Holiday Myths Debunked # 2 - Exercise and Weight Loss

Many people believe that if we exercise more, then we will lose more weight. Therefore, if we exercise more over the holidays, we will of course maintain or lose weight, right?

Unfortunately we have been taught that weight loss is simply calories in, calories out.  This is a powerful myth that the media grasped onto years ago and continues to promote despite all of the evidence and scientific research stating the contrary. (If you are interested, the book The Calorie Myth goes into great detail and provides wonderful information about this.) Our bodies do not follow the theories of thermodynamics as there are numerous other factors including metabolic disruptors, toxins, food sensitivities, stress, sleep, hydration, and so much more that affect our weight. In reality, weight loss focused on dietary change produces two to three times greater weight loss than programs focused on exercise as reported by

To give you a greater sense of how much exercise someone would need to do in order to use exercise alone to influence weight loss, consider some of these examples…..

Running for about 42-45 minutes may burn about 500 calories. That seems like a fair amount until we start comparing this to some of the tempting food out at this time of the year.

Starbucks does a great job of listing the calories and nutrients in their food as well as drinks.  Here are some Starbucks items that you could maybe burn off after running for 42-45 minutes.

1 slice of Starbucks pumpkin bread = 440 calories

1 slice of Starbucks banana bread = 420 calories

1 venti Starbucks holiday drink of Caramel Brule or Peppermint Mocha = 540 calories with most grande Starbucks holiday drinks being around 400 calories

This does not mean that we should not exercise. Physical activity provides a myriad of benefits, such as, cardiovascular health, mental and emotional benefits, anti aging properties, and so much more.  However, we can have the greatest impact on our weight by focusing on what we are eating and drinking.

Most people believe that exercise must occur for 30-60 minutes for it to have an affect. In reality, moving for 10 minutes at a time can have wonderful benefits. I encourage those who can’t find time to fit the gym in to look at Activity Burst Everywhere for Fitness at This site provides quick routines that can be complete at work, home, and just about anywhere.

Overall, keep exercising for all of those mental and physical benefits. However, if you are looking for weight loss, focus on the types and quality of food and drinks you are consuming for the greatest benefits.

Holiday Myths Debunked - Excessive Weight Gain and the Holidays

There are numerous myths out there and especially powerful ones surrounding the holidays and holiday eating. My favorite ones always surround food.

Holiday Myth:

The average person gains 7-10 lbs. over the holidays.

This is FALSE. While many of us indulge and even overindulge in sweets, alcohol, and other unhealthy habits throughout the holiday season, the average person gains just 1 lb. with it being closer to 5 lbs. for those who are overweight as stated by a 2007 New York Time article ( and many other resources. While many of us feel like we have gained more than one pound, this can actually be attributed to bloating and water retention that typically comes with eating more refined foods, sugar, salt, alcohol, and simple overeating. explains “any time you eat more carbs than usual, you store the leftovers as glycogen, the ‘piggy bank’ reserve of carbohydrate that gets socked away in your muscle tissue. Holding onto more glycogen than you usually do can cause you to feel sluggish…Also, high sodium foods, like breads and baked goods, which don’t seem “salty” but are sodium-rich, will cause your body to hang onto excess fluid. While neither of these body shifts are weight from fat gain, they can create a bloated look, and make you feel heavy.”

The larger problem is not temporary weight gain or water retention, but that a month or more of unhealthy habits and eating does not end on January 1st. Instead, sugar cravings, overeating, lack of exercise, and more continue beyond the holidays. As a result we do not lose this 1 lb. gain and, instead, continue to gain a little more each year and do nothing about this extra weight until a few years down the road when it feels overwhelming.

So what do we do?

While I certainly do not suggest depriving yourself of fun social gatherings, delicious food, and fun activities, I do suggest picking and choosing what activities and foods you would like to indulge in. Instead of eating every finger food at the party even if you do not enjoy it, consider only eating those that you really want and enjoy. If that entails a piece of pie, then so be it.

The next step is to get back on track. Whenever we have an eating exception or indulge in an unhealthy habit, we stand at an important “Y” in the road. We can choose to either continue down the sabotaging road or we can simply get back on track with our healthy habits whatever they may be, such as, exercise, drinking plenty of water, removing sugar, or anything else. Deciding to get back on track provides positive benefits for our weight as well as our mental health, sleep, energy, confidence, and so much more.

I hope you enjoy the holidays and also find ways to take care of yourself and your health!

Healthier Thanksgiving Dessert

I love Thanksgiving food. I know that this meal is different for everyone, but for me it includes yams, turkey, stuffing, pies, and so much more. 

I have always had a sweet tooth, but since learning I need to be gluten, dairy, and chocolate free (yes, you heard it, chocolate free!) I have become more creative in the dessert department. While everyone else will enjoy delicious pie, I tried Detoxinista's raw no bake pumpkin muffins. 

These muffins are simple, only require a blender or food processor and are absolutely delicious! What's even better is that they are of course refined sugar free. I will be topping mine off with some coconut milk based ice cream, but I am also looking forward to trying them with some coconut whipped cream (always my favorite!).

Check out the recipe here. I personally made one and a half times of this recipe in order to make 12 regular sized muffins. 

What is your favorite holiday dish?

Healthier Holiday Treats!

Halloween is over and the Holiday Season is starting. I am a bit of a sucker for this time of the year. The leaves are changing, the temperature is cooler, holiday lights are being put up, and the best part – holiday foods! Honestly who doesn’t think about food at this time of year?

There are whole articles on line and celebrations about Pumpkin Lattes, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cookies. This tends to be the time of the year when all of those “once a year” foods are everywhere.  And what is the common denominator in these foods? Sugar! While we all must eat and cannot avoid food all together, we can make better choices now as well as throughout the year.  Consider some of this information about sugar…


In 1820’s the average American ate about 20 lbs. of sugar a year.

Today the US Department of Agriculture estimates the average American eats about 120-150 lbs of sugar a year. This is a huge jump!


Why the big change and what is the big deal? Sugar tastes so good and comes from a plant! Why shouldn't I eat it? Here are some things to consider the next time you reach for a treat containing refined sugar….

Refined Sugar or Glucose :

  • Is the #1 fuel source for cancer
  • Sends our emotions, blood sugar, and energy on roller coaster ride right after enjoying the treat as well as the next day (if you don’t believe me, give a 5 year old about 5 cookies and watch what happens.)
  • Dehydrates our bodies
  • Creates inflammation that can lead to disease progression as well as pain, especially join pain.
  • Tells your body to excrete nutrients
  • Creates stress within our bodies leading to increased hunger, weight gain, and cravings
  • Disrupts and reduces the quality of our sleep.

If you do nothing else for your health right now and throughout the year, I would encourage removing refined sugar as much as possible. Now removing refined sugar doesn't mean you can never eat anything sweet again, but, instead, you can make better choices. Here are some healthier holiday sweet alternatives to get you started.

  • Roasted apples with cinnamon and coconut whipped cream
  • Roasted or grilled pears with roasted walnuts drizzled in local honey
  • Coconut milk based pumpkin ice cream
  • Goat cheese stuffed dates drizzled in honey
  • No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake – I have been dying to try this recipe from Detoxinista!

Do you have healthy holiday foods or dessert your enjoy indulging in? Please feel free to share!


My Favorite Dessert - Coconut Whipped Cream

I have been a sugar addict my entire life. Growing up I used to say that I wished that cake was a separate food group because I wanted to eat it all day. In college I used to "snack" on Swedish fish while studying and drank soda as if it was going out of style. Needless to say, I used to eat a lot of sugar and certainly had my favorites. 

Unfortunately, my sugar habits caught up with me in regards to weight gain, low energy, and knee pain that affected every part of my life. As a result, I changed my diet dramatically and began by removing refined sugar. However, my sugar cravings didn't disappear completely. I knew I needed to do something differently or else I would fall back into my old habits. 

I began exploring whole food based desserts and one of my favorite non dairy and delicious recipes is coconut whipped cream. It is especially delicious on top of fruit. Here is how I make it.


  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk or 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup if additional sweetness is needed


  1. Place coconut milk or cream in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. 
  2. Freeze a metal mixing bowl for at least 10 minutes before you want to make your coconut whipped cream.
  3. Open can of coconut milk or cream. The coconut cream will separate and float to the top leaving the coconut milk on the bottom. Take a large spoon and remove coconut cream putting it in the mixing bowl.
  4. Add vanilla extract and mix with hand mixer at medium to high speed until coconut cream thickens. 
  5. Taste and and determine if maple syrup is necessary.
  6. Serve and enjoy. Will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Optional Additions:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Chopped nuts

I highly suggest you try this out and let me know what you think or any other additions you make!

Fat Myths

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Dietary fat has truly been demonized over the years leading to numerous myths and misunderstandings. Some of these myths include:

  •  All fats are bad for you
  • A fat-free diet is an important part of any weight loss program
  • Cardiovascular Disease is linked to consumption of dietary fats, especially cholesterol
  • Partially hydrogenated fats keep food fresh longer and are, therefore, healthful
  • Saturated fats are unhealthy
  • Eating fat makes you fat

Many of these myths began creeping into our mindset in the 19990’s when the media told us that a low fat or fat free diet was healthiest. As we all tried to adopt this new way of eating, many of us reached for packed items, began overeating, reaching for sugar, and were left feeling unsatisfied with our meals. Ironically and simultaneously, our obesity epidemic exploded and our health as a society dramatically declined. How could this be?

In order to understand part of what happened, it is helpful to understand the role of fat. This includes:

  • Absorption and transportation of fat soluble vitamins – Vitamin D, K, A, E
  • Essential part of cell membrane that allows nutrients to enter and exit the cell
  • Protection for internal organs
  • Necessary for proper nerve and brain function
  • Precursor to all hormones and essential for fertility
  • Carries flavor in food and provides satiety
  • Regulates temperature
  • Source of energy

When we remove fat from our foods, it needs to be replaced by something to provide flavor. This replacement is nearly always sugar, which contributes to a cascade of effects that lead to obesity including, inflammation, propensity to overeat, increased hunger, empty calories, cravings, decreased stored vitamins and minerals, as well as so much more. It is only logical that this replacement would lead to obesity and disease. If we do not consume healthy fats, we are unable to absorb nutrients, overeat as we feel less satisfied, experience reduced cognitive and nervous system function, and more. Instead it is important to focus on consuming healthy fats that can include:

  • Lard
  • Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive oil and whole olives
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Meat
  • Fish

I encourage everyone to try adding more healthy fats to their diet and meals. Experiment and try a variety of different fats. It is a wonderful learning experience and great way to see how you feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically. You might even find something new to enjoy.

Exercise Pill?

The human body is fascinating. Every moment of the day it works meticulously to ensure thousands of processes work perfectly. It even compensates for the misuse and abuse it receives from our diets, the environment, and our increasingly more sedentary lives. It is no surprised that for thousands of years the body has been the main source of research.

This week researchers announced they are creating blueprints of what happens in the body during exercise. (You can read more here) For a nutrition nerd like me, this is pretty cool. However, many go a step further suggesting that we might have an exercise pill that will enable us to never need to go to the gym, move, and sweat again. Sounds great, right?

I unfortunately would have to say no. This simplistic way of thinking that popping a pill will provide us with the same rewards a walk or workout will neglects all of the other wonderful side benefits we receive. When we exercise or sweat, we detox. Also, the psychological benefits of moving are huge as we experience an endorphin release that makes us feel great and of course boosts our mood. Exercise and movement both provide stress relief, improve sleep, support a sense of accomplishment, enhance muscle tone, and work to prevent injury and disease progression.

While an exercise pill could be great for those who are sick, elderly, or unable to move for any reason, creating a pill for the average person could negatively affect our lives, our mental health, productivity, and so much more.

Would you take an exercise pill?

How do you benefit from movement and exercise? 

Healthy Mindset

I taught a class last night discussing mindset in regards to weight loss and habit change. It struck me that so many of us embarking on a new eating program – gluten free, low carb, sugar free, etc. - focus on deprivation, the foods we miss,  and the unfairness around not eating (insert your favorite unhealthy food). This puts each of us in a mindset of focusing on restrictions and barriers. 

As a result, we concentrate solely on the finish line and the next time we can indulge in our favorite food (usually going overboard). However, this leaves us overly focused on the minute details as opposed to the larger picture. We forget that the piece of food we crave will only taste good for a moment while it sets us back on our journey to health. Whether you are eating for health, to lose weight, gain energy, reduce allergies, or for any other reason, focus on all of the wonderful new foods and recipes you get to explore. Consider this statement as well, “ I am not depriving myself when I restrict (insert your favorite food, mine is anything containing sugar). This is a personal and empowering decision to improve my health (or insert your goal), feel better, and be a better version of me.”

We live in a society that demands instant results and gratification. Sometimes we forget that feeling well, having energy, sleeping through the night, not experiencing bloating, and not being in pain are instant results. The best advice any of us can take  - focus on daily healthy habits and the results will come faster than you can imagine.

Gluten-Free - Fad or Fact?

Gluten-free products and discussions are everywhere making gluten free eating seem like something of a fad. However, there is also a lot of truth to it once we dig a little deeper.

The first question is what in the world is gluten? It is the protein found in grains but most people only react to it in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, and barley with oats being challenging as they tend to be contaminated with gluten during transportation. 

To begin with, the gluten of today is not the same gluten of generations past. In order to make fluffier pastries, companies genetically alter wheat in order to increase the gluten content. Additionally, pick up any packaged item and most likely you will find gluten added as a filler, such as, in soy sauce. Unfortunately it is even used as a filler in medications, supplements, body lotions, shampoos, and more. We are inundated by this protein everywhere we turn.

To be honest, I was skeptical of this gluten-free craze. In order to remove the gluten from products and still make them tasty, most companies add sugar. Can this truly be healthier? On top of that, gluten-free products are expensive. However, I started digging deeper and found a strong connection between gluten and inflammation, which happens in everyone's body. Due to gluten being genetically altered, our bodies do not recognize it the same. Additionally for those with autoimmune diseases, gluten slowly destroys the body as it happens to be structurally similar to numerous tissues within our bodies, such as, the thyroid. As a result, this gluten is seen as an invader and our wonderful immune system attacks. If our body attacks gluten and this gluten looks similar to our thyroid, what is going to happen? You got it. The body will begin to attack itself and open us up to all sorts of disease progression including autoimmune diseases. 

Speaking from my own experience, I did not even want to entertain the thought of giving up gluten. It meant making a change and potentially not eating some of those delicious foods, such as, bread, cake, etc. However, I found that gluten gives me migraines after years of wondering why I had headaches. For anyone curious about gluten or who has an autoimmune disease, I strongly encourage trying a whole foods gluten free diet. Not one that includes processed and expensive gluten free products, but one that includes delicious and healthy whole foods. One of my favorite recipes is last week's post about banana pancakes. For more gluten free recipes, follow A Time to Thrive with Kasin on Pinterest. The recipes and pictures will make you want to jump up and cook. 

Check out Dr. Amy Meyers for more information about autoimmune diseases and gluten as well.

Have fun exploring new gluten free and delicious recipes!!

Free Online Summit - Evolution of Medicine

Have you ever wondered how you can impact your own health or what preventative health really means?

Are you interested in learning how your environment affects your health and what you can do about it?

This is a rare opportunity to listen to a number of fantastic speakers for free at the Evolution of Medicine Summit: Healthcare from Scratch at Enjoy!

Gentle Detoxing

Let’s get back to Spring Cleaning. We last discussed the role of lemon juice in the detoxification process. I hope you all went straight out and purchased a whole bag of lemons! I know I did.

There are numerous other ways to continue detoxing before starting a juice or Master Cleanse. A couple gentle (yet highly effective) versions are:

  • An Elimination Diet
  • 21 Day Cleanse By Kathy Freston

Both of these options are not about starving yourself, eating cardboard, or deprivation, but actually include eating whole delicious foods. The foundation for both options is to remove foods that are taxing to the body and promote inflammation. With this idea in mind, both encourage focusing on organic produce and the removal of caffeine, refined sugar, processed foods, gluten, and alcohol.

While these provide delicious and nutritious options, there are some important differences as follows:

  • An elimination diet typically lasts 4-6 weeks and also includes the removal of dairy, vinegars, grains, citrus, shellfish, beef, and sometimes eggs, beans and nuts. As a result, an elimination diet would focus on seafood, poultry, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Kathy Freston’s 21 day cleanse removes all animal products and focuses on a mostly vegetarian diet for a short period of time.

Even if you are not looking to actively start a cleanse, both of these are great options to try out in order to learn more about your body, sensitivities, and to just step outside of your comfort zone. You never know, you might learn something knew and even have fun while doing it! I have tried both and the results were amazing!

Educational Summit Opportunity

Before I get back to the topic of detoxification, I want to share an opportunity with you all.

 Some pretty amazing practitioners will be speaking at a free online event. The summit is “The Healthy Traveler’s Global Summit” and will last from May 1st – 10th, 2015. They will offer some fantastic education and tips. Even if you only have time for one webinar, I highly suggest it! Register and read more at


Spring Cleaning

 Spring is a wonderful time to start thinking about cleaning. We clean out our closets, wash        the pollen off the windows, and get ready for summer. This is also the time of year when  I get asked  about cleanses - which one someone should do and how to do it fast.                      So, I thought  over the next couple weeks that I would share a variety of ways to support        your body's ability to cleanse itself without having to go through a juice cleanse.

 Many people move throughout the year eating whatever tastes good without much thought of how it affects their health. It is only when the weather gets warmer that many people start thinking about shedding the extra weight and as a result,  begin to look more critically at       food choices. However, that leaves many of us fighting a toxin build up that affects our       health, weight, sleep, emotions, physical pain, and just about everything else. 

 Most people do not purposely put toxins into their bodies, so where do they come from?

 We acquire toxins from the environment we live in, food and water we consume, homes we live in, and many other places. Unfortunately it is unavoidable. While this realization can be scary, we certainly cannot avoid every single toxin. Therefore, the answer is to make  better choices whenever we can. One easy way to help your body optimally rid itself of  toxins in order to feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally is simple – start  your day with a room temperature glass of water with the juice from at least ½ of a lemon.

 Lemons are one of nature’s and our body’s natural detoxifiers as it helps your liver cleanse  and remove any harmful build up.  One way you can quickly see the effects of lemon  juice is to see how it naturally rebalances and rids the body of any excess water retention.

I encourage you to try and experiment with lemon juice. Add it to any dish, salad, and your water. It is a refreshing and tasty addition while improving your health!

First Steps to Eating Well

Nutrition can become confusing as one day we are told to follow the USDA Food Plate (formally known as the Food Pyramid), on another we are told to eat Paleo or vegetarian, and on yet another we are told to eat everything but in moderation. So which is it?

This is the golden question! I specifically chose the field of Holistic Nutrition as I believe nutrition must be personalized as each person’s needs are different based on age, exercise levels, disease state, stress, environment, genes, health goals, and so much more. However, on the most basic level, everyone benefits the most from focusing on whole, nutrient dense, organic (where possible), and diverse foods. Too often we forget how powerful food choices are as foods can either harm or heal us physically and mentally in regards to disease progression and overall health.

While eating whole foods seems obvious, most Americans heavily rely on processed foods. These foods are commonly touted as “nutritious,” as they are made from “whole grains,” fortified, low fat, low carb, or are “kid approved.” While these foods are successfully marketed, they rob the body of nutrients at a faster rate, cause blood sugar imbalances, increase hunger, and often result in weight gain as well as a host of other negative consequences. In contrast when focusing on eating whole foods, the body knows how to incorporate and utilize nutrients optimally, will provide correct feedback as to when to stop eating, and will lead to increased vitality both physically and mentally. Ironically, when as a society we began focusing on packaged foods in order to create low fat items and, thus, seemingly healthier foods that would help us to lose weight, we began the obesity epidemic as a nation.

Commonly I hear, “I know which foods are healthy, but the packaged foods just taste so good!” Committing to changing habits and staying accountable are the most important and yet most difficult aspects as these foods are very addictive. However, cutting out processed foods and focusing on whole nutritious meals can lead you to experience numerous personal benefits not only in the long term in regards to potentially lower healthcare costs in the future as well as longevity and vitality, but in the short term can lead to increased energy, improved sleep, stable moods, weight loss, improved regularity, and a host of other rewards. In the short term it may appear more costly to purchase whole foods and many people complain about how quickly the food goes bad, but on the most basic level why would anyone want to eat something that is scientifically designed to not rot? Everything that grows should at some point decompose. While this can feel annoying when you reach in the crisper drawer and realize you forgot about the lettuce you bought last week, it is actually a good reminder that good nutritious food should and does not last forever.