholesterol naturally5/ Eat oatmeal for breakfast

Plain old fashion oatmeal or instant oatmeal, whatever you prefer. Just not the flavored oatmeal with sugar and all kinds of added crap. Oatmeal, cooked a few minutes in water, cow milk, or vegetable milk. Here is a super simple overnight oatmeal recipe if you need help with this.

The second very important thing to do is to decrease your animal fat intake.

6/ Eat less meat

Start replacing meat with fish, beans, tofu, or eggs here and there. Little by little, you will end up eating meat maybe no more often than you end up eating one of the above. Go gradually and make sure you still eat the meat you love the most once in a while, without second thoughts. If you love meat, consider it a treat. If you don’t like meat that much, then don’t eat any?!

7/ Eat less cheese

Avoid the cheese that you don’t truly enjoy. Melted cheese is usually the one to skip first because it does not provide as much satisfaction for the same amount. Just like meat, if you love cheese, then consider cheese as a treat, not as a habit. Eat the best ones in the best company. Remember that fermented dairy is not as bad for cholesterol as other dairies. So cheese and yogurt are better than cream and butter!

8/ Avoid butter and cream

Instead of butter on your toast, have nut butter. Instead of butter for cooking, use olive oil, or avocado oil. At home, we use a butter that is a combination of butter and olive oil. We like the taste, plus it never gets hard which is great for sleepy kids in the morning. Instead of cream, you can sometimes use plain whole yogurt or cottage cheese. When preparing a recipe that has cream in it, look for substitution suggestions. You have to be intentional at first, but then it becomes a habit and gets much easier.

What else can you do?

 

9/ Keep alcohol in check

Alcohol itself, especially red wine, does not necessarily have a bad reputation when it comes to cholesterol. But you definitely want to avoid the extra calories – and thus extra pounds! Not to mention the dehydrating effect of alcohol, which might lead you to skip a workout, or not feeling up to increasing your physical activity as much as you would otherwise. So keep your alcohol consumption to only what you truly enjoy. Be mindful, as with any other treat.

Person hiking on the beach to lower cholesterol naturally10/ Increase physical activity

If your cholesterol is high with the level of activity you have right now, try to increase it (physical activity, not cholesterol!). As usual, one step at a time. Add a few minutes to your workout sessions and keep adding and adding. Squeeze in an extra session each week, and then 2 or 3. Increase the intensity a bit if you can. You know yourself, you know your body, your constraints, your schedule. Just remember that what you are doing now might not be enough to help you lower your cholesterol, so work on it. If you need motivation, think about joining a group, or finding a partner, or signing up for a program or buying a pass. Anything that will push you a bit further, while keeping you happy and balanced.

Pick one strategy and start today.

Don’t push it to the weekend, don’t wait until next Monday. Start right now with one of those strategies to lower your cholesterol, and once you start doing it without having to think too hard about it, add another one.
Make your way slowly but steadily through the entire list, experiment. Give yourself time but work on this and see what your next blood test will tell you. Talk to your Doctor of course. Your cholesterol levels might require more than just lifestyle changes. But remember, whatever your numbers, living a healthier life will always help you move in the right direction. You can do this, let’s go!

Not sure where to start?

If you want more ideas or if you need help establishing a healthier lifestyle, let me know. I am here to support you! Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat and see where you could start. The first step is often a very hard one to take. Go for it!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

What to eat for breakfast?

Are you trying to start your day with a healthy breakfast but are struggling with lack of time, lack of inspiration, and lack of motivation? If you don’t know what to eat when you get up in the morning, here are 12 quick & healthy breakfast ideas that will take less than 5 minutes to prepare and will keep your energy level high and steady for the whole morning.

healthy breakfast ideas: toast with fruits and berries

Many of us skip breakfast altogether, for many different reasons. We would rather sleep 30 minutes longer, or we are SO NOT hungry in the morning, even slightly nauseous. For people who are trying to lose weight, there is another reason. We think that the longer we wait before we start eating, the fewer calories we will end up swallowing during the day. This is what we call “calorie hoarding”. I have done it for years and years! Unfortunately, this strategy does not work for weight loss, and is not good at all for our health and energy level. What we skip for breakfast, we usually end up eating later in the day, and because we are often responding to cravings or energy slump, we end up making poor food choices and go for snack foods, sugary foods, fatty foods. Not the best way to lose weight, would you agree?

Healthy breakfast for sustained energy

If you want to nourish your body, feel energized, and not crash at 11 am or right after lunch, eating breakfast is one of the best things you can start doing today. OK, for this one, you can start tomorrow actually!

Ideally, just like any other meal, your breakfast would include a nice variety of foods, covering all the macro-nutrients. That is: carbohydrates, proteins, and a little bit of fat. Yet, if you have just been skipping breakfast for as long as you can remember, start slow. Have at least proteins + carbs, and you will already feel a difference!

12 easy breakfast ideas:

  • Instant Oatmeal Bowl (click to download the recipe)
  • Quinoa/Brown Rice Porridge Parfait (click to download the recipe)
  • Cottage or ricotta cheese with fruit/berries/seeds/nuts
  • Banana or apple with almond or peanut butter
  • ½ avocado with healthy seasoning (1tsp balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, or just black pepper)
  • Toast with cream cheese & jam, or with butter & honey + glass of milk
  • Toast with ricotta cheese and fruits (such as cantaloupe, mango, or strawberries)
  • Plain yogurt with muesli (no sugar added) and fruit/berries
  • Plain yogurt with crunchy soy protein/raisins/berries/nuts & seeds
  • ½ English muffin with peanut butter and berries
  • Scrambled eggs, plain or with leftover veggies
  • Egg cracked in a bowl and cooked in the microwave (30 seconds increments until it’s cooked to your liking).

Those are just ideas to get you started with breakfast. You can enjoy them on their own and it will already be a good start, or you can mix and match them to make sure you cover all the macro-nutrients.

For breakfast, like for everything else when you are establishing a healthy lifestyle, take it one step at a time. If you are used to never eating breakfast, start with a healthy breakfast 2 or 3 times a week. See how you feel, then add 1 extra day, and so on. Pretty soon, you will love your breakfast. Oh, and of course, before you eat anything, don’t forget to drink that delicious glass of water that we have often talked about!

A bit overwhelmed?

If you want more recipes or if you need help with Balanced Meal Planning, let me know, I am here to support you. Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Is milk good for me?

Photo of milk poured in a glassIs milk good for me? Should I quit gluten? Should I go vegan? As a Health Coach, I am asked those questions a lot, and they make good sense. Especially today, as we get bombarded by contradicting stories about what might help us lose weight, reduce our cholesterol, live longer, or have more energy.

Now I don’t hear the following questions very often. Is sausage good for me? Should I quit drinking pop? Should I stop eating muffins? So, I am wondering, why don’t we think twice about breakfast meat, junk food, soda or pastries? We all know that they are not “good” for us, right? But do we end up eliminating them from our lives? A few people do, that’s right, but most of us don’t.

When you ask me whether milk is good for you or not, my first question will be: are you lactose intolerant? Does milk give you diarrhea? If not, then milk is probably not worse for you than a slice of ham or a chocolate chip cookie. Same thing with gluten. Do you have gluten intolerance? Do you start swelling and farting just by looking at a loaf? If that’s the case, then gluten is probably not your best ally. But otherwise, do you really think gluten is worse than a slice of bacon, a portion of chips, or a diet coke?

Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket

In my world, everything is a question of variety and moderation. Unless you have a specific allergy, intolerance, or a condition that makes it better for you to avoid certain foods (talk to your doctor!), nothing (except trans fat) is really bad for you unless you eat or drink too much of it. And by the same token, even the best foods can be damaging if you eat too much of them. Kale is great, right? But if that’s all you eat, your guts won’t like it, believe me! Tuna is great too, but if you go overboard, you might end up ingesting too much mercury.

Photos of eggs in several baskets

Your best bet is to eat a little bit of everything.

When you invest your money, you want a diversified portfolio. Think the same way with nutrition. Branch out, have as many colors on your plate as possible, mix and match, make sure it never gets boring. This will prevent you from thinking too hard about what you should or should not eat. And this will be the safest bet in the long run. Just like with investment, it won’t make you the biggest winner (or loser!) overnight. But over time, you will be safe and sound because you will get all the nutrients you need, and won’t get too much of anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you should eat as much sausage as you should eat fresh spinach. Not all foods are equal when it comes to nutrition and you probably know it as well as I do. I won’t go into details here; this is not the point of this article. If you need more help with what to put in your plate in the first place, feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help.

Food choice checklist

Next time you are thinking about eliminating something from your diet, please think twice. Before you make your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the reasons why I want to eliminate that specific food item?
  • Is this food really bad for me? What are the facts?
  • Am I focusing on that food in order to forget about other eating habits?
  • Is this the food that needs the most attention in my diet?
  • Are there foods in my life that are potentially more problematic?
  • Do I really need to get rid of that food or could I eat it less often or in smaller quantities?
  • What would my life be like without that food?

You might end up keeping the food under scrutiny or eliminating it altogether. But whatever you decide, you will have made the decision after considering your motivations very carefully, and after reviewing the impact that this change might have on you and on your life. And that matters a lot.

That’s it!

If you have eliminated some foods from your diet or consider eliminating some, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

Of course, if you feel that you need a little more help with nutrition knowledge and food choices, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

How to feed your children for sports?

Have you decided to be healthier and more active? Good for you! I hope I can support you on this wonderful journey. My previous article “What is the best workout for you” might help you.

But, what about your kids? They look healthy, right? They are full of energy- if only you could find the OFF button sometimes! – You juggle lunch boxes, healthy snacks, trying to fit dinner between soccer practice and ballet.

But what should you really focus on to make sure they fuel properly, feel good during practice, improve in the sports they love, and recover fast after a tough workout?

active children nutrition: girls need fuel for ballet practice

As a mom of 3 myself, I have been sitting on the bleachers quite a bit, chatting with parents, talking with coaches, and observing the kids. So first, let me tell you about usual errors I have seen.

Sports nutrition for kids: 4 common mistakes

– Eating food that’s hard to digest right before practice: fatty meat, anything fried, chips, burgers, nuggets, etc.
– Eating food that creates a sudden burst of energy and then a crash: foods with refined sugar, sweets, soda, candy, etc.
– Not eating regularly during the day before practice or skipping meals.
– Arriving at practice dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink WATER!

Good, now we know what NOT to do.

So what do we feed our active kids?

In a nutshell, we have to remember that CARBS provide energy. PROTEINS help with muscle growth and repair. Good quality FATS make everything run smoothly and keep us warm. OK, it’s a bit of a shortcut, but sometimes, it’s good to stick to the basics.

active children nutrition: teen at skate park need a lot of energyBEFORE PRACTICE

A combo of the 4 things below:
– Easy to digest CARBS (applesauce, dried fruits, fresh fruits…)
– Complex CARBS (bread, bagel, crackers, granola, oatmeal, pretzels…)
– A bit of PROTEIN (nut butter, string cheese, plain yogurt, plain milk, fish, lean meat such as turkey or chicken… but nothing fried! )
– WATER!!!

Avoid FAT right before practice: it hard to digest! Stay away from chicken nuggets, chips, fries or burgers just before practice.

DURING PRACTICE:

WATER!!!
If practice lasts longer than 1 hour, you can add a bit of juice in that water, or you can give your child some dried fruits for a quick snack.
If practice lasts over 2 hours, maybe some extra sodium will be required. Either in a drink (such as coconut water for example) or in a salty snack like crackers or pretzels.

AFTER PRACTICE

WATER!!!

If your child is not allergic, a handful of nuts or a string cheese might be a good option right after practice, so that your kid doesn’t starve on the way home from the locker room. But don’t give them too much if dinner is around the corner!

active children nutrition: even young children in sports team need good food for energy

When you get home, you want to feed your children a well-balanced meal with enough water to help them recover faster. By well balanced, I mean, whole foods (REAL foods!) that provide them with carbs, protein, and good fat. What I call “good fat” is, for example, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole milk and whole milk yogurt, cheese…).

They will be hungry after practice, so why not start the meal with plenty of green vegetables? We are less picky when we are starving 🙂

Of course, all children are different, and their needs will vary depending on their age, where they are on their growth curve, what their allergies and preferences are, etc.

If you remember only ONE thing!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that what is healthy for you is usually healthy for your child, and what is NOT healthy for you, is most of the time NOT HEALTHY FOR YOUR CHILD. So focus on real food (as opposed to highly processed food) and plain water, and you will be stacking all the odds in their favor!

Go feed those champions and if you have questions, ask away in the comment section or email me. I will be happy to try and help where I can.

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Should I count calories?

Is it important for you to have a good work/life balance? Or a nice harmony between “me-time” and the demands of others? My guess is, YES, it is vital to you! And yet, to achieve that, you probably don’t record every minute of your time and what it is dedicated to? Or do you?

Having a healthy work/life balance does not mean counting the time spent playing a board game with our kids, or sending an email to our boss. By the same token, having a nice balanced food intake should not require counting every calorie and nutrient.

A balanced diet is like a balanced life

If you had to time everything you did and make sure all the moments of your day are equally distributed among different areas of your life, it would get extremely complicated and exhausting. Actually, your existence would quickly turn into a living hell!

Cairn representing balance

Instead, you probably have a pretty good idea of what balance means to you. How many hours you approximately spend at work, what you usually do on weekends, how long you generally sleep, etc. You have a “frame” and you evolve within that frame year after year, incorporating new jobs, new people, new places…

Healthy without “knowing” it

If you want to establish healthy eating habits, you have to look at food the same way you look at life. Unless you have a specific condition that requires it, you don’t need to monitor calories and nutrients closely. Instead, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Rather than studying the nutrients and calories in every element of your meals, focus on what makes you feel better, what brings you the most energy, and very important too, what brings you the most enjoyment and happiness. I am not talking instant gratification here, sugar rush, quick fix. I am talking profound pleasure and lasting satisfaction.

A strong frame for more freedom

Baby eating watermelonTo make sure you establish a healthy and balanced food intake that is not going to be jeopardized every time to go out with friends or are stressed out at work, you have to have a structure, just like you have one for your balanced life. A structure that guarantees a healthy lifestyle, but also gives you enough freedom to enjoy your food and life without questioning every choice you make.

Once you have a frame for your eating habits, you can forget about calories and nutrition and focus your energy on everything else in your life. Isn’t that what we all want?

When I work with clients, building this healthy frame is our first step toward a new lifestyle. If you want to know more about such a frame, follow this blog, I will definitely write more about this topic. But if you are eager to start and build a strong structure for yourself right now, reach out to me and I will give you a few tips on how to get started. You can email me or ask questions in the comment section below.

Start with this!

The very first thing I recommend you do though, is fill your plate with REAL FOOD, coming mostly from plants. If you do that, you won’t have to worry much about nutrition facts and food labels. Unless, again, you have a medical condition that requires it. It seems quite simple, and it actually is! Real food – as in unprocessed or very slightly processed – has what we need to fuel our body. So let’s start eating it :-)!

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.