Until I Saw It With My Own Eyes…

I am a certified nutrition coach, so OF COURSE I know that dangers of artificial sweetener. I have studied about all of the negative side effects they bring, the downsides to using them, the long-term effects…but I guess deep-down that I never really believed all of the hype.

 

Not until I saw it with my own eyes.

 

Years ago, I was a chronic Splenda user. I used three packs of it in a single cup of coffee. Yes, THREE. Slowly, I weaned myself down to two packs. Then I started mixing Stevia in with the Splenda until I had finally transitioned to using Stevia alone. It has been years since I have bought Splenda or used it in my house.

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Tulsa for a business conference. I had to fly, so I was very limited on what I could bring with me. I remembered to pack a water bottle, meal replacement shake packets, protein bars…but I forgot the stevia. For five days, I had to resort to using Splenda again. No big deal, right?

 

WRONG.

 

Almost instantly, I had severe bloating and just felt “off.” This is no surprise since Splenda reduces the healthy bacteria in your gut by up to 50%. It also increases the amount of pH in your intestines.

I was also hungry all the time. Now, granted everyone that knows me knows that I love to eat (and I can honestly out-eat almost all my friends!), but I was HUNGRY. I was also hungry for unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t normally eat, such as sweets. This is also a side effect of the artificial sweetener. Splenda can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings (hello, cheesecake!), and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

Lastly, my eyes were swollen and watered the entire time I was there, which was extremely frustrating since I wear contact lenses. I had to resort my pulling out my glasses in the afternoons because I just couldn’t handle the itchy, watery, uncomfortable feeling any longer.  Now that I’m home, it has almost completely stopped.

 

Artificial sweeteners certainly do live up to the bad rap they have been given. If you have no natural sweetener alternatives, I would highly recommend resorting to sugar before ingesting artificial sweeteners. This pertains to diet sodas as well; if you must have a soda, reach for one that isn’t diet (although I strongly suggest giving them up altogether).

I know that there are others out there that have read the articles, learned the facts, and have done the research, but you also have to “see it to believe it” like I did. I hope that my experience with this will open your eyes and show that it just isn’t worth it to cut corners with your health.

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Exercise Will Get You Nowhere

Exercise will get you nowhere…without the proper nutrition. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, if you are spending an hour a day in the gym up to five days a week, or you run five miles every single day, you should be able to see at least some change without having to give up the fried food diet…don’t you think?

 

Not so much.

 

Various studies have shown that changing an individual’s training or exercise session without altering their diet plan at all did almost nothing to change their body composition. Also, there was less than a 2% fat loss overall total.

 

Think about how much it costs to hire a personal trainer. Even if you aren’t willing to fork out the money for a trainer, a gym membership can get pricey as well. If you aren’t utilizing the proper nutrition techniques to accompany your exercise routine, basically you are shelling out money AND time for something that will leave you disappointed, angry, frustrated, and mad at your trainer.

 

But it isn’t their fault at all.

Please don’t get me wrong. Exercise is still absolutely critical when it comes to feeling better, looking better, and performing to your best ability. It helps your energy levels so that you feel like going on trips with your spouse or so that you can keep up and play with your children. Exercise IS important.

 

My point is that exercise ALONE will get you nowhere. You need to implement not only a solid exercise routine, but also a sound nutritional program. Research has shown that participants that combined effective nutritional strategies with the same training plans mentioned above had almost a 10-fold increase in effectiveness than training with no nutritional program in place.

 

The results don’t lie. You cannot cheat the system. You cannot make shortcuts. NOTHING is as effective as solid nutrition and proper exercise.

 

One last note: If your trainer is not encouraging you to seek out nutritional advice, that is a problem. It is almost as if they are giving you a brand new car without the keys. You will continue to stay in the same place because you do not have all of the pieces to move forward.

 

The “F” Word

Yes, FIBER. The dreaded “F” word that none of us are entirely fond of, are we?

 

BUT, fiber is something that many of us know we need, but yet we really have no idea how much (or how little) we are consuming on a daily basis. Eating a high-fiber diet has many health benefits including lowered blood pressure, controlled blood sugar levels, constipation prevention, and improved cholesterol levels. It also plays a huge role in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

So what is the daily recommended amount of fiber?

That depends on several factors, but for the most part, it is recommended that men over the age of 19 should strive for 38 grams per day, while women over the same age should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

 

So how can you add more fiber to your diet?

Fiber is already in many of the foods we eat, such as fruits, peas, beans, and whole grains. Some of my favorite fibrous foods are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, almonds, brown rice, black beans, and chickpeas! Fiber is a form of carbohydrates, so it can be easily located on a nutrition label under the “Dietary Fiber” section. It is just as important to track fiber as it is to track protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your food log, especially if you are engaging in carb cycling and/or intermittent fasting (as we do in the Rapid Results Fat Burner Program!).

Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause pain and discomfort in the stomach, so if you are used to a diet that is relatively low in fiber, just be sure to increase the amount of fiber in small amounts daily so that your stomach can adjust accordingly.

 

While high-fiber diets help aid in digestion, it is also important to note that our bodies need enough fluid to properly process the fiber. Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water daily (minimum half your body weight in ounces each day) in conjunction with high-fiber foods.

 

What are some of your favorites high-fiber foods? Even better, what recipes do you make that can be incorporated into a high-fiber diet?

Meal Prepping – Simplified!

I will be honest and admit that after being spoiled with a seven-day, all-inclusive honeymoon in Jamaica with unlimited food options readily available, it is definitely not easy getting back into the swing of meal prepping.

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That is exactly why I am thankful for Prep Dish! Not only has it helped me tremendously, but now I can share it with all of you as well! I am so excited to be partnering with Prep Dish to offer all of my clients and followers a FREE two-week free trial (and who doesn’t like free??)
Prep Dish is a weekly meal plan subscription service developed by chef &
dietitian Allison Schaaf. She does all the planning for you- including easy-to-
follow shopping lists and prep-ahead instructions so you know what to prepare and when to prepare it.
Here are just a few of the reasons why I love Prep Dish:
weekly meal plans delivered straight to your inbox
delicious & easy “real food” based recipe that are always gluten-free
dairy-free & Paleo options available!
Prep Dish answers the dreaded question of “what’s for dinner?”
FREE for 2 weeks! 
(Start your free trial today! Just click here for details)
Prep Dish has allowed me to save valuable time in the kitchen because I have an easy-to-follow list that lists every detail from the grocery store to the dinner table. It allows my husband and I to eat nutritious, stress-free, tasty meals all week, and it has been perfect for our busy lifestyle!
I encourage you to try them out today!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at info@rachelking.org. 

Healthy Swaps for your Favorite Summer Foods

Happy Friday, friends! For today’s edition of  Friday Favorites, I would love to introduce you to some of my favorite summer foods!

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Growing up in the South, summer was always a special time of year. Swimming in my grandparents pool, eating lots of grilled hamburgers topped with tomatoes straight out of the garden followed by homemade ice cream, and catching lightening bugs in the late afternoon are some of my fondest memories. When I made the decision to get healthier and change my eating habits, I did not want to miss out on the fun times by not being able to eat all of the yummy summer dishes. Thankfully, there are healthy versions of all of the foods I grew up on, and they are still just as delicious!

To download your copy of my 5 Healthy Swaps for you Favorite Summer Foods e-book, just click the link below!

5 Summer Swaps

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Prebiotics and Probiotics: Becoming a Healthier You

Silver Fern Brand has provided product for this review. No monetary compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

As a health coach, I try to practice what I preach, and this means getting enough water in each day. But let’s face – water can get boring, especially during the summer months when the temptation of lemonade, punch, and soft drinks is abundant!

You can only imagine my excitement when Silver Fern Brand offered to let me sample some of their latest drink mixes! These are not only packed full of fruity flavor (hello – perfect for summer!), but also provides many health benefits. I could not wait to test these out for myself.

After drinking Silver Fern Brand’s Wai Drink Mixes for one week, I can already see a huge impact. Typically, I add a mix to my water mid-morning, and the added 3 grams of fiber suppresses my hunger until lunch. Before introducing these mixes into my diet, I found myself wanting to snack throughout the day, increasing my daily calories and sabotaging my healthy eating. I have also noticed a surge in my energy level. The added prebiotics I receive daily from the drinks provide fiber to the good bacteria in my digestive system, promoting good gut health. This is extremely beneficial as I have developed stomach sensitivities over the past few years. Also, I have dropped a couple of pounds on the scale thanks to the metabolic restoration benefits of the probiotics. I am NOT a proponent of the scale (as I believe that how you feel truly matters more than any number can ever tell you), but this was an added bonus.

Silver Fern Brand’s mission is very much in line with my own: they desire to make an impact on the lives of others by changing the health and nutrition mindset of today’s society. They are creating and re-inventing many products, such as brownie and cookie mixes, popcorn, meal replacement shakes, drink mixes, etc., to be of the utmost nutritional value. Silver Fern Brand makes it easy to live a healthy life while enjoying the things you love. I look forward to trying out more of their products in the days to come – including some yummy German Chocolate Brownies for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!

Guest Post: Jamie Weaver

Today is GUEST day here, and you guys are in for a special treat. My friend, Jamie Weaver, is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I was fortunate to meet Jamie last year at a conference through our partnership with Beachbody (the makers of P90X, Insanity, etc).Jamie runs her own online coaching business at The Fit Fiddler, and she is also a violin teacher (how awesome is that?!). She is passionate about helping women find peace in their lives through exercise and healthy eating so they can more effectively serve their family and community. Check out Jamie’s story below!

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Try New Things, Especially When it Comes to Your Health – Jamie Weaver

 It seems to me that all too often, people take a back seat when it comes to their personal health. During the past two years I have struggled with digestive issues and food sensitivity, and I was surprised at how many times I heard someone say, “Oh, I have that problem too! But I could never give up such and such food…”

Yes, I am a bit of a health nut. It’s kind of my hobby, so I enjoy learning about nutrition and how our bodies absorb and use food for fuel. If your tummy is always upset, it’s probably not your genetics causing the problem. It’s more likely that you are eating something that your body is not responding well to. The question is, are you willing to do something about it?

The past two years of my life have been an exercise in trying new things! Let me share a bit of my story. In the spring and summer of 2013 I began to rapidly lose weight. At first I thought it was great! Then, towards the end of the summer, I started to feel uncomfortable in my clothes. My stomach became extremely bloated…enough so that I looked two months pregnant! Because I was counting calories at the time, I kept reducing the number of calories I was eating, thinking I was gaining weight. Once my calorie intake had dropped to around 1100-1200 calories per day (all while I was exercising), I knew there was no way I could still be gaining weight. Since I had a friend who was sensitive to gluten, it occurred to me that I might have a food sensitivity.

The first step in trying something new for me was to call Aimee, my gluten-sensitive friend who had also just graduated IIN as a health coach. I set up several Skype sessions for us to go over my health history and to talk about what I was eating. Her guidance and counseling set me on the path to healing. I eliminated gluten and sugar and began drinking bone broth and eating non-inflammatory foods. There was one thing I knew for sure: Google and WebMd were not giving me answers. I needed to talk to a real person.

Throughout the next year I read a lot of information about nutrition. I followed numerous people on Instagram with health accounts. I tried eating vegan, raw, high carb (lots of fruit), mostly paleo, dairy, NO dairy… you get the idea. The best thing about that year is that each of those ways of eating taught me something about my body. My body has also changed as my gut has healed. When my stomach was irritated I couldn’t eat meat without feeling sick. Now, I follow a mostly Paleo diet and feel great!

If there is one thing I could inspire you to do, it would be to ask for help. Seek out a health coach or a friend who knows more than you, and don’t be afraid to spend money! After all, this is about your health. It affects every area of your life.

One of the best resources along this journey has been my Beachbody team and the connections I’ve made through that group of ladies. I have learned to be a better leader, a better friend, I’ve learned skills in business and I’ve tried workouts I never thought I could do. Most of all, I know I’ll never stop trying new things! I am currently finishing out a carb cycling and intermittent fasting program. If you had asked me two years ago if I would train and eat like an athlete, I would have said “I have no idea how to do that!” Now I feel ready to train others.

Investing in yourself is SO worth it! You never know what you can do until you try. So, in summary…

  1. Try new things
  2. Ask for help
  3. Don’t be afraid to make a financial investment

 

You. Are. Worth. It.