<![CDATA[notsosugarcoated.com - Blog]]>Wed, 10 Mar 2021 19:36:40 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[How to heal after antibiotics]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2021 18:03:13 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/how-to-heal-after-antibioticsPicture
I realize antibiotics are a common thing and most who take them don't know how many issues they can cause for your gut health - put simply - they wipe out everything. The good guys, the bad guys - they all go and if you've been around awhile you know how awful it is to have an imbalance of bacteria within your gut. This is when all those fun, painful and annoying symptoms pop up like bloating, gas, difficulty sleeping, intense sugar cravings, heartburn, constipation, skin rashes... you name it.

Unfortunately, it can be quite the task to regain balance but don't worry I'll be sharing some tips below to help you bounce back ASAP.

<< If you're interested in learning more about how your gut is linked to your mental health check out this blog post HERE >> 

First things first, I often hear,  ‘antibiotics only make us better right?’

Unfortunately no, they're pretty harmful to our guts even though they can be saving us from whatever infection we may be having.

Like I said earlier, they nuke E V E R Y T H I NG & it usually takes 6 months for our gut to bounce back fully but below you’ll find some tips that will help speed up that process!

BUT the real issue? Antibiotics are often over-diagnosed or consumed inappropriately i.e. in our food

This has caused our bacteria to start becoming resistant to antibiotics which is actually pretty scary (this means you can't just pop a pill and get rid of your ear aches, sinus infections, UTIs and any other bacterial infection and instead likely need hospitalization).
Side note: If you're offered antibiotics for a cold, flu, sore throat you better be asking some serious questions (no matter the color of your mucus) because antibiotics don't help with these viruses and by "ask serious questions" I mean "find another doctor”

This is why it's so important to be sure they're necessary before taking them.

All this means is asking your doctor if there are possible alternative routes i.e. other medication that's less harmful or even natural ways of treating. Often your ear aches and sinus infections can be treated without antibiotics.

This is how you become an empowered patient. Doctors are literally SO, SO great and I don't want any confusion, I'm a big fan of Western medicine but medical school teaches how to prescribe medication that matches symptoms, which doesn't identify the root cause of the problem - so it the problem will just continue or fester. That method can also lead to some pretty nasty side effects e.g. misused antibiotics = serious gut health issues (C.Diff, antibiotic resistance, diarrhea, yeast infections etc.)


BUT let’s get into my top 3 tips if you HAVE to take them…

1. What to ADD in
Adding in antioxidants and probiotics is important when taking antibiotics. Even if you just add in one of these three things you'll be aiding your body in healing during and after treatment.

You knew it was coming! But I'm going to share the best kind for healing your gut up nice and quick... *Enter* SBO probiotics. Yep, bet you haven't heard about those before. They're a game changer! SBO stands for soil based organisms. Basically these little guys are known for being the most resilient, they can make it all the way through the gastrointestinal tract while most other probiotics get destroyed by stomach acid or other substances inside the GI system before ever making it to their intended destination. They're also specifically formulated for gut health needs so the side effects of antibiotics i.e. diarrhea, bloating and indigestion will be significantly lessened.
For best results, they should be taken during antibiotics & for at least 3 weeks after but ideally you will continue to take them to support your gut health always 🙃

​Green tea…
This is also a great addition to an antibiotic treatment. New research studies have shown that consuming green tea (ideally non-bleached and organic) during antibiotic treatment reduces the resistance in bacteria and like we talked about earlier that's a huge deal!

Fermented Foods...
Adding in kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods that are also packed with probiotics would be great natural additions while healing from antibiotics. *Important* Do not consume yogurt as a fermented food during or after antibiotics - we’ll talk more about this below.

<< Want more tips on what to ADD in and how to do this process with ease? Get The Ultimate Guide: Heal Your Gut & Anxiety - it gives you the exact step-by-step process for feeling better for only $10 !! >>

2. What to AVOID if possible
It's important not to dilute or inhibit the breakdown of your antibiotics because it can lead to bigger issues. This is one of the very few times I would recommend avoiding certain foods.

This is important because we want them to be as effective as possible so they do their job and you can start to re-heal your gut - we also don't want to be feeding certain bacteria their favorite foods because this will cause an even worse imbalance than the antibiotics already gave you.

Can you guess what bacterias favorite foods are...

Simple/Processed Sugars...

 Ugh. I know. This is also why after antibiotics you typically feel a little cravey.

Processed and added sugars in foods have been known to decrease the good bacteria in your gut so if you aren't watching your intake during your antibiotics and for a few weeks afterwards you may be contributing to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria (which by now we know is NOT a fun situation).

Sooooo, first thing to limit/avoid as much as possible, would be added and processed sugars.

Fruits are OKAY  - I still to this day don't know why people think they're the same but HEAR IT HERE FIRST, fruit does not react the same in your body as simple processed sugars.

Fruit juice, however, does because it's stripped of all the benefits the whole fruit provides so best to steer clear of juice as well. I don't know what kind of monsters drink this but if you're one of them... grapefruit juice and some other citrus juices, are a big no-no on antibiotics as it interacts with the enzyme that breaks down the medication and it ends up in the bloodstream for significantly longer causing many issues.

You can read more HERE about how sugar affects your mental health!
Dairy is another one that interacts with antibiotics. This is why earlier I mentioned not to use yogurt as a probiotic food during antibiotics.

In this case, calcium is the main issue with the dairy. Put simply, they dampen the effectiveness of the antibiotics and can lead to increased risk of resistance. It's best to avoid dairy for at least 3 weeks after an antibiotic treatment, if possible.

Last thing to avoid doing is drinking a lot of water during your antibiotic treatment... I know... sounds contradicting but too much water can dilute the effectiveness of the medication as well.

Now what means “a lot”? That's a good question. You should still drink water, obviously.

My approach is to simply stick with the general 8 glasses a day when I'm on antibiotics. Typically recommended water intake would be different for everyone, but 8 glasses is a pretty safe bet on these meds.

3. The OTHER organ that needs some lovin’
What is this mysterious organ you ask.... It’s your liver!

Many antibiotics are metabolized through your liver like the most common one; amoxicillin.

I believe it's quite rare to get drug induced liver disease however, after any medication that is metabolized through the liver we want to take extra care of it... It does a lot for us.

That's why I like to start most mornings off with warm lemon water - this helps your gut and your liver! Win-Win.

Dandelion tea is another great addition to help "detox" the liver.

These should only be used after antibiotic treatment, not during because like we talked about yesterday acidic fruits can decrease the effectiveness of the treatment.
These tips may sound simple but that's by design. Who likes having to do difficult things amiright?!

Now if you're looking to get alllll the best tips for healing your gut make sure to snag the Ultimate Guide: Heal Your Gut & Anxiety that I've kept on sale for far too long 😂 but I want to make sure everyone has access to it!!

It's everything you need to DIY your gut healing! You can snag it still for only $10 buckarooonies [Get it right now - HERE]
I'm so glad you stuck around to learn from this antibiotic series blog, I know it was quite long, but it is such an important thing for you to know how to become an empowered patient and take care of your body after meds!

Recap of what to ADD in:
  1. SBO probiotic
  2. Fermented foods (i.e. kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha etc.)
  3. Green tea 

Recap of what to AVOID:
  1. Simple, processed sugars (i.e. high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup, molasses, caramel etc.)
  2. Dairy products and other products that contain calcium
  3. Drinking excessive amounts of water (i.e. stick to the 8 glass a day rule)

Recap of how to take care of liver:
  1. Lemon water and/or dandelion tea (only AFTER antibiotic use though)

Have you ever felt worse after antibiotics? Share below!

If you ever need any help or aren't sure what to ask/do before or after treatment you can always shoot me an email [hello@notsosugarcoated.com] I'd be happy to help you get all the info out of your doc :)

<![CDATA[why being "basic" is actually a good thing]]>Wed, 26 Aug 2020 21:11:16 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/why-being-basic-is-actually-a-good-thingPicture
There’s a beauty in the simple things. That’s probably why minimalism became so popular over the years. In the U.S. we often get bogged down with ‘stuff’, most of us don’t even know what it is, why we have it or what it’s for. We just like stuff. It’s pretty hectic for your mind to try and think clearly when you have so much stuff around you, it’s a bit of sensory overload at times. The same thing goes for food. Your body needs diversity but not always all at once! Getting a smoothie bowl and adding every superfood ingredient on the menu isn’t actually doing as much as you may have hoped. Your body has a difficult time processing too many foods at one time and digesting each of those foods. That’s why simplicity is key. 

In the Gut Calm Blueprint Online Membership I share super basic meals because that’s how you’re going to get the most benefit right away. Your gut will heal so much faster if you don’t overwhelm it - as we love to do. More ingredients and tastiness aren’t mutually exclusive either you can find incredibly tasty and simple ingredients to pair together to make a delicious meal.

Not to mention, how much time you probably spend on cooking - it makes my skin crawl even thinking about it. I’m probably the laziest health coach you’ll ever meet  in regards to my cooking. I like it stupid-simple, that’s how you maintain it. If it was hard it just turns into a crash diet you’ll try again next year before Summer. No thanks. Making it sustainable is key and your body will thrive once you give it a break with simple ingredients.

That’s why I wanted to share with you my absolute favorite go-to meal. I’m talking less than 20 minutes from start to finish, tell me that doesn’t make your heart sing! 


Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli Chicken Apple Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner
Serves 2-4 [can easily add more or less] 
5 minute prep time
15 minute cook time

2 large heads of cauliflower
2 large heads of broccoli
2-3 Aidell’s chicken apple sausage links [this is the only ‘clean’ brand I’ve found] 
1-2 tbs of ghee, butter or avocado oil
Seasoning of choice

Set oven to 350 degrees & place parchment paper on baking sheet. 

  • Cut off the stems of the cauliflower and broccoli & break apart the pieces of the head making smaller pieces and add to a large bowl. 
  • Slice the chicken apple sausage into pieces and add to the bowl. 
  • Add the ghee, butter or avocado oil to the bowl and stir around the pieces until fully coated.
  • Add to the baking sheet, coat in desired seasoning [I like garlic powder, salt & pepper]
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the oven. Waiting for the edges of the cauliflower to get a golden color. *Can broil for a few minutes at the end, as well, to add some crispiness but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
Voila’ you got a healthy meal for the whole fam or leftovers for lunch! Sheet pan recipes make for a deliciously basic dinner. There are so many combinations you can choose from. In this recipe you can easily swap out broccoli and cauliflower for your favorite vegetables if those aren’t your jam.

​The options are endless and the time it frees up is just amazing! 

If you want weekly recipes and meal plans make sure you join The Gut Calm Blueprint Membership where you get weekly meal plans, recipes, accountability and support so you can heal your gut and stop living with anxiety/depression, irritability, IBS and other digestive issues. Learn more here. 

​If you made this lazy health meal, let me know how you liked it in the comments. 

<![CDATA[how music can ease your anxiety & your gut]]>Wed, 19 Aug 2020 21:40:51 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/how-music-can-ease-your-anxiety-your-gutPicture
Music has been shown to be incredibly useful in the mental health field. We all have our favorite feel good tunes and the songs we like to listen to when we’re feeling sad and need a good cry. It’s so powerful and can literally switch our mood from overthinking and stressed to easy going and dance-y! This is why it’s so great for anxiety which in turn will make it beneficial for your gut health, yeah your gut bacteria like music too! 

Read this blog to find out more about how your gut health affects your mental health.

There’s a study that shows that music can reduce anxiety by up to 65%. Do you remember that song that came out called ‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union. It was designed in hopes to reduce heart rate and induce a feeling of calmness and by the studies it appears it worked! So much so that people felt drowsy and were warned not to listen to it while driving because it could be dangerous... how powerful!
It’s easy to see how music can benefit our mental health and calm us down but it might be harder to see how it helps with our gut health. First off, your mental health and gut health are directly linked so when one is out of whack so is the other i.e. heightened anxiety or depression will impact your gut bacteria and an imbalance with gut bacteria will increase anxiety/depression. So, it’s clear to see that if you reduce your anxiety you are automatically improving your gut health or at least getting one step closer. Since certain music makes you feel calmer it’s also beneficial to listen to music while eating as it will improve digestion.  When you feel calm, relaxed and safe your digestion improves. 
Now all music is not equal in this conversation. Certain music will trigger your fight or flight response causing more stress on your body and decreasing digestion since your body is focusing its energy on something else. On the other hand, softer kinds of music can trigger a calming effect. So, make sure if you’re using this method of music therapy that you find a nice calming, soft type of music - some examples being jazz or classical music. For me, in 2020, I know I’m not exactly choosing jazz or classical however, I love my coffee house playlists that usually have a slow, mellow feel-good-vibe.

These slow sounds can actually cause you to eat slower as well which will make for a more mindful eating experience. Eating slower has many benefits such as; increased digestion which increases the absorption of nutrients in your body and the slower you eat the easier it is for your body to process and identify when you’re full which can decrease weight gain [if that's a concern of yours]. 

<![CDATA[5 reasons to hire a coach]]>Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:07:47 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/5-reasons-to-hire-a-coachPicture
Finding a good health coach to help you might sound daunting and expensive. You may even be wondering what the heck a health coach even is so... in this post I’m sharing the 5 reasons you’d even want to hire a health coach and what we do! 

For those of you who don’t know my names Ashleen, hi! I am an Internationally Certified Health Coach who helps men and women with anxiety improve their gut health so they can finally start managing their mental illness and stop feeling frustrated and irritated all the time.

Been there, done that!

I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I learned everything there is to know about health and well-being in all areas of your life, not just in regards to food. The food we eat isn’t everything but it is a foundational piece in creating a clear and calm mind. I struggled with anxiety for a long time and never even knew because my anxiety manifested itself in binge eating, frustration and anger. To be frank, I was not so fun to be around. I figured this was just due to my surroundings and thinking ‘everyone was annoying’ except me [ha-ha!].

It wasn’t until I moved to the Cayman Islands after college that I realized it wasn’t my surroundings. I had planted myself in a beautiful place and didn’t have a problem in the world, even though I was still trying to find problems. It was like I just wanted to be miserable and take everyone down with me.

I finally wanted to know what the deal was because I’m sitting on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the universe is literally handing me everything I could have asked for and I’m still complaining and being a major B. Time to do something about it, I thought. The next day I looked into cognitive behavioral therapy and started working on my health. 

Once I started focusing on my gut health, everything felt easier. I was more receptive, understanding, calm, I wasn’t so reactive and angry. Things that would throw me over the edge didn’t bother me anymore, didn’t even notice them but other people noticed the difference in me.

Everyone walked on eggshells as to not "wake the beast" and once they started pointing out the shifts I was making I knew I was on the right track. Now, four years later, I’ve dropped 20 pounds and kept it off for three years, my digestive system doesn't hate me anymore, I’m much happier, I can handle things being thrown at me with a lot more ease and grace and ultimately I’ve completely rid myself of that frustrated, overwhelmed feeling that used to feel so heavy on my chest. 

​I want that for you too, which is why I became a coach. I’ve shifted my own life in such a way and with really minimal effort that I needed to share it with others so they can feel the same freedom I do, now. 

 Anxiety and depression go hand in hand and they both are directly linked to your gut microbiome. I was so unaware of this before asking for help, but just that simple action of asking for help opened up so many opportunities for me and my physical and mental health. 

My new online membership program, Gut Calm Blueprint, teaches the exact step-by-step framework I used and my clients have used to overcome anxiety and digestive issues. Learn more about it here, check it out here
Still need more convincing? I knew I liked you. 

Here are the 5 reasons you should hire a coach:

1. Accountability

So many of us simply just don't do well on our own, even for things we really want! Usually we just need a buddy to help us keep going

2. Community Support
Having people around you that are going through the same things and can offer help, guidance in addition to an expert is such a game changer!

3. Not like a doctor
Coaches have usually been through it and understand - no prescribing here just help

4. Actually cheaper
Think about it paying medical bills, copays, going through insurance is a hefty bill and time waster and instead of sitting in a waiting room and only being seen for 5 minutes by the doctor you get real heart-felt support and understanding of what's going on with you as an individual not just a medication prescription after seeing someone for five minutes. 

5. There with you for the long term - at least NSSC is 
Coaches want to make sure you succeed and can help you on a more personal level. They are more invested in you as their client because they have more skin in the game.

<< There is no doubt you'll learn so much about yourself and get amazing results when you team up with a health coach! >>

If you’re ready to 
...feel confident in your skin 
...manage those anxious thoughts
...double your energy
...live an overall happier life

There’s no better time like the present love bug!

Check out The Gut Calm Blueprint online membership to learn more about how it can help you! 

Not only do you get the step-by-step framework for healing your gut health and easing your anxiety but you get all the bestie vibes with fun Q+A virtual meet ups and a book club!

You come to get healthy BUT you stay for the fun!

What's are the biggest blocks for you when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Leave it in the comments!

<![CDATA[5 best practices for improving mental health]]>Wed, 29 Jul 2020 16:41:11 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/5-best-practices-for-improving-mental-healthPicture
Mental health is a hot topic these days and for good reason. So many of us put self care on the back burner and after a while it starts to take a serious toll on our mental health. Diagnosis of anxiety and depression are at record numbers these days and although people are trying to look after themselves a bit more it still appears to be a struggle on how to actually do it. We’ve all heard about gratitude lists and as much as I love them if you aren’t consistent, they’re useless. Today, I’m not going to give you the same old self care tips you usually hear and gloss over. I’m going to give you some real tangible tools to start implementing that won’t take up much time so you can actually be successful at it. Mental health is the farthest thing from an overnight fix but if you’re constantly anxious, agitated, overwhelmed or depressed you best be making it a priority if you ever want to be able to live free from the confines of your mind.

If you want more tips like the ones below make sure you join the Gut Calm Blueprint Membership where you'll receive all the support and guidance you could ever need when healing by someone who's been there! Check it out HERE.
1. You Have to Heal Your Gut
If you suffer from a mental illness you have to start looking at your diet. Your gut and your brain are directly linked and if one is suffering so is the other and it can exacerbate your feelings, symptoms and moods. This is the number one thing you can do to begin to calm your mind enough to start doing the hard work. It’s foundational, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle if you try to heal your mental illness without first looking at your gut health. Once I did this, all the other strategies came easy. I was energized, focused and motivated to do more and within only a year's time I had done a complete 180 from anxious and angry all the time to easy going and happy. It was the most beautiful thing and if I can help you with anything it would be to take this seriously! Anxiety and depression are a symptom of something in your life and if they’re a symptom they can be managed and treated. I know because I’ve done it and I’ve helped clients do it. In just 6 short weeks I had a client tell me that his peers were looking at him differently and actually listening to him he said he felt like he was more approachable to them somehow. Yes! It’s amazing what happens when you clear yourself of all the toxins it actually clears your mind and you can show up as who you truly are! Don’t think you have gut health issues? Take this quiz to find out

<< You can read more about how mental health and gut health are related here. >>

2. Identifying Your Cognitive Distortions
This one was a big one for me, to realize that your mind is practically playing tricks on you and that you could change it was huge. Identifying which cognitive distortions you may be dealing with and then getting aware of them as you go about your daily life will have a significant impact. Awareness is the first step in creating change. You’ll catch yourself in overgeneralized thinking which is when you say all encompassing statements like ‘everyone’, ‘no one’, ‘always’. These will definitely put a damper on your mental health if you use them often enough because they’re grouping things together in a negative light which will cause you to discount the positives - another common distortion. Your mind picks up on this and has difficulty showing you the other side of things aka the more positive side. For example, if you say, “everyone at work thinks I’m lazy” based on one person making a comment you’re making that statement to be true in your mind and you’ll have a negative feeling when you are at work even if it’s not with the ONE person who said something to you because now it’s ‘everyone’. Here’s a list of cognitive distortions you can look through and pick out which ones you might be identifying with without realizing. These are really detrimental to your mental health, once you knock this out of the way your entire world feels like it opens up!

3. Exercise
You knew I was going to say it. You may be surprised though, you don’t have to go run 5 miles to feel free from your thoughts. Taking a slow pace in a workout might be exactly what you need. Start with a super short 10 minute yoga session on Youtube and see how you feel or a really fun workout that doesn’t feel like a workout such as; rock climbing or bouncing on a trampoline. Just get those endorphins going, this is especially helpful for people who struggle with depression even if you don’t feel like it, commit to just 5-10 minutes when you first start. For people who struggle with anxiety it’s nice to let out that pent up anxiousness or energy so going for a run with some good music may be more beneficial for you. Check out this blog post for more on exercise!

4. Affirmations
Okay, when I said I wasn’t going to share tips you’ve heard before I may have lied a teensy bit but I doubt anyone has ever taught you how to actually create an affirmation that works for you so I think this is still worth sharing. Random affirmations you see on Pinterest might not do it for you and that’s fair, they’re generic and not custom made for you and your struggles that’s why they don’t work. First, start noticing negative things you say or think about yourself. Write them down on the left side of a piece of paper, think of as many as you can. On the right side of the paper you’re now going to flop that phrase or sentence around into something more positive for example, if I always look in the mirror and think, ‘jeez my arms are so flabby’ I’ll write that down and then change it into ‘my arms are strong, useful and beautiful.’ You may not believe what you’re writing - that’s okay. That’s why you are going to repeat it over and over every morning. Once you have your list of more positive affirmations specifically for you, just run through the list before bed and when you wake up in the morning. Just read through your list of 5-10 affirmations, ideally out loud and while looking at yourself but if not that’s fine too. Just read them, consistently. Consistency is key here and making sure they’re meaningful to you even if you don’t believe it at first, you’re training your brain. You have to exercise that muscle or you’ll lose it and stay in your negative mindset.

5. Ask for Help
It’s okay to ask for help, actually it’s highly recommended because the chances of you sticking with affirmations or improving your gut health or increasing your awareness around your cognitive distortions on your own is low. We, as people, aren’t meant to do things alone we’re a social bunch and that’s cool because there are plenty of people out there willing to help and who have gone through it before. Having people around you holding you accountable who actually know what you’re going through makes a big difference. It makes you feel safe, calmer, understood and motivated because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Asking for help is cool whether that be a therapist, a coach-like me or a friend that’s actually been there. Ask for help. 

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression and are ready to get it under control once and for all because it’s a symptom that can be managed without harsh medications join the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership today, so you can get all the juicy details about what’s inside and how it can seriously help you. I know because I’ve done it myself and helped clients do it as well with my proven method - you can do it too!

What do you struggle with most dealing with mental health? Leave it in the comments!
<![CDATA[3 Tips for healthy grocery shopping on a budget]]>Thu, 23 Jul 2020 18:01:39 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/3-tips-for-healthy-grocery-shopping-on-a-budgetPicture
Shopping used to bring up all my anxiety at once. Fellow empaths will understand the feeling of feeling other people’s feelings - you know? I’ve had clients laugh at this, who haven’t shopped much before, and once they go they always call me and say, “Omg, I did not expect to feel so overwhelmed”. It’s a hectic place trying to hunt and gather your food off those shelves, I feel you! Throw in trying to figure out what’s healthy and what’s not while only having 100$ is a whole extra anxiety attack. Don’t worry, I know exactly the stress this causes and I know exactly how to combat it. It was 4 years in the making and now I can finally handle the grocery store all on my own without hand holding and without wanting to run out screaming. Now I can help you do the same! Success!

Before I begin I want to share with you my free Gut Health Grocery List. It’s a minimalistic, delicious guide to healing your gut without breaking the bank. Download it here.

Okay, let’s get this sh*t poppin’ shall we? 

Here are my 3 best tips for navigating a healthy grocery haul on a budget:
1. Frozen foods are your friend
*record scratch* what? I thought frozen foods were bad for you?! Not at all bud, they are your cheapest, freshest, healthiest option when on a budget. However, not all frozen foods are created equal - go figure. When purchasing your frozen items make sure to check the ingredients list [NOT THE NUTRITION FACTS]. The ingredients list will be under the nutrition label and it will literally say in bold, “Ingredients: ….” Read those. If the list is long put it back, if it says things other than the name of the food you’re trying to purchase, put it back.

Buying frozen works best for vegetables but there are some fruits that stay well frozen such as; mangos and blueberries. Frozen foods are flash frozen at their ripest time which means they’re probably more fresh than your fresh foods since they didn’t get picked and then take fourteen trucks to get to your local grocer.

Downside: The taste isn’t as crispy and delicious as it would be if you bought fresh due to the excess water in frozen foods but they’re still tasty and a great option when you’re on a budget. This can also be used just to offset costs, so you still buy fresh with a mix of frozen. Done and done.

Pre-made riced cauliflower and the premix California blend vegetables are my absolute fave and can be popped into the oven easily with your favorite protein of choice without all the prep work!

2. Organic Shmanic
I’ve come to realize people feel they absolutely need to buy organic and that if they do they’re somehow eating healthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth, organic cookies aren’t doing anything for you health boo. That’s a marketing ploy working its magic. Getting all organic fresh fruit and vegetables also isn’t necessary if you're on a budget. What?! I know.

Have you heard of the dirty dozen? It’s 12 fruits and vegetables that you’ll want to consider buying organic because they’re impacted the most by pesticides. I know once you get started you want to go full force on your health but doing what you can with what you got is going to make the biggest impact for you. Struggling to buy organic or using it as an excuse not to purchase healthier foods isn’t doing anything for your health. Just start by buying what you can! 

Keep to the perimeter
I know this sounds like an airport employee at the security checkpoint but staying to the perimeter of the grocery store also has its benefits. The foods on the four walls of the grocery store are typically where the main health foods are; meats, vegetables, fruits.  I can guarantee if you stick to the outside of the store and don’t find yourself in and out of those middle aisles you will save a couple bucks! Those middle aisles get you and they get you every time! From fancy health-snacks to chocolate aisles to cereal aisles they will bleed you dry with their devilish antics. Trust me, something will catch your eye. The more you can avoid these aisles the healthier and wealthier you will be! 

This isn’t to say never go down a middle aisle again but just being cognizant of how much time you spend in there and the foods you’re finding and purchasing - I’m telling you the more you can stay away the more moola you’ll have for those fresh fruits and vegetables. 

I’m going to add a fourth one down here but I think it goes without saying; go to the grocery store prepared. Knowing what you’re going to get, what you’re getting it for and getting out is the easiest way to not blow the budget or get overwhelmed. If you need help with your preparation make sure join the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership!

I share weekly & budget friendly grocery lists, meal plans and tips just like this in my Gut Calm Blueprint Membership. If you want to feel confident in healing your gut and getting healthy once and for all without breaking the bank - it's time to join the membership!

Happy Shopping x

What are your favorite grocery store 'tricks' ? Leave them in the comments below!

<![CDATA[5 Foods that Trigger Mood Swings]]>Thu, 16 Jul 2020 16:46:50 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/5-foods-that-trigger-mood-swingsPicture
By now you’ve probably realized that food plays an important role in leveling out your mental health. It may not cure your mental illness for good but it will definitely give you a fighting chance in managing it so it doesn’t take over. In this post I’m going to talk all about the common foods that can trigger irritability, anxiety, anger and frustration. I know because I’ve been there, 4 years ago I had no idea what gut health was and was often grabbing foods that tasted great and made me feel good… for a minute. Not too long after consuming these foods would I have insane stomach aches, diarrhea, headaches, anxiousness and crippling irritability. Ya’ll anything would set me off - that’s how I got my nickname in college “Hulk-Leen” not the best nickname to have but it definitely fit my character at the time. 

Luckily, I’ve healed my gut and no longer suffer from what I call “irritability attacks”. Once I healed my gut I was able to consume these foods in moderation without having an episode and it’s been life changing! *Cue calm, cool and collected Ashleen*  If you are often quick to snap at your hubby or feel overwhelmed easily it may be time to take a look at the foods you’re consuming and how they might be contributing to your moods. 

<< You can download this free FoodMood Journal to start tracking today. >>

Here are some common foods that may be contributing to your quick-to-be-irritated-self. 

1. Sugar
You knew this one was coming but just because it’s on this list doesn’t mean you have to cut it out forever or for good. Cutting back is all that is needed and you’ll see how much it really affects your mood.  Not all sugar is created equal in this blog post we're talking about added sugar. This is the sugar you want to look out for, natural sugars won’t bother you in quite the same way. Read more about how sugar can affect your moods and mental health in this post!

2. Caffeine 
This one hurts… I know. I love coffee as much as the next guy but it does cause a lot of hormone disruptions and throws your body out of whack, making you feel less than ideal and quick to get snippy. If you’re a two-a-dayer try making your second cup decaffeinated or switching it out for a lower caffeinated tea. Matcha, mate tea and mushroom coffees are also great alternatives to check out.  

​3. Alcohol
Ooooooh, lord knows I love my wine but overconsumption of alcohol can really trigger some moods - quite often ones you’ve been holding in for some time, know what I mean? Limiting your alcohol consumption to once a week is probably a great first step but if it’s particularly a problem for you it might be a good idea to trial a month of sobriety. If you can cut it cold turkey, more power to you!

4. Bread
*My french boyfriend is breaking up with me right now* All the white flour refined carb loaded foods can cause blood level spikes and crashes along with digestive issues which both trigger moodiness. These white carbs have a similar effect to added sugar on the body which is why they’re on this list! Feeding bad bacteria is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your mental health and well being. 

5. Trans Fatty Acids

Trans fatty what now!? This fatty acid is found often in fried foods and store bought baked goods. This fatty acid has been directly linked to increased aggression [this is why deep fried chicken wings and “Hulk-leen” went hand in hand].  This is because it, “interferes with the brain's ability to produce and use Omega-3 fatty acids - a nutrient shown by research to lower aggression.” (study linked here Trans fat consumption and aggression). Moral of the story, slow down on the fried foods and increase your intake of wild caught salmon, nuts and seeds. 

I never realized what an impact food had on my mood and how quickly it can be linked to aggression and irritability. Maybe you can relate?

Many women struggle with the quick-to-be-annoyed syndrome, as I call it. I suffered from this as well and always thought this just “is what it is” but in actuality it’s a hormone imbalance due to the foods you’re consuming and the lifestyle you’re leading. Making minor changes daily will significantly increase your odds of never having to be ‘that b*tch’ ever again.

Come over to the calm, easy side of things - it all starts with healing your gut. Learn how in my newest program the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership!

What foods trigger you? Leave it in the comments!

<![CDATA[5 Things you didn't know about digestion]]>Thu, 09 Jul 2020 22:40:54 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-digestiondigestion, gut healing
Ah, digestion, everyone's favorite topic. Joking! But it is an important and essential part of your daily life. Having optimal digestion means your body can break down foods properly and actually absorb the nutrients you’re trying to give it. There’s a lot people don’t know about digestion and that’s what we’re going to dive into in this post. There’s also plenty of factors that can disrupt your digestion that you may be unaware of like stress for example but we’ll talk more about that below! 

If you struggle with indigestion, bloating, lack of energy, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or acid reflux you may have a digestive issue and these 5 things you didn’t know about digestion will help you to get rid of these annoying and painful symptoms. K, let’s dive in… 

1. Digestion starts when you look at your food
Your mouth starts salivating which is the first process of digestion. Weird right? Before you even put anything into your mouth you're already starting to digest it. Chewing is also a major part of the digestion process that gets overlooked and it is essential for breaking down carbs and fat. If you're feeling bloated after eating try slowing down, chewing for longer and taking a more mindful approach to eating your food.

2. Your body isn’t absorbing nutrients
You could be eating all the right things and still feeling pretty crappy. Why, you ask? Your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients you’re trying to give it. This is common when you’re experiencing leaky gut [read more about that here]. If you have leaky gut or “intestinal permeability” your gut lining essentially has some holes that are allowing undigested foods, waste and bacteria to get into the bloodstream. Yikes!  If undigested food particles are floating around in your bloodstream they definitely aren’t going towards nourishing your body and they’re actually causing an inflammatory response because your body thinks it’s a predator it needs to fight off. This causes a lot of problems and a lot of annoying symptoms. For your body to be able to absorb the nutrients you’re trying to give it you need to heal your gut - I teach exactly how to do this inside the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership! Learn more about it HERE.

<< Does this sound like something you might be dealing with? Find out if you suffer from leaky gut by taking this free gut health quiz! >>
3. Stress wreaks havoc on digestion
For your body to be able to do its job it needs to feel calm, relaxed and safe and if you’re stressed out or anxious your body is in a fight or flight mode meaning it doesn’t feel calm, relaxed or safe. It’s busy trying to fight off whatever it thinks is attacking it which means it’s focusing on something other than digesting food. As complex as the body is, it’s processes can be laid out simply - just like we all like to think we can multitask so does our body and we all know how that goes… you do a lot of things but sort of half-assed rather than doing one thing really well. Your body is the same, if you have it try and do too many things at once your digestion is going to take a hit. It needs to solely focus on digesting your food for it to begin to heal and work properly. Mindful eating comes into play here and this may sound woo-woo but it makes perfect sense. Take time eating your food, savoring it and enjoying the whole process while consuming. Take a few breaths to calm yourself and let go of any stress before eating, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel mentally and physically. 

4. Small intestine does the most work 
Many people think your stomach is the pain part of the digestion process using the acid to break down the foods but while it’s essential it’s not the biggest component. Your small intestine, of all things, is what’s doing most of the work. After you chew your food into smaller portions your stomach breaks down your food into even smaller portions and then your small intestine does the majority of the ‘breaking down’ process using  enzymes and then absorbing those tiny particles and using them as nutrients for the body. This is why that leaky gut conversation we had earlier is so important. If the lining of your intestines are allowing these small particles to just pass through then the food hasn’t actually been digested yet and your body can’t use it for energy or anything and it just floats around wreaking havoc on your system. 

<< Take this quiz to find out if you suffer from leaky gut [here] >>

​5. Fiber can actually cause issues with digestion
Fiber is known for keeping the digestive tract running smoothly but too much fiber can do the complete opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. If you suffer from an intestinal disorder such as IBS your doctor may recommend upping your fiber intake however, some fibrous foods can increase bloating and gas production. If your digestive tract isn’t working well to begin with, adding more fiber can cause constipation and gas build up which is not a fun combo. I'm talking knives-in-your-stomach kind of pain. You’ll want to be careful adding fiber supplements into your diet and if you do definitely start off slowly. The only one I recommend is psyllium husk in it’s plain form. This is the active ingredient in Metamucil but without all of the extra fake, chemical-like substances attached. However, you don’t want to rely on a fiber supplement and if your gut is out of whack they probably won’t help much. Healing your gut is the only answer for optimal digestion and getting rid of constipation (i.e. less than 3 bowel movements a week). 

​There you have it 5 things you didn’t know about digestion. These were common misconceptions I used to have back before I healed my gut and they caused me quite a few issues so I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes!

Leaky gut is an incredibly common problem if you’re living on the Standard American Diet [SAD] and it's fairly easy to fix if you’re following the right steps [I teach these steps inside the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership. Join here!

In the meantime, take this quiz to find out if you suffer from leaky gut. The quiz results will tell you if your gut is healthy, if it needs some work or if it needs a complete reboot and what to do about it.  Check it out here! 

<![CDATA[almond butter chocolate chip cookies]]>Thu, 25 Jun 2020 00:41:05 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/almond-butter-chocolate-chip-cookiesPicture
Flourless, paleo almond butter chocolate chip cookies YUH-UM. These are the cookies I make when I am seriously ready for some chocolate chip cookies but don't feel like having an upset stomach later on.

They're great to bring to parties, no one will even know they're healthy - I trick all my friends with these bad boys. Quick with simple ingredients is my baking style and these cookies are just that. 

Imagine this... You're sitting on the coach and you get a mad urge for some chocolate chip cookies. No? Just me? 

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite thing on the planet but it's such a bummer the original recipe is packed with refined sugar which is okay every now and then but sugar makes mine and a lot of my clients stomach's ache and I mean like knives in the gut type pain not to mention the irritability and anxiousness that occurs the next day. So, even on the rare occasion of a cookie craving we don't always want to feel so yuck afterwards, ya feel me? 
Read more about how sugar increases your anxiety in this post

If you struggle with anxiety, depression or digestive issues these cookies were made for you, my love. Enjoy this delicious concoction guilt free.



1 cup crunchy or creamy all natural almond butter 
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup enjoy life chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper on baking sheet
Add all the ingredients into a large bowl (except the chocolate chips) and stir until well combined
Fold in the chocolate chips and then roll out 1-2 tbs sized balls of cookie dough and lightly flatten with your hand

Place on baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges)
Remove from pan and allow to cool. 


<![CDATA[3 Ingredient hazelnut chocolate cookies]]>Thu, 25 Jun 2020 00:03:06 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/3-ingredient-hazelnut-chocolate-cookiesPicture
Who doesn't love Nutella and cookies? Put them together you got the sweetest treat! Unfortunately, many hazelnut-chocolate concoctions aren't ranked too high in the health department due to their high sugar content but never fear... I got you covered with this healthier, lower sugar homemade "nutella" cookie. It could also very well be the easiest cookie to bake when you're in a pinch. With only three ingredients, I think you're really going to enjoy this one! 

Before we dive into the recipe I want to explain why consuming too much added sugar can be detrimental to your well-being, mainly in relation to your gut health and mental health. Added sugar is actually an anti-nutrient so it isn't just wasted calories it can literally deplete your body of other essential nutrients like magnesium which many people struggle to get enough of and magnesium is extremely helpful in easing anxiety and improving your sleep. Poor sleep and mental health can really impact your gut negatively which will only keep the vicious cycle going. If you want to read more about how sugar is increasing your anxiety and depression make sure you check out this blog post. 

Okay, let's check out these lower sugar, healthier hazelnut-chocolate cookies! 

What you'll need:

1 cup organic hazelnut chocolate spread (I used Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter but you could make your own chocolate hazelnut butter - check out this recipe )

1 whole egg [I use VitalFarms]

1 cup almond flour [I use Bob Red Mill's]


Mix well in large bowl until well combined. Roll into 1-2 tbs of cookie dough and flatten with hand slightly. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with a nice glass of cold almond milk.

​How simple is that? A nice chocolate-y treat you can feel good about in less than 10 minutes! That's my kind of baking. If you try this cookie recipe make sure you leave a comment below and let me know how you loved them ;) 

Need more help figuring out what the heck to eat while looking after your gut health and mental health? First step is to find out if your gut is healthy or not! You can find out by taking this free quiz! Take the quiz HERE.

<![CDATA[Is your joint pain just poor gut health?]]>Tue, 23 Jun 2020 21:39:58 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/is-your-joint-pain-just-poor-gut-healthPicture
Poor gut health is often linked to leaky gut or “intestinal permeability”. Leaky gut is when the intestinal walls are damaged - Picture them like tight mesh walls and when they’re damaged the holes in the mesh get bigger allowing undigested food, toxins and bacteria to ‘leak’ out into the body and bloodstream. It’s actually pretty common in western cultures due to our diets and daily habits. You can find out if you may be suffering from leaky gut by taking this short gut health quiz [HERE].

I bring up leaky gut because it often explains a lot of hidden issues people are suffering from and doctors have a difficult time diagnosing. Leaky gut can be what’s causing many symptoms you’re experiencing such as; fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, skin issues, diarrhea, constipation, bloating AND the one symptom that convinced me I had it was... random joint pain / arthritis-like pain. I personally experienced this at 23, I had intense knee and finger pain and could not figure out for the life of me what it was and go figure once I started focusing on improving my gut health, it vanished. 

You might be wondering how the heck these things are even linked, fair enough, it seems like a stretch - but it’s actually closely linked. 

Joint pain is typically due to inflammation. Inflammation in your body is increased when you are struggling with a leaky gut because when the bacteria and toxins start leaking into your bloodstream that triggers an immune system response (to fight off these unknown threats). When your immune system is triggered like that, your tissues become ‘injured’ by the bacteria and toxins and therefore these damaged cells release histamine and other chemicals that leak fluid into the tissues which causes swelling i.e. inflammation. When this goes on for a long period of time you start having some serious issues. [Source: Medlineplus.gov

When this goes on for an extended period of time it turns into chronic inflammation which eventually starts damaging healthy tissue and is linked to many diseases such as; heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. [Source: health.harvard.edu

The good news is inflammation can be easily managed through a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy gut. There is a long list of anti-inflammatory foods mainly consisting of fruits and vegetables (go figure)! However, there are some seriously powerful ones that aren’t typically a part of daily diets such as; ginger, curcumin, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids. These can be especially helpful in naturally reducing inflammation in the body. It’s important you figure out the source of your inflammation before treating the symptoms, you never want to rely on medication or a supplement to help you get through a day! Finding the source will help you to actually get rid of the issue so you can easily live pain free.

If you’re struggling with joint pain and you don’t know where it’s coming from take this quiz to see if you have other symptoms you might be unaware of that are linked to leaky gut! You’ll find out your likelihood of having a leaky gut and what to do about it! Check it out here.

Want to learn more about gut health and how it directly affects your mental health! Read this blog post. 

<![CDATA[Mango benefits for gut health]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2020 21:13:17 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/mango-benefits-for-gut-healthPicture
Eating fruits is a great way to improve gut health and today we’re going to focus on mangos! Here in the Cayman Islands it’s currently mango season [a very popular time of year over here]. I have to be honest, I used to dislike mangos until I got my hands on a fresh, juicy Caribbean mango and now I swear I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! 

If you aren’t quite as lucky to be able to pick them right off the tree in your backyard, frozen mangos from the grocery store are your best bet in getting the freshest pick. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often fresher than the fresh options at the stores (unless local) because they are picked at their ripest time and then flash frozen, preserving them at their best time for consumption. Click here to read more about how gut health affects your mental health. 

Alright, let’s get into the benefits of these babies. {if you're trying to find out if your gut is healthy, take this free quiz! Find out if your gut is healthy HERE}

Roughly 20% of people living in the Americas suffer from constipation. Constipation is described as having three or less bowel movements a week - which may surprise some of you! If you are a part of that statistic or have difficulty going to the bathroom a mango may be the fruit for you. Mangos have been shown to be more effective than using a fiber powder in relieving constipation due to the combination of polyphenols and fiber - not to mention it’s the natural alternative. Many fiber powders have additives to make them taste better which can cause other issues especially if used for the long term.
We all know what fiber is and it’s benefits but you might be wondering what polyphenols are and why they’re so helpful. Polyphenols are a plant compound naturally found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and many other foods. It’s been said that regularly consuming polyphenols will help to increase digestion, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even increase your brain health! Sounds like pretty powerful stuff, right? Pair that with a good source of fiber and you are good to go - which is why we’re talking mangos!

​Mango season in Cayman is so popular because they are literally everywhere and they’re SO dang good. I’ve never seen such a variety of mangos before, my favorite being the ‘Julie’ mango. It’s not stringy and it’s a nice sweet flavor! If you’re from the Caribbean I hope you’re enjoying mango season as much as I am and if you’re in the States, go get yourself some mangos!

If you struggle with digestive issues, mental health issues like anxiety and depression or are simply even having a hard time sleeping your gut health is where you want to focus your time and it doesn’t have to be difficult or restrictive. Check out the 7-Day Gut Health Reset to find out how easy it can be!!
Ready to really get your gut health in check so you can double your energy, ease your anxiety and get rid of those annoying digestive issues?! Get the 7-Day Gut Health Reset!  It's packed full of recipes and tips for healing in as little as 7 days!

If you need more guidance shoot me an email at hello@notsosugarcoated.com 

<![CDATA[Get rid of bloating]]>Thu, 11 Jun 2020 19:29:33 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/get-rid-of-bloatingPicture
Ever wondered what’s been causing your bloating and how you can fix it? Me too, girlfriend. So many women [and men] struggle with bloating and think that’s just ‘how it is’ but not you! You’re here to find out how to get rid of it, you know there’s always an answer to your problems and that’s why I like you ;)  Let’s look at bloating; why the heck it pops up all the time and how to get rid of it without taking any medicines!

Bloating is typically gas that is trapped in your abdomen. It makes you feel like you’ve just eaten WAY too much and your belly is distended, feeling tight and full. This can be super uncomfortable and annoying. It's usually your body's way of letting you know that your gut isn’t very happy with what you’re doing and it’s time to figure out what it is. Read more on gut health HERE

Causes of Bloating

Bad news, there are plenty of reasons why you could be bloating. Good news, a food journal will help you identify what it is quickly (just 3 days!). Snag your food journal HERE.  
​K, now let’s check out all these causes:

-Food sensitivities/allergies (dairy being a big one)
-Eating too quickly
-Overconsumption of carbonated drinks
-Not drinking enough water
-Not enough movement
-Irritable bowel syndrome 
-Fructose (a kind of sugar hidden in many foods)
Most of these have to do with your daily habits which means they are easily fixable! However, if you find yourself also feeling weak, loss of appetite, vomiting or any other symptoms in addition to your bloating you should seek out a doctor to make sure everything is A-OK. 

You may have an idea already of what might be causing your bloating after reading that list but the worst thing you can do is put a bandaid on a problem and call it a day. You have to uncover WHY you are bloating in the first place. So, the last thing you’ll want to do is take over the counter medicine or prescription without finding out what’s really causing the issue in the first place. [Uncover the issue by using a food journal HERE]  You’ll track down your daily routine for 3 short days and you’ll quickly pinpoint what’s causing your bloating!

How to Stop Frequent Bloating

Okay, you’ve identified what’s causing your bloating - now what?! 

First things first, WATER. 99% of my clients don’t drink nearly enough water and then wonder why they have all these issues. If your bloating is caused by anything in the list above - water will be helpful - especially if your bloating is related to constipation and periods. A general rule for water is to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs you will want to consume a minimum of 70 ounces of water a day [if you live in a very warm climate you’ll likely need to drink even more]. 

If you’ve realized your bloating is coming after a certain food (i.e. dairy, fried food, sugar, soda etc.) It’s time to experiment with yourself and eliminate that food for at least a week and then go back to your food journal and take note of whether or not you were still bloating. Trial and error is the only way to learn more about your own body so you can keep it in tip top shape. 

Lack of movement can really cause issues for your bod. I know most of us are still stuck at home with little motivation and movement [thanks COVID] so it’s important you make it a priority to find the time to move your body. Walks are low impact and very helpful for moving gas out of your system.

Yoga is also a great way to relieve bloating and gas - there are many specific positions that are designed to help alleviate these issues and support your gut health, give it a quick google search and do some of the moves for a few minutes.
Here’s a great 3 minute video to help. You’ll want to add low impact movements like this into your daily routine if lack of exercise is causing your bloating - if you only use exercise when you’re feeling poorly it’s the same as putting a bandaid on your problem. Read more about why low impact exercise is important. 

Mindful eating is another great way to reduce bloating especially if you’re a quick eater. It’s time to slow down and eat with intention. To mindfully eat, you put your phone down, turn the tv off and focus on the food. Chewing slowly and taking breaks in between, really savoring the it. Digestion begins the second you look at your food! Your mouth begins salivating and the digestion process is already occurring, don’t rush it. Your body will absorb the nutrients better, you won’t feel bloated after your meals and you’ll enjoy your food more! 

If you need more support identifying where your bloating or other symptoms are coming from and how to get rid of them email me at hello@notsosugarcoated.com 

Don’t forget to download your free food journal so you can understand your own body and what it’s telling you. It’s the only way to alleviate your symptoms and live an energetic life! 

<![CDATA[How Much exercise is too much?]]>Sat, 30 May 2020 20:15:29 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/how-much-exercise-is-too-muchPicture
You’ve got a workout routine, you’re eating well but you aren’t getting any results. You aren’t feeling an increase in your energy like everyone said and you’re feeling pretty exhausted wondering how anyone keeps this up?!

Sound like you? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the thought of “I must not be doing enough” but that mentality can actually be counterproductive when it comes to your health. All or nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion that causes you to think in black and white categories with no consideration for a grey area (aka balance).

For example, you’re in a workout routine and eating well and feel you need to keep it up 6 days a week leaving one rest day from diet and exercise (aka cheat day) and then after the cheat day you’ve indulged and now you’re feeling guilt and feel like ‘what’s the point, I’ve already ruined my progress’ so you don’t workout the next day and continue to indulge. Your brain is working in all or nothing. If you’re working out and doing well you have to keep that up all the time or you’ve “failed” so then you completely give up instead of creating a sustainable routine that makes sense for you.

Working out is a great way to improve your mental and physical health but like everything it can be overdone and many people don’t know when they’re overdoing it. So, let’s look into the symptoms you might experience if you’re going too hard or too frequently to the gym.
How to tell if you’re working out too much:

+ You’re workouts are no longer giving you energy

+ Having mood swings or more frequent irritability 

+ Feeling anxious

+ Getting injured

+ Unable to perform at the same level 

+ Trouble sleeping

+ Skipping commitments to work out

How it impacts your gut:

Exercise is very beneficial for your gut health but, like I said, not when it’s overdone. When you workout too frequently you can cause an increase of stress in our bodies and we all know we don’t need more of that in our lives. When your body becomes stressed it’s harder for it to function properly i.e. poor digestion, poor sleep, controlling emotions etc. which are all areas that benefit from good gut health. An increase in stress can actually weaken your gut lining which can cause bacteria to enter the body. No thanks! This causes a lack of nutrient absorption and lowers your immune system. Read more about that in this blog post.

We can also become dependent on the feeling the endorphins (chemical associated with positive mood) give us after a good workout. This can cause you to excessively workout, which puts your body in a fight-or-flight mode which again causes issues with digestion and when there’s issues with digestion you will quickly have issues with anxiety and depression because the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood) resides in the gut! More on that in this blog post. 

You see the links? Our bodies are already put under more stress than they’re used to just from daily work tasks, politics, news, you name it. We don’t need to be adding on anymore stress by going too hard at the gym. Okay?
This is why rest days are so important. You need roughly 48 hours for your muscles to recover fully. Sometimes it feels hard to take these days because you think you won’t get back into your routine again, I’ve been there myself. Creating a schedule has always helped (at least in the beginning!). Plan to only workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or whatever days work best for you. Feel free to swap days and do an intuitive workout, if you don’t feel like running that day you don’t have to give up entirely, go for a walk instead or another low impact workout - more on that in a minute. Practice giving up the all or nothing mentality.

If you’re struggling with sleep, rest days will help lower your body's heart rate which will help you to sleep better i.e. it stops your body from being on high alert after a workout so taking a day or two to recover is essential for good sleep. 

What you can do:

Low impact workouts are a great way to workout without overdoing it and they’re great for your off-days or days you’re just not feeling a heavy hitter workout. Low impact workouts still provide great results and are easy on the joints and bones. Here’s a list of some fun low-impact workouts:

-using resistance bands instead of dumbbells
-rock climbing 
These are all fun simple ways to enjoy your workouts without really feeling like you’re working out or risking additional stress. If you’re just starting a workout routine these are great ways to get going. They won’t cause immense stress on your body which in turn will support a healthy gut and you’ll have fun doing them! If you’re a workout junkie already, try swapping one of your intense workouts for a more laid back low impact workout and enjoy a rest day - you deserve it. Your mind and gut will thank you!

If you’re curious to find out more ways to support your gut health be sure to check out these signature programs - there's a program for everyone! Improve your gut in just 7 days or completely heal inside the Gut Calm Blueprint online membership! Find out what program is right for you HERE!

Your gut health is directly linked to your mental health, taking care of it will help make dealing with stress, anxiety and depression that much easier!

​Wondering if you even have gut health issues?! Take this free quiz!

Want to learn more, email me at hello@notsosugarcoated.com 

<![CDATA[Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies]]>Thu, 21 May 2020 18:32:05 GMThttp://notsosugarcoated.com/nsscblog/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookiesPicture
I finally whipped up one of my very own recipes. Recipe testing here in Cayman isn’t very fiscally responsible so it’s rare I have a recipe of my own and I’m very lucky this one came out so well on the first try. PHEW! 

Before I share the recipe I just wanted to share a bit about how swapping out refined sugar with more natural sugars like honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup has made such a difference! Most of the time when I’m feeling something sweet I choose a paleo baked good, this isn’t because I am trying to lose weight or restrict myself but more so because they don’t make me feel horrible afterwards and it’s harder to binge on because they actually fill you up (cause they actually have nutritious value). 

Ever since trying to lower my sugar so I could balance my mood (read more about that HERE) I have been on a search for the most delicious healthier sweet treats and I’ve finally found some seriously good ones that I love sharing with people who are quick to think that they have to eat sweets that taste like grass if you’re trying to live healthier. I love showing them that you don’t have to give up flavorful foods and it’s even okay to enjoy a real chocolate chip cookie once in a while! It’s just nice to have these swaps around for when you’re looking for something sweet but don’t want to feel crappy later. 

With these swaps (obviously like everything else, without overdoing it) you will maintain your gut health and won’t be so impacted by sugar mood swings! If you don’t know what I’m referring to go read about my ‘Hulk-Leen’ story HERE. When you consume added sugar or refined sugars often you are at risk of quickly creating an imbalance in the bacteria in your gut and as we probably know by now… an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut completely wreaks havoc on your entire body and causes a series of unfortunate events such as; headaches, increased anxiety or depression, joint pain, stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog… the list goes on. 

SoOoOoO, that’s why I want to share this delicious recipe with you so you can enjoy a sweet treat without worrying about awful symptoms appearing afterwards! These cookies have crunchy edges and a chewy inside (my favorite)! They’re refined sugar free and gluten free and are irresistible :)
Makes 8 giant cookies (they spread a lot… what can I say I haven’t perfected my baking craft yet, but I don’t think you’ll complain too much once you try them!)

You’ll need:
½ cup ghee or grass fed butter
¾ cup packed coconut sugar
1 egg
1 cup almond flour
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup of quick oats
½ cup of “Enjoy Life” chocolate chips or raisins if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  1. Mix the butter/ghee, coconut sugar and egg together with a whisk until creamy
  2. In separate bowl mix almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and oats together
  3. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix altogether
  4. Gently fold in chocolate chips or raisins
  5. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and scoop tsp or tbs sized globs (depending on what size cookie you want) on the baking sheet
  6. Bake for 9-10 minutes
Let them cool slightly and enjoy! 

*As I said previously, these cookies spread a lot while baking so leave enough room in between each cookie or just enjoy a giant oatmeal cookie cake - do you boo!
If you want more recipes head to my Instagram @TheNotSoSugarCoated and check out my recipes highlight. I am one for B A S I C meals and treats so you’ll find super simple things in there and I’m working on adding more :)

If you want to read more about why gut health is so important for your mental health make sure you head to this blog post!