5 Reasons You Bloat More as You Age

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Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods. These not-so-digested foods feel like they’re just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.

It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you’re getting older it can very well be because of your stomach’s reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion.

Normally, when we eat cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes. As we age this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it’s wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.

Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.

Bloating Reason #1:

Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies. This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

Pro Tip: Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones. If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.

Bloating Reason #2:

Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”. This means that the proteins you eat aren’t broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”.

Pro Tip: You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.

Bloating Reason #3:

One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down. Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you’d like.

Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people. And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn’t stay in one spot for too long.

Pro Tip: Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger.

Bloating Reason #4:

All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine. The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body. The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes. These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism. The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.

Pro Tip: Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay This includes things like dairy free yogurt, coconut kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don’t cause bloating for you!). Make sure they’re unpasteurized and contain live cultures.

You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it’s right for you.  Check out my video >> Do you really need a probiotic?! 

Bloating Reason #5:

With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them). In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated. This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.

Pro Tip: You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!). But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions, and may not be safe for long-term use.

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Bloating an issue for you? Check out my 5 Day Beat the Bloat Challenge in our Facebook group, The Fabulous Flexitarian Tribe. The challenge just ended, but you can still watch the replays and get all the worksheets in our Facebook group!

8 Sweet Tips for Cutting Out Sugar

Sugar has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It’s a leading factor in excessive weight gain, inflammation and unhealthy skin conditions. And as for mood swings, squishy middle sections, bloating, and 3pm energy slumps? Yup, our sweet little friend is to blame.

Resetting your palate and saying no to cravings isn’t easy, but it is possible. Humans are genetically programmed to enjoy sweet foods and the white stuff is highly addictive. The key to controlling cravings is moderation and balance, and for that we’re gonna need a game plan…

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1. Reduce Caffeine

The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, which can cause sugar cravings to become more frequent. Just another reason to limit your cup of coffee to one (or less) per day.

2. Drink More Water

Soft drinks, energy drinks and packaged fruit drinks are typically loaded with sugar. Plus sometimes sweet cravings are just a sign of dehydration. Before you reach for the sugar, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. You might find it passes right on by.

3. Eat Sweet Vegetables

Pumpkin, corn, carrots and sweet potato are naturally sweet, healthy, and delicious. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they’ll keep you satisfied for longer and will help curb your cravings for added sugar.

Experiment with herbs and spices too. Mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and help reduce cravings.

4. Choose the Most Natural Form

Let’s get real. It’s unlikely that you’re going to avoid desserts forever. So if and when you do treat yourself, avoid chemical, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Instead try natural sweeteners like dates, organic maple syrup and coconut sugar.

5. Ditch the Fat-Free / Low-Fat Labels

These foods compensate for the lack of flavor from fat with high quantities of sugar, which will send you on the roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Foods high in natural fat (like coconut, avocado, nuts and seeds) actually kill sugar cravings, while balancing hormones and feeding the brain and skin. Forget the marketing hype and get friendly with the good stuff.

6. Reduce Your Consumption

The less sugar you eat, the less you’ll crave. Eventually your tastebuds will change and desserts you used to enjoy will taste too sweet. Focus on getting your sweet fix from whole fruit instead.

7. Move Your Body!

Even if it’s just simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, clears the mind and reduces tension, which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar.

8. Catch Some ZZZZ‘s

Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you’re in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is – sugar. Ensuring you get enough rest will save you from this toxic, never-ending cycle.

Bonus Tip! Find Sweetness in Non-Food Ways

Cravings – especially for sweets – often have a psychological component. If you find yourself craving or eating too many sweet things, ask yourself if your cravings are the symptom of something deeper? Are you really craving more fun, adventure, affection, or freedom in your life?

Bust out your journal, take a deep breath, and really explore the topic. What feels out of balance for you right now? What small steps could you take to address this? How could you better deal with emotions you might be trying to comfort with sweets?

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Join us in our private Facebook group: The Fabulous Flexitarian Tribe and get more tips that you can start TODAY to combat your sugar cravings.

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

 

woman-eating

The holidays have come and gone, but the trap of overeating never seems to go away. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal. { What is Mindfulness?}

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

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Do these seem like simple habits you can start working? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

Peach Smoothie Meal

peach-chia-smoothie

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

1 chopped peach

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  1. Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).
  2. Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve, & Enjoy! 

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

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Everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong and it’s making you fat and tired… To find out more read my previous blog post. >> http://bit.ly/2kaztzd

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere! And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of WHAT you eat and drink and HOW you eat and drink it.

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What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. Plus it’s not sustainable.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?!

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is huge for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink. Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe…

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

Just remember: Consider not only how much  you eat but also what and how you eat.

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For more tips on mindful eating and how to become a Fabulous Flexitarian

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Master Your Metabolism

 

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This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days. You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean and can you increase it?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate. This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot! What we are going to focus on is food.

The type of food you eat affects your metabolic rate.

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

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Healthy 4th of July Treats

When it comes to making a healthy 4th of July meal you want to look for fresh, clean ingredients. I recommend pairing fruits, veggies and lean proteins together because they’re filling but light, helping you feel satisfied and energized. The following recipes are healthy and festive additions for your 4th of July menu. Enjoy!

bruschetta

BRUSCHETTA

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup diced chili pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ lime
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp. sea salt

Preparation:  Combine all the ingredients except lemon, lime, and salt in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the lemon and lime juice over the mix and add salt to taste. Mix well and serve. This is also a great topping for chicken or even burgers.

jicama fruit

 

FRUIT SALAD WITH JICAMA

Jicama is a great addition to any fruit salad. Top it with lime juice & honey. Garnish with some freshly chopped mint and coconut flakes. This is so refreshing on a hot summer day!

flag fruit salad

FLAG FRUIT KABOBS

Fruit kabobs are an easy peasy way to have a nutritious and fun-to-eat dessert. The natural sugars won’t make you crash the same way cookies or cake do. Plus they’re so pretty and impressive!

hummus strawberry

HUMMUS STRAWBERRIES

Don’t knock it until you try it! 😉 Simply, core a strawberry and fill it with a teaspoon of hummus. Finish  off with a single blueberry and you’re done. Simple & beautiful!

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COCONUT & BERRY POPSICLE

  • Fresh Berries ( blueberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries)
  • Coconut Water

Preperation: Drop berries into popsicle molds (smaller pieces will go to the bottom, others will have to be gently nudged into the mold using a butter knife or extra popsicle stick). Pour coconut water over the berries to fill the popsicle mold, then insert popsicle sticks. Cover and chill for several hours. Allow to sit on counter at room temperature for a few minutes for easy release from the molds.

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I hope you enjoyed this list of delicious & healthy treats for the holiday weekend! They’re all simple snacks that are sure to please and won’t make bellies too full for fireworks!

If you enjoyed this, sign up for my newsletter to get even MORE healthy tidbits on the regular.

Buffalo Cauliflower Wraps

I think I’ve found a new favorite recipe! I was searching the wonderful world of Pinterest looking for a similar one but all of them took over 40 mins to make. Who has time for that on a weeknight?! Not me, so I made my own version of this popular recipe that takes less than half the time. It was delicious and packed full of nutrients. For those who aren’t a fan, you barely taste the cauliflower. It does get really messy, so have a fork and napkin on hand. It’s also a fun recipe to involve the kids in, they can shake the cauliflower!

*All amounts are measured to taste. The whole recipe depends on your personal preference. Ex: If you like it spicy, add more hot sauce.

Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps

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Ingredients:

1 Cauliflower head

Franks Hot Sauce

Garlic Powder

Mini Tomatoes

Avocado

Red Onion

Blue Cheese Dressing (lighter option: blue cheese crumbles)

Romaine Lettuce Wraps

Instructions

  1. Chop cauliflower into bite size pieces
  2. Add to pot, cover with water & bring to a boil on high heat
  3. Turn to low/sim, cover pot and cook for 5-7mins
  4. Strain

While cauliflower is cooking, prep topping

  1. Cut tomatoes, avocado, & onion
  2. Mix together and coat with blue cheese dressing (lighter option: blue cheese crumbles)
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste

Once cauliflower has slightly cooled, pour into large ziploc (kids part!)

  1. Add buffalo sauce to taste. I like it slightly coated.
  2. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste.
  3.  Shake ziploc bag to blend flavors

TADA!

  1. Spoon out mixed cauliflower into lettuce wraps
  2. Top with tomato / avo mixture
  3. Enjoy!

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If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know in the comments below!  Join us in the private Facebook group – Wellness Warrior Tribe – where I share more delicious recipes like these.

Find the Joy in Eating

 

Calorie counting is a bad habit, and like any habit, it takes time and effort to break. Don’t expect to ditch the numbers overnight, and don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t going as quickly or as smoothly as you’d like them to.

Once you start eating the proper foods that fuel your body, calories won’t matter to you. Counting calories is unnecessary when your meals consist mainly of fruits & veggies. Releasing yourself from counting calories goes deeper than just numbers. It’s about feeling better as a person and being the change you want to see in the world.download

 

FIND A HIGHER PURPOSE & MORE JOY. 

Find more meaning in your life outside of controlling your body. Find more joy in your life to help you see that controlling your weight really doesn’t bring you joy.  

CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Unfollow those people who, when every time you look at their Instagram, you feel triggered. It’s just not worth it. 

Change the way you’re speaking OUT LOUD.

If we want to be more free from criticism, we need to stop criticizing. Start to be the example. Find JOY in being an example to other people, and in turn, giving them permission to let go of the weight/calorie obsession as well.

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 

Stand up for your friends when they put themselves down. Stand up for people who are trying to honor their bodies. Do not stand up for dieting and calorie counting.

Start to have more FUN with food. Start to rebuild your relationship to it. 

Begin to appreciate food and its unique nature. Think about how sweet and wonderful an organic strawberry tastes. Buy the best cheese in the store, and make yourself the best panini you’ve ever tasted. ENJOY your food. Sit down with it. Give it your attention. Be excited about it. Have a relationship with it. 

And most of all, as you’re doing this, notice how when you have more satisfying experiences with food, you’re more able to MOVE ON after you eat and focus on other important things in life. 

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Find the joy in life! This is worth it. It’s apart of being human.   We all have to deal with the tough stuff. Get support! (If you’re curious to know if I would be the right support for you, please visit my services page and connect with me on there.)

The Essential Grocery Guide

I love shopping!  Shopping for clothes, for my home, for office supplies, for FOOD!

Basically, I just really love spending money (Sssh! Don’t let my husband read that – although he is probably already aware of my habits).  But when it comes to shopping for fresh food, it can get overwhelming. Well, it is about to get a lot simpler! Below is a short grocery list to get you started on healthy habits, perfect for a quick meal prep too. Use this as your guide next time you go shopping. Scroll down for a bonus:  a FREE DOWNLOAD of my complete grocery guide.

grocery guide

2 tips before you shop

You don’t have to  toss everything and start from scratch in one day.

Switching to 100 percent whole foods can be challenging and even costly at first, not to mention unrealistic in the long run. Give it time, and take it easy on yourself. Try replacing one food item at a time. Try brown rice pasta for plain white pasta, or coconut flour instead of white flour. As you continually add in the good, your taste buds will change, and you will naturally want good, clean, whole foods. (The “fake” foods will seem less appealing.)

Plan to create meals with just a few items.

Try mixing and matching from the list below. For example, boil quinoa and then toss it with roasted asparagus,  a sliced hard-boiled egg and 1/2 sliced avocado. Add a scoop of pico de gallo and you have a meal that is  fresh, clean, fast and delish!

Clean Eating Grocery List

GRAINS AND PROTEIN IN THE PANTRY

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa (also a protein source)
  • Millet
  • Brown rice noddles
  • Tahini
  • Tempeh
  • Black beans
  • Cannelini beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almond butter

VEGGIES/HERBS

  • Spinach
  • Lettuces (try all different kinds)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro (Best way to store fresh herbs)
  • Parsley
  • Tomatoes
  • Various other vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, whatever you like)

CONDIMENTS/FLAVORINGS

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Black pepper
  • Pink himalayan salt
  • Chipotle red pepper seasoning (I add this to everything!)
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Tamari (instead of soy sauce)
  • Stevia
  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar

FRUITS

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Berries
  • Varied other fruits (melon, mango, grapes,pineapples)

SNACKS/OTHER

  • Hummus
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Veggie chips (TERRA brand is the best!)
  • Coconut ice cream (try the So Delicious brand)
  • Quinoa & black bean tortilla chips (Beanitos are tasty & can be found Jewel)
  • Popcorn (go for fresh – popped on the stove)

BEVERAGES

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • For smoothies: gogi berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cacao powder, maca powder
  • Also for smoothies: frozen fruit (buy it in bulk from Costco for the best deal)

Happy Shopping!

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For even more grocery goodness download my FREE grocery guide!  >> www.amandasabwellnes.com <<

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Looking to incorporate more whole foods into your diet? Below are a few links that will hep you on your journey:

Have your cake & eat it too

5 steps to planning healthy meals

7 steps to a whole foods diet

Healthy grocery tips