Losing weight ON vacation?

Losing weight ON vacation?

Is that even possible?!

Apparently!

Sara, a mindless muncher like me, emailed, saying:

I graze ALL the time. Distracted at work? Go to break room and eat, hungry before dinner at home, better eat! Home from gym—what's in fridge? I better taste what I'm cooking, a bite before the Tupperware, that tastes good I think I will have some, it's a vegetable or plain potato so it's ok (that's a big one) and on and on and on…

Reading Sara’s e-mail made all kinds of alarm bells ring in my head.

I, too, had lost weight on vacations in the past because my food was more scarce, ESPECIALLY that summer I went backpacking…

Being the typical broke student, I couldn’t afford restaurants, so I ate a big breakfast at my hostel (it was free!), packed a sandwich and fruit for the day, and then pulled dinner together in my dorm room.

Having that rigidity—a set plan and routine—made a HUGE difference.

It also helped that I was removed from my food stash.

When I first started working from home, I put on weight because I was constantly going to the kitchen to cure my boredom with the fridge (even though I was eating salads or baby carrots and hummus).

IT ALL COUNTS!

To get a better grip on my mindless munching, I started cooking my meals ahead of time and portioning off every meal. If I eat my entire meal and I’m still hungry 15 minutes later, that’s OK. I can go get a snack. But having that barrier—that chance to stop and assess if I’m REALLY hungry or just bored—has made a huge difference.

Vacation can also be a positive LEARNING EXPERIENCE for you!

For example...

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By the way, Brandye went on to report the happiest of news:

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(Brandye is an all-star member—I’ve loved watching her transformation the last 6 months, and her insight here was awesome and spot-on!)

The point is this: vacations can be a GOOD experience in so many ways!

AND vacations can break the chain of a bad habit or bad routine.

When you come home from vacation, you’re OUT of your old routine.

It’s the PERFECT time to start a new routine, a new habit, and set yourself up for long-term success.

Jump-start your new post-vacay routine with the meal plans now.

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Exercise Myths & Food Pleasure Podcast

Get ready for Part 2 of Nikki’s awesome Meal Mentor podcast!

Last week she and I talked allergies, social challenges, fitting the mold, and social perceptions around weight...

and now we’re finishing up - talking about exercise (and all the myths around exercise and supplements), how much we love yoga, being a nutritional gatekeeper for your family, and food pleasure: recognizing the point of diminishing return, chasing the dragon, and saying NO.

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I especially loved her insight that she has absolutely no memory of what she ate when she got engaged -- she only remembers the engagement! Food really isn’t that important, and we should stop making life about what we’re eating and instead LIVE.

If there is ONE episode you listen to all year, THIS IS IT. (Well, and Part 1 from last week!)

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Which Non-Dairy Milk is BEST?

Katie asked:

I get so confused with all these vegan milk options available! I saw a fat-free soy milk today in a grocery store, and it made me consider my milk choices. What would you select - fat-free soy milk or unsweetened almond milk?

GREAT question AND a good problem to have ;)

AMAZING that we have so many choices now, right??!

Soo…. how do you pick? What’s THE BEST?

If you have an allergy, the best plant-based milk is the one you’re not allergic to ;)

But assuming you could drink any of them…

“BEST” depends on a few factors... the MOST IMPORTANT BEING...

Taste!!! (A.k.a. that you actually like it!)

There’s no point in buying something you or your family won’t like.

Find what works for your tastes and use it exclusively.

(and if you don’t know where to START, hang on! I’ve got some tips!)

Once you know what you like, fine-tune based on other factors mattering to YOU.

But don’t let “perfection” or other people’s ideology get in your way!

LIVING a healthy lifestyle is a balancing act…

Balancing factors to make the BEST choice in that situation.

Overwhelm happens when we stop balancing. “Almost perfect” is more realistic.

Figure out what matters most to you and operate based on that.

For example, I’m not overly concerned about buying organic, but I AM fussy about ingredients.

Which brings me to SUGAR and CARRAGEENAN.

We can all agree that less is more with sugar, right? BUT don’t force unsweetened on yourself or your family if you hate it. Sweetened isn’t the end of the world--it’s where I started!

And Carrageenan? Dr. Gregor recommends avoiding carrageenan *IF* you have IBD or other GI issues, but says it’s not a big issue for everyone else. (See his video on the issue here.)

PICKING YOUR PERFECT “MILK”

Let’s talk flavor… Soy, almond, coconut, hemp, oat, rice, quinoa, cashew milks (and beyond!) all have different tastes.

I find almond and cashew are the most neutral tasting, whereas hemp, oat, quinoa, and coconut have the most distinct tastes. (Soy and rice are somewhere in the middle).

There’s also blended options like soy+almond or almond+coconut.

In terms of creaminess, soy and coconut have that “full fat milk” feel---very thick and creamy-- while rice, quinoa, and oat milks are thinner and lighter--more “skim” like. (Almond and cashew are somewhere in the middle).

It might take a few tries to find one you LOVE (so have a little patience)

AND remember that brands taste different, too… so if you don’t like one particular brand of soy milk, don’t assume you’ll never like ANY soy milks.

Lately, I’ve been using Suzie’s unsweetened quinoa milk since it skirts all the allergies in my family and is low enough in fat for my Dad who has heart disease.

If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below. Your opinion will help others!

Finally, if you’re trying to lose weight, aim for the option with the least amount of calories, but keep in mind that with cooking, you use so little that the difference per serving would be marginal… so… back to the #1 factor ;)

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Paleo to Plant-Based Diet Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Nikki (my co-pilot) talks about how when she switched from paleo to plant-based, she and hubby DOUBLED their weight-loss! 

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We also talk allergies (can you be plant-based if you’re allergic to beans and wheat?), why we feel we need to fit in socially (but embracing you don’t fit a mold and finding your tribe online), why women are so competitive, vanity sizing, and how we can get away from making every thing in life about FOOD. 

Food is not fun. Food is fuel so you can have fun.”   

AND Nikki’s crab box example will BLOW YOUR MIND.

If there is ONE episode you listen to all year, THIS IS IT. (Well, and Part 2 next week!)

Nikki really knocks it out of the part with amazing advice + insights! PLUS she’s also the mama to Madi, a former Herbie of the Week.

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

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Feeling Constantly Bloated?

What foods are you avoiding or adding to reduce bloating? I'm constantly bloated whether doing good on the meal plan or cheating—my "fat" clothes are not fitting me bc of it. My bday is next Sunday, and I don't want to feel like a bloated cow! Any of you have advice? And how long after adding or avoiding certain foods do you start to feel better?” —Shanone M.

This topic bubbled up in the Facebook group and judging by the 41 replies (!), I realized it’s a common problem we’re apparently not too shy to talk about…so lets get all TMI, OK?

Bloating (aka tightness, discomfort, or swelling of the abdomen, with or without the toots) is typically caused by 1) overeating, 2) eating rich and fatty foods, 3) eating sodium (salty foods), 4) food sensitivities, or 5) eating too fast and not chewing properly.

The last one is definitely my #1 bloating culprit!

Long process short, whatever food your body is not able to digest or absorb before it reaches the large intestine will produce gas as it is broken down, which causes gas and bloating.

Not chewing properly makes it harder for the body to digest and absorb, so bigger pieces pass and, well, bloat. Eating too quickly also results in swallowed air, which also leads to bloat.

Foods to Avoid

-Fatty and fried foods

-Highly processed foods

-Salty foods

-Spicy foods

-Dairy

-Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol

-Carrageenan

Now here is where it gets tricky…

Some plant foods, while nutrition superstars, don’t play nice with all tummies.

Wheat, for example, can cause some people to bloat like a balloon. Fortunately, the meal plans are always wheat-free and gluten-free, if you need to avoid wheat for a flat midsection :)

I find sprouted whole wheats don’t bloat me, but the really processed, crappy, white stuff (like pretzels or junk foods) are a belly destroyer.

Beans and lentils can also be a problem for some people (they contain indigestible sugars—oligosaccharides—that get broken down in the intestines, creating gas), but soaking, cooking them well with kombu, and chewing to a mush usually reduces their gassy effect.

Similarly, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic, and prunes contain sugars and starches that can cause gassiness and bloating.

Try an elimination diet, avoiding common food allergens like corn, gluten, dairy, and soy. (Members: There’s an elimination diet plan on your dashboard). And if that doesn’t work, try removing some of the other plant foods that are known troublemakers.

If you’re new to a plant-centered diet, increased bloating and gas is common. Give your body some time to adjust to the increased fiber. You’ll digest like a champ soon!

Have a remedy for beating bloat?

Share it in the comments below.

When I was having all kinds of GI distress, I found this tea helped a lot.

You can also try this simple and easy detox drink. It's great first thing in the morning!

Detox Drink

12-16 oz water (purified is best)

1-2 tbsp Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

dash of cayenne pepper

ground cinnamon (optional)

honey, pure maple syrup or stevia (to taste, as necessary)

Directions: Mix all together, and drink!

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Motivation & Intuition Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode Jenny (my co-pilot!) shares how her faith brought her to a plant-based diet along with a deep desire to create a healthier life for her kids “I want my kids to be better than me” she explains.

We also talk about intuition and listening to what your body is telling you, Weight Watchers (and how you have to learn to eat differently, period, not just less of the junk), showing by example with kids and skeptics, and the absolute, utmost importance of having a plan.

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And HILARIOUS: Jenny confesses she secretly bought the meal plans when her husband was out of town and couldn’t stop her!! He wasn’t convinced the meal plans OR plant-based was for them, but the big money savings and stress-free dinner planning made him the biggest advocate!

This episode is a testament that it really takes all kinds of motivation, but any road to plant-based is a good one!

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

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