Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions: Making 2013 the Best Yet

New Years. The Time of Festivities, Fun, and Watching the Big Ball Drop on TV...Oh, and Resolutions. 

For the people who want to see a difference in their bodies in 2013 and the years to come -
Each year, people always talk about resolutions. As a young adult, I've noticed more and more often how short the lifespan of those resolutions are. For instance, I've heard of people saying: "I'm not going to eat any sugar!" or, "I'm going to go to the gym 5 days a week!" And when the regular gym-goer goes to the gym the first week of January and it's packed, and then they go the next week and it's not nearly as packed, it is really just sad. Unfortunately, a lot of these goals that seem great and easy to do (at first) are just not accomplished. Learn how to make the best of your resolution and how to make it into a habit by reading below.

     To get to the root of the problem - it is the lack of motivation. It is going to the gym during the first week all ready to go, and then quitting the second week because it's too hard. It is standing in the kitchen with those warm chocolate chip cookies and eating five of them when you swore to yourself that you'd only eat one. And it is waking up early the first few mornings to go to spin, and then not seeing any results a few days later so you give up.
     I have learned throughout my young adult years that if you want to see and make a difference for yourself, you have to be self-motivated. No, it is not solely the trainer that will help you change your body, but yourself. And unfortunately, getting up to go to spin or body pump early in the morning is not easy at all. It is not supposed to be, but that's what makes changing your body so amazing. Whether you are trying to lose 20 pounds or just trying to eat better, the journey is tough yet so rewarding.
    To those of you who want to lose weight this year, truth is, you will not see results at first. Losing weight the hard way (eating better, exercising) is not a fad diet that makes you lose 20 pounds each week. And remember also that diet and exercise come as a pair. If you want to see a difference in your body, you need to do both. Contact me if you'd like guidance and/or advice!


  • Work out with friends who also want to lose weight, eat better, etc.
  • Talk to a nutrition consultant about better food habits.
  • Make working out a hobby. Try fun group exercise classes! You will never know if you actually love it if you never try it!
  • Buy healthy cook books.
  • Act now.
  • Motivate yourself.
  • Develop mental toughness.
  • Don't expect immediate results.
  • Don't be afraid to go to the gym.

     As cliché as this is, do not make 2013 just another year where you quit in the first two weeks trying to reach your health goal. You have to start somewhere - don't wait until later to meet your goals. Later will never happen. Make 2013 the year where you change your body for life for good. It won't be easy. It won't be fun. Do it for yourself and for your family. Be a happier and a healthier person. Healthy eating and exercise is a lifestyle - a fun one at that!

Again, don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or want help!

       With Love,
            Caroline R.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Nutrition Journey - Story, Personal Temptations, Stuff I've Learned, and Advice

Okay so I was thinking...some of you might be wondering why I randomly started blogging about nutrition a few months ago. Also about why I'm so passionate about it all. 

And NO, what I do is NOT called a "health kick" or "health crusade." Healthy eating is a way of life! 

If you want to read my story followed by my every day junk food temptations, things I've learned, and advice, continue below:

     All right, here I go. So during my junior year of high school (I am a senior now), I was obsessed with food. And I don't mean like "Oh, yeah, I love food so much," I mean like "I LOVE FOOD SO MUCH." I guess you could say that I was like head-over-heels for food. For instance, if any of you know what the Chuy Gooey is at Chuy's (if not, Google it), I could down that thing all by myself with two baskets of chips, plus eat a plate of salty quesadillas. And if any of y'all have ever had the deep dish pizza at BJ's Brewhouse, I could eat a medium dish (which is HUGE) on my own easily. Every time I ate something bad for me, like those two meals, I would use the common phrase: "Oh Caroline, it's just this one time. You're skinny anyway and you went up some stairs today, so you're all good." The problem, though, is that I said that every, single, time. I didn't care that I was consuming too much sodium and fat. I didn't care that I was feeling more tired and miserable every day because of what I ate; all I cared about was how good the food was. But it was that one day during class when my favorite teacher went on what she calls a "rabbit trail" - a divergence from the discussion - and she talked about the meat industry and really just the way the American food system works today. What my teacher said really intrigued me. Heck, it FREAKED me out. As soon as I got home that day, I started researching because I was a little skeptical. Come to find out, she was completely right on everything. From the way most meat is processed in this country to the additives, artificial colors, and preservatives put in processed foods to make it last longer, all of what she said was exactly true! I was scared out of my mind. It was at that moment when I decided to take action and change my eating habits for good. 
     I went extreme and became a vegetarian. However, I approached it all the wrong way. For instance, instead of eating like a yummy sandwich on Ezekiel bread with spinach, tomatoes, organic cheese, and hummus for lunch (what I eat now), I would eat the generic bread everyone buys with a slice of processed cheese on it. I considered that healthy because there was no meat on it (As the months have gone by, I have obviously learned what I should and shouldn't eat). As I've continued to research, I've realized that nutrition is my passion. To be honest, every time I see or hear the word nutrition, my head pops up in excitement. Also, I have a folder on my Mac called "Heath and Nutrition," and right now I have around 110 saved pages in it about healthy eating. And yes, I am aware that most people think I am crazy. :)

My Temptations
     BUT, what people don't realize about what I do is this: Eating healthy foods is EXTREMELY difficult for me sometimes. Again, to be honest, every single day of my life I struggle with wanting to eat junk food. This is especially hard being in America but I try not to consider that an excuse. I mean, come on - who doesn't love some Nutella or some Oreos? And who doesn't crave ice cream every single night of their life? I certainly crave all that stuff. Whenever I am at a get-together at someone's house, it takes all of me, and I mean ALL OF ME, not to eat the whole plate of chocolate chip cookies on the counter. I'm totally serious if y'all don't believe me! The thing is, people think that I hate junk food and that I think it is gross. This is true in some cases - Cheez Its make me want to throw up...and those heart-attack Hot Pockets? Heck no. "Caramel?" I'd rather have a needle in my eye. But, do I believe that junk food is okay every once in a while? Sure I guess, but not excessively. What I'm most definitely not saying is that we should say over and over again, "Oh, just this one time." The truth is, like I said earlier, we'll just keep saying that. 
     To those of you who have read some of my previous entries, especially "Rethink Yolo," one of the points I tried to make is that food is supposed to heal us, fill us with the proper nutrients, and so on. Junk food does the opposite.

What I Have Learned

  • Eating healthier has completely changed my life. I am more fit (my stamina and strength have increased exponentially). I am a happier person. When I get sick (which is not often at all, knock on wood), I am usually completely fine by the next day or two. 
  • The earlier you or your child starts eating healthy, the earlier you'll start developing better eating habits. 
  • I have fallen in love with going to the grocery store (especially FRESH by Brookshires or Central Market in Dallas) and buying cool, healthy foods. It's so cool to experiment! You never know, you may discover a recipe you love.
  • You just gotta be open to change. In other words, don't be afraid to buy healthier options, even if your friends or and family don't want to try it.
  • = one amazing website! There are so many unique and tasty ideas to try!
  • Zucchini and squash together is so good.
  • You may be spending more for healthier foods but in my opinion, it's worth every dime.
  • Everything in moderation.
  • I gag at the thought of processed foods.


  • If you eat processed meat (such as the cheap and generic pre sliced kind or like the cheapest brand at the store of steak, chicken, etc. that isn't organic), I HIGHLY recommend going organic (Message me for details if you're curious as to why).
  • If you want to start changing your eating habits (unhealthy --> healthy), take baby steps. Start with buying more fruits and vegetables. Also try buying whole grain bread (I suggest Ezekiel bread - it's the BEST!). Don't do an extreme switch. Research and learn!
  • Cut the amount of red meat you eat.
  • If you are trying to eat more healthy (especially for those of you who are trying to lose weight), treat yourself to a meal once or twice a week that is unhealthy so you won't go completely crazy! :)
  • For those of you who live in a town with a Whole Foods, Central Market, or for those of us Tyler people with FRESH by Brookshires, there are certain brands of cereal that are a lot healthier, such as the Ezekiel, Nature's Path, and Heartland brands.
  • Drink lots of water (this especially applies to me...I don't drink nearly enough!)
  • Instead of Ranch dressing or all of those other dressings with really high amounts of sodium or fat, try Balsalmic Vinaigrette!
  • Looking for a great chip brand that is corn-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, delicious, and that you can use with all dips? Try Beanitos! They're incredible. I can testify. :)
  • Reduce the amount of junk around the house. Aka, detoxify your pantry. If you want help, hit me up
  • Google some fast, easy-to-make meals for you and your children to take to school and work! 
  • When around a plethora of junk food at a party, limit yourself. You'll gain mental toughness! Trust me on that one.
  • Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup/Corn Syrup.

I hope y'all learned from my story, temptations, the things I've learned throughout my journey, and advice! Let me know if you have any questions. 
     ~Blessings, Caroline

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Personal Hygiene - The Truth Behind Hair, Skin, and Oral Products


  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate 
Polyethelyne Glycol
Propylene Glycol
Cetylpyridinium Chloride

Do you know what these are? If not, continue reading to find out what you are using for "personal hygiene" that come from hair products, skin products, and mouth products.

     Okay, so if you haven't gotten the memo, this blog entry is about external hygiene products. And I know you're probably thinking, "FINALLY, an entry about something other than eating healthy!" But see, the thing is, personal health and wellness extends beyond food - it includes these external products as well. 
     Unfortunately, there are just so many products out there - food and hygiene - that contain harmful ingredients that we don't know about. It's not that most of us KNOW about these chemical ingredients in our products and then choose to ignore's really that we haven't been educated and informed about them! And no, I'm not saying you need to go all-natural and organic (okay, I have to admit that I have, but that doesn't mean that you necessarily have to, too, if you don't want) or anything. BUT, my goal out of this entry is for your eyes to be opened to the reality that your hygiene products may not be the safest.
     So we all know the popular shampoo brands such as Pantene, Fructis, and Herbal Essence, the skin products such as Cetaphil and Clinique, the deodorant products such as Secret and Suave, the lip products such as Carmex and Lipsmacker, aaaaand the mouth products such as Crest and Oral-B. However, have you ever looked at the ingredients? I know, weird. Most people don't pay attention to the ingredients because come on, it's shampoo, face wash, deodorant and toothpaste! It's not like you're eating the stuff, so what's the big deal? That, however, is the common misconception. Yes, you may not be ingesting it, but these chemicals ARE absorbed through your skin, swallowed, accidentally rubbed in the eyes, and so on. 
     Am I calling these brands bad? No, but am I trying to highlight the fact that some of the ingredients used in their products are in some ways? Yes. For example, the sulfates - sodium lauryl, ammonium lauryl, and ammonium laureth - aren't necessarily the greatest of products. Studies have shown that Sodium lauryl sulfate, unfortunately, is linked to organ toxicity, irritation, and mutations. Taken from, though, it's not so much the one-time use of a product that can cause these things, but rather "it's the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are the real concern." And that is exactly right. Again, the problem isn't the one-time use, but the long-term use. 
    Let's discuss parabens. In my opinion, parabens even sound scary. used a quote as well from that said: "Parabens can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt functions of the endocrine system." There was also a study conducted in 2004 that linked parabens to breast cancer. Please note once again that all of these chemicals do not harm people in small amounts but in large amounts. The problem is that if you consider the amounts of these chemicals, whether through shampoo, skin products, and so on that we use daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, these chemicals are being used in rather large amounts.
    Also, let me tell you about Plyethylene glycol. Let me say it right out in front - According to, large amounts can cause diarrhea. It can also cause skin toxicity, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. What? I know.  
    I would continue listing the various chemicals and health concerns they bring but I think all of you get the point. Even though I'm not yelling at y'all to go "all natural and organic," I do hope that this blog really did switch on some lights and make you all think. To be honest, even though I don't "feel better" by using pure and organic products, let me say two things: 1) In all honesty, my skin is clearing up. 2) I know that I am going the safest route and protecting myself more from diseases and potential toxins.
    Ah, and to answer the "all-natural and organic question" that some of you may be thinking...
When I say that, I am talking about products without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals. Safe brands to use are:
Shampoo - Avalon, Nature's Gate, Kiss My Face, Aloe 80 Organics
Body Wash - Aloe 80 Organics, Jasön, Alba
Lotion - Dr. Bronner's Magic, Nature's Gate, Avalon
Deodorant - Toms, Lafes, Nature's Gate
Chapstick - Dr. Bronner's Magic, Alba, Kiss My Face
Toothpaste - Jasön, Nature's Gate, Miessence
Mouthwash - Jasön, Riddell's Creek Organic, Toms