healthy eating

Heartburn - Can I Help it with Foods and Lifestyle?

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn. Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week!Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the strong acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus.


It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name "heartburn." Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well.Don't get me wrong, stomach acid is good! Stomach acid is essential for good health and optimal digestion.


We need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e. bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus!


Stomach acid doesn't usually burn the stomach itself; this is because the stomach is protected by a layer of mucus.


But your esophagus doesn't have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to prevent things from going the wrong way (i.e. keep food, drink, and acid down; not allow it back up). And when your esophagus is exposed to stomach acid too often, it can cause the infamous burning, inflammation, and other potential issues.


I'm going to share a bunch of tips that may help you overcome your heartburn symptoms naturally.Of course, if symptoms last for a long time, or get worse, it's probably a good idea to see your doctor.


Tip #1 – Foods to eat (and avoid)

You may notice that when you eat or drink certain things, you get heartburn soon afterward. These triggers may be different for everyone; but often include onions, garlic, chocolate, citrus, tomato, mint, spicy foods, greasy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks, or alcohol. If any of these affect you, reduce them or even try cutting them out to see if it makes a difference.


Heartburn might also result from a sneaky food intolerance. Try eliminating grains, dairy, and processed foods for a few weeks and see if that helps. Now, you may be wondering: “If I eliminate these foods/drinks, then what can I put in their place?”


Try increasing fiber intake. Yes, this means more whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies! In fact, potatoes may be a great addition to meals if you suffer from heartburn. Try getting at least five servings of veggies every day.


Tip #2 – How and when to eat Eat slowly. Use meal times to release stress. Chew your food very well. Don’t eat meals that are too big. And don’t eat too close to bedtime. You want to avoid lying down with a full stomach. We’re talking finishing eating 2-3 hours before lying down, so schedule your dinner or snack with this in mind.

Tip #3 – Lifestyle techniques

Sometimes strenuous exercise can make heartburn symptoms worse. If this happens to you, then focus on low-intensity exercises like walking and cycling.


If symptoms come on as you’re lying down to sleep, try adding a pillow or two so your head is a bit higher than your stomach.


Another interesting tip is to try sleeping on your left side. Lying on your left side works because the valve that prevents the acid from "leaking" into your esophagus is located on the right side of the stomach. So, when you're lying on your left, the acid is away from that valve.




Heartburn is a very common condition where stomach acid creeps up into the esophagus (where it’s not supposed to be).


If you suffer from symptoms of heartburn, there are many things you can do. There are foods and drinks to avoid and veggies to increase. You can eat slower, chew more thoroughly, and don't lie down within 2-3 hours of eating. Also, try low-intensity exercise and sleeping on your left side.


Try these simple, natural strategies. They can help prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms for you.


Recipe (Not Too Greasy or Spicy): Baked Potatoes

1 small bag of mini potatoes

4 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper



Scrub potatoes and boil them until they're soft. How long will depend on their size, so check them by feeling how easily they're penetrated with a fork or knife.

Drain the water and toss the potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place in a roasting dish at 425F for about 15 minutes.


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: Don’t have mini potatoes? Use large potatoes or sweet potatoes and chop them to the size of mini potatoes.



Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong


Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it's Making You Fat and Tired...

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere! So overwhelming!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.


What You Eat and Drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.


Every Day This Is What You Should Aim For:

A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism). Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here. Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.


How You Eat and Drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!


We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don't forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don't gulp it down too fast. Enjoy it!

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.



Consider not only how much you eat, BUT also what and how you eat it.


Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach 1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 banana 1 chopped peach or mix of frozen berries 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

TIP: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit, or seeds to match your preference.

BONUS: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein. They are definitely a SUPER food!



Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup


Ingredients: Makes 6 cups (4-6 servings) • 3 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (about 8 cups) • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil • 2 onions, chopped • 2 apples, peeled, seeded and chopped • 1 tsp. sea salt • ½ tsp. black pepper • 4 cups low sodium, organic chicken broth • ½ tsp. curry powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 425. Divide squash, onions and apples in two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each tray of fruit and veggies and seasons with salt and pepper. Gently toss all the ingredients together until they all have a light coating of olive oil and seasonings. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Once the ingredients cool to room temperature, put them in the blender (one tray at a time) and add two cups of chicken broth and ¼ tsp. curry powder. Blend for 30-60 seconds or until the soup is rich and creamy.

Pour into a large pot and repeat with the second tray. Warm the soup over a medium-high heat until heated through. Adjust the seasonings and enjoy!

How to Beat Cravings...For Good

Junk food It happens to each of us... It strikes out of no where... All of a sudden... BAM! You have a craving!  Something salty, something sweet, or something fatty... Doesn't really matter, cause all you know is that you want it NOW!  Some believe cravings are struggles that one needs to "get" through to become stronger, however I believe cravings are our body's way of telling us we need something nutritionally. However, most simply don't pay attention to what their bodies are telling them and they just eat whatever they feel like, usually giving into the cravings.

The first thing to consider is the level of toxicity in your body. We accumulate toxins throughout our lifetime, finding storage in our blood, muscles, and organs.  This is commonly referred to as free-radical damage, and this comes from the air around us, the foods we eat, basic body processes, stress, and aging.  Because of this free-radical damage, our bodies cannot function optimally, and always looking to eat and get nutrients from what we eat next.

The second consideration is potential blockage in your intestines.  Imagine if you have a garbage can, and you don't put a liner in it.  You start to throw trash into it, and when it's full, you take it out.  So you dump it out, but don't clean it out.  After a few weeks of doing this it might not be so bad, but, after years and years you can imagine how disgusting it will get!  Well, because of that blockage, our bodies are not able to absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs.  This causes our bodies to signal to our brains "Hey! I'm still hungry! I'm not getting what I need!"  So, we give in to whatever foods are around us.

Every person needs to cleanse about 2x per year.  This will take care of these issues mentioned above, and then you can move on.  I have done anywhere from 3 day to 10 day to 28 day detox cleanses, all to some varying degree of intensity.  If you have never done one before, it really doesn't matter where you start, except to say that you should definitely start! Today if you can!  And if it's been 6 months since your last cleanse, then do another one soon.  Email me at if you would like some recommendations on where to start.

Once you have gone through a cleanse, you have now put your body in a proper balance.  You have eliminated the negative cravings, things like sweets and greasy salty foods, and refreshed your system.  Now it's time to think about what you might be craving and what, nutritionally, that food may provide.  Then look for foods which are high in that nutrient and get your fill!  Below I have some examples:

*If you are craving chocolate, your body may be craving the fat.  This might be because your caloric intake is too low.  Some quick fixes for this would be to have a handful of nuts, or have the chocolate (just make sure it's 85% or higher with no soy).

*If you are craving chips, your body may be craving salt.  Salt is needed to balance the water in our bodies.  Since our bodies do not produce this necessary element, we must get it from food.   Sprinkle a little sea salt on to your salad!

*If you are craving a steak, your body may need iron.  An iron deficiency can be linked to anemia.  Have a large amount of dark leafy greens!

Some of our cravings can be emotional.  Perhaps you are feeling stressed so you reach for that comfort food that reminds you of a warm childhood memory.  Or you might be feeling sad, so you go for a pint of Ben & Jerry's.  Elevated cortisol levels (the hormone released when stressed) have been linked to a desire for high fat and sugary comfort foods, and both together lead to weight gain. Reducing stress is key, and possibly seeking out a therapist (I have a couple I can refer to you) to work through some issues may be beneficial in helping you to completely conquer your cravings once and for all.

~Girya Runner  (Lisa Garon)

Making Healthy Choices While Traveling

  apple eaterThe key to keeping to a healthy eating regimen is planning. It is much easier to give in to poor food choices when you are starving, so pack high calorie yet high nutrient snacks, such as trail mix with raw nuts/seeds with dried fruit to keep you full. On layovers, do your best to find the best eating choices. Luckily, lots of larger airports such as Houston's George Bush and Chicago's O'Hare have been working to provide healthier options for travelers.

At Your Hotel

We all know that on vacation we suddenly have the urge to splurge more than usual. Once you are at your hotel there are a few ways that we can make sure we are eating right. Refusing the key to the mini bar can prevent unhealthy snacking.  At home, if you have access to a dehydrator, you can even make your own instant soups to bring with you. Room service can still be enjoyed, but be ruthless when asking about ingredients and preparation details. Most hotels will be more than accommodating to dietary restrictions. If space allows in your luggage, traveling with a small crockpot can be invaluable, as you will be able to make many hearty, healthy meals with simple ingredients and minimal cleanup. When considering the continental breakfast, fruit is your best option. Oatmeal flavored with spices is another option. Hard-boiled eggs are often readily available as excellent on-the-go snacks. The yolk contains essential fatty acids that will help sustain your energy.

The real secret to eating right at a hotel is to ensure that you are at one that can cater to your needs. Before booking your trip, do a little research and make sure that the place you choose has the necessary amenities and offerings that are aligned with your desires. man-pulling-suitcaseFor example, on my most recent trip out west I found a great site that listed hotels in Las Vegas along with a number of reviews from travelers alike. These reviews gave me great insight as to what each hotel had to offer and led to me finding a hotel with a fitness center as well as a gluten free restaurant! I have found that consumer reviews offer the most unbiased and honest information.

Dining Out

When in a larger city with more dining options, choose ethnic. Asian places often have much larger range of healthy entrees.  For cities with less variety, most restaurants have salads, and some chain restaurants have great salad bars. Just because it is a salad does not give you free reign to put whatever you want on it. Choose a high-quality bed of mixed greens if possible, and then load up on the veggies. Be extra careful with salad dressings, because most pre-bottled dressings are full of high fructose corn syrup. It is best to go for a simple dressing of oil and vinegar with a squeeze of lemon.

There are certain words to look for when eating out. Baked, broiled, grilled, high-fiber, roasted, steamed, stir-fried, and plant based are good choices. You can also ask for modifiers for a less-than-ideal meal. For example, when eating something that served with a side of rice, ask for brown rice, or veggies better yet, instead. Be careful of misleading phrases such as fat-free, reduced fat or sugar, or "light". Sometimes to make something "light" or reduced fat" things like sugar are added in to compensate.

Portion Control

fruit salad in lapPortion control will be your best friend. Order a salad to start. The roughage will fill you up, and you will not eat as much of your meal. Order an appetizer instead of an entree, or order an entree and eat half and take the rest home. Often times we feel obligated to eat what is in front of you which is just putting unnecessary calories into your body. Upon ordering your meal, ask for a to go box and put half of it in there. If you still find yourself hungry at the end of your meal, go back for more.

If you are able to follow these simple and easy tricks of the trade, you will find yourself coming home in just as good of shape as you left in.


About The Author

Cole Millen, is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life's best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate "experiences." Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Cry When You Weigh Yourself

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Cry When You Weigh Yourself

Keep this in mind: Scales Suck! They really do. What do they actually tell you, but how much gravity is pulling on you at that given moment. It does not tell you how much muscle you have, water weight you're carrying, fat you have, bone density, etc.

Consider this:
The average woman’s weight can fluctuate 6-8 pounds
The average guys weight can fluctuate 6-12 pounds
The factors that affect your current weight are:

1. The Amount Of Sodium You’ve Recently Consumed: (more salt= more stored water= more weight, check your labels and only consume max 2400mg a day). This can be hard if you eat processed foods. 97% of processed foods contain higher than excess sodium that cause this bloating.

2. Time Of The Month: This of course, is for women can cause bloating and extra weight). This is natural, but you CAN control this with your eating habits. Symptoms of both PMS and Menopause need not be or need not be as great if your eating habits reflect a more anti-estrogenic approach.

3. Time Of The Day: When you wake up with an empty stomach, you weigh less than in the evening, much less, you must be consistent if you are going to focus on what the scale says.

4. Your Stomach & Digestive Tract Content: What you’ve eaten so far today, whether there is indigestion in there and/or food intolerances that can cause bloating alongside excess fecal matter due to irregularity or constipation. Most adults have 5-15lbs. of excess fecal matter stuck within their intestinal tract. Only way to get that out is a really good colonic or dietary cleanse that specializes in this. My Synergy Natural Cleanse (entirely food based) targets just this topic. If you don't get this gunk out you will have all sorts of health adversities and often times not even know it because over time our bodies adapt to small changes and we don't always know what the signs are when it tells us something may be wrong so we just keep on going.

5. Number Two Time (aka "Potty or Bathroom time"): Whether you’ve used the bathroom that day or not, for both purposes, your body will be holding onto undigested food, fecal matter, and waste toxins. See our previous number 4 for further mentioning of this number 2 problem.

6. The Amount Of Carbohydrates You Recently Consumed: Every 1 gram of carbohydrate attracts approximately 2.8 grams of water so the pasta you just ate the night before could be making you hold an additional 2-3 pounds. This is why people believe low carb diets work, when they drop the carbs they drop radical weight. It can almost be a false security because of this very reason. Low carb diets definitely have a way of working, but are not for a lifestyle. A managed carbs diet is what I recommend. Keep out the unhealthy grains, keep your healthy fats high, and eat a lot of color(fruits & veggies) as your main source of carbohydrates.

7. Amount Of Muscle Glycogen In Your Body:  Are your muscles full and fresh or depleted? Depending upon how much “energy” your muscles have indicates how much your muscles presently weigh. If you exercise often on a regular basis where the muscles get stimulated for denser growth and strength (cardio does not count) then as long as you eat naturally, balanced, and for your ongoing post workout recovery then your muscles will be full and fresh. In this case you will always carry just a few extra pounds, BUT keep in mind that this is very good weight. The more lean tissue(muscle, bone density, organs, and anything that is not fat) you have the higher your metabolism is and thus the more calories you burn on a regular basis during the day. More muscle (doesn't have to be bulky at all) due to being active and eating healthy equals less fat.

8. Daily Water Consumption:  How much you drank prior to when you weigh-in and whether it is in your body or not is also a factor.

9. Stress Levels:  The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to retain your fat and water due to the elevated cortisol and estrogen which leads to fat deposits, water retention and a whole mess of other health and physical adversities.

10. Scale Calibration: Is the darn thing EVEN WORKING? Most scales differ by at least a small difference and when you weigh week to week, or even for the insanely addicted crazy's day to day weigh ins, this could prove fatal in both true weight and psychological ramifications to your self esteem.

In conclusion, don’t stress out about one bad weigh-in, but instead have focus and faith! Focus on your overall inches lost and gained, body fat percentage(have your fitness coach assess that for you), alongside how you feel. Do what you know to be ongoing healthy changes that are ingrained as a lifestyle rather than simply a "diet". Diets have quick endings, but lifestyles last much longer.

Here's some food for thought that one of my Facebook Friends recently said that I liked and want to pass on to you.  Think of what you put inside your mouth and body: Some things give us energy and strength, and our bodies say thank you for those things. some things taste good to our mouths, but take our energy and strength away, and our bodies say: 'Yuck why'd you do that to me?

Article collaborated by Bob Garon & Omar Isuf.

The Simple Secret To Full-Body Health and Energy

Probably not a news flash, or maybe it is, but tis 100% true! If you struggle with your body not losing fat and being low on energy I strongly recommend eliminating or restricting grain consumption (yes all types of grain "foods"), dairy, night shade family foods, and of course sugars.

What to eat? Good question! High fats (all kinds except trans-fat) such as raw nuts/seeds, 80% dark chocolate, avocado, coconut oil, pasture butter, etc. as well as proteins, minimal fruit, and as many leafy greens and root (just not nightshade potatoes) vegetables as you want.

Alongside what to eat is also what to drink. My recommendation is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. When you exercise drink a lot of water during your workout and do not count that in your daily totals.

NEVER DRINK fruit juices of any kind or dairy drinks.

Eliminate or restrict anything and every drink with caffeine as it will drain your adrenal glands and send you on a roller coaster ride of energy levels up and downs.

Try to eat little during the day, just enough to sustain you, but not cause too high of an insulin spike. That is caused by carbohydrates being consumed. Simple carbs are sugar types and complex carbs are starchy, vegetables, and grains (as mentioned- eliminate or restrict all grain type foods).

Use good nutrition, water, regular, consistent exercise & sleep as your source of ongoing, thriving energy. That is the secret. Yes it is rather general and there are people who have certain issues needing things tweaked for them; however the better part of the population majority will greatly benefit by practicing what I recommend here.

Best of luck and keep me posted with your questions and comments. I love hearing from you! :)