Fast Food Myths: They all have them

Woman pouring herbs into bowl of salad in kitchen, close-up of hand

If you are like most, fast food is a way of life, at least part of the time. While it’s true, there are better options on most menus to help avoid major diet dings, the truth is, they are still not “healthy” and are loaded with much sodium and pesticides. Fast Food Myths: They all have them.

Let’s look at McDonald’s and their newest salad introduction that’s an attempt to offer healthier alternatives.

McDonald’s has unveiled a new salad with a “nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale,” shaved parmesan, and chicken (grilled or fried). Like many fast-food salads, it may seem like a healthy option at first, but it’s not. The salad, when paired with the restaurant’s Asiago Caesar Dressing, packs more fat, calories, and salt than a double Big Mac—that’s a sandwich with four beef patties.

According to the McDonald’s nutrition center, which is accessible via their website, the salad contains 520 calories, 31g of fat and 1,140 milligrams of sodium.

But when you add in the Asiago Caesar dressing, it rockets up to 730 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 1,400 milligrams of sodium – whereas the Double Big Mac rings in at 680 calories, 38g of fat and 1,340 milligrams of sodium.

This doesn’t factor in the greens mixture being used, which is not organic, therefore it’s also loaded with pesticides, which adds to the toxic overload of chemicals being put on or into our bodies.

In a recent study, researchers found that 92% of large-chain, local-chain, and mom-and-pop restaurants served meals that exceeded the calorie intake for what is considered a healthy meal. This study included 364 meals from restaurants in three cities: Boston, San Francisco, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The meals covered American, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese-style cuisine.

In 123 of the restaurants sampled, at least one menu entrée exceeded the recommended amount of calories for an entire day—and that didn’t include drinks, appetizers, or desserts. Meals from American, Chinese and Italian-style restaurants tipped the scales with the most calories, an average of 1,495 calories per meal.

When it comes to fast food, “healthy” basically means food that offers you a decent combination of macronutrients, without going overboard on calories or potentially harmful things (like sugar or sodium, for people who have high blood pressure). The key here is moderation, with ideally some benefits if possible. With all that in mind, here are the parameters for the foods below:

  • Low in calories:For lunch, that means about 500 calories or less and dinner is 800 calories or less.
  • Protein, to help you build muscles:Look for meals that have at least 10 grams of protein (ideally more!).
  • Low in sodium (or at least not HIGH in sodium):Aim for less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium per meal (which is high already, yes).
  • Low in sugar (or at least not HIGH in sugar):Looking for less than 20 grams of sugar.
  • No trans fat:Trans fats are related to heart disease.

Of course there is always the option to pack your lunch and further control what you put in. Sometimes it is not worth the feelings after a really bad meal.

By now, you should also know the trigger foods for you, if not, I suggest you start with keeping a food journal for a while. This entails detailing everything (I mean everything) you eat and how it makes you feel.

My best advice, limit eating out as much as possible. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also save money.

What experiences have you had with making “healthier” choices while eating out? Comment below and we’ll do this journey together.

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Are you ready to slay the “Sugar Monster”?


Are you hooked on sugar? Do you seem to be dependent on it to feel good or have energy? Have you ever felt like it was running your life? Are you ready to slay the “Sugar Monster”?

You may have heard the same stories that I’ve heard….sugar is more addictive than cocaine. While I don’t know that this 100% true from a personal perspective, as I’ve not had a cocaine addiction, what I do know is that it can get a grip on you.

Recently I shared that I had caught a bug that was going through our family which left me not eating anything for about 24+ hours and the next day was minimal.

Prior to this, I had already been having the conversation with myself about the amount of sugar, mainly chocolate, that I’d been consuming. Typically a small piece or two a day or every couple days was sufficient.

Which then turned into doing that 2-3 times per day and then if my day was more trying or stressful, I’d want something else, like a cookie. This starting happening more around the holidays and continued beyond, with no relief in site.

That is, until I got sick.

I used this opportunity to kick the “sugar monster” to the curb. I’m happy to say that as of writing this, I’ve had no processed sugar for 6 days. Yes, that means NO chocolate.

I’ve had minimal raw yogurt, minimal fruit and minimal pasta or potatoes.

Ugh…it’s surely not easy, especially when I get to mid-afternoon and the habit of having a piece of chocolate after lunch sneaks up on me. Then I seem to want to fixate on the lack and want it more.

What I’ve realized is that while my brain chemistry is different and it wants the “make me feel good stuff”, it’s also about breaking habits. Just like a person trying to quit smoking. You associate so much of what you do with something else.

Sugar dependency is no different. While I don’t know that I’d recommend cold turkey to everyone, it was better for me. I also can’t say that I’ll do this forever, but for now, its working and I feel so much better.

Some things that help if you’re serious about kicking the habit are the following:

  1. Start a little at a time, drop something once a week, like the chocolate candy one week, the cookie the next, the pop after that, etc. (Or suck it up and go cold turkey like I did)
  2. Know that cravings will hit, be prepared. If it gets bad enough, try eating some raw fruit.
  3. I find that eating high fiber foods also help fill you up and stick with you longer.
  4. Exercise will also decrease hunger, or your brain telling you are because it hasn’t had its sugar habit.
  5. Nutrient-dense foods along with healthy saturated fats help the body feel satiated.
  6. Purge your home, office, car, gym bag or any other hiding place of the temptation foods
  7. Eating regular meals helps too. Don’t skip meals as this tends to let your blood sugar levels dip, leading to snacking on processed foods.
  8. Stay away from processed foods, as they have many hidden sugars in them, which lead to more bingeing.
  9. Know what other sugar names are:
  10. Agave
  11. Corn syrup
  12. Sucrose
  13. Dextrose
  14. Honey
  15. Cane sugar
  16. Cane crystals
  17. Fruit juice concentrate
  18. Molasses
  19. Turbinado sugar
  20. Sucanat sugar
  21. Brown sugar
  22. Maple syrup

While some of these are definitely better for you, your body still reacts to the sugar. Know what you’re eating and make the best choice for you. If you eat some of the sweeter foods or fruits, eat them raw, as they have fiber, and the body digests them more slowly, rather than the immediate blood sugar spike.

Also know that pasta, bagels, breads and potatoes are also culprits. Beware of how much of these you are consuming.

While this article isn’t meant to dive deep into the differences in sugar and how your body reacts to them, it is meant to just share my experiences with sugar and what I’ve found to be helpful.

Have you found some of this happening with you or your family and what have you tried to “slay the sugar monster” in your life? Be sure to share your comments below. Let’s journey together.

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Is your immunity strong?

close-up of a young man blowing his nose

Is your immunity strong and are you staying healthy this winter? Seems that everywhere we turn, someone is sick, whether it’s a cold, sinus infections, flu, bronchitis or any other complication that slows us down.

It seems that I wasn’t able to buffer this last bug round that made its way through our family.

It started with my oldest granddaughter, then passed onto my youngest daughter, her husband, my husband and then myself.

I have to tell you, I don’t like being sick, as I’m sure no one does. It really is a rareity for me. It’s literally been years, especially to the point of donning the throne and burying my face in the trash can at the same time. I know, not a pretty sight to imagine.

My point in sharing all the gory details is to make us aware of the importance of our immunity.

Our gut health literally is 75-80% of our immune health. If you suffer from chronic stress, eat a lot of processed foods, sugar, white flours, white bread, etc. you are compromising your health.

While I’ve been blessed with a great immune system, obviously I have a chink in the armor, which has made me sit up and pay attention. I can pinpoint areas that are weak.

In the last several months, stress has been higher, sleep not as good, sugar intake higher, especially over the holidays and my fitness routine not as regular as it should be and guess what, my body gave me a time out AND a chance to clean up my act.

Can you relate to my story? If so, perhaps your body has been waving red flags at you too!

Do you know how to identify these so called “red flags”?

  • More frequent headaches
  • Sleep patterns disrupted more regularly
  • Catching colds frequently
  • Catching office bugs, when you didn’t used to
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • No energy
  • Short tempered or moody

Honestly the list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I call these symptoms red flags, because they really are little signs that our body is really struggling to keep up.

Part of ridding yourself of the “flags” is self-awareness. For me, I knew that I really had to create more balance in my life, which lowers stress, carve out more “me” time to exercise, meditate, or whatever self-care I need, eliminate the sugar habit and by doing these few things, really does help my body care for me as a whole.

While I’ve been doing better, I obviously had already done the damage and now it’s time to rebuild and renew.

My go to’s are always:

  • Bone broth
  • Lower sugar intake, especially processed sugars
  • More healthy saturated fats for satiety
  • More sleep, it’s winter and time to recharge
  • More exercise, this also helps improve sleep
  • Supplement with vitamin D3, unless you are blessed with a lot of sunshine this time of year
  • Take in good quality fermented cod liver oil
  • Carving out me time for meditation, prayer, soaking baths, etc.

You can add whatever works for you personally, the point is to take charge and not put this off any longer.

The thing about red flags are that they turn into BIG red flags and then they turn into full blown illness or disease if you continue to ignore them.

While I’m happy to say, today, as I’m writing this and getting ready to send out to you, I’m about 80%, which means that I’m well on my way to recouping my strength back and today, I have no more headache, I can function again….hooray!!!

So, my strong advisory message to you is this.

If you can identify with any of the red flags I mentioned, or you know of others that you’ve been experiencing, take my advice and do something about it. There is no better time than the present. Taking action creates steps in the right direction.

Your health is one of the most important foundational pieces of your life and it’s too important to ignore or not make time for. You are valued and you are a gift! Take charge today.

Don’t know where to begin or need some guidance, reach out and let’s see if we can unravel what’s truly going on and get you on the right path to health and healing.

Can you relate to what I’ve shared? If so, please comment below and let’s help each other.

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Life Giving Foods vs. Life Robbing Foods!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? You might be asking how I distinguish between life giving foods and life robbing foods.

This past week I had the great pleasure to listen to a very wise woman share her plight into traditional eating and the reason was her sick young daughter.

You see, most mothers (and fathers) become fierce momma or papa bears when our young are sick or ill, don’t we?

We want to find out what exactly is wrong and then do everything in our power to make them better.

I know I’ve done this over the years with my own daughters and now with my grandchildren. When they don’t feel well, we’re digging and fixing!

If you’re shopping for and consuming prepackaged and commercialized food products from your local grocery, you are consuming life robbing foods.

There is a list of 10 major life robbing foods that I’d like to share that you should NEVER eat and then I’ll share the list of life giving foods.

Foods you should NEVER EVER eat….

1. GMO Foods

(Corn, Soy, Sugar, Aspartame, Papaya, Canola Oil, Cotton Oil, Commercial Dairy, Zucchini, Yellow Squash)

2. Processed Meats

(Lunch meats, hotdogs, sausages, bacon)

3. Microwave Popcorn

4. Soft Drinks

5. Diet Beverages

6. Refined White Flours

7. Refined Sugars

8. Conventional “Dirty” Produce (see EWG’s Dirty Dozen listing here)

9. Farmed Salmon

10. Hydrogenated Oils (canola, shortening, vegetable oils)

(Most baked goods use these oils)

Whew….that’s a list isn’t it?

Now would you like the list of foods that are living giving and good for you? It’s my pleasure to present them!

1. Bone Broths

2. Raw Milk

3. Yogurt

4. Kefir

5. Grass-fed Beef, Pork, Lamb

6. Pastured poultry (chicken, turkey)

7. Sourdough Bread

8. Pastured Eggs

9. Fresh fruits and veggies (preferably organic)

10. Soaked grains, nuts, seeds, beans

11. Fermented veggies, fruits and teas

Yum!!! This is the food items that I adore! When foods are properly grown, prepared and eaten, they give life and they taste absolutely delicious!

Often times in conversations, it comes about that “healthy” doesn’t taste good. Well, have I got news for you. When you eat the “life giving” foods I outlined above, your whole body sings, including your mouth!

Every cell is awakened and having a party and rejoicing! One of my clients recently shared how she’s feeling just after two weeks of consuming Kombucha (fermented tea) and Bone broths. The results are amazing and she’s seeing the proof.

Guess what else is amazing? She’s telling everyone that will listen. Why? Because when you’ve struggled with something like IBS for so long and you don’t have control over what your body does, and all of a sudden you are given a glimpse of normal and vibrant living, you feel fabulous, you look fabulous, people notice and you sing!

Isn’t it time to take back your health and your life? Do you feel doomed to just suffer through? Or perhaps you’ve tried so many things and nothing seems to work.

It really isn’t your fault. You just need a fresh start, some sound guidance, a good roadmap to follow to your destination, which is great health, energy, sound sleep, vibrant vitality and the feelings of being youthful and sexy again.

I really don’t believe we were put on this planet to suffer. We are created of a higher power and image and that image isn’t one of a broken down body that suffers needlessly.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the “Life Robbing” and “Life Giving” foods list? Share your comments below.

To Your Health,


Holistic Health Coach

PS: Are you ready for your personal roadmap to health and vibrancy? Click here to talk and make a plan! Isn’t it time to take your life back?

Do you believe food can harm you?



Do you love to eat? I do and I’m not afraid to tell everyone that. I love everything about it, the relationship, the camaraderie, the laughter and of course the food. Do you know what I mean?

When was the last time you sat down around a dinner table with family or good friends and enjoyed the laughter, the stories about the day or week, the really bad jokes and just plain catching up?

I sometimes think that this has become a lost art form. I remember growing up and we all sat down for meals at the kitchen or dining room table. There was never any thought about eating in another part of the house in front of the TV or the computer.

For most, our lives get to be fast paced and hectic, especially if you have children or grandchildren that you are involved in transporting to and from events. That’s why it’s even more important to plan a meal or two together per week just to enjoy each other.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing a lot about Inflammation. What it is, how it affects our bodies, both positively and negatively and last week I shared what some of the best foods are for lowering inflammation that occurs.

I prefer upbeat, positive news, don’t you, rather than negative, dreary things? I also know that you can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend not to want to know things you should, which really is considerable when it comes to your health.

I find it to be one of the most complex issues in our lives today. Not to say that there aren’t others, as I know there are, health though is a tough one for so many people, including me at times.

We are all barraged with what we should and shouldn’t do what we should and shouldn’t eat and at the end of the day, we need to acquire a good firm foundation, which includes a wealth of great information, patterns and habits that resonate with you and take one step at a time.

Taking in everything at once is insane and often results in failure. Let’s tackle this together, one step at a time.

Since I focused on the good stuff to put in last week, read that article here, let’s tackle the not so pleasant list of foods that are some of the worst offenders for our health and for causing or exacerbating an issue currently with inflammation.

On top of the list is….

 1. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation. “They cause over activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.

2. Trans Fats, think hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils

3. Sugar

4. White bread and pastas (these break down slowly into sugar)

5. Alcohol (over moderation can cause leakage from the gut and sugar content in some cases)

6. Omega-6 Fatty Acids – our diets generally have too much

7. MSG (monosodium glutamate) – this little sneaky item is in a lot of foods and most labels don’t tell you that it contains MSG. You need to look for these following ingredient words, which means MSG it is ALWAYS present:

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Casein ate
  • Calcium Casein ate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein (Including TVP)
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Corn Oil

Because this is a big problem for everyone, I’d like to spend another article discussing MSG in general. You’d be surprised just what it is and what it does.

What is one thing you can agree to remove from your diet from this day forward that may be on this list, like sugar or white bread?

Remember, we’re in this together and we’re taking baby steps.

Until next time, make your day spectacular and healthy!



Deadliest diseases caused by this, do you have it?



This is the definition of inflammation, so what exactly is it and is it bad for me? Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard the word inflammation thrown around quite a bit. You might even think it’s a bad thing.

The body truly is a miraculous healer. Inflammation plays a critical role in this manner, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The body does know how to take care of itself.

Things like heart disease, obesity, depression, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance, etc. are all linked to inflammation in some form or other. I get that most people think that it’s really bad right?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s there for a purpose. Have you ever cut your finger or sprained an ankle? What happens? It gets red, swollen, and hot and it hurts right?

What this means is that our body is telling you that it intends to tackle this problem, it intends to take care of the source of pain. All of which is truly magical when you think about it and if you didn’t have the pain indicators, you’d continue to damage your body further and its absolutely necessary for the injury to heal.

Acute inflammation is the initial body reaction to some kind of trauma, like being hit, kicked or cut. There is also infection, sun burns, or skin burns, frostbite, allergic reactions and chemical exposure.

Symptoms of acute inflammation are increased blood flow that causes a warm sensation and it turns red, which brings leukocytes that are like the cleaning crew and oversee the healing process. Swelling typically occurs because extra fluid like plasma and leukocyte is brought in for the cleanup. Pain is another necessary symptom; otherwise you’d likely injure yourself further. Also losing some of your previous functionality happens too, just so you can heal properly.

So, if the body’s natural healing is inflammation how does it also play a role in heart disease, obesity, depression and the other things I mentioned?

When we have constant chronic and systemic inflammation, which is now beyond an acute immediate response and becomes turned on all the time and fully engaged, huge implications and problems happen. The whole process of the inflammatory process is supposed to be short lived, like several days or less. This isn’t obviously meant to be turned on all the time.

A lot of what the healing process is doing is breaking down the tissue and targeting damaged tissues and invading pathogens, before it starts to build it all back up, this same response had the ability to also damage our body. This normal system approach of healing is specific, targeted and short term and for this reason, we don’t want it getting out of hand and targeting healthy tissue, which is exactly what happens when our inflammatory system is turned on all the time.

There are many “stressors” that cause inflammation to get out of hand. Below are some of the problematic causes, which are reason for concern:

  • High sugar, high processed foods, bad fats (highly commercialized), high gluten coming from processed foods
  • High omega-6 and low omega-3 levels. Omega 3 is a really big part of the inflammation response. Our typical diets are typically too high in 6 and not high enough in 3.
  • Poor sleep or lack of sleep is another big problem. You know who you are.
  • Sedentary lives and not enough activity cause low-grade inflammation. We don’t even get out and walk like we should.
  • Chronic exercise also causes inflammation. If you run high mileage, your body is taking a pounding and you become chronically inflamed.
  • Poor gut health is another culprit because up to 80% of our immune system health comes from our gut and this also then control your inflammatory system.
  • Lack of down time and just being outdoors. Have you ever thought about how your senses come alive when you just unplug and enjoy nature?
  • Let’s not forget about stress and chronic stress. We all have some stress, but the real problem arises when we have repeated high, chronic stress with no release or lowering mechanisms in place.

So, I’ll end this segment with this. Now you know what inflammation is, what it does, why you don’t want it long term and what causes it.

In a future article, I’ll share some ways to help your body return to its normal inflammatory response mode and foods that will help this process!

Have you been diagnosed with heart disease, depression, obesity, auto immune or any other chronic illness or disease and what are you doing about it?

To your health,