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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How You Feel, Not What You See.

I'm the Brunette Sister of the Healthy Red Head, her complete opposite in most ways.  Her computer is busted so I'm filling in as a "guest".  She will back up every blog post with facts, article links and research.  I'm more like, "So I had a thought ..." and without any backup resources at all, here's my opinion, my thoughts of the day.

The Healthy Red Head and the Brunette Sister

I think I'll start with my Mom.  Well actually... I think I'll start with HER Mom.  Because in my early memories, this actually dates back to her.  To my Grandma on my Father's side also.  My early memories that were formed about what "being a woman" entailed.  As a child looking at them it was what "life was going to be like when you're older". 

I remember my Mom crying after talking to her "skinny" mother on the phone.   Her Mom had told her ("as if I don't already know" my mother's words) that she was fat, that she needed to lose weight.  The consequence of ignoring this advise would be that "she could lose her husband" if she didn't take immediate action and correct this horrible injustice.    My mother's mother wasn't cruel, I know in her mind she was trying to help, trying to spur some action.  Maybe after the tears and the hurt I would watch my Mom start another diet, exercise for a while.  Eventually fall away and then the circle would repeat.

I remember my Grandma on my father's side being on diets of several kinds over my childhood years.  Her home would be packed with candy and soda for us and she would be starving herself to try to lose pounds, inches.  Grandma would take us swimming but would never get in the water.  At first she said it was because she didn't want to get her hair wet but later she admitted.... until she lost weight and looked decent in a swim suit, she would never wear one again.  No matter how skinny she got, in her eyes, she would never look decent in a swim suit.

I remember my Mom taking us to aerobics at 5:30am.  She wanted to teach us good habits and didn't want us to "end up like her".  We switched to wheat bread instead of white, margarine instead of butter (it was the 80's), trying to eat better "low fat", "low calorie" food.   I watched the circle of her cringing as she weighed herself, and celebrate as she weighed herself, and weighed herself, and weighed herself, and weighed herself.  "Diet" became a bad word and was directly interlinked with "We all need to lose weight."

All those women before me... my mom, my grandma, my mother's mother, my friends mom's... all of these women, in all different shapes, were beautiful to me.  Gorgeous!  They were kind, fun, sweet, adventurous, brave, loving, caring and I never noticed there was anything wrong with them.  Ever.  When they would say something about themselves, about their bodies, talk about their gray hairs or wrinkles like they were the worst thing in the world...  When they would refuse to have fun with us kids in the pool or lake because of the way they "looked in a swim suit", when they would refuse to eat because they were on a diet or cry looking at the scale and say "I hope you're not like me." or "Always stay thin because it's so much harder to lose the weight once you gained it."  I would stare in awe.  They were teaching me.  I was learning.  Learning what I should and shouldn't be.  What was bad, what was good, what was acceptable, what was not.  That I was acceptable, or I was not. 

These MANY examples and lessons were passed down to me through many women.  As  a teenager in high school I was completely embarrassed to wear a leotard in dance class.  I would examine my body with binocular type eyes and see all of the flaws.  Every small "pinch an inch" layer of fat.  My little "pooch" on my lower abdomen that was always there for as long as I can remember.  I would look at the other girls and think... my stomach isn't completely flat, I can't wear this and so I stopped going.  I stopped doing something I loved because I was afraid of... me, of being myself.  Looking back... I was nowhere near being "fat", or "overweight" but because my body wasn't magazine perfect....  I was embarrassed of myself.
I totally stole this off the internet.  It's not my blog though so my sister will be the one to get in trouble.  :D Hehehe!  BUT... I think it encompasses everything we tell ourselves!

Now I'm grown, I have three daughter's of my own.  I have a son.  I'm not skinny.  It's hard to look at myself in the mirror and see the stretch marks, cellulite, scars, gray hairs, crows feet in the corner of my aging eyes, and odd shape of my body as beautiful but... here's the thing... I DON'T want my daughters, my son, to be like me.  I'm talking about the way they see themselves.   I look at them and see the most beautiful things in the world.  I look at my Mom and see the most beautiful woman I know.  How can she not see it?  How can I not see it in myself?  Why are we all so self critical? 

So... without the research or scientific articles to back me up.  Without anyone but me, standing my ground and screaming ... IT STOPS HERE!  IT STOPS NOW!  It starts with you, and you, and you, and me!  Only we can make the change, make a difference."   Stop it!  Stop it right now!  I only want to hear the words "I am beautiful!  My body is beautiful!  I love my body, I love the way I look and the way I am.  I am healthy, I am happy, I will love my body to the full extent I can and have FUN and not compare myself to anyone else because I am like no one else!  I am ME and ME is perfect, just the way I am."  

THROW AWAY YOUR SCALE!  Do it right now.  Stop stepping on it every day and letting it dictate to you how you're doing,  Those little eyes are watching you, learning from you.  Think of what you're teaching them, what you're saying even without saying it.  Tell them that you are good enough the way you are.  That you love yourself the way you are, that you love them the way they are. 

Let them know that others are beautiful too!  How many times have we heard "Whoa!  Did you see how fat that lady was?" OR... "I hope he doesn't break the chair."  OR..."She gained so much weight she couldn't fit in her wedding gown and had to have the dress altered to wear down the aisle."  OR... "Look at him, and he's eating that cheeseburger now?"   or... "If he lost weight, he wouldn't need that wheelchair to get around the store."  If we want a change then it needs to be our view on the world, on everyone.  Everyone is beautiful, everyone has their own trials and the best thing we can teach is to love and accept people the way they are, no matter what shape or size they come in.  As The Healthy Red Head has already stated in previous articles, there is stress , triggers, diseases, mental challenges, many things that alter how each individual person's body works.  It's not always a result of choices. 

My second daughter and I.

Listen to your body.  Think of how your body feels when you eat this vs that.  How you feel before during and after exercise.  Teach that we do things for good health and that this has nothing to do with image, or weight or anything... other than being able to live longer, healthier lives.  Giving our bodies the things that it needs to be strong, work and play the best it can and to grow.  You can't say one thing to your kids and do the opposite to yourself.  The strongest lessons they will learn is not from what you say, but from what they see you do. 

Years from now, when my beautiful daughters or son are looking at themselves in the mirror, I don't want them to look with critical binocular eyes.  I want them to look and love what they see no matter how they look.  Love every stretch mark, grey hair and all.  I want them to be healthy and happy.  It's up to you, it starts with you, it begins now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Diet vs Exercise: The Quickest Way to Lose Weight (Plus Printouts)

As you know, I have been regularly exercising for appx ONE HOUR each day for the past six weeks.  Although I have noticed a change in my measurements, I have not noticed a change on the scale.  If you read THIS POST, you know my frustration with this matter.  Oh sure, there have been a few lbs here and there, but nothing significant overall.  This conundrum led me to research which is more important to weight loss: diet or exercise?

Perhaps that is a taboo question to ask since it seems to be common knowledge that BOTH are actually needed, but still, doesn't ONE work BETTER than the OTHER?  Well.... yes, and no. Cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity. But physical activity also is important in weight control. Then I saw thisThis little sign, caused a LOAD of research and wonder....


The idea behind weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. Well, DUH!  But how many calories do you HAVE to burn to lose ONE pound? Ok, so,  3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat. (Whaaaat???)  That means, to lose 1 lb/week, YOU need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. That equates to approximately 500 calories/day.  That is just to lose 1 pound per week(500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories.) Stay with me here....

Reducing your daily calorie intake by 500 calories can be done in TWO ways: diet or exercise. Burning calories through exercise isn't impossible, but perhaps more inconvenient. For me, I would have to walk for 1 hour and 21 minutes to burn 500 calories.  Someone that weighs 150 lbs would have to walk for 1 hour and 45 minutes to burn 500 calories. Now, all of that seems do-able, but to do that every day could prove to be difficult. I exercise for 60 minutes per day at a moderate to high intensity.  According to myfitnesspal, I burn an average of 250-300 calories per day. So, for most people, that is. That is why it is probably easier to eliminate the 500 calories through diet vs exercise.


To cut the calories via diet, you figure the daily amount of calories that you should have, then reduce it by 500.  There a multiple places online that will figure this for you, but I like myfitnesspal. This website will take your information and goals and then help you log your calories.  For optimal weight loss, make sure that you are getting a well balanced diet as well.  Trust me, you can easily stay under your calories and still not lose weight.

For an idea of how I group my caloric intake (or try to ) check out THR's Nutrition Plan.  I also track my servings using the chart to the right. I just made it, printed it, and framed it.  This chart sits in my kitchen and I use a dry erase marker to mark off the servings. This helps me to visually see where I am "spending" my calories. THR's Nutrition Plan also has a printable food pyramid that is split by calorie percentages.  This is a great way to aid in weight loss.  It also tracks the calories without really tracking the number itself.  For example, for me, 20% of my calorie intake should be from veggies.  That means that I should have 260 calories of veggies per day.  That equals to about 5-6 servings of veggies, depending on what I eat. 10% of my calorie intake should be from dairy.  That equals 130 calories, which is about a cup of milk or a serving of cheese.

So, for my chart, I went off of the serving amounts, wrote in my personal goals, and just cross them off each day. I also have an app called Food Tracker that you can customize and does pretty much the same thing. I use this when I am away from the house.  CLICK HERE to print out a copy for yourself.  (You will also notice that I track my exercise, scripture study and family time. This helps keep balance in my life as well.)


Exercise also is important because it can help you maintain your weight loss. Studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long term get regular physical activity. If you lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800 calories a day, you're more likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after you stop dieting. Getting regular exercise also can help prevent excess weight gain in the first place. (Although, I'm pretty sure that no amount of exercise could have stopped the Mexican food weight gain that I experienced when I moved to AZ.)

Cutting calories through dieting is generally more effective for weight loss. But doing both — cutting calories and exercising — can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off EVEN MORE calories than just dieting alone.


Now, here comes the age old question, DO I EAT BACK THE CALORIES THAT I BURN?  Ok, the REAL answer to this is to look at you total calorie burn that includes your exercise and all other activities. Then subtract your desired deficit, typically 500 calories for a healthy 1 lb/week loss, and then eat that amount. No reason to look at exercise calories any differently than other calories you burn.

According to myfitnesspal, I need to maintain a 1300 calorie diet to lose 2 lbs/week.  That means, that if I eat 1300 calories, then exercise and burn off 200 calories, I need to EAT those calories.

It's true that when you don't eat enough calories, your body will break down stored fat to use as energy. However, when you go off your diet and start to eat normally again, you'll gain all that weight back. This happens because depriving yourself of necessary daily calories puts you in physical "starvation mode." Your body will think that there isn't enough food available and that you're starving. When you go off your diet, your body will store even more fat in reserve against future lean periods. You'll also be more likely to overeat during this period.

To lose weight safely, lose a little at a time; two or three pounds a week is ideal. Don't deprive yourself of food, and eat at least 1,300 calories per day.

1200 calories a day is the bare minimum for an adult female. At that level you would have to be extremely petite and sedentary. That's simply not enough for an active person to lose in a healthy way.


OBVIOUSLY, both eating well AND exercising are needed to lose weight.  HOWEVER, if you only feel like you can focus one ONE or the OTHER, choose DIET.  You will see results faster with that than just exercising. (That explains my problem.  My focus has been on exercise.)


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

I have a friend that is CUCKOO for COCONUT!  She uses coconut oil on EVERYTHING!  She uses it as a skin moisturizer, she puts it in her smoothies, she puts it in her hair, and she is ALWAYS talking about how wonderful it is! 

You know me, this got me digging into some research on coconut oil!  After purchasing some and using it as a skin moisturizer, and in my cooking, I found that there are also multiple other uses and benefits to it!

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.

Hair care

Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. Apply coconut oil on your hair every day after bathing or showering. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. Coconut oil also helps to make your scalp free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. Not to mention, it helps to rid your scalp of lice!

Skin care

Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin. 

Weight loss

This is my favorite!  Coconut Oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excess fat. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight. 


Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. 


Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV


Coconut has been shown to prevent and even cure candida. It provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off.

FAQ's About Coconut Oil

Why is coconut oil solid?: Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. Hence, if you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, don’t immediately assume that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.

How to use coconut oil?: If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.

Can I use coconut oil for cooking?: Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for cooking.

I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using coconut oil in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.

Product Details
What kind should I buy?There are primarily 6 varieties of coconut oil that you will find on the market. These are pure coconut oil, refined coconut oil, organic coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, organic virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil. I buy the Organic Pure Coconut Oil that has been cold pressed.  Well known brands such as Nutiva, Natures Way, and Barleans are all great oils! The best price that I have found so far is actually at my local Costco!

How do I store Coconut Oil?  Keep it in a cool place, but NOT in the fridge.  It is fine if it doesn't stay solid as well.  Here in Arizona, I just keep my in my pantry. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).

There you have it! My kids HATE the smell!  But, I will say that I love the way that it makes my skin feel!  I brush a little on my shrimp or fish and it is delicious!  Plus, I also add a TSP or so into my smoothie.  Yum Yum!

Sources of Information:
Reports of Coconut Development Board of India,
Reports of KERAFED.
Text books of various courses of agriculture.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil- Article, Huffington Post- Organic Seciton
Various other reports on internet.

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pyramid Based Food Tracking Chart- Rough Draft


I am stuck! You have all heard me complain about my horrors of tracking food.  I do it....sort of, but it almost causes me anxiety to have to worry about writing down everything that I eat.  I think of things like "If you bite it, write it!" and it freaks me out! This has nothing to do with how EFFECTIVE a food diary is, but more how TIME CONSUMING keeping a food diary is.

I found that I was really not eating anything because I didn't want to log onto myfitnesspal and log it.  Anyone else feel the same way?  PLUS, I also realized that although I was tracking my calories, there wasn't a quick way to see WHERE those calories were coming from.  I could easily stay within my calories but eat crappy foods.  Not to mention, I was eating WAY too much dairy and not enough veggies (story of my life!)


I came up with this little chart to help me keep track of not only WHAT I ate, but HOW MUCH I was eating.  I based it off of THR's food pyramid, making sure that I get more veggies and fruits and such.  THIS way, I will be able to see at a glance what foods I have eaten.  I think it will help me visually see where my calories are going.  It will also become very apparent when I have eaten too much of the "not so awesome" food choices such as grains, dairy, sugars, etc.

I also chose to add section for my emotional and spiritual health as well.  Doing things like reading scriptures and family time and exercising.


This works pretty well.  I framed it and use a dry erase marker to mark off the boxes.  There are some changes that I would like to make though.  

  1. Instead of a whole week, do just ONE day?  Since I am using a dry erase marker on glass, I could erase every day.  Then I would just have a physical, emotional, and spiritual chart for the day.
  2.  I think that I would benefit from putting what foods are included in each category.  I included this on the food pyramid that I also printed out, framed and displayed in my kitchen, so, I'm not sure that I NEED this, but having it in one spot would be nice.
  3. Since the daily serving amounts are based upon percentages of your total daily calories, it is different for everyone.  It would be nice to have a spot to write down how many servings of each category you are setting for your goal.  


Obviously, this isn't an app!!  Although I LOVE tracking food this way, it isn't the most convenient. Of course, it is nice to have around the house, but what if I go out to eat? Right now, I just write down my food (2 veggie, 1 meat, 1 fruit, etc) Then I come home and mark it on the chart. 

I suppose that I could print it out small and carry it with me for the week, like a little booklet, but really, how long will that last?

Ultimately, I would LOVE to find an app that tracks food like this.  Since it is based off of calorie percentages, it would automatically keep you within your calorie goal without having to track each food.  I have found a couple that will let you set up your own goals for food and exercise, but I haven't tried them out.

If I were cool, I would write my own app to help me....I'm not that cool. 

Comment on this post!!  Send me ideas for the chart!  Do you know of an app that is totally awesome that tracks food this way?  Right now, I'm sticking to the framed chart and dry erase marker.  

Is there something that you think I should include on the chart? Give me your ideas!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ten Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating

I am ashamed to say that this week has been HORRIBLE!!  After getting all pumped up to start The Healthy Redhead nutrition plan, I ended the week in UTTER FAILURE!

Last Friday, hubby called from work with the news that two of his friends had died in a horrible plane crash.  Two planes collided mid-air and both pilots on both planes died.  This has been devastating on so many levels.

This past week, we have met with the families of the deceased, attended memorials, funerals, and tried to keep our own spirits up.  HOWEVER, I coped the way that I normally do.  I ate COMFORT FOOD!!

Of course, the "comfort food" actually brings NO comfort in the end because I was sick to my stomach afterward, had eaten too much, and of course, felt guilty!  UGH!

Alas!  I will say that the 10 minutes of SUNBURST TIME every day has really helped! Which, got me thinking, what else can we do to lift our spirits INSTEAD of emotional eating??  I am CONVINCED that emotional eating is the biggest reason that diets fail.

Food can act like a drug.  It can release endorphins in our body that we can become addicted to or, at the very least, relate to certain foods.  It's kind of like Pavlov's Dogs.  We feel bad. We eat something that we think is really good. Our brain says "I feel bad, but on a good note, THIS IS YUMMY!"  This creates a positive flow of endorphins. After that, we relate the food as making us feel better from the emotion.  IN REALITY, it wasn't the food, it was the release of good endorphins. THAT is what we are really looking for. NOT the food, but the little mini chemical dump, or rush, or endorphins that will make us feel better.

SO, how can we get that same "feeling" without food?

THR's Top Ten 

1. ADMIT YOU HAVE A PROBLEM! It sounds cliche, BUT if you are an emotional eater, you have probably tied certain foods to your emotional state.  For me, it is MEXICAN FOOD!  That is my "go to" when I feel bad. Which, actually makes sense because science shows that carbs are the quickest "pleasure foods" because they quickly turn into sugar that our bodies use for a burst of instant energy. We can feel this immediately and associate the food to the emotion. Therefore, my first step is to recognize that I am an emotional eater and which foods are triggers.

2.Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or relaxation.

3.Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don't have a rumbling stomach, you're probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.

4.Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food. You all know that I HATE keeping a food diary.  Not because I don't see the worth, but because I always forget, and it causes me stress. HOWEVER, THIS is how I realized that I was eating emotionally.

5.Get support. You're more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group. I can't begin to tell you how this blog and the Facebook page have helped me!  PLEASE let me return the favor!  Use THR as a support community.  It sounds crazy, but it really helps!  

6.Replace the Action. You are eating to make yourself feel better! Find other things that make you excited or lift your spirits.  Maybe it's reading a book, taking a bubble bath, getting a pedicure, going for a walk.  Be careful not to replace eating with another habit that could be harmful.  Things like shopping can be addicting and harmful to the family.  Watching a movie might trigger you to eat unhealthy snacks.  See where I'm going with this? I  found that writing my feelings down helps me.  Also, nice smelling lotions help me!  I just put some on and it gives me a little boost.  Finally, of course THE SUN!!  

7.Take away temptation. Don't keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they're hard for you to resist. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you're sure that you have your emotions in check. I had already done this, so my emotional eating was ALL done by EATING OUT this week.  NOT GOOD!  We spent more money and ate worse food! But I actually think that it saved me from going WAY overboard!

8.Don't deprive yourself. We have all heard this before! When you're trying to achieve a weight-loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods frequently and banish the treats you enjoy. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.

9.Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or unbuttered popcorn.  I know, sometimes these things just DON'T cut it!  But if you are always snacking, you are less likely to "feel hungry" throughout the day.  Plus, it will help you stay level headed.  You may find yourself thinking "I can't be hungry, I have been eating these snap peas all day!" ;) 

10.Learn from setbacks. If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you're making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that'll lead to better health. I definitley learned from my experience this week.  As a result YOU are going to benefit too! 

 I am working on an EASY TRACKING FORM for my daily food intake!  It's not quite as detailed as keeping a journal, but it will help to make us aware of what we are eating. I think it's actually pretty cool! (Of course I think that!) 

ANYWAY...  I'm pretty excited for it and hope that you are too!  Stay tuned!!!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

And the winner is......

Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway!!

I have been M.I.A this week, but don't worry!  I have THREE totally awesome posts coming up that I am working on!

This week has been CRAZY!  My husband lost some good friends in a mid-air plane crash last Friday and we have attended TOO MANY Memorial services for my liking!  I need some good news!!

SO, without further ado.......the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card is........... drum roll.......

Angela Stewart!!

Congrats Angela!!  Send me an email with your address and I will get this sent to you ASAP!!

Hope that everyone has a good weekend!!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Project Sunburst! A challenge......

Go with me here for a minute.

I live in Arizona where a lot of people use solar panels as an energy source for their home.  This morning, I had the not so unique idea that OUR bodies actually receive energy from the sun as well.  Then, I took it a step further and thought about the energy boost that we receive from the earth, fresh air, and water.

Where is your peaceful, happy spot? 

I am the most relaxed and at home while at the ocean. For me, it is THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE that gives me energy.  I am a musical person, and I love the rhythm of the waves. I love the warm sand under my tired feet. It's like a little mini massage and pedicure all in one. I love breathing the ocean air; even when it stinks! I love to watch the sun set over the ocean.  If I weren't a red head that would burn to a crisp and possibly be mistaken as a lobster, I could stay there all day, every day.

For hubby, he loves the mountains! That is, if he HAS to be ON the earth.  I would actually say that his  favorite spot in the world is actually above it, flying in the air. BUT, for my intents and purposes, we are only using examples where we are touching the ground. SO, for him, it's the mountains. He could go camping and "live off the land" and be totally, completely intent.

Why is this? There are the obvious answers that we relate these places to lower stress levels in our life. Usually, these places are away from work, responsibilities and other stress factors. BUT, imagine if we could create that peace for just TEN MINUTES each day?  What would that do for the quality of the rest of our day? Would we be more successful? Would we have more energy to face the day? Would that extra peace help temper our emotions through the day?

I gave this little theory a shot.  I spent some time each morning, before the kids were awake, out on my patio, just.....thinking. Breathing. I sipped on my green smoothie, or I ate a grapefruit, or I just took in some deep breaths! I let the sun warm my skin (which doesn't take long here) and I just let myself BE. For ten minutes, each day, I just existed.

Energy From the Sun

I found that all my suspicions about gaining energy from the sun, air, earth, etc. all were true! I DID feel happier throughout the day! I WAS calmer and able to handle stress easier. I suddenly had energy to do my workout that I was previously not too excited about.  Everything! It is really interesting how just that little piece of time from my day made such a difference in my life. I'm sure that there is some scientific reason for all of this. For example, in addition to being a source of Vitamin D, the sun is a natural mood enhancer. Studies show that people that go long periods of time without the sun suffer from various forms of anxiety and depression. I believe it! For me, it just gives me a little burst of energy.

I call it my SUNBURST TIME. Although it isn't the beach, I somehow get a "charge" from the sun. And, that solar power lasts me all day long!  This is now going to be a part of my daily "ritual!"  AND, it's the new challenge!  

Rules of the Challenge

The Challenge will run for 10 days starting on Wednesday June 5th and ending on Friday, June 14th. 


  • Pick out your spot. Where can you sit, lay, or stand peacefully for 10 minutes. Exercising outside doesn't count. Give your body time to rest along with your mind. 

  • Choose your time.  When is the best time for your to accomplish this?  Early in the morning? Just after lunch? Evening? Choose a time of day that this works best for you. A time with minimum distraction. I found that it doesn't really matter as long as you can absorb some sun.

What to do

Well, it doesn't matter. You could sit and breathe, you could read, draw, listen to music, float in the pool, or try this:

When to Start

TOMORROW!! Start the challenge!  Go to your spot, relax, breathe, think, ponder, whatever.  Just do it outside for AT LEAST 10 minutes. ALONE.

This is harder than you think, so make sure that you are prepared! I'm excited to hear about your experiences!  Comment on this post, Twitter, or the Facebook Page and let me know your experience with the challenge along the way!

10 minutes of sun for 10 days!  Let's do this!
 It's a whole new way to "feel the burn!"  HA!  

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

Monday, June 3, 2013

THR's Breakfast Casserole

Sometimes the green smoothie just isn't doing it for me! I want BREAKFAST!!  You know, the warm, cozy, shouldn't eat much of, kind.  But with reducing the amount of WHOLE GRAINS from my diet, this has proven to be somewhat difficult. That's when I found THIS....  Caution though, this needs to be prepared the night before.  That's right, you heard me. I am actually making you think TWICE about downing this deliciousness!

12 eggs, from happy free-range chickens, with grass under their little scaly feet
1 lb pork sausage or bacon from the happy little piggy that went to market.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, medium, chopped (Go grab it from the garden!)
1/2 tomato, chopped (or grape or cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 cup all natural heavy cream. Skim it off the top of the all natural milk you have in the fridge... or just make sure that Ingredients list just doesn't include anything that wouldn't have come from the cow!
1 1/2 cups all natural shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese mix of your choice)
Fresh Organic Spinach
2 Turnips (peeled and shredded)


Brown pork sausage or bacon over medium heat, drain (and save fat to cook with later that day!) and let cool a bit.
Scramble 12 eggs in a large bowl.
Chop onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, whatever you are in the mood for, and add it to the eggs.

Add cream.

Add 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar

Finally add the slightly cooled off cooked sausage.

Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Heat Oven to 325.

Peel, shred and add the Turnips.

Spray 9x13 pan with olive oil. I use a MISTO oil sprayer.

Bake for 50-55 minutes.

Serve over 2 C of spinach per person. The spinach will wilt just a tad and you can mix it into the rest of the casserole while still keeping the nutrients. Add some fruit to the side to get in a well balanced meal!

How does this weigh in to THR's food pyramid?  

1 Animal Protein Serving
2 Vegetable Serving
1 Dairy Serving
.5 Healthy Oil Serving

This recipe is also perfect for any primal or paleo diets! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Do We Need Vitamin Supplements?

Do you take vitamins? How about protein powder? Do you add greens to a drink? What about other types of supplements?  I've done some research for you to help you decide which you should do!


The number one thing that people think of when we say the word "supplement" is VITAMIN.  In truth, not all vitamins are created equal.  There is SO much more that goes into it!  First of all, what are the health benefits of the vitamin? How much of that vitamin do you actually get in your diet? How much are you SUPPOSED to get? Can I get the appropriate amount just from the food I eat? How do I know which ones to take?

You can see that this gets overwhelming pretty fast. This is what I found.

Whole Foods Vs. Vitamin Supplements

It is better for a healthy person to obtain vitamins through whole foods instead of vitamin supplements. Technically, we have the foods available for us to do so!  Although, you must consider the following:

  • Where did my food come from? 
  • Was it able to absorb the right amount of nutrients?
  • How MUCH of the vitamin can be found in each food?
  • How much of the food would I have to eat to get the right amount of vitamins?
As you can see, getting ALL of your vitamin intake from JUST food, could be difficult.  That is why most people choose to supplement.  

Following my food pyramid will give you a good shot at obtaining all the vitamins that you need in various amounts. Especially if you have variation in your diet.
Eating a variety ensures you obtain different nutrients that could be in one type of vegetable, for instance, and not in another. Foods also provide more nutrition than just the vitamins, including fat, protein and carbohydrates your body needs for fuel, fiber and antioxidants. If you take a vitamin in place of whole food, you will miss all of these nutrients.


Obviously, there are certain cases where vitamin supplementation is recommended. If you are pregnant, nursing, vegan, or have a chronic illness, your MD might recommend supplementing with vitamins, and in what doses. Do not take vitamin supplements without the advice of a doctor. Many multivitamin supplements do not have doses where it is a problem to take them, but large doses of vitamins are especially dangerous. I found on that,  according to Thomas E. Edes, in his book "Clinical Methods." An excess of vitamins can lead to toxicity, especially in the case of fat-soluble vitamins, although an excess of water-soluble vitamins can cause problems as well. The symptoms of toxicity vary depending on the vitamin.


If you find yourself needing to supplement with vitamins, don't skimp on the cost.  A good quality vitamin will ensure that it dissolves completely instead of sitting in your colon.  Low quality vitamins are often made with questionable ingredients that are often used to make cement, motor oil, and lubricants.  Plus, if it was pressed too hard during manufacturing, it makes it hard for the pill to dissolve. 

Look for ALL NATURAL vitamins that have been COLD PRESSED. If they are made from actual FOOD, the vitamin will pass through the liver to be absorbed into the body instead of the kidneys.  This will help with the digestion of the vitamin. Liquid vitamins are also an option.  

Personally, I don't take a vitamin supplement in pill form. They make me nauseous, no matter when I take them. So... there you go. I DO supplement with liquid Vitamin D though. 


I ALSO add a Greens Powder into my green smoothie every day. This can be a great way to get in vitamins and minerals through raw, foods. 

I am a fan of Juvo Greens. So much so that I might do a whole post on them. But for now, let's just say that this has a bunch of everything in it.  It's an organic powder that also has some protein (from the legumes) and Asian Mushrooms (known to increase your mental awareness and immune system.) I was hard pressed to find a greens drink that had the Mushrooms in it.  I feel energized after adding a scoop/day to my smoothie, and it's taste doesn't suck. They have different powders that focus on different things like Protein, Immune Boost, Weight Loss, etc.  All have the same ingredients for the most part, just different ratios. 
The purpose of adding a powder to a drink on a daily basis can range from just wanting extra energy to wanting extra protein to help building muscle.  Some people use them as meal replacements. I suppose that is what I do with my green smoothie, but I only have that for breakfast and I don't JUST drink the powder formula. 

Word on the street is that you want to get powders that, once again are ALL NATURAL, with NO SOY.  Whey protein is at the top of the list for most people.  I'm sure that there is a reason for this and I'm sure that it has to do with the dangers of soy.  I just don't care enough because I don't put soy or into my diet.  I don't like it....unless it's fermented, like soy sauce. Strange? Maybe. 

I currently don't use any protein powders.  I am trying really hard to get my protein from my food. I am also not trying to "bulk up" which is a common use for protein powders. Finally, according to my sweat, I have a bit too much protein in my diet anyway! 

If you choose to supplement with a powder, whether it's greens or protein, quality again counts, so do some research on brands before you buy!


The Good

Ok, last on the list of supplements is a new category called NUTRACEUTICALS (like pharmaceuticals, but natural.) Not even sure what that means.  BUT, the term was coined because there are multiple products coming out on the scene that are ALL NATURAL, PLANT BASED, with studies to back up some HEAVY medical claims! Currently, the most prominent (at least in my life)  is a product called PROTANDIM.

This little yellow pill started showing it's face in health food stores around 2003 or so where it didn't sell very well.  After some re-evaluation, the company took the product to Multi-Level Marketing. (Which is honestly why you probably haven't tried this yet, but you might have heard of it.)

In 2005, ABC Primetime did a little stint about Protandim. If you have 10 min, watch the info video.

The COOL thing about Protandim is that SINCE the ABC Primetime aired on television, multiple studies have been done on the product.  At the time of this post, there are currently 15 studies that are found on The National Library of Medicine website.  Things from heart disease to skin cancer are covered in the studies. Only 2 of the studies were sponsored by the company.  The one that I want to focus on is what I call the GLUTATHIONE study.  Dr. Oz explains the importance of Glutathione in this video.

Cool Huh.  SOOO... the idea that we have enzymes in our bodies that are like SUPER anti-oxidants is very appealing. It could really mean that we don't have to worry about eating anti-oxidant rich foods.  See, if we have enough of our own enzymes in our bodies, they kill off those little free radicals by 1 MILLION to ONE!!!  (Mwuah ha ha!!) That is WAY better than the 1:1 that food anti-oxidants do. It's like.....putting out a fire with a LAKE other than a bottle of water. 

So, how do we increase these enzymes like Glutathione?  Well, THAT is where Protandim is.  There are products, both natural and synthetic, that are called NRF2 Activators. These products can basically make it so that our THREE main anti-oxidant enzymes (Glutathione, Catalase, and SOD) are super charged.  AND, Protandim happens to be THE ONLY all natural NRF2 activator on the market. And, it might be for awhile since it is protected by patents and such. That makes it a pretty cool little pill!

I FLIPPED OUT over this when I first found out about it. I mean, Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals are linked to over 200 diseases!!!  That's why we are so into anti-oxidants in the first place!  So, you can imagine the impact that this could have on our health.  

The Ugly

Now that I have covered the PRO's of PROTANDIM, let me cover the CONS.
As I mentioned earlier, this can only be purchased from a distributor (don't buy the crap off of Amazon. You might not be getting the real deal.) Which means, that depending on WHO you get it from, there is the possibility of getting that "pressure" to become a distributor yourself. I actually signed up to be a distributor over a year ago when things were a little different. Now, it's just not my cup of tea. So, although I am STILL a distributor, I DON'T do meetings, and I ONLY sign people up as distributors if THEY come to ME asking about it. I DO still tell people about Protandim though because I really think that there is something to it!

There you have it! AWESOME product with ACTUAL, PUBLIC studies to boot!  I know a lot of chiropractors and even MD's that put their support behind it as well.  I DO still take this every day as reducing my Oxidative Stress has helped me in a lot of ways. And it will help you too, if you can get past the MLM issue. But hey, Donny Osmond is their celebrity spokes person!!!  So it MUST be good, right? ;)
So, if your friend, co-worker, or family member has been trying to get you to try it... give it a shot!  IMO, it's worth the $40 price tag.  You are also welcome to go to MY LIFEVANTAGE SITE and order there.  
NOTE: Go ahead and sign up as a "Preferred Customer." It saves you $10 and it just puts you on auto-ship that you can cancel at any time...WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED. 

THR's view on Supplements?

Do we NEED any of the above?  Well...that depends. Each of these supplements has a purpose. You really need to talk with your doctor and ask yourself  I take GREENS with a bit of protein for energy and vitamins.  I also take Protandim daily as my super boost. I get 15 min of sun each day for my Vitamin D and I'm good to go!  No need for handfuls of pills for me! 

I'm on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!


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