Review: Tone It Up Diet & Fitness Plan

Being gluten free is pretty darn challenging at times. Unfortunately, one of the challenges we don’t tend to think about are diet plans. Most people assume that having celiac disease means you are at normal weight or even underweight. However, many individuals are diagnosed while being considered obese. In addition, patients tend to GAIN wait once going gluten free. Why? Well sometimes they are taking in more calories than average to account for what is not be absorbed. Second, gluten free food tends to be heavy in fats and added sugars as I’ve mentioned before. 

I’ve tried a few diet plans in the past and I was a little skeptical about the Tone It Up program. I came across www.toneitup.com one day while looking up some exercise tips and found these two very bubbly girls, Karena and Katrina.  Both girls are amazingly gorgeous and have incredibly toned bodies. Combined with their personalities, they make their workouts fun and entertaining! You know when you watch workout DVDs and everyone is doing stuff in sync while you’re falling around your living room? Not here! The girls switch off between moves and talk you through each movement. AND they lose their balance. It’s great. While doing one video, I stood there balancing on one leg and trying to do an extension on the other without letting my toe touch the ground. Yeah. It’s a great core workout but it can be tricky. While watching the video I noticed that they wobbled slightly too. They aren’t afraid to show their imperfections and it really was a breaking point for me. If they aren’t perfect, why do I need to be disappointed in myself for having the same struggle with a move? Lesson? Keep on doing it. I’ll get there eventually. I hope.

As for the diet plan, you can purchase different versions, including a gluten free diet version (as well as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free vegetarian, & pescetarian). I LOVE THIS. Yeah I know what is gluten free and what is not. I know that bread and wraps are generally off limits, but when I have to go on a diet and figure out a different way of eating, I don’t want to have to figure out gluten free substitutions as I go along. They have taken all of the guess work out of the equation for you. 

The diet consists of a morning drink (I stick with the bombshell spell versus the meta d) and 5 meals/snacks during the day. They teach you what you need to eat at each meal and when to avoid certain foods. Their website is full of recipes they have posted as well as those posted by members of the Tone It Up Community. Yeah- there’s a “community” too. Think of it as a built in support system. You can check in during the day with each other, trade workout ideas, meals, and even meet people in your area to work out with! (I’ve actually met someone on the TIU plan that goes to the same gym I do and we now go to yoga class together occasionally). 

I highly recommend this diet to those looking for something fun and looking for a trainer as well as a nutritionist. One of the biggest selling points for this plan are the workouts. Once each week you are provided with a workout schedule. It changes from week to week so you are never bored. If you choose to just do the workouts, you can check out their website and follow along without paying any fees. There’s no pressure at all! If you decide to do the diet plan, it currently costs $150. That gives you access to download the program and all of the updates/challenges along the way.  I did the exercises for a few weeks before I finally decided to go ahead and spend my money on the diet plan. It’s a great way to see if you think that you will like the plan without having to make any financial commitment!

Hope this helps!

xoxo

New Year? New You!

All right ladies and gents- it’s that time of year again! Let’s start 2014 by making a promise to start taking better care of ourselves. I use the word “promise” and not “resolution” because, to me, a promise is something we tend to take more serious.  The majority of us tend to use January 1st (okay technically January 2nd since most of us are still partaking in holiday indulgences on the 1st) as a restart date. It’s a great milestone to help all of us get to where we want to be and I challenge you to take better care of yourself this year. That can mean you stop smoking, drink less, workout more, start following clean eating principles, or anything else that will positively impact your health.

My suggestion is that you look at the changes you are about to make in “short term” segments. Forget getting in shape for swimsuit season! Instead, focus on what you can get done between now and Valentine’s Day. After then? Challenge yourself to get to April Fool’s Day! Oh come on, you have to appreciate that one. Next? Memorial Day. (Oh and if that seems just a bit to far, push yourself to my birthday- it’s May 16th. Feel free to send well wishes and/or gluten free cake).

Cheers!

xoxo

PS- Feel free to post your New Year’s Promises as a comment to this post to motivate each other!

Holiday Rehab: Peppermint Body Scrub & Cranberry Facial

Phew! The holidays are over! I’m not trying to sound like a grinch because as you know, I absolutely love the holidays. By now, though, all of the presents have been opened (and apparently I was a very good girl this year!), the yummy meals have been eaten, and well… lots of wine seems to have disappeared! All of this clearly means that I had a fabulous holiday season this year, but it also means my body is in need of some serious rehab.

Hitting the gym is my favorite way of rebounding from my holiday indulgences. Not only does it wake you up, but just because it’s the winter doesn’t mean you should slack! Plus burning all of those extra calories will certainly help keep off the holiday weight gain!

Now don’t forget to take care of your skin as well! Make sure to wash your face every morning and night and apply moisturizer twice daily to help beat the dry winter skin! Your hands and feet need extra pampering too! All of those heaters on at home tend to pull moisture out of the air leading to problems with those of us with dry skin! If you happen to be one of them like me, try these recipes to help repair your skin!

peppermint body scrubPeppermint Body Scrub

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 crushed candy canes (I’m sure you have some leftover and you need to crush them so put them in a baggie and take out some holiday frustrations!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional but highly recommended!)
  1. Melt coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds, or on stove top. Allow to cool slightly and add sugar and candy canes. Mix thoroughly
  2. Add essential oil and mix. You can omit this step if you want.

cranberry facialCranberry Facial Mask

  •  1/2 cup cranberries
  •  1/4 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup bentonite clay
  1. Puree cranberries and cranberry juice
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly
  3. Place mask in airtight container (I use mason jars)
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days
  5. To use apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off and continue your normal skincare routine

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten Free Shampoo & Conditioner

gluten free shampoo & conditionerThe decision to use gluten free shampoo and conditioner is entirely individual. Some people recommend using them, others do not. Now, please mind you that I’m simply sharing my OPINION on this sensitive subject. For myself, I try to use a gluten free shampoo and I do recommend it for my patients (please note that I’m a pediatrician so my patients are kids).  Gluten is not absorbed through the skin and I know that we generally do not go around eating our shampoo.  HOWEVER, kids do. They are constantly putting things in their mouth and I do not want to trust that they will keep their mouths completely closed while bathing. So yes, I do recommend gluten free shampoo and conditioners for kids.

As for myself, I have the annoying habbit of playing with my hair and yes, I can admit it, I sometimes use my mouth to hold sections while curling my hair. Don’t judge, you know you do it too.  This doesn’t mean I won’t use a shampoo that isn’t gluten free. Of course I will, I’m just much more careful when I’m using it. I don’t question it at the salon because I do not have the risk of getting it in my mouth when rinsing it out.  There are a few gluten free brands that are easy to find and very reasonably priced- you may be using them already and not even know it!  Lots of people with celiac do not use GF shampoo and conditioner and do very well. Others feel that it does cause a reaction and choose to use GF products.  If you opt to use them, here is a short list to get you started!

California Baby Skin Protectant Shampoo & Body Wash California baby is great- their website lists if there is gluten in their products or not. I highly recommend them if you’re just getting started because their website is very user friendly!

Dove Damage Therapy– Dove is great with their labels, if it contains gluten, it’s usually written on the ingredients list.

Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Hair Care Smells great and works amazing but pricey!

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner This is one of my favorites! It’s from Costco and very reasonably priced! It works great!

Savonerrie -great source of GF products

xoxo

Gluten free lotions

I had a few mixed emotions when deciding what to do when it came to beauty products. For myself, I’m okay with not being 100% gluten free with certain things, including lotions. I know you have to EAT gluten for it to cause a problem and I certainly do not eat lotion. Or do I? I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t seem very tasty, but there are other ways one can consume lotion. Generally not an issue for adults, but as a pediatrician, it’s something I try to caution my families about.  Kids are always putting things in their mouths. They bite their nails. They suck their thumbs. So… they kinda eat their lotion too.  So while I’m not super strict with myself, I do caution those with kids.  I do have a few products that I love that are not necessarily gluten free. I love Eucerin products, but they cannot guarantee my safety. My solution is that my unending love of aquaphor can continue- on my legs, arms, feet, and torso, but NOT on my hands.  My hands are gluten free zones most of the time.

Here’s my list of go to products for lotions/creams that are gluten free:

I know this is a pretty short list, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you. Yes there are plenty of gluten free options out there, these are just some of my favorite. They work great and they are pretty easy to find. You don’t need a Whole Foods near you! Target carries most of these brands too!

xoxo

Essentially yours

A few years ago I was introduced to essential oils by a friend of mine. Being a typical girl, I loved smelling the various fragrances and, as I’m sure most of you can relate, many of the scents triggered specific memories or feelings. Lavender has long been known to have a calming effect and is great for helping you relax. Citrus scents are great revitalizers- which is why it’s associated with summer scents/flavors! Eucalyptus (which is my absolute favorite) is great for that “clean feeling” and is often used to treat headaches, colds, and sinus congestion amongst other things. In homeopathic medicine as well as other non-western medical practices, aromatherapy is a well known and utilized tool. If you don’t believe me just think back to your childhood. If your mom was anything like mine, as soon as a cold started she would slather my chest with Vick’s Vapor Rub. What’s in that amazing little jar? Camphor, Eucalyptus oil, and menthol (amongst a few other things as well!).

One of my favorite things to do with my oils is to take a 4 oz spray bottle and fill it with water along with 25-30 drops of my favorite oil. Right now my spray bottle has lavender in it and I’ve sprayed it over the bed sheets/blankets for a calming feeling at night.

Another fun trick I have used is to take warm water with a few drops of oil and oak a few washcloths, ring them out, and put them in individual baggies. When I come home from the gym and need a quick pick me up, I can grab one from the refrigerator where I store them and hold it to my face for a few minutes and take some slow deep breaths. It works like a champ- between the cold and the aroma it’s heaven! (And in case you’re wondering- I use my orange citrus oil most of the time for the towels!)

I know a lot of people like to add the oils to the bathtub, but I’ve never had much luck with simply putting drops in the water. Oil doesn’t dilute in the water. Umm it’s oil. My best solution is to take Epsom salt and add a few drops of my favorite essential oil (usually 1cup salt to 20-25 drops of oil). I’ve been known to make 2 cups at a time and then store them in an airtight container. Mason jars work great for this! Then add 1/2 cup to the water (or more if you’re so inclined) and enjoy a nice warm bath for 20 minutes! It’s a great way to end your day! You can use epsom salts, sea salts, etc, but remember the larger the salt is, the longer it takes to dissolve. Plus, you have to stand on them to get in the tub and then sit on them. Do you want to sit on pebbles during a bath?!?! I think not!

bath salts/eucalyptus oilThere are a ton of different websites to learn about the benefits of different oils. I tend to use Aura Cacia most often. Their website is great and there’s an app for your smartphone as well! They even have an essential oil directory to help you get started!

http://www.auracacia.com/auracacia/aclearn/ar_directory.html

Enjoy!

xoxo

Pumpkin pamperin’!

Pumpkin is full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. Together, these help create gorgeous skin! Since I seem to be on a pumpkin kick lately, here is an awesome scrub to use to try to avoid that winter skin slump! 

 

Pumpkin Body Scrub (please note BODY, not FACIAL scrub)

Combine:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

While in the shower (and its best to let your skin soften a bit so I usually do it after I wash my hair), apply scrub in a circular motion from your feet up to your arms! Rinse and pat dry with a towel, apply your favorite lotion to help hydrate your skin even more.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Looking fabulous

Growing up I was a tomboy. I loved baseball, lived for fishing with my dad, and loved being outdoors. My mom tried her hardest to introduce me to Barbie dolls and all things pink! Granted, I did have a strawberry shortcake bedspread on my canopy bed, but I loved my He-Man figures more than my My Little Pony. However, it wasn’t long before I found my girly side. Eventually I lived for our trips to the drugstore to get new nailpolish or a face mask- all by the ripe old age of 12. Wrinkles beware!

Through the eyes of my teenage self, looking good meant people liking me. I was convinced that the prettier and skinnier you were, the more likeable you were- more friends, more popularity, more happiness.  I’d like to say that in my 20s I knew better. However, I think my 20’s were more of a learning experience in that regard. I learned how to appreciate my freckles. Actually, forget that. I LOVE my freckles. They are no longer the annoying polka dots on my body that my friends played connect the dots with in school. Instead, they represent so much fun that I had outdoors growing up. My grandfather once told me that I had freckles because God ran out of room in the sky for stars so He had to put them somewhere else.  I also learned to appreciate my curves. Yup. I’m not stick thin. Never have been, never will be. What I once thought were “thunder thighs” were actually strong muscular legs from running and playing volleyball. My hourglass figure is what men actually find attractive (thank you Sofia Vergara,  Christina Hendricks, and a multitude of other curvy ladies!). 

Now you might be wondering why this post belongs on a gluten free blog. Well, if you picked up in my last blog or two, I managed to ingest a small amount of gluten. Daily. For about 8 weeks. Doh.  One of the huge things I did notice was a change in my skin. It was dull, I was breaking out, my rashes started getting worse (eczema and psoriasis), and I was generally just well… exhausted.  Of course gluten does not cause acne. It does not change your color of your skin, cause bags under your eyes, or cause you to look like you just rolled out of bed in the middle of the afternoon.  However, it does cause you to sleep poorly (damn cramping), put more stress on your body, and your diet pretty well is shot because you’re not absorbing important things! One of the first things I did once realizing my mishap with gluten was get a mani/pedi.  Next, I started giving myself a few extra minutes at night for a facial. Did it cure my celiac? No. But it did help my skin heal from its glutenous battle. And I can admit it now. I’m vain. Looking good makes me feel good.  It’s so important that we realize that celiac disease has its emotional aspect as well. No one wants to feel sick constantly. It’s exhausting. So when you’re having a “celiac moment” (regardless if it’s for a few weeks like my silly slip or if it is a one time mishap) make sure you pamper yourself! It’s the best way to get back to feeling fabulous!

xoxo

Pumpkin lovin’

Ahh fall! It’s my favorite time of year! Bring on the warm cozy sweaters, hot apple pie, gorgeous leaves… and all things pumpkin! That’s right! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Yeah do you see conundrum? Most of the time you’re gonna have a hard time finding the gluten free version readily available. Then of course there’s the all important symbol of the season- the wonderful, spectacular pumpkin spiced latte! (Inset applause here)

So Starbucks lovers out there are all aware and in love with this yummy fall treat.  However, for you gluten-challenged folks out there, beware! Starbucks claims that nothing prepared can be guaranteed gluten free. While the syrups are mostly gluten free, they cannot guarantee cross contamination- likewise with the yummy toppings. So, if you’re someone that reacts to small amounts of cross contamination or just do not want to risk it- stay away! These are definitely to be enjoyed at your own risk!

That being said, pumpkins are one of my favorite things! So if you want to take advantage of all things pumpkins, I have a little treat for you! If you’re looking for super soft skin and enjoy papering yourself- try this pumpkin based mask! Just don’t eat it as the Bentonite clay is not edible. The mask lasts for a few days if you seal it and toss it in the ‘fridge. I usually use it every 2-3 days on my “rough patches” like my elbows and legs and once/week on my face. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.
Pumpkin mask
1c  pumpkin purée
1/2c bentonite clay
2tbsp honey
4tbsp water
3tbsp  almond oil
3tsp cinnamon
*super easy! Just mix it all together!

xoxo