All posts by coachivyjohnson

Make Your Own Cashew Milk

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in store bought almond or cashew milk and thought to yourself “I wish I could just make this at home without all this extra chemicals!”??? Well, you are not alone, I have thought that many times!

A couple months ago, I stumbled on a blog (www.thevegan8.com) for a vegan alfredo recipe and found that she was using homemade cashew milk to thicken up her sauce. Best part? Her cashew milk was EASY. Like ridiculously easy! After making it several times and experimenting with different nuts, here is what I found….

  • you want to use only raw, unsalted cashews
  • the milk turns out best if you soak cashews in water for at least 4 hours.
  • I’ve tried with almonds and you really do need a cheese cloth to get all the pulp out. Cashews just blend into a smoother milk consistency.
  • If you plan to always make your own cashew milk, I recommend you order your cashews in bulk.

Recipe

You will need:
  • 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews
  • 6 cups of water
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt
Directions:
  • put all ingredients into Vitamix blender and let sit for 4 hours – this step is optional, but highly recommended
  • blend ingredients on a speed around 5-6 and set a timer for 10 minutes. Let Vitamix do it’s thing for 10 minutes.
  • Store 6 cups of fresh and delicious cashew milk in mason jars and enjoy for the week!

Adam claims this milk is better than whole milk!!! So you will have to make for yourself and let me know what you think!

From my kitchen to yours,

-Ivy

 

Blueberry & Orange Icy Pops

How crazy is the colour of these Icy Pops!? Contrasted with the bright orange, they are just the perfect colour pop for photos. The frozen blueberries were great to photograph as when they started to thaw they starting get this brilliant shine on them, picking up the light as it came through the window to let me know just how juicy they are.

Makes approximately 9 icy pops

Ingredients

1 heaped cup of blueberries
2 navel oranges
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup coconut cream

Icy Pop molds (600ml / 20oz capacity. Double the recipe if you have larger or more molds to fill)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Place the blueberries in a small baking tray. Juice one of the oranges and pour the juice over the blueberries  Roast the blueberries for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Cut the remaining orange in half and juice one half. Cut a slice or two from the remaining orange half, peel and cut the flesh into small pieces. In a bowl, add the coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut water, orange juice, orange pieces and roasted blueberries. Be sure to add any juices from the baking tray. Evenly spoon the fruit into each mold and top up with the coconut mixture. Freeze overnight.

If you have excess, store it in an airtight container in the fridge until your icy pops have set over night. Take the icy pops from the molds and store in an airtight container in the freezer, layering with baking paper in between pops to make sure they don’t stick together.

 

The Dairy-Free Way to Satisfy Your Chocolate Ice Cream Cravings

Whether it’s cupcakes, milkshakes, or ice cream, if — when faced with a choice between vanilla and chocolate — you never ever choose vanilla, then get out your food processor and tell your taste buds to get ready to be wowed. Creamy, chocolatey, and perfect for chilling out on a hot and humid Summer day, this ice cream requires no ice cream maker and saves you tons of calories because it’s completely dairy-free.

Made with only two ingredients, each serving is just 167 calories — get a cup of soft chocolate ice cream at the local scoop shop, and you’re looking at 382 calories! Plus, this vegan ice cream is cholesterol-free and offers 6.6 grams of fiber per serving. And we know that eating lots of filling fiber is one part of the weight-loss equation, so eating this dessert can actually help you slim down. You can’t say that about real ice cream. Read on to learn just how easy it is to satisfy those ravenous chocolate ice cream cravings.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 bananas
  2. 1 Vegan chocolate Shakeology packet
  3. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. Dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the bananas, slice them, and place in a freezer bag or glass container.
  2. Freeze for at least two hours.
  3. Place the frozen bananas and cocoa powder in a food processor, and blend until smooth, for several minutes. At first it’ll look chunky, but as the bananas begin to melt a little, you’ll see it form a supercreamy consistency.
  4. Scoop into a bowl, sprinkle with a few chocolate chips if you’re feeling zany, and enjoy!

VEGAN BANANA ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 bananas, cut into slices and frozen
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place frozen banana slices, cocoa powder, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the texture resembles soft serve ice cream, about 3 minutes. You may need to scrape the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula occasionally. Serve immediately.
NOTES
Prep time does not include time to freeze bananas.

 

10 Super Simple Ways to Decrease Your Daily Environmental Footprint

Our health and the health of the planet go hand-in-hand.

This is not my belief — this is a fact. There are countless studies documenting the connection between poor health and living in polluted areas.

I mean, just think about it for a moment: how can we be truly healthy breathing polluted air, drinking contaminated water, and eating foods grown in nutritionally-deplete soil? We can’t! (Our livers and kidneys are hardworking little-engines-that-could, but they can only handle so much.)

So I believe we should all be mindful of the impact we have and do our part to reduce our environmental footprint as best as we can (not to mention the fact that we do share this planet with other living beings who would be very appreciative if we did!).

Especially since decreasing our environmental footprint is really not all that difficult… in fact, it can be pretty simple. Nope, no need to go off the grid! Just start small with some of these suggestions. But by all means, do feel free to get carried away 😉

BONUS: Some of these tips will also save you some money (yay!) and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals (woo hoo!).

1. USE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS — AND NOT JUST AT THE GROCERY STORE.

I always carry around one of my Baggu shopping bags. They conveniently come in a little storage pouch, and fold up to be very small. That being said, they’re also very strong and hold a considerable amount! I’ve had mine for over 5 years now and they’re still going strong.

decrease your environmental footprint - reusable bagsAt first, it may feel odd using a reusable bag when out shopping for non-grocery items. But you’ll get over it! Really, no one cares. If anything they’ll be thinking, “Oh I should really start doing that too.”

2. USE REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS.

Time and time again, I see people at the grocery store filling their reusable shopping bags with… plastic produce bags!

So up your plastic-free game by using reusable produce bags too.

3. INVEST IN A QUALITY WATER FILTER AND GLASS WATER BOTTLE.

Here’s the thing about bottled water: most of it is just plain ol tap water packaged in little plastic bottles that not only pollute the earth, but also leach chemicals into said water… eventually ending up in your body! Now I understand that most of us don’t have access to quality drinking water, which is why many individuals choose bottled water. I for one live in a city that loads its water supply up with fluoride.

The best solution for the planet, your personal health, and your bank account: investing in a quality water filter and glass water bottle.

I personally own and recommend Berkey water filters. I have the Big Berkey and my sister 10 Super Simple Ways to Decrease Your Daily Environmental Footprinthas the Royal Berkey. If you’re looking for a whole house water filtration system or an under-the-sink system that doesn’t take up any counter space, Aquasana is a great choice.

4. LET AN ALL-NATURAL ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER DO IT ALL FOR YOU.

A natural all-purpose cleaner can be used for ALL of your household cleaning needs. Nope, you really don’t need an individual kitchen counter cleaner and bathroom counter cleaner and toilet cleaner and tub cleaner and and AND. More than anything, careful marketing has made us think we need a million different, toxic-chemical-filled cleaners.

There are a few different DIY cleaner recipes that I really enjoy. My favorite is the DIY all-natural citrus zest all-purpose cleaner. For a tougher clean (as with the kitchen sink or bathtub) sprinkle some baking soda on the surface beforehand to help scrub away grime.

decrease your environmental footprint - dryer balls5. USE WOOL DRYER BALLS TO REDUCE DRYING TIME AND ENERGY.

A clothes dryer accounts for 12% of electricity use in a typical household!

It’s estimated that wool dryer balls can reduce drying time by up to 30%! This can add up to significant energy cuts.

6. MAKE A MASON JAR YOUR NEW BFF.

I use a mason jar for just about everything: for drinks, taking food to work (they don’t leak), storing leftovers, storing dry goods purchased in bulk, and for DIY projects.

These multi-purpose jars are just so handy! I recommend getting a set of pint-sized jars (16 oz) and half-pint-sized jars (8 oz).

7. BUY FROM THE BULK SECTION AT THE GROCERY STORE (AND DON’T FORGET YOUR REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS!).

Your reusable produce bags will work perfectly for items in the bulk section, too! Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dried beans, and healthy grains (like quinoa) can be purchased in most grocery stores in bulk. By using your own bag, you’re opting out of the plastic packaging that these goods are otherwise sold in. And when you get home, be sure to transfer your items to mason jars to keep them fresh!

8. DITCH THE DRANO AND USE A DRAIN MILLIPEDE INSTEAD!

I have a weird little obsession with plumbing. OK, not so much plumbing generally as keeping drains clear. Because nothing drives me mad more than a clogged drain (yucky!)… except perhaps the idea of thousands if not millions of households dumping toxic chemicals into the public water supply to unclog drains when the problem can be solved simple with a handy little reusable tool and elbow grease (grrrr).

Enter the drain millipede. I think everyone with a sink or shower should own one of these babies! Basically, just stick it down the drain, and pull it back out to either dislodge or yank out whatever was causing the backup. (Note that I occasionally also do need to use a plunger as well.) The process requires about 3 minutes of manual labor (no big sacrifice, if you ask me) and 1) will reduce your environmental footprint by eliminating your use of toxic chemical drain cleaners (and — bonus! —the plastic bottles they come in), 2) and reduce the number of toxic chemicals in your own home, 3) save yourself some money (those chemical drain cleaners can be pricey!).

9. DITCH THE K-CUPS AND TEA BAGS.

decrease your environmental footprint - french pressAccording to The Atlantic: “In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of them ended up in landfills. They are not recyclable. Using them is extremely wasteful and irresponsible; they are a stupid way to make coffee that simply cannot be sustained.” I second that sentiment! Plus, the hot water passing through these little plastic cups causes the chemicals to leach more readily, meaning they end up in your final cup of coffee. Instead, brew coffee the old-fashioned way! And have you ever had French press coffee!? OMG so delicious — you’ll never go back. (Plus if you get a French press made entirely of stainless steel and/or glass, you’ll be skipping out on the plastic parts in traditional machines.)

Tea bags are also a big source of waste: we have the paper tag, the string, the little staple, the bag itself, and then the box it all comes in (which is likely wrapped in plastic). Oy! Now you may be reading “little staple” and be saying “give me a break” but when you multiply that little staple times billions of tea bags sold each year, we’re talking about a considerable amount of unnecessary waste. So instead of bagged tea, buy bulk tea and use a single cup tea diffuser (like this stainless steel twisting tea ball) or French press (yep, it works for tea, too!) to brew your tea.

10. FOR THE KIDS, INVEST IN STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS

Kids use straws and lots of them. So instead of using plastic straws, invest in a set of stainless steel straws!

Do you have any other tips for reducing our daily environmental footprint?

Please share with us below!

xo-Ivy

5 TIPS FOR EATING A MORE PLANT BASED DIET

 

1.  Focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t.  This is especially important for those of you who choose to go full vegan.  It’s really easy to see everything you can ‘no longer’ have, but if you’re EXCITED about what you CAN have, it opens up a world of variety, and you start to look at menus totally differently.  When dining out, look for veggies all over the menu. It’s quite easy to make a meal from a few veggie side dishes or swap out the meats from one plate with veggies from another plate (like swapping out fish or chicken on a salad with a scoop of hummus from the appetizer menu or swapping out a burger with a portobello mushroom).

2.  Eat your greens…and lots of them!  Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard as well as non starchy green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, and zucchini give you a GREAT bang of minerals, fiber, and antioxidants without a starchy or high carb quality.  If you’re not big on green veggies get a daily dose shaken up in coconut water with Power Greens.

3.  Link up with an accountability partner and get a coach or someone who’s gone plant based before the HEALTHY WAY – not by purchasing a bunch of processed and packaged fake-meats on the marketplace.  It’s so much easier to stay the course, get ideas, and get inspired when you’re working with others who are doing the same thing you are.  I’ve been practicing a high plant based diet, and have always found myself and my clients have stellar success when we USE the accountability community I plug you into when you start your program with me.  As a matter of fact some of my most successful transformations are from those who adopted a vegan or high plant based lifestyle, drink shakeology, and were accountable with me for their entire challenge

4. Go to my website for weekly vegan recipes.  Most recipes are vegan, gluten free, soy free, and simple recipes that you can share with your family.

5.  Supplement with Vegan Shakeology.  I honestly don’t think I would have been successful in my attempt to be 100% plant based without it.  Supplementing with vegan Shakeology helps fill in any nutritional gaps, gives you the adaptogenic herbs and superfoods your body needs to gain balance, increases your energy, and delivers probiotics and digestive enzymes. It also has helped me reversed some of my symptoms that I experience with Hashimotos. Recently, we’ve  Recently, we’ve added two new ingredients to our original blend: Matcha a green tea which contains EGCg, an antioxidant widely revered for it’s cancer fighting properties, and Chaga which is a medicinal mushroom and metabolic regulator known to have an energy boosting effect but also enhances your immune system, is a digestive tonifier, and is known as a longevity tonic.

xo-Ivy Johnson

 

 

HOW TO GET THE BEST RESULTS IN YOUR FITNESS GOALS

Yeah, I totally feel it too. It’s the earlier days of boating season here in South Florida,  and I already ordered a new bathing suit and it should be at my door any day now. It’s spring break week right now and in just a few months summer vacations are coming! I don’t care so much about getting “bikini ready” anymore as I do about just getting to a place where I am not constantly self conscious on vacation. Or hiding from the photos. That’s no fun. That’s no way to live. If you’re like me, you might be feeling the pressure starting right about now and you might be looking back at the resolutions you didn’t exactly stick to the way you wanted to and you might be thinking about what you should do RIGHT NOW to help you get back on track. I figured I’d share my top five tips on how to get the BEST possible results from working with a coach like me!

1. You’ve Gotta Want To Drink | Not literally. I mean, yeah drinking water is important. But what I really mean is that I can lead you to the water, but you’ve got to drink it. I can’t help anyone who isn’t ready to put in the effort themselves. I can’t want it for you. I can’t come into your home and do your push ups for you either. And the same was true for me! It wasn’t until I had a really solid “why” that I saw lasting change. I had to want it more than I wanted an extra half hour of sleep. Or more than I wanted french fries. WHY-power can make incredible things happen but it has to begin inside YOU! Why do you wanna change? Is it self confidence? Is it health? Is it energy? What is driving you?

2. You’ve Gotta Have The Tools |Why do new years resolutions fail? Why do most people buy gym memberships and stop using them after the first month? Because we need somthing so simple and easy to follow that we can’t come up with excuses as to why we should skip it. It needs to be short but effective because most of us are busy. It needs to work. It needs to be something we can keep up and make into a lifestyle instead of a crash diet that crashes and burns. That’s what my program with Beachbody is. It’s half hour workouts. It’s no-deprivation mealplans. It’s so simple that you can’t come up with a legitimate reaason why you can’t keep it up. Really! I mean look at you right now, you’re here reading this? By the time you’re done reading this blog post and finish the rest of your social media scrolling you could have finished your workout for the day. Just saying. 😉

3. You’ve Gotta Have Support | This one is so important! A fitness transformation is more than just your body. It’s mental and emotional! You’ve got to work on the inside too. And trying to do all of that on your own can be really difficult. You need a support system who believe in you who tell you to get off the sofa and do your workout for the day. People who encourage you when you’re feeling frustrated and who celebrate with you when you have a victory! That’s exactly what I’ve built in my virtual Challenge Groups! That’s why I now run 1 each month for people who want to commit to healthy changes and want a community of awesome people doing it alongside them! But even if you aren’t in one of my challenges (um… why are you not in one of my challenges?) find a workout buddy that has similar goals and keep each other motivated!

4. You’ve Gotta Remember: Progress Over Perfection | If you are ready to have a real, lasting transformation then adopt this mantra: “Progress Over Perfection”. This is a journey and journeys have ups and downs. You live in the real world where schedules get packed and healthy snacks run out and you get PMS. 😉 So if you do slip up, or allow yourself a cheat or a day off, or if you only lose 3 pounds instead of 5 remember, progress over perfection! Just keep making progress and let go of trying to do everything perfectly. It’s better, I promise.

5. You’ve Gotta Do The Work | This one might seem silly but I have so many people contact me looking for a magic fix. The truth is, there isn’t one. Wraps, pills, supplements, crash diets… they all are only band-aids. To have a real transformation you’ve gotta fix the problem underneath. That means you have to change your habits and mindset and you’ve gotta put in the work. Not a ton of work, but consistent work. In my challenges, my challengers commit to half hour workouts each day. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s consistent. Do the work, and have a long term vision. No crash diets. Healthy lifestyle changes. You got this!

Here’s some real before and after photos submitted to me by some of my past challengers who had killer transformations because they utilized the tips above! Shoot me an email if you’re curious about what programs each of these beautiful souls used! If you’re interested in jumping in and having me coach you through a month long fitness challenge, get all the info here and then reach out to me and I’ll get you plugged in with us for April!


Natural perfume is like true love…

Pretty darn difficult to find. And once you do, you never want to let it go!

I’d know because I’ve been searching high and low for a natural perfume. I’ve tried countless samples from different companies, but never liked them enough to buy the full-sized product (often super expensive and not worth the cost in my eyes).

REMINDER: ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE IS A CHEMICAL COCKTAIL.

You’ve probably noticed the word “fragrance” in personal care and cleaning ingredient label lists. This term doesn’t represent one single ingredient but is a catchall for any number of mysterious chemicals used to scent a product. Companies are allowed to keep these chemicals concealed as proprietary “trade secrets,” using the umbrella term “fragrance” to represent them all. So since it’s a grab-bag of unnamed chemicals, fragrance is an especially troubling ingredient.

Fragrance can irritate the skin, causing contact dermatitis. It is also a potential endocrine disruptor (i.e. may interfere with your hormones, the very important chemical messengers that tell you body what to do and how), known to irritate allergies, and causes headaches, nausea and dizziness—I’m sure we’ve all had the unfortunate opportunity of being in an elevator or car with someone wearing far too much perfume or cologne and can attest to this!

DIY All-Natural Solid Perfume

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp beeswax pastilles
  • 4 tsp refined coconut oil (has less scent than unrefined coconut oil)
  • 50 drops essential oils of choice (example: 10 top notes, 18 middle notes, 12 bottom notes)
  • 1 oz glass jar or metal tin
  • Toothpick or butter knife

 

DIRECTIONS:

Drop your essential oils of choice into the jar and set aside. In a double boiler (or makeshift double boiler using a heat-resistant measuring cup or bowl), melt the beeswax. After the wax has melted, add the coconut oil. Pour the mixture into the jar over the essential oils, then give it a little stir with a a toothpick or clean butter knife. Place the jar somewhere where it will sit undisturbed for a at least an hour for it to solidify. And voilà! You have yourself an all-natural homemade perfume.

DIY All-Natural Roll-On Perfume

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons fractioned coconut oil
  • 20 drops essential oil of choice (example: 5 top notes, 9 middle notes, 6 bottom notes)
  • 10 mL glass roller bottle*

*You can use clear bottles here, but cobalt or brown glass is better because they prevent light from degrading the essential oils, which causes them to lose their scent.

DIRECTIONS:

Take the top off your dropper bottle. Drop your essential oils of choice into the bottle and top it off with the fractioned coconut oil. Put the top back on the bottle and give it a little shake. Ta da! That’s it!

Do you have a favorite essential oil scent combination?

Please share with us!

 

-xo-Ivy Johnson

10 Simple Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

Most of us spend a lot of our lives at work.

An estimated 10.3 total years, actually.

That’s why it’s so important that we try to keep healthy while at work. This not only means making sure we don’t dig into the donuts in the staff kitchen too often, but also making sure we stay active and create a healthy workspace.


10 Simple Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

1. Pack your desk with superfood snacks

Oh, those treats in the staff kitchen — they’re hard to resist. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence, delving into those donuts everyday isn’t the healthiest choice.

Keeping healthy snacks in your desk will help you resist temptations. Nuts and coconut flakes are both great options since they’re packed with healthy fats that will keep you feeling satiated through the day. Also, packets of Shakeology are also healthy alternatives too.

2. Keep an air-purifying plant near your desk

Indoor air can be up to 7 times more polluted than outdoor air! Clean it up with an air-purifying plant.  Golden pothos is a great option since it’s really sturdy (i.e. hard to kill), doesn’t require a ton of light, and removes formaldehyde, monoxide, and benzene from the air.

3. Schedule alerts to get moving

Sitting for long periods of time at a desk is not healthy, regardless of whether you get your sweat on at the gym for an hour each day or not. So if you have a desk job that includes a lot of time sitting, schedule an alert to get up and moving every 30 or 60 minutes. Of course, you can’t take a 5 minute break every 30 minutes! But standing up, moving your arms in circles, or doing a few squats for just 30 seconds will get your blood pumping and do your cardiovascular system good.

4. Make the most of your lunch break

Take the opportunity to get out of the office and MOVE during your lunch break. If you can’t go for a quick walk outside, find a stairwell to climb up and down a few times — anything to get your heart rate up and blood moving!

5. Invest in a balance ball chair

I have one of these and absolutely love it. The Balance Ball Chair was developed to strengthen core muscles and improve spinal alignment — it’s really helped my back. Plus, the ball can also be removed and used for exercises on or off the chair if you have a few minutes to spare throughout the day.

6. Bring your own hand soap and sanitizer

Chances are the hand soap and sanitizer supplied by your office or building manager is filled with some unhealthy chemicals. So bring your own!

I really like these CleanWell natural antibacterial soaps. And if there’s nowhere in the bathroom to store your soap and you feel silly carrying around your own bottle, these 2-oz Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps are small enough to slip into your pocket or discretely carry to the bathroom (since castile soap is very concentrated, use a small amount — this 2-oz little bottle will go a long way). This natural hand sanitizer smells great and keeps germs away naturally.

7. Pack your own lunch

Not only will packing your own lunch save you some major moolah, but homemade lunches are often much healthier than whatever you may pick up at the office cafeteria or local deli. Batch cooking your meals over the weekend will help save you time in the mornings before work as you’re rushing to head out the door.

8. Keep your desk clean and dust-free

Dust is more than just dead skin cells (ew) and carpet fiber — studies have shown that most dust contains a lot of unhealthy chemicals.

Most office cleaning companies don’t touch the desks, so be sure to keep your desk space clean and dust-free.

9. Amp up the lighting situation

If you can, turn off the fluorescent lighting and instead use lamps with full spectrum light bulbs. Fluorescent lights are known to increase stress and mental fatigue as well as strain your eyes and cause headaches. Full-spectrum light bulbs can help remedy this, increasing mental clarity and reducing eye strain. Better lighting can also make your office feel more cozy and inviting, improving your happiness while in the office (always a good thing)!

10. Stay hydrated! … with a filtered water bottle

OK, this one is a must at all time — whether you’re at work or not. But it’s especially easy to get wrapped up in tasks at work and forget this vital healthy habit. Keep a large water bottle at your desk and refill it throughout the day (it’s a good excuse to get out of your chair and moving a little bit). And if your office doesn’t offer filtered water, invest in this filtered water bottle — it’s glass and removes over 99% of bacteria, lead, and chlorine.


How do you stay healthy at work?

Have any other tips? Please share them with us!

xo-Ivy Johnson

I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry.

 

“I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry.”

You’ve probably noticed this quote plastered on all sorts of products, from T-shirts and coffee mugs to bumper stickers.

“Hanger” or being “hangry” has definitely become a popular saying in recent years. If you haven’t heard of it before, maybe you’ve experienced it…

hang·er
ˈhaNGər/
noun
1. The irrational state of anger induced by hunger.

Although it’s a slang term and often joked about, there’s perfectly reasonable science behind why we get “hangry”.

When you experience “hanger,” your body’s basically saying “OMG my blood sugar levels are so low and I need to get them up now. Like RIGHT NOW!” Your body is starting to enter emergency mode. This is why we not only experience anger but also a lack of concentration or coordination when blood sugar levels fall.

And as blood sugar levels fall, the brain signals a counter-response. This includes signaling the release of glucagon (stored glucose) from the pancreas as well as the hormones adrenaline and cortisol to help drive the brain and body while it is trying to bring blood sugar levels back into balance. Well adrenaline and cortisol are stress hormones, and so can contribute to feeling “hangry.”

Being “hangry” is a clear indication that blood sugar levels are imbalanced.

The solution to “hanger” isn’t just to make sure you eat frequently enough to not get hungry — it’s to work on keeping blood sugar levels balanced. This is such a critically important, absolutely vital aspect of nutrition and health that we all need to focus on — not just diabetics. I really can’t overemphasize that enough. Because elevated and erratic blood sugar levels promote inflammation, a slow metabolism, suppressed immune function, weight gain, heart disease, cancer growth, and so much more.

And it’s extreme spikes in blood sugar that cause blood sugar levels to plummet or crash to “hanger”-causing lows. So the goal need to be keeping blood sugar levels steady by preventing both highs and lows.

How can we maintain balanced blood sugar levels?

It’s a matter of making small teaks to your diet! Check out these 6 tips:

1. Eat fat and protein with each meal

This is the absolute most important tip — the key to balanced blood sugar levels. Because protein and fat are digested more slowly and so they slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This ensures your body gets the steady stream of sugar into the blood on which it thrives. Protein and fat also keep us feeling fuller longer, which helps us overcome sugar cravings.

2. Start the day with a breakfast high in healthy fat and protein

Piggybacking off of tip #1… it’s ESPECIALLY important to keep blood sugar levels steady in the morning with a breakfast high in protein and healthy fat. Because maintaining balanced blood sugar levels in the morning will keep them steady through to lunch without the snack-attack or need for coffee.

And eating breakfast in itself is important for blood sugar regulation. When you skip out on breakfast, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol, which in turn elevates blood sugar levels. This is why I drink Shakeology every morning for breakfast.

3. Focus on fruits and vegetables as the primary source of carbohydrates

Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, which slows down carbohydrate digestion and so helps prevent a spike in blood glucose and insulin levels.

Sugar and simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, are quickly digested and cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels — the exact spike we want to avoid.

4. Spice up your life with cinnamon!

meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose by a 3-5%. This is a modest amount, but it is still very interesting and can be helpful!

But don’t go too crazy with this spice — cinnamon contains coumarin, which can damage the liver when consumed in excessive amounts. According to the daily tolerable intake set by the European Food Safety Authority, the limit for an adult who is sensitive to coumarin is about a teaspoon a day. But if you have liver issues, it’s best to only use cinnamon sparsely.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

While this is an important tip for good health generally, it especially supports blood sugar regulation.

Lack of sleep drastically reduces glucose tolerance. This makes it more difficult for cells to uptake glucose, causing elevated blood sugar levels. This connection is so significant that researchers found that “less than 1 week of sleep restriction can result in a prediabetic state in young, healthy subjects.” (Wow!)

6. Exercise regularly

Like tip #5, this is another general health tip that also happens to have a particular impact on blood sugar levels.

Our muscles use more glucose, the sugar in your blood stream.  Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels. It also makes the insulin in your body work better. You’ll get these benefits for hours after your walk or workout.

But be careful not to overdo it! Strenuous exercise can cause the body to make stress hormones, which can actually lead to an increase in blood sugar.

Are you still riding the blood sugar roller coaster? If you’ve successfully gotten off, do you have any tips to share?

xo-Ivy Johnson