Kale and blueberries won’t fix your life

kaleandblueberries

One of the most important things I have learned in my functional and holistic training is the idea of primary food.  This is food that does not go in your mouth.  I share with my clients that you can eat all the kale and blueberries you want, but if you hate your job for example, food will not “fix” the problem.  In fact you can have the perfect diet for you, but if you are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, in your relationships, have no spiritual practice, and don’t move your body, you will be unhealthy and unhappy too much of the time.

Most of us could use some serious work in one or more of these areas, and don’t realize just how much power they have over our ability to truly thrive.  Maybe you have the movement part down. You feel fit, have great energy, are confident in your body, etc., but are not happy with your relationships (partner, or anyone else you spend time around). Or you have a great career, and enjoy a deeply loving connection with your partner, but do not move your body in the right ways, and have no consistent spiritual practice.

Primary Food 3

These voids severely limit what I like to refer to as “background peace”.   How much noise is in the background of your life?  Do you feel heavy? Stressed out? Have existential angst? Always think about the past and future?  Worry too much?  You get my drift.  The list goes on and on and on.

In the past I used to think diet and exercise were all that mattered…now I know better. Over the last couple years I have focused intently on these four areas in my own life with wonderful results.  I have changed teaching positions at the school where I work, I have began to learn to move my body in different ways, and I have developed a consistent meditation practice.  I’m also working on the relationships in my life.  I cant begin to describe how much this has helped to increase my background peace, and reduce the “noise” in my head.

Scale

 

Its a constant work in progress, but a priority of mine and something I help my clients to focus on in their own lives.  Its also a balancing act, but balance is required.  It may never be perfect but there cannot be any gaping holes in your primary food or your happiness will suffer, a lot.  An unfulfilling career is one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness.  This is also the area most people ignore the longest, many their entire lives.  All the money in the world wont help much if you hate your boss, and/or what you do is meaningless for example.

Career

 According to a non-profit New York based research group, 52.3% of people in the United States are unhappy at work. This number indicates that millions of people everyday drag themselves into work.  What kind of toll is this taking on their health?  Stress like this is constantly being linked to all kinds of diseases.  That’s right, you can literally make yourself sick, even die, because you opted to not make a change, or actively manage your stress.  Is it worth it in the end to spend everyday doing something you don’t want to just to pay the bills?

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit http://www.breakfreewellness.net to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

 

 

How Red Robin’s Turkey Burger Made me a Health Coach

This is a guest post by Kati Kenfield, a colleague and friend of mine.  This is a great article full of humor and excellent nutrition advice:)

One clarification.  I am a big believer of eating healthy fats including clean, grassfed animal fats. For those that have not had the time to look at the science like Kati and I, understand she is referring to “bad fats” when talking about Red Robins hamburgers and turkey burgers.  The fact that they use industrial raised meat, which has a totally different nutritional profile then organic, grass-fed beef.  The fat is actually really good for you in a grass-fed burger from a healthy, happy cow living on pasture its entire life.

Okay, get your learn on with Kati!

 

I’ve always been a bit of a health nut. The crazy, greasy, cheesy, deep fried foods at restaurants honestly never really appeal to me – mostly because of the way they make me feel like I might die! When I decide to be “naughty,” it better be worth it. I always say – life is too short for crappy coffee, bad chocolate, mediocre burgers and bland cookies. If I’m going to have any of these things (plus others) it’s going to be high quality, real and delicious, and I am going to savor it!

So, one evening a few years ago, when dining out at the fine establishment called Red Robin as requested by our friends, I knew that having one of their mass produced, half plastic, processed hamburgers was definitely not worth it for me. Chain restaurants are never my 1st choice. In fact, I hate them, so as I reluctantly went along to Red Robin that evening, I knew I needed to be smart. The menu overflowed with burger choices, chicken fingers, and sugary ice-burg lettuce salads. Thus, I made the confident, sound decision to go with the healthier option of a Turkey Burger. And it was on a whole-wheat bun!?!!? YES! Success! No mediocre hamburger for me. Rather, I’ll go with the mediocre Turkey Burger – totally more worth it because turkey is better for me than beef – obvi!

turkey-300x143

Then, to make myself even more confident in my option-weighing abilities, I decided to go with a side salad instead of the fries. I’ve had Red Robin’s fries in the past and was never a huge fan. Again, if I’m going to have fries they better be damn delicious! Salad it is.

I felt good about this. No looking back, no second-guessing my order. I am a know-what-I-want, mind-body kinda’ gal. Boom! High-five me!

Well, not so boom. The only boom I experienced after eating this healthy-er option of a Turkey Burger was the boom I felt in the pit of my stomach an hour after the meal. Discouraged and curious, I went to Red Robin’s website to see if they had any of their nutrition content up online. Not only did they, but it actually is a pretty sweet system! You can manipulate each item on their menu by adding/subtracting toppings and sides to create the exact meal you want with the exact type of nutrition content you are going (or not going) for. Cool! Good for you Red Robin! I respect that. Keepin’ your consumers responsible and informed. Love it.

RedRobin3-300x159

I scrolled through the options and found my mediocre Turkey Burger. Up popped the nutrition info I was so curious about. I paused. I paused again. I read and re-read again. No. No way. I must have clicked on the wrong item. Nope… item is correct! I was dumbfounded – my innocent little turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun had 36 grams of fat!?!?! Whaaaaaat? How in the world do you cram that much fat into a turkey burger? What is really in that thing? AHHH!

I felt gross. I felt dumb. I felt tricked! I went on a rampage through the nutrition content of other items on their menu. How about their standard hamburger? Wait…for real? The hamburger on a white bun is BETTER FOR YOU than the turkey burger on a whole wheat bun!?!?! I sat back in awe. Five grams less fat and far less sodium. My frustration turned to anger as I realized what this meant not only for me, but also for consumers. What if someone was trying to lose weight and went with the more “responsible” option of a Turkey Burger at Red Robin as opposed to the hamburger that they so desired? Who wouldn’t assume that turkey is better for them than beef?!?! Turkey = lean, beef = fat! Duh! As if these individuals don’t have enough other hard choices to make during the day, how would they feel if they realized that the responsible decision they just made wasn’t so responsible after all? I. Was. Pissed. This was, and is, pure evil in my mind.

confused-baby-248x300

The next few days my mind raced as I thought about all the implications that this meant. I really have no idea what restaurants are putting in my food do I? And not like it really matters to me. I have no health issues; I’m not trying to lose weight. What about for the people whose health depends on it? My whole outlook on dining out, and food in general, changed that day. I used to LOVE to eat out! I thought it was fun, the food was delicious, and I (thought) I did a good job of eating decently healthy. Not any more. Now I found contempt instead of fun in the act of eating out, the food suddenly seemed bland and fake compared to the home-cooked meals I was starting to make more often. Over the next few years of making my own food 90% of the time, I noticed a huge change in my body and in my respect for food and its affect on my health. Never had I ever thought I could feel better than my Red Robin Turkey Burger consuming days, but I did! I had so much more energy and my body slowly shed a few pounds that I didn’t even know I could shed. Sold. I was sold. And I am more and more sold every day.

Now, when I do dine out (which is once a week on average – max!) I do my best to support local, sustainable and high quality food restaurants. Not only is the food 10x more delicious and clean (no more tummy booms!) but also I’m actually saving money this way even though the meals might be more expensive than Red Robin-esque restaurants. Quality over quantity is my mantra.

Still to this day my blood boils thinking about the trickery that is involved in the food manufacturing business. Eating food should not be a mystery to solve. Food should nourish us, give us energy and not be full of secret fat and sugar daemons. It should be real, whole and nourishing. Unfortunately, however, this is not easy to come by in our mass-manufactured, money driven food production world.

That is why I am here! I’m here to shine the light on how delicious, enlightening and fulfilling real food can be. So, go give that lonely apple sitting on your counter a hug (with your arms, or with your mouth!)… it deserves more credit than a deceiving turkey burger ever would. Its real. And I like real.

valentines-day-02-300x300

My challenge to you? If you’re going to eat out, Eat Local!

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a site that can help (and is awesome! Bookmark this shiz!)

http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

ELFlogo

P.S. I would love to meet you on Twitter: Here or Facebook: Here or Pinterest: Here … or why not all three? :)

And if you think any friends or family would find this blog interesting, please consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter!

BIO
Kati Kenfield – Health and Nutrition Coach
Denver, CO

I received my training at Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I’ve completed the Core Curriculum for Life Coaching from the Coaches Training Institute in California. I’m an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and I also received my bachelor’s in communication from Colorado State University.

I specialize in corporate wellness programs that result in healthier employees and lower healthcare costs. I’ve developed many customized workshops on nutrition and wellness, and I also offer individual health and nutrition coaching for men and women.

I look forward to helping you reach your health goals!

Best,
Kati Kenfield
Health and Nutrition Coach
www.timetoliveitup.com

The Secret to Great Looking Skin

how-collagen-works_zps0c67aa1b

Do you guys ever wonder why we always have to make things so complicated?  

Most good things in life don’t have to require drama or endless scientific study and analysis. When we look to our past, its obvious our ancestors had little to no time for this.  They just paid attention. They had too, they spent most of their time working so that they could stay alive.

What in the world does this have to do with great looking skin you ask?  A few months ago, a very pretty, young colleague of mine told me I had very few wrinkles for someone on the cusp:) That would be a guy in his mid forties according to her, lol. Thanks Q if you’re reading this! My secret? Read on.

One of the things that people did intuitively back in the day was cook their meat on the bone. You know like for Thanksgiving? Only they ate it like that most of the time, and for good reason.

In her book, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” Dr. Catherine Shanahan reveals what all past, healthy cultures had in common that allowed them to thrive, while their neighbors did not.  She identified four pillars of health, only one of which I am going to briefly discuss today.  All of the robust, super healthy cultures in history practiced these four pillars. 

Turkey Pick Ya that’s right, one of them was cooking meat on the bone.  The more the entire animal stays together: bone, fat, skin, marrow and other connective tissue, the better.  Not only does it taste WAY better, it’s also much more nutritious and delicious.  As long as you don’t overcook it, all the nutrients and flavor compounds survive, and are gently released into the meats juices.

The connective tissue in skin, ligaments, cartilage, and bone are released including glycosaminoglycans. They include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid…all found in nutritional supplements for joints.  However, there are many, many more members of this family of molecules. So much so, that joint supplements do not hold a candle to the real thing.  Just yet another reason to JERF.

Everyone has heard of collagen right?  Well eating meat this way is not only fantastic for supporting our joints, but for all of our connective tissue, including skin.  That’s because we get a large dose of collagen every time we eat that bird on turkey day. Problem is once a year is not enough.

Collagen works wonders when it comes to skin health.  It helps keep skin tight and elastic regardless of age.  That means a lot less wrinkles. Collagen nourishes and supports, allowing skin to be soft and have that healthy glow.  It’s one reason I always have a pot of bone broth in the fridge.  I also use a grass-fed collagen protein powder in my smoothies and other drinks.

Collagen is also found in your bone, arteries, hair and many other places. Believe it or not eating meat on the bone and preparing bone broth on a regular basis is about the closest thing to the fountain of youth you will ever find.  Bag the expensive, and chemically ridden creams and lotions, and instead apply the ancient wisdom of our fore bearers.

It will keep your skin looking awesome regardless of age, and you out of the doctors office for unnecessary prescriptions and surgeries.

Older healthy skin

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about taking charge of your own health, please visit my website, breakfreewellness.net  If you are ready to get started today, please fill out your individual health history and I will be in touch soon!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

Pinto or Porsche? Optimize Your Engine

Vegas

I should know as I’ve driven both cars…and felt like both cars.

The above picture was taken in Las Vegas last year just before doing a few laps in a Porsche 911 GT3.  Several years before I was super stressed out with school, a bad relationship, eating too much crap, depressed, not exercising enough and I was carrying around nearly 20 extra pounds. I even developed a weird medical condition my doctor could do nothing for. You get the picture, I ran like a Ford Pinto….lame.

Many people stay on the path I was on for their entire lives until they reach the breaking point. Then they go to their doctor and are given a pill, cream or liquid drug to manage their symptoms.  Things naturally get worse not better over time so a more powerful pill, cream or liquid is prescribed.  Again because this is not addressing the root cause the downhill slide continues and chronic disease of one form or another develops.  They feel and look like the random, lonely, unhappy Pinto below.  The worst part is they ACCEPT this and see it as normal.

pinto

Part of the reason I ran terrible was because my body wasn’t detoxifying optimally.  Not only was I treating myself poorly but I was also being exposed to the many chemicals, toxins and other pollutants in our environment.  Talk about a double whammy.  Everyday this happens through the air we breath, water we drink, food we eat and the environment we live and work in. It’s just a part of our modern world.  In the past 20 years alone we have been exposed to hundreds of new, loosely regulated chemicals that are being linked to numerous health issues.

The Porsche I drove was fast, high performing, cornered on a dime and basically ran flawlessly. She was obviously well taken care of (oil changed, fed high-octane fuel, tuned for ultimate performance and shown a lot of love). Just like her we need our oil changed, we need the right fuel and we need to show ourselves enough love.  One way to do this is making sure we have more toxins and other junk coming out of our bodies then going in.  Optimizing and tuning up our detoxification pathways is vitally important in order to feel, look and run like a Porsche 911 GT3.

Here are some quick tips on how to do just that:

  • Get between 7-8 hours sleep MOST of the time, this has to be a priority
  • Invest in a high quality air filter for your bedroom and water filter for your home (stay hydrated)
  • Clean up your personal care products and avoid phthalates, parabens, fragrances, and sulfates.  I just wrote a newsletter on this topic, sign up here for more info.
  • Avoid the dirty dozen and eat a nutrient dense, real food diet
  • Move towards glass and steel kitchen ware instead of plastic and teflon
  • Sweat heavily 2-3 times a week through exercise and sauna use (sweating helps to excrete toxins)

These are just a few things you can start doing to perform better, live stronger and tune up your Porsche.

Starting in mid-June I will be offering a beginner detox 8 week group workshop.  We will personally be meeting as a group (for those who are local) multiple times and/or over a conference call format on the phone for those out of the immediate area.  We will be learning among other things how to stimulate and support our bodies natural detoxification systems, the best foods for detox, how to make it sustainable (as in for life), the role career, relationships and spiritual practice plays in this process and many other important ‘non-food’ ways to detox. You can expect to lose weight, gain more energy, improve your brain function and sleep better for starters. I am just starting to put the program together so more info to follow soon!

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to live strong and own your health then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here.  As a thank you I will send you a free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Ready for a free health consultation now?  Click here and fill out your health history and I will be in touch promptly!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Healh

Top Ten ‘Other’ Weight Loss Strategies (#2)

Do you eat real food or food like substances?  When I first heard the phrase, “food like substance” it really struck a chord with me.  The majority of the American diet is precisely that. People everyday put things they believe to be food into their mouths without really thinking about what it is doing to them on a physical, mental or even spiritual level.

What we eat becomes an expression of ourselves, its information and instruction for our cells to do this or that and it is something we have control over. The study of epigenetics hypothesizes that we actually have the ability to turn genes on or off. Cancer genes, diabetes genes, heart disease genes, weight loss genes, etc., etc.  Were beginning to understand that just because Grandpa and his family had disease ‘x’ it doesn’t mean you have to as well.  Same goes for weight loss.

cereal-aisle

#2: Refined & Processed Foods

So what does it mean to process a food?  Things like smoking, drying, dehydrating or freezing for example are all ways to process the things we eat.  These forms of processing can be quite healthy and make food last longer if done right.

We all know what junk food is and what it looks like.  You have all seen the super colorful bags, boxes and cans displayed at the local grocery store.  I used to work for 7-up and there was a lot of marketing that went into displaying things in a certain way so as to entice consumers to buy our product.  From gizmos, to gadgets to free giveaways and even a lame pin-up calendar of the 7-up truck drivers!  Trust me that was nasty and you do not want to be subjected to it:)

junkfood_Junkfood_5-_NWS-_Kevin_Eisenhut

Not eating junk food may seem like a no brainer when it comes to weight loss yet too many people still believe that if what they eat is low-calorie and/or low-fat it will prove to be an ally in their weight battle. Nothing could be farther from the truth.  These franken foods are full of garbage our bodies do not recognize and overtime can wreak havoc as our internal systems attempt to adapt (including blood sugar fluctuations leading to insulin resistance which promotes weight gain and eventually a lovely case of type II diabetes). These lab made foods are created to be quickly and easily consumed which makes us eat more than we should.

junkfood1

All the junk food companies want their product right at eye level so you don’t miss them.  These are the very definition of food like substances (Oreos, Doritos, sodas, pastries, crackers, cookies, cereal the list goes on and on).  Flip them over and check out the ingredients and you will find stuff like: enriched flour, phosphates, sodium bicarbonate, corn syrup, sodium diacetate, (ya I spell checked it) artificial flavor, soybean oil, sugar, vegetable oil, raisin paste, modified cornstarch, etc. Ingredients like these are loosely regulated and vaguely labeled and there is very little knowledge of how they truly affect us.  The only proof is how much better you feel once you stop eating them and opt for real food.  This should be a HUGE indicator that they are doing damage and contributing to the health crisis in all modern economies.

Some of the above ingredients are banned in Europe and other countries as a whole list of health problems are linked to them.  Guess where I found these particular ones? In the elementary school where I teach.  It’s some of what my students eat for breakfast in the form of pizza, corn dogs and something resembling a cookie.  Yes, for breakfast and we wonder why so many kids are overweight, act out all the time, are moody, have ADHD, ADD and a host of other acronyms we like to slap on them in order to make prescribing drugs a lot easier.  I still remember one of my students who was a handful.  They put him on Ritalin and he became a ghost of his former self, almost zombie like.  It was as unnatural as anything I’ve witnessed.

Big Mac Kids

I can eat an entire box of crackers if I want to.  That is a crazy amount of calories and yet I’m still hungry.  Why? Because I have the calories and no nutrition. This is exactly what junk food companies design their products to do. Larger companies even have “food scientists” who engineer foods to appeal to our natural cravings. We love sweet and salty things and as you know most junk food is chock full of one or both. These so-called scientists turn processed foods into drugs which makes it very hard to stop eating them.  A lot of people experience withdrawals when they cut back or quit cold turkey just like with alcohol or street drugs which speaks to how proficient these scientists are at their craft.

Real, whole, nutrient dense foods taste just as good and without question are much more satisfying. When you eat this way you naturally stop when full and your cravings for junk food diminish over time as you crowd them out.  This leads your body to its natural “set point” that Jonathon Bailor talks about in his book, “The Calorie Myth”.   If you’re looking to achieve your natural, healthy set point (weight) look no further than eating real food (including plenty of healthy fats like real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, avocado, lard, etc.)  It will change your life…and allow you to lose your excess baggage.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about all things health and wellness then please follow my blog (left side of any page on my site) and/or subscribe to my monthly newsletter.  I will send you an excellent, free eBook on the 5 critical pillars of health as a thank you for your newsletter subscription!

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health

What price do you put on your health?

IMG_0032

New Year, New You

Learn how to live strong in 2015

This time of year many people think about their priorities and what will help make them happy. Then they start down that path after setting a few New Years resolutions and by February its back to the status quo.   Frustrating for sure and a big reason this happens is because they do not have the support they need. Someone to empower, coach and hold them accountable until they have, “learned to fish” and can feed themselves.

My Facebook page states, “The Groundwork For All Happiness Is Health”, words that I live by and deeply believe in.  Physical health yes, for sure but health is much more than just that. Eating kale all day and working out will only get you so far if you hate your job.  Anybody with me here?  In the past I have been super fit but absolutely loathed my career which greatly affected my happiness.  We spend most of our time working so its critical we enjoy what we do for a living or our health and happiness suffer.  Same with our relationships. If you can’t stand your partner try eating more kale and see if it fixes the problem.  Not going to happen.

People will drop $600 for a new iPhone, $175 for new shoes or the cable bill but freak out if they have to spend an extra 75 cents on an organic apple or pay a few more dollars per pound for grass-fed beef.  What the hell?  Can you enjoy your shoes, your new gadgets and watching TV if you feel like crap all the time?   How much money have you wasted on drugs, surgeries, doctor visits, hospital stays, etc., much of which is preventable?  What are you missing out on in your life by accepting sub-par health on any level?

Most of us just don’t realize how much control we have over our health.  Yes it may cost you more at the grocery store. Yes it may mean giving up or cutting back on some things you think you can’t live without.  Yes you will have to exercise and get some sun. Mostly it means taking your life back, saving thousands on future medical expenses, being a whole lot happier than you are now and just kicking ass when it comes to life.  Are you ready to break free?

If you or anyone you know could use a little hand holding in the above areas then please send them to www.breakfreewellness.net.  Its my job to guide my clients in improving their quality of life…for life.  If you don’t have your health your missing out on a lot of things you should be enjoying. Your missing out on life.  Empower yourself, I’ve got your back.

Om Shanti,

Bart Thurman–Break-Free Wellness
FDN & IIN Nutrition Practitioner
1507 18th Ave
Longmont, CO 80501
720-849-0124 Office
Break-Free, Own Your Health
breakfreelogofinal

30 Day Intro Real Food Challenge!

IMG_2629

Happy New Year!

Are you ready to break free of the current paradigm?

Your journey to health starts small…with just one step.  I remember several years ago deciding okay, I’m going to not eat anything with high fructose corn syrup after researching its many negative effects on the body.  I figured this would be ALL I did because what a pain in the a$$ that was!  Fast forward to today and I can honestly say its much easier.  It took me awhile to get to where I am and my quest continues.  I feel great, I maintain a nice lean weight without obliterating myself working out, my focus, clarity and mood are vastly improved, my tennis elbow is all but a non-factor and I have healed myself from a health condition my doctor could do nothing for among many other things.  We have SO much more control over our health than we realize. This all started with one small step that is allowing me to live a fuller life than I was previously.

Think about everything you put in your mouth as a choice.  Over time making small healthy choices can have a profound impact on your health. With this in mind I decided to create the 30 Day Intro Real Food Challenge and invite my clients, newsletter subscribers, my blog followers, friends and anyone else in the universe to join the JERF (just eat real food) parade. Starting Friday January 9th we will begin with a simple 3 day cleanse and then slowly start to eat more and more real food.  In fact the first few weeks are dedicated to this so its okay if you don’t know how to eat 100% real food yet.  The important part is to just take that first step.

IMG_2846
The point of the challenge is to help you begin to crowd out the less healthy foods with better choices as the month progresses.  As you eat more real food you will naturally eat less garbage. The last week of the challenge, week 4, the goal will be to eat 100% real food the entire 7 days using the recipes, ideas, experimentation and knowledge you’ve gained from everyone in the group up to that point.  To help us get started I will be including a 1 week meal plan to give you an idea of how to rally up and do this. If there is one takeaway from everything I have learned in my nutrition studies and hours of research is that it always comes back to eating real food…always.

We will work, communicate, support and share within the Facebook group, 30 Day Real Food Challenge.  Lastly don’t forget to join my newsletter for monthly articles, tips and advice on the latest in health and wellness. Upon doing so you will be entered into a drawing to receive a free bottle of doTERRA essential oils and you will get a fantastic free e-book on the 5 critical pillars of health.

Om shanti,

Bart Thurman–Break-Free Wellness
FDN & IIN Nutrition Practitioner
1507 18th Ave
Longmont, CO 80501
720-849-0124 Office

Break-Free, Own Your Health