Natural Detox Foods (Guest Contributor)

Detox Foods

Happy Tuesday, #FitFam!  I’ve joined in the link party again with JessJill and all of ya’ll.  This week I have something a little special for our topic “Natural Beauty” — my guest, Ella James!   Ella is a writer and contributor for Consumer Health Digest, where she specializes in writing articles about Health, Beauty, Pregnancy, and Skin Care Treatments.

We all know (or at least we’ve heard) that beauty is truly skin deep, am I right? As a nutritional therapist, I have learned how nutrition can affect not only our health but also our appearance.  Simply being aware of what is lacking in our diets can not only improve our overall health, but also the version of ourselves we present to the world.

When it comes to our #FitFam, it’s safe to say that we all put in the time and effort to live a healthy and active lifestyle, both of which help us to shine from the inside out.  Speaking personally, in the past, I have struggled with issues like acne, oily skin, fatigue, dark circles, IBS, and a number of other conditions.  However, all of these conditions improved (and some diminished entirely) as soon as I made improvements to my diet and made healthy habits a priority.

Since today’s topic is all about natural beauty, I thought it would be fitting to share one of Ella’s articles for Consumer Health Digest15 Foods that Boost Your Body’s Natural Detox Power.   

When our bodies are naturally functioning at an optimal level inside, it really shows on the outside.  This not only makes us feel our best, but it enables us to look our best too.

So without further delay, please enjoy Ella’s informative article and video, and let’s learn to beautify ourselves from within with natural detox foods.

15 Foods that Boost Your Body’s Natural Detox Power

Overview:  Several factors including environmental pollution, food, medications, lifestyle habits and by-products from body functions result in accumulation of toxic substances in the body. Without proper elimination of these toxins, you are at an increased risk of health problems including diseases and conditions. Here are 15 foods to boost your body’s natural detox power:

  1. Cucumber: It is widely cultivated plant whose vines yields cylindrical fruits commonly used as culinary vegetables. It is rich in B-vitamins, vitamins C, and K. Its antioxidant properties make it effective as a detoxifying ingredient.
  2. Whole grains: They are rich in fiber essential for cleansing the colon. Their rinds/coatings are rich in minerals that help in detoxification.
  3. Garlic:  It has been used medicinally for centuries. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and liver function. Due to its antioxidant properties, it helps flush out toxins from the blood stream. It also has healing properties and fights certain types of cancer and heart disease.
  4. Broccoli: Recent studies indicate that broccoli contain sulfur, an essential mineral that helps the body get rid of toxins from the body. Also, it lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. It has been used in treating high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and bacteria-related infections.
  5. Turmeric:  It is commonly used to make a curry to give food a bright yellow color. It is obtained from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that has been used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. It promotes digestion and addresses conditions like jaundice, menstrual problems, bloody urine, chest pain and colic.
  6. Red bell pepper: It is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in the breakdown of toxic substances into digestible material. Each red pepper has more vitamin C content than from 3 oranges.
  7. Sunflower seeds: They are rich in vitamin E and selenium. They increase liver’s ability to eliminate toxins and also prevent cholesterol build up in the circulatory system. Organic forms are the best because they are rich in fat and oil that easily soak up toxic chemicals found in processed foods.
  8. Grapefruit: It reduces cholesterol levels, promote digestion and prevent kidney stones.

  9. Walnuts: They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, essential in flushing out toxins from the body.
  10. Mung beans: Their use for medicinal purposes dates backs thousands of years by Ayurvedic doctors. They are easily digestible and help in the absorption of toxic residue from the digestive tract.
  11. Watercress: They have antioxidant properties that fight free radicals from the cells and boosts cleansing enzymes in the liver. They are also a natural diuretic
  12. Artichokes: they are rich in a compound called cynarin, which promote natural production of bile juice essential for improved digestion.

  13. Citrus Fruits: They are rich in vitamin C, which plays a significant role in the fight against free radicals in the body.
  14. Turnip Greens: They are rich in antioxidants and sulfur, which helps fight environmental toxins and heavy metals from the body. They also contain phytonutrients that activate and regulate actions of detoxifying enzymes.
  15. Lentils: They have high fiber content that helps in elimination of toxins, lowers cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

Conclusion:  Toxins from the environment, food, drugs and other sources can accumulate in the body and make you prone to illnesses. These 15 foods can naturally improve your body’s ability to eliminate toxic substances that can harm your health. Detox your body occasionally using these natural foods to stay healthy.

A very special thanks, again, to Ella for sharing her informative article with all of you!

Ella James is an aspiring author who is pursuing Health Services Administration degree from St. Petersburg College. She is an active contributor to Consumer Health Digest, which is a leading Health News Website. Her interests include reading and writing about Pregnancy, Parenting, Health, Fitness, Beauty and Skin Care.

Connect with Ella!

Twitter | Facebook 

References:

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/colon-health-center/

https://www.glozine.com/lifestyle/health

https://www.colonhealthmagazine.com/

Do you eat any of these detoxifying foods regularly?  Do you focus on beauty from the inside out?

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How To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth (Sensibly)

Say what?? Yeah, these brownies were made with ZERO flour and their bulk came from a single 15 ounce can of organic black beans. They did not taste like the insides of a burrito, however, and I’m going to go ahead and say these bean-based brownies could give Ms. Betty Crocker a run for her money!

no flour black bean brownies
yummy and so good for you!

Do you have a sweet tooth?  It’s really something to contend with, right?  Seriously, the first couple years of my 30’s were like this.

Photo Credit: Buzzfeed

Seriously, I’m not even exaggerating.  I suppose that was a hazard of moving back home for a few years.   My hometown is also home to The World’s Longest Candy Counter.

Yes, the LONGEST.

Even Guinness World Records said so.

According to a new study, it may not be entirely your fault that you crave all the sugar, but that being said, it is possible to satisfy your sweet tooth sensibly.

A couple of months ago, I made a Super Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookie using an adaption from a Blondie recipe by Katie at Chocolate Covered Katie.  And that chickpea cookie was so amazing that Luke has requested that I make it several times.  Okay, truthfully, I like to make it, because every single time I do I’m like…

Photo Credit

I went through a phase in my 20’s when I could have never bothered with a baked good.  I know, you’re probably like, whatever, Erin… I’m not kidding though, I honestly lost my sweet tooth for a number of years.

Believe me, I substituted sweets for other things like cocktails, craft beers, and all the cheese and crackers, but I actually skipped countless cakes, cookies, pies, and ice cream.

Like Cher sings, if I could turn back time.

no flour black bean brownie

The best part about baking without processed flours and refined sweeteners is how people can’t tell the difference.  

SURE as soon as you divulge the mystery ingredients there will be those people who will say “oh, I could tell.” However, they totally couldn’t tell and, also, they ate half the tray.

As I was saying, I lost my sweet tooth in my 20’s, but when I got into my 30’s, it came back with a vengeance.  

 

Photo Credit | Buzzfeed

I knew that I needed to get a grip on my love of cakes, cookies, and sweets in general.  As a person in that eternal period of “recovery” from an eating disorder, I try to eat the best versions of the foods I love whenever possible.

When I finally decided to get healthy and become a fitness professional and nutritional therapist, I knew I had to start practicing what I preach, and I wasn’t preaching that people should work their asses off and then down a box of Krispy Kremes.  I believe in balance, eating intuitively and fueling your body with REAL whole food sources.  And, yes, this means you can KEEP EATING delicious brownies.

so sweet.
so sweet.

My go-to for healthy and unique dessert recipes is definitely Chocolate Covered Katie.  You can find Katie’s recipe for these Black Bean Brownies here along with SO many other incredible delights — many of which are on my current healthy food bucket list!

 

 

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I hope everybody is having a great Tuesday!  I’m linking up with Jill and Jessica for #DishTheFit.

What’s your favorite healthy dessert?  Do you ever bake flour-free?

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Abroad City: An American Living in Glasgow #7

Happy summer.  I feel like saying that to you guys, because it never feels like summer in Glasgow.  Okay, maybe never is a bit harsh, but seriously, not far off.  Well, I’ve been out and aboot, and I’ve seen a few things, so, I thought now is as good a time as any to have another installment of…

abroad city 1

It’s July and I’m wearing tights.

I think that the title to this section is pretty self-explanatory, but yeah, I’ve had to wear tights under a romper twice in the past 10 days.  I don’t deliberately set out to wear tights under my romper, but what starts out as hopeful anticipation to expose my legs to air, ends up in my legs being cold and me looking like an idiot.  I already look like an idiot daily by wearing my sunglasses whether it’s cloudy or not — seriously, the sky is BLINDING here — even without the sun.   Okay, back to my point.  By this time of year, I usually have a nice glow on my legs and am wearing summer dresses and open-toe shoes daily.  It’s rather depressing not being able to do that. During a walk on Monday, I even muttered the words, “f**k this, I can’t live here!”.  It was a touch dramatic, I know, and then, the sun came out about 4 minutes later (for about 4 minutes) and I kind of got over it.

tights in july.  and dirty laundry in the background. #besthousewife
tights in july. and dirty laundry in the background. #besthousewife

Sorted.

I just love how definite the word, “sorted” is.  In the UK, people say something is sorted when it’s taken care of.  In the US, we also say sorted, but usually in a more passive aggressive context.

Erin, will you clean this shit up and make sure it gets sorted through?”

It’s a much more friendly context in this part of the world.

Right, now here’s your receipt, and that’s you sorted.  See ya then, bye.”

If you need something, it will get sorted out.

uk post office:  need trip insurance? travel sorted.
uk post office: need trip insurance? travel sorted.

Overpriced American crap.

So, if you follow me on Instagram (ahem) then you may know that last weekend, while shopping, I took a good, long look at Tesco’s American food aisle.  It’s not really an aisle, actually, it’s a small section of shelves next to a tiny shelf of Irish foods.  What the section should be called is, “All the shit you should be happy we’re charging 3 times as much for because it definitely causes diabetes” — or something like that.

£2.20 ($3.41) for a box of Kraft Macaroni n’ Cheese.

£4.00 ($6.21) for a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.

£6.00 ($9.30) for a package of Chocolate Center Oreos.

'murican and not proud.
‘murican and not proud.

I should also note:  You can buy all of these items in their designated aisles for a much lower price — they will just be missing all of the chemicals and preservatives ingredients that US foods are allowed to have, which are outlawed basically everywhere else.

And let’s face it, those ingredients are what make everything so American.

To quote my newest American expat pal, Jenn:

The lack of food items have been the bane of my existence. I’ve slowly started to realize that all the stuff I miss is actually atrocious for me (i.e. Aunt Jemima) so perhaps I am better off over here!

 

So true.  SO true.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud.

How much would you pay for a “comfort” from home?  Have you ever even seen a “chocolate center” Oreo?

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Guest Posting at Run To The Finish

Happy hump day, everybody!  Head on over to Amanda at Run To The Finish to see my guest post, “3 Steps to Improve Body Confidence“.  Amanda was so kind to invite me to share my thoughts about confidence and self-love with her readers, and she has a simply AMAZING blog — so head on over!

I’ve discussed this before, but it is SO important:  We need to love ourselves and our bodies. Now, building confidence may seem really, really difficult for some people.  We’ve all had those days when we would do just about anything to avoid our reflections.  I’ve had more than I’d like to admit.  Believe it or not, everybody is capable of seeing the best in themselves and others.  You just need to know how and where to start the chain of positive self-image and self-confidence.

Do yourself a favor and read my post over at Run To The Finish and empower yourself from within.

See you all back here tomorrow and have a great day!

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One Question To Solve Sugar Confusion

Hi there, FitFam!  I tell ya, if my there is such a thing called “Blogger Irregularity”, I have it fo’ sho.  I love linkups, I love blogging, but life gets cray sometimes.  I’m in the middle of an intensive Digital Marketing certification this month, while also pursuing my NLP Life Coaching certification, and training clients.  If you know me personally, you know I don’t always do so well under pressure.  Speaking of which (without really speaking of which…) this week’s topic for #DishTheFit with Jessica and Jill is, “If You Had 10 Minutes How Would You Fit In Something Healthy?”   As usual, I’m going a tad bit off the beaten path with my subject matter, but it is relevant, I promise!

So, there’s a lot of buzz, hype, and confusion about eating sugar, right? Is it good? Is it bad? Am I eating too much?  Well, this post comes after much thought and years of research, reading, and also working with people who are looking to change their eating habits.  It’s easy to get confused about sugar, and truthfully, trying to get to the bottom of the truth about sugar, is enough to make you stress eat a Snickers, am I right?  If you want to navigate your way through the (not so sweet) confusion when it comes to sugar and your diet, you need to only ask this one question to solve sugar confusion.  

sugarconfusion

By now, it’s almost a broken record to hear about how sugar is the enemy, and it no doubt is public enemy number one in obesity (childhood and adult), heart disease, and diabetes at the moment.  The truth is, most people don’t know the difference between the different types of sugars that are in the foods we eat.

 

A sugar calorie unrefined.

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose.  What are monosaccharides?  Monosaccharides are the simplest units of carbohydrates and the simplest form of sugar. They are the building blocks of more complex carbohydrates such as disaccharides and polysaccharides.  Some examples of monosaccharides are cane sugar, honey, agave, and molasses.   A disaccharide is a sugar composed of two monosaccharides, and is formed when two sugars are joined together and a molecule of water is removed. For example, milk sugar (lactose) is made from glucose and galactose whereas cane sugar is made from glucose and fructose. Polysaccharides are formed by three or more monosaccharides.  Some examples of polysaccharides are starch (corn, white potatoes), cellulose (fruit skins and seeds), and pectin (soluble fibers such as dried beans, flaxseed, and nuts).

Let’s break it down some more…

Glucose:  A simple sugar or a monosaccharide because it is one of the smallest units which has the characteristics of this class of carbohydrates.  When oxidized in the body, (metabolism), glucose produces carbon dioxide, water, and some nitrogen compounds, and in the process provides energy which can be used by the cells.  In the human bloodstream glucose is referred to as “blood sugar”.

Fructose: Sugar found in fruit and honey.  Used as a sweetner for soft drinks and processed food.  Processed solely by the liver. Fructose, particularly in liquid form (outside of whole fruits and vegetable liquid form) is not to be confused with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

Sucrose:  Basic table sugar, also found in fruits.  When sucrose is consumed, the enzyme beta-fructosidase separates sucrose into its individual sugar units of glucose and fructose. Both sugars are then taken up by their specific transport mechanisms.  The body will use glucose as its main energy source and the excess energy from fructose, if not needed, will be poured into fat synthesis, which is stimulated by the insulin released in response to glucose.

Galactose:  A monosaccharide commonly occurring in lactose. Also called brain sugar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Also called glucose-fructose syrup. A combination of fructose and glucose made by processing corn syrup. Enzymatic processing converts some of the corn syrup’s glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness. The resulting syrup is sweeter and more soluble. HFCS 55 (mostly used in processed foods) is approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose.

Dextrose: Another name for glucose.

Maltodextrin: A highly processed powdered sweetener enzymatically derived from any starch, resulting in a mixture of Glucose, Maltose, Oligosaccharides and Polysaccharides. In the US, the starch is usually corn, rice or potato; in Europe, it is commonly wheat.

Maltose: (aka Malt Sugar) Starch and malt broken down (mashed) into simple sugars and used commonly in beer, bread and baby food.

Stevia: Also known as sweet leaf, sugarleaf. Stevia plants are dried and subjected to a water extraction process. 300 times sweeter than sugar with zero calories.

Sucralose: (aka Splenda) An artificial sweetener that is 600 times as sweet as table sugar, twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3 times as sweet as aspartame.

Sugar Alcohols: Also know as polyols, derived from a plant sugar which is extracted by differing means, then reduced and then hydrogenated, then recrystallized. Part of their structure resembles sugar and part is similar to alcohol, yet they are neither sugar nor alcohol, they just resemble their molecular structure. Contain about 2.6 calories per gram. Occur naturally in plant products such as fruits, berries, starches, seaweeds.

Are you dizzy now?  That’s not even all the sweet substances out there, but these are the main culprits in most of the foods on the market today — especially processed foods.

Sugar:  Not good vs. bad, but better vs. worse.

When we’re talking about the metabolic processes of the body, and the fact that we need glycogen in our body to move, breathe, and function, it can be difficult to think that eating something with sugar isn’t a good choice.  Also, sugar — by it’s very makeup — IS carbohydrate, which is something we need to produce and store glycogen for all of our basic body functions.  So, c’mon, if I have to eat carbohydrates — including sugar — how can it be so bad??

In the description of sugar types I posted above, you can see that fructose, which is a sugar found in honey and fruits, is processed solely by the liver.  But wait, fruits are good for you, right?  Yes, fruits are good for you.  Here’s the deal, eating an apple, as opposed to a teaspoon or two of table sugar, or sucrose (which is part fructose) is different.  Why?  When it comes to sugar calories they are definitely NOT all created equally.

sugartruth

The unrefined truth about sugar calories.

Low-carb, no carb, paleo, and IIFYM (just to name a few) are eating plans that discourage the consumption of refined sugar, and some of those plans even prohibit fruit due to its sugar content.  While I agree that when it comes to your overall health, sugar consumption is something that needs to be monitored, however, it’s where you’re getting your sugar calories from that is an intricate part of your overall health. Look, sugar really is unavoidable — it is a naturally occurring ingredient.  One way you can break through the sugary confusion is to ask yourself this simple question — to this complicated question:   “In addition to the sugar in this item, what other benefits will I receive by choosing to eat this food?” If you can’t list any actual health benefits to consuming that food, it’s probably safe to say that it’s not the best form of sugar to be eating.  Let’s take a look at the two examples below.

Soda vs. Fresh Juices

I’ve heard this before, “if a glass of fruit juice is just as sweet and just as many calories as a can of soda, than I’m going to have the soda.”  While a 12 ounces of soda and 12 ounces of juice are close in calories and sugar content, there is a big difference between the two beverages and how they affect the body.   A can of soda has 140 calories, 39 grams of processed sugar (HFCS), and no fiber, so therefore it has ABSOLUTELY ZERO health benefit.  Whereas, a glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice has 177 calories, 32 grams of natural fructose sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, vitamins A and C, Iron, calcium, and potassium.

Milk chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

One ounce of milk chocolate has 38 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 4 grams of sugar and no added vitamins, minerals or nutrients.  Dark chocolate also has 38 calories, 2 grams of fat, no saturated fat, and 4 grams of sugar, however, dark chocolate also contains antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, and Vitamin B12.

This was a lot of information, but let’s summarize it all!

Sugar comes in a lot of different forms.  Some forms of sugar come in the form of “empty calories” or “nutrient sparse” foods such as many processed foods, candy, soft drinks, and concentrated juices.   While eating sugar may seem unavoidable, you need to ask yourself what health benefits are associated with the sugar containing foods you’re about to eat.  If you can’t find a single vitamin, mineral, or nutrient in a sugary product in question– you won’t be missing out by giving IT a miss.  Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are absolutely essential to our diet.  We need a balance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in order to fully absorb the nutrition in the foods we eat.  While it’s okay to enjoy an occasional chocolate bar, ice cream, and other sweets — they are definitely not the best source of energy for our bodies.

While your body DOESN’T know the difference between table sugar and fruit, your body DOES know the difference between foods with fiber, protein, simple and complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

If you get the good stuff to your mouth, your body will do take care of the rest.

Have you ever been confused by sugar? Do you live a limited sugar lifestyle?  If you had 10 minutes how would you fit in something healthy?

***Helpful resources I used in addition to my own nutritional knowledge about sugar to create this post.

SF Gate

Nerd Fitness – Super Awesome Blog, btw.

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Living in a Grey World

The following post, “Living in a Grey World” is an essay I contributed to the website Stigma Fighters, a non-profit mental health organization dedicated to helping real people with mental illness, back in April.  I was approached by SF because of my posts addressing my struggles with anxiety, emotional eating, and bulimia nervosa.  I think it’s really important that people struggling with mental illness speak out and let others hear their voices and stories.  I wanted to share my story with my readers.

grey

The first time I ever purged was in the bathroom of a Friendly’s restaurant at the age of 15. I had just finished eating a colossal burger, french fries, and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge and gummy bears.  You may be thinking, “after eating that combination of food no wonder you felt sick!” — This was true.  It was a lot of food, but it wasn’t the food that made me sick; it was how I felt about what I had eaten that was making me sick to my stomach.

After I was finished regurgitating the $16.00 lunch my mother and father had bought me, I felt this immediate calm rush over me.  This calm felt like a hug or a heated blanket, it was that comforting.  I thought to myself, “I feel better, this is okay.”

I felt better than before I had eaten.  It’s as if I never had eaten.

This “event” (as I will refer to it) started a fifteen year battle, which I still must contend with every day.

See, back then I thought of bulimia as a skill, and for me, it was.   I could eat all the time and all I had to do was make myself “get rid of it”.

I felt powerful.

However, even way back then, I knew that this wasn’t something I should do all the time.

I said to myself, “I’ll only use it on weekends.”

“I’ll only use it at holidays.”

However, this “control” I was so pleased about — being able to “get rid of” food I would overeat — started shifting into every weekend and then, unfortunately, over time, every day.

After I graduated from high school, I moved out to Denver from New Hampshire to live with my best friend.  This was the first time I had ever lived on my own and I was 2000 miles away from my family.  It was at this point in my life, where I was purging up to five times a day.

However, I wasn’t overeating every day.  No.  I was purging after the consumption of normal amounts of food.  I couldn’t stand the way anything felt in my stomach.  The instant I would feel food or liquid in my belly, I would immediately start to panic.  I could feel myself expanding.  I looked fatter.  My jeans were tight around my waist.  This feeling couldn’t be just in my head, I could physically feel my body react when I ate.

I couldn’t rest until  I could “get rid of” what I had consumed.  If I didn’t evacuate my system, fast, this feeling would consume me.

To the people around me, I looked normal.  I wasn’t underweight.  At times I was slightly overweight.  However, people started to notice that I wasn’t myself.  I was much more anxious and much less happy.  I made comments about my weight 24/7.  I made comments about what everybody else was eating.  As you can imagine, the relationship I had with my best friend became very shaky.  In fact, we spent over two years not speaking to one another as a result of the person I had become.

I started therapy to work on my bulimia and emotional eating issues, and got to a point for a while when I wasn’t purging at all.  However, to make up for the lack of control I had with the food I was eating, I decided to take up an excessive amount of exercise.

I would run five miles to work, be on my feet all day long, and then run the five miles home and then some.  Every day.  I thought that it was good for me.  I mean, I was exercising, right?  Surely cardio is better than sticking your fingers down your throat multiple times a day.

However, my exercise obsession soon caught up with me.  I would give myself heat stroke, flu-like symptoms from dehydration, and my hair started to get coarse and thin.  My therapist told me that I was replacing one compulsive behavior for another and that we should start paying closer attention to my “triggers”.

I thought, “lady, I don’t have any triggers other than the fact that I have to eat and I hate the way it makes me feel!

I kept food journals.  I wrote down what I had to eat.  I wrote down how I felt before and after I ate.  I documented the times I exercised and purged.  I visited a nutritionist.  I visited a psychiatrist.  I tried anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and meditation.

I still obsessed over food and felt it’s complete control over me.

After I graduated from college, I moved to New York.  I moved in with a boyfriend who was  a secret alcoholic and 14 years my senior.  I was a secret emotional eater and bulimic and 24 years old.  You can only guess what this choice did for my eating disorder issues, I’m sure.

At first, as with any relationship, things were great.  We were in love and things were perfect (well, as perfect as they could be).  I got a job, settled into life, and tried to keep a balanced diet and exercise.  I kept my bulimia issues a secret.  I would get up in the middle of the night to eat hidden food and then would purge in the bathroom.  I would binge eat on my lunch break and purge in the bathroom in the warehouse where nobody could hear me.  I guess in those days I thought, “as long as nobody knows I’m doing this and I can get away with it, I’m not doing anything wrong.”

What wonderful logic, huh?

If a bulimic binges and purges when no one’s around, did it really happen?  If only it was that easy to ignore or deal with.

As two people living with addictive personalities will clash, my boyfriend at the time and I started to bring out the worst in each other.  I drove him to drink and he drove me to bulimia.  It was an awful cycle.   It was at this point that I officially switched from binging and purging and moved into simply emotional eating.  I didn’t care about having friends or doing anything with my life.  I just cared about making myself numb by eating all the time.  When I went to the doctors for a yearly pap smear, they weighed me.  I weighed over 150 pounds.  I had never weighed that much in my life.  As a 5 foot tall girl, this was considerably overweight for my frame.  I became emotional.  It was as if it was the first time I had really felt anything for months, but it wasn’t a good feeling.

I decided I had to do something.  I knew I was unhappy.  And I knew that what I was doing to myself was much bigger than what I could understand.  I decided to go back to a therapist, but this time I was going to be selective.  I couldn’t pick a decent boyfriend.  I couldn’t control myself with food.  However, I could control who I chose to help me get myself back.

My therapist’s specialties were eating disorders and anxiety; the two things I was suffering from.  I never understood how much anxiety I had until I worked with her. I also never understood that it was the root of my problem.  Therapy helped me to understand the patterns of my behavior and how my underlying anxiety contributed to my disordered eating.

For once in my life I actually felt like I was capable of understanding my behavior.

I learned that the cycle I was trapping myself in was something I could gain control over.

A couple of times, like during the recession when I couldn’t find a steady job and while my father was dying from cancer, I did relapse.

After I lost my father in 2011, I decided to change my life and take hold of my health.

I became a fitness instructor, certified personal trainer, and certified nutrition specialist.  I educated myself about exercise and food and how to use the two in a respectful and balanced manner.  I also started a blog, so I could talk about my passion for wellness and living a happy life.

In November, I married the love of my life and in March I moved to Scotland to live with him.

My logic is no longer about all or nothing, black or white, and yes or no decisions.

I live in a grey world and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud.

Do you feel that mental illness is still seen as a stigma?  For more information on Stigma Fighters and their mission click here.

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Abroad City: An American Living in Glasgow #6

Well, ‘ello, ‘ello!  It’s been a couple of weeks since my last installment of Abroad City :  An American Living in Glasgow — and I know you’ve missed me, but I’ve just been out there trying to adapt to Scottish living!

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Digestive S’mores

So, the other day was the good ‘ol 4th of July, and it was my first one away from America, ever, I think!  Wow – crazy realizations come through on da bloggity blog sometimes!  I wasn’t really even thinking about it being the 4th on Saturday (I’m so patriotic, right?).

Then, suddenly, I heard drums and a marching band outside my window.  At first, I just turned the volume up on the TV so I could continue watching Pretty Little Liars (I just discovered this show and I’m hooked) — but the drums and marching continued on for an eternity.  Luke came into the living room and said, “these guys have been marching around the entire city since half 9 this morning!”  It wasn’t some sort of Scottish tribute to America’s Declaration of Independence, no, it was apparently an Orange Order parade marking the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.

Anyhoo, all their parading “aboot” got me feeling nostalgic and homesick, and, for me, when this pairing of emotions surfaces, I eat.  What better way to celebrate the 4th of July in food spirit than a s’more, right?  Well, this would be true if I could actually buy a graham cracker in the UK, but since I have yet to find a graham cracker anywhere, I opted for McVities chocolate digestive biscuits and marshmallows.

nosmores collage

Okay, this is probably the one and only time I will say this, so, brace yourselves and move on quickly:  When it comes to s’mores, there is only one chocolate that can make its magic shine through, and that chocolate is, Hershey’s.  There, I said it.  I am a British chocolate lover from the womb, but when it comes to the campfire classic, American chocolate is king.

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I caved on the Swedish Fish

If you follow my blog on Instagram — which you totally should — you probably already know that I caved and paid the astronomical price of £1.89 for two ounces — approximately 20 — of Swedish Fish candies at the American Candy Store in City Centre.

 

I caved. £1.89/2 oz. of Swedish Fish. It's a crime. #anamericaninglasgow #expatlife #woesofanexpat #lifeabroad #americancandy

A photo posted by Erin Campbell Thompson (@beetsperminute) on

I don’t regret it, however.  It was worth it, and it’s probably a really good thing that I can’t get more than a handful at that price, so that I don’t go overboard on the fish.

This was until Luke was kind enough to point out The Big Candy Store, which is yet another candy store that sells American products on Sauchiehall Street.  I might also mention that he pointed this place out to me during our 13 mile run/walk. The Big Candy Store sell a 3.1 ounce box of Swedish Fish for £3.00.  I’m going to say I won’t cave again and pay £1.00/ounce for SF, but I’m probably lying.  In fact, I may have already purchased said box by the time you read this.

50 Shades of FroYo

If I was ever feeling lonely and wanting to spice up my weekend back home, I would watch a made for TV movie on Lifetime.  Also, don’t judge, because you know you do this too.  However, in Scotland, when I want to engage in some soft serve core indulgence, apparently I needn’t look further than the frozen dessert section.  I don’t know if it’s just that Frozen Yogurt isn’t appealing enough on its own over here, but the companies that make it are definitely trying to get a message across to their target consumers.

snog snɒɡ/ BRITISHinformal verb 1. kiss and cuddle amorously. "the pair were snogging on the sofa"
Snog.
BRITISH informal (verb):
kiss and cuddle amorously.
self explanatory.
self explanatory.

I guess this is one way to not feel guilty about having a relationship with your FroYo, am I right?

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this installment of Abroad City: An American Living in Glasgow, but stay tuned for more adventures in the coming days!

Which chocolate do you use in your s’mores?  Did you celebrate for 4th of July?

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5 Tips For Staying Healthy In A New City

I originally posted this as a guest post for Megan at Skinny FItalicious. When I saw that this week’s topic with Jessica and Jill  for The Fit Dish is “HEALTHIFY Your Vacation”, I had to share this post about how I stayed fit when I first moved to Glasgow back in March.  Moving to a new city is different than a vacation, obviously, but the breaking of your routine and familiarity is all the same.  These tips really helped me stay in shape and on track, so I’m going to share this post on my blog today with the Fit Dish Fam!

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So, a little fact about me, ever since I was a little girl I thought I was supposed to be British. Yes, I faked a terrible “Brit-ish” accent (not quite English, Scottish, or Welsh).  I loved Mary Poppins.  I loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I would recite my nursery rhymes with said terrible “Brit-ish” accent.  I think I’ve made my point, right?

queen

So, naturally, I also always dreamed that one day I would marry a handsome British man and we would live happily ever after in a kingdom far away.  Ridiculous, right?  Well, this past November 28th, my dream came true when I married my Scottish boyfriend, Luke, and decided to move to the (United) Kingdom, far away from America!

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my prince charming.

However, not everything about my move was fairy tale-esque, as you can imagine. According to HealthStatus, moving is the third most stressful situation a person can go through in life.  In my case, moving was extra stressful, because I relocated to an entirely new country.   The good news is, one of the best ways to work through stress is to implement your regular routine as soon as possible.

One thing that has been super important to me has been re-establishing my healthy lifestyle.  I also knew that getting back into a routine meant I wouldn’t get out of shape or fall into a fitness rut.  (Who needs that stress?)  I ‘m going to share with you the five things that made getting back to normal possible and (easy breezy) for me. With these tips, I’m sure you’ll adapt quickly and stay healthy too, whether you’re heading out of town for the week or moving to an entirely new place!  I’ve adapted to my new digs quickly by making staying healthy a priority!  It’s a lot easier than you may think it is!

5 Tips For Staying Healthy In A New City

Tip # 1:  Find out where the (healthy) food is.  One thing I immediately did, on my new phone, was install a Healthy Food app to locate the nearest shops for all things health related in my neighborhood.  Also, using an app like HealthyOut, is a great way to locate cleaner eats nearby and  to help keep you on track!  Healthy food apps are not only a great way to learn your new street map and keep your healthy food choices in check, but they are also a great way to sample some amazing local treats!

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Also, by using an app to tell me what is nearby, I learned within just days that there’s a freakin’ Whole Foods a mile and half from my apartment! Bonus!

good eats
good eats

Tip #2 :  Learn your new surroundings by taking daily walks or runs.   Another great way to keep your fitness levels up, while learning your new surroundings, is to commit to taking long walks (or jogs, if you fancy) around the area.  The Google Maps app is a great way to explore (and not get yourself lost). Google Maps also includes tons of nearby attractions so you can discover those little gems in your city you might not have found before!  Just an hour or two a day of that (or a few times per week) will keep you burning calories and making you feel at home!

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Tip #3:  Figure out the appropriate workout dress code!  One of the most disorienting things about my move was leaving a replica of Antarctica to move to a milder (much more overcast and rainy) climate.  For instance yesterday, on my walk, I literally experienced all four seasons in one mile!  I now know that if I’m heading out for a run or a long walk, I better wear layers and a waterproof coat!  Get to know what the climate is like where you’re at, and you’ll always be able to plan your workouts and activities accordingly.

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Tip # 4:  Find out where the fitness is at.  This tip is twofold for me, as I am currently a displaced personal trainer and fitness instructor now looking for work.  However, fitness professional or not, a key component of keeping healthy in a new city is finding the right mix of workouts to get in.  Using an app such as, Gym Locator Proon my phone, I was able to find the fitness centers in my city according to proximity.

fitness Collage

 

Another great tip is to sign up for a service like Groupon to find deeply discounted fitness classes (and attractions) around your new city. Groupon is a great way to try out different popular spots for a fraction of the cost and a great way to get more familiar with all that’s available locally!

groupon Collage

 

In addition to the many fitness centers and studios nearby, you may also have a number of local parks and trails to run, walk, and bike through.  The Map My Run and AllTrails websites and apps are fantastic for getting an insider’s perspective on where to run, bike, and hike in a new area.

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In Glasgow South, we have Pollok Country Park and Queens Park, both world class parks complete with miles of running and cycling trails open to the public!  Taking advantage of local parks and trails will also get you more familiar with your surroundings while exposing you to other active people in your neighborhood via local fitness clubs.

Tip # 5:  Prepare for different water!  Everywhere you go, overseas or not, has different water than you’re used to.  Water quality can potentially pose threats to your health, though most are less than super serious (aggravated skin conditions, hair buildup, etc.) some can be more serious (gastrointestinal issues).  Shower filters like PuraStream, faucet filters like PUR, and container filters like BRITA are essential for keeping your skin, hair, and body hydrated, balanced, and acclimated to your new locale.  Believe me, nothing can throw you off more than a change in water quality! Obviously if you’re only on a short stay, installing filters might not be best, but filters are now available in loads of different convenient forms and relatively inexpensive as well!   In Scotland, the water is SUPER hard.  In fact, all the times I had been over visiting before moving here, I would always gripe about how the water made me feel.  My husband (probably just because he didn’t want to hear it anymore) bought a water filter for the shower and it made SUCH a difference.  We chose PuraStream for our shower filter and at a reasonable price — it is absolutely worth it!

 

filter Collage

All these tips may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but they will absolutely make life easier.  I feel really spoiled, actually.  I don’t know how I ever moved or traveled before all this amazing technology!  Seriously.  I hope that my tips help you no matter where you live or where you’re at on your health and fitness journey.  Who knows, maybe one of these tips will help you out where you are right now!

What helps you keep healthy when you move or travel? Are there any apps you love that you would recommend?

 

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One Small Change For Lasting Weight Loss

Everybody loves to hear this, right?  One change that could help you conquer your weight loss struggle, once and for all?  This is one small change that I did that helped me lose weight and it didn’t require me to cut out any major food group OR do a single extra burpee.

lastingweightloss

Here it is.  It’s not award winning psychology, but it works.  One small change for lasting weight loss.

I know, I know.  You hear this/read this ALL the time, huh?  Stop obsessing about the number on the scale.  You know why you keep being revisited by this mantra?  Because you NEED TO FORGET THE SCALE AND MOVE ON.  Period.  I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know somewhere inside of you.

For instance, that regular scales only dictate a single mass reading and don’t actually include the parts of you which are fat, muscle, or water.  OR that your weight can fluctuate due to the simplest of things like stress, illness, or hormonal changes.  OR that most scales aren’t entirely accurate.  OR maybe, simply, just like the scale can’t measure your muscle mass, adipose, and water precisely– it also can’t measure your worth as a human being.  

You want to know the real secret to measuring weight loss?  It’s believing that you are losing the weight.

I’m serious.

Just that shift in your thinking will make things happen.  It’s been proven time and time again.  In my professional capacity, I have simply asked people to just take the next seven days of their life and “believe they are thinner“.

And just like you’re probably saying to your computer or phone screen right now, “bitch, please” — just hear me out.

THIS HAS WORKED FOR PEOPLE — I HAVE SEEN IT HAPPEN.  The positive catalyst in their cognitive approach to their body image not only made them happier, but also improved their ongoing weight loss results.

We create our own reality.  Our minds are VERY powerful and just a simple misfire upstairs can make you see the world around you differently.  I won’t get all quantum theory on you right now, but I will say this, you are absolutely 100% a slave and victim to your thoughts.  If your thoughts are defeatist and stagnant, then guess what? Your reality will be too!

Reflections of your thoughts are more powerful than what’s actually there.

I know this sounds too good to be true that all you need to do is believe yourself to be thinner.  It probably sounds easier said than done.  Well, it is easier said than done, but, then again, it isn’t.  In order to “believe you are thinner” you need to have a few things working in your favor.  Making the decision to change your thoughts toward any goal needs a solid framework to keep you in check.  Here’s a guideline to help keep you motivated and progressive during your weight loss journey!

Have realistic expectations.  Losing weight is super frustrating, but what can make the process so much more painful is how we visualize it and expect it to be.  If you have a habit of being a black and white thinker (like I’ve been MOST of my life) you want those results right away.  You must keep your eyes on the realistic prize.  It has taken me literal years to come to grips with the fact that my body just isn’t going to look the way I want it thought it “should look” no matter what I do.  I am what I am, and knowing what the best version of me is has helped me make peace with it.  Thinking forward, please be real with yourself.

Setting small goals for yourself.  You may lose a significant amount of weight the first week or two of your program, but alas, this is not the norm.  You may have heard the saying that “if you set smaller goals, you accomplish more”?  This is true.  Again, this ties in with having realistic expectations. By setting smaller goals, you will be able to tackle a larger goal in smaller to swallow bits, and I can’t tell you how much better this is on your mental attitude towards weight loss.

Reward yourself every single day.  Most of the time, people tell you to reward yourself only when you’ve reached a goal.  I think that taking control of your health and wanting to feel better about yourself deserves daily recognition.  I’m not suggesting you celebrate every evening with a margarita or buy yourself a new pair of shoes each day, but you can be kind to yourself and recognize your strengths and beauty each and every day.  Take a little more time on your walk home or getting ready in the morning for work.  Simple things that you may have failed to allow yourself in the past.

sorry. had to.

Which brings me to my last point.

Address yourself today.  One of the things that keeps people from reaching their weight loss goals (and most definitely in keeping their weight off) is the lack of addressing your issues in the here and now.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, losing weight isn’t a magic solution.  You will still be you mentally and emotionally, just less of you physically.  I think you’re great the way you are, but let’s face it, losing weight is a journey that requires so much more than increased cardio and balanced nutrition.  So please, please, PLEASE start to address the feelings, issues, and relationship you have with yourself right now while you’re losing the weight.  It’s one of the most surefire ways to keeping the weight off and staying healthy for life.  

Most of life feels like mind games, and, well, it pretty much is.  There are plenty of times where giving up feels like the only definite thing out there, but you can get the results you want if you keep a positive mind, a compassionate heart, and a determined body.

Remember, the only person standing in your way — ever — is you.

When it comes to weight loss or fitness goals, do you believe that your thoughts dictate your progress?  Have you ever been a “slave or victim” to your thoughts?

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Lately I’ve Been… #TOL

I love surveys.  Do you?  Emily at Sweets and Beets posted this survey the other day called, “Lately I’ve Been…” as a way to catch everybody up with what’s going on in her life right now.  I love reading other people’s answers, because let’s face it, we’re all a bit “blogging” voyeuristic.  Well, at least I am!

Also, it’s Thursday, and Amanda let’s us think out loud, so why not?

lately

 

Making: connections and plans for building up my coaching business, Coached by Erin.  I’ve already picked up some personal training clients and hoping that the efforts I’m currently making will pay off in a big way!

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coming soon to a vacant Internet space near you…

Cooking:  Soups!  I know, I know it’s summer, but in Glasgow it really doesn’t feel anything like it.  I made a pretty kick ass mature cheddar and sweet potato soup the other day, if I may say so myself!

souper delicious
souper delicious

Drinking:  Water and gingerbread tea.  Like, bucket loads.  I’ve been trying to abstain from alcohol and coffee this month, and besides the weekend at my in-law’s and a glass of red wine Monday night, I’ve not been too bothered.

tea
Yeah, so, I’m turning 35 next month.

Reading:  The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood.  I’ve been reading this all month, because I have been having life ADHD.  It’s a great book though, and if you’ve ever wondered how you would handle an emergency life and death situation, then this is the book for you!

survivors club

Wanting:  To have a gym somewhere in this city call me back about being a Spinning instructor.  My goal is to at least be a sub at a gym by the end of the summer!  #TotalWithdrawls

Wasting:  My youth.  There, I’ve said it.  I need to do something carefree.  Just, you know, not get deported.

living life to the fullest.
living life to the fullest.

Enjoying:  Training people again, running in the mornings with my hubby, anything and everything with chickpeas, and living in Scotland!

lochoich

Liking:  Halt and Catch Fire — this show is REALLY good.  I also really like the song, “The Breach” by Dustin Tebbutt.  

Wondering: If I could become a vegan.  I think I may do one of those challenges, because after watching the documentary Vegucated I was in tears and wanting to never eat an animal product again!  Seriously, “Free Range” “Organic” and “Humane” are VERY subjective terms when it comes to the animal products we consume! Not to mention, our animal consumption is literally melting the atmosphere.  :/

Loving:  I will probably sound SUPER corny here (like, I don’t always?) — but I’m LOVING being married to a man who is as passionate about living a minimalist and healthy life with me.  It’s so freeing to share your life/space/goals/future with a person who wants the same things you do, eats the foods you cook, and gets up rain or shine to run with you.  #LOVE

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Needing:   To call members of my family and mail them items that I’ve been buying for them.  And send something to my friend, Abby, who just had her baby early and could probably do with a nice baby gift while her son is still in the hospital.

Wearing:  Too much.  I wish it would be warm enough for a summer dress and open toe shoes.  It’s SO cold in Glasgow.  I’m used to hazy, warm New England/NYC summers, and the one I’m currently experiencing ain’t anything like that!

first day of summer.
first day of summer.

Noticing:  I need to read more, and get a tan.

Knowing:  You never know where you might end up in life, and that every time something bad happens — you can be sure that if you take that challenge and kick it’s ass, — better things will be on the horizon.

Thinking:  I would like to go back to school for nursing or speech pathology at some point, but also that I want to have a baby soon.

Feeling:  Very lucky and loved.

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud!

What have you been up to lately?

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