Season Favorites // Summer 2017

Hiking. Camping. BBQ. Green grass. Windows open. Vacations. It must be sweet, sweet summertime! 

I am obsessed with summer and welcome the warm, bright Colorado days after an entire winter of slushy wet snow. I love the winter, I do, but when it's dumping snow in April, I just get over that magic really quick.

This summer will be full of exploring, adventuring, hiking, creek swimming with the pup, and DISNEYLAND for our five year wedding anniversary! I'm ready for my favorite season with my favorite things. Here are some of my latest obsessions for the season!

 

1. A Mind of Your Own // This book is a game. changer. for women who battle any sort of depression or anxiety. Kelly Brogan is straightforward and takes quality medical research and translates it for easy understanding. If you're ready to take control of your mental health this year, this is your go-to book!

2. Tarte Cosmetics Shape Tape Contour Concealer // Tarte Cosmetics is a stellar brand of clean(er) beauty products. They recently released this contouring concealer and it's seriously perfect! It goes on thick, but not cakey, and even though the price point is a little higher, the tube will last you forever! It's perfect at concealing undereye circles, blemishes, and redness. It's my holy grail of makeup.

3. Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water in Melon Mint // Vital Proteins is known for their quality collagen peptides that I believe EVERYONE should be taking, and this product kicks it up a notch and adds probiotics, vitamins, and minerals to aid in glowing skin from the inside out. It's perfect for those bare-face days!

4. Earthpowder Charcoal Tooth Powder with Peppermint // This product is brand new on the market! I've tried a few different tooth powders in the past but they all taste like baking soda and salt. Earthpaste launched these toothpowders and they don't taste like a mouth full of ocean water. The charcoal is a great natural whitener and the ingredients are squeekly clean without fluoride, artificial colors, microbeads, or glycerin.

5. Healthy Human Stein Water Bottle // If you've ever seen me in person, you know that my Healthy Human cruiser is always in my hand. The cruisers are great for every day but I've been eyeing this stein for the summer! It's great for hiking and will be perfect in Disneyland, keeping water cold for hours! This company is small and ran by some incredible women so I love supporting them!

6. Kite Hill Almond Cream Cheese // THIS CREAM CHEESE. It's my latest food obsession. It's made with almonds so its perfect for those who don't do dairy, but tastes just like the real deal. I love serving it with green apples, Simple Mills crackers, cucumbers, or with dates. You can find it at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers. 

 


What are you favorites for summer!? Shoot me a comment or find me on social media and tell me!

xo,

Cam

This posts contain affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something I get a small kickback. It doesn't cost anything extra for you and simply supports my blog! Thanks for the love!

Paleo "Cream of Wheat"

When I was growing up, my favorite breakfast was a bowl of Cream of Wheat with a ton of brown sugar and pancake syrup. It was a simple meal that unfortunately filled me up with gluten and sugar. I tend to avoid those things these days, but still hanker for the delicious breakfast some times.

Enter THIS RECIPE.

Oh my goodness. It's warm, lightly sweetened, and protein packed. What's the secret? 

Cauliflower.

I hear cauliflower is the new kale, and for all the right reasons. It's versatile, cheap, and takes on the flavors it's mixed with without being overpowering. That makes it the perfect vegetable addition to breakfast.

You can find pre-riced cauliflower at pretty much any grocery store these days or you can make your own.

Seriously, this breakfast is so easy!

Paleo "Cream of Wheat"

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
2 c riced cauliflower
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1 egg
1 large banana
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 scoops of collagen peptides, optional
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
coconut oil or ghee

In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat with enough cooking fat to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour blended mixture into skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the cauliflower is fully, smooth, and most of the liquid is reduced. Top with cinnamon, coconut, maple syrup, honey, fruit, almond butter, or nuts!
 


Enjoy!

XO,

Cam

Thai Inspired Chicken "Noodle" Bowls

It's Monday! I love Mondays. They bring a fresh start and endless possibilities of what the week will hold. You know what I also love? Almond butter in pretty much any form. My favorite form is in a thai inspired dish with cilantro and red pepper flakes.

This dinner comes together super quick and easy and is pure comfort food. It can seem like too many steps and parts, but I promise it's more simple than it looks! If you're the type to meal prep, you can spiralize your zoodles, make your sauce, and dice your chicken ahead of time making it an easy process when dinner comes around.

If you don't have a spiralizer, no worries! You can find packaged spiralized sweet potatoes at your local health food store. Also, another helpful hint: rumor has it that Trader Joe's now carries coconut aminos for $2.99. That's half the price you'll find it elsewhere!

So let's dig in, shall we?

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Thai Inspired Chicken "Noodle" Bowls

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
Sauce:
1/2 c almond butter
1/2 c coconut aminos
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 dashes of fish sauce
1.5 T minced cilantro
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 tsp sea salt

Noodles:
3-4 medium sweet potatoes, spiralized
2 T avocado oil

Protein:
4 chicken breasts, diced into 1" cubes
1 lb broccoli florets
2 T avocado oil
salt + pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings:
Cashews
Green onions
Bean sprouts
Cucumber slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk all sauce ingredients together until well incorporated. Set aside. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, toss broccoli florets and chicken in avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Place in heated oven for 25-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While the chicken is roasting, spiralize sweet potatoes and cook on medium-high heat in a well oiled skillet for 5-7 minutes or until soft, stirring often. Stir in almond butter sauce with potatoes, reserving about 1/4 cup of sauce. To serve, add chicken and broccoli on top of sweet potato noodles, and top with remaining sauce and optional toppings. 


If you make this, tag me in your pictures! I love to see healthy meals in your kitchen.

XO,

Cam

WOMEN WHO CHANGED THEIR WORLD // Becca's Story

I’m so passionate about stories. I want to hear the stories that have shaped people, inspired people, and challenged people. I believe we can learn so much about others and truly love them better if we just understood them. Their past, their pains, their accomplishments - all of these things help us know them better. For the next few weeks I’m sharing the stories of women who have changed their world and the world around them, whether that be through food, self care, lifestyle change, or through emotional healing. I want to share your personal successes, your dreams and goals, your passions, and your stories of strength in adversity. I want you to be heard and celebrated.

Today I’m sharing the story of Becca who has found immeasurable strength in recovery. I hope it inspires you and challenges how you look at addiction.

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Hello, my name is Becca and I am an addict and alcoholic. I am equally both and find importance in identifying as such. With this being said, I am grateful to say that I am sober today and have been since July 7th, 2013. My journey may not sound like one that comes to mind when thinking of an addict or alcoholic. My story does not include childhood trauma, lack of proper instillation of morals and values, an extensive resume of criminal charges and incarcerations, intravenous use while living homeless under a bridge, or walking the street corner with a bottle in a brown bag while holding a sign explaining my well thought-out plan to manipulate money out of you. In fact, my story does not include any of these things.

I was raised in a home filled with love, rules, support, encouragement, and consistency. My parents offered nothing less than a perfect childhood for me where hard work, accountability, and integrity were valued. Despite these idealistic early life experiences, I still found myself attracted to the lifestyle involving alcohol and drug use while entering into high school. My story does not include peer pressure or being offered a substance by a friend for my first-time use. In fact, it is quite opposite. My first time drinking alcohol and experimentation with all substances involved me activity seeking it. I will never forget the instant relief and comfort that was experienced in those instances.

See, I could have never articulate this back then, but my reality is that I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Never did I feel good enough, accepted, or that I was meeting expectations; however, all of this changed once I took that first drink, hit, etc. The internal turmoil of my mind would be silenced and I would experience a peace that was never before felt. This is what I would chase for the next seven years of my life. From the ages of 15 through 22, the comforting bliss that was experienced early on quickly diminished and my use was no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

From the outside looking in, many would have not known that there was a problem. I managed to graduate high school, obtain my bachelors degree in three years, and graduate with employment in my desired field. I was the definition of a functioning addict/alcoholic, and this is what kept me sick for a very long time. It reinforced a delusion that what I was not as bad as the people who I knew used and weren’t functioning as well as I was. I can tell you though that I don’t remember very much from what I learned in college, that I cheated and manipulated in order to graduate, that I simply quit jobs before they fired me, and that I often manipulated any situation that I could in order to maintain the persona that I so highly valued.

On the inside I was a lying, cheating, stealing, broken individual. I was aggressive or passive, depressed, consumed with anxiety, and downright miserable. I had broken relationships, couldn’t trust a single person that I identified as friend, was dishonest in every way to my family, and was ashamed of myself. Toward the tail-end of my use, I was suicidal with all of the qualifications required to be admitted into a behavioral health unit for suicide watch.

It was Spring 2013 and I didn’t know where to go for help. At the time, I was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, and I honestly did not think that people went to rehab for just using these substances. I had this weird conception that my use was not bad enough, but I didn’t know where to start for recovery. How to do you go to your parents, who raised you to be a healthy member of society, and explain to them that the past seven years have been anything but that. I just simply did not know what to do, so the contemplation of ending my life continued.

Fortunately, I did not follow through with these acts because I had an unborn nephew on the way. I couldn’t imagine putting my sister-in- law through the pain of my death while still being pregnant and then having a new life enter this world.

My nephew was born on June 13th, 2013. You may notice that my sobriety date is just weeks after this, I believe that God used my nephew to keep me alive long enough to be introduced to a new way of living. That same week that he was born, a previous relationship was rekindled with someone who had become sober since we last spoke a year earlier. I had no intention of reaching out to them for help nor did I even tell him that I needed it. However, the time that I spent with him involved being around other individuals who were my age and sober. They were happy, had a light in their eye, and did not need a substance to enjoy their time spent with one another.

I felt accepted by these people and realized I didn’t feel uneasy or inadequate while in their company. I was intrigued and attracted to what they had in life. I found myself asking questions about how they did it and what worked for them. I soon attended a convention for young people who were in recovery where I was surrounded by thousands of others just like them. I didn’t go to this event to work towards maintaining sobriety; I simply wanted to spend my time with them. What I instead discovered was a message of hope that was life altering.

Some of those same friends are still in my life today and the actions to maintain their sobriety are same ones that I have taken myself. It is through honesty, willingness, and an open mind that I am able to wake up in the morning without feeling the need to use; but above all else, it is by the grace of God that my nephew does not have to see me intoxicated or be a part of the whirlwind which is my addiction. The steps that were taught to me and that I take today aren’t always easy, but they work for me. I have amended the wrongs of my past and have walked through immense fear in going back to those who I have harmed. I am able to help others today who have walked a similar path and are seeking redemption.

Those feelings of inadequacy and discomfort are still present in my life when I don’t continuously practice the skills that I have learned, but I am no longer compelled to put a substance in my body to alter my experience. There have been times in my recovery that depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts have returned but I have learned to find balance in both my emotional, mental, and physical well being to identify and correct concerns causing that pain.

I have found that successful sobriety, for me, includes a connection with a higher power that I choose to call God. Through this relationship, I am able to watch for and properly address anger, selfishness, resentment, fear, and dishonesty. I am able to be the person that I aspire to be, I am able to have healthy relationships with others, I am welcomed into my parents’ home, I am trusted to watch my niece and nephew and am allowed to be a part of their lives.

In addition to all of this, more days than not, I am able to experience peace within my mind and soul. I could have never imagined the life that I have today when I entered into this journey 45 months ago, but I can tell you that I am grateful there were forces greater than me working through others to bring me to a place of serenity.


I am so grateful to share Becca’s story. Addiction comes in many forms and affects many people. In Becca’s experience, she didn’t fit the “mold” of an addict that society believes in. I hope her story inspires you to see addiction differently and to love those who struggle. If you’re battling addiction, please seek help. Just like Becca, you're worth it.

Xo,

Cam


If you have a story of how you changed your life, whether that be through food, self care, lifestyle change, or through emotional healing, I'd love to hear it and share it! I want to hear about your personal successes, your dreams and goals, your passions, and your stories of strength in adversity. I want you to be heard and celebrated. If you'd like to share it on the blog, please click "contact me" below and we'll be in touch!

Gooey Paleo Snickerdoodles!

Growing up, I used to go to this amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant that was mexican food AND chinese food combined (think jade red chicken quesadilla with white rice and beans) and it was glorious. It sounds weird. It probably is weird. It is amazing though and until you experience it, you have not lived. Anyway, they would serve your food to you with warm snickerdoodle cookies that were perfectly crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. My heart adores snickerdoodles, but it' been a hot minute since I've indulged in one.

Until yesterday.

All I wanted was a snickerdoodle so I set out in the kitchen to make it happen and make it happen, I did. 

I won't promise you these will taste exactly like the white sugar-laden cookies of my childhood, but they're darn close and super delicous! They're also super simple to make; I'm not about that sifting, separating, and whispering sweet nothings to the batter, so go make these now! Enjoy!

Gooey Paleo Snickerdoodles

Ingredients
2 c. + 2 T blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c raw honey
2 pastured eggs
3 T coconut sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add vanilla, honey, and eggs and mix well. The dough will be super sticky! Using a cookie scoop, measure out round balls of the sticky dough and roll in cinnamon sugar mix. Gently press the dough down slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes then serve warm! Store leftovers (as if!) in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 


If you make these, share a picture with me!

XO,

Cameo

The 2017 Snack Swap!

 

4/11/2017: The 2017 Snack Swap is now CLOSED! Thank you so much to those who signed up. If you missed it, we'll do another one soon!

Happy Friday! I'm so excited to bring you my very favorite project: The 2017 Snack Swap! What's a snack swap?! Well, let me tell you!

The snack swap is super simple: you send a surprise box in the mail with your favorite snack along with an encouraging letter and in turn, receive one of your own! It gets even better though because this year, we're using the snack swap to donate funds to an incredible organization, Hope's Promise.  This is such a great way to meet other people, encourage and love them, and eat new and delicious snacks!

If you're already on board, sign up! If you have more questions, read on.


What does it cost?
There's no required cost to participate. We do ask that you donate $5 to the organization we're partnered with so we can ensure our work is always changing the world. Beyond that, simply the price of your snack and shipping. We ask that you keep your swap gift to a max of $10, not including shipping.

What if I have dietary restrictions?
I've got you covered! When you sign up, you can include any and all dietary restrictions you'd like your swap-mate to keep in mind.

How will I get my swap-mate assignment?
You'll receive an e-mail by April 15th with all the details of your swap-mate.

Am I sending a gift to the same person I'm receiving it from?
Nope! It's all random so you can make TWO new friends instead of just one.

Can I make homemade treats for my swap?
I love homemade treats too, but for the sake of safety and shipping, we ask that you send store-bought snacks this time.

What if I don't know what to get for my swap-mate?
You might find that your swap-mate has some dietary restrictions you're not familiar with and you're not sure what to get them. If that's the case, please e-mail me at info@lemonandfignutrition.com or connect with me on social media. I'd be happy to give you some ideas!

Can I send more than just a snack?
Sure! I've had participants send cute stationery, journals, tea, trinkets, etc. Get creative and love others well.

Can I ship directly to my swap-mate from an online retailer?
YES, totally! If you'd like to save a little time and sanity, you can absolutely purchase your snack online and have it shipped directly to your swap-mate. I would love if you'd send along a gift message if possible, or drop a card in the mail so they can get some handwritten love too!

What if I sign up then can't participate? 
We would love for you to commit to this project, but understand when things come up that might change circumstances. In that case, e-mail info@lemonandfignutrition.com and we'll get you squared away and match your swap-mate up with someone new.

What if I don't get my package?
If you don't receive your package by May 1st, please e-mail me at info@lemonandfignutrition.com and I'll track your package down or get a new one sent in the mail for you!


Are you ready to sign up?! This will be so fun! The deadline to sign up is April 10th, at 12:0pm MST.

You can follow along by searching the hashtag #2017SnackSwap on Instagram. Share photos of your packages to connect with other participants!


be well,

Cameo

How to Shop for Real Food

Well, hello there! I promise one day I'll become a blogging connoisseur, but for now I'll focus on simply delivering quality content! Today we're talking about one of my favorite topics - grocery shopping! I actually love a good grocery shopping trip, but didn't always used to. It can be frustrating when everything is so confusing on what's healthy and what's marketing so let's dive into that a bit and talk about all things REAL FOOD.

1. CHOOSE YOUR STORE

As a certified nutritionist, I can tell you that I've never once done my weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods. You don't need a health store to find healthy food! You can find budget friendly, quality items at stores like Costco, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Kroger, Publix, Aldi, or Safeway! My personal favorites are Costco and Sprouts! It's also important to add that supporting your local agriculture is vital to your health and your community's economy! Search your area for local ranches and farms, or hit up your local farmer's market or CSA for produce.

Whatever store you have locally is a great place to start. You can find quality products almost anywhere if you know what to look for, so let's start with that!

2. WATCH FOR SNEAKY MARKETING

Food marketing can be so hard to navigate. I have so much passion around this subject, I soon hope to write an entire book about it, but we'll start simple today! If your food has a label, it has some sort of marketing. Remember, marketing doesn't have to be obvious for it to work; in fact, subliminal messages can be received better by the consumer. 

Animal Products: Cage free, organic, natural, vegetarian fed, USDA Choice, antibiotic-free, etc. I'm sure you recognize these words from purchasing beef, chicken, pork, and eggs. So what's actually worth the extra money? Well, very little of it, actually. When it comes to beef, our very best option is grass-fed/grass-finished beef which has the best omega 3:6 ratio, is higher in vitamins, and contains cancer fighting CLA. If your label says "organic", but NOT grass-fed, it simply means your beef was fed organic grain feed. The problem is, the feed often given to cattle isn't that of it's natural diet, and contains corn, soy, and other by-products we want to avoid. Remember, you are what your food eats!

Chicken and eggs are also heavily marketed with things we actually want to avoid. You might find the words "cage free, vegetarian fed" on your chicken or eggs, but this isn't what it's made out to be. Cage free doesn't mean they're let out to pasture or that they have any outdoor space at all. Free range follows closely behind it, with very little outdoor space. The word we want to look for is pastured, meaning they have open, free, and constant access to the outdoors. Why does that matter? If you're an animal lover, you can value the welfare of chickens in their natural habitat but even if you're not, pastured chickens are the healthiest chickens! They are free to roam and absorb nutrients like Vitamin D and consume their natural diet which isn't the vegetarian feed touted on the labels. Pastured chickens love to eat bugs and worms which keeps them healthy and in turn, provides quality eggs. Pastured eggs have 2/3 more Vitamin A, 2x heart-healthy Omega 3, 3x more Vitamin E, 7x beta-carotene, and 4-6x more Vitamin D than conventional eggs. You can visually SEE the difference by cracking open a pastured egg next to a conventional egg. The color of the yolk and the taste will show you the difference! You can see where your favorite brand lands here.

Produce: Do we choose organic or non-organic? That's a great question. The organic movement is still fairly new. Up until the shift in agriculture in the early 1900s, most food was organic and sourced from the farmer so this new world of organic, non-GMO food is still being explored in both science and health. So what does YOUR family do? You make the best choice you believe in. Personally, in our home, I choose primarily organic as to ensure we live the most toxic free life as possible. That's where my personal values and convictions lie, but you can decide differently. Ultimately, if you're filling your cart with a wide array of vegetables, organic or not, I'm happy! If you're on the fence, my rule of thumb is to choose organic if I eat the skin. You can also follow along the guidelines of the EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen.

Products: Here is where marketing gets all sorts of tricky! While the labeling on products in grocery store aisles, IS regulated by the FDA, it doesn't mean it has your best interest at heart. So we're going to completely ignore the front of the packaging and it's claims about heart health, low-sugar, or being "clean". Flip that product over then skip the nutrition panel. What?! Yes, skip it.  We want to look what's in the product. The first thing I look for is sugar, including artificial sweeteners that don't show up on the nutrition panel (which is why we ignore that!). There are over 60(!) names of sugar with more hitting the market all the time. Learn the names of sugar and avoid products with this as the first three ingredients or use more than one form of sugar. Also, skip junky crop seed oils (hello, inflammation!) like canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower, or soybean oil which are actually more damaging to your health. If you don't recognize an ingredient, your body won't either. Keep ingredients limited and to things you can understand.

3. Save Money

When you begin to pass on processed and choose real food, the sticker shock can be a little hard to swallow. This requires a bit of perspective shift, as food is medicine so you have to see it as an investment in your health, family, and legacy. Beyond that, there are some simple ways to save money!

Double Ad Days: Find out if your local grocery store participates in double ad days. Sprouts does Double Ad Wednesdays where the have both the previous week's specials on the same day the current week's specials hit. This gives you a bigger variety of sale options! Just last week, grass fed beef was half off so I stocked up on the same day my favorite eggs were on sale! This is my favorite way to save money.

Skip specialty products: It's tempting to go buy all the newest protein bars, snacks, sauces, and dressings but if you're on a budget, simply skip these items. You can easily make sauces and dressings for cheaper at home, and snack on real food items like hard boiled eggs, vegetables, and snack-sized protein like chicken or burger patties. Keep your spending to protein and vegetables and you'll have everything you need to succeed!

Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen: If you can't afford all organic but want to include some, stick the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen that we talked about above so you're getting the best bang for your buck!


If you're local to the Denver-metro area, I do grocery store tours! I'll tag along on your weekly grocery shopping trip and help you purchase the best products for you and your family. You can schedule that filling out the contact form!

If you have questions about anything we talked about, leave a comment! I could talk all day about quality product and food marketing and I'm happy to help.

Be well,

Cam

Buffalo Chicken & Sweet Potato Skillet (Paleo & Whole30!)

I have a confession. I used to not like buffalo chicken. I know, I know! I had only ever tried buffalo chicken dip, covered in cheese and served with tortilla chips and did not like it at all, but when my husband recommended I create a buffalo chicken dinner, I gave it a shot. Thank goodness, because I. am. obsessed. Without all the junky additives of some buffalo sauces, melted cheese, and doused in canola oil ranch, the true flavors of it totally shine through!

This is the perfect dish to share at parties, on Superbowl Sunday, or to whip up for dinner on a weeknight! I used the Primal Kitchen Ranch with it and it adds the perfect touch, but without the refined vegetable oils, sugar, and preservatives of traditional ranch. Seriously, make this, pour ranch all over it, and enjoy life.


BUFFALO CHICKEN &
SWEET POTATO SKILLET
 

GATHER //
2 T coconut oil
3 chicken breasts, or about 1 lb
1 large sweet potato
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp paprika
⅓ c hot sauce (I used Franks)
3 T grass fed butter or ghee
Green onions, sliced thinly for garnish
Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing for garnish

CREATE //
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Dice chicken breasts into small cubes, about 1” pieces, and set aside.
3. Peel and dice sweet potato into small cubes, about ½” pieces, and set aside.
4. On medium-high heat, melt coconut oil in cast-iron skillet, swirling to coat entire pan. 
5. When pan is hot, add chicken and allow to sear until they easily lift from pan. Turn chicken pieces and sear other side.
6. Add sweet potato and seasonings, stirring to coat evenly, and place in oven for 20 minutes.
7. While the chicken is cooking, combine hot sauce and ghee in small sauce pan, whisking to incorporate. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat.
8. After the 20 minutes, remove chicken and potatoes from oven and pour buffalo sauce, stirring to coat evenly. Return the skillet to oven for 5-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
9. Remove from oven and garnish with sliced green onions and ranch dressing. Serve with greens for a more complete meal.


Want to win the entire Whole30 Kit, including this ranch? Head over to my Instagram to enter the giveaway! You can find me at @_lemonandfig.

Be well,

Cameo

All In Moderation: Three Reasons Why It Doesn't Work

One of the biggest pieces of mainstream nutritional advice is "all in moderation" or "it's all about balance". We tout moderation and balance as if they're the cure to our health woes and if you could just get yourself under control, just eat a little bit less you will be fine. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work like that. Here's why.

 

1. We can't self-moderate. A study released last spring shows that people tend to define "moderation" by their terms and not a smaller set amount. The more a person favored the particular food they consumed, the more they justified their intake and reported they ate a moderate amount, even if they overconsumed. So while health and nutrition professionals tout "everything in moderation", we're leaving out what that actually means, and setting the public up for failure.

"The message to ‘eat unhealthy foods in moderation’ provides a standard for eating behavior, but based on our supported hypotheses, we suggest that this message is a poor standard. First, the message is ambiguous, allowing people to broadly interpret what is moderate onsumption (Leone et al., 2007). Second, as shown in Study 3, whendefining moderation, people look to their own consumption and tend to rate moderate consumption as greater than their own consumption. In this way, definitions of moderation may play a self-serving role in justifying both chronic overconsumption and temporary indulgences. If, as we show, the concept of moderation is poorly understood and subject to potential self-serving biases in perception, moderation messages may do little to reduce caloric intake and may actually result in increased food consumption."

2. Moderated junk is still junk. Our nation is completely hooked on sugar, which we know affects the brain the same way some drugs do, and yet we continue to tell you to enjoy it in moderation. For the same reason I wouldn't tell an alcoholic to consume their vice in "moderation", I wouldn't tell someone who is addicted to sugar to enjoy "just a little bit", yet we continue to because breaking up with sugar is thought of as too hard. Sugar is still sugar, a doughnut is still a doughnut, and brownies are still brownies, even when consumed sometimes and not all the time. When we consume processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar, our body still gets hit with the gut disruption, the blood sugar spike and drop, and if you have food intolerances, you'll still get the reaction; even more importantly, you're still feeding your brain's addiction to sugarWe are under the impression that a little junk is NOT JUNK. Unfortunately, it is, and it still affects your body, and mind, in the same way.

3. You're an abstainer. In Gretchen Rubin's book, she talks about two types of people: moderators and abstainers. Moderators tend to not do well with the "never" approach and instead lessen their desire for something if they can have small amounts of it every so often. Conversely, abstainers do well with the all-or-nothing approach. If it's off the table, it's off the table. I'm an abstainer. I'd rather go completely without than battle the back and forth thought process of "do I need this?", "how much should I have?", "when can I have this again and still be 'moderate'"? The opposite is true of my husband, who is a great moderator. He can have one or two cookies and not care for any more for an extended amount of time. When I asked him what makes him a moderator he said, "Once I satisfy the craving, I don't need to continue satisfying it even if it's something I really like". Once he has the reward his brain is seeking, it no longer continues asking. I don't believe abstainers or moderators are more or less healthy than each other, but instead need to find how their tendency works for them to achieve health. For both moderators and abstainers, it's still important to eventually diminish chronic consumption of processed carbohydrates and refined sugars - the less we consume, the less we'll want, and the healthier we will be long-term.

"Research - and my own experience - suggests that the less we indulge in something, the less we want it. When we believe that a craving will remain unsatisfied, it may diminish; cravings are more provoked by the possibility than by the denial." - Better Than Before by Gretchen Ruben.

When we finally accept that "all in moderation" isn't the best dietary advice we can give, it empowers us to seek out what truly makes us healthy and pour our efforts and determination to that. What do you think? Are you moderator or abstainer? How do you view "all in moderation"? I'd love your thoughts!

Be well,

Cam

Myth Busting: How to Lose 20 Pounds

Happy New Year! I love when January 1st hits. It's a chance for a fresh start, new beginning, and goal setting. I think resolutions get a bad reputation and in some ways, they're not super beneficial; however. if setting a resolution helps you eat better, move more, and achieve more - even if only for a little - I'm all for it, but let's set healthy resolutions that lead to lasting change. But what is healthy?

Around this time I see more and more health articles, graphics, and blog posts surface around social media and many of them share incorrect information. I found this one which tells how to lose 20 pounds in a month with no exercise. Sound too good to be true? It is. Let's talk about why.

 

Let's go step by step, shall we?

Heading: Losing 20 pounds in one month is not only extremely difficult, but also not sustainable. Unless you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it doesn't come off that fast ever. If you do achieve that, you're setting yourself for the most hungry month of you life and most likely, rapid weight gain. 

DO INSTEAD: Set practical goals for yourself that lead to steady weight loss and healthy habits.

 

Step 1: Not all calories are created equal. A meal rich in nutrient dense fat, quality protein, and a carbohydrate like butternut squash is significantly higher in calories but much better than say, a can of Coke Zero. When we go too low calorie, we drop satiating fat that keeps our energy full for longer, and replace it with artificial sweeteners that throw off our blood sugar and lead us to needing more food (remember, sugar isn't satiating, meaning it doesn't fill you up!). We're then thrown into a roller coaster of eating processed, artificial food and never feeling full. Additionally, 1,100 calories is LOW. Your body needs calories and energy to sustain its processes and brain function. 

DO INSTEAD: Consume as many calories of nutrient dense foods as you want, remembering to stop when you're full. When you are hungry again, eat a snack or meal that's made of quality ingredients like protein, fat, and carbs. 

 

Step 2: When we eat five or six meals a day we're overloading our digestive system and not allowing it to properly digest food and assimilate nutrients. When our digestive system doesn't have a chance to fully break down food before we consume more, we don't break down the food particles small enough and they get pushed through the intestines. When we continually have whole or partial food particles in our intestines, it rubs against the microvilli (or the wall of the intestines) and eventually breaks through and enters our blood stream. This is called leaky gut and contributes to decreased immune function, inflammation, and in some cases, autoimmune.

DO INSTEAD: Eat three meals a day to keep your blood sugar regulated and tummy full.   

 

Step 3: I like fruit! I think it's valuable and a great addition to any meal. We already talked about how you don't need to be low-calorie to reach your weight loss goals, so if you're hungry, grab something or make your meals bigger to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster.

DO INSTEAD: If you want some fruit, combine it with a fat such as coconut butter, almond butter, or sautee it in grass fed butter (hello, warm bananas!).

 

Step 4: Yay for water! I recommend taking your body weight, cutting it in half, and drinking that number in ounces. This keeps your bodily processes moving, hydrated, and it keeps your skin happy! PASS on the non-diet drinks - Diet Coke is still Diet Coke and isn't healthful under any circumstances.

DO INSTEAD: Drink enough water for your body. Get a water bottle you love, add some sliced citrus, keep track on an app - do whatever it takes to ensure you're properly hydrated!

 

Step 5: When we become enslaved to calorie tracking and point counting, we can so easily develop an unhealthy relationship with food where we only see "good vs bad" or ideas such as "I'm allowed to have __________ because I have calories left over". Your body doesn't reset at midnight and neither should your calorie tracker. 

DO INSTEAD: Listen to your body and eat until you're full. Skip the tracking, weighing, and measuring and celebrate your body's intuitive nature to feed itself what it needs. Don't be a slave to My Fitness Pal.

 

Step 6: Please. Hesitate. I am a fan of supplementation but only when under the guidance and instruction from a certified nutritionist or health care professional. Many supplements are not appropriate for those with compromised autoimmunity, those who are on other medications, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. There are no supplements that "burn fat". If someone tells you that, they are lying and trying to sell you something. Always check with your healthcare provider before adding in supplements.

DO INSTEAD: Focus on nutrition and appropriate exercise before you head to your medicine cabinet to lose weight. If you don't know what supplements would best benefit you, work with your nutritionist or doctor.

 

Step 7: I agree with this to an extent! I appreciate setting weight loss goals and checking if you've achieved them but true health isn't reflected on a scale but rather how you FEEL. Is your skin clearing up? Is your inflammation lowering? Is your energy high? Focus on these things instead - we call them non scale victories!

DO INSTEAD: Instead of weighing yourself, spend some time at the end of each week writing down victories you had during the week whether they're physical, spiritual, or emotional and see how you progress in true health!

 

Step 8: If you're not consuming enough food and need a multivitamin to support your health, we need to take a hard look at the plan you're on. In many OTC multivitamins, there are synthetic forms of nutrients, fillers, preservatives, sugar, starches, and dyes meaning they'll do far more harm than good. Multivitamins have their place, but it's not in place of real food.

DO INSTEAD: Consume a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables along with pastured meats to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need.

If you're on a health journey, I'm so glad! I've been there at the beginning, I've stumbled through the middle, and I'm happy to say I've found my groove. Find a lifestyle that works for you and is sustainable, improving not just your weight but your health and wellbeing long-term.

Questions? Just ask!

 

Be well,

Cameo