Why do I keep hearing…

My clients often ask me about trending nutrition info that they’ve heard about either from friends, coworkers, or even their facebook newsfeed. And as a personal trainer I feel it is my responsibility to provide them with unbiased and informed answers!

Recently I had a client of mine ask “Why do I keep hearing that peas are bad?”

The information we hear is usually a diluted version that trickles down from academic journals, which gets distorted by the mainstream media. You have to remember the main objective of media is to elicit views. Unfortunately this is the world we live in and the news often spreads faulty information with no actual scientific basis!

Think back over the years of all the nutrition fads you’ve heard about. Remember when pomegranates were all the rage? We can go way back to the ’90’s when fat was the enemy. Or when quinoa made its debut. Flax seeds. Don’t even get me started on artificial sweeteners, you can read more about what’s in these little sweet packets here!


More recently its all things kale related. Coconut Oil. Chia Seeds. Gluten free. Egg yolks are good for you again. I mean the list goes on and on…


So before you are quick to jump on board with the next thing someone tells you – however convincing they may be – remember my rule of thumb is to have your own 3 credible sources (think any .edu’s or pubmed – I’ve listed some additional resources below). Don’t be that guy that jumps on the bandwagon just because everyone else does.

People are always looking for the next “fad food” that’s either bad or good for you, like it will solve all your problems if you accept whatever it is as fact!

Having the capacity to listen to an idea
but not except it immediately
requires a more educated mindset!

1. If you want quality nutrition info that’s a little easier on the ears check out Superfoods

2. Feeling like you want to take it up a notch and get the break down from scientific journals? You can geek out to the latest nutrition-related research with my guy Dr. Greger! He breaks down the information to you in short, easy to understand video segments.

Bottom Line:
Don’t believe everything you hear! Make your own informed and educated decision’s before getting in line for the next fad food

At a Crossroads: Dirty Diets & Clean Eating

IIFYM (If it fits your Macros). Whole30. Paleo. Gluten Free. Vegan. Vegetarian. Keto. Juice Cleanse. Clean eating. Clean food. Dirty Food. Just Eat Real Food (#jerf).

You’ve probably heard of most of these diets or noticed the hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, etc.

I thought I was eating a healthy, well-balanced, clean diet. I’ll set the stage for you. I buy organic local produce as often as I can. I make homemade chia flaxseed crackers on the regular. I eat fresh veggies and fruit everyday. I eat almonds. I drink unsweetened almond milk. I only use stevia to sweeten my drinks. I eat grilled chicken breast. I eat PB2. I drink at least 70 ounces of water per day. I drink green tea daily. I take a multivitamin. I sauté with either EVO or coconut oil. I drink coconut water. I get between 7-8 hours of sleep everyday. I exercise everyday.  But reading about these diets make me feel like I am doing something wrong, that I need to eliminate or incorporate certain foods into my diet to be “healthy”.

Sidebar with me here: Is it just me, or has grocery shopping gotten to be an overwhelming experience? The more I research each of these diets the more I overanalyze what I am eating (or not eating). I am currently reading ‘It Starts with Food‘ which spells out the benefits of the whole30 diet. I find this book highly informative even if you aren’t planning to enact the whole30 diet into your life. As a bio major I actually enjoy what they refer to as “sciencey” explanations, but the book has got me thinking…

Am I eating things that are unhealthy for me? Or potentially harmful? Am I actually damaging my body by sprinkling stevia into my coffee with unsweetened almond milk in the morning? Am I over-spiking the perpetual cycle of insulin and leptin, by eating greek yogurt mixed with my perfect fit protein powder? Am I causing irreversible damage by adding a pinch of gorgonzola cheese to my arugula salad?

I find that I have pangs of guilt as I scoop my tricolor quinoa from Trader Joes, into my sautéed veggie bowl. I can’t help but think “you shouldn’t be eating legumes” as I spread organic natural peanut butter onto my jazz apple slices. And then I know I must really be crossing the line with the handful of Cracklin Oat Bran and Kind Granola that I often mix into my greek yogurt – this must definitely be a violation of what it means to be “healthy”.

I’m over-exaggerating here (just a bit). But in all seriousness I know don’t need to lose or gain weight. I am at a perfectly healthy size. Yet I find myself thinking…could I feel better? could my skin be clearer? could I have more energy if I eat this way? It’s all so overwhelming. We all want to feel like we have control over something in this world. I feel like all the before and after photos of people who attest that the whatever-diet is the answer! As if their photo is proof all the proof you need, that whatever diet they are eating is the answer to your problems. If you eat this way you will look and feel exactly like them! They tell you that their skin is clearer than ever,  that they have boundless energy, and have lost body fat…etc.

We all want to look and feel our best. I’m exploring this path but I’m not sure I am ready to jump on board with any of these diets just yet. It’s better to measure twice and cut once.

Your Trainer,



Spice Up Your Life ~ I ❤ garlic & paprika

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this with you guys yet! Those who know me, usually figure out pretty quickly that I’m somewhat of a “hummus junkie”

This is definitely one of my all-time-favorite snacks! But unlike every other normal person, I like to spike my hummus!

hummus recipe Liveng Proof

 I ❤ garlic & paprika! I typically mow this with carrots, celery, cucumber, and radish slices!


Lately I’ve been buying garlic hummus, which I then drizzle and season to taste! But this is also a great way to add a burst of flavor to any kind of hummus; this seasoning mixture definitely compliments both plain or pine-nut hummus too! Get creative! 😉

The ingredients listed for ‘drizzle with’ are also one of my favorite salad dressings 😉 


Drizzle With – Salad Dressing Recipe:


  • 2 TBS Truvia (or Stevia)
  • 1 TBS poppyseeds
  • 1 TBS Toasted Almond Seeds (or sliced almonds)
  • 1/4 C White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C Olive Oil





The Scoop on Artificial Sweeteners!

Hey Everyone!

I apologize for the lag in posts! I was away last week on vacation : )

But while I was on the road we made stops at places like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Qudoba and I noticed the variety of different sweeteners and the frequency with which people were using them. Which got me thinking…

People ask me about artificial sweeteners all the time. Are they safe? Do I use them? What brands do I prefer? How much do I use? What do I use them for?


I personally use Truvia™ and Stevia In the Raw™ – I add these to things like my overnight oats, greek yogurt, baked goods, tea, and coffee. Some people report experiencing an unpleasant aftertaste from artificial sweeteners. I’ve never noticed this from either of the sweeteners that I use (but then again it could be that I am so used to the taste). I try to be mindful of the amount I use (I definitely like things sweet!) but like all things – wait for it – MODERATION is key! I am not perfect, sometimes my hand slips and oops my coffee is just as sweet as I could ever want it to be – do I need that much stevia in my coffee? No probably not…but I do try to remind myself of this and control my stevia urges ; )

If you read Liveng Proof then you’re most likely a health-minded individual. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you like to be in-the-know about the food products you consume. I’m guessing that you’ve probably heard some pretty alarming things regarding artificial sweeteners. More specifically, studies which link ingestion of artificial sweeteners (like Nutrisweet , Splenda, or Sweet ‘N Low) with the development of things like brain tumors, neurological disfunction, seizures, anxiety, bladder cancer, headaches, and/or multiple sclerosis, to name just a few.

Keep in mind however…
1. These findings are based on tests performed on lab rats (not humans)
2. Humans and rats have different stomach proteins, pH levels, and therefore react differently to said sweeteners
3. Often these tests require rats to consume a given high-intensity sweetener,  in a quantity multiple times their own body weight

I heard that artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain and increase appetite.

You may remember in the 90’s when ‘fat’ was the enemy and low-fat food products flooded grocery stores. Knowing that there was less caloric consequence, people began to consume these ‘low-fat’ foods with less inhibition – “I can get away with eating more of these chips because they’re ‘low-fat’.” Subsequently this behavior results in over-consumption. The relationship between the consumption of low-fat food and weight gain was believed to be correlation, not causation.

Similarly this trend can also be applied to the current attitude consumers have regarding high-intensity sweeteners. Essentially void of calories, the enhanced sweetness these add to our food definitely has mass appeal! Basically high-intensity sweeteners allow us to “have our cake and eat it too”. But is this too good to be true? Are we more likely to eat more simply because it tastes amazing and we know there’s essentially zero calories?

Studies testing the overall dietary intake of two groups of people. Group 1, consumed only nutrient-rich sweeteners (no artificial high-intensity sweeteners) – for these people the taste of ‘sweetness’ is knowingly linked to metabolism. In other words, they know that by eating something that tastes especially sweet that they are consuming calories.  While Group 2, consumed artificial high-intensity sweeteners – for this group the taste of ‘sweetness’ in their diet does not contribute to their caloric intake and is understood not to be linked to their metabolism.

The results found that there was in fact no difference in either groups overall energy intake. That is to say that the relationship between weight-gain and the consumption of artificial high-intensity sweeteners may correlate, but it certainly is not the cause. People who consume high-intensity sweeteners and do experience weight-gain, may be eating more simply because they’re aware the taste of ‘sweetness’ in their diet is essentially void of calories.

So not to be “Plain-Jane” about this, but my opinion on using high-intensity sweeteners is just like my approach to health & fitness in general; enjoy in moderation!

Source: 1 I 2 I