Self Care is Non-Negotiable

This is not a blog post about me. I just want to share some thoughts with you. This blog is meant to be a wake-up call from my heart to you. I get asked this question all the time, you do so much… how do you do it ? I I’m an entrepreneur. I operate a wellness retreat with other therapist, which within I also run my own private practice. I am an aromatherapist and writer, and I also have my own family responsibilities. How to I manage all of this without breaking? This is how: It’s called self-care, and to me it is non-negotiable. My clients depend on me to be present  for them 100%.

I have seen the opposite in my private practice. Women that are completely worn out to the point where their health is affected. Some even ended up in the hospital because of stress related conditions that develop the later on. Ask them what happened before their body just broke down and said no more? Many times I hear them say that had so much going on in their lives with high stress levels and they just stopped taking care of themselves. They completely forgot about themselves.

One of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard multiple times have been women telling me that they aren’t “good at taking care of themself”. However their health was a wreck. My question is… if these are the consequences, do you think it’s really working? Do you think that you need to change something? And let me tell you, I’ve never heard a man say that. I have a higher male clientele in my practice than women. Never in 15 years have I heard a man say that they “don’t have time” or “don’t know how to take care of themselves”. Men just go get massage, they do it without guilt. Now I’m not saying this is a woman only problem, but is very prevalent. LADIES!!! You do so much. Your life, your work, you family’s depend on you. Don’t forget about yourself. Set your priorities straight and have me-time regularly. This doesn’t have to take a whole day, every little bit counts. Other things can wait. And guess what, no one else will do it for you. You have to do this for yourself. You have to put yourself as a priority, because you cannot pour from an empty cup. Don’t allow it to go completely empty to the point where your health becomes compromised.

Self-CareIs non-negotiable (1)

Do you know what happens when you take out time regularly to take care of you? You will show up completely different in your life. You just will. Instead of dragging through life completely exhausted and drained, you will be full of Vitality and glowing. And other people will also notice too.

But I don’t know how...

The key is to take care of yourself is to do it the same way you do to the others that you care about. If you didn’t grow up with a figure in your life as a good example of this, then it starts with you. If you have children, think of the good example that you’re going to give them because they follow what they see.

Boundaries- they are important. Life happens, it’s normal but there are certain things that we can control. When is time to take care of you and there are unnecessary interruptions, put a stop to it.

Exercise: Take a piece of paper and draw a line right down the middle vertically. On one column but the word yes, on the other column but the word no. Now start writing down a list of things that you will say yes to for now on, and things that you will say no to.

My Personal Wellness Routine..

I’m just going to share my self-care list of activities I do on a regular basis so that I can keep doing what I love without sacrifice, without depleting myself. Self-care can be different for everyone, just make sure that you do it.

  1. Receive massage -2-3x/month Thai Massage, Myofascial Release or other treatments.
  2. Don’t skip meals- especially breakfast
  3. Sleep 7-8 hours
  4. Morning Movement- some type of exercise, walking and yoga typically
  5. Aromatherapy self care- baths, self massage, etc.
  6. Reading and reflecting. Sometimes i do this while im doing #5. I love audios!
  7. Supplementation. Because it doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, nowadays you cannot get everything from your diet. Here is what I do.
  8. Write- I love to share, it is a great outlet. I recently discovered this amazing journal: The Morning Sidekick Journal. I’ll share more details in a future blog.
  9. Detox every season
  10. Mindset- stay positive and stay away from negative people!

What are you doing for your self-care? Please share! You may inspire others to do the same. ?


Flower Power- with Hibiscus!

Hibiscus Flower- Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus tea

Many of us have had the chance to admire this beautiful flower of the tropics. It grows commonly in tropical warm climates. Its is also the official flower of Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It is commonly used in landscaping to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Did you know that these delicate flowers are not only to admire with their rich, red color but they are also full of nutrients and powerful antioxidants and make a delicious, zero-calorie beverage? This exotic flower adds a burst of color, flavor and nutrients to herbal teas and recipes! Lets learn more…

Did you know?

Almost 15-30% of hibiscus tea is composed of organic acids which are malic acid, tartaric acid and citric acid. These acids are also found in many fruits such as grapes and citrus. They help in reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, promoting better skin, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and improving digestive issues. Hibiscus tea has diuretic and choleretic effects, thus controlling blood viscosity by reducing blood pressure and enhancing digestion. It has also been used in the past to calm muscle spasms.*

According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference one 8oz cup of Hibiscus tea contains: 20.48 g Iron, 43.6 g Vitamin C, and 702 IU Vitamin A.

Below are 9 Health Benefits of this Delicious Flower:

Hibiscus Tea delicious

 1. Healthy Heart- Lowers Cholesterol & Blood Pressure

Many studies have been conducted over the years that have shown Hibiscus to have heart health benefits. A six-week study found that three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure significantly, without unpleasant side effects (Journal of Nutrition, February 2010). How does hibiscus lower blood pressure? It has diuretic properties, it opens the arteries, and it appears to act as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, which means it slows the release of hormones that constrict blood vessels. Hibiscus has also been found to reduce blood lipid levels naturally.

2. Antioxidants Hibiscus is high in Antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your cells by neutralizing free radicals which cause disease in the body’s tissues, organs, ect. Antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea may also help in treating liver disease

3. Immune Support It is high in vitamin C which will also strengthens the immune system which can equal fewer colds!

4. Detoxifying  Hibiscus  tea is a natural diuretic which helps release excess fluid and impurities stored in the body. This also will help reduce excess bloating. Who doesn’t need that?

5. Weight Loss- Nutritious without calories, Hibiscus tea is a natural carbohydrate inhibitor. This is because it inhibits the production of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down sugar and starches. This means less storage of carbs converting into fat in places we don’t like (ex hips, belly thighs, etc.) That means a person’s body can’t use or store all the carbohydrates he eats, which can enhance your weight loss results.

6. Anti-Cancer benefits- Since Hibiscus is high in Antioxidants, it protects our cells and helps them to replicate well. This means, with less damage, or mutations, cancers often do not form that easily

7. Anti-Inflammatory- What a great addition this would be to your anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Because of its healing Antioxidant properties it may help with conditions such as Arthritis and/or swelling such as after an injury

8. Beauty- The way to beauty from the inside & anti aging is this: ANTIOXIDANTS ANTIOXIDANTS ANTIOXIDANTS! We want to get them from different sources in our foods. Hibiscus is high in nutrients and antioxidants. This equals a beautiful complexion with a healthy glow, as well as reducing the signs of aging.

9. DeliciousNot only is Hibiscus good for you, but it also tastes yummy. It’s kind of tart yet has its own natural sweetness. Sometimes I like to drizzle a little agave nectar or raw honey for added sweetness. A cup of Hibiscus will tantalize your taste buds!


Hibiscus tea can be enjoyed both hot or cold, depending on your mood. I love to make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge in the summer. Makes the perfect refreshing drink.

How to make the perfect cup of Hibiscus tea:

If you like to drink cold, let cool, then store in the fridge. Always sweeten while its warm, if desired.

  • 1 teaspoon  dried hibiscus flowers or 1 bag of Hibiscus Mint tea
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Steep Hibiscus in water 5-10minutes, then strain.
  • Add Agave necar, or honey for added sweetness if desired.


Berry Mint Hibiscus PopsiclesHibiscus Popsicles


4 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers or Hibiscus Mint Tea
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries( chop)


1. Pour dried hibiscus flowers in boiling water. Cover and let steep 5-10 minutes. Strain.  Stir in honey and lemon juice. Let cool

2. Divide berries in paper cups. Pour tea mixture into cups. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop (Or fill ice pop mold according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 8 hours or until frozen.

Where do I find Hibiscus?


Barefut makes a delicious Hibiscus Mint Tea. You can use it for It is organically grown without the chemicals or pesticides. Herbal-Teas1

Try this mouthwatering tea here.

How do you like to have your Hibiscus? Please share!

Note: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding any consumption of hibiscus tea, and let him give you a yes or no. #

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product(s) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article is copyrighted material written by the following author

Fernanda Santiago is a Health Professional, Weight Loss Coach and Licensed Massage Therapist. She specializes in helping people achieve optimal wellness using alternative treatments. She helps people look and feel great from inside out.  She is an Educator in Natural Health and wellness solutions. Read more on her bio here.



8 Steps to Wellness

This is something I teach in my practice Healing Feels Good in North Carolina. We can take steps each day toward getting our body and mind back in balance and to promote complete wellness. It can be a great reminder to keep ourselves on track and also work as a check list to make us self-aware of what we might be able to improve on in a daily basis.

Couple hiking

  1. Drink More Water: Your body is 60% water. It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and acts first as a building material!
  2. Eat Breakfast: The morning hours serves as a foundation for how our bodies respond for the remainder of the day. Did you know…You can speed you metabolism up by 20% by consuming Protein at breakfast? Skipping meals cause your blood sugar to peak and dip, affecting your energy and mood.  It can often cause over eating later on because you’re so hungry.

Quick Breakfast meal options:

  1. Get Moving! Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exerciseKeep it simple … But Consistent! Make just 30 minutes of movement your daily goal.               Research has shown that spending time in nature increases creativity and problem solving by up to 50%[1]. According to researchers “Our results demonstrate that there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting. We anticipate that this advantage comes from an increase in exposure to natural stimuli that are both emotionally positive and low-arousing; and a corresponding decrease in exposure to attention-demanding technology.”
  2. Get Massage Regularly – Get the best out of your treatments by getting them regularly. Just like your vehicle needs maintenance, so do our bodies. Massage for maintenance is recommended once per month. Need a therapist? Learn more about massage and find one near you.
  3. Nurture Your Spirit- Keep positivity close by and stay away from negativity. This includes: those we surround ourselves with (Friends, family, relationships), our lifestyle (physical activity) or how we choose to spend our time.
  4. Eat the Colors of the Rainbow- No we are not talking about skittles. Fill your diet with foods rich in color that come from the earth. Fruits and vegetables are high in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and more. The way to health starts with what you put in your mouth.
  5. Get Your Essentials, Supplement the Right Way-

Essential nutrients means our bodies do not make them therefore we must take them.  With our food supply compromised with over harvesting, GMO’s, toxins and chemicals it’s essential to take proper form of supplementation to fill in the gaps so our bodies can continue to thrive in this complex world.

** Watch video at: **

8. Sleep- This is the time where your body recovers, detoxifies, and regenerates. Better sleep = better health. Tips for better sleep here.

Snack The Right Way To Keep The Pounds Away!


These days we live on the go and it’s very easy to skip meals simply because of losing track of time. Instead of eating 3 large meals per day people are merging to having smaller, ‘on-the-go’ meals. On a positive note, this timesaving way of eating is actually more beneficial than the traditional ‘three square meals a day’ recommendation that your grandparents swore by.

Now, when we say ‘on-the-go’ meals we’re not talking about fast foods, crackers or “100 calorie” chocolate chip cookies. We’re talking about REAL food which includes: raw nuts, fresh fruit, smoothies and crisp vegetables. When you snack on these wholesome foods you give your body the nutrients it needs to function at its best, which is important for weight loss.

The Benefits of Snacking right:

  1. Prevents extreme hunger and overeating

When we don’t eat regularly throughout the day we become so hungry that when we finally do eat, it’s hard for us to tell the difference between what our bodies want and what they actually need. This leads to overeating. Snacking every 3-4 hours helps fight the tendency to overeat because it prevents extreme hunger [1].

  1. Provides long-lasting energy

Eating small meals throughout the day can reduce energy slumps. [4] According to Harvard Health Publications, “this approach can reduce your perception of fatigue because your brain, which has very few energy reserves of its own, needs a steady supply of nutrients”[5]. As long as you choose healthy foods, regular snacking can help keep you awake and alert —preventing the dreaded ‘midday slump’.

  1. Assists in balancing blood sugar levels

Balancing your blood sugar levels is essential for weight loss. Since our blood sugar levels dip every 3-5 hours after we eat, it’s important to eat more frequently to prevent this, and keep our blood sugar levels stable.[2] Snacking assists with maintaining a fast metabolism[3], which is crucial for weight management.

So, if you haven’t already, let’s make it a goal to prep ahead and never skip meals again. I like to carry small sandwich bags with me full of baby carrots, sugar snap peas and even berries. Choice Bars I also keep around in my glove compartment or in my bag. It has sufficient protein to keep me satisfied. You will notice such an improvement not only in every but also in promoting healthy digestion as you are eating more raw, fresh foods thought the day!


More Healthy Snacks Ideas:

Almonds, cashews and pistachios
These nuts are packed with nutrients and are low in carbohydrates. They are also a great source of protein and healthy fat.

Apples, berries, bananas and grapes
Fruit is a great source of antioxidants, and its natural sweetness can also help satisfy sugar cravings. Fruit is also dense in fiber and vitamins.

Carrots, bell peppers, celery and cucumber
Vegetables contain many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Top Tip: Dip in hummus or peanut butter.

Yoghurt contains probiotics and supplies protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium and magnesium. Yoghurt also assists with keeping your digestive system healthy.


Backed Apple Chips Recipe

No need to have potato chips when you can have baked apple chips! This delicious, crunchy snack is sweet and savory; ideal for crushing those junk food cravings! If you get them from your local farmers market, even better!


· 3 apples
· Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200°F. Cut apples in thin slices (we recommend using a Mandoline Slicer). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place apple slices on top. Bake for 1 hour. Flip apple slices, then continue baking for another hour. After baking for 2 hours total, turn off oven. Allow apples to stay inside oven for one hour – this helps add that extra crunch. Enjoy!









Online Coach: The Key to Weight Loss Success!

Need to get in shape? You don’t have to do it alone. With our Online Coach and unique interactive website and FREE mobile app. Never be confused by the process!

Features Of The Interactive Weight Loss Website


TLS Website features

Meal Tracker

With database of over 250,000 individual food listings – including specific restaurants and brand names – the Food Tracker allows you to precisely and conveniently measure your daily eating. You can see your plan and compare day to day even from the past.

Supplement Tracker

High-quality weight loss supplements can make a major difference in results, but not when you forget to take them! Take them at times that work for your schedule with both email and text reminders, giving you the best chance to stay on track anytime, anywhere!

Exercise Tracker

The Exercise Tracker allows you to efficiently plan your workouts, providing easy design, weekly scheduling and more! TRACK YOUR PROGRESS with detailed records of exercises, weights and repetitions.

Weight & Measurement

Easily update your weight, body measurements, and custom progress trackers unique to you (ex. coffee, attitude, etc.).. You can view progress and sort by 1, 3 or 6 month intervals, along with calendar year and year-to-date. The Weights & Measurement tracker delivers a timeline and graphical display for all your areas of improvement, displaying your goal, total weight loss, and how close you are to reaching your goal weight!




Resolution: Detox

?Resolution Detox 2015

Resolution: Detox – Starts ONLINE Wed. Jan. 7th, 2015

Lose 7-10 Pounds
Join us for our Resolution: Detox. How would you like to lose 7-10 pounds? Kick start the new year with a healthier new you. The key to a fresh start, whether you want to lose weight or just be healthier is through a cleanse.
Private Facebook Group
We have created a private Facebook group where you can learn exactly how to do a detox cleanse step by step and since it’s online, you can do this detox cleanse from anywhere. Lets do this together!
To participate in the detox, be sure you order your NutriClean 7-Day Cleansing System today.


FREE coaching provided by Lifestyle Coach Fernanda Santiago during the detox event.
Event: Resolution Detox
When: Starts ONLINE Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Join us for our “Resolution Detox” and you will learn:
• How can detoxifying help you loose weight, feel energized, improve mood, digestion and more.
• What are the safest & healthiest ways to detox?
• How you can improve the way you look and feel overall!
• Average weight loss is about 7-10 pounds
The NutriClean 7-Day System — uses exceptional herbs and botanicals to detoxify, cleanse, and purify the digestive tract and liver.
The NutriClean 7-Day System — is an excellent cleansing tool that should be used twice a year for optimal digestive, liver and colon health.

Weight Loss – Iraida’s Success story

Iraida has been through the TLS program and has not only transformed her body and health completely, but she has maintained for the past 2 years. I feel very honored and proud to have personally coached her through this journey.

Iraidas Sucess Story

Iraida’s Personal TLS Success Story…

The journey to weight loss can be a very personal and very emotional experience. Many people struggle with their weight every day, but they are not alone. See Iraida’s transformation and read about how her life changed when she found TLS® Weight Loss Solution.

1.) What types of programs have you tried in the past?
“I’ve tried Weight Watchers*, Hydroxycut and imposed my own restrictions.”

2.) Why did you decide to try TLS?
Once my coach presented the facts of TLS, I felt it was the right thing to try. It felt healthier and actually less restricting than other diets.

3.) What program did you follow on TLS?
Rapid Results.

4.) How much weight, inches and fat have you lost, and for how long?
I lost 28 lbs. and went from size 12 to size 8. I’m still there after almost a year. I don’t remember exactly, but the total that I lost between arms, legs, waist and hips was over 10 inches.

5.) Why do you think TLS is the best weight loss program out there, and why would you recommend it?
It is the best because it teaches you to eat healthier, to look into the nutrition facts, to make better decisions when choosing what to eat, not just to count points even when you are eating unhealthy stuff. I will recommend it because it actually works. This is the first time that I had lost weight and keep it off because I learned how to eat what is better for me and to be smarter about my eating decisions. Also I saw other changes in my body, not just the weight loss. The healthier lifestyle helped me tone more when doing exercise and my body looked overall better than when I was in my twenties.

6.) What are some tips for someone wondering if TLS would be right for them?
I would tell them to try it because it is a proven process to help you learn to be healthier, not a blind diet just to lose weight. It’s a program that is more realistic to their lifestyle, needs and self-determination, because that will be key to their success. This is not a miracle diet, but a lifestyle, and they have to be determined to make the changes. All the menus and ideas that I received helped me a lot, so having a coach is an awesome tool to stay on track. Other programs don’t offer that.

*Weight Watchers is not affiliated with Market America or TLS

Learn more about TLS Weight Loss Solution here

Sprouts – It’s Alive!


What is a sprout?

A sprout is when a seed is in the process of growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can come from vegetable seeds (eg. Broccoli, onion, beets, peas), grains and legumes (eg. Buckwheat, garbanzos, mung beans).

Why I love sprouting

This is what fascinates me: the fact that during germination sprouts “come alive” and triple or more in the amount of nutrients. There is an increase in Amino Acids, Enzymes, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene. Here is a nutrition fact sheet: SproutNutritionFacts

The process of sprouting neutralizes what is called enzyme inhibitors, which make the seed when its un-sprouted harder to digest. Have you ever eaten legumes and had trouble with gas after? Well, sprouting can help eliminate that issue.

Who wouldn’t want a live food that is higher in nutritional value plus easy to digest?


Sprouting is easy and fun!

If you know me by now, I like to keep things simple. Sprouting is perfect for a busy lifestyle as there is little time involved. I like to sprout in a jar.

I recommend getting a Sprouting Mason Jar that already comes with the screen lid. Some even come with the seeds to get started!


Follow the directions for each seed you get. But for the most part all you do is this:

  1. Get your clean jar
  2.  Add the amount of seeds specified(depends on what your sprouting)
  3. Add purified water- fill the jar
  4. Let soak overnight (while you sleep or 8-12 hours)
  5. Drain the water through the screen lid
  6. Place jar face down or at an angle in dish rack so that it continues draining(we don’t want too much water inside)
  7. Go on with your day and fill jar with purified water again this time shaking jar (stimulates them) and drain right away, lay jar at angle. Repeat this 2-3x/day
  8. After about 2-3 days(depending on sprout) your sprouts will be ready!


What to do with sprouts?

I like to add them to sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. For legumes, I sprout them before cooking the way I would normally such as in a bean soup or hummus. The possibilities are endless and adding this to your diet will be very beneficial in more ways to count.

 Buy your sprouting supplies and save!Mung Bean Sprouts

H2o -Lets Make Water Fun!

Your body is composed of about 60% water…don’t you think it might be important?!

Water is essential, meaning we cannot live without it. It plays a vital role in maintaining the pH balance of the body, metabolic processes, delivering useful products and clearing waste products, and is essential for all major organ systems of the body to function properly.

A number of disorders are related to water deficiency:Cucumber water

Kidney stones

Digestive disorders-constipation, acid reflux, gastritis


Skin Breakouts

Here are more benefits of drinking enough water:

1. Weight Loss Water is essential for a healthy metabolism and sometimes when we feel hungry, drinking a glass of water can curb your appetite. Sometimes our body is asking for a little hydration. If our body is dehydrate we will start to retain water.

2. Beauty- Want a more supple complexion that glows? Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper intake of water.

3. Detoxification- Our body detoxifies on a regular basis through our major detoxifying organs (Liver, Kidneys, Colon, Lymphatic System, Skin), however without enough water, our body cannot detoxify the way its suppose to.

While most commercial brands are full of artificial sweeteners, artificial colors,  high amounts of sugar and full of chemicals, you can mix up an entire pitcher of water at home naturally with just a few ingredients.  Using fresh fruits, and herbs is not only refreshing, but it also has added  benefits. Cucumbers for example helps to balance ph. Lemons are very detoxifying. The list goes on and on, but this will add variety and will only do good for your body, not harm.

Here are some recipes to make water fun:

Try some of these unique mixes. Add the ingredients to a pitcher of water and allow to soak. The longer it sits in the water, the more flavor it will extract. You do not need to strain.

  • Honeydew Melon/Lime
  • fruit waterCucumber slices
  • Orange slices
  • Strawberry/Basil- Scrunch a few fresh basil leaves and strawberries (cut in halves) to release flavor & squish a little with a spoon.
  • Blackberry-Cucumber Water
  • cucumber mint
  • watermelon (aprox 3/4cups)
  • Lemon/cucumber/mint
  • Raspberry-Lime
  • honeydew, cantaloupe, and cucumber
  • raspberry-mint
  • peaches & berries


Want to make sure you have the purest, clean water? Try the PureH2O Countertop Water Filter

 PureH2O Countertop Water Filter Benefits of PureH2O Countertop Water Filter:

  • Produces great-tasting water
  • Reduces chlorine taste and odor, and other contaminants that municipal water supplies don’t
  • Easy installation at a fraction of the cost of bottled water
  • Eliminates the waste generated from plastic water bottles
  • Features a dual-filter system using a combination of carbon filtration, ion exchange and  sub-micron filtration
  • Helps maintain healthy pH levels
  • Enhances mineral balance



I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! Lets keep working together toward total wellness!

How do you like your water? I would love to hear your thoughts.

A Calorie Is Not Just A Calorie

Many still believe that if you just simply cut back on calories, let’s say 500 calories less consumed daily, then that is the key to weight loss. Well, it’s just not that simple. If it were, then we wouldn’t have so many problems with obesity today. Then we hear of weight loss trends that are based on point systems to keep track of calories. These systems encourage poor eating habits, sometimes a person depriving themselves for hours just to have a meal or dessert at the end of the day. This in turn will destroy your metabolism. Simply cutting back on calories can help you lose some weight temporarily, but don’t count on it to be a permanent solution to weight loss. There are many factors involved.

The word “Calorie” originates from the Latin derivative Calor which means Heat.

Heat = Energy

We get our calories from food which provides our body with the energy and nutrients it needs for everything to function properly, including our metabolism, the fuel we need to loose weight.

Fact #1- Not all calories are created equal.

A calorie, simply just a calorie?

The answer to this question is NO. Foods do not affect our bodies in the same ways. They impact our bodies in different ways (positive or negative) and get processed differently through our metabolism pathways.

Quiz: Which is a better food choice, a 100 calorie bag of chocolate chip cookies or a 400 calorie avocado?

Chocolate Chip CookieAvocado Health Benefits

Correct Answer: The body regards both items differently. To the cookie is says “ this is packed with sugar and chemicals, I cannot break this down. This will affect my hormones and cause me to store and gain weight.” But to the avocado it says “Hey, I know exactly what to do with you. I can break you down and utilize you completely.” The number of calories is not what we need to look at when making the right choices of what we put in our mouths.

We have been told “Read the labels!” But we have not been reading the right part of the labels. Forget the caloric count and read the ingredients. Just because a food is lower in calories does not make it healthier. Ask yourself, is this food in its natural state for my body to recognize it? If the answer is no, put it down because if you don’t, you will see and feel the consequences. Now if the answer is yes, go for it!

The foods we eat can directly affect the hormones that regulate when and how much we eat, our energy levels, mood, and digestion and how our body is able to detoxify on a daily basis.

Fact #2 Consuming excess calories is not the only reason people are overweight.

What is it that is causing us to consume so many calories in the first place?

They say that the only way to lose weight is to eat less, move more and that it is any individual’s responsibility to keep calories balanced.

Not all Calories are Equal

We need to stop blaming calories! It is not the calories’ fault. They are not the enemy. They are simply a measure of the energy your consuming which your body uses. Calories are essential to provide you with the energy you need for fitness, helping to keep your muscles working, your mind focused, your heart beating, and your total health. Simply restricting your fuel can actually inhibit your weight loss results. Its where the calories are coming from that we need to be worried about. Are they high in trans fats and causing your body to be in an inflammatory state?

Calorie scale

No matter what the caloric count is, the following foods cannot be fully digested and will end up getting stored as toxic waste.

Waste = Weight

  • Commercially prepared, processed foods
  • All sodas (including diet)
  • All frozen lean-style diets
  • All manufactured low-carb/calorie weight loss systems
  • Flavor additives to water –contain artificial sweeteners, sugars, dyes etc.
  • Heavy, creamy foods
  • Dairy from cows
  • Precooked foods
  • Sugar free desserts

It’s enough that we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. So why keep poisoning and congesting your body with processed foods,  that are hard to digest and eliminate? This will put a huge burden on your system, slowing it down and making it susceptible to disease. Ever heard of the term “Auto-Intoxication”?

I hope you never fall into the trap of thinking that eating foods that are “low-fat” or “low calorie” will keep you leaner. Remember, that the most natural foods are recognizable to the body and can be broken down completely and utilized, meanwhile unnatural foods cannot be broken down and will contributed to the slowing of your metabolism, weight gain, congestion, toxic build up, and premature aging.

So what do we look for when choosing our foods?

Since different foods can have varying effects on our health and well-being, we want to choose foods that are easy to digest, keep us satisfied, balance our blood sugar, insulin, leptin and grehlin hormone levels, and also keep our metabolism burning at an optimal level. This includes foods that are low in the glycemic index, anti-inflammatory and are in their most natural state.

Choose foods based on color that comes from the earth.

Evoo & Vegs.

From best to worst, here is a quick reference of foods to choose**:

1.       Raw fruits and vegetables (if organic, even better) such as apples, melons, pineapples, coconuts, grapes, bananas, avocados, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.

 2.       Low starch vegetables- lightly steamed such as zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, etc.(pretty much everything except for white potatoes, acorn & butternut squash, use sparingly).

 3.       Raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.

 4.       Cold pressed or stone-pressed plant oils, raw- olive oil, flax seed oil.

 5.       Cooked starchy vegetables- winter squash (acorn, butter nut & spaghetti), sweet potatoes, and yellow squash.

 6.       Raw unpasteurized dairy products, preferably from sheep or goat.

 7.       Whole grains- brown rice, oats millet, whole wheat, couscous.

 8.       Animal flesh -Fish and sea food-wild salmon, sardines, cod, grass fed, free range meat, hormone free.

9.       Natural Sweeteners only such as raw honey, agave and stevia.

 10.   Sweets- dark chocolate 70%+ and wine.

** You may also use the Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid as a guide.

Conclusion- lets not obsess over calories, and focus on eating healthy, natural foods that are low-glycemic and anti-inflammatory. By doing so, weight loss will just be a great side affect, and the pounds will drop effortlessly because it will balance your system so you will never have to struggle with your weight again. And if weight is not your issue, you will still feel full of vitality, energy and alive as your body is in a balanced state. This is optimal health. 


This article is copyrighted material written by the following author

Fernanda Santiago is a Health Professional, Weight Loss Coach, and Licensed Massage Therapist. She specializes in helping people achieve optimal wellness using alternative treatments. She helps people look and feel great from the inside out.  She is an Educator in Natural Health and wellness. Read more on her bio here.