Recovery and Health News

Are you always bloated?

Denver-Sport-Recovery---Are-you-always-bloatedThere are days that I look in the mirror, and I’m wondering what the heck is going on…I say to myself, “omg I look pregnant!” I literally look like I gained 15 pounds over night.

Beer belly anyone?

Take this feeling plus gas and you’ve got one heck of an uncomfortable lady! That was me 15 years ago: gassy and bloated all the time!! Luckily, that is on the rare occasion these days.

There’s a common theme among the questions I get from clients, and that is; “Why am I always bloated?”

There could be two things going on. Let’s identify which category you fall into below.

Puffy & swollen? You wake up and your eye lids, fingers, belly feel swollen? This is probably due to holding onto extra water your body doesn’t need and happens to all of us on occasion; it’s part of life.

Belly bloating all the time? If you’re like I used to be, and you feel like you always look pregnant, it could be a more serious issue.

Let’s look at common things that are more easily fixed that could be causing this problem.

  1. Artificial sweeteners: this was my issue! I chewed so much fake gum (which causes gas in our digestive system) I literally hurt my jaw! If you’re a splenda, sweet n low, equal, diet drink kind of person, this can absolutely be the culprit. When your body is fed a foreign substance (artificial sweeteners) it can react by causing bloat and gas.
  2. Eating out and processed foods: You probably know this, but when we eat out, we don’t know what is going into our food, and we get a ton of extra sodium. The chemicals in processed food are not real food, and therefore your body is seeing it as a foreign substance, once again.
  3. Alcohol: Alcohol can cause dehydration… by causing us to pee a lot. When we are dehydrated our bodies will hold on to every ounce of fluid to prevent it from getting worse.
  4. We’re backed up. If you suffer from constipation that will certainly make you bloated. Make sure to get your daily dose of fiber to help get things moving!
  5. Too many cruciferous veggies (too much fiber) Just down a whole bunch of raw kale? This could be the culprit.
  6. Your protein powder: there are so many protein powders on the market that’re full of chemicals & artificial sweeteners. Get yourself one with ingredients you can pronounce! I use Purium and it’s the best investment I have ever made!
  7. Carbohydrates: I love me some carbs…and I eat them daily, but for some of us…too much can cause your body to hold onto water, which will make you feel bloated. Find the right amount for your body and stick with that!
  8. Carbonated drinks. The bubbles in carbonated water can cause a build up of air that moves down the digestive tract into the colon, causing extra bloat
Let’s talk about the more serious stomach bloating, feeling pregnant all the time bloat.

The # 1 culprit here is your gut health! Your gut is your second brain, and it controls almost all bodily functions. If it becomes unhealthy, it manifests in many different ways, and the most common one is gas/bloat.

More times than not, clients come with this exact challenge and we work to clean out their gut, and this usually solves the problem over time. What causes an unhealthy gut?

  1. Food allergies/sensitivities: most common ones are dairy, gluten, soy, nuts.
  2. Lack of sleep: this is a very common one that most people skip over. I’m not talking about a night or two here and there of bad sleep. BUT, if you have struggled with getting a healthy dose of ZZZ’s, that causes a lot of stress on the body, and can contribute to an unhealthy gut.
  3. Chronic stress: Your gut and your brain are inter-connected
  4. Medications. Have you taken antibiotics on and off your entire life, or maybe you’ve had a recent stint of several rounds? Antibiotics kill the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy, and without it, it can cause bloating.
  5. Too much sugar/processed food
What are problems without solutions?

Next blog we will be talking about solutions to reduce the bloat you are experiencing! We will dive into both kinds and how you can help yourself, so you can start to feel like you again!! Check back next week!

If you want to talk with me for FREE to get more in depth about your unique situation and walk away with solutions, CLICK HERE
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Vacation Mode
& Staying Healthy During It
(but don’t worry, you can still enjoy your fav foods)

Vacation Mode and Staying HealthyLast week I was in Ocean City, MD on a family vacation. To make a long story short, my dad passed 10 years ago, and he grew up in Salisbury MD. He spent summers in OC as a kid. When I was a child, he would take us there every year, so we go there to honor him and keep the tradition alive!

What I have heard from you so many times is how hard it is to stay healthy when traveling or on vacation. I get it. You work hard at life all year round. There’s the kids, work, trying to eat well and exercise, chores, and much more. Vacation is a time to let loose, have no worries and be carefree! So, why wouldn’t you have the mentality of being care free when it comes to your food choices while away. After all, it is only one week or so right? While all of that is true, it sets up a very black and white mentality where you’re either “on” or “off.” What I want to talk to you about is that middle ground! How can you live a “normal” social life, and still make progress towards your weight loss goals? Or at least maintain the progress you have made while you are away on vacation.

Practice balance. Let’s say you know that dinner is the time where you gather with the fam to go out. If you anticipate that being your heaviest meal, try to choose lighter options the rest of the day. For example, instead of waffles at breakfast, try eggs, fruit and avocado. Instead of a sandwich at lunch, opt for a salad with tons of protein. This way, when dinner comes, it won’t be an overload of unhealthy foods the entire day, just one meal.

Another thing to do is checks and balances. “I am going to skip the bun, so I can have fries.” Or, “I am going to eat a healthy meal with less carbs, so I can have a glass or two of wine and some dessert.” Quick tip: if you’re going to drink a few drinks, or if the entire trip will consist of an abundance of alcohol, try to eat mainly proteins, veggies, and fats. Stick to lower carbs.

Stay active! I know lounging on vacation always sounds like a good idea. And..I want you to do that! It is important to take time out to relax and rejuvenate. However, I like to take some time on vacation in the morning before the day gets started to exercise. Whether it’s stretching, cardio, weights, whatever is available to you. This will help your mood and in turn help you to make better food choices in the day. And, if you decide to have some indulgences, at least you got an extra calorie burn right?

Back on that all or nothing mindset. Just because you decide to have an ice cream cone, does not mean you have to then go eat pizza, candy, cookies etc. I would encourage you to fully enjoy that cone, and move on. No guilt, no shame! Making a conscious decision to enjoy a treat is a great thing, because you planned for it, and can fully enjoy it. When you take that and decide you’ve “ruined the day, and you should go eat whatever the heck you want, and start again tomorrow,” rarely will you enjoy the other things you’re eating, you’re just doing it because you feel the need to “get it all in.” There is room for ALL foods in your diet!

I am not saying this way of balanced eating and thinking is easy. If you have dieted your entire life, then this way of thinking is going to take time, patience, and practice. But if I was able to master it, I know you can do it too! If this way of eating is difficult for you, and you struggle with the black and white mindset, LET’S TALK!
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Foods that help fight fat, prevent disease, and make you feel awesome!

I hate when I hear “experts” telling people to “eat these foods, they will make you lose weight,” because honestly, and I know you know this, there isn’t a secret food that will make you burn fat and lose weight on it’s own. BUT, there is a series of foods that work in their own way (along with a SLIGHT calorie deficit) to help you fight fat, get healthy, and prevent chronic disease. I wanted to compile my fav ones and tell you why they will aid in the fat loss process.

  1. Locally Grown or Organic Chicken/Grass-fed beef: These two foods help fight fat because they make you feel full for a longer period of time (helping to curb your urge to munch) compared to any other macro-nutrient. They both contains all essential amino acids which is what makes up our muscles and we need to help keep us energized and our muscles sculpted! Aim to get 4-6 oz of protein at your main meals!

  2. Brain octane oil: This oil is 100% caprylic acid, which is one of the fatty acids found in coconut oil. It gives your brain the essential fatty acids it needs to stay running at it’s optimal rate which is important when trying to lose weight. It helps energy, metabolism, cognitive processing and fatigue. Start with 1 tsp in coffee, tea, salad dressing or a smoothie, and work your way up to a tbsp per day. You can find it here. It is the second item on the list!

  3. Grapefruit: Enzymes found in it can help your body break down sugar, helping to boost your metabolism, which means we can burn more calories on the daily! Try adding a slice of grapefruit to boost your breakfast or squeezing a little fresh juice into a glass of water. Bonus: Even just sniffing grapefruit essential oil from Doterra (because it’s the purest brand) can help increase your metabolism. Dab it on your wrists or diffuse into the air to curb your food cravings too!

  4. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard are chock-full of nutrients and iron. They help keep muscles functioning properly and burning calories long after a workout. They’re packed with vitamin K, which keeps bones strong and helps ward off osteoporosis,

  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: So…this isn’t something you do and magically lose fat, which I hear so many “claims about.” However, it does help to make you feel full prior to a meal, and it helps to balance out the PH in your gut. I like to add a scoop of L-Glutamine into it with a tbsp of water. The L-glutamine helps build the walls of your gut so toxins can’t get in as easily! Take a tbsp (get one that has the “mother” in it) of ACV and a scoop of L-glutamine in water prior to a meal! Cheers!

  6. Bone broth: this isn’t a myth! This stuff can really aid the fat burning process and heal your body. Because it contains amino acids, it helps prevent muscle breakdown, increases your metabolism and helps detoxify your body.

  7. Matcha Green Tea: drinking this regularly can aid in reducing body fat and lowering cholesterol. It is 10X more potent than plain green tea when it comes to aiding your fat loss efforts. The catechins present in it helps to boost your metabolism. It is loaded with antioxidants that help inflammation and stress, in turn helping to reduce cortisol levels. (I need this) Starbucks makes an unsweetened matcha latte with coconut milk, love it!

  8. Kefir: is a fermented drink similar to yogurt, so it is an easy switch a few times per week. It’s packed with probiotics, the good bacteria that keeps your gut functioning well, which is great because your gut controls almost everything! The Lactobacillus gasseri found in probiotics are good news if you’re trying to lose weight. If you don’t do diary, opt for the unsweetened cashew kefir!

  9. My favorite of them all (I know it’ll be yours too) is Dark Chocolate!!! Alright so for some of us, eating small portions can be tricky, and if it is a trigger for you, then try to avoid it majority of the time. BUT the flavonoids in it WILL help reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, keep you satisfied, prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels, helping you to prevent overeating. Look for 70% or higher and keep it to one ounce or less per day.

  10. Spicy Foods! Spices that warm your body, in particular, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, and dandelion do more than just make you feel the heat! These foods can suppress hunger levels, normalize blood sugar levels, (which we know if blood sugar is constantly spiked that can cause weight gain) and reduce your cravings for sweets. I add cinnamon to my morning coffee for a quick boost!

Of course there are many other foods that help to fight fat, prevent disease and make you feel awesome, but these are some of my favorites!!!

If you think anyone you know would want to hear about these foods, please share it with them!
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Pre-Diabetic or High Blood Sugar? Read This!

If you are struggling with high blood sugar, and quite possibly pre-diabetes, this ones for you. I want to tell you about a client I had about a year ago, Annie. She had just been to the doctor who told her she was newly pre-diabetic. She called me frantically needing to get those numbers down. “ Julia, I cannot develop diabetes, and I have 3 weeks to bring my blood sugar down.” Well, you know I was right there to help her, and fast!! Sure enough, 3 weeks later…no longer pre-diabetic and down 8 pounds!

The key to avoiding weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes etc is to eat foods that do not spike your blood sugar and insulin. Think protein, veggies, and good healthy fats. When we eat carbohydrates, especially processed ones, they drastically will spike blood sugar and insulin, which is what we want to avoid regardless of our goals. Annie’s success plan included:

-Eating mostly proteins, veggies and fats at each and every meal. This is the best way to ensure you’re avoiding any big spikes in blood sugar and insulin.

-Stick to low starch veggies like leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, celery, asparagus, cucumbers, etc, and avoid the higher starch ones including beets, squash, all potatoes, pea, corn, etc.

-Getting daily movement in. Whether it be the gym, a workout class, taking stairs, or just walking for 20 minutes, it was a priority every single day.

-Avoid fruits, sugar in all forms (only a small amount of stevia), beans & legumes, grains, bread, pasta, and alcohol all together for the full 3 weeks. You may be thinking “jeez Julia, that is super strict!” Well, it is. But when it comes to developing diabetes or not, it’s a must!

You may also ask why fruit? Although I am pro fruit, it still will spike blood sugar more than proteins, fats and veggies, so because this was a pretty desperate situation, we went cold turkey. However, for my clients who are just trying to lose and keep off fat, this is not necessarily the way to go. (That’s a whole different topic) If you follow the above steps, you too can successfully prevent diabetes and bring down high blood sugar.

Here’s the key: you MUST, and let me say that again, you MUST follow through with a re-intoduction phase. It is not realistic to eat that strictly forever because we know eventually it will set us up for failure and over-indulging. Guiding Annie on how to re-introduce the foods back into her diet allowed her to maintain the 8 pound weight loss and most importantly, she is now a human with no diabetes!

I also want to mention that doing something like this for 3 weeks is a great way to get off sugar, reduce cravings and jump start weight loss, but it should be TEMPORARY as too strict of eating sets us up for failure. That being said, I am so excited for my online virtual program to launch later this year!! It will outline the exact steps on how to get off sugar, reduce cravings, increase energy, lose weight and keep it off! Stay tuned my friends!
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What Is Functional Medicine Coaching & How Can It Help You?

ALAS! I have finished my Functional Med Coaching program, and I am super stoked to bring this knowledge to all of you because that’s what it’s all about, right?

Denver Sports Recovery - Functional Medicine CoachingWhile I feel I have been using a lot of the same principles with my holistic nutrition background, I have learned so much and have brought that into my practice to help you even more to lose fat, keep it off forever, and heal disease! But, every time I tell people I do functional medicine coaching, they look at me with a blank stare…”uhhhh, what?!” So I thought this would be a good time to tell ya’ll what the heck FM is and how it can help you!

Functional medicine addresses the root cause of your challenges around health and wellness. Instead of giving you a pill or a short-term solution to mask the problem, Functional medicine uses nutrition and lifestyle changes that enable you to improve your health and wellness over the long term. It addresses the whole person, and not just a set of symptoms. It treats each client as an individual, and programs are tailored to you and your needs.

So, how can that benefit you? Well, as I always say, losing weight and keeping it off, plus healing disease is so much more than just telling you what to eat. Most of you know what to eat, but applying it to your daily life and staying consistent proves to be challenging…am I right? There are so many other areas of health that contribute to your ability to be successful, and that is where FM comes in. Can you think of a time where you got really frustrated about something, and headed straight to the kitchen cabinet to grab food? Or a time when you started a new “diet” program only to stop it 4 weeks later? Have you asked yourself why either of those scenarios has happened? If you really want to lose weight, keep it off & heal disease, you have to address all of the factors, not just the food! Just to name a few:

-Stress. Sleep. Loneliness. Physical activity. Relationships. Joy.

I know we all want quick fixes, but losing fat, keeping it off, and managing disease, is a journey, not a destination.
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Tips To Reduce Cravings…The Exact Strategies I use!!

Nutrition Blog - Tips To Reduce CravingsJust a few days ago, I was sitting in front of my TV watching the Bachelor (my guilty pleasure, don’t judge me!) and all of a sudden I had an urge for a nestle skippy pop. You probably don’t know what this is, but as a kid my friends and I would take pops cereal, one at a time, dip it in skippy peanut butter, and top it off with a chocolate chip. Ahh so nostalgic for me! Why was I all of a sudden craving something I hadn’t had in years?

Well, Im not sure, but what I do know is that I haven’t had a craving in a long time, wooohooo….. but during my weight loss journey these kinds of cravings happened all of the time! As my journey continued I noticed they were happening less and less. I did keep a journal when I was in the process of losing the weight, and when this recent craving came on, I went back to reflect! Since it has been some time since I have lost the weight (Im gonna toot my own horn and say Woohoooo for keeping it off, ASK ME HOW YOU CAN DO THIS TOO) I had to re-evaluate my old journal and combine the strategies I used then, and the ones I use now to reduce cravings. So, I wanna share with you those exact strategies so you can start to cut down on cravings too, and not feel like a slave to sugar and/or salt like I used to!

  1. Don’t drink your calories: liquid calories drive your appetite, so save your calories for food. Try unsweetened beverages. I love fruity iced teas!
  2. Keep your blood sugar stable. I talked all about ways to do this through food on social last week. Swings in blood sugar is a main driver of cravings. So check out ways you can do this naturally over ON MY PAGE!
  3. Don’t derive yourself of the foods you enjoy: depriving yourself completely of the foods you love will only make you crave them more. Allow yourself the occasional treat, guilt free (you may have to go cold turkey at first (and then add them back in occasionally) which will take the cravings away faster. Balance people!
  4. Slowly start adding in more nutritious foods so the more unhealthy ones get crowded out: sugar is like a drug: the more we have it, the more cravings we get. Fill your day with tons of veggies!
  5. Eat a variety of foods and prioritize certain ones including: -Omega 3: important for controlling insulin function (think wild salmon and nuts) Vit D: your appetite control is impaired by low levels. (also fatty fish, mushrooms and egg yolks) -Some supplements to help cravings: L-Glutamine, ALA, and chromium.
  6. Have small frequent fiber rich meals throughout the day: normally I tell clients to be intuitive and eat when they feel hungry. However, if you struggle with cravings, eating smaller, more frequent meals can benefit you when it comes to reducing cravings. Think protein and fat. Protein will keep you full for a long period of time, and fat will keep you satisfied! (nuts, hard-boiled eggs, turkey slices with avocado)
  7. Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed. Eating right before bed can drive up insulin levels, and we know that high insulin leads to gaining weight, specifically in the belly. Belly fat actually drives cravings.
  8. Good Stress management: anything stressful can trigger hormones that bring on cravings. I recommend taking 3 big deep breaths before you head to the refrigerator, and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?” “What is it that I need.” A lot of the time you’ll find you are eating because of stress.
  9. Know if you are allergic to any foods. The body is weird and will actually crave the very foods we are sensitive to.
  10. Sleep: I know it has been said a ton, but if we don’t get sound sleep, it activates the hormone ghrelin, which is your appetite hormone.
  11. Stay away from artificial sweeteners. These work just the same as sugar. It tricks your brain into thinking it is getting sugar, and can actually make you crave more. If you do use them, stevia is the best choice.
  12. Gum: this is a tricky one. For some peeps, the constant chewing helps them, but for most of us it tricks your brain into thinking food is coming, and can actually make us hungrier.

I hope you try some of these strategies!! If you do, I would love love love to hear from you and see which ones are workin for ya! If you are having a hard time finding a good balance like I used to, please REACH OUT and let’s talk about it!
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Counting Calories? Nope

DSR-Nutrition-Blog---Counting-CaloriesAlright I said it; Couting calories in vs out IS NOT the way to achieve lasting weight loss! You may achieve short term weight loss that way, but it will be very hard to keep it off! Who wants to lose weight only to have it come back on? The key is “lasting” here!

Woohoo…isn’t calorie counting so tedious anyways? Yes, calories are a part of the equation, but seriously not the biggest! Keeping your blood sugar stable is the key when it comes to losing weight…. IMO, and in the latest research! WHAT!? Yes, yes and yes!! Let’s look at it more closely.

What causes weight gain? High levels of insulin in our body! What raises insulin? High blood sugar! What raises blood sugar? FOOD!!! Processed carbs and sugar mainly (amongst some other lifestyle things). Food is literally medicine y’all. Eat foods that don’t spike your blood sugar…lose weight and stay lean. Eat foods that consistently spike your blood sugar…gain weight, and get disease! It truly is that simple! However, I know there is so much more than goes into losing weight then just eating. There’s emotions, keeping a social life, enjoying what you eat, getting rid of old thinking patterns and habits, and that is why I am working on creating a virtual 6 week program for ya! More on that later!

For the purpose of today’s blog though, I want to share with you some steps you can take RIGHT NOW to start lowering your insulin levels, (which most of us need and it equals losing weight) keep your mood in check, sleep better and have tons of energy! Here are a few action steps YOU can take TODAY!

  1. Add low glycemic veggies into your diet freely! These should be the basis of your diet! Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, chard, kale, cabbage, bok choy, celery, cucumber, seaweed and more! If you head over to my FB page, I share the exact smoothie I drink that is easy to get some of these greens in! trust me, it’s not gross!
  2. If you are going to eat a carbohydrate of any form (fruit, bread, pasta, whole grains etc) make sure to pair it with some form of fat and/or protein. This slows down the spike in blood sugar. Think apple with almond butter. Rice with chicken.
  3. Focus on the quality of your food. Think about your life… do you get the most joy out of life when you focus on the quality of your relationships and work? Then why not focus on your food quality, it will only make you feel your best! Choose organic produce, organic poultry, wild fish and grass fed beef when possible. When choosing dairy, go with sheep’s or goat milk cheese and grass fed yogurt.
  4. Use Slim & Sassy Doterra Essential oil. This gem is a metabolic blend that promotes a healthy metabolism, helps manage hunger throughout the day, helps to keep blood sugar stable, and promotes a positive mood. Add to water and sip throughout the day! Consume before meals to help appetite and overeating. Click HERE to check it out!

This whole week on SOCIAL MEDIA we are talking about how to keep your blood sugar stable through food for weight loss, so make sure to follow along and get all the tips! These are just a few 😊

Over & Out J
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