Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

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Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

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Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

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I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

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-Kelly

 

Clear Skin Diet: My Personal Tips

Hi loves,

If it is not already clear from my previous posts, I care a lot about the health and clarity of my skin. Unfortunately, it is often portrayed that the one and only saving grace to clear skin is a prescription, or using products with intense ingredients. I personally have not experienced either of these options to be a saving grace. And I’m going to share why I’ve changed my mind about what it takes to achieve clear skin.

Often times, prescriptions are antibiotics. Your body will progress to adapt to this antibiotic, and it will stop working if you try to continue usage for long-term. Essentially, prescriptions are short-term solutions. Not that these medications don’t help severe cases of acne, however, if you’re constantly getting more mild forms of blemishes, you should look to other reasoning.

Drink tons of water. Carry a water bottle around with you to hold yourself accountable.

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Your diet is huge for your skin. Have you ever heard “you are what you eat”? It doesn’t just apply to your figure. The food you consume can most definitely alter your skin negatively, just as much as it can improve it.

A list I normally follow for my skin:

➳ Limit refined sugars, which are essentially derived from sugar cane. Refined sugar is present in soft drinks, fruit juices, and candies and sweets. They are used to sweeten food, and you do not gain any benefit from the addition. Speaking of soft drinks, they are high in fructose corn syrup, which is a very common aggressor to insulin spikes, in turn causing a stage of inflammation in the body. Due to this inflammation, enzymes actually break down collagen and elastin, causing premature wrinkles and loose skin.

➳ Ease up on the dairy. The effect of dairy on someone’s skin varies quite a lot, and studies have been all over the board on if dairy causes acne. Given that I would consider myself somewhat resistant to dairy to begin with, I take it out of everything I eat that can have a dairy substitute.

♥ Take your coffee with a non-dairy milk (soy, almond, hemp, coconut)

♥ Don’t overdo it with cheese, and even consider replacing the cheese with a spice or other addition.

♥  Re-consider whey based protein substances. In other words, you can get vegan protein powder and bars. Whey protein is a milk protein, and even dermatologists are catching on to tell athletes to consider non-dairy vegan protein powders.

➳ Fast food will show in your pores. Your pores will thank you if you eat cleaner, and reduce your fast food intake. To put it in perspective, I might have a batch of fries with a meal every two weeks, or have white bread in a sandwich once in a while. Pizza will occasionally happen. But I don’t frequently eat these things, because they are not going to aid you in the path to clear skin. Besides fast food being highly caloric and full of processed unnatural ingredients, they are also packed with high amounts of sodium and sugar, again spiking insulin levels and clogging pores.

Here’s a pic of super clean, whole food at a market in London:

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➳ Eat like you carefully choose skincare. I think of the ingredients of my food and how it will impact my skin. Salmon and avocados are great Omega 3-s, for instance, and the more you  look at food as a reflection of your skin, the better your skin will look. I promise! Here’s a pic of one of my favorite things to make: a salmon protein bowl.

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Ingredients:

1 piece of salmon filet

Handful of kale (or more)

1/2 an avocado

Carrots and mushrooms

Yumm sauce (from Café Yumm)

Salt and garlic

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Just like when you’re training to be fitter, you can definitely make exceptions sometimes and splurge to eat something that isn’t the best for your skin. The key is not to make it a habit! On that topic…

Alcohol. Do not underestimate the negative effects of alcohol on your skin. It comes out through your pores! If you drink on a regular basis, I would be very surprised if your skin remained poreless and plump. In general, alcohol dehydrates you, and by extension your skin. Dehydration causes premature wrinkles and reduces the elastin in your skin layer. It’s tough to maintain your skin’s hormone levels as well because alcohol will change them.

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However, the link of an unhealthy complexion and alcohol depends on the frequency of alcohol consumption. If it’s less frequent and you drink more water to compensate, you should be totally fine. When you do drink:

Reach for clear liquors, not dark. Dark liquors contain congeners that are from extra fermentation. Congeners will cause premature aging in the skin if frequently consumed.

Another fact about alcohol’s negative effects is the sugar content. The excess sugar in cocktails and other mixed drinks will spike your insulin levels and cause systemic inflammation, worsening your complexion and putting you at risk of premature wrinkles. Alcohol in general is better to avoid completely for better skin health, however, the above tips will be exponentially helpful to reducing effects on your skin.

There are no negatives of making your diet cleaner, and your skin will only thank you. This way you can keep your skin healthy from the inside out, not rely on products and medication to do the work.

I hope this information helped you towards a clear skin diet of your own, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below or email me. xx

-Kelly

 

My Go-to’s to Maintaining Nutritional Health on Vacation

Hey everyone,

So I just got back from a week of beautiful sunshine in Palm Springs, California. Even a week away from a dedicated nutrition or fitness plan can throw you off pretty significantly in terms of how you feel. However, it is vacation after all, so finding a balance is great to enjoy all the relaxing benefits.

I went to a tennis tournament, five days of elite tennis watching to be exact. I was there watching tennis day and night.

♥ My favorite grocery store to meal prep on the road: Trader Joe’s. We packed salads (I went for the mediterranean) or veggie hummus wraps. These gave me the carbs, omega-3’s, and leafy greens for all the vitamins and minerals. Also an awesome price point!

Back to the balance point, sometimes you can’t be so nutrition conscious, sometimes you have a “cheat meal.” Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s okay to live a little. One of the tournament days we got pizza, and it was authentic italian margarita. 🙂

♥ On the plane: don’t underestimate snack boxes. I flew back on Alaskan Air, and I got the mediterranean snack box. It was complete with hummus, whole grain chips, almonds, dried apricots, and a small piece of dark chocolate (from Seattle’s Chocolates to be exact). In short, it was awesome for plane food. I love how airlines are catering more to healthier options, and it was even gluten-free for those that are following that stricter diet. I would highly recommend! I wasn’t planning on getting food on the plane, but I got hungry and I don’t like to put my body in starvation mode. Starvation mode slows down your metabolism, hence the reason why nutritionists stress the importance of eating frequently!

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♥ A major realization I made about drinking fruit juice: My body really responded well to not having it. I tend to have fruit juice a lot if it’s in my fridge. The whole week in Palm Springs was just water or sugar-free lemonade and iced tea. Drinking calories and sugary drinks really does a number on fitness and especially your stomach. And given my workout routine was much less intense on vacation, it definitely helped to cut out the sugary drinks.

♥ I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee unless as a last resort (yes I know I’m from Seattle), but I used the Starbucks refreshes lemonade packets to put in my water at the tournament to mix it up from tap water. If you need a little flavor, these are great and super easy to pack! You can get them at your local grocery store. Not to mention its cost effective to carry powders instead of buying drinks.

♥ Protein powders are another thing to consider packing for your trip. You can transfer the powder into a smaller plastic container or put it in a ziplock bag, to avoid lugging the original container. I brought my Vega protein and greens powder in a small container, and I used it twice on the trip. I mixed it with coconut milk I got from the store. It definitely wasn’t as good as a full-on smoothie, but it was another way to add some protein into my vacation diet!

♥ If you’re staying in a hotel or anywhere with a fridge: It may be wise to keep some things stocked just in case you’re stuck with only fast food open around you. You don’t have great options around 10 pm, so keeping easy meals and snacks in the fridge at your hotel is really helpful. We kept carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, as well as the leftover Thai food from the thai food we went to TWICE because it was bomb.

♥Bowl it out: I love to make bowls, whether spanish style, full of veggies, or fruit bowls with a smoothie base. On the trip we found a place called Fresh Juice Bar, which sports smoothie bowls with pitaya and acaí bases. This is was a great breakfast option, they were filling, and I always like to eat my natural sugars from fruits in the beginning of the day.

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♥ When eating out: You are on vacation, but take into account the fact that you can’t control the ingredients going into your meal like you can at home. Proportions are often larger at restaurants depending on where you go. Always remember your food groups and macros! When I went to brunch, I ordered an omelette full of veggies, to get the protein and greens. I chose a side of fruit instead of hash browns, and I got a pomegranate juice as a sort of detox as opposed to ordering soda or sugary fruit juice.

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♥ Stay hydrated! When I was hanging out by the pool, I had a bottle of water. When I had coffee, I had a glass of water to balance it out. Especially in warm weather, staying hydrated is crucial! And water flushes out toxins. However, I frequently drink kombucha for the natural healthy bacteria and boost of probiotics, so it’s cool to reach for those too!

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I hope you found these nutritional tips helpful for your next trip! xx

If you want to see what I’m up to on Instagram, my handle is @kmzwicker

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Salad Wrap Recipe

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share my salad wrap recipe for a light, plant-based dinner with added protein. It’s so simple and so healthy!

I first Sautée white onions and mushrooms in a frying pan until cooked through, as I defrost frozen jumbo shrimp (I get mine from Sam’s Club).

I then cook the shrimp on another pan with garlic and avocado oil, with a touch of taco seasoning. This is the protein I chose for this meal, however, chicken or tofu would be great choices as well.

Other things you’ll need:

➳1 container of bib lettuce (or butter lettuce)

➳shredded carrots

➳avocado

➳black olives

➳ soft asian style noodles (I find these in the asian/international grocery aisle)

➳salad wrap sauce (I like the Lee Kum Kee Panda salad wrap sauce)

Use the bib lettuce pieces as the base and add all the ingredients listed above and enjoy!

Eat plants and prosper xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

Plant-Based Protein Ideas

Hi everyone,

It’s a common mistake to think you can’t get protein from meat alternatives. If you choose not to eat meat, there are a lot of options that just require a little more creativity! To put it in perspective, I am a pescatarian. I’m happily only eating seafood, the rest is either tofu or plant-based. In the future I may consider being a complete vegetarian when the mercury content in fish becomes an even greater issue. Not to mention the price of fish is definitely something to consider.

Featured above is a plant-based protein powder smoothie from Vega One. I love this line of powders because you totally get what you’re paying for, and the labels are all very transparent. I do not like Whey protein, which cancels out many if not all of the major protein powders circulating social media. Whey is milk based and has been connected to skin imperfections, not to mention my slight intolerance to large amounts of dairy.

I’m going to be honest about Vega- it’s not going to taste like a milkshake. Hence the no milk part of plant-based. I use the Vega protein and greens, the energizer pre-workout, and the recovery powder. They don’t taste bad, they just don’t taste like dessert like so many other powders are now turning starting to. Personally, I don’t think something that is solely supposed to replenish you needs to taste like an ice cream sundae.

I feel as though I need the extra kick of protein powders and energizers for me to meet my daily protein quota as well as benefit my fitness goals. I would highly recommend this brand not only to vegetarians or those who have gone gluten free, but also those who want a low sugar option that doesn’t make your stomach upset or be the culprit of unwanted calories. I do have a shaker for all of these, do yourself favor and grab a shaker instead of doing the glass and spoon method.

As for a very simple recipe: (bear with me I’m not the best cook, but I love smoothies)

1 scoop vega one protein and greens

1 1/2 cups of non-dairy beverage (I like coconut milk or even a juice like apple or guava)

1 cup of frozen fruit (highly recommend a tropical mix!)

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Now getting onto other ways of getting that protein in.

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  1. Lentils- 1 cup of cooked lentils is about 18 grams of protein! You can use lentils in a soup, use them as a base in bowl, or even as a filling
  2. The power of SEEDS: 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds means 10 grams of protein (sprinkle that magic on a salad) and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds is 4 grams of protein.
  3. Quinoa- this a great thing to add to recipes given it is a starchy protein, so it is has the carbs as well as about 8 grams of protein per half cup, and added fiber.              *tip:  fiber adds elasticity to your skin so stock up!*
  4. Nuts- to get about 8 grams of protein, you just need about a 1/4 cup. Simple enough. I’m not one to puts nuts in salads, so I’ll make my own trail mix to carry around. They make a great snack for long hikes.
  5. Tofu- And no it does not taste like cardboard. Tofu essentially tastes like whatever seasoning you add to it. One average serving is about 20 grams of protein. The possibilities for recipes are pretty endless. Tofu crumbles in tacos, tofu squares in stir-fry, veggie tofu sausage with your breakfast… there ya go.
  6. Protein peanut  butter- this has been my personal favorite addition because peanut butter is awesome. GNC sells a line of high protein spreads, including the Nuts ‘N More peanut butter flavor. I like to put it on apples or organic rice cakes for a snack.

The best part about focusing on plant-based proteins when I’m not eating seafood is how I feel. My stomach doesn’t hurt, nothing needs to be fried to taste better, and I feel full but not bloated. I try to load up my plate with greens and foods packed with nutrients and I have certain motivations to do so. They all have really powerful benefits.

Vitamins and minerals from plants help your immune system, anti-aging in your skin as well as inflammation and clarity, and even energy and long-term health. A way I like to look at it is how you look and feel is reflected from what you EAT. So eat well and prosper.

I hope you found these ideas beneficial for your nutrition planning, and I’m excited to add more nutrition into my blogs and daily posts.

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To see my love of photography, check out my instagram @kmzwicker for correlated posts!

Thanks for reading xx

~Kelly

Swapping Cardio for Weights

Hi everyone,

We all have an idea of what it means to be healthy. Eat right, workout, live an active lifestyle within an increasingly sedentary society. Seems simple, right? What if you are doing these things to live that healthy lifestyle, but begin to lose the results? Change is then going to become the solution to your problem. It was for me.

Being a college athlete for four years, I was always doing mass amounts of cardio training, mostly on the tennis court. Hours were spent in high intensity competition or repetitive drilling. Weight training and HIIT workouts were also included in team workouts, however, cardio was the dominant exercise. If you’re curious what happens when you graduate from this lifestyle and try to establish a new routine, I’ll share what I learned in this time period about fitness.

I have always been dedicated to the gym, mostly going 6 days a week without fail. When I graduated this summer I continued going on 45 minute runs and doing very similar weight training, and I saw myself hit a plateau. My routine was stagnant. I’ve been doing personal training for two weeks now, a program I never associated with because I didn’t think I needed to be coached to workout. Let me clear this up. You can utilize some training sessions even if you’re a gym junkie.

By no means am I saying personal training is essential to meeting your goals, it’s just a challenge that will only bring benefits. I am doing all new workouts that test me in new ways, and, most importantly, i’ve completely switched my workout routine ratio of weights to cardio.

My former tentative post-graduation fitness routine:

  • Cardio approximately 45 mins a day
  • Weights 2-3 times a week
  • Mat workouts (abs, glutes, etc)
  • *to note: I was using primarily free weights just up to 10 lbs

Current routine:

  • Cardio just 3 days a week for 20 minutes
    • Mixing it up between the stair stepper, treadmill, stair runs outside etc
  • Weights up to 4 days a week
    • Every day is working different muscles
      • legs, arms, back, shoulders, glutes
      • Beginning at heaviest weight for true form and decreasing weight each set of reps
  • I try to incorporate a pilates or yoga class once a week, because stretching is key to preventing injury. I also love the relaxation part of these, given the strenuous nature of weight lifting.

I’m going to be 100% honest, I’ve never been pushed this hard in the gym with weights. Tennis was so heavily based on endurance and how long I could last during match points, I didn’t spend a lot of time on the machines. Now I spend most of my time on them.

The best part: There are only benefits. I haven’t found any reasoning to second guess the investment of personal training or the swapped routine. I have more energy because weight training fatigues only my muscles, instead of making me feel sluggish. My muscle composition is already improved. I’m learning a lot more about what my body needs from workouts, to better compliment my other healthy habits.

Another awesome part about all of this: I’m never bored. There are days I skip cardio because I don’t need it. At a certain point, cardio begins to take away the muscle you work so hard for.

muscle > fat 

strong > everything?

I was careful with the second bold statement above, because there’s nothing “wrong” with anyone’s body. Everyone has different genetics. I just personally wasn’t satisfied anymore with just being “fit.” Because what is fit? I’m a person that functions off of constant improvement and balance (Libra issues). Now my gym routine is included in that as well.

It’s slightly uncomfortable at first to put my trust into another person to push me to get better results, but the truth remains that I didn’t know enough about what it takes to gain proper muscle composition. I wasn’t aware how helpful it was to keep a training journal to record progress and BMI updates. I didn’t know the potential of my own body. Someone had to tell me to stop running and get on the bench.

I’m not going to fully dive into the gender discussion about girls’ incessant need to complete cardio sessions, because I’m guilty for that blind reliance as well.

The women I admire most and follow through web content and Instagram lift weights on a constant basis. Weights are your best friend. Cardio is an accessory to weights. Looking at it this way has really helped me move forward.

Sometimes you need a little assistance separating myths from facts.

Effective this week, I’m going to be adding workout routines, gym gear posts, as well as on-the-go nutritious meals that I stick to on a weekly basis.

I’m really excited to be expanding my content and posting more regularly, and thank you so much to those who have already been following for more!

Comment below on your favorite workout, or your next fitness goal you desire most.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly