Muscle Toning 101: Increase Your Resistance

muscle toning 101

Despite what the latest diet or weight loss pill would have you believe, it’s going to take more than simply cutting back on calories and eating a few more carrots on a regular basis to shed those stubborn pounds clinging to your waistline.

Although dieting is important, it’s only half of the equation.

Regular exercise that combines both strength training and cardio is absolutely crucial to losing weight and keeping it off, so you can get the lean, sexy, and toned body you’ve always wanted.

However, many women are afraid that by hitting the weights and working out “like a man” that they’ll also develop the big, bulky muscles commonly associated with their male counterparts.

First off we’re here to set the rumors straight: testosterone is the primary ingredient for building supersized muscles, and very few men have the genetic capabilities to completely “hulk up” let alone women.

Secondly, by neglecting your strength training or by half-heatedly attempting to lift weights, you’re depriving yourself of a great workouts and an essential part of losing weight.

Experts at Webmd explain, “Resistance (strength) training exercise can improve your overall physical health and ability to do daily activities. It can also lower or prevent bone loss associated with menopause.” But that’s not all, “the increased muscle mass [also] helps your body use energy more efficiently.”

So are you getting the most out of your strength training exercises? If you are experiencing any of scenarios below, then it’s time to bump it up a notch.

You Could Keep Lifting Forever without Breaking a Sweat
You may have heard the old weight loss myth that increasing the number of reps you do can increase your endurance without building big bulky muscles, but that is simply not true.

According to studies, the ideal number of reps is around 12-15 for the beginning lifter, taking several seconds to perform each repetition correctly and in good form. If you’re not feeling any fatigue by the end of the set, then it’s time to take it to the next level.

You’ve Used the Same Weight for Weeks
The more you work a muscle, the more efficient it becomes at doing that particular exercise. It takes fewer calories to complete a repetition, and the nervous system sends signals faster to the muscles so you utilize the right muscle fibers with each lift.

Consequently, if you’re not consistently challenging your muscles, you’ll get fewer weight loss results. Some predesigned programs are very specific in their guidelines for how and when you should increase your resistance, but if you’re just winging it, then experts recommend adding additional weight after about 6-8 weeks of regular training (only after you can successfully perform 8-12 reps and maintain good form, of course) .

You’re Not Seeing Any Progress
dumbbellsBy keeping your weights at the same resistance day in and day out, your muscle toning results will flat line. Afterall, how can you expect to reach the top of a hill if you’re not looking for a way up? The more you challenge yourself to improve, the more results you’ll see. Although it takes extra effort and work, you’ll be amazed at what the human body can accomplish.

Additional Suggestions
Although you might not like the idea of having to actually work during a workout, if you really want to slim down and shape up, then now is the perfect time to analyze your performance and increase your resistance. If your weights aren’t budging, what makes you think that the scale will too?

For additional pointers on how to get more out of your workouts, then be sure to read this article here.

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Essential Oils

Going to the doctor for any reason can be very expensive, especially if the reason we are going to the doctor require return visits, labs, and specialist visits. Do you remember the reason for your last visit to your doctor? Do you remember what your bill cost? It was probably more that you would have liked.

Using essential oils is one way that many people try to prevent and treat sickness in a natural way rather than going to the doctor. Some of these oils have increased in popularity over the last few years, while others have been used for ages and ages.

What are Essential Oils

Essential oils are known as “nature’s living energy.” These all-natural oils are found in all different kinds of shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds and are essential for the plant’s growth and survival. These essential oils are extricated from the plants which makes them more potent and concentrated that dry herbs.

Essential oils are used to treat and prevent a variety of things. These include aromatherapy, massage therapy, emotional health, personal care, nutritional supplements, household solution, and much, much more. Here are a few examples:

• Juniper and Agathosma have diuretic effects
• Lavender is known to help you relax and sleep more soundly and is used to treat acne, allergies. Asthma, athlete’s foot, burns, bruises, and other ailments.
• Eucalyptus oil is used as a cleaning and disinfecting agent. It is also used for vermin and insect control.
• Sweet orange oil is used to treat colds, constipation, dull skin, flu symptoms, and stress among other things.
• Jasmine Absolute is used to treat depression, dry skin, exhaustion, labor pains, and sensitive skin.

Use Wisely

Be sure that you follow directions carefully if you decide that essential oils are for you. Some may have negative effects when used improperly. Otherwise, when used properly, essential oils may be a great addition to your healthy, daily routine.

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Preventing Soreness

We’ve all been there one day, two days, and sometimes more than two day after a brutal workout. Going up the stairs is a dreaded activity, you try not to go to the bathroom because sitting down is brutal and standing up may not be an option, and even simple activities like reaching up for an object of a shelf or brushing your hair can be somewhat comical.

This is what happens when you are sore from working out. Sometimes, you can’t completely avoid becoming sore after an intense workout, but there are some things that you can do to help with the agony.

Warm Up

Warming up will help prepare your muscles for the physical activity ahead. Warming up allows your body to slowly work into the activity in order to minimize microscopic muscle tears. The best kind of warm up you can do is called a dynamic warm up. This means that you take your body through a series of movements that specifically prepare you for the anticipated activity.

Cool Down

Cooling down is thought to actually help with the removal of lactic acid that accumulated in your body during your routine. Cooling down also helps avoid dizziness and temporary hypovolemia (or decreased blood pressure) because your heart and circulatory system are allowed to slowly stop working rather than stopping abruptly.

Eat a Proper Diet

Eating a proper diet all of the time ensures that your body has the right amount of each necessary nutrient in order for your body to function properly during your workout and recover after your workout. For example, without enough protein, your muscles will not be able to properly adapt to the loads places on them during a workout.

Try It!

Next time you work out, be sure to incorporate a proper warm up and cool down into your routine. Also, be sure to eat a well-balanced diet, not just the day of your workout, but all of the time. This may be the difference between walking or crawling up the stairs tomorrow.

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Don’t Be SAD — Incorporate GLAD!

Every winter up to 20 percent of the US population suffers from symptoms so debilitating that productivity and motivation suffer. Symptoms such as moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, appetite changes, and hopelessness are more than the winter blues.

Rather they make up Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD symptoms generally start out mild in early fall and progress to become more severe as winter approaches. Many people find their symptoms are most severe right after the holiday season.

SAD is a clinically recognized disorder. Women are usually affected more than men but it is not a discriminatory disorder. It is suspected that SAD occurs because the reduced exposure to light during winter months interrupts normal circadian rhythm and disturbs sleep, appetite, and mood.

Since we can’t change the patterns of the sun, how can we overcome seasonal affective disorder?

There are medications available to help you deal with SAD. But before you resort to pharmaceuticals, consider some of these easy ways to cope using GLAD:

G- Get Away: Plan your winter vacation to a sunny place. Consider Florida or the Bahamas instead of Minnesota!
L- Light Therapy: Light therapy is said to be the most effective treatment. Although the sunlight is simulated, the body responds similarly by producing energizing hormones. This is done under the supervision of a therapist. It’s also recommended that you get outside on sunny days!
A- Activites That You Enjoy: Whether you enjoy reading novels, cross country skiing, visiting friends, or writing in your journal, the activities you enjoy can improve your mood so take 15 minutes a day for yourself!
D- Do Exercise: It can be tough to get the motivation to exercise but it’s even more essential when you’re feeling down. Exercise reduces stress, improves your immune system, and releases endorphins that boost mood. Even just a light workout can do wonders for your emotional health!

Although SAD is generally associated with the winter months, it does affect some people during summer. So keep these easy tips in mind and be GLAD that winter always comes to an end!

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Lose Weight for Free!

Lose Weight for Free!
Many of us are under the false impression that losing weight is an expensive endeavor. We get caught up paying for pricey gym memberships that do nothing but lighten our wallets. Or we hear about the latest “magical food” that can melt fat without requiring any effort on your part.

After wasting wads of hard-earned cash, we realize that the number on the scale hasn’t budged.

There’s a better way to lose weight than paying for the latest fad. Rather, you can use tools in your own home to propel you towards weight loss for free!

Free Exercise Plan

Working with a personal trainer can keep you motivated even when you can’t bear the thought of another rep of bicep curls! But personal trainers are expensive.

To get the benefits of a personal trainer without the price tag, consider websites like SparkPeople.com. There are also tons of apps for your phone that create workout plans for free or a minimal fee.

Pennies Pinched: $7,800 per year!
(3 sessions per week at $50 (minimum) per session)

Workout Equipment That Costs You Nothing

Paying for a gym membership is a rather expensive way to lose weight especially since most people do not even use their membership! Some gyms have started charging only if you don’t go to the gym in an effort to encourage people to work out.

If you don’t want to pay for a membership or drive to the gym, look around your house for common items that can be used to give you a good workout.

Dumbbells: especially when you are first starting a workout routine you don’t need a full set of free weights. Try using canned food when you perform bicep curls or buckets full of rocks.
Treadmill: rather than aimlessly running on a treadmill, consider taking your workout outdoors. You get fresh air and it doesn’t require special equipment!
Body Weight: some of the best workouts require absolutely no equipment. Instead they use your body weight and gravity to create resistance. Some common exercises are pushups, squats, and lunges.

Pennies Pinched: $510 per year
(assuming $150 initial set-up fee and $30 monthly fee)

Leave Behind the Pricey Meal Plans

This one takes a bit more commitment on your part. Paying for a meal plan (like NutriSystem or Jenni Craig) is convenient but most of these pre-packaged meals are loaded with salt and don’t even taste that great!

Instead you can prepare simple, healthy meals that save you money and fill you up. Cooking a pot of rice on Sunday, for example, costs just pennies and can be used as the base for many inexpensive meals throughout the week like stir-frys or soups.

Nearly every dish you love can be prepared healthfully. Take advantage of the vast resources available on the internet for simple substitutions. We like to use greek yogurt instead of sour cream in dishes like beef stroganoff. You still get the rich, creamy flavor of sour cream but without all the extra calories!

Pennies Pinched: $3,600 per year
(assuming $200 per month grocery budget compared to $500 per month meal delivery plan)

No More Excuses!

Making simple swaps in your routine can save you significant amounts of money in the course of a year. Just giving up the personal trainer, gym membership, and meal plan can save you nearly $12,000 per year!

That’s more than enough for a new wardrobe and a beach vacation to show off your new body!

Losing weight does not have to cost a lot. So stop using that as an excuse to skip yet another workout! Instead, incorporate these tips in your lifestyle to lose weight effortlessly.

If you have tried any of these tips or have additional ideas for how to lose weight for free, we would love to hear from you!

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Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

realistic new year's resolutionsWith the month and year ending tomorrow I thought I’d do a post on New Year’s Resolutions with the focus being on making resolutions that are sustainable rather than ones that get lost in the shuffle much like the paper you write them down on.

I tend to look at New Year’s resolutions like fad diets–everyone participates at some point. Much like you drink only lemonade for a week then crash and burn and binge on donuts the next, you sit around the table comparing and sharing then the first week of January roles around and you find yourself at the gym twice a day, walking the dog, preparing meals for the entire week, not yelling at your family, reading the classics, and buying a wrinkle cream.

Then the second week of January roles around, you crash, and you find yourself in the McDonald’s drive through on the way to marriage counseling.

Let’s make this year different by setting New Year’s resolutions that are not only realistic, but attainable as we venture into 2012.

1. Set Reachable Weight Loss Goals

It’s fairly typical to put on 3-7 pounds around the holidays but it’s important to remember that those pounds were gained over 2 months, they’re not going to magically come off over the next week. Losing 1 pound per week is incredibly realistic and can be achieved by cutting 3500 calories from your diet. You can do this by skipping dessert 3 nights this week, passing on the toast and juice at breakfast and instead reaching for the oatmeal and egg whites, and by not snacking after dinner.

By making small and simple lifestyle changes, the weight will not only come off, but stay off. One pound a week maybe not seem like a lofty goal, but after 2 months you can lose 8 pounds and people will begin to notice.

2. Set Specific Work out Times and Methods

It’s difficult to say “I’m going to workout 4 days this week” because by Wednesday you still have those left but when Thursday rolls around and you don’t have the energy to hit the gym, you feel like you might as well not even bother this week.

Instead, try picking a class that you attend weekly and no matter what comes up, you always make time for that class. Whether it’s zumba at 7:30 on Tuesdays or a workout video that you always do at 8am on Fridays, pick a date, a time, and a mode of exercise and you’ll find your motivation increase as the practice becomes a habit.

This year, look up the class schedule at your gym or community center and pick one you’ve never tried before. It’s ok if you start out slow and can’t do everything the instructor tells you to (much like me in body pump), everyone there was in your place at one point and you’ll be surprised how quickly your body adapts and is able to keep up with the best.

3. Pick a Food you’re Going to Forgo

Instead of saying “I’m not going to eat sugar this entire year” (which will make you more grumpy that it’s worth), say “I’m going to stay away from Donuts until next January. Cutting out a specific food and sticking to that goal will help you feel empowered and confident when placed in the situation again (even when donuts are the only food provided at your breakfast work meeting, tell yourself you can have a piece of chocolate after dinner instead).

Even if you don’t find yourself faced with the food daily, the avoidance will do more for your sense of self-discipline than for your waist-line and will give you the confidence you need to stick to a health conscious diet as the year progresses.

Happy New Year!

With these tips in mind that can essentially be applied to any resolution:

1. Set realistic goals
2. Make a plan
3. Choose one thing to focus on at a time

Not only will you have your New Year’s resolutions in the bag, you’ll be able to keep them there until the next round of resolutions rolls around.

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Holiday Weight Gain

holiday weight gainAvoiding holiday weight gain is one of the biggest tricks of the season. From November through December you want to enjoy the holidays but time spent with family and friends is often spend over peppermint bark and egg-nog.

By the time January 1st rolls around, you’re going to work in sweat pants because your skirts and slacks no longer fit. It doesn’t have to be this way though, you don’t have to wait until January to make promises of health eating and regular exercise to yourself.

The following list are 5 of the best, fail-proof tips that won’t fill your New Year’s resolutions full of regrets from bad behavior the previous year.

1. Choose ONE Dessert

Parties and events are always filled with holiday treat choices. You can choose from frost sugar cookies, pies, fruit cakes etc. but even a “small” slice of each is going to add up when you step on that scale tomorrow. Don’t fool yourself, you won’t be missing out if you don’t sample every option that is offered after every meal or event. Instead, choose one dessert, bring it back to your place and enjoy it slowly. Also, don’t be tempted to bring home treats for later. Leave the treats at the part where they belong.

2. Don’t Feel like you HAVE to Bake

One of the biggest mistakes people (and mostly women) fall into around the holidays is that it won’t be Christmas, or Channukah, or Kwanza etc. without the heart-felt aroma of baked goods. So you hang up the stockings and head to the kitchen where you spend hours sculpting christmas trees out of fudge and dying frosting red and green only to have it sit on your counter and be occasionally picked at by spouses, kids, and room mates. Again, don’t kid yourself, who ends up eating all of those baked goods? You do. Yes, baking can be an important part of the holiday season but don’t make treats unless you’re bringing them to an event where you’ll know they’ll be eaten (or if they’re not, secretly leave them with the host–hey, it’s their waistline, not yours).

3. Drink WATER

This is the best weight loss tip even outside the holiday season but it especially applies to this time where our salt and sugar consumption may be a little higher than usual. Aside from keeping us hydrated and our bodies functioning at a high level, water makes us feel full and the more we drink, the easier it will be to battle food cravings. Additionally, the colder (or hotter) the water (or tea) is, the harder the body has to work to bring the liquid to room temperature and the more calories you burn. ALWAYS carry a water bottle with you. This is a habit of all thin people.

4. Carry a Drink at PARTIES

If you’re trying to avoid weight gain it’s best not to carry around an alcoholic beverage but it’s important that you always have a drink in your hand. This way, you can sip on it when you get bored (instead of heading over to the food table) and because one of your hands will always be occupied, you’ll have fewer hands to be grabbing food with.

5. Don’t JUSTIFY overeating

If you’re truly committed to maintaining (or even losing) weight over the holidays, you won’t let yourself justify your way into eating an entire can of gingerbread cookies or an entire pint of egg-nog ice cream. Again, yes, food is an important part of any holiday celebration but don’t you want to celebrate a good figure along with the holiday?

You Can Do it

All you need to do it think ahead before going out to parties and events and make small commitments to yourself about how much you’re actually going to eat. Enjoy a holiday cookie here and there but don’t use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge.

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Healthy Holiday Cookies

It happens to us every year. We watch our weight throughout the Fall and then those holidays hit and we feel exempt from vegetables and exercise. With the neighbors bringing over treats every night, Secret Santas dropping off chocolates, and the work, church, school, etc. holiday parties to attend, it seems like the only gift we need under the tree is a treadmill and a protein shake.

However, there are so many healthy alternatives to the sugary goodness that we fall victim to during the holidays and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite “healthy holiday cookie” recipes so you can “indulge” without feeling the guilt come January.

Apricot Almond Sandwich Cookies

healthy cookiesYou’ll need:
3/4 cup whole almonds
1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour, (see Note)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling & glaze

1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, or 3 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Directions:
1. To prepare cookies: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (see Tip).
2. Process almonds in a blender in 2 batches until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add flour, 1/2 cup butter, sugar and salt. Knead the mixture with your hands until well blended. (The dough will be dry.) Gather the dough into a ball; divide it into 2 portions.
3. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies using a 2-inch circular cookie cutter. Using a metal spatula, place them 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. (If you like, cut out the centers of half the cookies using a 1-inch cutter.) Gather the scraps, reroll and continue cutting out cookies until the dough is gone. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
4. Bake the cookies, one batch at a time, until puffed and beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To fill & glaze cookies: Spread preserves on half the cookies; top with the remaining cookies to make sandwiches.
Melt chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter in a double boiler over hot water. Remove from the heat; stir in milk and corn syrup until smooth. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Dip each sandwich cookie halfway into the chocolate, then place on the wax paper. When all the cookies are dipped, refrigerate until the chocolate has set, 20 to 30 minutes.

Calories: 125 per cookie

Peanut Butter Date Cookies

healthy holiday cookiesIngredients:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Drizzle

8 ounces white chocolate chips, (see Tip)
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Beat brown sugar, butter, peanut butter and cinnamon in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat until well mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in dates and walnuts. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before baking.
3. Use a small scoop (1 3/8- to 1 1/2-inch) and drop balls of dough 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. (If you do not have a scoop, shape the dough by hand into 1- to 1 1/4-inch balls.) Gently press each ball to flatten slightly.
4. Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To decorate: Place white chocolate and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on Medium, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. To drizzle, dip a fork in the chocolate then wave it over a cookie to create a lacy finish (see Variations). Let the chocolate set for at least 1 hour. Variations: Instead of drizzling, dip the top side of the cooled cookies in melted white or dark chocolate and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Calories: 114 per cookie

Give these as gifts and bring them to your neighbors, they’ll thank you when New Year’s Resolutions roll around. For more recipes like these, click here!

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5 Healthy Spices

healthy spicesSpices can be on the pricey side but cooking with them not only enhances the flavor of your food, but enhances your health and well-being as well.

Spices can act as natural remedies for minor ailments such as the common cold and headaches to having more long-term effects like fighting cancer and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the healthiest spices that are easily obtained and can make most recipes taste great!

Sage

Sage is believed to aid in memory retention and soothes sore throats.

This spice goes well with squash, pasley, rosemary, thyme, and walnuts or can be mixed into a tea to calm an upset stomach or aching throat. Sage assists in memory retention because research has shown that it inhibits a particular enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a chemical involved in the functions of memory and learning.

Tumeric

Tumeric is believed to calm inflammation and inhibit the formation of systs and tumors.

Native to India, this spice goes well with garlic, citrus, and is especially tasty in curries. As a traditional remedy used in India, people would apply a tumeric paste to wounds to reduce swelling and increase the rate of healing. Tumeric paste can also be used to sooth infections of the eyes and skin as it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is thus able to reduce irritation and get rid of infection-causing irritants.

Rosemary

This spice is said to be able to enhance mental focus, and fight foodborne bacteria to avoid the occurance of food poisoning.

Rosemary pairs will with potatoes, citrus, honey and garlic and has been used in traditional medicine to help users focus for studying. Tests have proven that students do better on tests when rosemary mists were sprayed in their workspace. As another powerful antioxidant ingredient, rosemary has the ability to kill harmful bacteria and can prevent meat from spoiling quickly.

Ginger

Ginger can be used to sooth an upset stomach and remedy arthritis pain.

Ginger goes will with soy sauce, citrus, and garlic and is often used in Eastern dishes. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce arthritis pain by removing free-radicals that often cause irritation and swelling in the joints. Ginger also soothes stomach problems associated with morning sickness, motion sickness, and nausea because it is believed to have a calming effect on the body. Ginger tea has long been used as a natural remedy for stomach issues and can either be made at home or bought inexpensively at a whole foods location.

Cayenne

Cayenne boosts the metabolism and increases calorie burn.

Derived from red hot chili peppers, cayenne can be paired with ginger, chocolate, beans, and beef for a rich, spicy, flavorful taste. Cayenne contains a substance called “calsaicin” that increases thermogenic (fat burning) activity in the body. Cayenne is believed to be able to increase the metabolism and therefore a person’s calorie burn for several hours after consumption.

Conclusion

Each of these spices can be purchased at your local grocery store and make a great addition to any dish, whether it’s lacking in flavor or not. Cooking with spices regularly is the perfect way to make a small lifestyle change that will impact your health 20 years into the future.

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28 Days to Health

28 days to healthIf you’re in the market for a good cleansing program, one that I’ve tried personally and have only good things to say about is called “28 Days to Health.” Rather than making you follow a strict and deprivational diet of only lemonade and cayenne pepper, 28 Days to Health instructs you on what you should be eating so you can cure illness hollistically and form sustainable habits that carry your health and weight loss into the future.

What is the 28 Day Cleanse?

The 28 day cleanse is a 4 week program of diet, supplementation, and cleansing that:

  • helps rid your body of harmful toxins
  • increases your energy
  • clears your skin
  • helps you lose unwanted weight
  • improves digestion, yeast presence, and bloating
  • makes you feel cleaner and healthier than ever before

Through a regimented diet and daily supplementation you can transform your health and body and more importantly, develop sustainable habits that will allow you to see the results of the cleanse well into the future.

What Does the Program Involve?

The 28 Day Cleanse diet involves cutting out:

  • gluten (a wheat protein found in flour, bread, pasta, pastries, etc )
  • added sugar (sorry, no cookies for a month!)
  • dairy
  • red meat
  • soy
  • processed food

This may seem extreme, but the 28 day program comes with a guide, recipes, and grocery lists of so many food you CAN eat. When I was on the cleanse earlier this year, I stocked up weekly on fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice, chicken breasts, salmon, and tilapia, almonds, walnuts, almond butter, brown rice tortillas, eggs, and a plant-derived protein powder.

What do Meals Look like on the 28 Day Cleanse?

For breakfast, you can have steel-cut oats, egg whites, gluten-free toast, or do what I did and have a protein shake. I feel like protein shakes are the best idea while on the cleanse because you can combine so many different fruits, veggies, and grains into your shakes. My shakes typically consisted of 2 scoops of chocolate, veggie protein, 1 cup kale, frozen blueberries, the 28 day lemon omega 3 syrup, and either almond milk or almond butter to stave off hunger with a healthy fat. Meals like this typically keep you feeling full for 4+ hours.

28 day cleanseAs a mid-morning snack, you can have a handful of almonds or walnuts, fresh fruit, a brown-rice tortilla with almond butter, carrots with fresh salsa, etc. the possibilities are truly endless.

For lunch, quinoa and vegetables are a good choice, or egg whites and a brown-rice tortilla, or chicken and brown rice, or even another protein shake (during the 4th week of the cleanse, you should be drinking 2 shakes per day).

For Dinner, chicken or fish with brown rice and veggies is a staple, you can do a brown-rice bowl with black beans, tomato, lettuce, and avocado. You can cook gluten-free pasta and make a fresh tomato sauce, sweet potatoes are good choices, as well as quinoa again with vegetables.

Because you are a bit hungrier during the day as you’re not filling yourself up with processed foods, you tend to eat dinner earlier. While cleansing, the most effective meal timing is to go to bed within 2 or 3 hours of dinner for for those night-owls out there like me, drinking herbal tea with a natural sweetener like stevia helps to fend off the food cravings or cravings for sweets that so many of us fall victim to.

28 Days to Health Supplements

Alongside a completely clean diet, the 28 Days to Health program also offers an array of supplements to help you get the absolute most out of your cleansing experience.

The supplements I used while on the cleanse were:

ultra body cleanse functional food- This powder I simply added to my protein shakes during the 3rd and 4th week of the cleanse. The functional food supplement is a powerful liver detoxifier that helps turn insoluble toxins into soluble ones so they can be expelled easier.

ultra body cleanse capsules- These babies don’t smell too great but they make you feel great. You can take 2-4 capsules 2-3 times daily and they encourage the detoxification process by containing ingredients like milk thistle and broccoli extract.

ultra body greens- again, these don’t taste the best but they are great for when you’re starting to feel hungry but aren’t quite ready for a meal and they skyrocket your energy because they’re filled with essential nutrients. Just mix 2 teaspoons of the greens powder in with your water bottle and sip it throughout the day.

Other supplements from this line include: ultra body omega, ultra body fiber, and ultra body move. One or all of these supplements can be taken in conjunction with your clean diet to experience the absolute most from your cleanse.

The Ultimate Way to a Healthier Life

28 days to healthThe 28 Days to Health cleansing program is by no means a walk in the park, but rather a strenuous hike to a well-worth-it view. While in the thick of the cleanse it can be difficult to see the end, but once completed, you’ll feel and look better than ever, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll achieve from completing something difficult will be unmatched.

28 Days to Health allows myself and similar users to lose weight, clear the skin, improve digestion, and increase energy. Better yet however, are the lessons in health you’ll learn as you see first hand the incredible benefits that can come from eating a clean, natural diet.

To learn more about the 28 Days to Health cleansing plan, click here!

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