Instapot Baby Food for Real People

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I am obsessed with food. Like, I think about it all the time. I am always asking my husband, “What did you want for lunch?” at like 9 am. “What do you want for dinner?” at like 1 pm. (I drive him crazy…haha). Part of this, is just that I need to plan in advance but also because I am just always thinking about my next meal. Before I went down the chemistry path, I was full on on a chef path. I just LOVE to eat and also cook.

Sidebar: I do realize that there are a lot of people out there, who hate to cook and its a big chore for them. I totally get that. It can be really stressful to constantly have to come up with food ideas on what to make, then actually go through the process of food shopping, finding recipes and then actually cooking. Which is why having to make food for a tiny human can be extremely daunting. That’s why I wanted to write this post. Making baby food is actually easier to make than adult food. It requires less thinking, but it will need some upfront work. The best things to have are a blender, steamer of some sort (or an INSTAPOT!) and a freezer. I also recommend these ice cube things that help too (which I link below).

I like having the Instapot for this because, its literally “set and forget.” When the time is up you don’t have to rush back to open it. It will just sit there, and stay warm for you for when you remember. Genius! (You can also use it for other things too…)

Ok back to story:

So, when it became time for X to start to eat solids, I was psyched!!! As a mom, we all want our babies to eat the “right” things at the “right” time. We started X on solids, I think…, right when he hit 5 months. He was sitting up and had become really interested every time we were eating. My dad kept telling me, “Give him food! He wants to eat!” Naturally, I became obsessed with his “first” food. I know that many people introduce rice cereal first, but when as I went down the google rabbit hole about this subject (cause you know we all do this), I learned you don’t have to and avocados are also a popular choice. YES!….love avocados! This made sense to me, because avocados are fairly neutral in flavor, have lots of nutrition and fat!! (And you know how I feel about my healthy fats…EAT OF THEM!).

So, we did it. At first, he was like “WTF are you shoving in my mouth?” But then on the next go, he LOVED it!! I literally just took some avocado and pureed it really smooth with a fork. Put some of it on his baby spoon and he happily ate it. I could basically add anything to avocado now and he would eat it.

Next came the actual purees. I decided to wait to give X fruits. I was very adamant about not giving him sweeter things from the get go because 1. He doesn’t need them 2. Breast milk is crazy sweet anyway 3. He needed to experience other flavors 4. He needs to love veggies.

Initially, I was just steaming whatever we were making as a veg. Then added a splash of water (never had to use breast milk because I never had any to spare, if being honest). Water works fine. Then just threw the food into my ninja and blended the crap out of it.

First foods were: carrots, peas, kale, broccoli, spinach, beets, butternut squash, cauliflower, green beans, and sweet potato. Basically any veggie I had, I just steamed and pureed. Then, later I introduced apples, pears, and bananas.

PS, Beet puree is crazy good. I could see a chef using that as her fancy puree add on to a fancy dish. Just sayin…

The only tricky thing we noticed was after pureeing peas, we had to push the puree through a strainer to get it smooth. Just FYI.

Enter the Instapot!

So, here’s the deal. Even though I am a stay at home mom. I still barely have time to shower, let alone make baby food at every meal. That’s insane and to the supermoms who are doing that, you are a supermom. I am never that together. The days I get showered and dressed are special days. So, I batch cook his baby food now. Enter the Instapot. (Note: if don’t have one, you can still steam the old fashioned way, but having the Instapot means if I forget it on the stove, it won’t burn..which I have done and he has had burnt carrots as a result..#truestory).

Organic produce is preferred (if you can swing it). Just less chemicals for a tiny growing human is just better in my opinion. Also, there is evidence that organic produce does contain more nutrients than conventional.

I have actually been using Misfits Market, (<referral) which delivers a box of organic produce for like 20 bucks every week. Super easy and I don’t have to go to the store!! We love it. So, if you hate going to the store, I would try this, if your area supports it.

Lets use the example of

APPLES

  1. Wash, peel, core, and cut up apples into cube pieces. Three apples makes enough to last a while.
  2. Add to Instapot with a dash of water.
  3. Put lid on, and tighten, make sure its set to SEALING.
  4. Press Pressure Cook (normal), and set time to 8 min.
  5. Walk away.
  6. When you remember you are cooking something in your Instapot (I never rush back to it when it stops, I usually let it sit for a few extra (or lots) or minutes…never hurts anything), go and vent it (or just open if its been a while). We have babies remember and therefore #mombrain.
  7. Now, if you have a stick blender, you can blend straight in pot. If not, just transfer apple mixture into blender and puree.
  8. DONE. EASY.
  9. Repeat with next veggie/fruit.

You can also leave them chunky and not puree, if your baby is eating more chunky solids. It will be soft enough for them to pick up and eat, which is why I cube it at the beginning.

Now, this is when I batch freeze. I bought freezer trays from amazon for this. This is the one I have.  I love it, everything pops out really easily and I just transfer them to a freezer bag once they are frozen.

I have bags of apples, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, beets, rice cereal, tofu, farro cereal, oatmeal, etc. in my freezer.

You can do this method with just about any veggie or fruit you have. If you choose to, you can add a seasoning. Certain veggies you might have to peel first like apples, pears, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, etc. But the same method applies for steaming.

So to make life easy, if you do this on one afternoon with a few different veggies, you will have enough to last you a LONG time.

My method is do this every now and then to up my stash. Then during dinner (or whatever meal I am having), and I am making something I think would be easily smooshable or just soft enough, I give him that instead (also to keep the variety up). If I have extra of that meal, I just put it in the mold for later.

This method really will always ensure you have food ready. No thinking about food later. No need to buy food. Its also super portable this way too.

Time to eat

When its time to eat, I just pop out a food block and thaw it (usually in microwave because I am HUMAN). Easy. Done.

For cereals: You can blend rice (or farro, or whatever grain) in a blender until fine powder. Then cook like you would be making porridge or oatmeal (1/2 c ground rice: 2 c water). You can individually freeze this too. You can do this in the Instapot too…same time, 8 min OR the use rice function. Both work the same, I found.

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Never buy baby food again.

You honestly don’t have to. Its expensive. They always add something to it. Once you see how easy it is to make it and batch freeze it, you will see that it isn’t hard. Plus, you have the peace of mind of knowing EXACTLY what you are feeding your baby, which is ultimately what every parent wants.

Also, what I have learned is that you don’t have to be so choosy with his foods. He literally eats what we eat. With that said, you need to up the variety in your diet, so your baby has variety too (if you are a picky eater yourself).

The other night, I roasted cauliflower and onions with some olive oil. Then just smashed some up for X and he loved it too. Your baby is not that picky. This is something I learned. He actually prefers the veggies over the fruits now. Which is awesome, in my opinion.

Also, I have bought this book which was SUPER helpful in the beginning. (I bought the kindle version, which was cheap!).

What do you think? Was this post helpful? Would love to hear your thoughts!

xoxoox

Lia

 

Eat a pickle: Good for your gut and your mind

A few months ago, one of my students told me about this site, where for about 20 dollars, they send you a box of organic produce. However, you don’t pick what they put in it. The site is Misfits Market  (that’s a referral link). Its awesome, they send you so much stuff! Its basically “cast offs” of fruits/veggies that aren’t good enough for the stores, but everything they have sent us so far has been good! I love it!

Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of cucumbers lately and one of my favorite things to do is pickle them. Not your standard vinegar pickles, but lacto-fermented pickles.

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Why lacto-ferment?

  1. They taste better.
  2. They are super healthy! Fermented foods should be at the top of your list of healthy things to eat. For some people this is tricky, because these types of foods might not be everyday foods. Other fermented foods are kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt and of course, pickles!

Fermented foods are excellent at keeping your gut healthy, or rather the bacteria in your gut healthy and happy.

The gut microbiome consists of over 1000 microbial species. You literally have more live bacteria in your body than your own cells! These little guys affect your immune system, digestive system, metabolism, vitamin synthesis, allergies, and MOOD.

Keep them happy and they will literally keep you happy.

Majority of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut. Also, I would think that if your immune system, digestive system and metabolism are working good, you might tend to be happier overall as well.

These little guys are super sensitive and can be affected by eating the wrong things, stress, antibiotics, environmental toxins, and other chemicals.

One of the first things we tell clients when they are feeling “off,” or are having digestive issues, inflammation issues or just want to get healthier, is to make sure their gut is healthy first.

Lacto-fermented Pickles

  1. To make the brine: Dissolve 2 tab sea salt in 1 liter room temperature water (filtered is better).
  2. Cut up your cucumbers (long ways like a sandwich pickle or into slices, whatever shape you like).
  3. Put cut-up cucumbers into a clean jar (I just wash mine really well with soap/water).
  4. Add flavorings.
  5. Once you add everything to your jar, fill it with your brine all the way to the top. Need to make sure the cucumbers are completely submerged.
  6. Then lightly place the jar lid on top. Don’t screw down, because the bubbles created will create too much pressure.
  7. Keep jar somewhere where it won’t be disturbed (I keep mine in a cabinet in my kitchen).

Flavorings: You can get creative with this. But this is what I like: A handful of fresh dill, half garlic clove, 1 tsp peppercorns, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 dry thai chile (can omit if don’t want spicy).

Check on them in a few days and see if you like the taste of them. If they aren’t “pickled” enough for you, just let them sit longer.

Notes: You want to see bubbles and cloudiness, that means its working. If you see anything else strange, something else is going on and you might need to start over.

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Let me know if you try them! I also pickled carrots too!

What happens Carbs after you eat them – Part 2

 

I discussed the initial breakdown and digestion of carbohydrates last time. So, what happens from here? Where does all this glucose go in your body? What does your body do with it? This is actually where things get more interesting (I think) and how carbs get a bad reputation (and basically the whole premise of low carb diets).

So we just ate, digested (which really means, our digestive system broke down in tiny pieces) carbohydrates into little sugar molecules that get sent to your liver: mainly glucose and fructose. All carbohydrates contain glucose. But you also get a fair amount of fructose sugars too if you have eaten anything containing table sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, and fruit! So now you have a bunch of glucose and fructose hanging out in your liver.

Your liver’s main job is to process everything that gets into it from your digestive system. Everything that gets digested and absorbed from your small intestine (except FAT), gets transported to your liver directly to be processed. Your liver basically decides if its good/useful (and sends it into your blood stream), bad (breaks it down to be eliminated) or needs to be changed into something useful.

Glucose is put in the “useful” category. Fructose is put in the “needs to be changed” category.

Fructose is then turned into glucose, to make it useful. So now, you have a ton of glucose hanging out in your liver! Three main things are done with it:

  1. A good amount is sent into you blood stream to be circulated in your body (this is your blood sugar). It does this because you blood is basically a highway to all your cells in your body. In order for the glucose to reach your cells, it needs to be put into you blood to actually get to them. Once they reach your cells,  your cells absorb it and turn it into energy. Your body uses this energy to keep your body running. This is why when your “blood sugar drops,” you feel tired and hungry. You body used up its quick, available energy source and is now telling your brain to add more (or eat something! to provide more glucose!).
  2. Extra glucose can be stored for later. It can be stored in your liver and in your muscles. The fancy word for this storage system is glycogen. You body only makes a limited amount of glycogen though. Enough to really last about a day. Your muscles use this stored glucose for you when you need extra energy (like heavy lifting or exercising), fasting (not eating), or in times of stress (both mental and physical stress). Once, your glycogen is used up, you will need to make more (eat more glucose!).
  3. Extra extra glucose gets converted to fat. Since your body only needs a limited amount of glucose for energy, and a limited amount to make glycogen, anything remaining gets converted to fat. Fat really is your body’s way of creating long term energy storage. Remember glycogen only lasts about a day (you need to constantly replenish it), but fat can last a long time, if its not used. Your body is very smart. It will put something it knows it can use into long time storage as a survival mechanism.

There is one important player I forgot to mention that is also involved in these three processes…INSULIN.

What is insulin? Its a hormone. What’s a hormone? Its a molecule whose sole purpose is to tell other things what to do. Hormones literally talk to your cells to get them to do things. Cells have these little “switches” on them that need to be turned on or off. Who controls these switches? Hormones.

So what switches does insulin turn on?

  1. Tells your cells to take in glucose to be used for energy.
  2. Tells your liver/muscle cells to store glucose (make glycogen).
  3. Tells your fat cells to make more fat!

Reason #3 is why low carb diets exist and a big reason why people are people told to limit their sugar intake. Insulin is only triggered when it senses glucose in your body. Therefore: no carbs = no glucose = no insulin

If insulin’s job is to tell your body to literally make fat, what happens when there is no insulin? There is nothing there to tell your body to make fat.

Now, if you are eating too much sugar/carbs over a long period of time, insulin is constantly being triggered. So any extra glucose that you body can’t use, will get converted into fat. ALSO, if insulin is constantly being triggered, your cells become desensitized to it (or “resistant” to it). So, what happens when your cells start ignoring insulin? There is nothing to tell the glucose where to go. This is bad. This is how diabetes is formed. Its almost like the “boy who cried wolf.”

Also, all this fat that is created overtime is what leads to obesity, heart disease and other problems.

So what to do? Obvious answer: eat less sugar! At least start with less “added sugars.” In the average diet in the western world (aka Standard American Diet or SAD), too many people are eating processed foods and not enough real, whole, home cooked food. Processed food contains a lot of added sugar

Just read the labels, if you don’t believe me. Look at the grams (g) of sugar in each serving. A teaspoon = 4 g sugar (if you need a visual).

So a really good place to start if you are in this category, is to start eating more real food and less processed food (basically anything that has ingredients in it you can’t pronounce, don’t know what it is, or is a laundry list of things). Stick to actual veggies and actual fruit. Make more meals at home. This is a really good starting point. Then you can tweak it from there. But by adding in more real food, you will naturally eat less of the other stuff and probably already will start feeling better.

Also, the more sugar you eat, the more you will want to eat it. And good news! The opposite is true too! The less you eat sugar, the less you will want to eat sugar! I would suggest a slow transition out. Just slowly start cutting out sugary things out of your diet. Give your body (and taste buds) a chance to adjust. This will be much more sustainable then the all or nothing approach. Slowly add in healthier foods to compensate. Or add in more protein/fat in your diet to curb cravings and also satisfy hunger (you will naturally eat less because you will get full faster).

You can also send me a message too, if you need help! If this was an easy task, no one would have health problems, so I get it! My job is to help in this transition and make it easier and sustainable for the long term.

Do you have any tricks to help cut sugar out? I would love to hear them!

 

June Newsletter

Hi Friends,

So, June is over, but I technically started this letter a few days ago and then life got in the way a bit, and I didn’t send it out, so let’s pretend its still June, haha.

In baby news, I am one week away from being officially in my third trimester!! I can’t believe how fast this year is going. (Also, I feel so huge already and I still have 3 months left!!, which freaks me out, no joke). We have started the process of getting his room ready. Majority of the the stuff that was in there, got relocated /stored (or rather, threw into a box that went into attic). We also bought the paint and supplies. I don’t want anything too “baby” or “blue” just because he’s a boy, so we are keeping a rather neutral theme (walls are going to be light gray), but then add in some fun details along the way. I’ll post pictures on IG, when its all done.

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I am halfway through my health coaching program, so excited!! I have learned so much already and I cannot wait to help people and spread my knowledge! This past month, we focused a lot on digestive issues, like gluten-sensitivity and how the microbiome plays such a fundamental role in our health. Also a lot about autoimmune diseases, allergies, food sensitives and leaky gut, and how nutrition plays such a huge role in helping people with these types of ailments too. Very interesting stuff.

I have thought all month about what to include in this month’s newsletter. I was thinking about getting back to basics.

Since “gut health” has been getting a lot of attention these days. For good reason though. Like many things, I have seen that many people still don’t have a good understanding of how our digestive system works and how it’s literally tied to our health. So,

 

“What’s up with gut health?” 

We have about four major organs involved in our digestion system (there are other helper organs, but let’s keep things simple): Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine and Large intestine. 
I think we all have a rough idea of how each work, but there are some things that I have found teaching the digestive system in class that many people don’t realize exactly how each work. 

1. Mouth. Yes, you taste and chew food (hopefully!). But in addition to chewing, there are actually enzymes in your saliva that already begin breaking down food further. So, the longer food hangs out in your mouth, the better, because in addition to chewing it, the enzymes (especially ones for carbs) are actually breaking things down on a molecular level as well. 

Quick explanation of an enzyme: Its a protein. It looks like pac-man (yes, like the video game). It has a mouth and everything. You have thousands of enzymes in your body (not just in your digestive system). They are molecules that make your body more efficient by making new molecules and also by breaking apart other molecules.  

Ok, back to to digestion.

2. Stomach. The big takeaway for the stomach is that it contains hydrochloric acid (which is crazy acidic, think pH 1-2, it would burn your skin if you touch it). The acidity of your stomach is so crucial for making sure proteins get broken down, pathogens get destroyed, and smaller food molecules can broken down. If the pH changes at all, these things just won’t happen. What could throw the pH off: Medicines (like an antacid…or others), bad food choices and even age can play a role. 

Side note: The pH scale is not linear, so even minor changes in the actual number, are actually big changes (The difference between pH 1 and pH 2 is 100 fold). So it’s a big deal if something affects that number. 
3. Small Intestine: This is where majority of your digestion happens. There are lots of enzymes here waiting to break things apart as small as possible. One enzyme for each job. Again, these enzymes are dependent on the pH of your small intestine (which is actually basic, pH 6-8). So, if somethings messes with that number, they won’t work.  Their job is to break things down as small as possible to get absorbed in the cells of your small intestine. Nutrients can only enter your body (for their destined purpose) if they are absorbed. No absorption = nutrients are useless. THIS is why they talk about the health of your gut being important. You could eat all the good things in the world, but if your small intestine does not absorb them, it’s pointless because they aren’t actually entering your body. The key thing here is to make sure your small intestine works properly. If the walls of your small intestine are damaged (from meds, bad food choices, allergies, disease, etc), nutrients will have a hard time getting absorbed OR the wrong things will slip by (creating even more havoc..aka “leaky gut”). 

4. Large Intestine. Everything that did not get broken down (and absorbed) by this point, ends up here. The major player here is bacteria! There are no enzymes here, only bacteria. The bacteria in your large intestine has been a big focus lately and there is a lot of research being done on it that is basically telling us, these little guys are doing A LOT. In addition to helping us break down food, they are linked to our mental health, autoimmune diseases and to our overall health in general. They even believe that these little guys are talking to our nervous system about other things. Isn’t that crazy? This is why you have seen an emergence in probiotics, fermented foods, and just gut health in general. What throws them off: meds (like antibiotics), bad food choices, chemicals, etc. 

So, what did we learn? A lot of things can throw off our body’s ability to digest food properly: too much medicine (especially antibiotics and antacids), wrong food choices and too much exposure to chemicals.  If we don’t absorb our nutrients properly, they won’t actually get into our bloodstream to go to the cells in our body. If we throw off the bacteria, it can lead to a whole cascade of problems that are linked to depression, brain fog, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, allergies, and basically so many things. 

Most of people’s “issues” are linked to bad digestion (improper nutrient absorption), but don’t realize it. If you suspect this may be the case for you, let me know and I can help your correct it. 

Arbonne’s nutrition program is also programmed to fix digestion too. Most people see it as a way to lose weight, but really you lose weight because your digestion is being fixed! Win win! I see now how powerful their program is to helping people fix a lot of problems…all stemming from digestive issues!! This program is perfect for people who don’t know where to start, work better with a support system, or just like being told what to do, because you get all the tools you need to be successful at it, like recipes and a support system! 

 

Super easy, quick,”real” pickle

Does anyone else love pickles, like I do? I don’t even think this is necessary a pregnancy thing either. I always loved them. I recently found out that pickles are a good way of adding more fermented foods into your diet to feed the good bacteria. However, those vinegar ones we generally buy in the store, don’t count! You have to make “real” ones. I found this super simple way to make them and I’m already on my 3rd batch this month. 

You just need a clean jar, veggies to pickle (like cucumbers, if staying conventional), salt, dill (dried or fresh) and one garlic clove. 

The amount of water and salt you need depends on the size jar you have. But for a regular sized one: Mix in 1-2 tab salt into 2 cups filtered water (you are making a brine).  Its ok, if salt settles to the bottom. 

Cut up veggies and shove into jar with the garlic and about 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tab fresh). Pour in brine. Place (don’t tighten, keep lose) lid on top of jar. Place jar in a dark place in your kitchen (like in a cabinet). Let sit for at about 3 days. 

That’s it! You should see tiny bubbles and cloudiness, and of course they should taste like pickles. If anything smells or tastes off, throw away and try again. Store in fridge. 

These are for dill flavored ones, but you can totally change up the flavorings to your liking! Let me know if you try them! 

 

Lia’s Favorite Product of the Month

In keeping with today’s theme, I figured it made sense to showcase Arbonne’s Digestion Plus. This is a supplement, so it will not replace a bad diet, no matter what. Its job is to “supplement.” But if you are doing the 30 days clean eating program (which in itself improves your digestion), or already feel your eats are good,  it’s a nice compliment. What I love about it is that it contains the trifecta: probiotics (good bacteria), prebiotics (food for the bacteria) and enzymes! It also contains other natural things to help like chicory, peppermint and chamomile. Its safe to use everyday, and I think it tastes really good, sort of like unsweetened tea.

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It comes in single serving packets (really easy to travel with). I tend to be really lazy about it and eat it like pixie stick, and then chase it with water (haha), but you can do it the real way and mix with water too. Some people also mix it in their smoothies or with a fizz stick. I make little “shots” of it for my husband to drink, because he’s lazy like me and prefers to shoot it, haha.

 

Happenings

I wrote two blog posts this month about what my time in Vegas and also my top 5 personal development books that have really helped me. Both posts are very personal to me and took me a while to write, so check them out! 

My health coaching business is almost ready to go live! Yay!! If you would like a free health consult with me, I would love to talk to you! It can be via phone, video chat, or in person! Or, if you know of anyone, just send them my way too!

Follow me here! Instagram @balancedlifewithlia

Arbonne products can be seen here!    Liaplaner.arbonne.com

And if you are interested in a deeper discount on products, want some extra cash, an extra income stream to “take the load off” or just a fun thing to do! Arbonne is letting people sign up to be consultants this summer for only $49!
That’s insane! Very few places where you can literally have your own business for the cost of a dinner out! Let me know if you have any questions about this or anything!

May Newsletter

Hi Friends,

How is your month of May so far! Look at me, I am on the ball so early this month (sort of, haha)! I think that is because my semester is over and I have some time back to think about other things. (Is it weird that I already miss it! I think its partly because I know I won’t be back til January. The students were so fun this semester).

Teaching and seeing how much they grew over the past semester (and year for some!) is always so cool to see. If I was never given the opportunity to teach, I would have never went down the path of health coaching. I really believe that certain things are put into your path for a reason. People are always so amazed when I tell them I am a professor. Because for my entire life, I was always so shy and very much of an introvert. Don’t be mistaken, that first year was the scariest and hardest thing ever. I still feel bad for those students during that first year. I had no idea what I was doing (honestly, there are days, where I still don’t, haha). Teaching (and really just the act of standing up in front of 30 people) completely took me out of my comfort zone. I was beet red every single time I got up front. It started with freshman chemistry labs…and then I was gifted the opportunity to teach nutrition…nutrition! The only thing I was told was to make sure there is some chemistry involved. :O This was a topic, I always secretly researched for my own health and curiosity. I read every healthy living blog and wanted to know about every diet. So when they told me that this was a course they wanted in the department, I jumped on it! It felt like, that was something I was meant to do. Have you ever had moments, where things are put in front of you and you just know “this is it!!” “This is what I have been waiting for?” But just didn’t know that was the thing you were waiting for? (hope that makes sense). That was it, and here we are. Sometimes dreams are fulfilled when you aren’t even sure what they are yet. You just have to know that everything is put in your path for a reason, even if you don’t know what it is at that moment. Things always have a strange way of working themselves out. Just be open to it and keep trying new and scary things. Now, I want everyone to have that feeling and to live healthier and more fulfilling lives.

And with that..I have a fun post about my favorite nutrition topic. Thanks as always for reading and your continued support of me in this journey. ooxoxox – Lia

“Let’s talk about fat”

Now, that my eating has basically normalized back to what it was pre-pregnancy (thank gooood), I wanted to share a post of fats because A. Its my favorite nutrition topic B. Love the science behind it..it all clicks! C. Fat things just taste better, right?!

Once, I started to learn the biochemistry about fats and what your body actually does after you eat them, I never understood why they got such a bad rap for so long. The science never backed up the “low fat” craze (which really started from the sugar industry and shady scientists).

Once I shifted my thinking, and stopping fearing fat (like we all did), my health actually improved. I lost weight, gained more muscle, got a ton of energy, my face finally cleared up and I regulated my hormones (which led to us finally getting pregnant!). Food just started to taste better! Also, I really missed butter. (Annnd, my husband lost about 60 lb this past year and I only buy him whole milk now, which he drinks about 2 gal/week of…just saying).

In my course, I teach a lot about fatty acids and cholesterol. Where they come from, what you body does with them, etc. I am not going to get into too much detail about here (I actually spend two weeks teaching about it), but yes, you need them to live.

Actually, you need more fat than you probably think you do.

A few of the main reasons you need fat in your life:

1. Every single cell in your body needs fat to hold themselves together. The membrane of each cell in your body is made up of fatty acids and cholesterol to hold all the gooey stuff inside the cell together and also to prevent unwanted things from entering the cell.

2.Cholesterol is needed to make a ton of hormones in your body, including estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, and even Vitamin D! Hormones are molecules that turn on/off important mechanisms in your body. Without them, you body just won’t work efficiently and a lot of health problems are actually due to hormone imbalances (and not enough people are talking about this!).

3. Another major reason you need fat is because its a very efficient energy source…so much so, that you body chooses fat to store because your body is very smart and stores something that is very efficient. It takes longer to digest and turn into energy, so if you eat fat, you actually feel full and stay full longer. No more needing to snack all time or overeat. You just feel more satisfied with your food.

4.Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These are both essential nutrients that your body needs to survive, but you can’t make them. So, you have to eat them. Needed for your brain and inflammation protection.

5. Some vitamins won’t get absorbed and into your body if you don’t have fat accompanying them, like the vitamins A, D, E and K. These are quite important for their own reasons.

Now, let’s break some myths:

Myth 1. Fat makes you fat. This is true only if you eat too much carbs/sugar then what your body can handle, along with the fat. The driver for producing fat in your body is insulin (which is one of those important hormones!). One of insulin’s jobs is to literally tell your body to store fat, HOWEVER insulin is only triggered when it sees sugar in your blood. So, if you don’t eat sugar..insulin isn’t released..and the mechanism to store fat just isn’t there. This is simple biochemistry.

Myth 2. Dietary cholesterol increases your “cholesterol” levels in your blood, which could lead to heart problems. There has been no conclusive evidence of either cholesterol or saturated fat leading to heart disease. Lots of studies have been done, but it hasn’t been proven. For every small study that seems to “prove it,” there is more to say the opposite. Again, you actually need cholesterol to make a lot of important things in your body and also saturated fat is used for lots of important things (see reasons above). The “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol” your doctor checks for, are actually different things. (I can explain this too in a separate post, if interested). Actually, there are a lot of good studies that see an increase in “good cholesterol” if you eat more fat. “Bad cholesterol” is actually linked to excess sugar intake, not fat.

If you feel like “something is off” or you are tired all the time, trouble sleeping, constantly hungry, face is messed up or just can’t drop the weight, even though you are doing everything right? Check you fat intake. Are you still fearing it? Stop it. Full fat is good for you. Your body is probably asking for it, and you aren’t listening! If you are worried about the “extra calories”..DON’T. You will naturally eat less, if you are feeding your body with whole foods, including fat from real whole foods, like nature intended. Again, give your body what it actually needs and its smart enough to do the right things with it.

So, eat all the cheese, butter, avocados, coconut milk, nuts, full fat yogurt or dairy, ghee, bacon (uncured), olive oil, olives, eggs (with the yolk), hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened mayo (or make your own!), grass-fed meats…I’m even seeing duck fat and lard coming back.

However, you still need to think quality over quantity, especially with animal-based foods. If you can swing it, go the grass-fed, organic route. It’s not just ethically better, but they really are more nutritionally dense than conventional. Also, real food first. Remember real fat, from real whole food sources is what your body wants and can use. You will naturally feel full and satisfied because you are eating real food. No processed or vegetable oils here.

Experiment to see what works for you. Everyone is so different. But if you need help navigating the food aisles, or what to eat, I am always here as your personal coach and friend.

Lia’s Favorite Product of the Month

The product I want to feature this month is a new one!! When I was in Vegas during the product launch and this came up on the big screen, I immediately got super excited!

The product is Mind Health, from the essentials line. For starters, its tastes really good, like really good (cherry lime flavor). Also, I think it really does work and it forces you to drink more water too. (I am totally drinking one right now, as I type this).

Its for when you have brain fog, can’t focus and just need to get your brain to work, so you can get stuff done. Love it! I seriously think this is me! I usually have this in my water (or a fizzy) and I do think I actually get more done because of it. Also, i swear it really does taste good.

Mind Health_social_image

Happenings

Follow me here! Instagram @balancedlifewithlia

Arbonne products can be seen here! Liaplaner.arbonne.com

ALSO: I need some help from you guys! As part 

of my health coach training, I need to start practicing on real people. If you are interested in a free initial health consult with me (so I can practice), please let me know. I will be forever grateful! It can be over phone, in person (if local), or via video chat!

Want to be part of our terrific healthy living group to help you get (or stay) on track this summer? We have coaching, accountability partners, recipes and everything you need to help! Let me know. I will get you started right away!
(Bikini season will be here sooner then you realize!)