Food Label Myths Part 2

*Disclaimer: I have no credentials in this field other than being a licensed physical therapist assistant- so I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist, nor am I certified or licensed to give formal advice. For all questions or serious inquiries, I’m going to direct you straight to the professionals.

3. Myth: Protein bars vs “carb” bars

I actually learned this from celebrity nutritionist Kelly Leveque, author of “Be Well” by Kelly. Before I dive into this topic, we’re going to circle back around to macronutrients- aka the amount of carbs, fats, and protein in a food.

A big piece to this puzzle is I experiment a lot. After I tried a entire Perfect Bar a few different times, I noticed that I didn’t feel foggy or sluggish or bloated which means my body responded well to it. This is RARE as I’m sensitive to protein powders / bars that don’t agree with my stomach.

4. Myth: Plant based vs “Clean”

The last myth we’ll be covering is how true are the claims made by companies that products are “natural” “plant based” vs “clean” and are they the same thing?

First of all, no they are not the same thing. I did a little digging and found an article that clearly stated a company can claim a product is “all natural” if just 1% of any ingredient on in the list comes from or is derived from a natural resource. Same rule applies for organic.

The take home message for this one is to not believe everything you see on a food label– all these buzz words of organic, natural, clean, plant based etc aren’t always the whole truth. Make sure to check the quality of the ingredients included, consult a professional when in doubt, and do some self educating as you have an incredible amount of resources right at your finger tips.

Take what I say with a grain of salt as my hope for you is to make better choices by being armed with the right information. Please don’t be afraid of eating fat sources or bananas, experiment for yourself, and if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut, eat foods in their most natural form that come from nature, and keep learning and growing by seeking credible resources. Hope this helps you make simple, better choices. It’s a never ending journey of learning, but doing your best means that you’re on the right track to succeed!

RESOURCES

Glamour Magazine Article 

Perfect Bar Ingredients 

Food Label Myths Part 1

**Disclaimer: I have no credentials in this field other than being a licensed physical therapist assistant- I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist, nor am I certified or licensed in anything.  For all questions or serious inquiries, I’m going to direct you straight to the professionals.

I’m always hesitant to speak on topics like this bc it’s out of my comfort zone and my scope doesn’t include nutrition advice. I don’t want to be mistaken for someone who makes false claims, you know? So with this, its all info you can locate on google and some common mistakes I frequently see in the health field or just through chatting with friends.

  1. Myth: Grams of fat content per items = gram of body fat you will gain by eating it.

So just to be clear- amount of fat in food is a totally and completely separate concept than fat (adipose tissue) on someone’s body.

A few examples of nutrient dense sources of lipids, or “nutritous fat content in food,” include avocados, some forms of cheese (not fried), dark chocolate, eggs with yolk, fatty fish (salmon, trout, and sardines to name a few), nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconuts/oil, and full fat yogurt.

There’s also the different kinds of fat: saturated, unsaturated (which include mono and polyunsaturated), and trans fats. I’ll leave that up to you to type into Google to learn a bit about as not all fats are created equally- some more nutritious than others.

There’s been a lot of conflicting info surrounding egg yolks and coconut oil on whether theyre actually good for you or not, and my advice is . . .

2. Myth: SUGAR. Something that drives me bananas is when I’ll ask my patients at work what their diet is like and many of them will say they eat a granola bar for breakfast. I’ll ask if they pair a berries or a banana with it, and they’ll tell me “oh gosh no, bananas have way too much sugar.”

Okay, here’s the deal . . .

  • Ask yourself when eating something sugary- is this from the ground? How processed it is?
  • How many grams of “added sugar” does the container say? Both are important, but added sugar is especially important, even more so if you’re diabetic.

    I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fact that they say women should eat no more than 25 g of sugar per day, including fruit. While I have no idea if that’s still an industry standard, I figured out why that is in the book that I’m reading “Genius Foods.” ***I’m not an expert, this was just my own interpretation!

The take home message is . . .

Examples of sneaky words that all mean sugar: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, organic brown rice syrup, and more.

 

RESOURCES

The Cleveland Clinic – click here to read the full article

Genius Foods – Book by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal

 

A Book That Helped Me Grieve

The most powerful book I’ve ever read is called . . .

The morning of the day we decided that it was time to send my pup to heaven, before we made the decision, I happen to come across this book that felt very right to read at this particular moment.

Story of sending my childhood dog at age 15 years old to heaven on New Years Eve.

One of the biggest things that grief and tragedy have taught me is to slow down. It’s funny for how often I talk about slowing down, but my morning cup of coffee is about the only time I embrace a slow pace. I believe its important to move slow, but my life is high energy and fast paced more often than not at this point. I drive a little slower, I sit still a little longer, and im not in such a rush. I’m aware that when I rush, I lose my inner peace and without that I have nothing.

When big and scary tragic things happen, I move slow and give myself the opportunity to feel things in whatever way feels right- usually I feel quite empty until I start writing to move the energy.

Today, as I’m wrapping up writing this episode, a patient of mine who has moved into more of the role as a friend after working with her for over 2 years, surprised me with the help of my boyfriend to make me a scrapbook full of memoirs of my pup.

I’d like to set an intention to all loved ones- family, friends, pets, or special someones who have passed in all of our lives. May the road rise up to meet you, and may we hold you close to our hearts everyday until, at once, we reunite again. Always in our hearts- this one goes out to you Shane. xoxo

How To Enjoy Spending Time At Home

I never thought I’d be actually writing on this topic… but the more people I talk to, the more this topic comes up. And I’d like to start by addressing the problem, the real elephant in the room: Most of us find being home uncomfortable because we don’t truly spend enough time alone with our thoughts.

Sure, things are scary with the actual virus and many people struggling to pay their bills and I by no means want to undermine the severity of these issues. But for 80% of us, the scariest part is the extra time our minds finally have to reveal in their true colors. Generally, our minds revert back to past traumas and how we handled those. While you may not be directly affected with the virus or financial stress, you’re most likely experiencing second hand anxiety by absorbing everyone else’s exhausting coping mechanisms spread all over social media.

There comes a point where it all becomes too much. You begin to sing someone else’s narrative to the point of not being able to recognize your own. And I want you to repeat this in your head immediately after reading because it’s important: We’re all doing our best to get through this unfamiliar occurrence. Just because others don’t agree with the way you’re handling your thoughts doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Trying your best, survival, and handling uncertainty are 3 separate intimidating experiences, do not feel bad for caring for yourself in a way that others may not necessarily agree with.

In the same breath, I’d also like to remind you that while the surrounding circumstance isn’t ideal, you don’t have to dread every moment of the day because the news tells to you. For some of my friends, they really needed this break from their busy lives as stress was beginning to manifest in unhealthy ways. For others, it may be a welcomed occasion to spend more time with their kids. It is what you make it, and how you perceive it to be will determine how you’ll walk through this season and every difficult one to follow.

This comes a bit more naturally for me as I’m a true homebody. I cherish time spent at home. My home is a cozy, spotless sanctuary that rejuvenates my physical and mental health. Every morning I look forward to a cup of coffee and a good book as if it were a therapy appointment. I put on headphones and tennis shoes to work out while jamming to an exciting playlist. I still get dressed in my self-appointed “uniform” of athleisure, even if I’m working from home.

So how can you possibly make the best of this time alone at home? Well, my first recommendation is to spend intentional time resting. Not on your phone, not watching tv, but like actual physical time to let your mind drift. If you’re the kind of person who’s mind spirals at the thought of “unstructured thinking,” then try a guided meditation to give it some direction. Before you can change those spiraling thoughts, quietly sit back and pretend the listening voice and the spiraling voices are two separate people having a conversation (because they actually are). Acknowledge that the spiraling voice is there, but know that you don’t have to give it the power to dictate your narrative. More in the book “The Untethered Soul” for this one!

Another recommendation I have, unsurprisingly, is to write in a journal. But not actually the traditional journaling we do in One Ray (which is quick and routinely), make this a special opportunity to go back through your mind and get thoughts out that are covered in cobwebs. I used to write fake letters to people who did me wrong (usually ex-boyfriends lol) and wouldn’t send them. If someone is stealing your joy simply by existing more than they should in your mind, time to either write a fake letter that never gets sent! Write it out, girl. Your mind is designed to come up with new ideas, not store old news. Write your fears, memories, your hopes and dreams, favorite quotes, favorite songs, and make it worth looking back over in 5, 10, and 30 years. I do that to my high school journals and crack up at things I thought were a priority back then.

Lastly, catch up with your family. This is something that was actually a wakeup call for me. Invite people you wouldn’t normally call out of the blue to a conversation of catching up on each other’s lives. This is something I’ve been really trying to do more in the past few months. Just about 2 months ago, my boyfriend and I hosted a small dinner party with my dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and her boyfriend and honestly it was one of my favorite memories ever. Nothing big or exciting happened, just celebrating being together and laughing at memories was something to savor. I also feel like I’ve had more genuine, non-distracted conversations with my virtual patients or friends during quarantine because I suddenly don’t have a to do list of stupid obligations that occupy too much of my time for what they’re actually worth.

Chances are, we won’t get another opportunity to slow down. You can spend this time wallowing in the news, or you can use it as an opportunity for growth and re-acquainting yourself with your cobwebbed thoughts. The time will pass either way, how do you want to look back and remember this period of a collective, mandatory pause?

The Importance of An Honest Conversation

In the past year of my life 2019 into 2020, I’ve experienced quite a few life changes. Things like moving out of my childhood home, letting go of friendships, growing my business, watching my pup pass away, and a few health scares in close circles of mine… it’s been a ride. I feel as though the timing of this podcast couldn’t have come at a better time as I feel confident to be more vulnerable in this space than any other platform I’ve been on over the past 3 years. By no authoritative standard am I qualified to give perspective or advice on life…

The one thing I’ve taken from these amazing and traumatic experiences is that it happened to give me the courage to speak my mind when my gut feels something needs to be said for the greater good of the community. It goes back to the old saying- only speak your mind if something is kind or necessary.

In this moment, the feeling of that previous friend breakup came to mind and thats not how I wanted to leave things this time. I learned my lesson already.

This only intensified the truth that feels right to me deep in my soul- tough conversations are hard, but incredibly necessary to help people heal.

Especially in speaking up for myself as a woman business-owner, I truly believe this is why I’ve convinced myself  that I’m capable of having the courage to stand up for myself and be direct in hard situations.

It’s hard to feel bitter and grateful at the same time.

I used to have a problem sticking to healthy habits, so I created a beautiful journal to solve the problem for other women. I believe in the power I have to create a ripple in the world of confidence and self-care, so I started speaking on stage and behind a camera on subjects I feel strongly about to create a fulfilling life with a foundation of good mental and physical health.

Believing you can means that you’re halfway there. Speaking how you feel in a direct but well-intended way means you’ll spend way less time creating made up and probably untrue scenarios in your head and avoid a headache of arguments.

I encourage you to schedule a time to have that conversation. I challenge you to get so lost in a project or hobby that you forget what day it is and you cant stop smiling because of the beauty in self-expression that creativity brings out from the deepest parts of your soul. And I dare you to tell yourself over and over again that you can, even when you want to believe that you cant. I’ll leave you with one last thought- It’s brighter on this side of the sun, and I believe so deeply in your ability to connect to the very reason you were placed on this earth.

A Pep Talk For A Season of Hard

Sometimes, life gets busy and I get so wrapped up in work that I literally forget what day it is. I forget that a life worth living is one rich in relationships, people, and connection. Sometimes theres nothing that reminds us of this more than a frantic phone call, a friend in crisis, a health scare, or even a death.

Most of us live each day as though everything is fine and that things will always stay the same as they have for our entire lives. And then one day, one moment truly changes things. We revert back to the basics, usually starting with calming our breath. We ask the questions per protocol, we run through the steps in our head, and if we’re lucky, we have someone who is much more level headed around during these moments that feel like snap shots of a movie or someone else’s life. Surely, not ours.

We ask ourselves how we got here. Was it a freak accident? Something I didn’t take seriously until it hit rock bottom? Why me? Why was this problem supposed to fall into MY life timeline? I do everything right. I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.

How I calm my mind

What happens once the novelty wears off? Once things calm down? Well, then you’re alone with your thoughts… sometimes an even scarier environment. Personally I turn to Oprah and her supersoul sessions. I re-read super attractor by gabby Bernstein, I sit in silence, and I give gratitude for those close to me who reach out and check on me. Something that I don’t actually do, which has been extremely helpful, is listen to what other people have to say about the situation. Generally, people are kind and gentle when you’re struggling. Sometimes people are forward and opinionated, but taking a step back to ask their intention vs taking what they say to heart is the key- because the intention is usually good, even if the delivery comes across the wrong way.

Typically, people respond to situations in the way that they’d want support should they be in your shoes. Having a self worth and a truth that is unshakeable is the key foundation to not letting opinions sway you one way or another.

Remind yourself, gently, that this is a season. Things happen, and in the middle of it, it feels like chaos. Like your heart is in your throat every 5 seconds and you’re just trying to catch your breath. A logical decision would be the best case scenario, but many people just don’t operate on a logical decision making level because the brain is a powerful thing- I wish I had the answer for that one. But bottom line, this isn’t going to last. And thinking negative won’t get you to the end any faster or more productively. To the part where everything is okay and the clouds part and you feel a sort of lightness in your body.

The weight of your problems is only as heavy as you decide it should be.Let me say that again for the people in the back- you can deal with some heavy…stuff… and carry on about your day still looking for the good. You can deal with problems and trauma and hurt and anger and still be a good person in the process by not projecting it onto a person. But instead in a form of expression- why do you think I write so much?

Helpful tips to keep composure during stress

Finding an outlet of expression means dealing with hard things in a healthy way, which is a hell of a good place to start. Take some time to remove yourself out of the situation- literally leave your location if those 4 walls are triggers. You’re not running away from your problems, you’re being the bigger person by taking time to sort out your thoughts in a rational way vs staying in a toxic environment, even if it’s momentarily or situation dependent. You will come back refreshed and ready to make decision in a healthy light.

Books: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey, and Super Attracter by Gabby Bernstein.

Comedy: The Big Bang Theory, Sebastian Maniscalco

Moving my body: a walk, activating my core, or anything that gets fresh oxygen to my brain

Eating well: I try to eat foods low in glycemic index and carbs to avoid blood sugar spikes. When I eat junk food while not feeling my best mentally or physically, I am useless. I’m negative, crabby, cant think clear, and nothing good ever comes of this.

Bottom line

The key to getting through hard times or seasons of change is to know that it will not last. Get into survival mode and make decisions from your gut not your head, eat well, make sure your joints are stretched and mobile, get an outlet to express yourself in, and keep clear focus on the fact that once this is over, things will calm and down and go back to a new normal. Things WILL work out- write it down in your journal if you need a visual reminder!

An Important Lesson from COVID-19

This week has felt like I’ve been carrying an extra 80 lbs on my chest… how about you?

This world wide slowing-down to save the health of our friends and family has been a bit of a culture shock. In response to that, I’ve been doing my best to keep things light all week on my social media to help bring some peace to those struggling.

But something in me also feels a bit conflicted. Now that I’m in survival mode making sure my finances and food supply is prepared, I feel a deeper type of empathy. For those who have lost people close to them, those who have gotten a life threatening diagnosis, who’ve survived through house fires, soldiers who suffer from a multitude of mental disorders, miscarriages, and a million others that they too, didn’t ask for. 

It puts things in perspective in my own life- my family is healthy, my bills are paid, and I’m safe in my environment… why do I so often take these things for granted during times of normalcy? And right now more than ever, I crave normalcy. We complain often about daily struggles, such as the wrong coffee order or a construction detour, but are those things actually a big deal? It’s not until we’re confined to four walls for an unforeseen amount of time that the answer becomes clear.

My hope for you during this time is that you take note of the small things you’ve accidentally taken for granted. Make no mistake, there is no judgement for those of you reading- we are ALL equally guilty of this. Notice the humans in your daily environment. Notice the gift of connection free from distraction that we currently have the chance of embracing. Notice the board games and past times that we usually “don’t have time for” because we’d rather be productive.

Most of all, notice that time passes very fast and in order to make a life worth living, we need to prioritize rest and quality time as much as hustle. If you’re gracious for this break from work, that means you’re burning the candle at both ends. It’s a small silver lining that so many of us are recharging during this unscheduled break, but we need to collectively do better when it comes to prioritizing rest.

I’d like to commend those of you who are taking up a new hobby or skill, but it shouldn’t take a worldwide pandemic to kick that childhood dream into action. As adults, its equally as important that we make time to play just as children do. Do you think you could squeeze in 1 hour of playing the piano or learning Italian during your regular work week? Yeah, probably. Do you think you could find 1 hour before the kids wake up for you to read or workout in your living room? I’m more than sure of it. 

You see, this break is a mind game that gives us no excuse not to pursue what we want, but it shouldn’t take this circumstance to get you to schedule time to play. The world needs more people who practice creative expression. It fulfills you and helps you to present your best foot forward, both to your work and  family. Both your work and family deserve the best version of yourself. In many cases, the decision you need to do to achieve that comes not from putting your foot harder on the gas, but from removing it completely.

May we never take a day of work, quality time with family, enough money to pay our bills, a trip to the gym, a morning out to brunch, a walk on the beach, a birthday party, or single piece of toilet paper for granted.

Xoxo Maria 

My Favorite Healthy Meals

Disclaimer: *This can be a controversial topic and many people, whether they know it or not, may not have the healthiest relationship with it. If you feel like the thought of your next meal is consuming your life, the way that you eat doesn’t make you feel good, or you have any negative feelings or repercussions surrounding this topic, I’m going to request that you seek professional medical advice. This isn’t an area I’mm trained in nor have authority to prescribe or advise, so do me and yourself a favor and make that a priority.*

Different types of eating

Pescatarian- doesn’t eat meat, only eats fish
Vegetarian- no meat or fish (sometimes egg – which I do eat)
Vegan- no meat, fish, or dairy
Plant based- operates mostly off of plant resources

Migraines: my story

My activity level over those years varied, and beginning of 2019 was about 1-2x per week moderately intense. Then randomly, right after I moved into my apartment last June, I noticed 1, 2, 6, now it’s been 8 months since I’ve gotten a true migraine.

Why I avoid fast food

Be careful where you eat- fast food is highly processed and full of harmful chemicals. Limit your consumption for the longevity of your brain and body!

Keep it simple, include the rainbow of colors and food groups, and everything in moderation. It’s super simple and a foul-proof plan to follow. One of my favorite resources on this topic is Kelly Leveque of “Be Well By Belly.”

Typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options that I love.

CLE Juice Box:  gluten free, vegan, and naturally sweet. My favorite local pit stop! Also Inca Bar and Cafe which I forgot to mention in this episode.

Eating well serves your body, mind, skin, energy levels, and happiness levels in all honesty.

Good nutrition resources (NOT diet culture)

Book: Genius Food

Kelly leveque “Be Well By Kelly” and “Body Love” by Cameron Diaz

Heinens, Fresh Thyme, and Trader Joe’s grocery stores are my favorite- usually I just do Marc’s or Giant

Restaurants in CLE- Cle juice box on the east side, west side: The Root Cafe, Cleveland Vegan, Townhall, Fahrenheit, and the flying fig are my favorites

How To Stay Motivated

The magic question…

Naturally, I was born a little more driven than the average bear. I was taught to work hard as a child and placed value in self achievement.

It takes the same energy to procrastinate that it does to put your head down and do the work. Did you know that?

It happens though, that naturally I’m not filled with an excessive amount of joy and drive for practicing good habits.

Let’s use an example of exercising because this is super common and happens to us all from time to time:

First, I check my schedule. Have I been super busy with work or personal obligations lately? Have I been running on exhaustion and wearing my body out? If yes- I take a day or two off.

Then, I check my nutrition. Have I been eating enough vitamins and minerals lately? There are a few meals I can 100% fall back on with all the micronutrients to make me feel full again.

Finally, I examine my sleep. Have I been getting enough?

If all of those things are doing fairly well and I cant pinpoint a reason for feeling this way, I get my feet moving before my brain talks me out of it!

When you’re feeling unmotivated,  dedicate a small chunk of time to said activity. I follow this rule with writing, exercising, cleaning, and other mundane tasks.

Forcing too much time and energy on an activity when you dont feel motivated to do it can ruin your relationship with the activity or hobby and take alonnnng time to get back to a healthy place.

Also, like everything else, I tie an intention to every activity.

When you’re truly in touch with your intuition, you’ll know when it’s time to call it a rest day. It’s most important to know when to push yourself out of your comfort zone (more often than not) and know when to be gentle with yourself. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and have found the middle to be the hardest, yet the most rewarding. Getting to know yourself inside and out will help minimize fatigue, burn out, exhaustion, and all of the feelings in between.

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How To Set A Daily Intention

If I had a dollar for every time I saw the headline “Set Your Intention,” but didn’t actually tell you how, I’d be rich enough to never work another day in my life…

I’ve dedicated an entire episode to it as this topic is a FAQ in my community!

If I had to guess, you probably stare at that blank box every morning and feel overwhelmed. You write phrases like “get to bed early” or “get the stuff done that needs to get done.” In reality, those things only *sometimes)* get done, so you write it the next day and the next day and then you get frustrated and maybe even give up.

I want to lay some ground work before we unpack intention setting:

A goal is what you plan to achieve. Examples are a college degree, a position at a job, opening your own business, having kids, a certain financial status, etc.

An intention is who you are and how you want to live your life. Examples are to be more calm in traffic, more patient at work, or a healthy eater. They’re more character traits, if you will.

An intention is how you want to be and how you would like the world to perceive you. A personal intention for me is to be a hard worker. I don’t have to tell people that’s who I am because it speaks for itself in the quality of my well-being and in my work.

A way that I check in with myself while setting intentions (usually quarterly works best every 3 months), is I envision the ideal version of myself 5 years from now (which is hard at times).

I imagine what traits someone would need to be able to do intention that goal requires, does that make sense? Begin with the personal achievement (the goal). Then, decide what kind of traits the person will need to achieve them (the intention)

In my One Ray Journals, the intention setting box can be used for intention. Or if you struggle with that right away, you can also use it for a to do list.

Examples of intention (some include goals tied to mindfulness):

To take a deep breath when last minute changes arise

Don’t judge don’t compare – contributed from a customer

Stick to my habit plan today

View my priorities and responsibilities of “I get to” instead of “I have to”

I will do one small thing outside of my comfort zone today.

Pay attention to a world beyond my phone.

Fill my plate rich in produce today.

Reach out to someone I’ve been thinking about lately

Put my best foot forward at work today

Let my life path naturally unfold

Meditate for 5 minutes on my lunch hour

Answer my top 4 emails today

Tie up the loose end of this project than relax with my family

Not get so angry in traffic today

Clean my home and declutter what I no longer need to create space

Go for a walk outside when I get home from work

Schedule a lunch date with a family member or friend

Who and where would I be if I didnt have this fear of self doubt or unworth?

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