Tag Archives: Local

Eating healthy & still gaining weight? What you are doing wrong & what you can do about it


You know that breakfast is important and helps your metabolism, right?  So you eat it now. For the most part. But what are you eating? Really, what is it made of?

Even health conscious folk need to be put in check sometimes, and I had one of those awakening moments last night where I was introduced, yet again, to the idea that sugar is the big culprit behind all of our dietary woes. (Thank you, Maria Emmerich). So you might think, “Yeah I already know that, too”. But do you really think about what you eat and how much of it is actually sugar? It’s incredible.

bananaFor example’s sake, let’s say you eat SMART START cereal – only 1 cup of cereal with 1 cup of skim milk and a banana. Sounds good at first to the average Joe. You are choosing a “healthier” option for cereal and following the rule of portion control, yet when you convert the carbohydrates and starches into the sugars that they really are, this meal at 472 calories, 105 carbs, 4g fiber, becomes 25.25 tsp of sugar in your blood. The American Heart Association states that women should limit their daily sugar intake to 6 tsp of sugar and for men, 8 tsp a day. How is that for a smart start ladies and gentlemen? 

If you are like most people, this beginning of sugar entering your bloodstream doesn’t even include your morning beverage, the snacks you plan (or don’t plan) to eat throughout the day, your lunch, dinner, and maybe an adult beverage (or two) if it becomes one of those days…
healthy choice

The problem is, even if we actively try to make the right choices for our health, many of us operate from limited information and live in a world of not so healthy “healthy” options.  For example, did you know that some healthy choice meals have up to three Snicker Bars worth of sugar in them? Again, you likely thought this option was the “healthy” one but in reality it is yet another product laden with sugar. It’s no wonder our diets and bodies are so out of whack.

So how can we make the healthy choice? I am not going to lead you through a whole day of eating and try to guess the number of grams of sugar circulating your bloodstream. First, that would be depressing, but most important, doing that kind of obsessing is not going to get many of us anywhere. Instead I’d like to offer 5 tips on how you can be more mindful of your sugar intake. I believe that if you have extra weight to lose, if you start following some of these tips you may start seeing results again.

1) Eat less sugar! Everyone knows that we need to eat less sugar; we know that ice cream is full of sugar and that soda is bad for us, because of all the sugar. What we often miss is how prevalent sugar is in our diet, today.  For example, did you know that mustard has sugar in it? Or did you ever notice your toothpaste tastes kind of sweet? Yep, that’s sugar. And you may say, so what? But the problem lies in the fact that it’s everywhere, and (just like pounds) a little bit in a lot of places adds up quickly.

So if it’s all over the place, how can we eat less of it? We have to be able to identify sugar in all its forms, and then we have to avoid it where we can. In order to identify, we must learn some of the names sugar goes by. It hides behind names including, high fructose corn syrup, honey (yep, I’m sad to say it – but you knew that!), lactose (watch out for skim milk, especially!), and maltodextrin. Other places to look out for sugar are barley malt, brown-rice syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice, galactos, Glucose,  maple syrup, Molasses, organic cane juice, Sorghum, Sucrose, and turbinado.

Tip: If you must add “sweets,” some good sweetener choices include Stevia Glycerite,  Erythritol, Xylitol, Chicory Root, and Truvia. (Just be careful with Xylitol and your 4-legged friends – they are not meant to mix).

2) Eat less carbs! Surprise! Your body sees carbs as sugar. You knew this, but it can never hurt to say it again. If you remember anything about this one, remember 4 grams of carbohydrates = 1 tsp of sugar. In order to reduce your carbs you are going to have to identify them and be honest with yourself. For example, a 9-oz bag of potato chips’ in carbs will convert into 32 tsp of sugar in the body.

Bottom line, sugar and carbs alter brain function and can cause addiction. Many of us are already there (we’re addicted). So do be careful as you journey in reducing them as it never feels good when you first start a detox.

Tip: If you are craving carbohydrates (and it isn’t actually just a sugar craving/addiction) you may need more of the amino acid, L-glutamine, in your diet.

3) Get enough protein and eat plenty of vegetables. But please don’t go completely Atkins! If you need to cut down on carbs and sugars, what can you eat? That’s a great question. Protein is a great source of energy and it’s low on sugar. Just remember to enjoy in moderation.  And, of course vegetables are always our friends. They are high in fiber which help us eliminate and detox all the bad stuff we don’t want to carry around in our bodies.

Tips: With protein, eat 1 gram per lb of body weight daily. (There are 30 grams in 1 oz of meat). With vegetables, make sure you eat  over half of your 5 a day in vegetables, instead of fruits which are higher in sugars.

4) Beware of “lite” and “fat-free”. Fat-Free Pretzels are actually higher on the glycemic index than Jelly Beans! Whoa. Enough said. Sorry to those pretzel lovers out there 😦

Tip: I’m not going to go too in-depth here as it’s a complex topic. I hope to revisit this one as it’s own post. For now, if you want to read more about this topic, check out the brief article called, Weight Loss Sabotage: Eating “Light” Foods.

5) Sleep, sleep, sleep! You snooze, you lose! My favorite. Sleep is so important to weight loss, digestion, metabolism, brain function – it’s important to everything really. And yet many of us take this one for granted or struggle with it, don’t we?

Tip: For tips on how to get a good night of sleep, check out health coach, Molly Ellefson’s blog post on sleep from the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing. Keep an eye open for a longer post on this one, coming soon on this blog, as sleep is integral to the success of any wellness plan and requires more attention.

I hope this information helps you reevaluate your weight loss strategies for the better and provides you with a better understanding to help you make healthier choices in your diet. Thanks for reading along, and as always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Mandala Reflections organized the above information from lecture, Maximize Your Metabolism presented by Maria Emmerich. I had the opportunity to attend her talk and wanted to report back on the event. Her lecture was two-hours long and she presented over 100, informative power point slides. For more information about Maria, check out her website! There you can link to her Pinterest or Facebook or you can  follow her blog.

Spotlight: Siri Garnaas,Thai yoga bodyworker & yoga teacher


Mandala Reflections is pleased to introduce a new category called “Spotlight”. This category will feature local, holistic practitioners, in hopes to build community and support one another. In addition to connecting people, the Spotlight may also introduce new perspectives and approaches to life, health, and spirituality.

Siri Garnaas is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher and a Thai yoga bodyworker in the Twin Cities. She began her studies in 2011 with teacher Tanya Sowards at Devanadi Yoga and has not been able to get enough! Although she loves yoga and the healing qualities of this ancient practice, her current passion is Thai yoga bodywork (TYB).

Siri 2

Siri first learned TYB as part of her 200 hour yoga teacher training. She was instantly hooked. TYB is unique and multi-faceted and it engages and excites Siri’s pitta nature. Thai yoga bodywork incorporates rhythmic massage, assisted hatha yoga poses, intentional breathing, and energy work which allow the recipient to heal not only the physical body, but the mental and spiritual as well. This modality of healing works with a person’s energy, or prana, through the opening of various energy lines, or “sen”. This process increases joint mobility and flexibility, improves circulation, tonifies organs, and relieves muscular and emotional tension.

siri 1

Siri is extremely grateful to the tradition for giving her the opportunity to expose others to it’s powerful, holistic healing approach and to contribute to her own path of self-healing. Through a one and a half hour session, Siri invites you to take some time for self-care and to experience, heal, and connect with your physical, energetic, emotional, and spiritual bodies.

To stay up to date, feel free to connect with and support Siri, by showing the love and liking her Facebook Page [www.facebook.com/ThaiBodyworkWithSiriGarnaas] 🙂

Want to learn more about Thai Bodywork? Siri recommends this article to get you started.

Already convinced? Book an appointment by calling 651-332-0274.

Finding your inner voice…some tips from the author herself


I first met Kate in my yoga teacher training. Something about her laugh and voice drew me to her right away. Turns out Kate is a writer and knows a few things about humor and voice. She recently e-published her first book called, Tips for Earning Tip$: A Humorous How-To on Serving Meat, Mojitos, & “Minnesota Nice”. Mandala Reflections is so lucky to have her as one of our voices on the blog. Read on as she humorously shares tips on how you can find your writers’ voice and in the process maybe find yourself.

“Bazinga!” When you hear this word, who do you think of?  If you said Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, you are correct.  How do we know this is attributed to him?  We know because this is his “voice”.

The same way that we recognize Sheldon’s voice is the way we recognize writers’ voices.  When writers use voice, they have some special attributes and vocabulary that makes them distinguishable from others.  To write with voice, you have to be unafraid to be your own person.

I first started writing in the second grade.  I won a young author’s contest because of the voice I used in my writing.  I started a story about my first sledding experience with, “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!”  From then on, voice has been my strength.

My newest piece of writing is written completely in my own voice.  How did this newest piece of writing come about?  I found myself in a situation where I was the outsider at work and I didn’t know how to cope with that.  One night after my shift, I came home and started writing down my waitressing experiences from that evening.  It started off as therapeutic journaling and then, a few entries later, it morphed into a humorously helpful book for waitresses or people being immersed in a different culture than they are used to.  Writing and humor is the best combination to help get you through a situation that is less than ideal.

Inner voiceHow do you find your inner voice?  I look at it this way.  The way in which you talk to your grandmother, your teacher, and your best friends differ, do they not?  When talking to elders and respected professionals, we are taught to speak in an intelligent and sophisticated manner.  However, it is the way we tell stories to our best friends that brings out our inner voice.

When I began my book about waitressing, it was because I had all of these crazy stories to tell after every shift.  I would call my friends and tell them about my customers and how difficult people were throughout the evening.  When my friends asked how work went, I would tell them, “Oh my word.  I dropped a margarita on this dude and later the dishwasher asked me to go home with him for a few beers.  I think I need to rethink this whole push-up bra thing.”

When my grandmother asked the same question, I said, “It went well.  I made good tips and only dropped one beverage on a customer.”

While both answers are true, the first one depicts my spot on inner voice.  Speaking with my friends doesn’t make me feel like I have to be professional in any way or censor what I’m saying.  It is a completely “Kate” depiction of the evening.

I started writing down these work stories.  When I was writing them, I didn’t write with any particular limitations.  I didn’t need to be professional or serious.  It was me writing for therapy; for meDue to the authenticity of my inner voice, these journal entries ended up as a book.

Writing with voice means that I am putting my own unique signature on my work.  If I wrote like everyone else, what would be fun about that?  The uniqueness of an author’s inner voice is what will get him/her noticed as a writer.  The way that an author uses and accesses her/his voice through writing says a lot about who the author is as a person.

We all have the potential to find our inner voice.  Whether the inspiration for this voice comes from a bad job, an old love, or pursuing your dreams, the ability to write passionately in a storytelling manner is within each of us.

3 tips to help find your voice:

1) Don’t agonize over semantics on your first draft; just write down your feelings.
2) If you need to curse, curse. You can always take it out later or replace the words.
3) Read it out loud – if it sounds like you, it’s written in your voice.


Kate Robertson is a writer. You can find out more about her and her writing on her blog. You can also buy her book, Tips for Earning Tip$: A Humorous How-To on Serving Meat, Mojitos, & “Minnesota Nice” on Amazon. Kate grew up in Nebraska and has lived in Minnesota for two years now. She is studying to become a professional writer and a yoga instructor.