How to Get Fit and Feel Great, Step 3 – Food Choices

I can hear you whining already! STOP THAT! It really isn’t that bad. I promise.

The number one reason Americans are overweight is because of what we shove into our pie holes. PROCESSED FOODS! They are poison. I am not kidding. They are full of terrible ingredients that not only don’t help us with health or nutrition, they make us FAT! I said it, the “F” word. But, it is true. I am here to tell you that changing your life from processed garbage and bad food choices does not have to be painful. It doesn’t have to be a bank breaker, either.


I hope at this point I have at least piqued your interest. The journey to your new and healthy life style starts with you. You will have to make the choices at the grocery store. You will have to chop veggies and cook meals. It is called real food, BTW. It is imperative that you start eating this stuff. There are added benefits…aside from weight loss. You will feel better. You will look better. Your skin, hair, and nails will amaze you. You will no longer have that midday crash. You will STOP craving junk food. Yes, I know, that sounds crazy. But, it is TRUE. I can tell you that it is, because I live it. I did it. I am doing it!


The very first thing I want you to do is go to your fridge and pantry. Look at the items that you currently have in there. I bet you have items like milk, Oreos, crackers, chips, soda (no it doesn’t matter if it is diet), canned veggies and fruits, some kind of peanut butter and jelly, white bread, and so on. What you should see when you make the right food choices in your fridge and pantry are items like almond milk, coconut milk, rice, fresh fruits and veggies, farm-raised fish, free-range eggs, nitrate-free bacon (yes, you can eat bacon), nuts, nut butters, real butter, etc.

To make this change you will need to commit yourself to being rid of processed foods. If you are not ready, hang out at steps 1 and 2. You really must be ready, 100%. All in. Because, when you commit yourself to living a life free of processed foods, you are going to be a NEW YOU!


Well, first of all, processed foods are foods that have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substances. Yum, right?

This is why processed foods are bad for YOU:

  • Processed foods and beverages are the biggest sources of added sugar (and HFCS) in the diet. Sugar is very unhealthy and can have serious adverse effects on metabolism when consumed in excess.
  • Food manufacturers spend massive amounts of resources on making their foods as “rewarding” as possible to the brain, which leads to over-consumption.
  • Most highly processed foods are loaded with artificial chemicals, including flavorants, texturants, colorants, and preservatives.
  • For many people, junk foods can hijack the biochemistry of the brain, leading to downright addiction and cause them to lose control over their consumption.
  • The carbohydrates you find in processed foods are usually refined, “simple” carbohydrates. These lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels and cause negative health effects.
  • There are many nutrients found in whole foods that are not found in processed foods. The more processed foods you eat, the less you will get of these nutrients.
  • Soluble, fermentable fiber has various important health benefits, but most processed foods are very low in fiber because it is lost or intentionally removed during processing.
  • We only burn half as many calories digesting and metabolizing processed foods compared to whole foods.
  • Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats. They usually contain cheap fats, refined seed- and vegetable oils (like soybean oil) that are often hydrogenated… which turns them into trans fats.

Examples of common processed foods include:

  • breakfast cereals
  • cheese
  • canned vegetables
  • bread
  • snacks, such as chips
  • “convenience foods”, such as microwave meals or ready meals
  • soft drinks

 Avoid These Guys

  • Artificial Ingredients – Rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t cook with it and/or can’t pronounce it, you probably should avoid it.
  • Refined Sweeteners –   Sugar (or corn syrup or cane juice or brown rice syrup or whatever creative name is on the label) is no longer reserved for truly special occasions anymore, and instead is lurking in yogurts, breads, crackers, flavored oatmeal, beverages, and even innocent-looking salad dressings.
  • Refined Grains – When grains are refined the most nutritional part of the grain (the bran and germ) is removed.
  • Factory Farmed Meats and Seafood – “Factory farms” raise animals in incredibly crowded and confined quarters so some (literally) never see the light of day. What’s more these animals are oftentimes fed unnatural diets (for instance cows were meant to eat grass, not corn that, by the way, is likely GMO) and given unnecessary synthetic hormones and antibiotics to ensure they produce the most abundant meat products as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Refined Oils – Shortening, soybean oil, and even canola oil are fairly new on the scene. That’s because they are basically science experiments that were dreamed up in a lab by the food industry. These highly processed vegetable oils are cleaned with chemicals, genetically modified, and sometimes even hydrogenated so as a result we like to avoid them as much as possible.
  • Pre-flavored Packaged Products – Food factories are going to use a lot more sugar, salt, oil, and unrecognizable ingredients than you would use to flavor these foods at home.
  • Imitation Foods – Margarine (or vegan “butter”), processed cheese products, imitation crab meat, pancake “syrup,” and “lemonade” powder. Believe it or not there used to be a regulation requiring manufacturers to clearly label foods like these as an “imitation.” But of course these products were looked down upon so it’s no surprise that the ever-so-powerful food industry got that regulation thrown out the window.
  • Low-Fat and Fat-Free Products – “Diet” foods are not only more processed (to get the fat out). When they take the fat out of these foods they no longer taste good so they have to add in a bunch of sugar. Binging on sugar and other refined sweeteners is the real issue here…not eating healthy fats like our ancestors have survived on for centuries.
  • Fast Food – Fast food places have somehow managed to screw up the most innocent, wholesome-sounding real food meals like oatmeal, sandwiches, and salads.


Don’t freak out. Perhaps you’re checking out all the stuff you should not eat and are thinking that there is nothing left. But oh contraire, that is not the case at all. You have so many options. You’re going to be on a journey of food and health and its going to be AWESOME! Now we can get to the good stuff. Literally!

When you are shopping,  try to stay away from the center aisles. That is where the processed foods tend to be, primarily. Still be consciencoius of what you’re buying. In the beginning you are going to have to read labels, understand ingredients, and educate yourself about good food choices. The good news is, after a few trips, you will be a good food choice pro!


  • Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables (shop for these at local produce stands)
  • Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  • 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (buy from a local bakery or make it yourself)
  • Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
  • Organic grassfed meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation, to find a local place click here)
  • Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine and beer!
  • Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  • All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation

Shopping on a Budget? No Problem!

Spend $20 on Fresh Produce

Always keep $20 of your food budget for fresh produce. If possible go for organic. This is very easy to do these days with more stores offering affordable organic foods.

Sample Produce Shopping List

  • One bag of chopped organic kale or spinach – $5
  • One head of broccoli and/or cauliflower – $3-$5
  • One bag of organic apples and/or bananas, etc.  – $5-$7
  • One bag of organic carrots – $2
  • Two Avocados or Sweet Potatoes, Onions, etc. – $4

If you want to designate $5 more dollars to your budget here, choose lettuces like romaine, or a spinach mix instead. Don’t want apples one week? Choose some oranges and bananas instead. If you don’t like one of the above options, buy a different veggie or more fruit instead. If you need to carry a calculator with you, do it!

Spend $10-$15 in the Bulk Section

bulk-food-300x222Now it’s time to head to the bulk bins. Here you’ll want to buy some grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, except … don’t go crazy with amounts. You don’t need a pound of almonds to eat all week long and don’t need a pound of beans either. Or, skip the bulk beans if you don’t like soaking them, and spend a few dollars on some canned options instead. Purchase nuts and seeds in one ounce amounts and only choose a few varieties each week. Remember, you can try a new kind next week.


Sample Bulk Foods Shoppping List

  • $3 worth of whole grain oats
  • $3 worth of raw almonds
  • $2 of beans
  • $2 of whole grain quinoa or rice

Options in the Aisle

canned-foodIf you prefer, you can also purchase oats and rice in larger bags found in the aisles (or in containers) that are roughly around the same price. Choose this option if you’re fine with eating the same grain all week and save a new grain for next week. Canned beans are also pretty affordable, which makes them a great option if you don’t have time on your hands and don’t want to go through several steps to cook them. However, make sure you rinse them thoroughly prior to use.


Sample Aisle Foods List

  • Two cans of chickpeas – $4
  • One bag of lentils- $3
  • One container of oats- $3
  • One bag of organic flax seed- $3

$7-10 on Dairy/Non-dairy Items


Pick up a non-dairy milk or whole milk. Buy a container of whole milk yogurt or non-dairy if you enjoy it, you can throw in some fresh fruit or granola. So good! Also pick up a dozen cage free eggs.

Sample Dairy/Non-Dairy Shopping List

  • One carton of organic whole milk or non-dairy milk (almond) – $3-$4
  • One large container of whole milk yogurt or non-dairy yogurt – $3-$4
  • One dozen cage-free eggs – $4


$7-10 on Frozen Veggies and Fruits

frozen-fruits-and-veggiesDon’t neglect frozen foods when you’re trying to eat healthy and on a budget; they’re actually very healthy for you! Plain frozen greens, berries, and veggies like broccoli are must-haves for budget-savvy individuals.  A pound of organic frozen spinach costs around $3 per bag, which would easily last you several servings. A pound of frozen fruit is usually around the same amount and you won’t have to worry about it spoiling before you eat it all. You can use frozen veggies in meals when the fresh veggies run out, and you can use the greens in fruits in your morning smoothies!

Sample Frozen Shopping List

  • One bag of frozen spinach – $2-$3
  • One bag of frozen berries – $3-4
  • One bag of frozen broccoli or mixed veggies – $4

ESTIMATED TOTAL  – $69 – See, it can be done.


Another option for finding supplies is to shop online. I shop at Thrive Market for most of my pantry items. I save quite a bit of money this way and can get products that are not always easy to find at my local grocer.


healthy-dessertYou can still enjoy desserts. They key is to limit them to once or twice a week. Furthermore, choose desserts that won’t sabotage your efforts. Instead of a piece of chocolate cake, try a homemade tapioca pudding. You can also opt for fresh fruits with yogurt or just the fruits alone!

The good news is you will stop craving sugary, processed foods after you remove them from your diet. It is amazing how quickly your body will respond. Within a few weeks of eating healthier food options, your body will be purging that junk out of your system and then the cravings will subside.

I won’t lie, the first few weeks you will probably stumble…just don’t fall. You are human and prone to making mistakes. If that is the case, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on track.


food-journal-300x200Lastly, it is very important to know what you are eating on a daily basis. You may be surprised. Regardless, you should get a notebook and keep track of what you are eating. At the end of each week, reflect back. I bet you will see that your food choices improve! You will also notice your waistline is shrinking! You will probably notice that your energy level increases, too! So exciting!

I am excited you have decided to change your life and become fit and healthy. You are in charge of your body, so make good choices! Go get ’em!


I hope you now see that making good food choices is not impossible, it’s not going to break the bank, and it will not be awful. I have lots of recipes that will help ease you into Step 3 – FOOD CHOICES on your journey to overall health and well-being. Stay tuned for the Step 4 – EXERCISE. If you missed Step 1 – SLEEP or Step 2 – HYDRATION, go back and check out the series. You will be glad you did.


How to Get Fit and Feel Great, Step 2 – HYDRATION

Now that you have started to work on Step 1 – Sleep, you are ready to dive head first into Step 2 – Hydration.

I am sure that it will come as no surprise that our bodies need water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work correctly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you are physically active, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid water loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Hydration 101

Good old H2O is critical for rehydrating when the body experiences fluid loss, such as when we sweat. However, if you’re working out for longer than an hour or doing a particularly intense exercise, you will probably need to replace electrolytes too—this is where a sports drink or electrolyte-enhanced water comes in handy. Be wary of overhydration: Too much water can lead tohyponatremia, which is when excess water in our bodies dilutes the sodium content of our blood. 

Sip on sports drinks and coconut water.
When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, the minerals found in the blood that help to regulate the amount of water in the body. Sports drinks, such as Powerade and Gatorade, can help prolong exercise and rehydrate our bodies because they contain electrolytes, which plain old water does not. Not in to sports drinks, or want a more natural alternative? Water-enhancing electrolyte tablets, coconut water, or a homemade sports drink could be potentially effective substitutes.

Turn to fruit.
Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids, though the dose of electrolytes can differ from fruit to fruit. Bananas and dates are known for having high levels of the electrolyte potassium, making them a great option for refueling during an intense workout, for example, a long run. To stay hydrated while keeping up electrolytes, it’s important to drink water while munching on fruit (fruit contains some water, but not as much as your water bottle).

Weigh yourself.
Hop on the scale before and after exercise. For each pound lost during activity, drink an additional 16 ounces of fluid. If your body weight change is three percent or more, you may be experiencing significant to serious dehydration. Losing a few pounds of body weight after exercise can put strain on the body and result in uncomfortable side effects like muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. To prevent sweating away the water that keeps us hydrated, have a water bottle at the ready.

Check the toilet.
As gross as this may sound, check on the color of your urine to make sure you’re staying hydrated. When properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow in color. Though it may be tricky to keep an eye on it, try to watch the urine stream, since the color of urine will dilute when it hits the toilet water. Store this handy, dandy urine color test in your phone or wallet to make sure your piddle is up to snuff—dark yellow urine may indicate dehydration.

Pay attention to your muscles. 
Lean muscle tissue contains more than 75 percent water, so when the body is short on H2O, muscles are more easily fatigued. When your muscles feel too tired to finish a workout, try drinking some water and resting for a bit before getting back at it.

Tame thirst.
Whatever you’re drinking, be it water, juice, or sports drinks, make sure to take a sip or two whenever you feel thirsty. Even if you’re not feeling totally parched, mild thirst is still a sign of impending dehydration.

Pinch yourself. (No, really.)
Go ahead, pinch yourself! Skin turgor, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal, is an easy way to check your hydration. Using your pointer finger and thumb, pinch the skin on the back of your hand (not too hard!) and hold for a few seconds. When you let go, if the skin takes a while to return to its normal position, you may be dehydrated.

Keep dry mouth at bay.
One of the first signs of dehydration is dry mouth. If your mouth starts feeling like the Sahara, head to the water fountain or take a sip from your reusable water bottle. A short water break between sets or during quick breaks from cardio can help stave off exercise-induced dehydration.

Stop if you get the dizzies.
Feeling lightheaded during a workout is a sign of dehydration and a signal to tone it down a notch. Though willpower sometimes makes us want to push ourselves through a few more reps or another mile, feeling dizzy is an indicator that it’s time to hydrate. When there’s not enough water in blood, both blood volume and blood pressure drop, resulting in dizziness.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated?

Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
  • No tears when crying

Additional Benefits to Staying Hydrated

Reduces Fatigue 

Although water does not provide energy in the same way carbohydrates and fat do, it plays an important role in energy transformation. Water is the medium in which all energy reactions take place. If you become dehydrated you will become lethargic, may experience cramping, and endurance and strength performance will suffer.

Helps in Weightloss

Water can suppress appetite naturally and increases the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits. This is thought to occur because a reduction in water decreases the efficiency of the kidneys, which results in some kidney functions being shunted to the liver. Since one of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body, it metabolizes less fat while performing functions normally performed by the kidneys. This results in less stored fat burned, and a reduction in weight loss.

Reduces Fluid Retention

The body perceives dehydration as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell) which can result in swollen extremities (feet, legs, and hands). Diuretics offer a temporary solution, but may cause more harm than good if abused. Why? Diuretics will cause the elimination of water, along with many essential nutrients. Also the body will perceive this conditioning as a threat and replace the lost water at the first opportunity; this causes bloating and fluid retention once again. Regularly drinking plenty of water will eliminate this problem.

Helps Your Kidneys

Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.

When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.

Helps Build Muscle

Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. Water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Since muscles are controlled by nerves, without the proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle strength and control will also be impaired. It is essential that you stay hydrated if you want to build muscle and experience optimal performance in the gym.


Increases Muscle Tone

Muscles are made primarily of water. Dehydration can prevent muscles from properly contracting, reducing muscle tone. Increasing water intake will help prevent muscle cramping, improve the strength of muscle contractions and quicken muscle response. Preventing dehydration will also help prevent sagging skin, since water will fill out the muscles, resulting in clear, healthy, and resilient skin.

Helps Maintain Proper Bowel Function

Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result isconstipation. “Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute.

Reduces Risk of Disease

Studies have shown that increasing daily water intake has shown to decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50%, and it may potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is also believed that water may prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Heart Health

Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. “If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and an American Heart Association volunteer.

Besides water, what else can I consume to stay hydrated?


Water is the best option for staying hydrated. Other drinks and foods can help you stay hydrated, but some may add extra calories from sugar to your diet.

Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you get each day. Even caffeinated drinks (for example, coffee, tea, and soda) can contribute to your daily water intake. A moderate amount of caffeine (200 to 300 milligrams) is not harmful for most people. This is about the amount in 2 to 4 8-ounce cups of coffee. However, it’s best to limit caffeinated drinks because caffeine may cause some people to urinate more frequently, or feel anxious or jittery. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables (for example, watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce) and in soup broths.

Tips for staying hydrated

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Purchasing bottled water is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap instead.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free!


Is Your Air Freshener Poisoning You?

Many of the air fresheners on the market smell fantastic but may be poisoning you. I did a bit of research to see what I could learn about air fresheners. I found several facts that really shocked me. I knew some of the air fresheners I used in the past bothered me, made me feel congested and gave me a headache, but I never knew why. These are some of the things I discovered.

Have you ever been at someone’s house and upon entering their residence you were welcomed with a nice fresh flowery smell? At first you think, wow, that really smells nice. If you remained for any length of time you might have developed a headache or started to feel a little sniffle develop. You probably didn’t think much about it but it very likely was because of an air freshener.


I never realized many companies do not list their ingredients on their packages. I found two different brands in my house that I have had for some time. I guess in the back of my mind I knew they couldn’t be healthy so I just stopped using them. I found a better and a natural way to make rooms smell divine that I will share a little later. For now, I want to tell you what I discovered and why I highly recommend you evaluate what you are using in your own home.

There is a little caveat used by the manufactures of many aromatic products including air fresheners that is pretty sneaky. The word fragrance is an area that companies can use to avoid telling you what they use. The reason given is the fragrance is a proprietary trade secret. If it isn’t 100% natural, how are you supposed to know if you can safely use it around your family and friends? These fragrances can contain multiple chemicals that may create allergic reactions or worse. They are potential poisons that can wreak havoc on your health.

These Chemicals May Be in Your Air Freshener

  • Benzene – a toxic solvent from coal tar
  • Camphor – Hazardous waste (on EPA list)
  • Dichlorobenzene* – an insecticide, carcinogenic, pesticide and increases rates of asthma
  • Ethanol – a carcinogenic
  • Formaldehyde – Poison
  • Limonene – a carcinogenic
  • Naphthalene – a carcinogenic
  • Phenol – poisonous compound
  • Phthalates (there are many chemical types) – an endocrine disrupter – Known to cause reproductive problems, birth defects, and hormonal abnormalities.

*1,4 – Dichlorobenzene is an ingredient in many air fresheners. This chemical diminishes the sense of smell. It makes people think the odor is gone but in reality the sense of smell is being chemically altered. The chemical is also being inhaled into your body. This chemical is known to be a carcinogenic and a pesticide.

The two air fresheners I had in my home were Glade Cashmere Woods PlugIn and Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea. I was able to get information on the SC Johnson website. I found the Glade PlugIn contained one listed ingredient, d-Limonene for the Cashmere Woods PlugIn product. As shown above, the Limonene chemical is carcinogenic.  Scary to say the least. What other chemicals lurk in the fragrance compounds?

I did not find any information on the Bath & Body Works website. I called the company and asked them to send me the ingredients in their Sweet Pea Wallflowers fragrance bulbs. She said the fragrance was proprietary information. She then said it contained Dowanol TPM. I asked her if she could email me the information which she said she would do. Upon receipt of the email, three ingredients were listed, Fragrance, Dowanol TPM and Color.

Here’s the email I received:

June 29, 2015
Case #3964440

Dear Debrah,

“We appreciate you taking the time to contact us in regards to the products that we offer.

We appreciate your request for information regarding the ingredients and/or formulas of our products. The information you are requesting is proprietary, therefore we are unable to answer your question. The success of our business is built on the extraordinary products that our development team and specialists create. Although we would love to be able to honor your request, we simply do not have access to that information, nor can we get it. General information, pertaining to ingredients and the manufacturing process of cosmetic and toiletry items, can be found at your local library or through a number of sources online. We encourage you to refer to these resources.

The following are the ingredients to our Wall Flower Bulbs:

Wallflowers fragrance bulb ingredients

  • Fragrance
  • Dowanol TPM
  • Color

Thank you again for contacting us. The feedback we receive from valued customers like you truly helps us improve our company’s products and services. If we can do anything else for you, please call us at 1-800-395-1001.”


Kimberly Clarke
Customer Relations Representative
Bath & Body Works

I must tell you, after receiving this email I was not satisfied. The SC Johnson Company was much more open about the ingredients they use. Even though none of the companies will tell what is in their “fragrance”, SC Johnson was more forthright.

What is Dowanol TPM?

Category Glycol Ethers (P Series)
Description Colorless liquid with a mild odor; [CHRIS] Odor of ether; [Dow Chemical MSDS]
Sources/Uses Permitted for use as an inert ingredient in non-food pesticide products; [EPA] Used in ballpoint pen inks, felt-tipped pens, inkpads, oven cleaners, coatings, rust, paint, and varnish removers, and in penetrating oils; [Reference #1]
Comments May cause mild transient eye irritation; May have anesthetic effects; Prolonged or repeated overexposure may cause kidney and neural injury; [CHRIS] Commercial product is a mixture of up to 8 isomers due to the position of the internal ether being linked to either the primary or secondary carbon atoms; Category members demonstrate LOAELs of 1,000 mg/kg/day (highest tested dose) in 13-week oral studies of rats for increased liver and kidney weight without corresponding histopathology; No hematotoxicity observed; [Reference #1] May cause mild eye irritation; Excessive exposure may cause anesthetic or narcotic effects; [Dow Chemical MSDS]

How Can You Keep Your Home Smelling Great?

  • Have a clean home.
  • Open windows whenever possible for fresh air.
  • Mix a few drops of pure unadulterated essential oils with distilled water and spray with a mister around your home.
  • Heat spices on your stovetop with some water (just keep an eye on it so it does not burn dry).
  • Keep live air purifying plants such as: a rubber plant, palm trees, Boston ferns, Gerber daisies, English ivy, peace lily, golden pothos, aloe, spider plant, snake plant, dracaena, chrysanthemums, weeping fig, or philodendron in your home.
  • Keep dried coffee grounds placed in containers around the house. This will help in odor removal.
  • Natural potpourri (dried herbs and flowers)
  • Soy or beeswax candles
  • MY FAVORITE – A diffuser with any number of healthy essential oils – This is my favorite way and it can now be yours with our SUPER Giveaway!

You can ditch the chemicals and have a clean smelling home. Toss the chemical laden air fresheners and stop the potential poisons from harming your family. Breathe easier and healthier air where YOU are in control.

How to Get Fit and Feel Great For Good

Getting fit is not something that happens over night. It doesn’t happen in a week or a month. It doesn’t even happen in a year. That can be a lot to digest, so let me explain what I mean. In order to get fit, be healthy, and feel good forever, you have to make some serious lifestyle changes. However, those changes will take time. You will have to embark on YOUR journey slowly and carefully so as not to get discouraged or burn out. I will outline a plan that you can use that will help you along the way. Take it day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. I promise, if you follow the simple guidelines you will not only lose weight, you will look great, feel great, and people WILL notice.

If I haven’t scared you off, you are a ROCK STAR and you are ready to begin. Now the question I am sure that is running through your head is, “How long will this take?” If you haven’t noticed, we are living in a world where we all want, expect actually, things to happen FAST. Like yesterday. If that is your expectation, you are going to be in for a big SHOCKER. Why? Because this plan is FOREVER. What??? Yes. Forever. This is not a get fit fast plan. This is not a diet. This is not a quick fix. This is alifestyle change that you will be making. You can start at whatever level you are comfortable. This plan is customizable. You will go at whatever pace you can handle. Now, I will suggest you try to push yourself a bit when it comes to exercise. YES! You will have to get up off that big ole comfy couch and move, but you will thank me…later.

I will outline the basics in this post and then I will dive in deeper each week. This way you know where we are going. You don’t need to know the directions until you get to the next place in your journey. This way you won’t get overwhelmed. I want you to be successful. That can only happen if you feel comfortable and confident. Let’s take a look at the four steps.




sleeping-baby-words-300x212Lack of sleep will cause you to gain weight. Yes. You must get in a good night’s rest. For example, if you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, and eventually this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.

It starts out innocently enough. “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

The immediate result? You may be able to fight off sleepiness. The ultimate result? Unwanted pounds as poor food choices coupled with lack of exercise set the stage for obesity and further sleep loss.

“Sleep debt is like credit card debt,” Zafarlotfi says. “If you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high interest rates or your account will be shut down until you pay it all off. If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.”

Not getting enough sleep is common — even talked about with pride — in the U.S. “We brag about an all-nighter, but we do pay a price for staying up late and getting up early,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County.

Click here for tips to get a good night’s sleep.

BOTTOM LINE: Sleep is imperative in your weight loss journey.
Your body needs at least 6-8 hours every night.


heat-stroke1-255x300Proper hydration has long been regarded as an essential key to weight loss, but the ideal amount that you should consume is often in debate. Because water is inexpensive and easier to come by than many other weight loss methods, however, any reasons that suggest it may aid in weight loss are not taken lightly by those struggling to maintain an optimal weight. Various explanations exist for why hydration is so important.

Importance of Water

Almost two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. Its roles include everything from removing waste to regulating body temperature to lubricating joints, just to name a few. Water also acts as a natural appetite suppressant and aids in metabolism. With all these functions, the consumption of water is vital to the normal functioning of the body.

Effects of Dehydration

A lack of water consumption can be detrimental to your body. If your hydration levels drop by only 2 percent, you may experience fuzzy thoughts, lack of concentration and difficulty focusing visually. If you often feel fatigued in the middle of the day and cannot figure out why, dehydration is likely the culprit, which in turn makes exercise difficult to perform. When you are not properly hydrated, you may also feel a burning sensation in your stomach that is similar to hunger pangs. This feeling can mistakenly lead you to unnecessary calorie consumption. It has also been linked to increased risk of cancer, premature aging, irritability, anxiety and numerous other ailments. Links have even been made between chronic dehydration and obesity.

BOTTOM LINE: You have to keep yourself hydrated to be successful in your weight loss journey.


I know you knew this was coming. Food choices are another huge step in your journey. It is very important to remove as many processed foods as you can. If they are in your cupboard, either finish them up or donate them. You will want to shop differently to see a difference.

First rule of thumb when grocery shopping: Stay out of the middle of the grocery store. That is where you are going to find the processed foods. Instead, stick to the perimeter.

Buy lots of fruits and vegetables. Organic is best, but if you are buying produce that is a start.

Next, if you are not a vegan, purchase meats and seafood. For seafood buy only wild caught. It is really not much more but it is SO much better for you. For meats, look for grass-fed beef and free range poultry. If that doesn’t fit into your budget, that is alright. At least you are not buying Oreos and potato chips.

Speaking of Oreos, sweets can sabotage your overall health and fitness goals. Sweets should be viewed as a treat and should be only consumed once a week. I know that sounds impossible to some, but if you are truly committed to changing your life, you have to reduce or remove the sweets from your diet. If you have dessert every night. Try eating it every other night. Slowly reduce the amount of times per week until you are down to one. Also, consider what your dessert options are. Keep in mind processed foods are not going to be a good fit.

Grains are important, too. A sure-fire way to get real hungry real quickly? Cut out carbs. Completely slashing your carbohydrate intake will melt away the pounds, but you’ll also be left with some not-so-pleasant side effects that can make it hard to go about your daily routine, like exhaustion and lethargy. “Carbs are essential for life as our brain and CNS (central nervous system) require them continuously to work properly. Restricting carbs completely will allow for any muscle mass to be metabolized to provide us with energy,” says trainer and RD, Tim McComsey. As long as you use them correctly and choose the right ones, carbs don’t have to hit the curb. “To get lean, a balance of the right amount of carbs first thing in the morning and after workout is ideal,” he says.

Here are a list of good carbs to stock up on:

  • corn (organic only – non-organic varieties will have GMOs)
  • bananas
  • oats
  • potatoes (white and sweet)
  • sourdough bread – try this recipe
  • green peas
  • whole grain pasta
  • barley
  • bulgur
  • wheat berries

Carbs should be eaten in moderation to get the best overall results.

BOTTOM LINE: Eat healthy carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables, and good proteins like wild caught fish, grass-fed meats, and free range poultry. Purge the processed foods. Limit sweets to once a week.
Eat good carbs in moderation.


get-up-and-move-300x300The dreaded word…EXERCISE. However, you have to move to see results. There are lots of ways to exercise. You will have to start with what you are comfortable with. For example, if you do not exercise AT ALL, start with walking. Take it nice and easy. Walk every other day for 30 minutes to start. Track your progress. Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise known today. Depending on how often you walk, you can manage to easily lose one pound per week or more. Think about it, in less than five months you can be 20 pounds lighter without spending hours at the gym and without going on a diet. Healthy and Natural World created this easy-to-follow guide to walking for fitness.

If you are active already, increase that level of intensity. If you exercise once a week, step it up to 3 times per week. If you only do cardio, add in yoga and free weights. You don’t need a gym membership to get fit, either. Here are some great gym alternatives:

Make sure to switch these up. Never let your body get too comfortable with the routine. Your body needs to be challenged. All your muscles need a challenge to stay strong and healthy…even your brain!

BOTTOM LINE: You need to include an exercise routine into your lifestyle.
Your body is designed to move. It functions better when it is challenged.


The way to becoming a new and healthier you will take time. Be patient with the process and with yourself. If you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and get back on track. Beating yourself up will not be beneficial. It will actually be detrimental. Remember, this is not a diet or a get fit quick plan. This is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. You will be implementing this plan at your pace. You will be in control of your new life. Each week I will focus on one of the four steps ∼ Sleep, Hydration, Food Choices, and Exercise ∼in the plan. Feel free to stay back until you are comfortable with moving forward. This is not a race.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. At the end of the journey, I will provide a plan outline, daily printables, shopping guideline list, and more. This will be an open and editable document for you to share your progress, struggles, accomplishments, and whatever else you want to share.

I am excited to share my plan with you. This is YOUR first step to becoming a NEW YOU!