Fitlandia Blog: Nutrition

Episode 47 – My First Fast

Have you heard about the numerous health benefits of fasting and might be considering giving it a try? Well then, you’re in for a treat today as Christa shares with us her very own reasoning and experiences during her first extended fast!

Disclaimer: *** DO NOT ATTEMPT A FAST WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. *** Important: this should not be used as a tool for quick weight loss but instead to become quickly keto-adapted or for ultimate vitality.


While already practicing intermittent fasting, a daily eating pattern that cycles between a fasting and eating window, Christa typically eats her last meal around 6 or 7pm and fasts until the following day between 11AM – 12PM. After reaping the benefits from this, she decided to try an extended fast of 72 hours.

What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

  • Increased energy and fat burning ability – this is especially true while practicing a ketogenic diet, allowing you to get you into ketosis quicker and convert fat as an energy source instead of from stored sugar.
  • Insulin sensitivity increases for people who are suffering with insulin resistance.
  • Boosts the human growth hormone – facilitates in muscle growth.
  • Cellular repair – helps to boost immune function extending longevity.

Along with these benefits, Christa experiences a heightened awareness of eating habits and dependencies, a boost in energy and extremely important for her, a deeper, more rested night’s sleep.

Breakdown of Christa’s Extended 72 Hour Fast

Day 1 – While continuing her intermittent fasting pattern, Christa says she didn’t notice missing lunch her first day but did feel a true hunger around dinner time. With the help of Mind Zoning®, (a process of listening to a guided meditation or repeating a positive mantra to oneself), she was able to break through periods of increased hunger.

She explains sleeping deeper than usual, a common benefit, giving your body a much-needed break from being in a constant digestive state.

Day 2 – Getting a break from having to prep meals? “What a nice surprise,” Christa exclaims. Although this may be true, it’s important to maintain hydration and boost electrolytes throughout fasting so packing teas and filtered water for a busy day is crucial.

Recipe for Christa’s electrolyte blend:

  • 1 litter filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon “real salt
  • 5-10 Stevia drops
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 drop of citrus bliss essential oil
  • Dash cayenne pepper

Day 3 –  Christa explains feeling like she was on “autopilot.”

After successfully completing 69 hours, Christa and her husband listened to their body’s innate wisdom and broke their fast early. This extended fast helped Christa further her intuition of her body’s needs aside from her normal eating habits.

She explains it as, “An amazing ability to trust my body and to learn what it needs while allowing myself permission to listen and end the fast early.”

With hunger decreasing after time during a fast, the thought patterns and actions you have surrounded by food are heightened. With increased awareness and harnessing the power of your mind, you now can create new patterns without linking food with daily stresses or boredom, reach your fitness goals and end the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

If you’re ready to start working towards your goals, no matter what your beginning stage looks like, Christa offers three different stages of programs online to best suite your needs. It’s important not to go from one extreme to another and to be in the right head space to take on any intermittent or extended fast and we’re here to help!

Which Program is Best for You?

  • The No Diet Detox consists of exactly what we like, no specific diet that suddenly tells you to eliminate everything you normally eat for 30 days. You simply take pictures of everything you consume to increase awareness.
  • 30 days to Thriving – Ready to end the reliance of sugar, refined carbs or alcohol? With a community of others battling the same fight, you can now work to find the perfect balance for your specific body and end food dependencies.
  • Ketogenic Kick-Off: Adapt to Burn Fat – A guided program which focuses on using fuel from fat instead sugars by eating a high fat, low carb diet.

If you’re interested in The Keto Kick-Off make sure to take advantage of this exclusive offer as we partner with Dr. Jerome Craig for our 3rd keto program launching September 6th! While vacations are over and maybe the cravings have crept back in, this is the perfect time to get back on track.

To enroll for this 100% online program, click here, and use code: “Podcast20” at checkout!

Subscribe to the Fitlandia Podcast today:

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releasing the guilt of a sugar addiction

Episode 43 – Releasing the Guilt of a Sugar Addiction

This week Christa is joined by Daniel Thomas, CEO of Evolution Eat, to help you release the guilt of a sugar addiction. Daniel is also partner and cofounder of Rich 20 Something, an education platform for millennials and entrepreneurs. Daniel teaches a counter-intuitive strategy to weight loss, dieting and lifestyle transformation that’s all about mindset, habits and skill development. Where self-development meets diet and wellness, Daniel helps individuals all over the world connect with their truest selves to begin a life of control over their bodies, minds and spirits; releasing all guilt from the past.


Daniel didn’t always associate with such positive principles or self-discovery. He describes growing up as a difficult time of being overweight, allergic and inflamed, feeling as if he had no control over his overall health.  With a loving mother who saturated him with love and food, he was quickly tied into an unhealthy relationship with food. Being an only child, Daniel often felt bored and lonely and found a reward loop with food that made him feel loved and entertained but lead to a reliance on food for fulfillment and to displace boredom.

This pattern continued for years after attending the best private high school in New York City, Georgetown University for undergrad, and almost stepping into Law School, as Daniel felt immense pressures to perform. He continued to gravitate towards things like caffeine, sugar and illegal uppers as a dynamic to feel better instead of looking for a solution from the inside.

When discovering the Paleo Diet, (before it was a hip thing), Daniel found it was the first time he had sunk into an “embodiment of control” over his emotions, cravings and old habits. He says that Evolution Eat was created almost by accident when the community surrounding him were so curious about his new discovery that as Daniel taught himself he built his practice by coaching others simultaneously.

Daniel says, “The second you can be honest about who you are, we can actually connect and help each other.”

He dives deep with his clients, as he states on his Website’s About Me, “The process of mastering a skill, diet, mindset, or lifestyle requires relentless effort, deep focus, and enthusiastic concentration. You must go deep to get something out of it.”

This is married with one of his core values of transparency as that it sets the stage to promote change. Being aware and externalizing your fears, guilt, shame or setbacks allows you to objectively look at it and release it from defining you any longer. Many of us live in fictional worlds and are never able to make a change or impact because we’re constantly maneuvering around what others think.

As we’ve discussed in other podcasts, everyone is so different and learning what your triggers are and the emotions that follow them, will continue to vary.

Daniel’s tips on how to bounce back from cravings:

  • Be aware and understand your dependencies – it’s incredibly important to be aware of the foods you consume as they may bring you down through addiction or bring you up through health.
  • Approach new ways of lifestyle with a new perspective – instead of focusing on the things you must eliminate, embrace the mindset of eating more of the good stuff! When your blood sugar dips, you need to fulfil up with protein and healthy fats, and LOTS of it.
  • Treat the journey as a long process and a skill that you can develop. When you make a mistake don’t carry it with guilt but invest in that mistake, it takes time!
  • Get out of your fixed mindset – no one is going to be perfect all the time and that’s okay.
  • Become curious about what’s happening in your environment when you’re craving sugar.
  • Educate! Immerse yourself in self-development of your awareness, mindset, external demands and habits.
  • Plan by prioritizing yourself – be proactive while planning food out and stick to it.
  • Implement a keystone habit – this is something that is good for yourself that you commit to every morning that brings you closer to connecting with the world from the inside out.
  • Meditation – trust that you’re all you’ll ever need to make yourself completely well!

“Living healthily is a skill you can train, it’s not a race to some desired outcome.” Daniel states.

There’s a solution to every single problem and we can change our lives at any second through Mind Zoning® and meditation, connecting with community, healthy eating and daily movement. Daniel does this every day by running down to the beach by his house at 4:45am, meditating for 20 minutes and then jumping in the freezing water. This daily practice sets him up for success, whatever his day may look like. His healthy routine is on his own terms which ensures he’s following his intentions and goals.

To connect with Daniel, make sure you check out EvolutionEat for mini courses, newsletters and blogs, or connect individually by emailing him at

Feeling overwhelmed on how to break free from a sugar addiction, join our 7-day No Diet Detox challenge for FREE. It starts with awareness. Sign up today!

Huge shout out and thank you to today’s sponsor, Portland Community College and their holistic nutrition program. This 100% online program is 1 year and provides students with science-based principles while integrating in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for a well-rounded perspective on nutrition to start your healthcare career in nutrition or to supplement into your current holistic program. Christa did this course back in 2015 which launched her into creating what Fitlandia is today! To learn more or enroll for the next course starting September 25th, check out PCC’S functional nutrition program.

And, don’t forget to head over to the Fitlandia Podcast  on iTunes and subscribe, rate and review us! Make sure to put in your keystone habit about how you’re starting your day off right. We can’t wait to read them!

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JP Sears of Awaken with JP

Episode 41 – Become Ultra Healthy with JP Sears of Awaken with JP

Christa intros JP Sears to the show and jumps right into some nutritional controversy with the American Heart Association’s assertion that coconut oil isn’t healthy. Christa wanted to get JP’s take on the situation since the topic was all over social media.


Here’s what JP had to say:

“From the bottom of my heart, I would dare say, virtually anything the American Heart Association says deserves to be flushed down the toilet.”

Because of the corporate agenda and funding into research, these studies aren’t for the greater good of people, but instead putting dollars into their pockets. Christa concurs. She points out that there is conflicting info in the industry and JP uses the example of the days when margarine was touted as being healthy.

The Power of Meditation

Christa reminds newcomers to the show that Fitlandia is on a mission to end dieting by first helping people change their thought-patterns using Mind Zoning®. Because these are like guided meditations, she explores the power of meditation with JP.

JP provides an amazing suggestion for those short on time or starting out. Personally, he does 10 minutes per day and focuses on a practice he learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh, which is a simple breathing meditation. As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I’m breathing in.” As you exhale, say to yourself, “I’m breathing out.” This is easy and approachable for anyone to try.

“Meditation is a great service we can give ourselves.”

Christa & JP discuss the challenges with life and busy schedules and that we don’t have to be perfect in our health practices. In fact, being aware and open about our triggers can help us keep moving forward.

“I used to shame the living crap out of myself. How I’m shaming myself is probably more toxic than the cookie I ate.”

End the Shaming Cycle

The shaming cycle can take someone back into an old, viscous addictive pattern, but Mind Zoning® can help, as well as being thoughtful about the benefits of that pattern. Looking at things that feel unhealthy always has an element of comfort and provides a sense of feeling in control.

Christa & JP speak on the power of planning for travel and staying healthy on the road and rely on Whole Foods to help stay healthy during travel and even search AirBnB listings to ensure access to being able to cook their own meals.

So what do Christa & JP eat? It’s similar: focus on veggies, higher on the side of healthy fats, and high-quality protein…and most importantly, don’t follow a dogma and instead focus on growing intuitively with what to eat and learning what’s best from how the body feels.

Christa shares a cautionary tale and that if you’re struggling with sugar, refined carb and/or alcohol addictions then tuning into your body could be challenging and her #1 tip: FOOD JOURNAL.

Self-Sabotage and Unresolved Wounds

Together they get heavy with regards to self-sabotage and looking at the root of self-sabotage. JP speaks to childhood experiences and how we reaffirm disempowering beliefs due to unresolved emotional pain.

Christa adds it’s connected to a lack of self-worth and the need to become aware of traumas. She gets inspired to create a Mind Zoning called “The Journey of Courage.” Doing inner child work can be an incredibly powerful process to healing and moving forward.

JP and Christa wrap up the show speaking to the power of vulnerability and community and/or tribe to help guide you through your transition. Also, working with a coach or therapist can have a powerful impact. He mentions Brene Brown’s TEDTalk on the Power of Vulnerability where she talks about connection and its power in our lives.

“Embrace discomfort. Nobody has ever excelled at anything by avoiding discomfort.”

Connect with all of JP’s awesomeness here:

Awaken with JP website

Awaken with JP YouTube channel

Buy the book: How to Be Ultra Spiritual with JP

Follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Gratitude for today’s sponsor!

Portland Community College Functional Nutrition Program Check out their 100% online functional nutritional program today.


If you’re looking for a holistic nutrition program to connect with others, learn how to connect with your body and overcome addiction for the next 30-day program with Fitlandia.

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is coconut oil healthy

Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

Oh boy! When I saw the USA Today article titled, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy,” I thought to myself, “Here we go again. Yet another food industry or big pharma-sponsored research study meant to keep flooding their pockets at the expense of our health.” Yes, I realize these are strong words and I stand by them.

First, a little history on my education, experience and position with regards to scientific research studies. During my Functional Nutrition training we had an entire class dedicated to this very topic called, “Intro to Research and Evidence-Based Practice for Nutritional Therapy.” Through this class I came to learn three very important things:

  1. Studies are open to interpretation.
  2. Science can not “prove” anything. It can only “disprove” ideas. Click here for more misconceptions about science.
  3. Private corporations pay for up to 75% of all studies.

In a nutshell, look to see who’s funding the studies and make your own judgement about the validity of their interpretation.

I do not profess to be a scientist, a research expert, nor a medical practitioner.  But, I am quite well-read and have my list of experts I do trust and rely on for information.

The key for anyone navigating nutrition information is to always keep these points for consideration:

  • Your body is unique and what works for someone else, may not work for you.
  • Giving up processed foods and adopting a whole foods’ diet is good advice for everyone (and the more plants, the better)!
  • Daily movement and a mix of strength training and cardio (along with a healthy diet) are needed to support your health goals.
  • Monitor your own health stats including:
    • LDL/HDL (the ratio counts, not just LDL)
    • Triglycerides
    • Fasting blood sugar
    • Resting heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Digestion, mood, sleep, energy, cognitive function

I personally eat a diet made up of 60%-70% fat; mostly from coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado oil, and for my cold-prep, olive oil. I avoid canola, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and other vegetable oils whenever possible. My health stats are amazing, but they weren’t always that way. Through immersing myself in the available information, becoming educated on the flaws of research studies, and monitoring my own health stats, I’ve come to have very strong opinions on what the AHA, FDA, and USDA pump out as their guidelines for us to follow. I’m not buying their stance one bit.

So do I think coconut oil (raw, organic, unrefined form) is healthy? Most definitely.

Be sure to subscribe to the Fitlandia Podcast and tune in to episode #41 where JP Sears of Awaken with JP shares his very direct insights on the AHA’s warning!

Ready to really geek out on the subject? Here are some other resources to shed even more light on the topic.

Dr. Axe: Is Coconut Oil Healthy? (The American Heart Association Doesn’t Think So)

Dr. Mark Hyman: Coconut Oil – Are You Coco-Nuts to Eat It?

Dr. Mercola: Why Coconut Oil is So Good for You

If you’re interested in giving up processed food and kicking diets to the curb, work with us to get your healthy-self back! Fitlandia can help you with our online, holistic programs.

Learn more here!

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nutrigenetics and the future of healthcare

Episode 40 – Nutrigenetics and the Future of Healthcare

Christa welcomes back Dr. Michelle Neil-Sherwood, DO and Dr. Mark Sherwood, ND, or as they like to be called, “Drs. M & M without the sugar” to talk about the science of nutrigenetics. Dr. Michele and Dr. Mark own and operate a wellness-based practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Functional Medical Institute. Their practice bridges the medical model with the functional model to teach people how to be completely and totally well. Drs. M & M use all kinds of unique and interesting tools to accomplish their mission and have many patient success stories where existing medical conditions have been reversed or eliminated.


Christa repeats Dr. Michele’s opening statement and says, “So it’s not outside of our realm that we can actually be completely and totally well?  I love that.”

A Little Background on the Subject

The functional medicine approach gets to the root cause by looking at:

  • Hormones
  • Neuro transmitters
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle

Looking at genetics:

  • We are 99.9% genetically identical
  • The .1% difference is what makes us unique
  • That difference makes all the difference in the world – not everything works the same for everybody
    • Traditional diets
    • Workout programs
    • Supplement types and quantities

We’re born with our genes, but the experiential knowledge those genes have with the interaction of environment is called Epigenetics (the environment’s effect of the genes). For example, two identical twins can grow up and turn out a little different from each other because of the environment’s effect.

Nutrigenetics – the genes effect on the environment

  • How do our genes detoxify things?
  • How do our genes influence what we need to be taking?
  • How do our genes handle lipids; metabolize the fats we consume?
  • How do our genes handle workouts we do?
  • How do our genes handle inflammation?

Simply stated, what we eat could actually influence our DNA and the expression of our DNA.

Genetic Testing

Drs. M & M utilize genetic testing to get the ideal breakdown of macro nutrients for each individual based on their genetic makeup. They formulate a unique nutrition and exercise plan based on those results to optimize body composition for each person. Benefits of testing include:

  1. Cutting edge technology
  2. Replaces trial and error
  3. Unravels the mystery for each person so they get specific, individual plans
  4. Optimization of health
  5. Saves time by getting to the answers faster

Dr. Mark gives an example of how two people can have different reactions when consuming caffeine late in the day. One person may not be affected by a late afternoon cup of coffee, while the other person may be awake all night. Why? The person who is not affected at night by the coffee has a faster metabolism, so the caffeine is processed quicker. For the person whose metabolism is impaired, the caffeine is not processed as fast.

To change metabolism:

  • Reduce detoxification on back end (inside) = nutrigenetic effect
  • Reduce toxins on the front end (outside) = nutrigenomic effect

How does the genetic test work?  Get specific information here

  • A sample ‘buckle swab’ of cheek cells is taken
  • The sample is sent to lab and tested for 80 different genes specific for health, metabolic and exercise
  • Results come back within 21-25 days
  • Analyzed by Drs. M & M
  • An individual plan is designed based on patient’s genetic and lifestyle information
  • A sustainable life plan is created for the patient to use for the rest of their life
  • Implementation may be either fast pace or a slow transition but results are definite

Exercise Considerations

Most people think that more exercise is necessary to lose weight but it can create inflammation and can be the wrong type and amount for our unique genetic makeup.

Example:  A female patient, in her 40’s, chronic boot-camp person, 15-20 pounds overweight in excess fat, can’t get the fat off, frustrated, going to two boot camp classes daily several times a week, exhausted, and stressed out of her mind!

The patient’s genetic testing revealed that she is of an endurance-based structure. Drs. M & M outlined a new exercise plan including:

  • Only two boot camp sessions per week
  • Walking, yoga, relaxation to “chill out”

Once she incorporated these changes in her fitness routine, she immediately began to see results by allowing her body to adapt to the way it is supposed to be.

Christa shares her similar story of being an athlete all of her life, being 50 pounds overweight while working out six days a week (but eating and drinking “trash”). She functioned in survival mode with no coping mechanisms to handle stress and no boundaries to shut down work, or do any type of self-care. Christa confesses that she is now more aware to her addictive tendencies towards donuts and wine, but it would have been great to have this type of testing information back then – it would have saved time because it was a long journey for her to figure things out.

Taste Bud Genes (Phenylthiourea-Phenylthiocarbamide “PTC”)

The spectrum of taste is determined by our genetics. There is an inherited genetic component that influences how we taste PTC, a single gene that codes for a taste receptor on the tongue. This gene is known as the PTC gene or TAS2R38. People can be classified as “tasters,” “non-tasters,” or somewhere in between.


  • Wide taste spectrum
  • Appreciates a broad range of tastes; bitter to sweet
  • May have a dysfunctional dopamine receptor which indicates that sweet equals happy; therefore, food becomes happiness


  • Narrow taste spectrum
  • Limited taste receptors
  • Prefer or can eat more bland foods
  • Doesn’t typically link food to happiness

Food Addiction

  • Must use caution when opening door to any type of “comfort” or “happy” food because it will cause the door to come flying open, which can activate the addition and lead to binge eating.
  • Once the addiction cycle opens that door, it can swing open for a long time.
  • Limit the shaming cycle by using Mind Zoning® or other types of mindfulness practices may help shorten the time that we are in the addiction.
  • Once we know this information, we are empowered.
  • We don’t have to ask for permission or forgiveness if we slip up; it is up to us to use the information and tools we have to be successful in all areas of our wellness journey.

Access to Genetic Testing

It’s not necessary to live in or to visit Tulsa, OK to get this genetic DNA test from Drs. M & M. You can access the information on their website and order your own sample test kit and mail it back for analysis. You’ll receive a 48-page comprehensive report within 3-4 weeks. Then, Drs. M & M spend 45-60 minutes (via Skype) reviewing it with you. They discuss your areas of vulnerability and set forth an action plan to fix those areas nutrigenomically. The plan is emailed to you as a written implementation synopsis.


Less than $500 for the entire package

$349 + shipping for kit, testing and analysis, written report

$100 for Skype consultation

“We want people to have this so they can unlock the keys and the mysteries to these problems; how do I lose weight and keep it off, maintain muscle tissue and fight against heart disease and diabetes,” explains Dr. Mark. We provide the tools necessary to answer their own healthcare problems so they can manage their healthcare. Investing in yourself and your health saves money. Drs. M & M point out that their goal is to “take away the ignorance button.” Their patients are fully equipped to make educated adult decisions about their health, exercise and nutrition. They own their own healthcare.

Final Tips

  • Food is vitally important to health
  • Food has changed and our health has declined over time because of it
  • Low-fat foods lead to the obesity epidemic
  • Using food to prevent disease

Dr. Michele quotes Aristotle, “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food”.

Which Food Plan Works Best?

Eliminate the “standard American diet” foods such as:

  • Sugars
  • Grains
  • Breads
  • Corn
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • GMOs
  • Soy
  • MSG
  • High-fructose corn syrup

Bring your diet back to what we were designed and intended to eat:

  • Fresh and raw fruits and vegetables
  • Nutrient-dense foods with low sugars
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy proteins

Drs. M & M encourage their patients to follow an anti-inflammatory food protocol with no limits (just guardrails) so their taste buds never get out of control and dopamine receptors are not stimulated. People who stay on the path don’t tend to overeat.


  • Rule of 5 – if you’re taking over 5 supplements, there needs to be a good reason
  • Too many supplements can overstimulate your body and can weaken or limit your defenses
  • Antioxidants can be oxidative if used in excess
  • Cost savings by streamline and identifying targeted supplementation needs

Please check out Drs. M & M’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet from their previous last Fitlandia podcast.

If you’re looking for a holistic nutrition program to help break addictive cycles, sign up for the next 30-day program with Fitlandia.

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Today’s sponsor is the Portland Community College Institute for Health Professionals. Learn more about their 100% online program at

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Episode 38 – The Falsehood of Everything in Moderation

Dr. Jerome Craig is back to talk about the falsehood of “everything in moderation.” This idea of moderation is tossed around so much in the diet industry and they both agree that it’s setting us up for failure.

The Truth About Moderation

  • If you don’t want to change, then everything in moderation works great! It maintains the status quo.
  • If you want to make health and wellness changes in your life, then moderation is not going to work.
  • If you’re using moderation as an excuse for not changing, it’s working – there will be no change.

Dr. Craig provides an example of a patient who is a type 2 diabetic, on multiple medications, life not going well and who wants to change but cannot give up his daily chocolate-coated almonds. Dr. Craig appealed to the patient that he needed to get away from the almonds, that they were a sugar addiction and he needed to give them up.

“The only way to break an addiction to something is to give it up” Dr. Craig explains.

It’s not going to serve you to have only a little of whatever substance you’re addicted to, whether it be alcohol, sugar, refined carbs or potato chips. The substance fires up the pleasure areas in the brain, and releases serotonin and dopamine, so our mood changes, we feel good – and we want more. We consume more, then we crash and feel crappy. We can’t simply have three potato chips or one drink and hope that the addiction stays at bay. That’s why “everything in moderation” truly does not work.

Fitlandia’s No Fools’ Detox

Those NFD focuses on eliminating 5-6 foods for 30 days to  to identify which foods are trigger foods for you, as well as get a clean break from them. At the end of the program, participants are guided to reincorporate one food at a time and track their body’s response so they get a clear sense of which foods work for them and which do not.

During the program members are often faced with their friends and family telling them that elimination diets are just a fad and they’ll be fine as long as they use “moderation.” It just doesn’t work like that. Just as you can’t tell an alcoholic to drink in moderation, you can’t say this to a sugar addict either. She supports them in dealing with these external challenges while they make their break.

Stop Saying the “F” Word: “I’m Fine.”

If you want change you have to take some sort of radical steps to at least get started. The radical changes don’t have to be forever, but moderation is never going to serve you in the beginning. Once you achieve your weight and health goals, you may find that you still have certain foods or substances that are problematic for you.

  1. Defining what works for you and your body
  2. Understanding what’s happening when we’re back on a ‘slippery slope’
    • Life circumstances?
    • Trying to self-soothe?
    • Not enough exercise?
    • Not enough breath work?
  3. Everything in moderation can lead us back to an old pattern

Christa shares her personal struggle with donuts and wine. These are things that she limits to rare instances, but has learned to pay attention to cravings and to take appropriate action, not the substance, if and when they do occur, ask herself, “What’s going on, what am I doing, or not doing?”

Occasional, Rare, and Never: What Foods Should Go Into Which Bucket?

The ideal scenario is that we can have sugar, refined carbs and alcohol “occasionally,” but through your journey you may find that’s just not possible. Start by thinking what each category means and where you might start to identify opportunities to make changes.


If you’re not addicted to a food or substance and it is not a problem for you, then a few times per month is fine. (4 x/month)


A problem food or substance should only be consumed on rare instances. Using food as a reward or a celebration needs be limited to special occasions, but certainly not on a frequent basis. (1 x/month)


Abstain completely from addictive foods or substances. If you’re triggered by a food to the point where you know it isn’t serving your goals, but you can’t control consumption of it and it takes you back to a daily pattern, it’s likely time to release it for a longer period of time (3+ months) or forever.

Final Tip

Become mindful of what foods or substances trigger something in you and takes you away from your goals so that you can be fit for life, and not dieting. The only true possession we have in life is our body so you’ve got to take care of it so it takes care of you.

Additional Resources:

Dopamine Deficiency, Depression and Mental Health

Use the buttons below to subscribe, rate and review our show. In your comments, let us know what is your “occasional” or “rare,” or “never” foods. If you have additional questions, post them in your review and we’ll answer them on a future show!

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Episode 36 – Stories of Transformation: Jeneen

Jeneen Haven – Another Inspiring Story of Transformation

Real people making real like changes and delivering strategies and tips. Jeneen found Fitlandia on Facebook as she was looking a support group that aligned with her beliefs of eating whole food, not a diet club, or anything fad-like. She joined the Fitlandia FB group and connected with Christa. Jeneen now works as a holistic health coach and shares her journey of weight loss and what she has discovered along the way about herself and her relationship with food.

Jeneen’s Transformation Journey

Over 10 years ago, Jeneen and her family moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Boise, ID to start a business. She encountered winter for the first time, the challenges of entrepreneurship and a life that felt out of control. She realized that the one thing she had control over was herself. She weighed 230 pounds, felt embarrassed and ashamed; like she didn’t belong or wasn’t good enough to be with the other moms at her children’s school or at church. It was at that moment she decided that she was done being fat. Jeneen took an honest look at herself and acknowledged that she was obese.

She bought a YMCA membership, made a green smoothie daily, dropped the older kids at school each day and went directly to the gym. She checked her younger ones into daycare and hit the treadmill daily. Jeneen didn’t like the treadmill, but she did like “Law and Order” – and would watch the hour-long show before exiting the machine to get her children from daycare. They would then eat a healthy lunch, vegetable snacks in the afternoon, and a plant-based, protein evening meal with the entire family. She repeated this routine for ten months and dropped 80 pounds. There was no magic – just positive, healthy changes.

Jeneen’s Beliefs Around Food

  • Food is love
  • We celebrate with food
  • It’s a way to connect with her children
  • Being a good mother by baking homemade goods
    • Sweet rolls
    • Sugar cookies
    • Granola with honey, oats wheat flour and dried berries
    • Calorie-dense foods
    • Grain-based diet

Jeneen’s health transformation came when she let go of grains and began emphasizing veggies instead. Christa reminds us to, “Make every plate 50-75% vegetables, whether you are eating paleo, vegan or Whole 30.” And the importance of limiting fruits – it’s not the adage of “eat your fruits and vegetables,” its now, eat your vegetables and occasionally some fruit. The fructose in fruits can easily be stored as fat unless we are moving enough to actually burn the sugar.

Your Family Should be Your “Why” and Not Your “Why Not”

For years, Jeneen used her family and being a mom as an excuse not to take care of herself.

“How can I put my kids in daycare?”

“How can I not bake for my kids?”

“How can I not decorate cookies on Valentine’s Day?”

“How can I be so selfish?”

Using Weight as a Protective Shield

Jeneen’s feelings of not being as good, as pretty, or as organized as the other moms were the beliefs that kept her obese. The weight created a buffer to take herself out of the comparison with other women/moms who she felt she didn’t stack up against.

Jeneen’s mother is obese and growing up she felt a connection with her at a core level. She had fear that her mother wouldn’t love her if she lost weight and changed “tribes.”

Lasting Changes

Once Jeneen started to experience the increased confidence and freedom of releasing the weight, she could reap all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; a few of them include:

  • Shopping for clothes in regular stores
  • Eating healthy and exercising to get off medications
  • Endorphins kicking in
  • Exercise increased from walking to weight lifting = feeling strong!

Christa gives a shout-out to resistance training, which supports the brain on so many levels. The benefit we women get with developing our strength and our muscles is so amazing.

Not Feeling Deprived

During Jeneen’s weight loss journey, she allowed herself a weekly treat of boneless buffalo wings. After eating healthy all week, she and a girlfriend would meet and share a basket of wings. This helped her to stay on track while enjoying the social connection with her good friend. She also had a weekly date night with her husband and she would choose a salad and protein. These activities were a testimony that she could still enjoy foods she loved, but in the right proportion.

There are general guidelines that create the highest level of success for most people, but then it’s about creating a lifestyle and an eating plan that works for life.

It’s important to understand what works for you and what your triggers are

Emotions Drive Specific Cravings

Angry = crave spicy

Stressed = crave salty

Sad = crave sweets

Happy = crave sweets

This discovery helped Jeneen realize that not only did she crave these types of foods at specific instances, but that she is now more mindful of using any type of food to numb emotions.

Become curious to when, what, why we are eating. What’s going on? What are the feelings?

Jeneen’s Take-away Tips

  • Make your children your “why” and not your “why not”
  • Change patterns learned from family of origin and model good behavior
  • Set boundaries – don’t sacrifice peace, joy and confidence
  • Do it for yourself – I’m worth it, I care how I look and how I feel
  • Make fitness and health non-negotiable
  • Investing in “me” does not take away from “them”

You can learn more about Jeneen and her work at:

We’d love to hear how this episode has helped you on your fitness journey! Head over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave us a review with your comments. We’ll feature them in an upcoming show.

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Episode 34 – Why You Need to Keep a Food Journal to Reach Your Goals (sorry)

This week Christa welcomes Dr. Jerome Craig back to introduce us to the serious subject of food journaling. Even though food journaling is something most of us are resistant to do, they discuss the importance of it and offer some easy fun ways to track our foods. Journaling is necessary to build a starting point and a foundation of what foods work or don’t work for each individual person.


Why Food Journal?

  • Helps us be more mindful
  • Are we under or over eating
  • Not calorie counting, but awareness about excessive consumption
  • Awareness of how specific foods cause discomfort and what to bring back after elimination
  • Builds discipline, new habits, improved processing and better sleeping patterns

Dr. Craig says, “If you’re not aware of what you’re eating and you’re having health problems, food journaling is a good place to start.”

Tips for Easy Journaling

  • Don’t complicate it – release the perfection.
  • Be curious – “How does this affect my body?” Christa describes food journaling as a journey of self-discovery, figuring out what best works for your body instead of a set of rules.
  • Apps are helpful! Christa’s recommends MyNetDiary Pro which links with your Fitbit and tracks nutrients, macros, vitamins and helps you build and save your own recipes.
  • Keep your app or your food notebook around you so it’s always accessible.
  • Don’t focus on the calories. Jerome says, “Your body doesn’t really care about the calories it cares about the inflammation its bringing to the cells.” It’s more important to be getting your micronutrients than to be counting calories or macros.

“One thing we all do every single day, and probably devote a lot of time thinking about every single day, is eating. So why not make it easier so you can come up with ideas of what really works for you.”, says Dr. Craig. Food journaling helps us come up with meals that work for us to have better health, which includes improved digestion and more restful sleep.

Whatever health benefits you’re trying to reach or if you’re starting a new food plan, make sure you track your mood, sleep, digestion and energy. When you are making a change and have a goal in mind – food journal!

Fitlandia Upcoming Events

May 31
Dr. Craig and Christa are starting a new 7-week Keto 101 online program: Pumping up your Fitness with Fat. This new program includes one-on-one sessions, educational webinars, access to private forums and the Fitlandia Facebook group, and a one-year membership to Fitlandia.

Head over to the Keto 101 Program for more information. As a thank you for tuning into today’s podcast, we’re offering 20% off to our listeners. Just enter PODCAST20 at checkout.


Want More? Subscribe to the Fitlandia Podcast today and have a healthy commute everyday! Share your comments in a review and we’ll feature you in an upcoming podcast.

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Episode 33 – Proper Fueling for Exercise

Today Christa welcomes April Saunders, Registered Dietician and Diabetes Coach who is also known as the “Love Carbs Coach.” April’s mission is similar to Fitlandia’s greater mission of ending the dieting cycle.


The most common problems are:

  • People don’t eat enough of the good stuff
  • People have a diet, deprivation mentality and a low-carb, low-fat mindset

April states, “We have the answers to our best life; our healthier most wonderful life – if you want to run, jump, laugh, learn, swim, dance and play you need carbs. To lose weight and optimize energy – we need to eat more!”

The dieting industry is a $64 billion industry that has taught us to care too much about what we look like instead of how our bodies function. By focusing more on how we feel, we can let that be our motivation including the benefit of weight loss.

Christa reminds us that cooking your own food can a beautiful meditative process, a great opportunity to slow down, gain balance and is an act of self love.

April offers tips for healthy easy meals to cook at home, that you can put in the freezer for the week. Check out her website for recipes that are simple and healthy,

Food Journaling

Everyone’s individual needs vary but most nutritionists agree that everyone should do food journaling. Here’s why:

  • Quicker time to discover what foods work or don’t work for your body
  • Paleo, vegan, raw foods aren’t for everyone – different digestive needs
  • Removing all sugars to break from that additive cycle

Keeping a food journals helps us see how our bodies react to certain foods, which is the science of Nutrigenetics; how actual nutrients influence our genes at the molecular level.

April helps to design a balanced, maintenance diet for people who are past the elimination phase of these foods by overcoming their addictive components. This creates a healthier lifestyle which is sustainable; and fuels our bodies sufficiently for exercise.

April works with people who want to:

  • Fuel with whole foods
  • Optimize blood sugar
  • Get their fat off
  • Have a little fun
  • Don’t like diets

Proper Fueling for Exercise

Fueling for Exercise “recreational exerciser” (more than walkers, but not marathoners)

  1. Have their macros optimized – balanced carbs, fats, proteins
  2. Fill in the gaps with healthy fats and healthy carbs

What is a healthy carb?

  • Whole foods – you won’t be able to read grams because “anything that is a healthy carb doesn’t have a “label”
  • Starchy vegetables – nutrient dense types such as sweet potatoes, peas, legumes, parsnips, turnips
  • Whole grains – brown rice and low glycemic index options such as basmati rice and quinoa

Look for foods that give you carbohydrate energy that is slow and sustaining. The goal is to optimize blood sugars and stay away from anything refined.

Refined is when heat is added and it breaks down the substance. For example, steel cut oats are cut in four ways but not modified, whereas “instant” or “quick” means it has been processed down to a level that will impact your blood sugar.

“Stay close to the farm or the field, and as far away from as you can from the factory”, April suggest

Standing Up for Carbs

Let’s not lump all types of carbs together, healthy carbs are nutritious foods.

Whole fruits are carbs, the fruit sugar/ fructose provides carbohydrate energy. There are bio-active chemicals that haven’t been named yet which exist in whole fruit and vegetables that have amazing functional properties.

Christa offers a favorite quote from her colleague, Dr. Jerome Craig, “Those occasional treats that we have, there is no guilt, only consequences.” She says those consequences may lead to food cravings or increased weight, but we shouldn’t feel bad about it

 When and What to Eat for Pre and Post Workout

  1. Morning Workout
  • No need to eat before exercising if properly fueled from the day before
  • If you are starving when you wake up, eat something small and wait a short while before exercising
  1. Mid-day
  • You want to be properly fueled throughout the day for optimal performance
  • If more than three hours have passed since your last meal, have a snack including a small amount of protein and a slow digestive carb like a piece of fruit
  • Watch your fats before a workout or run because of digestive distress
  1. Evening
  • If you’re going to work out within 2 hours of your evening meal, there should be no need to refuel before exercising

Within 30 minutes after cardio you need both carbohydrate and protein, usually around 200 calories total with optimal 100 calories from protein and 100 from carbs. It’s necessary to restore the glycogen lost during the workout. The challenge might be to grab a healthy choice like:

  • a handful of fruit and nuts
  • greek yogurt
  • a whole grain rice cake with peanut butter

Try to resist reaching for the ice cream in the freezer or chips in the pantry as these will decrease your results and lessen the effectiveness of your workouts.

April’s Pro Tips

  1. Properly fuel your body every 3-4 hours
  2. Sufficient proteins are important, but the body can only process 30-40g of protein at one time. This is why it is important to have a balanced amount of macro nutrients in almost every meal
  3. If you want to work out at your peak performance level you need to have healthy carbs in order to do so

We’d love to hear how this episode has helped you on your fitness journey! Head over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave us a review with your comments. We’ll feature them in an upcoming show.

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Episode 30 – Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

We’re pleased to welcome Functional Medicine Practitioners, Doctors Mark and Michele Sherwood, to talk with us about how to live and benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet.


Dr. Michele Sherwood began working in functional medicine after she began noticing that she addressed her patients more by their specific medications or diseases, instead of by their names. She had earned a naturopath degree before medical school and was now realizing she was simply prescribing maintenance medicines to her patients; a type of “band aid”. She discovered a dramatic improvement in her patients and in her practice when she began to look at the root cause and their life as a whole; including nutrition, activity level, hormonal balances, stress, and sleep patterns which can feed into sickness and disease.

Mark and Michele, besides being married, also have a wellness-based medical practice. They work with genetics, excessive fat reduction, medication reduction and improvement of muscle tissue and texture. Simply put, they’re working to eliminate self-imposed choice driven sickness and diseases from the planet.

By helping to get the focus off obsessing over weight and transitioning to eating whole foods and being healthier overall, Mark and Michele are hoping to work themselves out of jobs.

Get healthy on purpose and lose weight on accident

Mark states, “Anytime we talk about a program where weight loss is included, it’s important to remember, you cannot lose muscle tissue.” Muscle tissue is the way we move our bodies, without it, we’re dying. When we focus on maintaining muscle, we lose fat and overall body composition and our longevity improves.

When focusing on overall body composition it’s a good ratio for 10%-20% body fat for men and 18%-28% for woman. When this is normalized, physical health and emotional health improves.

In their practice, they use an analysis called Bioimpedance for examining body composition. This is different than BMI (Body Mass Index) that measures below, in the middle or above a certain range for body composition but doesn’t actually measure the actual body mass. Conversely, Bioimpedance evaluates lean body mass; how much is withheld, fat inflammatory mass, intracellular and outer cellular water and basal metabolic rate. This is a more accurate measure of cellular health.

This is used as a base line evaluation of a body’s composition and how many calories are necessary to be properly fueled. Mark and Michele use this to study and develop individual plans for their patients. They’re also working on point specific genetics dealing with metabolic health and sports components. Stay tuned for a future podcast where we’ll dive into this information on what chronic inflammation can do this to our bodies and techniques like these that can be used to target solutions.

Now, how does our food inflame us right into disease?

Inflammation, when acute, is how we heal. When it becomes chronic is when it becomes problematic and is the first signs of sickness or disease.

Roughly 80% of the inflammation in our bodies is coming in through our mouths.

When we eat foods that inflame our system, they’re disguised as macronutrients when in reality, they’re simply just macro calories. If we have an efficient, healthy body when we eat foods with good macro nutrient quality, we can get the micro nutrients out of these foods. If not, our bodies start to get inflamed and break them down one organ at a time which can result in hormone imbalances, weight gain, back pain, digestion issues, brain fog, etc.

Known inflammatory foods  

A good pneumonic for these foods is, S.A.D. which stands for the Standard American Diet.

This includes:

  • Fried Foods
  • Sugars, Artificial Sweeteners, Soda
  • Processed Foods and Preservatives – including processed sandwich meats
  • MSG – fillers found in dressings, cookies, spices etc.
  • Excessive Caffeine – 200-300 milligrams more than daily amount
  • Excessive Alcohol – 1-2 drinks a week
  • Corn, Soy, Yeast, Grains and Bread
  • Anything found in a box or package
  • Any foods with added ingredients to change the foods nature or preserve it

 Anti-inflammatory foods to enjoy

Anything that grows in the land, aside from certain food allergies, is going to be much easier for the body to identity and digest. Including more of these types of foods will start to improve your health and mood in as little time as a week!

  • Raw fruits – lower glycemic so you watch sugar levels, but also include nutrients and vitamins
  • Vegetables – no limits to greens. Vegetables help alkalize the system and help with digestion, they also provide lots of minerals and fiber.
  • Hormone free, grass-fed meat
  • Pasture raised eggs
  • Fish – fresh cod and farm-raised fish like trout

Pro Tip: 75% of your plate = vegetables and then make healthy fat choices for the remaining 25%.

What to expect when transitioning to an anti- inflammatory diet

  • Increase in energy which helps release brain fog
  • Better digestion which boosts weight loss
  • Look out for perceived fatigue because of blood sugar dropping – don’t quit – have a piece of fruit, and let your mind and body start to adjust.
  • Don’t focus on depravity but welcome the new journey of releasing toxins and overcoming the brain, gut connectivity we have to certain foods.

It’s helpful to stay connected and you’ll be three times more successful with support and accountability partners. Here at Fitlandia we have an amazing group of people who will help you every step of the way.

Mark states, “Don’t dabble in your health, it’s not a part time job but a full-time life.”

Ready to try out an anti-inflammatory diet and reclaim your health with both mental and nutritional support?

Our next No Fools’ Detox starts on 5/15/17. Only 15 spots available! A FREE, 1-yr membership to Fitlandia is included ($228 value). Our listeners get 20% off. See below for details.


(THANKS FOR LISTENING! Save 20% and enter EPISODE30 at checkout)

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