3 major ways to prevent cravings

People with all of the discipline in the world can sometimes be out-powered by their cravings. This is why it is important to understand why you crave certain foods and what you can do to prevent them or manage them when they do occur. This will help set you up for a more successful journey to optimal health and wellness.

Here are 3 major ways to prevent cravings

Stay hydrated

If your body is in a dehydrated state you could be craving food when you’re not hungry, especially sweets. How can you tell if you’re dehydrated? Very simply, if your urine is yellow you’re on your way to dehydration. The clearer it is the more hydrated you are. Drink about half of your body weight in ounces every day and more if you workout hard and sweat a lot. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking about 100 ounces of water daily.

Balance out your gut flora

In our guts we have good and bad bacteria, both of which we need, but the balance of the two dictates the health of our digestive tract. With years of eating processed foods, foods filled with sugars and foods that immediately turn into sugar when we start to digest them like breads, cookies, and alcohol, the bad bacteria start to overcome the good bacteria. When this imbalance occurs, sweet cravings ensue. This is because those bad bacteria literally feed off of sugar.

To start, remove most processed sugars from your diet. Then start to add fermented foods to replace probiotics, healthy bacteria. These foods include tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, pickled veggies, kefir, and Greek yogurt. Figure out what sensation you are craving and find a healthier option.

Are you craving crunchy foods?

Maybe you are stressed and could use another outlet? Or try chewing on foods like celery or baby carrots versus chips or pretzels to get that crunchy sensation.

Are you craving sweet foods?

Cookies, ice cream and candy are filled with sugar and will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. Instead, eat fruit filled with fiber to slow down the insulin response. Berries are a great option because of their low glycemic properties. You can also try eating roasted root veggies, like sweet potatoes or carrots and sprinkling them with cinnamon to bring out their sweet flavor. Sometimes having a cup of herbal tea with a spoonful of raw honey is sweet enough to do the trick as well.

Are you craving salty foods?

Processed chips and salty junk foods are loaded with sodium, unhealthy fats and artificial colorings. Kale chips are a great alternative and you control the salt that goes on them. Seaweed snacks are another great option and they also have a healthy dose of thyroid helping iodine.

 

Healthy Detox Options

Detoxing your diet can be beneficial to increasing your energy, release water retention, increasing your quality of sleep and even help you kick-start a weight loss program. Below are eight steps to creating your own healthy detox.

Remove processed sugar

If you can do this one not-so-simple step, your body will benefit more than any of the others. Sugar ruins the body in so many ways like zapping your energy, robbing you of minerals and creating AGE’s (Advanced Glycation Endproducts) which damage collagen fibers and lead to less elastic skin.

Quit alcohol

Taking time off alcohol helps lower acidity in the body, curb cravings and will increase your energy, especially in the mornings and lead to a more productive day.

Avoid caffeinated drinks

Caffeine from excess coffee, soda and “energy drinks” can wear on our adrenal glands and set you us for adrenal exhaustion. If you are addicted to caffeine and can’t go a day without it without experiencing fatigue or headaches, then it’s definitely time for a break. Stimulants place a demand on the adrenals and therefore cause the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Increase levels of cortisol lead to poor sleep quality and the accumulation of body fat. Drink more pure water instead.

Remove dairy

Dairy causes excess mucus in the body and for that reason should never be consumed when someone is sick. Remove it from your diet for the length of your detox and see how your body responds.

Remove wheat

Like dairy, many people have intolerances to it. Not to mention the foods made from it are usually high on the glycemic index and should be reduced anyway, like bread, pasta, pastries, boxed cereals, cookies, etc. Replace wheat with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, faro or barley and eat them in moderation.

Go meat-free

All meat is acid-forming in the body and takes a lot of energy to digest. By going meat-free not only will you free up that energy, you will do your share of helping out the planet too.

Eat more raw foods

Raw foods have not been cooked over 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and their live enzymes help you digest food. We also make digestive enzymes but when we eat foods that contain them we get to free up the energy that our bodies usually have to use when digesting cooked and processed foods.

Add vegetable juices

Add a green juice to your daily routine. Foods like cucumber, kale, broccoli, and celery are great alkaline-forming foods to use as bases for juices. Be careful not to use too much fruit. The point is to cut back on sugar.

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potatoes are one of those staples that can be made in so many ways.  One of those ways is to add it to your salad.  Warm sweet potatoes give the salad a crunch along with the combo of green apples and pumpkin seeds.  This salad is a great fall dish you can add anytime of the day!  

Note:  Avoid over cooking your sweet potatoes by cooking them at 450 for about 30 to 35 minutes.  Its best to test them by piercing the sweet potato with a fork.  

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  •  tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 dash Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh herbs (like basil, oregano or parsley) (to taste; optional)
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 medium green apple, diced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk green onion, finely sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seed kernels, toasted (or chopped raw walnuts)
  •  

Instructions

  1. Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and herbs (if desired) in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.  Set aside.

  2. Combine sweet potato, apple, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl; mix well.

  3. Drizzle dressing over sweet potato mixture; toss gently to blend.

  4. Place even amounts of arugula on two serving plates; top each with sweet potato mixture and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Meditation

Chaos, stress, craziness. You have it, So do I.  

At one point it was far too much for me to handle. Not that I did not think I was handling it, which I thought I was, my body reminded that I was not. I found myself in the living room one night watching preseason football years ago with a small pain in my left arm. That pain seemed to not go away and draw more of my attention. I noticed I was starting to have a shortness of breath, clammy pins and needles like hands, unable to focus and tunnel vision which lead to pulling the medicine cabinet off the wall hunting for aspirin and passing out. Which you guessed it landed me in the hospital for an evaluation for possible heart-attack or stroke.  

Luckily for me, none had happened and after months of tests, MRIs, and countless blood tests with amazing physicians and nutritionists they could not find a single thing wrong. 

 Each doctor said the same thing to me:  

“You are one of the healthiest patients I have seen. It’s rare to see someone with such great test results. But I  got to ask one thing, how is everything else in your life?  Do you have any stress?” 

I knew what they were asking, and what they were suggesting. These episodes were stress induced, anxiety and panic attacks.  Each time I lied to them and said, I was fine. As they then said I could prescribe to you a low dose of… I RESISTED!  

If you know me, you know I am a control freak, Its’ why I never got into drugs. I can’t imagine not being in control or worse becoming addicted to one. I wanted nothing to do with their suggestion of a low dose of feel good, mask the problem or symptom control your thoughts pill. NOTHING!   

For some these medications are essential and work wonders.   For me it was a hard NO. 

Unfortunately, I continued to have a few episodes, one on a plane, which I thought I was going to die and divert the plane, another at a celebrity client’s new house party, in Vegas at a club, in the gym, and at a music concert. They were not stopping.  

My first steps to fix it was to control what I could. After the first one, I went vegan, stopped eating sugar and quit alcohol all in the same day which lasted for 2 years. It’s amazing what you will do when your health and life are involved. As you can see it did not work.  

Six months into my quit everything found out what’s wrong because the Doctors were not finding any answers to why I was going through these episodes, I had one other thing I had not attempted: Meditation.   I was fully against sitting legs crossed, fingers and thumbs together saying ohhhmmmm to fix my shit stuff. Let alone adding in some incense of lord knows what burning in a room of other people or even in my own home.   Was not happening – BUT again it’s amazing what you will do when your health and life depends on it.  

Ok I will give it a shot, anything to do away with having an episode.  

What I found was I was not admitting to myself; I was a mess.  

I was underperforming in my business, my finances and in my personal life. No goal was getting met and I was barely holding it together. I was in chaos 24/7. Basically, the control freak was not in any type of control. 

What I found is I was waking up into a world I had no control over, where the world was existing, moving, causing havoc and thriving without me for the hours while I slept. My chaos was meeting chaos head on all day every day. 

Which meant, the world was in motion, while I laid motionless. I needed to enter the day on my terms not on the world’s terms. With a good mindset, a prepared mind, not a stressful chaotic one. In the past I was entering a world where garbage has been picked up, people where driving to work, jogging, there are traffic reports, news happens and people are already sending me messages; email, text, social media. I was always at 100 mph, entering a world in the fast lane and getting nowhere. 

When I should be entering from an on ramp I choose, on my terms, at the time I choose at a safe speed. What I learned when I began this process was, If I do not begin to set my mind right, I will be meeting chaos with chaos producing chaos. Rather than entering the world’s chaos clearly and in control.  

What I found was subconsciously I was thinking about the chaos that was waiting for me to enter when I woke. What I needed to do was to set my mind up to receive the day, to be focused and to achieve my goals. By doing so I would help me manage episodes and achieve success. Rather than waking up into chaos and entering the world, my goal was to wake up and empty my mind, then and only then could I be in a position to benefit in my health and my life.  

The only way I could be empty was to have ME TIME: time dedicated to calming myself, consciously detaching from the world. Simply put, I needed to mediate. I began to meditate for 10 mins. Yes, just 10 mins to start. Asking a dude, a non-believing DUDE to meditate for me was like asking me to shop instead of going to drive fast cars.  

How did I go and how did I do it?  

I started small and with no expectation. I set up a quiet place for me to lay down on the floor, the night before. This means a place with the least sounds you don’t want to be distracted. I even have a pillow for my head and place my hands and feet would touch nothing. No distractions were key. Even though I said I had them, I learned it’s all part of the process of getting better at meditating. It was rough at first, I thought of everything and anything the 10. Min timer would go off before I knew it.  

Each day I got better. I began to learn to breathe. In on 1 out on 2. All the way to 10 and then back down over and over. IF I ever got lost in count or my mind wandered, I would just restart the count. No harm no foul.  

I began to feel better, I also started trying additional steps to develop a morning routine. Affirmations, journaling, cold showers, visualizations and more to see what worked and fit in my routine. Eventually I came up with a routine that worked for me. That supercharged my day, my goals and my life not to mention I never had another episode.  

Do I meditate every day now? No, only when I feel out of control, unfocused or in a push phase. I use it as a valuable tool to stay in control in our daily chaotic world. 

Do I suggest it?  

Yep, especially to lose that lack of control, have goals, are feeling stuck or unfocused.  

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

School is in session and the cooler weather is starting to roll in.  This is a great recipe to make in bulk for lunches or quick dinner options!

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled + seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5½ cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped, stem discarded (divided use)
  • 6 tsp reduced-fat (2%) plain yogurt 

 

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions; cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add squash, broth, and red pepper flakes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently boil, covered, for 25-30 minutes or until squash is soft. Remove from heat.
  5. Place soup in a blender or food processor in 4 or more batches, as necessary; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
  6. Return soup to saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until soup is hot.
  7. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  8. Ladle soup into 6 serving bowls. Garnish each with 1 tsp yogurt and sprinkle all bowls with remaining 2 tsp of thyme.

 

Makes 6 servings.

Portion Fix Containers: 3 Green, 1 tsp.

2B Mindset Plate It: A great FFC as part of lunch

You Have to Start Somewhere

You Have To Start Somewhere - Mike Karpenko

It’s got to start somewhere and someday.

It starts this week.

It starts today.

It’s starts with a cast on.

It’s starts smaller weights.

It starts with mobility.

It starts with feeling weak.

It starts with being out of shape.

It starts with feeling tight.

It starts with self judgement.

It starts with inability.

It starts with frustration.

It starts…

It starts by being focused

It starts by showing up.

It starts when you get out your way.

It starts when you believe in yourself.

It has to start in order to get better.

For me: it starts today – welcome back to doing some strength training, core and mobility.

I have had sooooooo many messages of do upper body.

I’d just like to clarify. Workouts are TRAMA to the body, not a participant muscle but to the body. I did not need additional stress on my body as it repaired.

A body at rest has its highest ability to repair. I was resting, recovering and repairing. Also my ankle required constant elevation to to reduce swelling, chance of infection and heal quicker. ANY workouts would not have allowed for this.

The goal was to comeback to be bigger, stronger, faster and champion life over and over- not win at proving I was the fastest at recovering or tough enough to push through and workout while with a cast – those things are check points not the destination.

For now it will be all functional movements for upper body strength and core.

It starts when you start.

It continues as you show up.

You are start too, you can even join me if you need my support, lord knows I probably could use yours.

How to Take Your “Before” and “After” Photos

How To Take Your “Before” And “After” Photos

FIRST LETS TAKE MEASUREMENTS!

 

 

You’re about to embark upon a journey that will change your body and your life, and nothing captures the results of this experience (at least the visible part of it!) quite like a set of “before” and “after” photos.

Whether you just want to keep them as a personal reminder of how far you’ve come, or if you want to shout it from a mountain and share your story with the world, prepare to get your Ph.D. in transformation photography!

Camera, Photographer, and Location

It’s best to use a digital camera so you can take high-resolution photos.

If you have a camera tripod or something similar, that’s great; otherwise, try and get someone (perhaps a Challenge Group friend?!) to take your photos — don’t worry, they don’t have to be a pro photographer!

Choose a well-lit area in front of a plain wall or door. The less clutter in the background, the more attention on you and your transformation.

Dress Code

A swimsuit or form-fitting workout clothes work best. You should show as much of your body as you’re comfortable with, but please keep it appropriate for public consumption.

You might be tempted to take your transformation photos in your undies; after all, they cover the same amount of skin as a swimsuit, right? True, but would you wear your undies out in public? Probably not.

Photo Composition

Take high-resolution full-body photos — or at least from head to hip — and make sure your face is clearly visible.

Try to take the photos from different angles, i.e. a front view and a side view. And remember to include your face in the photos so that we can easily identify you! Make sure each photo doesn’t exceed 20 MB.

Whatever you do, consistency is key! Ideally, your “before” and  “after” photos will show you doing the same poses, wearing the same clothes, in the same place both before and after your transformation. That way, your body is the only thing we see changing.

And don’t “suck it in” or “push it out” — just flex if you feel good and let us see the REAL YOU!

Timing

Make sure to take the photos at the beginning, during, and end of your program so that when you’re done you can submit your photos to the Beachbody Challenge for a chance to win big cash prizes.

If you’re doing a 90-day program, for example, you could take photos on Day 1, and then again every 30 days thereafter (on Days 30, 60, and 90) until you’re done.

To qualify for the Beachbody Challenge, send single unedited photos — please don’t submit collages, altered, or Photoshopped photos; even adding filters is a no-no!

Here are some examples of good “before” and “after” photos:

 

Once you’ve completed at least one Beachbody program and you’re ready to share your “Before” and “After” photos, enter and submit your results to the Beachbody Challenge Contest.

We’ll send you a free gift (while supplies last), and you’ll be entered for a chance to win big cash prizes!

 

Why Not You?

Mike Karpenko

Do YOU:
❓Want to get healthier
❓Want to be part of a fun team
❓Change your current situation
❓Want to help others
❓Want an opportunity to thrive
❓Want to be recognized for your hard work?l
❓ Want to join us

If you are willing learn, I’m willing to teach.
If you are willing to work, I’m willing to guide.
If you are willing to check your ego. I’m willing contribute to your growth.

I am sitting here thinking to myself – how in the world did I get here at the age of 49. I’m so grateful for the risk I took, the extra hours I worked, the mistakes I made, that I gave all I had to jobs I no longer have because that was my work ethic and that others along the way trusted me.

Man what a ride. It’s not been easy. I’ve lost people who I thought were friends, been handcuffed by judgement and fear(self imposed), dealt with non believers, limited belief thinkers and have been laughed at.

As I sit here and look back – extreme highs and extreme lows because it was all worth it. I have some incredible teammates I call true friends, we are blessed with the skills we developed to help people every day. We work together. We struggle together, we help together and we succeed together.

And now we want you to be a risk taker, a dreamer, a hard worker, a teammate. We want you to join us.

If you have been watching me, our team, our boot camps and thought why not me well now is the chance for it to be you and reach out to me. I want to explain what and how we do it.

Practice Makes Permanent

Mike Karpenko

One of my natural instincts is to problem solve. Solve immediately. All with the best intentions. I want to help, take struggle and pain away.
Knowing all good and well LISTENING is the key.

It’s an ongoing battle, a skill that is yet to be mastered by myself.
It’s a holiday weekend as I am surrounded by others and although i might have the answer, I will be listening as much as possible.

Practice makes permanent.

Don’t Be Velcro for Negativity

Mike Karpenko

MOST OF THE TIME: Your bad day is really just a few minutes you choose to hang on to. FACT.

This is a shout to out to all of you going through something.

To those going down rabbit holes.

To those who put your expectations on others and get frustrated they continuously fail to meet them.

That can’t stop assuming, making up reasons why in your head.

That can’t seem to let go.

I’ve been there, choosing to hang onto moments allowing them to influence me, not letting go day after day. And NOT believing it’s just a moment, a thing, or a reflection of where that other person is at. It’s not a bad day, week or year.

You are a powerful mother fer. Don’t be velcro for negativity or a chef for cooking up bad thoughts, stories or outcomes.
Let’s do our part to be overly supportive to our friends and family in their lives, businesses, activities, causes and not social media spectators. People need to hear and feel our support. We don’t do enough. TRUE FACT.