Is Organic Produce Really Worth It?

One common debate among friends these days: Is buying organic produce really worth it?

This is a question we get asked all the time and my answer is…YES! In a perfect world, we would all eat 100% certified organic (oh and hormone-free, grass-fed beef, and other free range) foods all of the time. However, this is not necessarily budget friendly, nor is it always available.

Consuming toxic chemicals like pesticides from non-organic foods are harmful to the body as they love to accumulate and hang out in our body’s fatty tissues for decades to come. Researchers claim that poisonous exposure from pesticides can cause hormonal disturbances. Hormones are responsible for the regulation of all major bodily functions, including our metabolism, which means that even a small amount of chemicals consumed silently could affect our weight.  Beyond this, researchers have also claimed that pesticide exposure is linked to neurological problems, reproductive problems, insulin resistance, metabolism syndrome and even cancer.

Harsh, eh? Well here’s the deal. At the end of the day, the overall health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables greatly outweigh the risk of pesticide exposure in non-organic foods. Simply put, eating conventionally grown produce is WAY more beneficial than not eating any fruits and vegetables at all. However, the types of foods we choose to eat, or not eat, play a major role in our overall health and wellness. For this reason, it is ideal to try to eat the highest quality of foods with the least of amount of pesticides whenever possible.

As a great budget friendly starting point, follow “The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15″ principles. The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 are basically two lists created for the public each year by the Environmental Working Group; an amazing non-profit organization that works on “our” side to ensure the public receives truthful, uncensored facts about what is really going on with the chemicals in our food and environment. These lists are wonderful as they can help you to get more for your money by prioritizing which organic produce to purchase based on the amount of pesticides they contain.

The Dirty Dozen list reveals the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of detected pesticide residue. Whereas, The Clean 15 list highlights the produce with the least amount of pesticide residue.  If your budget allows, choosing 100% certified organic produce even from The Clean 15 list will ensure that you are consuming nutrient dense, whole foods that are non-genetically modified. This will in turn help to nourish your cells and prevent disease and illness in the body. However, even if you just avoided produce on The Dirty Dozen list below and choose organic instead, you would be lowering your pesticide exposure by 80%.

Choosing organic foods are not only beneficial to our health and wellness but also for the planet. Make a list of the Dirty Dozen or download the Environment Working Groups free App to your phone so you can buy the healthiest food possible. Be sure to always wash your produce and in the best case scenario, enjoy locally grown organic fruits and veggies  from local farmers or at your local Farmers Markets. All in all, no matter what stage you are at with eating organic produce, try and include fruits and vegetable with every meal to decrease your chance of illness and give you a natural energy boost.

3 interesting facts on organic produce and food:

1) Only foods labeled “100% Organic” must be entirely organic and food labeled “Organic” needs to be 95 percent organic.  Finally, food labeled “Made With Organic Ingredients” only need to be 70 to 90 percentorganic, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

2) According to the Environmental Working Group “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” 98 percent of tested onions were pesticide free. As these bulb-like vegetables grow underground, they are safe from many pests and have a strong, pungent flavor that naturally repels bugs.

3) A great natural way to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables is by washing them with apple cider vinegar. All you have to do is cover your produce with water in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Then, let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Finish off by scrubbing the produce with a brush and rinsing it off with water.

Have an awesome day,

-OliviaThe-Dirty-Dozen

3 Habits for Healthier (and Happier) Mornings

With busy, hectic, over scheduled lives, most of us are sleep (and nutrient) deprived to some degree. Truly, this is a result of the daily grind of our modern day living. We have long, demanding days that can result in the lack of proper nourishment, rest, and play leaving us feeling less then energetic and motivated to exercise and eat well. Instead, we find ourselves spending downtime sitting in front of the computer or watching TV while eating processed garbage (aka junk food).  Once in awhile we decide we are going to eat clean and go the gym but in a few weeks, our busy lives take over and our motivation dies down.

As a trainer, I have seen firsthand how stress, poor nutrition, and an overwhelming schedule can negatively affect one’s health and fitness goals. When we are so busy that we find ourselves forgetting to drink water throughout the day, skipping meals, and struggling through workouts, it’s time to “work in” instead of struggling to work out!

For these reasons and to cultivate a healthier and happier lifestyle for the long haul, here are my top 3 simple habits to develop in the mornings BEFORE the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

1) Drink water – If there was only one healthy habit I could recommend for you to begin, it would be to drink a LARGE glass of water first thing in the morning before anything else. Drinking lots of water hydrates the cells and ensures proper regularity. Most people are “backed up” and mistake being tired and hungry for dehydration. Being dehydrated slows down your metabolism and the process of burning fat. DRINK UP:)

2) Move your body - Do some sort of cardio for at least 20 minutes first thing in the morning to awaken the body and boost your mood. Some mornings, you may only be able to fit in a brisk walk, but it’s important to do something every day. Walking, running, yoga or boxing are all great options. Doing so will work to kick start your metabolism and release the “feel good” hormone, serotonin into the body. This in turn, helps to relieve stress and increase overall self-confidence. Upon many other benefits, exercising in the morning can help you to be more alert, productive, and creative throughout the day. If you work in a high stress atmosphere, exercising in the morning is extremely beneficial. If you are more advanced, feel free to do a full, more intense workout in the mornings.  Being intense AND consistent is great together, just make sure that you are consistent FIRST, in order to build the habit; especially in the beginning.

3) Be grateful – Practice gratitude by thinking of 5 things that you are truly grateful for everyday in the mornings. Give yourself a few minutes to dwell on them with an “attitude of gratitude,” possibly during your stretch after your workout. Although this can be tricky at times, especially as it tends to be human nature to notice all that is wrong or that we lack, I find that if we give ourselves the chance on a regular basis to notice the little things that are working, we can increase our overall sense of happiness, and create hope and optimism for the future, regardless of what is going on.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”- Robert J. Collier

I have always found positive, long term results by incorporating small, incremental changes that compound over time with any part of life. This way you can feel successful everyday without any overwhelm….awesome!

Much love and GRATITUDE,

Olivia Keane:)

 

How To Spread The Love

We have all had that moment walking down the street when a stranger randomly shoots you an authentic smile and you feel great afterwards. It’s proven that when someone acknowledges you in a positive way, you instantly feel better than if you were to be ignored. Next time you are out walking about, you might want to think of giving a stranger a smile.

As humans, and by nature, we are social creatures who thrive on feeling connected to others. However, you may have noticed how awkward it can be at times to simply smile at someone you don’t know. With so many unknowns, it can feel uncomfortable to get yourself to do this in the first place. For instance, what if the person doesn’t smile back, what if they do but they think you’re hitting on them, what if they blatantly ignore you, or what if you just feel crappy and don’t want to?

And that’s where it’s important to remind ourselves that the simple act of giving without any attachment to receiving is key.Truly, the best ways to instantly feel good about yourself and  is to make someone else feel good about themselves, regardless of the outcome. In the end, as they always say, “what comes around, goes around.”

Check out this video as we put this theory to the test:

Let’s start spreading the love by making the effort towards someone else FIRST, regardless of the outcome. A smile, a hug, a high five, or a genuine compliment will work just fine:).

Because let’s be honest here, at then end of the end of the day we all want the same thing in life: to be HAPPY!

With Love,

Olivia:)

ps – let me know your thoughts, ideas and experience with this topic. I would love to hear about it.

Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Most days, it can be a struggle to get enough raw veggies into our diet. Not to mention, finding a vegetable based meal that is both tasty and fulfilling.

That is where these yummy, “bread less” wraps come in handy!  They are jam packed with flavor, protein, healthy fats, and greens that are sure to hit the spot and keep you feeling satisfied. Make these delicious, healthy wraps for a quick and easy lunch, snack or light dinner.

In this recipe, I used Collard greens instead of a traditional wrap. However, any type of lettuce will do. Collards are great because they are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber.

Also, your best bet to buying healthy mayo in a store is this brand found at some health food stores (or online): http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/product/dressings-condiments-mayo/Mayo16.php. In the end, making your own homemade mayonnaise is always going to be the healthiest option. Follow a recipe to a T at first to get the right consistency and later you can play around with it to get the taste you like:)

Ingredients:
3 collard green leaves
1/2 avocado cubed
1/2 tomato cubed
¼ c diced red onion
1 can of tuna
¼ c shredded L’Ancêtre cheese (optional)
3 Tbsp of Wildness Family organic mayonnaise
1 Tbsp curry powder
Cayenne to taste

Directions:
1- Mix tuna with mayo and red onion. Add curry powder and cayenne.
2- Take 1/3 of the tuna mixture and place on collard green.
3- Top with tomato and avocado.
4- Wrap and enjoy!

Love,

Olivia:)

 

Holiday Hangover Cures

We’ve all been there- the pounding headache, a desert-like dry mouth, and a stomach that feels like you went on a rollercoaster fifty times in a row. These are some various symptoms of the overindulgent and often inevitable holiday hangover. Fortunately, there are ways for you to prevent and cure the beloved hangover, besides the painfully obvious, not drinking in the first place. Most likely, this option is hardly appealing so the below 5 remedies can be very helpful in minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure this holiday season.

(1) Hydrate

Alcohol is a diuretic that forces water out of the body causing dehydration. Rehydrating your body is essential in recovering from a hangover. Be sure to drink plenty of water before you sleep and when you wake up and try to make a point of drinking as much water as you do alcohol during the night.

(2) Juices

You may have heard that drinking more alcohol the next day to cure your hangover is a good solution. Sadly, nothing could be worse in prolonging the hangover itself. Instead, try juicing fresh juice and vegetables, drinking tomato juice, or blending a fruit and protein smoothie to aid in replenishing essential vitamins and nutrients in the body.

(3) Eat

Try and eat a snack before or while drinking as this will help the body’s ability to metabolize the alcohol and remove it from your system. If you can stomach it in the morning, one of the best things you can eat are eggs, which are high in cysteine, and help the body process the toxins in alcohol.

(4) Coconut Water

Coconut water has the ability to cure the two main causes of a hangover; dehydration and electrolyte loss. It contains the 5 essential electrolytes to keep the body hydrated and functioning at its optimal state. It is also very high in potassium which can replace the salt and potassium your body expels whiling drinking.

(5) Sleep

It can seem almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep after a night of drinking. Alcohol can put you to sleep quickly, but when it begins to wear off after a few hours, the withdrawal symptoms can interrupt sleep patterns and make it hard for you to stay sleeping. Although lack of sleep on its own won’t cause the hangover, it most definitely can make it worse. If you have the luxury of time, stay in bed for as long as you can.

In the end, the only guaranteed treatment for a hangover is time. In the meantime, grab a tall glass of water and get plenty of rest. Cheers to having an amazing time!

-Olivia

Christmas Spice Protein Shake

With Christmas fast approaching, schedules are getting busier and those tempting treats are all around us. Try this healthy, festive shake for breakfast or as the perfect snack to curb sugar cravings and sustain your energy!

Recipe:
  • 2/3 cup yam frozen (baked first)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana (optional)
  • 1/3 cup ice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix in a blender and enjoy!

Also, for a healthy alternative to a Christmas flavored Starbucks latte or frappuccino, try adding coffee to this recipe and increasing the amount of almond milk for a delicious treat!

Watch here to see more on how to make this recipe:


Much love,

~Keane 2 Be Fit

Protein Pancakes

Give your week a kick start with this healthy, deliciously satisfying Keane 2 Be Fit recipe. We guarantee that you’ll never look at pancakes the same way again:)

Ingredients:
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (vanilla works also)
  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • 2/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoons of almond butter
  • agave syrup or maple syrup to top
Directions:
Blend all the ingredients together and preheat a medium sized non-stick pan to medium heat. Place cooking oil in the pan, preferably coconut oil, and pour in half of the mixture and cook one side. Proceed by flipping the pancake once to cook the other side. Remove from heat and begin cooking the 2nd pancake. Top pancakes with almond butter in place of regular butter, melted berries, agave syrup and a dash of cinnamon. For gluten free option to this recipe just switch out the oats and banana for baked, mashed sweet potatoes. Also, these pancakes can be made in advance for weeks ahead and kept frozen for convenience.
Enjoy,
Olivia :)

The Best Healthy Snack Ideas

One thing I get asked more often than anything else is “what are some healthy snacks I can eat?”

With hectic, busy schedules, eating enough throughout the day can sometimes become last on the priority list. However, when we skip meals, we are much more prone to binge eating and energy crashes. This, in turn leads to slowing down the metabolism and storing excess body fat.

Below I have listed Keane 2 Be Fit’s favourite snack ideas. All of these snacks are whole, REAL food snacks. Meaning that these foods have not been heavily processed and do not contain added sugars or preservatives to prolong their packaged shelf lives (yuk)!

Also, you will notice that most of these snacks are some combination of protein, healthy fat and complex carbohydrates. This works to provide your body with good sources of energy (complex carbohydrates) while ensuring your muscles are fed and blood sugar levels stay stable (protein & healthy fat). For instance, adding almond butter to a sliced apple works to balance out the blood sugar spike effect that the apple would give to the body on its own. Not to mention that the protein and fat will help keep you feeling full and satisfied much longer. Hence, why eating a piece a fruit on its own can sometimes make you feel even more hungry after than before you had the piece of fruit.

Here are some of our favourite snack ideas:

1) Cut up veggies of choice (carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, celery, broccoli, green beans, etc.) served with hummus

2) 1 apple or banana and almond butter (peanut butter works great too)

3) Natural, unsweetened Greek yogurt, berries and granola

4) Power protein shake: blueberries, strawberries, almond milk, flax seed oil and protein powder

5) Organic dried fruit (no sugar added mango, apple, pear, dates, figs) and a handful of almonds

6) Chocolate protein pudding (see recipe)

7) Quinoa Greek salad (see recipe)

8) “Clean” protein bars (around 10 ingredients to which you can pronounce/read/understand)

Love,

Olivia

Stop Blaming Your Genetics and Start Taking Control

“It’s my genetics; it runs in our family, look at my parents.”

We have all heard this massively defeating belief when it comes to our bodies.  Seriously, can we give our folks a break! Their genes will NOT dictate us being overweight, and definitely not obese.  The truth is genetics plays only a MINOR role in your outcome with weight.  Even if every close relative of yours is overweight and has been for centuries, the most that could mean is that you have inherited a capacity through an unhealthy lifestyle for storing fat. This accounts for a tiny 11 percent of your overall ability to become overweight.

What you are more likely to have inherited from your parents that will contribute to weight gain are poor eating, cooking and lifestyle habits. Fortunately, all bad habits, while difficult, can be 100% unlearned. You can change the way you think and what you do. You are in the driver seat!

3 tips to gaining control of your weight forever:

  • Always eat protein at breakfast. Protein will keep you full and satisfied.  It does this in two ways: by slowing down the rise in blood sugar and by remaining in your stomach for longer, because it takes the body longer to digest it. 
  • Never skip meals. This will ensure you avoid blood sugar crashes and binge eating.
  • Exercise. Workout at a high intensity for 45 minutes 3-5 times per week and don’t be afraid to sweat.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Aristotle

Be consistent and keep your eye on the prize!

Much Love,

Olivia