Chia Seeds Are Blowing Up

Literally – these little suckers expand like nobody’s business. They’ve even been featured recently in the New York Times... the true measure of whether or not a seed has ‘made it’. 

So what’s up with their explosion on the health food scene?  Here’s a crash course on why these little powerhouses are good for you (+ my favorite chia seed recipe).

1. Oodles of Fiber

These incredible ‘super seeds’ contain 11 grams of fiber per ounce (2 tablespoons) – which is 42% of your recommended daily value of fiber in a single serving.  

Bonus tip: Since fiber slows digestion and makes you feel fuller by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract, it can be a great way to start your day, especially if you’re trying to lose weight! 

2. Rich in Omegas

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential and most of us are not getting enough of them.   Chia seeds give you a boost of both.

Bonus tip: Omegas can also help you clear away that nasty brain fog that sets in every afternoon.  Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to a glass of water to get your fill.

 3. Healthy Fats

We’ve been down this road together before, but let’s go there again.  Fats are absolutely necessary in a healthy diet.  Chia seeds pack 9 grams of fat per ounce, which can be as much 15-20% of your daily required value.

Bonus tip:  If you want to get the skinny on fats, check out What’s Fat Got To Do With It from the archives.

4. Fill’er Up

Have you ever had a chia pet?  You know how it plumps right up when you add water?  That’s all because of the chia seeds.   When mixed with water, chia forms a gel. Why do you care?  Research suggests:

When this happens in your stomach, the gel may keep you feeling fuller longer.

The gel acts as a natural detoxifier, by grabbing and flushing out toxins in your system.

Bonus tip: The chia gel also allows you to make a super healthy & yummy dessert that satisfies in under 2 minutes prep time.

Chai Chia Seed Pudding

chia seed pudding
chia seed pudding

Prep Time: 2 minutes Wait Time: 2 hours Serves: 2-4 people

1 cup cooled decaf Chai tea (brewed strong) (sub: ½ cup Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk for a creamier texture) ½ cup chia seeds 1.5-2 teaspoons maple syrup (to taste) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Dash Himalayan sea salt (to taste) 1 cup of your favorite fruits and nuts (optional).  I like: -Mixed berries & pistachios -Diced pears & cashews -Mashed banana & peanuts

Mix chai, chia seeds, 1.5 teaspoons maple syrup, and vanilla and refrigerate for 1 hour.  At 1 hour mark, stir the mixture and add in any additional maple syrup (taste first).  Refrigerate an additional 1 hr+, top with sea salt, fruits and nuts & enjoy!

What I Learned On My Whole Foods Detox (Plus Before & Afters!)

I finished up my 21 day whole foods detox almost 2 weeks ago and just last week I took my after pictures. 

It’s true – a picture is worth a thousand words.  Honestly, I felt different – lighter, clearer – and a little slimmer (and my husband kept telling me how skinny I looked), but my body itself felt largely the same.  That’s why comparing my before and after shots was really eye opening.

Over the 21 days, I lost a total of 12 pounds (a lot of which I think was muscle mass) and 8.5” inches – mostly from my waist and hips.  (you’ll note the difference in my love handles and abs – winning!)

weightloss detox
weightloss detox

But more than losing weight and inches, I learned a heck of a lot about myself and my body on this 21 day whole foods detox; THAT was my goal – to refine what I know about what my body needs.  Here are some of my main takeaways (remember: this is for ME and my body; your body might work completely differently).

  • Abs ARE made in the kitchen
    • I have heard (and personally say this) pretty often... this week just affirmed it’s true.  I didn’t do a single crunch, but look at my stomach!
  • My body thrives on VEGETABLES
    • I felt the absolute best during Week 3 – which was limited grain vegan and packed with lots of yummy veggies.  The trick is to keep it interesting with a variety of different colors, textures, and tastes.
  • I NEED exercise
    • Exercise is a major stress reliever for me and as a work-from-home’r it helps to break up my day and get me out of the house and away from my laptop.  21 days without any exercise except some gentle yoga and walking was KILLER – I really need some sweating and straining.
  • Too many grains really block up my system
    • During weeks 1 and 2 of the detox, there are grains at almost every meal.  I love grains and so does my tummy, but the rest of my GI system, not so much.  I’ve experienced this before when traveling to the Philippines; eating rice at every meal leaves me constipated.  I do best with grains every other day or so.
  • It’s OK to give myself a break
    • This was a tough one for me.  I’m a chronic go-getter and those who know me well know I am ALWAYS doing something.  During these 21 days, I made a conscious effort to SLOW DOWN, sleep in, appreciate more, and fill my days with intention and purpose.  Eye. Opening.  This is something I’ve kept with me and plan to continue.
  • I CAN live without caffeine
    • I really lucked out... I only experienced 1 day of caffeine withdrawal (the norm is 3-4 days), but that single day was debilitating enough.  I have no desire to go back to drinking caffeine regularly.  But, I love my morning ritual of coffee and a book, so for now it’s high quality, fair trade decaf for this girl.
  • 70-90 ounces of water is my sweet spot
    • Yowza!  That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  And, in all honesty, I’m running to ladies’ quite a bit... but this is what really helped boost my energy and provided me with mental clarity. (For reference, this is about 60-75% of my post-detox weight in do the math)
weightloss detox
weightloss detox

If you think this is for you, make sure you check out this post to determine if this is a good fit for you and then let’s talk.

Sugar-Laden "Healthy" Snacks

Sugar is EVERYWHERE. It’s in pasta sauce, bread products, instant oatmeal… just to name a few. What’s worse is that even the ‘sugar free’ stuff can be loaded with artificial sweeteners that are equally bad for you.Unfortunately, even if you’re trying to eat healthy, that nasty little sugar beast has it’s hands all in everything.  Lots of healthy snacks are high in sugar, too.

Get the lowdown on some of your favorite “healthy” foods that are anything but. Check out these 6 healthy snacks high in sugar.


I’ve personally dubbed yogurt the biggest health food myth.  Even brands like Chobani can pack almost 30 grams of sugar per serving - a ridiculous 7 teaspoons (Chobani's Black Cherry Blended Yogurt has 28 grams).  

The Better Option:Plain Yogurt (greek or regular) sweetened with Stevia or honey with fresh fruit added (sugar content varies)

low sugar snack
low sugar snack


I used to live off of CLIF bars. I kept them at my desk. I hid them in my purse. I took them hiking. I snacked on them after working out. I used them to feed my inner sugar demon. CLIF bars pack a whopping 20+ grams of sugar per bar – that’s 5 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR!

The Better Option:Kind Bar Nuts & Spices in Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Nut Delight, Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan (5 grams sugar)

low sugar snack
low sugar snack

Nature’s Valley Granola Bars

I swear, if I wasn’t munching on a CLIF bar, I was most definitely snacking on these babies. While a healthier option than our pal Clif, Nature’s Valley bars clock in over 10 grams of sugar per serving (the 2 bars in the packet). Oats n’ Honey gives you a 12 gram fix, while Peanut Butter leaves you with 11, just to name a few.

The Better Option:A ¼ cup of Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch in a snack bag (4 grams sugar)


I’m not a huge Nutella fan, but I was BLOWN AWAY to learn that there’s 21 grams of sugar per serving… and a serving is 2 tablespoons. Who eats just two tablespoons of any nut butter? NOT this girl.

The Better Option: Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams (7 grams sugar)

Snapple Green Tea

Tea’s healthy, right? Not when it’s loaded with sweeteners.  Snapple's Green Tea comes with 30 grams of sugar - over 7 teaspoons!

The Better Option:Brew your own green tea and sweeten with Stevia or honey (plus get your fun fact here (sugar content varies)

low sugar drink
low sugar drink

Vitamin Water

I’ve personally guzzled gallons of this stuff. XXX was my go-to. No matter what flavor you’re in to, you’re guaranteed to get at least 31 grams of sugar (some, like XXX, have 32 grams).

The Better Option: Take a high-quality multivitamin and guzzle 16 oz. of water with a dash of OJ (sugar content varies)

Again – SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE. Read labels. When in doubt, just eat real food!

Are there any surprises for you on this list?  If so, share 'em in the comments.

Control Your Portions & Your Waistline in 21 Days

Ever have one of those meals where, after you’re done stuffing your face, you hobble away to lay down, feeling bloated, stuffed, and just downright disgusted with yourself?Like you need to unbutton your pants?

A meal where you say to yourself, “Ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten all that.”

And I’m not talking about on Thanksgiving,

I’m talking about on a random weeknight or when you’re out with friends on Saturday.

We’ve all been there.

portion control
portion control

Or maybe THIS is you.  

You’ve really cleaned up your diet.  You’re eating healthy - loading up on real food and cutting out the processed crap.  But the scale hasn’t budged.  For weeks.

It’s possible to overeat on healthy food, too.

So, let’s talk portion control.  And let’s make it easy.  Check out these portion control tips.

1. What’s the hurry?  Slow down

It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full.  So, if you’re wolfing down your entire meal in 10 minutes, there’s absolutely no way for you to know when you’ve had enough.  

Quick tip: If you are in a rush, try to eat a few smaller meals throughout the day.  This curbs overeating and allows you to stay on schedule.

2. Ditch the “Clean Your Plate Mentality”

Did you have to clean your plate to leave the table, too?  Our parents truly had our best intentions at heart… unfortunately, plate manufacturers may not.  The average plate size has increased by 2 inches in the last 30 years.  What that means is, if you’re a child of the 80s like me, your meals have increased by 900 calories since you were a kid.  

portion control
portion control

You know I don’t believe in counting calories, but that’s almost a 200% increase in calories at every meal!  

Quick tip: Use your salad plates at mealtime to reduce what’s in front of you when you’re eating.

3. Make half your plate veggies

Clearly, I love this tip.  It’s my #1, go-to, take your health back quick tip.  By making ½ your plate veggies, you’re crowding some of the other stuff OFF your plate.

PS - I’m not talking about veggies covered in butter or cheese!  Cheater!

Quick tip: Use a little himalayan sea salt, olive oil, or Bragg’s liquid aminos to add some flavor to your veggies if you can’t handle them on their own.

4. Make It Easy For Yourself

Figuring out how much and of what you should be eating can seem overwhelming.  Counting your macros (protein, fat, & carbs) and weighing of measuring everything you put on your plate - No thanks!

You’ve got a ton to worry about.  Your life is hectic.  The idea of figuring out the science of portion control is just a bit beyond anything you’re interested in investing your time in right now.  

Which is why I’m going to make this easy for you.  I have an amazing, brand-spanking-new, and totally affordable program that breaks this stuff down for you and takes the guesswork out of how much you should be eating.  

The best part - NOTHING is off limits.  You can eat what you want, as long as it fits in the containers.  

The other best part - this program combines this simple approach to portion control with 30 min workouts.

The last best part - in just 21 days, female participants are losing an average of 10 pounds and up to 15.

Quick Tip: Hop over here to get this program for just $140 through 2/28.

Stupid Simple Lentil Lime Salad

Things have been pretty hectic in my house lately.  I’ve been working a ton and my husband is studying for a pretty big professional exam... this leaves no one to pick up the slack.  To get off the take-out wheel of doom, I’ve been on the hunt for simple, quick recipes that are perfect to grab and go.

Meet this delectable Lentil Lime Salad.

simple recipes
simple recipes

I shared this recipe on Facebook last week and people went nuts for it.  I think you’ll love it, too!  It’s healthy, protein-packed, Reset-approved, and beyond easy to make. 

I used packaged, pre-cooked lentils (I just learned these exist) to make it even easier.  If you go this route, make sure you rinse the lentils well.  If you’re making your own lentils (also very easy), you should plan to soak the dried lentils for 24-hours before cooking. 


Lentils (and a whole host of other foods) contain anti-nutrients – the lentils way of protecting itself against being eaten.  Anti-nutrients can wreak havoc on your GI system, which is why some people have issues with grains, beans, lentils, and even potatoes!

But – fear not!  Lentils, when soaked for 24-hours, release up to 93% of their anti-nutrient properties.  Sad lentils, happy tummy.

Lentil Lime Salad

1 cup cooked lentils

1 medium carrot

¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 ½ tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (to taste)

Himalayan Sea Salt (to taste; optional)

¼ tsp ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a medium and toss gently to mix.  Refrigerate for 2 hours to let flavors blend, then enjoy!

Yep – that’s literally IT.  Tell me what you think of this simple salad in the comments.

How to Read Food Labels (and ignore calories)

So, if you're no longer counting calories and you still sometimes need to eat packaged foods, what should you look for on a food label?  I created a graphic for you to show you how to read food labels and what's important to know - a little light (but super important) reading this week!

how to read food labels
how to read food labels

I'll be honest - I thought I knew how to read food labels before I wrote this post, but I learned a whole lot more while I was researching.  I never knew that I should be looking at the ratio of total carbs to sugar, for example.  Did you learn something new this week?  Share it in the comments!

Are you a calorie counter?

In the health and fitness world, one of the commonly proposed and supported strategies for weight loss is calorie counting.Have you used calorie counting to lose weight before?  Has it worked for you?   The readers I polled said they had had success with calorie counting , but they all threw in words like “quality vs. quantity”, “portion control”, and “label reading” – suggesting that they were, in fact, looking at a much larger nutritional picture.

The truth of the matter is that calorie counting, as a model, is too simplistic to address the complexity of each individual’s nutritional needs.  Further, counting calories puts too much emphasis on the wrong things (quantity) instead of focusing on right things (quality).

With that being said, I’m going to tackle the calorie counting issue head on over the next four weeks.  I’ll be discussing why calorie counting doesn’t work, what to do instead, and teach you what to focus on instead of just calories when reading food labels.  But first, let’s lay some ground work, and get really clear on what a calorie is.

calorie counting
calorie counting

What is a calorie?

Purely scientifically speaking, a calorie is a measure of heat energy or “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C”.  From a nutritional standpoint, a calorie is the amount of energy that is derived from a specific food or the amount of energy needed to metabolically “burn” a specific food.  The term calorie or “Calorie” is routinely used in place of kilocalorie; food measurements are actually in kilocalories.

How is a calorie measured?

Here’s where things get kind of squirrely, so pay attention!

Originally, scientists would measure the number of calories in food by burning the food in a bomb calorimeter, a sealed container surrounded by water; the calories are measured by the resulting rise in water temperature.  Using this method, a scientist named Atwater developed average calorie values for the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Nowadays, the food industry typically uses an “indirect calorie estimation” method known as the Atwater system (based on Atwater’s standard values).  Food calories are estimated based on the average caloric values for protein (4 kilocalories/gram), carbs (4 kilocalories/gram), and fats (9 kilocalories/gram).  There are modifications to these values that have been made for some food groups including fruits, vegetables, and beans, but in general, the Atwater system provides the framework for estimating calories for packaged and restaurant foods. 

One glaring omission in this process is fiber; often, to account for fiber, which is slow to digest, the amount of insoluble fiber is subtracted from the total carbohydrates.  Unfortunately, insoluble fiber isn’t specifically listed on food labels, so replicating the calculations is tricky (says the girl who just pulled various items out of the pantry and tried to do just that).

As an example, here are the calculations for a handful of random items I pulled out of my cabinet.


**My apologies for this being so dang small!

Note, for most items the calories from the food label is in between the calculated calories and the calculated calories without fiber; I believe the discrepancy to be due to insoluble fiber, however, this cannot be confirmed.

Food for Thought

Next week, I’ll go more in depth about the limitations of counting calories, but based on what we’ve reviewed today, I want to pose two questions to you (and my thoughts on them).

Does your body operate like a closed-system furnace, like the calorimeter described above?

NO WAY.  Your body is not a closed system.  It’s a complex, adaptable, machine.   In this respect, the calorimeter measurements are woefully inadequate in determining your body’s response.

Are you average?

HECK NO!  Then what would make you think that using average burn rates (calories) to determine your body’s response will give you accurate results?

Leave your thoughts on calorie counting in the comments.

Pantry on the Go: Healthy Snacks When You Need 'Em

I’ll admit it – I’m kind of a food snob.  Not in the way of judging others, but in the way that I like to be in total control of the foods that are available to me.  The last two weekends I’ve spent out of town and I’ve been partially or fully at the mercy of others for my food choices… needless to say, this did not make me happy.  So, I took matters into my own hands, planned ahead, and packed a Pantry on the Go.

What’s a Pantry on the Go?

A Pantry on the Go is just what it sounds like – a travel pantry.  Not only great for travel, having a well-stocked Pantry on the Go can you help make healthier food choices every day.  The pantry lives in your purse or computer or gym bag (you could even stock your desk at work!) – whatever you carry with you each day.  Load up your pantry with healthy snacks that pack protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs (like veggies) to keep you full, happy, and energized all day long

What are some of my favorite Pantry on the Go items?

This isn’t the first time I’ve raved about Shakeology®and it probably won’t be the last. 


This nutritional powerhouse meal replacement is packed with:

- Protein (both regular and vegan options provides COMPLETE protein with all nine essential amino acids) - Antioxidants (for a healthy heart, blood pressure, and to keep your immune system strong) - Vitamins and Minerals (I still take a handful of vitamins every day, but this really already gives me everything I need) - Phytonutrients (alkalizing and detoxifying) - Pre- and Probiotics(healthy bugs for your tummy; aid in digestion and nutrient absorption)

I usually keep packets around to give to clients as samples, so I just grabbed a few this weekend, but you can also throw some in a plastic baggie and you’re good to go.  I paired with some single serving coconut milk boxes and a shaker cup – this could just as easily be made with water or regular milk.

For more information on Shakeology®, email me.

  • Larabars

If you haven’t tried Larabar, what are you waiting for?  And, if you have, then you’ll probably as in love with them as I am.  

“LÄRABAR® is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Made from whole food, each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended.”

Currently available in 19 unique flavors like Apple Pie, Lemon Bar, and PB&J, Larabar offers something for everyone.  Stock up and have them ready to grab and go.  For more info visit

  • Fruit and veggie pouches (aka baby food)

I’m sure this one will seem a little strange to some, but I love the vacuum-sealed fruit and veggie purees made for babies and toddlers.  They typically have no added sugar, are high in fiber and vitamins, and are organic.  Happy Tot or Ella’s Kitchen are my go-to brands.  Tip: I buy them on sale and then freeze them until I need them.

ella's kitchen
ella's kitchen
  • Justin’s Nut Butter Packets

I think Justin’s nut butter packets were sent straight from heaven (or maybe that’s just what I tell the nut butter lover in me).  The packets come in flavors like Organic Peanut Butter, Classic Almond Butter, and Honey Almond Butter.  Each packet is filled with just over 2 tablespoons of “incredibly delicious, all natural” (according to Justin – and I have to agree) nut butter.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably squeeze the packet straight into your mouth, but you can also use on a sandwich or with fruits and veggies!

justins nutbutter
justins nutbutter

Check them out at

  • Mixed Nuts

Did you know that eating a handful of nuts a day can add years to your life expectancy?  It’s true!  Unfortunately, these little protein and fat powerhouses can be costly, so buy in bulk and package handfuls individually at home to save bucks.

  • Fruits and Veggies that Travel Well

Nothings better than fresh fruits and vegetables, but this can get tricky and bulky when traveling. I suggest picking a few fruits and veggies that travel well without requiring refrigeration or large packaging.  I usually opt for bananas or apples for fruits and green beans, snap peas, and carrot sticks for veggies.

In the comments, tell me what you’ll put in your Pantry on the Go?