When Should You Choose Organic?

when to go organic

If You Choose Organic, Does That Mean It’s Healthy?

“Organic” always means “healthy,” right? Well, sometimes. Choose organic foods and you’ll avoid a lot of toxic chemicals, which is ideal… but think twice before you rely on the “organic” label just to justify that organic pastry or lollipop for your kids.when to go organic

What separates conventional farming from the organic way?

The National Organic Program, a regulatory program within the USDA has established national standards for organically grown foods. To earn the label of “organic” in the U.S., farmers must adhere to certain standards such as: submit to audits conducted by accredited certifying agents, give animals access to the outdoors, make use of crop rotation, mechanical tillage, hand-weeding and other management methods to control weed growth. They must NOT: treat animals with antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from animal byproducts, fertilize with sewage sludge, apply prohibited substances to their land for at least three years prior to harvest.

Simply stated, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. “Organic” does not necessarily mean animals are humanely treated, free to roam pastures or grass-fed. And it is not synonymous with healthy, low-sugar or unprocessed food…but, that’s what marketers want you to believe. You know, so they can charge you more. Confused yet?

Be a smart consumer. Here is the organic label lingo to become aware of:

Organic Labels

Many people get caught up on trick labels like “healthy,” “fresh,” “natural.” It’s easy to get confused. Always check the ingredient list and the nutrition-facts panel to see what’s really in your product. If you can pronounce the ingredients, you won’t need a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

  • “100% organic”: This product must contain 100% organic ingredients.
  • “Organic”: This product must have at least 95% ingredients organically produced.
  • “Made with Organic ingredients”: This product must have at least 70% organic ingredients.

 

Choose Organic with the Dirty Dozen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group identifies the fruits and vegetables that contain the most—and least—chemical pesticides. They call them the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” The ”dirty dozen” list is a good place to start going organic.

  1. Strawberries (these are the worst offenders hording the most pesticide residues)
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Even though it didn’t officially make the list (because it’s processed), the EWG also included a special report about raisins. EWG says that 99% of nearly 700 raisin samples tested positive for traces of at least two pesticides, and one sample had 26 different pesticides. “If we included raisins in our calculations, they would be number one on the Dirty Dozen,” said Thomas Galligan, Ph.D, a toxicologist for the EWG, in a press release. So, go organic with your raisins!

Clean 15

The Clean 15 list, on the other hand, includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Almost 70% of these food samples had no pesticide residues whatsoever. You can typically go conventional with these fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kiwi
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Honeydew melon
  15. Cantaloupes

Keep in mind, organic foods can cost up to 50% more than conventional products, so do your research first and choose wisely.

Do Your Research

Is there a trick label that often confuses you? Take a moment to look it up, define it and share it.

But, I know, Google can be equally confusing. Here are a couple more reputable sources to consider for your own research:

 

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Set Real Expectations

So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.

Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.

Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges

Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.

Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.

Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.

Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.

The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:

  • What is the root cause of those actions?
  • How can you learn from those events?
  • … and most importantly, How can you move forward?

According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.

If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.

Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.

Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations

Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.

In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.

When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.

Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.

But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge. 

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl

Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.

Common Mistakes and Their Fixes

Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”

The Mistake:

You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.

The Fix:

Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.

The Mistake:

Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.

The Fix:

Of course you feel ravenous. ⁣
Of course you feel hangry.⁣
Of course you feel out of control.⁣

Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself.⁣ Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.⁣

The Mistake:

Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.

The Fix:

Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.

Set Real World Expectations

For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.

There is so much outside of our control.

Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.

Ask yourself these two questions:

What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?

And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?

To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at info@crossfitsalus.com.

 

Sleep 101: How much sleep do you really need?

So, your training and nutrition are both on point, but you still don’t perform the way you want? Poor recovery  habits, like a lack of sleep, may be to blame. So how much sleep do you need in the first place?

In this series, we’ll take a look at some of the most common questions about sleep.

How much sleep do you need (really)?

Most of us know that getting enough quality rest is important, but, far too few of us actually make shut-eye a priority. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly a third of adults sleep less than 7 hours per night. This lack of sleep leads to increased fatigue during the day, lower energy in training, and decreased ability to focus at work and at home.

To complicate matters even more, blue lights, caffeine, and other stimulants are interfering with our natural sleep/wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythm. For those struggling with excessive sleep debt, it can be hard to remember what feeling truly rested is even like anymore.

So, how much sleep do you need?

You may have heard that too much or too little sleep can both have negative effects. But, the amount of sleep you need exactly depends on your genes, age, health status and lifestyle factors such as stress, level of physical activity and work schedules.

Newer recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation provides an optimal window of time for different age groups. For adults (ages 26-64), it is recommended to get between seven and nine hours of sleep (but as little as six or as much as 10 may be appropriate).

Here is their general guideline:

6-13 years old = 9.5-12 hours a night
14-17 years old = 8-11 hours a night
18-25 years old = 7-11 hours a night
26-64 years old= 7-9 hours a night

What’s your magic number?

To find the magic number for you, you’ll have to take a look at the bigger picture. If you’re out less than six hours of sleep each night AND do NOT experience negative side effects, you may be considered a ‘short sleeper.’ This would be the only appropriate scenario to sleep less than the above recommended amount.

On the flip side, some people require more than 10 hours per night (‘long sleepers’). But only if no negative side effects occur.

Read more on “Sleeping Tips for Athletes.

Not sure if you’re sleep deprived?

Some common signs of deprivation include:

  • cognitive impairment
  • fatigue
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • impaired overall performance
  • mood disturbances
  • behavioral problems
  • reduced performance, strength, accuracy

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to also lead to more serious health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiac problems and more.

If you’re experiencing any of the above signs or symptoms, chance are that you may more rest.

Read more on “How to Create a Bedtime Routine.

Using the above recommendations as a guide, it’s crucial to factor in your own needs to optimize sleep for well-being and performance goals.

Check out our series on sleep for more information:

Control Stress Before It Controls You

Stressed out? Constantly frustrated, tired, depressed? Don’t be surprised if you come down with something. Even if you don’t notice it, our mental health can directly affect our physical health and research shows that stress has a direct impact on weakening the immune system.

Most of us spend our days putting out fires and trying to control stress. Whether it’s handling household tasks, responding to work demands or wiping little noses, our lives are full of stress.

Here’s the thing…

Many of us thrive on those demands. We’re wired to put other people first and tackle epic to-do lists.
That is, until our energy runs out and we realize we don’t have anything left to help ourselves. One day we find ourselves mentally and emotionally drained, craving sugar and junk, canceling our workouts and feeling run down.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to break the cycle.

Control Stress for a Happy Gut

Before we dive into a few realistic tips to help you reduce stress. I just want to touch on how stress affects our gut. Most of us know that stress affects our nervous system, but many of us may not realize how much stress can affect our digestive system.

Did you know that you have more nerve cells in your bowel than in your spine. 80-90% of serotonin is made in our gut.

Healthy gut = happy you.

Under normal circumstances, our digestive system goes about its daily task of breaking down food and sending nutrients to our body while preventing the entry of toxins. But, when distressed, we experience permeability in our gut wall, and it can also lead to irritation and inflammation.

Now our gut can’t act in our defense.

Our gut communicates with every cell in our body, which means that disruptions in the gut can show up as disruptions in the brain (and vice versa). Stress (both acute and chronic) directly influences gut health and can manifest itself as seemingly unrelated symptoms such as night sweats, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, fever, etc.

In addition to learning how to control stress with the strategies listed below, we can take control of gut distress by removing common food offenders such as:

  • Lectins– This is a type of protein most commonly found in grains, legumes and peanuts that are categorized as anti-nutrients since they block the absorption of some nutrients.
  • Gluten– Commonly found in found in wheat, rye, and other grains, gluten is pretty much a buzz-word now (and requires its own post), but can lead to leaky gut, inflammation and limit nutrient absorption. Many of us are gluten intolerant and may not even realize it.
  • Casein, lactose, and other immunoglobulins in dairy. It’s estimated that between 65-75% of us are genetically unable to properly digest dairy. Being lactose intolerant can lead to digestive problems, headaches, irritated skin and in increase in mucus.

Get the root cause of your gut troubles. Take the time to learn about your body and what it’s trying to tell you through symptoms.

Control Stress

True, for some people, especially athletes, small doses of stress can stoke the fire for performance-driven motivation, alertness and focus. But, too much stress can end up having the opposite effect and lead to digestion troubles, increased anxiety, poor sleep quality and a depressed immune function which can potentially lead to some pretty serious health consequences.

From clearing out the clutter and getting outside to laughing more and spending time with a loved one, here’s how you can find a greater sense of calm and clarity in your day.

Clear the Clutter

Being in any space where we have more things in front of us than we can manage, sends a visual message that our life is out of control. That can be your closet, your office, your computer desktop, etc. For most, clutter leads to procrastination which in turn becomes chaos and added stress. This cycle repeats endlessly.
Declutter in 3,2,1…go:

  1. Tackle one (only one) small project and start with just 2 minutes at a time.
  2. If it doesn’t bring you joy (it’s neither useful or sentimental) get rid of it.
  3. If you feel like you just can’t part with it right now, put it in a box labelled with an expiration date. If you don’t open by the expiration date, give it away.

Get Outside

When was the last time you genuinely took some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smell of nature? Research shows that ‘forest bathing,’ the practice of spending time in a wooded area is good for your mind, body and spirit.

Step outside for a moment and take 10 deep breaths, read, meditate, eat without distraction or even add in some exercise. Go for a bike ride, walk or jog…without your headphones, or even your phone.

It’s all about the state of mind that you achieve while you’re there. This will allow you to focus more on how your body feels, control stress and tap into the vital energy of the great outdoors, yes…even in the winter.

Connect With Loved Ones

If you ever needed a reason to schedule a date night, here it is!

Many of us have heard the advice before about how date nights can help keep relationships strong. But, we all know that’s easier said than done. Especially with kids. Especially during a pandemic.

So, be realistic about how it can work for you and your partner. Whether it’s simply sitting outside together after the kids have gone to bed to talk uninterrupted or scheduling a “walk and talk,” make a date with your partner…and make every effort not to cancel on each other.

Studies show that time invested in being alone — together, without the kids or the chores — results in happier couples. Plus, if that time alone is spent getting freaky, you could reduce the stress response even more, see a boost immunity, relieve pain and sleep better, too.

Laugh More

A good laugh can place most stressful issues into a different light and help turn something negative around.

It really is the best medicine for controlling stress.

Laughing increases endorphins released by your brain, stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, improves immune system and even relieves pain. But, we don’t need studies to tell us that laughing can help reduce anxiety and ease mental stress, making us happier, healthier and just more fun to be around!

Go ahead, read a funny joke…then share it with someone; watch a funny movie with a friend; or just act a little silly and experience a mood lift asap.

Take Control of Stress Before It Controls You

Take perspective of stressful situations surrounding you right now. If the nightly news elevates your heart rate, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense up, use that time to listen to something calming, listen to an educational podcast or audiobook.

Ask Yourself

If there something in your life that’s making you anxious, how can you focus your time and energy elsewhere and take control of your environment?

For example: choose a small section of your house to declutter, do the dishes, download a playlist for your drive to work.

Go ahead…do it now!

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Changing Habits

 

Changing Habits With Success

Changing habits, like changing a training program, comes with a natural ebb and flow. One day you’re making tremendous progress and the next day you feel like you’ve regressed. It’s an normal (and important) part of the process.

It’s normal, but it’s not easy.

I get it, finding a steady rhythm of consistency to change your habits and food choices can be challenging. But thankfully there are a couple proven ways that you can set yourself up for success: choosing your battles and staying focused on your goals in as many ways possible!

Changing Habits Against the Odds

Working on changing your habits?

Here are 2 quick tips to help you navigate the lows and come out on top.

1. Choose your battles.

You don’t always have to fight the lows.
Be smart and instead, change the timing of your highs.
For example, it’s 10:00 pm and you still have an hour of work to do (and mobility…and have to get up early for your kid’s soccer game). You sink into the couch, open your laptop and the eyelids start to flutter immediately. Your first instinct may be to fight through the fatigue with less than stellar focus, nodding your head a few times before giving in to the pillow… But this time, try a new approach. Close the laptop, hit your 10 minutes of mobility then go to bed so you get your 7 hours (or even 6) of quality sleep. Set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier and knock out that work you had to do with a fresh mind.

2. Write down your goals, post them close by and remind yourself of them often.

Keep them eye level at your desk reminding you to drink water, on your mirror reminding you to attack your goals, on the refrigerator reminding you to eat more greens or even on the TV to remind you to stretch.
Because, that exact moment you’re on a downward trend, that little post-it written in your own handwriting will remind yourself of those important goals and help you keep plugging away. And during those awesome moments when you’re on the upward trend, having your goals front-of-mind will help to channel your energy in the right direction.
Success!

Changing Habits is Tough – We’re only human after all.

Some days you’ll be able to make it to the box on time, smash out a productive day of work, cook a clean meal, fit in the time for your family and get to bed on time.
Other days, your day feels like it drags on forever and the only thing you can imagine doing is watching Netflix.

Like everything else in life, goals come with its ups and downs. You can’t escape them. But you can learn how to navigate through.

Ask Yourself

What has been the most significant change you’ve made toward your goals recently and what can you to to increase your confidence that you’ll be able to carry them over with you through life?

Making those connections is key to your long-term success. Good luck working on your goals! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions along the way.

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Sleep 101: How does (a lack of) sleep impact performance?

Getting enough quality sleep is often emphasized for competitive athletes to promote physical and mental recovery from rigorous training sessions, minimize the risk of injury, prevent fatigue and boost performance. And losing sleep can directly impact performance, too.

The last question we’ll address in our Sleep 101 series is how sleep – or a lack of – can affect your performance in CrossFit or weightlifting as it relates to competitions.

How does (a lack of) sleep impact performance?

If you travel for competition, there’s a chance you’ve experienced significant sleep impairment the night before the competition from travel departure times, jet lag or altitude differences. While more research is still needed on the effects of sleep and strength, some particular findings suggest that on a short timescale, sleep deprivation can have a major impact on performance, from slower reflexes and response times to a decrease in motivation to exert effort.

Pre-competition nerves are hard to control. But, thankfully, extra sleep has been seen to contribute to improved performance. One way to prep for a competition is to load up on some Zzzzs the nights before, so you don’t go into a comp sleep deprived.  Studies even show that banking a few hours in the week leading up to the competition can also reduce the impact of restrictive sleep the night before.

So, if you’re one to notoriously lose out on sleep the night before a meet, the best thing you can do is prepare as much as possible ahead of time and not obsess over it. Prioritize sleep as part of your daily recovery schedule in the weeks- and even months- leading up to a competition. Stay out of sleep debt and even stock up when you can.

Also, remember to utilize some relaxation strategies such as an epsom salt bath, meditation and stretching to help you wind down and get some much-needed rest.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the series! Check out the other common questions in our Sleep 101 series below.

Check out our series on sleep for more information:

Strive for Progress Not Perfection

I challenge you to strive for progress not perfection.

Focus on making an improvement, growing, learning, understanding more about your body, but allow room for imperfection. Just a little wiggle room.

In other words, set the bar high, but be nice to YOU.

Salus Nutrition is about building a new awareness of how certain habits can directly impact your energy, mood, performance, sleep and more. I also want to help you improve your relationship with food and get you working towards the body and mind you’ve always wanted – all while connecting and engaging with the people and activities that make you most happy!

Sure, every day will be filled with obstacles and lots of learning about your own body, but you don’t need to go through it alone. Head to our private Facebook Page – and join the conversation!

Holistic Change

It’s about creating new holistic habits, so in order to make a real sustainable change we need to dig a little deeper than the food we put on our plate. The following questions will help guide you through this challenge. I encourage you to write the answers down in a journal, and consider talking about them with a friend to help you stay accountable. What you choose to do with your answers is up to you!

I realize some of the “mindfulness” parts of this program may make you feel a little uncomfortable. Remember that at the beginning of every great change is a bit of discomfort. I challenge you to test the boundaries of your comfort zone.

You will start to learn more about yourself than ever before which will directly contribute to your success.

Where are you now? What does 3 months from now look like?

Day 1 is all about defining your journey and setting an intention for yourself.

Ask yourself these 5 questions, and let’s get started. Find a quiet place (if you’re a parent, I suggest locking yourself in the bathroom – just kidding – or am I LOL), bring your pen, journal or if you prefer…voice to text. And come with an open mind.

  1. What is my “why”? Write down the key motivating factors for starting your journey.
  2. What are my main priorities coming out of this challenge? Where do I want to be?
  3. Does my current lifestyle reflect and support my main motivations, purpose, and priorities? If not, start this journey with a commitment to change that, now!
  4. What does the end of this challenge look like and feel like? Be as descriptive as possible and include things like the activities you will be doing, the outfits you will wear, the emotions you will feel, the energy levels you will have, the people that will be around you.
  5. What are 3 things I will adhere to on this journey that are not negotiable. For example:
    “I will sleep a minimum of 7 hours a day.” or  “I will eat a balanced-out portion breakfast every day.”
    Post this list somewhere that you can view it every day.

Progress Not Perfection

Before you begin this journey to a happier and healthier you I want you to keep this one thing in mind – strive for progress not perfection.

Remember that this is a journey of self-improvement and it does not define you. If you finish the day with less than perfect points, guess what? You’re human. If you made one improvement in your lifestyle today, that’s a WIN! Celebrate that and strive to make one more change tomorrow.

Remember, when you act from a place of “progress” (one improvement – one step at a time), you will be much more likely to succeed in the long run (after the challenge is over…that’s the point of this, right?).

Any questions? Shoot them my way. I’m always happy to help…seriously. Don’t hesitate! Email me at info@salusnj.com

Let’s get this party started!

Accountability: Do You Have a Plan?

accountability partner

Accountability Within A Strong Support Group

One of the things we love most about this challenge is the awesome community. Give advice, get advice: when you share advice, recipes, tips and tricks, you help others succeed and get inspired in return.  What it all boils down to is having accountability within a strong support group.

As we near the end of our nutrition challenge, it’s the perfect time to start thinking of this very thing.

Stay on Course with Accountability

Any time you decide to make a change it’s normal to feel nervous, experience discomfort, and excitement. And maybe feel all of those things at the same time. No one said it was going to be easy, right? Thankfully there are some tips help you stay the course after the challenge is over.

Accountability within a strong support group is incredibly important. Having a support system or a method to “check in” with yourself is guaranteed to increase your likelihood of success. In fact, it can make the difference between being successful and giving up.

ac·count·a·ble
əˈkoun(t)əb(ə)l/
adjective
Required or expected to justify actions or decisions.

Sure, you could do this alone. But not if you want to reach your full potential.
And, often it’s easier – and more fun – with some help.

According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, the people with whom you habitually associate are called your reference group and these people determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life.

Tips to Stay Accountable

Share Your Goal

Write down your realistic goal, post it somewhere visible or put it in your calendar as a weekly reminder. Then make that goal public. Few things push someone like a deadline can… And an audience. If you tell others what you intend to do it you’ll work harder.

Be Prepared

Growth happens from taking action. And taking action almost always brings criticism along with it. Be prepared for that. Move forward anyways.

Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “Whatever course you decide upon there’s always someone to tell you that you are wrong. They are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a plan of action and follow it to the end requires… courage.”

Find a Buddy or Two

Jim Rohn asserted that we become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most. He believed that we start to eat what they eat talk like they talk read what they read think like they think watch what they watch and dress like they dress.

Find a buddy or two who will not only help you stay on track, but who will also be there to share your struggles and celebrations. This person should be someone who has their own fitness or nutrition goals.

Talk weekly and go over each other’s progress. Schedule time to work out together, share recipes & check in to help each other stay accountable.

You need people around you who will support you in your efforts to achieve your goals. Not sabotage them.

Get a Coach

A neutral third party can help take some of the stress off you and help make life easier. This person should be someone you can relate to, trust and feel comfortable talking with. At Salus Nutrition, coaching is completely personalized to help you feel your best. Working strategically with science as the backbone, we’ll teach you how to become more aware of your mind and body connection and the impact that it can have on your overall health.

Check In

Check in with yourself daily. And remember to listen to your body. When I’m stressed, I tend to hold tension in my shoulders immediately. That’s a sign to take a step back, call myself out and dive a little deeper into what is really bothering me: am I sleep deprived, over-training, under-eating, over-stressed?

When you check in with yourself it’s a great way to be in the present moment, get back on track with your goals and learn about yourself on a deeper level.

When we learn about our bodies, we then get to own the power to change the way we feel.

What about you?

How do you plan to stay accountable to your goals? What has worked for you in the past (and what hasn’t worked)?

I want to know. Leave me a message below or shoot me an email at angela@salusnj.com.

In Good Health,

Coach Angela

Endocrine Disruptors: What Are They? How Do I Avoid Them?

So, you’re drinking all your water, awesome! But now it’s time to step it up a notch and ditch the plastic bottles…and the endocrine disruptors that come along with them.

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors can be natural or man-made substances that interfere with our body’s endocrine system (hormone and cell signaling) and can lead to harmful developmental, neurological, immune and reproductive effects.

Maybe you’ve heard about BPA? It’s known to disrupt hormones and can mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, leading to hormone imbalances. BPA has been linked to insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, liver damage, ADHD, infertility (for men and women) and altered gene expression

But, guess what? BPA-free doesn’t mean you’re safe from the health hazards of plastic.

A study published in Environmental Health indicates that almost all plastics, including BPA- and phthalate-free products, release chemicals with estrogenic activity. Bisphenol S (BPS) and triphenyl phosphate (TPP) are two chemicals often found in BPA-free products. Items containing these chemicals have been marketed as “safe” alternatives to BPA-containing plastics, but it turns out that BPS has endocrine-disrupting effects that are very similar to BPA, and TPP is even more estrogenic than BPA.

What Endocrine Disruptors Do?

Our endocrine system consists of glands that release hormones. Once released, those hormones act like chemical messenger that travel throughout our body, bind to target receptors on certain cells and cause predictable cellular change.

Endocrine disruptors mimic our naturally occurring hormones and end up binding to receptors which in turn changes our hormone creation, transport, binding and breakdown. They’re very stable which means they don’t break down easily (why manufacturers use them in products) and also means they stick around in our bodies for a long time.

When our hormonal systems are altered, it can lead to disrupted metabolism, immune function, bone health & mental status, altered testicular function & conversion of cholesterol to steroid hormones, oxidative stress, promotion of obesity and more.

Where are endocrine disruptors found?

We’re exposed to a cocktail of endocrine disruptors every day and probably don’t even know it.

They’re found in our plastic bottles, probably in your carpet and most likely in your drug store beauty care products. They’re even food packaging, shower curtains, cleaning products, children’s toys, canned food and of course water bottles (even BPA-free). That’s right, we’re constantly being bombarded with hormonal manipulators. They’re everywhere.

In fact, the CDC has found over 92% of people tested, including newborns, have detectable levels of BPA and other plastic chemicals in their bodies.

Yikes!

The good news? We can control most of our exposure.

Tips to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors

Research finds that BPA, phthalates and other plastics have harmful effects at both high and very low doses. Given the above evidence, I recommend trying to avoid all kinds of plastic, even ones labeled as BPA-free.

  • Use glass and stainless steel whenever possible for drinking, cooking, eating and storing food.
  • Never reheat your food in plastic containers or wash them in the dishwasher. Use glass.
  • Don’t cook with plastic utensils. Instead opt for bamboo or wood.
  • Use parchment paper or a lid from a pot to cover your food instead of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
  • Watch what you eat (avoid canned foods and choose organic when possible).
  • Cook with cast iron instead of nonstick pans which can also hide endocrine disruptors.
  • Use a stainless steel thermos to pack your kids lunches instead of plastic baggies.
  • Don’t forget to say “no, thank you” to your receipt, as these have BPA coating as well.
  • Take a look at your (and your kids) cosmetic and personal care products (sunscreens, lotions, make up, soap, etc). Avoid those that contain phthalates in the ingredients and find natural replacements.
  • Choose wood or fabric toys for children instead of plastic.
  • Swap out those plastic water bottles and shaker bottles for an insulated stainless steel or glass (just make sure you keep the lid clean from mold).

Choosing what we put into and on our bodies can have an enormous impact on our health.

What steps do you currently take to avoid plastic? Are there some things you have difficulty finding alternatives for?

Take action, today… and every day.

Consider going plastic-free on your next water bottle purchase. But, remember: No matter what nutritional or lifestyle changes you’re here to make, you have to get better at making a change in the first place if you want those changes to stick.

One realistic step at a time. 

More on our Salus Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:

Eating Out and Staying In Control

Eating Out and Staying In Control

Once you’ve made the decision to eat clean, dining out can be a minefield, and can often stir up some anxiety. In attempt to help you from freaking out when you’re eating out, I’ve outlined some simple tips below. Try it at your next business lunch, family celebration or date night.

Ready? Let’s Order.

eating outEating Out: Navigating Restaurant Emotions

First, accept that you just might be considered “that person.” You know, that one who asks all the questions about the menu, make some substitutions and still might have to send something back.
Yup, that might be you.
If you’ve made a commitment to make smarter choices about what you’re eating, you need to do some due diligence. So, instead of sitting back and feeling self-conscious about your new lifestyle, own that shit.
Hopefully you’ve already had the conversation with those you’re dining with, but if you haven’t, let them ask you some questions and answer in a positive light (saying things like “I choose to have xyz” rather than, “I can’t have xyz”).

Also, instead of judging what they choose to order, lead by example.
So, before you start listing off your questions and substitutions, let your server know that you have a few special requests but you’re willing to wait patiently for the changes and that you really appreciate their help. The more they feel your appreciation, the more they’ll show you the same courtesy.

Do Your Research Before You Go

If you know where you’re going ahead of time, do your homework about the menu. Browse through their online menu and take note of any table-temptations (like warm bread or chips and salsa) so you can be mentally prepared. These temptations can also be avoided by my eating something little before you go so you’re not hangry while you’re waiting for your food.

If you have more time, call the restaurant and ask about the oils they use for cooking. This can help you decide which meals have the red light. If you’re on a roll and have their attention, why not ask about how their ingredients are sourced. Do they use a local farmer or a distributor? What about their meats – are they organic or conventionally farmed? If you’re headed to a restaurant that features local or organic, they’re going to be more than happy to share that information with you.

Once you pick a few items on the menu that look promising, take a look at their nutritional value. My Fitness Pal has a decent database to help you navigate eating out. You can either choose by GPS location or search the restaurant name.

Pick Your Protein First

When you find a grass-fed burger or organic, free-range chicken, it’s time to celebrate and bookmark that restaurant as a favorite. But, when you’re eating out, you’re going to find that most restaurants use conventionally-sourced (factory-farmed) meat. In that case, use this as a guide to help you navigate your choices.

  • Your best bet is to choose steamed or grilled fish or lean cuts of red meat (think: sirloin steak). Aim for as lean as possible to avoid fat-stored toxins consumed by factory-farmed animals.
  • Your next best choice is going to be grilled chicken without the skin or a no-bun-burger or even eggs (depending on the oil used). Often, you’ll have no choice but to be at the mercy of vegetable oils. Even high-end restaurants cook with it. Learn to navigate smarter options that require no oil (or less of it), and you’ll set yourself up for success.
  • Finally, the avoid at all costs protein choice when eating out: factory-farmed pork in any form (this includes bacon, sausage, hot dogs), anything skin-on, fried or swimming in sauce.

Be Meticulous

Don’t be embarrassed to take an extra few minutes to read over the menu, if you didn’t have a chance to do it beforehand. Ask questions about the cooking methods before you choose your meal.

  • When possible choose grilled or steamed foods. These will be your safest choice.
  • Sauteed dishes are cooked in fat (and most restaurants cook their vegetables this way). Ask for them to be steamed and served undressed.
  • Roasted might sound like a good choice, they’re just cooked in an oven, right? Wrong. These dishes are usually blasted with fat (not the good kind) to keep them from drying out.
  • Fried. No chance. Moving on….

Relax

foundation nutrition progress not perfectionProgress, not perfection. That’s our mantra right now.
Do what you can to make the smartest choice and keep your meal compliant. And, even if you can’t control the menu, you can control your portions. Use your hand a guide to help you from going overboard.

Then, it’s time to relax and enjoy your company. Remember to also show your appreciation with a tip for your server, too.

Ask Yourself

Last week we tried to make our favorite foods/drink fit within portion control guidelines. If you did, how did that go?

Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful, but it takes a little more work.

How will you be using any of these tips the next time you’re eating out?

Please share your response on our Facebook page.

If you have any questions about your individual needs, set up a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about our one-on-one nutrition health coaching with Angela.

More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog: