Mindful Eating – What is it and why is it important?

Mindful Eating – What is it and why is it important?

Imagine sitting down at your team meeting conference table at 8:30 am. You smell a lovely free buffet-style breakfast and can’t wait to dig in. Now you are told to get your breakfast plate together and sit back down but don’t start eating yet. This is how my (Lucy’s) first experience with mindful eating began. It was an interactive demonstration that our former director graciously coordinated for the Nutrition team.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in front of my hot oatmeal thinking “okay lady, my oats are getting cold…” We were told to close our eyes and assess how hungry we feel on a scale of 1-10… and the oats got colder. Then, we were instructed to look at the food and smell it. Decide what we liked about the food on our plate (or bowl in my case). Now I’m thinking “I don’t care! I just want to eat.” Finally, she gave us permission to eat our first bite. Only one bite then set the utensil down to notice the taste, texture, temperature, etc. 

All the while, we were sitting in the dark and not allowed to speak to our neighbors or have any distractions. We continued at this glacier pace of eating for the next 15 minutes – in dark silence. After about 7 minutes I got on my iPhone under the table and posted on Facebook that clearly, mindful eating was a new form of torture that I would not recommend.

For a bit of background, up to this point in my life, most of my meals were eaten while on the way to school or work, sitting at my desk, in front of the TV, or while socializing with my friends or family. So the idea of getting quiet and tuning into my hunger was completely foreign to me!

Fast forward several years, many books, and self-exploration later, I’ve come a long way. Since then, I have adopted my own mindful eating habits that are much less involved than the demonstration and can be done more easily in everyday life.

What is Mindful Eating?

It’s more than just slowing down. Eating mindfully is about awareness and intention. It calls for deliberate engagement on our part. It is making thoughtful decisions on what we gather, shop for, and select. The absence of mindful eating is eating with distraction, on autopilot, or letting your environment be the sole influence for your food choices. When we learn how to be mindful eaters, it allows us to make meaningful, clear choices about the food we’re eating and why.

What are the Core Principles of Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating can be a challenging topic for a lot of people, mainly because they are unsure of exactly what mindful eating means. The core principles of mindful eating are simple:

  • Bring awareness to nourishing properties of food through the process of food preparation and consumption
  • Select enjoyable and nutritious foods
  • Acknowledge food preferences non-judgmentally and give permission to enjoy fun foods
  • Recognize and honor physical hunger and satiety cues
  • Use wisdom to guide eating decisions

Mindless Eating

You can’t talk about mindful eating without discussing mindLESS eating. Mindless eating involves looking at environmental cues and triggers around eating and recognizing that you are often eating on autopilot. Without awareness and intention, your choices can easily be influenced by the outside world. This happens a lot when you are…

  • eating on the run (in the car)
  • eating while distracted (TV, phone, computer)
  • eating from large plates and/or buffet style
  • alcohol consumption and eating

Mindful eating involves making adjustments to avoid these triggers that may compel us to eat an unbalanced diet, eat too much, or both.

How do you practice mindful eating?

Here are Well Balanced Nutrition’s favorite tips for overcoming mindless eating using tools and adjustments you can make in your daily life.

  • Sit and savor your food – try not to eat standing up or at the counter. Make a true effort to sit at the table while eating.
  • Eat off of a plate [not out of the bag] – this will help you recognize and enjoy the food you’re eating by seeing what food is truly in front of you.
  • Do your best to avoid electronics when eating – focus on your meal by putting away the cell phone or TV – at least for a few minutes.
  • Eat from smaller plates or start with smaller portions. You can always refill after a mindful check-in with yourself.
  • Stock your environment with Well Balanced choices that you’re excited to eat.

How to become a more mindful eater? 

It takes time and practice. Let us guide you on that journey with individual sessions. We’ll share strategies, help you take action, and keep you moving forward. Book a clarity call to get started today.


Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Who would have thought we’d be here? Suffering as a nation. Hunkering down for the safety of one another. Trying to stay connected while social distancing. Working, teaching, and schooling from home.  Praying for the essential workers who are on the front lines and keeping the world going to the best of their ability.

During this crazy time, Well Balanced Nutrition is here to support healthy habits, provide clarity around food choices, and help you overcome stress eating. We know that change is tough. Adjusting to your new normal at home may be challenging. That’s why we are here to support our communities in Durham and Clemmons, North Carolina. We have the wellness tools and strategies that will help bring a bit of balance back to your life, help you feel comfortable and in control around food, and manage the stress and anxiety that this situation brings.

How can I keep my food safe during COVID19?

The Nutrition Source from Harvard Health has the low down on food safety. This article provides the answers to your questions including how long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Food safety, nutrition, and wellness during COVID-19 | The Nutrition Source

Try These Strategies for Managing Emotional Eating

We asked and we heard you say that being so close to your kitchen all day long is hard. The fun snacks are calling your name and the stress can lead you down a slippery slope of emotional eating. Here are some strategies you will find helpful as you try to manage those urges. Remember to be kind to yourself! We are all human and Well Balanced eating is not fail-proof. (Start here. If you are new to Well Balanced Nutrition or just need a refresher, start here with What the Heck is Well Balanced eating?)

Keep Moving to Manage Stress

If you need a reminder of why it is so important to keep moving and stay active at home, remember that walking can:

  • Be an effective antidepressant in mild to moderate cases of depression
  • Protect an aging brain against memory loss and dementia
  • Support Vitamin D levels
  • Boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to the brain

And that’s just to name a few reasons why walking is like a miracle drug.

Also, check out these online workouts: Gym closed? Here are some free or discounted workouts to do at home

Manage All The Feels with Meditation

Meditation is a great way to feel all the feels, release some of the anxiety and find your center again. Several companies have shared free resources to help you continue or start a mindfulness and meditation practice during COVID.

Boost Immunity with Fruits and Vegetables

Running out of fresh Fruits and Veggies? How do you maintain a colorful diet full of produce when you are trying to avoid multiple trips to the store? One solution is to have your produce delivered! Below are several options or you may have a local farm near you that has a delivery box.

When you use up your fresh produce, don’t feel bad about eating frozen and canned produce. Both are healthy options. Read why below…

If you buy more fresh produce (and other food items) than you can eat, make them last by sticking them in the freezer. Here is a resource to help you know what foods you can freeze and how.

Keep Meals Interesting

Working with an extra tight budget now? Check out Struggle Meals. You’ll find super budget-friendly dishes in these free cooking episodes. Not too mention, he is so fun to watch!!

What are some healthy pantry foods?

Check out our healthy pantry staple checklist HERE.

Here are 4 more resources to help you cook from pantry staples.

How can I stay/be healthy through COVID-19?

Still feeling overwhelmed? We understand. This is hard. If what you really need is someone to walk you through these wellness strategies and take it one baby step at a time, we can help you feel more Well Balanced and supported through our virtual nutrition coaching services. Reach out today for an appointment.

5 Ways to Love and Respect Your Body

5 Ways to Love and Respect Your Body

“I love you Binky, but I don’t have to like you right now.” -How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days

How can I love and respect my body when I want it to be different?

Some days we feel fabulous in our body. Strong, vibrant, attractive and healthy. While the other days, we feel weak, bloated, unattractive and overall dissatisfied in our skin. It’s normal to go through these phases.

On the days that we feel the latter, which may be most days, we can work on improving our relationship with our body – even when we wish it would be different – by choosing love and respect.

Here are 5 ways to love and respect your body:

  1. Gratitude – being grateful for our bodies may sound hard to do when you aren’t feeling good about yourself, but it’s a powerful mindset shift. When you choose to focus on the good things your body can do for you it can pull you out of the dumps. Try saying or writing this… “I choose to be grateful for my legs that allow me to walk or run.” “I choose to be thankful that my body was able to bring babies into the world.” “I choose to be grateful that my body allows me to lift my kids up, play basketball, do yoga, walk and play with my dog, etc.”
  2. Stop comparing – “Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they’ll never be you.” Instead of comparing yourself to friends or what you see on social media, compare yourself to the person you were 1 year ago or 5 years ago. Have you become wiser, stronger, healthier or happier? Celebrate that progress! Take pride in any areas that you have grown. If you can’t find something to celebrate, explore what seems to be throwing you off course and be sure to pay close attention to #5.
  3. Be respectful with your words and actions – When your friend is having a bad body image day – would you tear her down further or lift her up and try to show her that she is beautiful? If your son was feeling less than his peers, would you bully him about it or remind him of his strengths? We would never treat our loved ones the way we can treat ourselves sometimes. Take a step back and ask yourself, would I say or do this to someone else? Learn to be your own friend.
  4. Shift the momentum – Sometimes, one feeling or event can trigger us into a downward spiral of shame, blame, and defeat. When you catch yourself in that downward motion, stop the momentum and take a single small step in the opposite direction. Say something nice to yourself, choose a balanced meal, or mindfully indulge a craving, move your body, get out and socialize, journal or call a friend. It usually just takes one step to shift your momentum. That one step will make it easier to take the next step up and so on.
  5. Know the difference between perfectionism and healthy striving – Brene Brown taught me this life-altering lesson that is so profound for me. I think this concept sums up how we can love and respect our bodies, even when we might want to change something about them. It’s about avoiding perfectionism, and embracing our flaws while striving for improvement. You see, perfectionism is always wanting to avoid all flaws and imperfections. It’s wanting and expecting the unattainable. It’s the thought: “I won’t love myself until I lose 50lbs, have a booty like Beyonce, abs like a bodybuilder and be able to swing around on a pole like JLo at a halftime show. 🤪” Unless you have the money and time to spend uprooting your life to spend hours in the gym and on plastic surgery, for most of us that’s not likely to happen. On the contrary, healthy striving is setting stretch goals that might be challenging but can realistically be met with some effort. When you are striving for a healthier self, it looks and sounds more like this: “I love myself, flaws and all. Nobody is perfect. I want to feel good and be strong. I know that today I can challenge myself to be a bit better than I was yesterday. I know that mistakes are normal (they don’t indicate that I’m unworthy) and growth is possible.”

I hope these suggestions help you love and respect your body even on the days it’s hard. I also hope it helps you understand the concept of radical acceptance of every step along your journey AND a realistic desire for growth and improvement.

How to stick to a diet?

How to stick to a diet?

Why is it so hard to stick to a diet and not cheat? Many fad diets that claim to work are not sustainable for the long-term. They come with many rules and restrictions that often backfire. Most do not stick with a diet for long even if they see initial results. Have you been on a diet, come close to your goal, and then found yourself going backward?

Help! I keep cheating on my diet.

You are not alone. This is a very common phenomenon for dieters. They are really diligent about following the rules of their diet, but then something happens. They get invited out to eat, they have a stressful day, or they succumb to the temptation of the sweets sitting out on the counter. Then they feel awful, defeated, and like they have to start back at square one.

Finish Line Mentality

Even those who see great results from dieting can struggle to keep things going in the long term. Going on a diet can sometimes feel a bit like a race. You have an end goal in mind and you make changes to reach that goal, but the changes never become habits. At Well-Balanced Nutrition, we call this the finish line mentality.

A few years ago, I had the wonderful experience of participating in Toastmasters. My mentor in the group encouraged me to earn the competent communicator title which required that I give 10 speeches. It was quite exciting. I was time planning, practicing, and presenting a new speech nearly every month. I felt more confident and competent by the end of that year. Then I stopped going to Toastmasters… Luckily for me, I still enjoy practicing and doing public speaking events; however, I stopped gaining new skills and feeling as confident as I did while attending the meetings. This is an example of reaching the “finish line.”

It’s not you, it’s the diet.

Going on diet-after-diet can start to feel like a wild roller coaster ride. At times it’s fun and exciting, but more often it leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated. I bet you could ask a friend or coworker and they would explain this has happened to them too.

Maybe, you thought this time is different and you were not just going on a diet but making a lifestyle, yet you fell off the wagon anyway. Whenever someone takes on a new way of eating we remind people that wellness is an ongoing journey. Making small, attainable changes that can turn into long-term habits is the best approach to reaching your health and wellness goals and that requires continued effort and growth.

 What to do instead of dieting?

Not surprisingly, we recommend the Well-Balanced Way. This includes a few steps you can start today!

  1. First, assess if you are falling victim to the diet mentality. It promises big results if you just keep your willpower strong. Unfortunately, will power is not a great source to rely on.
  2. Second, it is important to make the decision to ditch the diet approach and go another way. It may seem silly, but stating it out loud and/or writing down your goal is a very important step in the journey.
  3. Third, focus on your habits and your unique nutrition needs. Healthy habits are the things you do routinely that honor and serve every aspect of your health and well-being.

Food for thought:

A diet is not like an antibiotic. You do not go on a diet for a period of time to cure yourself of “fatness.” Instead, make the changes and choices that are going to serve you over the long-term and that honor your body.

Lucy Hayhurst

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I need to become in order to achieve this goal?
  • What resources do I need?
  • Who will be on my team?

Would you like a nutrition coach to help empower, educate, and encourage you? We are here to help.

One-Bowl Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Flourless)

One-Bowl Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Flourless)

Hello Fall

What better way to spend the first day of October than enjoying these warm and cozy Pumpkin Spice Muffins?! They taste like Fall and there are so many reasons why you will love them! Let me count the ways…

One-Bowl Wonder

I love playing in the kitchen, but I don’t love the cleanup. I’ve had plenty of clients tell me the same thing. It can definitely be a drawback to getting in the kitchen at times. Choosing recipes that need minimal equipment is key. This recipe only requires one big bowl (actually, I like to use a large measuring cup instead of a bowl) and a couple measuring spoons. Clean up is a cinch, especially if you use cupcake liners.

Full of Fall Goodness

Pumpkin pie spice is all the rage this time year and it’s no wonder. The mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves can bring about all the good feels of Fall. The pumpkin puree also makes these a delicious seasonal treat and it delivers a dose of nutritious goodness including fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, and riboflavin.

Balanced Nutrients

The nut butter and eggs in these muffins provide protein and fat while the pumpkin provides complex carbs. A mix of all the macronutrients makes for a well-balanced snack or treat. You can feel good about noshing on these with your morning coffee, with your lunch or in the afternoon.

One-Bowl Mini Pumpkin Nut Butter Muffins

What better way to spend the first day of October than enjoying these warm and cozy Pumpkin Spice Muffins?! They taste like Fall and there are so many reasons why you will love them!
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American, baked goods
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Well Balanced Nutrition


  • coconut oil spray or alternative
  • 1 cup almond butter or alternative
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie mix
  • 2 eggs large
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs chocolate chips optional



  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease mini muffin with coconut oil spray.


  • Add all ingredients, except coconut oil spray, to a bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, place batter in mini muffin tins 3/4 way full.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes until tops spring back when touched. (If using larger muffin tins, bake time will be longer.)
  • Remove from oven and let stand two minutes before removing from pan.


Opt for a natural nut butter. Check the ingredient list. The only ingredients for natural nut butter will be the nut itself and maybe salt. Oil separation is natural. When you first open the nut butter, stir very well. If you have peanut or nut allergies in your home, a seed butter like Sunbutter will work too.
Is Coffee a Health Food?

Is Coffee a Health Food?

Can you boost your health with coffee? Is it a guilty pleasure or a natural superfood?  We thought we would shed some light on the science behind coffee.

If you are like me, coffee strikes an emotional cord  – you love starting your day with a warm comforting cup of coffee. Is this a guilty pleasure or can your morning coffee be a part of a healthy, balanced diet? Good news! Coffee is a natural superfood. Today we are breaking down 5 ways coffee can boost your health. Plus, what to consider when making coffee part of your healthy lifestyle and fun ways to enjoy it.

Five ways coffee can boost your health:

  • Provides Antioxidants

    • Coffee beans are rich in antioxidants. These components protect you from damaging free radicals that can cause harm in the body. As you can see in the chart below, coffee delivers more antioxidants than certain fruits and vegetables!
  • Improves Athletic Performance

    • Athletes who take in caffeine pre-exercise burned 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise than those who don’t. A little caffeine post-workout may have benefits too. Compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo was shown to increase muscle glycogen by 66% after intense exercise, allowing athletes to exercise harder and longer next time.

  • Diabetes Prevention

    • This 2014 study showed that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than 1 cup per day over a 4 year period had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4 years compared with those who made no changes in their coffee consumption. Participants who decreased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup per day had a 17% higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Lowers Risk for Liver Disease

    • This meta-analysis suggests a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer in coffee drinkers. Research also suggests that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of other liver conditions as well.
  • Cancer Prevention

    • Coffee is valued for its high antioxidant value and phytochemicals, so it is no surprise that coffee has been linked to lower risk for certain types of cancers and may promote longevity. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, having lower risk of dying from many cancers – as well as other chronic diseases.”  You can read more about the research on the AICR website here.
Lucy pouring water into a primitive drip coffee maker during our Costa Rica Wellness Adventure.

Most are pleased to hear that there is evidence that supports the theory that coffee is a health food. And, all of these benefits are great. However, there are some things to keep in mind when enjoying your coffee. When thinking about how coffee fits into your lifestyle, ask yourself the following questions:

So my indulgent latte is good for me? Well…

If we are being honest, it’s really easy to outweigh the benefits of coffee when you start adding a lot of creamer, sweeteners, and syrups. Added sugars and artificial sweeteners have negative health consequences. There are healthier ways to enjoy a cup of coffee. Try frothing your own milk at home or slowly weaning yourself away from the syrups and creamers.

Is regular or decaf coffee best? It’s Personal.

Some individuals may benefit more than others from the effects of different food and beverages. This holds true for caffeinated coffee. Genetic variations can affect how fast you metabolize caffeine. Those who are fast metabolizers may get the most benefit from drinking regular coffee and those who have impaired caffeine metabolism actually may have some risk associated with drinking caffeinated coffee. Similarly, certain genetic variations have been linked to caffeine consumption causing anxiety. If caffeine doesn’t sit well with you or gives you an edgy feeling, you may want to stick with decaf or give up coffee for a week to see if makes a difference for you.

Does quality matter? Absolutely.

When it comes down to it, quality really does matter. We love a good bargain, but if you go for the cheapest coffee grounds at the store or get your coffee from the gas station, those coffee beans may contain a higher ratio of bean defects (such as insect damage, over-fermentation, and oxidized beans) and higher levels of mold. Plus, the coffee could be stale and acidic. Many of the benefits of the coffee compounds will still be present, but so will toxins and chemicals that can create adverse health effects.

Ways to enjoy your coffee:

When we add artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar on sugar, syrups, more sugar– they start to outweigh the benefits of coffee. If you want some sweetness to your coffee try adding a little stevia, monkfruit, or erythritol. Get creative and throw in some cinnamon or ginger. If you use creamer, make sure to check out the ingredient list. You may be surprised about what’s in it.

Think outside the coffee mug. Check out these fun ways to add it to your food.

Coffee isn’t just for drinking, try cooking with it! Use the grounds in anything from baked goods, smoothies, energy bites, or [combined with dried herbs] as a coating for steak or fish. Here is just one of the delicious coffee recipes from our meal plans for you to try  – another favorite to search for in our database is the Salted Caramel Latte Smoothie 😋. {Sign up for a free trial of any plan to explore all coffee recipes}:

Vanilla Coffee Bean Cashew Butter 


Drink it hot or pour yourself a nice glass of cold brew…

Because coffee acids are better extracted at high temperatures, cold brew can be up to 60% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. Great news if you worry about acid reflux. Plus, many people love the smoother, sweeter flavor of cold brew. Since fewer acids are extracted than from a typical heated brewing process, it doesn’t have the same bitter bite to it that can be off-putting for some. Here is a guide to brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Now you can sit back, relax, sip, and experience the health benefits that coffee has to offer. Have any questions you want to ask us? Let’s grab a cup of coffee and chat – reach out today.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Healthy Habits

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Healthy Habits

If you’ve been thinking lately “I could be healthier if only I wasn’t so lazy,” we’ve got just the guide for you. Below you will find a relatable story and the 3 steps to transform you from a lazy person to someone with momentum and healthier habits.                     

Recently, while talking with a busy small business owner, Kat Reher of Synergy Fitness for Her in Durham, Kat explained she would like to cook at home more consistently and states “but I’m just too lazy.”

To put things in perspective, this fun-loving, independent, and strong woman is not only running a fabulous fitness gym for women, but also is regularly adopting young kittens and helping find good homes for (or keeping) her furry friends. She may be up as early as 5 AM to help open the gym or cover a group fitness class then go to bed at 11 PM after wrapping up emails or other work tasks.

The point is, she is anything but lazy! We suspect the same is true for you.

Unless you’re living a life where you can lay on the sofa all day, not working, not making food for yourself or your family, and not cleaning up around the house you are probably quite busy and productive.

3 Steps To Overcome Lazy Vibes and Build Momentum

Stop calling yourself lazy.

It’s not helping you. As explained by Dr. Rick Hanson the author of Resilient, we all have an inner critic and an inner nurturer (or helper). Your inner critic is often louder than the nurturing voice. This critic is kind of mean and may sometimes call you fat, ugly, or lazy. It would be nice if we could just turn that voice off, but often the critic is stubborn and insists that if she was not there you’d be even worse. The key is to turn the volume down on this critical inner dialogue. Some find it helpful to say “cancel, cancel, cancel,” when the voice creeps in. Others, have a saying or mantra that turns the internal conversation around.

Find out why you’re *really* not doing what you say you want to do.

For instance, with our example above, Kat wants to prepare her own meals at home; however, she hates grocery shopping. The crowds and the abundance of choices are overwhelming and causes her to retreat to old habits like mac and cheese and chocolate ice cream. What is the biggest speed-bump or hurdle standing in the way of you making this change?

Identify how you prioritize.

If cooking dinner at home is important to you; however, you keep winding up in the fast food lane on the way home, convenience is driving your decision. Perhaps you haven’t yet mastered making quick and easy dinners at home and you don’t know where to start. It may also mean you are letting other things become a higher priority without stopping to think about it. We tend to do what we must do first, such as going to work, paying bills, feeding the kids, etc. The calendar then gets filled up with several other things squeezed in between. This often zaps our bandwidth or energy leaving us too drained to do the healthy habits we know are good for us.

Is it time to make a shift in your priorities or schedule? Are the things on your calendar truly what you want to prioritze? Are there new habits you could put on the calendar by first taking something off or breaking it down into baby steps? 

Sometimes, we are in a season that doesn’t allow for all the healthy habits that we want to have. If that is the case for you right now, become OK with good enough. Before your inner critic chimes in to say good enough is not enough, what if you were to cook dinner at least two times a week instead of once a month? Wouldn’t that be better? Focus on progress, not perfection.

How to stop being lazy and gain some momentum toward healthy habits

To sumarize, first, stop calling yourself lazy! Every time you catch yourself saying that, make an intentional shift to listen to your nurturing voice instead. Thinking of what you would say to your best friend if she came to you with the same issue that you’re having. What would you say to her?

Then, get to the bottom of what is really preventing you from the habit you want to create and brainstorm how to overcome that barrier. Lastly, take a look at what you prioritize in your life. Is it time to take ownership and control of how you spend your days? What if even a small shift in your priorities could make a big impact in your health?

Need more guidance or accountability with making that shift? We can help. Contact us today for your free complimentary coaching session 🙂 

Should I be detoxing?

Should I be detoxing?

Detox is a popular word these days. It often comes along with the promise of weight loss, mental clarity, a clean system and increased energy. Is it legit or is it too good to be true? In this article, you’ll learn the basics of detox, how to support your body’s detox systems naturally, and what a detox plan should and shouldn’t include. 

What exactly is detox?

Detoxification, or detox for short, refers to the way we eliminate or neutralize toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands and skin. It is a very important and normal process in our body that is there for us 24/7.

What are toxins?

Simply put toxins are substances that are poisonous to our bodies. They can come from the environment, the food we eat, and what we put on our skin. They can also be produced inside of our bodies. Tobacco smoke, alcohol, pesticides, BPA, and mercury are just a few common toxins we may be exposed to regularly.

It’s In Our Genes

Everyone’s body is unique in how efficiently it clears toxins and this depends on our genes. Most of us can get rid of toxins effectively and efficiently, while others may have less efficient systems.

What can I do to help my body get rid of toxins?

It is wise to support your body’s detox system by limiting your exposure to toxins and making food and lifestyle choices that support the body’s detox efforts.

Natural Ways to Support Your Detox System

Luckily, we don’t need to do anything really drastic like a colon cleanse or a juice detox to feel good and support our detox pathways. Our organs are most likely doing a great job eliminating anything our bodies deem dangerous. We CAN make their job a little easier though. Here are a few ways to do that. 

  • Avoid potentially carcinogenic compounds to reduce chemical load.
    • We are exposed to 100,000 to 200,000 chemicals routinely so it is not realistic to think we can eliminate our exposure to ALL toxins. We can, however, make several small choices that will help such as using glass rather than plastic, buying food from farms that limit their pesticide use, and carefully choosing our seafood to avoid too much mercury.
  • Exercise and sweat.  While sweating won’t eliminate all your toxins, a small number of water-soluble toxins can come out when you sweat. This is just another great reason to move our bodies!
  • Regular bowel movements can keep toxins moving along.
    • Getting adequate fiber intake through plant foods and drinking plenty of water are critical steps you can take to allow your body to eliminate toxins.
  • Eat legumes & fermented foods to support the gut microbiome, which plays a role in the detoxing process.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables 5 times a day. Consume a variety to benefit from a diverse amount of antioxidants. A few great choices for detox purposes:
    • Beets
    • Avocados
    • Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower
    • Lemons and other citrus fruits
    • Berries

Is a Detox Diet Safe?

We understand the desire to start over with a clean slate and refocus your food choices at times.  However, it doesn’t require a strict detox plan or starvation to start fresh and feel better. In fact, detox plans that call for fasting can be harmful to some people with medical conditions.

If your habits aren’t serving you well, it is always best to address the underlying problem with one of your friendly nutrition coaches or your doctor. Taking it one step at a time is often much more conducive to creating a healthy habit than eliminating several foods at once as a detox program might call for.

Be wary of the detox diet if..

  • It promises to flush out the toxins. This is worrisome because you may also be flushing out healthy gut bacteria that you need. Remember your body has a great system already in place for ridding itself of toxins and there are several natural, gentle ways to support it.
  • It promises weight loss. Yes, you will lose weight but the promise is not for sustainable weight loss and most of it will be water weight. There is a very slim chance that the weight will stay off once the detox is done unless you work on your habits after the detox.
  • It’s extreme. You always need to be careful with plans that include fasting or drinking only juice/water.
  • It seems like a quick fix. We know that there is no such thing. Trust us, we wish we could offer a quick fix, but it’s just not possible. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • It uses laxatives.  A laxative regimen can cause dehydration, deplete electrolytes, and interfere with normal bowel function. 
  • It’s for the wrong reasons. If you think you need to punish your body, cleanse your body or undo bad habits, let us be the first to tell you that a strict detox is not the answer.

A Reasonable Detox Plan

A reasonable detox plan will include satisfying and nutritionally balanced meals, plenty of liquids, and a focus on nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans. The goal might be to replace all processed foods with more natural foods and limiting or avoiding things like soda, chips, candy, etc. It may also encourage fasting for 8-14 hours overnight to allow your body to digest, rest, and work its wonders. These are all reasonable ways to support a healthy detox system and a healthy body.

Bottom Line

The body’s detox systems are designed to fight off most environmental insults and the effects of the occasional over-indulgence. If you’re generally healthy, we recommend directing your efforts toward giving your body what it needs to maintain its amazing self-cleaning system — a well-balanced diet, plenty of fluids, regular physical activity, and sufficient sleep.

Ready to build healthy habits that will last? We are here for you! Start now.

Slow Cooker Smoky BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker Smoky BBQ Chicken

When the weather is warm and the days are long, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or cook on the hot stove. Even in the colder months, it’s nice to have a simple go-to meal that requires little work. Slow cooker BBQ chicken to the rescue! Whisk up this homemade barbecue sauce, pour on top of the chicken and let it cook as you get on with your day.

This slow cooker BBQ with a delicious home-made sauce is so clutch for a quick and easy meal option. Make it a freezer meal, include it in your meal prep, or make it while you are at work.

Why make your own BBQ sauce??

It is so easy to just pick up a bottle of BBQ sauce at the store. Why even bother making your own? Unlike store bought BBQ sauces, our recipe is free of added sugar. Even recipes online will call for honey, sugar or ketchup. There is nothing wrong with a little sweetness but if you are mindful of your added sugar intake, you know that it can add up really quickly. We opted for nutrient-rich and flavor-boosting tomato paste instead of ketchup.  Tomato paste provides a boost of vitamin C, the powerful antioxidant, lycopene, and no added sugar. Don’t worry, the sugar may be absent but the flavor is not! Smoked paprika makes a big difference in this sauce so you won’t want to skip it.

Slow cooker BBQ chicken can be a freezer meal that’s ready to dump-and-cook or it can be part of your weekly meal prep routine.

Whisk up the sauce, pour over chicken breasts in a freezer bag and stash away until you need it. Simply, defrost the day before you want to cook it. It is also a great meal prep option.

Make it a Well Balanced Meal

Barbecue chicken is very versatile. On its own, it is Paleo, Low Carb and Whole30 friendly. You can enjoy it on a hearty whole grain bun or a sweet potato with a hefty helping of sauteed zucchini, green beans, or another vegetable you enjoy).


Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

A delicious homemade BBQ sauce recipe with antioxidant rich tomato paste and free of added sugars.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4
Author Kristen Norton


  • 1 6- oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1 ?2 tsp. oregano dried
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  • Whisk together all ingredients except the chicken.
  • Reserve a 2/3 cup portion of sauce to be added right before serving.
  • Place 2-3 chicken breasts in the bottom of a 6-quart crock pot.
  • Pour the rest of sauce over the chicken. Lift each chicken breast to make sure some of the sauce has gotten underneath then place a lid on top.
  • Cook on low for 4 hours or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.
  • Shred chicken with 2 forks.
  • Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low.
  • Mix with the reserved sauce just before serving

Super Simple and Delicious Homemade Salsa

Super Simple and Delicious Homemade Salsa

It’s that time of year again! The longer warm days mean more time to play outside and less desire to spend hours in the kitchen. That’s why we love this simple salsa recipe to round out a taco salad for an easy meal or simply enjoy a with whole grain corn (or lentil) chips as a snack!