Uncovering The Truth About Soy

Since soy is a controversial topic, I thought it would be perfect for this week’s blog post. One of my friends told me that soy was basically the devil. And you know my vegan ass eats soy, so I wanted to know just how bad it is. I’m sure you’ve heard that if men even blink at a block of tofu, they will grow boobs bigger than mine. And some women think they won’t be able to conceive if they eat soy. Some people praise the plant-based protein, while others run from it. So, is soy even safe to consume? 

Realistically, soy can be both good and bad. Over the years they have been processed and genetically modified in ways that can be potentially dangerous to the body. These genetically modified versions were called “roundup ready”, which were designed to withstand the use of herbicides while increasing yields. The United States produces the most amount of soybeans in the world and 97% isn’t even used for human consumption. The majority of GMO soy is fed to animals, however it might be a good idea to stick to organic soy products if you try to avoid GMOs. 

Man Boobies 

One of the reasons why soy is such a hot topic is because it contains estrogen like chemicals called isoflavones. However, it’s important to remember that isoflavones aren’t estrogen. Men are afraid that soy consumption can increase estrogen levels and decrease testosterone levels, leading to man boobs and a squeaky voice. 

The rumors stem from two case studies involving one 19- year old man who reported enlarged breasts and the other 60- year old experienced erectile dysfunction. One test subject was actually consuming 3 quarts of soy milk per day, which is a lot for one person. But one study used even higher amounts of isoflavones and proved soy wasn’t a problem for most men and had zero effect on male reproduction. 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a large percentage of men will develop man boobs at some point in their life. This statistic doesn’t surprise me knowing the fact that ¾ of the us population is overweight. And say maybe you are overweight or obese, your testosterone levels are going to be lower compared to someone at a healthy weight. I don’t think we should demonize soy because you blame your insecurities on phytoestrogens. 

Breast cancer 

High amounts of estrogen in the body have been linked to higher risks of breast cancer. The rumors that soy also increases these risks come from people mistaking isoflavones with estrogen. Although isoflavones have estrogen like characteristics, they also act as antiestrogens, blocking estrogen from binding together. This could in theory, prevent the risks of breast cancer. This preventative effect depends on the quality of soy, the age at which a person starts consuming soy, and other factors. 

Some studies have shown that soy can help reduce breast cancer, however the bulk of the research involving humans show that consuming soy does not have a negative impact on health. Another reason for the confusion can be blamed on studies that used animals as test subjects. Humans and animals metabolize isoflavones differently. The test subjects were also injected with extremely high doses instead of being absorbed and digested naturally in the body. comparison to someone eating a diet moderate in soy, that is an extremely high dose. 

Infertility

People became concerned about isoflavones when they observed sheep who ate large amounts of red clover had issues with reproduction. Red clover contains phytoestrogens that are also in soy. Remember, animals and humans metabolize phytoestrogens differently. According to one study, men who eat soy foods may have lower sperm concentration. However, the study involved only 99 men and most men who had lower concentrations were overweight. It’s likely that the extra fat these subjects had increased estrogen levels, which causes a decrease in sperm concentration. One theory is that obesity caused the men to be more sensitive to the phytoestrogens found in soy. In Asian countries, diets high in soy are very common and have not been shown to affect fertility. The bulk of clinical studies do not suggest that isoflavones negatively impacts reproduction. In fact, one study showed that consuming soy can be beneficial to women going through infertility treatment. 

We can take away from all the information that soy is safe to consume in moderation. Soy actually has so many benefits like it’s cancer fighting properties, omega 3s to lower the risk of heart disease, and full of vitamins. The pros absolutely outweigh the false claims about this plant-based food. There’s nothing wrong with a little mock meat or protein powder on occasion, but it might be best to stick to quality sources of soy in your diet like tofu, tempeh, and edamame. 

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Heather

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References: 

Phytoestrogens-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25160742/

Soy-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188409/

Soy and man boobs-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378106/

Case studies unfavorable to soy and the (enlarge breast and erectile dysfunction-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18558591/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21353476/

Case study showing high doses of soy doesn’t affect most men-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15231450/

Soy and breast cancer-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981011/#__sec5title

Estrogen and breast cancer-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4775086/

Soy and infertility-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721724/

https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20080723/soy-foods-sperm-concentration-link

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Medical-memo-Soy-and-sperm

https://www.acam.org/blogpost/1092863/185750/Soy-and-Fertility-in-Men

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19524224/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28844822/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20484551/

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The Problem With Cheat Meals



I can’t help but cringe when I see 10,000 calories a day challenges and “cheat day meals” on YouTube. Most people can’t even eat half that much in a day. Do you think people can financially afford to consume that much food? Their audience sees this glamorized version of eating in excess. All the brightly colored packaging and money spent on these videos make it look even more enticing. So what happens if someone with an unhealthy relationship with food comes across this video? They might feel a little less guilty about their overindulgences and continue over eating. 

Someone else might have fitness goals, but think that cheat meals should be a part of their diet. They might stop seeing progress because they have a cheat meal every day. And the amount of calories that milkshake and fries exceeds your caloric deficit. It’s one thing if you can eat a small cheat treat or meal seldomly. But let’s face it, you can’t always just have one. Let’s think about what a cheat meal really is. Usually something highly processed, full of sugar or salt, and provides almost zero nutrition. You could say a cheat meal really means cheating yourself from reaching your health goals. 

Humans are not pets, we do not need treats. And to be quite honest, your health does not care about what tastes good. It’s truly a first world problem when we have people killing themselves by overindulging on food. Food is meant to be consumed as fuel to give your body energy, not for entertainment. If you are depriving yourself so much that you are craving everything junk then, you’re not getting the proper nutrition from your diet. Cravings usually mean the body is deficient in some micronutrient. Staying hydrated and eating whole foods can ensure that you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive. 

You also can’t do something long term successfully if don’t enjoy it. Not including foods that you like in your diet will be restricting and feel like a punishment. I think associating all tasty food with cheat meals is where a lot of people go wrong. You can make healthy food delicious if you know what you like. Not many people get excited about plain broccoli or beans. It’s when you add the seasonings and flavors that make them appeal to the taste buds. You don’t need cheat meals if you’re doing it right. 


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Heather

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5 Unhealthy Habits I Kicked To Get Fit

I didn’t think I would be able to quit a lot of things. Besides, we’re all creatures of habit, right? Actually, adapting is kind of our thing. The problem is our love for instant gratification.

Most of the time we know that something is bad for us. But we rather put off the beneficial habits for unhealthy habits we can enjoy that very second. My bad habits started to feel like a never ending cycle. Some habits I was able to quit cold turkey and for others it was gradual. It’s okay to slowly wean off a bad habit. You’ll get to a certain point when it feels natural to let that habit go.

We all have unique characteristics, which means different habits to break might require different strategies. And I wanted to share with you unhealthy habits I kicked to get fit.

Smoking

Yep, I was a smoker. I smoked a whole pack of cigarettes a day for 5 years. It was a social thing and stress reliever for me. Smoking was so habitual that it became ingrained into my identity. As you can imagine, there was a culmination of reasons why I needed to quit.

Most habits good and bad will come with a price tag. But smoking was costing my lungs and my wallet. I realized enough was enough! It’s amazing that I quit successfully living with two chainsmokers. But I really didn’t want to smoke any more. Smoking dictated everything I did and I knew I was addicted.

I got into fitness and noticed the quality of my breathing was so poor that I had a hard time getting through my warmup. I just wasn’t feeling my best. My hair was breaking, my breath always smelled, I never felt like I could get a full deep breath. Gum disease also runs in my family and I was showing all the signs. My dad used to dip, but after the dentist told him he had gingivitis, he quit. I’ve seen first hand what tobacco can do. Cigarettes also trash up the planet, which isn’t cute either. I decided to quit cold turkey a week before my breast augmentation and I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 3 years. Now I can’t stand the smell and I legitimately don’t know how I smoked like that.

Negative Self Talk

Everyone has insecurities and things they don’t like about themselves. They say we are our own worst critics. Maybe it’s because we’re with ourselves 24/7, so it’s easy to pick ourselves apart. But some of us take it to another level.

It went from the occasional self-deprecating humor to standing in front of the mirror and being really unhappy with the person looking back at me. I would tell myself pretty gnarly things like “you’re not good, pretty or smart enough.”

The constant practice of self-talk can and will result in you believing every single word. After I figured out how much I was hurting myself, there was a change in my self-talk. Now, I focus on my strengths and know I am more than good enough and worthy. Do I still have bad days? Yep. But this self-love thing is a journey and no one is perfect. We’re all just trying to do the best we can.

Being A Night Owl

My sleeping patterns have always been imbalanced. I would spend hours laying in bed before drifting off. And sometimes I would just give up and distract myself with YouTube or find something to do.

I would sleep in until the very last minute. I was (and really still am) the girl who rather get 30 minutes of extra sleep than get up to do her hair. Of course, I would be zombified all day, running on coffee and energy drinks. And as soon as the moon started glistening, my inner werewolf came alive. My mood, appetite, and energy all suffered and I knew it was time to try something different. For once in my life, I longed for a morning that wasn’t rushed and a brain that wasn’t shrouded in fog.

One thing I realized was that my evenings weren’t eventful at all. In fact, I was working from home and didn’t get in any regular physical activity. I knew that being sedentary was probably keeping me restless at night. I started out with bodyweight workouts and ran 3-4 times a week. This alone, made it so much easier to fall asleep. My little body was exhausted and ready for rest by the end of the night. I also created a night time routine that signals my brain it’s time to wind down so I can wake up in much better spirits.

Eating Junk

I was blessed with a lightning speed metabolism. My teens and early adulthood was spent eating whatever the hell I wanted. But when I turned 23, I noticed I was gaining fat in my lower belly. The first thing I did was track my calories and came to the conclusion that I had way too many fats and sugar in my diet. Instead of reaching for the extra bag of Doritos, I started grabbing the peanut butter crackers.

I tried avoiding temptations like buying foods I knew I didn’t need. And I quickly realized how much money I had been spending on junk food. Again extra money I’d be spending that I don’t necessarily have to be throwing on Oreos every week. Once I got the message that “food is fuel” through my head, the cravings for junk vanished. Now I look for more nutrient dense foods that give me natural energy. But if I want a treat, I don’t deny myself, girl.

Soda

I was the girl who always ordered a Dr Pepper with every meal. My mom always kept soda in the house. So when I left the nest, soda was something I always drank and never really thought about. But do you know how much sugar and calories are in one can of soda? A 12 oz. can of Coke contains 150 calories, 39 grams of carbs, and 39 grams of sugar. When I took the time to read and dissect the label, I was shook to my core. Especially since I wasn’t just having one soda a day.

I knew the excess sugary carbs weren’t going to get me to my fitness goals any faster. So, I started drinking flavored water like Sparkling Ice and Clear American instead of soda. I also started drinking more regular water and overtime soda lost its taste. Now I focus on getting my calories from whole foods instead of liquids. I can’t remember the last time I had soda. I haven’t cut out caffeine completely because I can’t quite live without tea yet.

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Heather

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4 Things That Will Improve Your Life & Happiness

4 Ways To Improve Your Life!

 

Someone cuts you off in traffic and you spill your coffee all over your clean shirt. We’ve all been there and know how easy a good day can turn bad. Between stress at work, school deadlines, family and friends, it seems like everyone is after your happiness. In times when all seems wrong, here are 4 tips to help you turn that frown upside down. Practicing these mindful tips will also help improve your life and overall happiness!

 

Tip 1: Be Grateful

Stop complaining so much and appreciate how blessed you are every single day. This may seem challenging sometime because it’s so easy to look at all the things that go wrong during the day. So crack open a notebook and find a pen from under the couch and list 5 things you are grateful for right now.

 

 

Tip 2: Be Your Own Bestie

Stop relying on other people to fill the void or loneliness. Instead, learn to be your own best friend. I know there have been many times in my life where I filled my schedule up with seeing family and friends or going out as much as I could. But over the years, I have learned to appreciate my alone time. You spend more time with yourself than anyone else so might as well enjoy it.

 

 

Tip 3: Surround Yourself With Love

Drop kick the people who don’t bring positivity to your life. Okay, no drop kicking allowed, but don’t waste your time with those people. If someone isn’t supporting you, they are against you. Maybe if you can’t just kick someone out of your life, limit your time with that person and surround yourself with people who want to see you grow and blossom.

 

 

Tip 4: Shut Off The Tech

Turn off the tv and social media every once in a while. Our brains are always craving stimulation, but turning things off for a bit can have positive effects on your mind. Whether you mediate or spend time with someone special, I challenge you to turn off the technology at least 30 minutes a day for a week straight.

 

 

Let me know what makes you happy in the comments!

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Heather

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6 Tips To Live A Little Healthier Everyday

healthier life

Tips To Live A Healthier Life

 

I learned a lot from my parents growing up. But one lesson resonated with me the most: take care of your body. My mom threw me in sports when I was a kid and told me to eat my veggies so I’d grow up big and strong. And I did! Well, I am 5 foot, but I’m a very active and strong tiny woman.

 

It’s great to have parents that embed healthy habits in your head. But so many kids don’t have this support or they grow up and go their own path. It’s also very easy to overlook the simple activities that promote good health. Drinking water, going for a walk and getting enough sleep all seem pretty basic to have a positive impact on your health…right? This is where huge mistakes are made. Falling into a cycle of unhealthy habits can lead to a stressful and chaotic life.

So here are some healthy habits you can start today if you are looking to feel more energized and positive. This is the only body we get, so why wouldn’t we treat it with love and respect?

 

 

 

Move Daily

Most of us sit at a desk all day long to collect a paycheck. We take that paycheck straight to the store where we buy frozen meals or fast food. Then, we go home and sit some more. And as we age, our sedentary bodies begin to lose muscle mass and bone density. This becomes a major problem the older you get and that’s when injuries and illness happen.

Another problem with inactivity is that you have eyes watching your every move. Your children, spouse, family and friends are taking in everything you do. So, wouldn’t you want to set a good example of self love? You don’t even have to do an intense workout every day. You can simply walk your dog, practice yoga, or even clean your house. The point is to incorporate some type of movement every single day.

 

 

 

Hydrate Yourself

Being hydrated helps with several functions in the body including maintain immune health and digestion and protects your joints. Drinking enough H2O also helps flush out toxins from the body and helps keep your muscles strong. If you workout, you should really be drinking that water. It aids in transporting oxygen to the muscles. This is why you might feel early fatigue during a workout if you’ve been dehydrated.

Quench your thirst without empty calories and added sugar. Try and shoot for 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces everyday. I know water isn’t the best tasting, but it is essential to live a strong and healthy life. So spice it up with some berries or lemon and figure out what will make you drink a little more water.

 

 

 

Get Quality Sleep & Rest

They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. When you catch those z’s, your body is digesting everything from the day, helping you de-bloat, and refreshing your skin. Typically when you feel like shit, you look like shit. So try your very best to aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep. Have you ever stayed up all night and the next day you didn’t even want to do the things you normally love? Tiredness can make you moody, irritated, and feel like this world is that much harder.

If sleep is something that doesn’t come easy, try a guided meditation. Simply developing a night time ritual is a great way to get your body ready for sleep. One of my evening habits to have a kiwi before bed. (I love their weird texture!) Kiwi ramps up the melatonin hormone, which helps you relax. The bottom line is that rest is a must for your mind and body if you want to live this crazy thing called a healthy life.

 

 

 

Laugh Until You Cry

I feel like even when you’ve had a really tough day, you should find somehow to laugh. And at the very least smile. Call your old bff and reminese about that one time you and her rode your dad’s lawn mower at midnight. (Not that I’m talking about me or anything) Days when I don’t have anyone to make me laugh, I’ll throw on a few YouTube videos of bloopers or an episode of Impractical Jokers. Having a good long laugh is just like having a long cry. It’s medicine for your soul so laugh a little.

 

 

 

Fuel Your Body With Nutrients

Want to know why you need 4 cups of coffee to get through the day? It’s because you’re not fueling your body properly. Drink your water and eat your macros so you can skip the Starbucks line. You need to eat a  balanced diet to provide your body with minerals, vitamins, protein, carbs, and fat. In order to get all these nutrients in your system, you should eat a variety of foods. Eat the rainbow, and I don’t mean Skittles.

The first step of eating healthier would be to cut out refined foods and sugary drinks. It’s called junk food for a reason. Processed foods and candy contain empty calories, which don’t help your body function at optimal level. You have to eat to survive, might as well do it right.

 

 

 

Just Breathe

It seems like everything is after our attention these days. Work, family, school. television, YouTube videos, advertisement (you name it) all seem to be in competition with each other. But what if you could bring back the balance? Taking a deep breath can help undo stresses and reduce blood pressure.

When you’re stressed beyond belief, your hormones get out of whack, which can affect your mood and appetite. Obviously you need oxygen to live, but it also helps cleanse the body of toxins. And don’t forget to be grateful for the ability to expand your lungs. Slowing down your breath can really help calm your mind and slow you down in a fast paced world.

 

 

What are some healthy habits that you have started this year?   

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Heather

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5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started My Fitness Journey

my fitness journey

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Fitness Journey

 

 

If you think that living a healthy life should be easy, you couldn’t be more wrong. Of course I’m not trying to deter or scare you away from developing a healthy lifestyle. However, I do want you to have a realistic expectation when it comes to starting your fitness journey. When you convince yourself that something should be easy, you tend to persuade yourself to quit when it isn’t easy. There are times in life when your work schedule or personal life will make it harder to keep up with your healthy lifestyle. Believe me, I have made some mistakes along my health journey and assumed that it would be a piece of cake too. Here are some things I wish I would have known when I started my journey.

 

Low Calorie Diets Do Not Work

About 2 years ago I started noticing a few extra pounds. I thought it made sense to reduce the amount of calories I ate. The problem here is that when you’re on such a restrictive diet, your body starts to use muscle protein as energy. Muscle speeds up your metabolism. So, the less muscle mass you have, the harder weight loss will be. Low calorie diets especially don’t work when train. All of your hard work in the gym will be for nothing since your body will essentially be breaking down muscle. I promise food is not the enemy. The enemy is you not fueling your body. Speaking of food for fuel, if you want to try out the most recent easy recipe on my channel, go ahead and click here.

 

 

Other People Might Not Join Your Fit Life

You know your loved ones will always support you, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stop eating McDonald’s and clear out the sweets in the pantry. Needless to say there will probably be plenty of temptations around you. Your friends and family may not see health as a priority like you and that’s okay. You can’t control another person’s thoughts or actions. The best thing you can do is educate them on why you want to live a healthier life. Remember you are on this journey for you.

You only get one life, so live it for you.

 

 

Motivation Comes & Goes (You Will Mess Up)

You are not going to feel motivated to wake up in the wee hours of the morning or late at night after work. Of course, some days are better than others. Personally, I have to dig deep within me to find motivation 4 out of the 5 days I workout. It’s easy to persuade yourself that you could do something better with your time. But in reality, you really can’t. Unless you’re spending time with loved ones, or (something funny) Exercise and eating right is the greatest thing you could give to yourself.

And don’t worry, motivation won’t be the only thing standing in your way. Life happens and will throw you curve balls all day long. Maybe you have to help out a friend instead of going to the gym. Or what if you give in to those sugary cravings? Just as sure as life happens, life moves on. With that being said, you’re going to mess up and that’s okay. No one is perfect, but it’s the point that you are giving it your 100% effort to make that beautiful, foxy change.

 

 

There Are Different Ways To Live Fit

When I started my fitness journey, I knew there were other ways to exercise and eat right, but I really didn’t venture out. I played sports in high school, but after that was over, it was up to me to find physical activity. So, I started running a few times a week. It was free and I could let my dogs get some exercise. Soon enough, what little fat I did have came right off. Strangely, I was doing all this work and for some reason I wasn’t liking how my body looked.Then I found weight lifting and the rest is history. The point is there are so many ways to exercise, eat right, and rest. My advice is to try everything!

 

 

Don’t Try Everything At Once

I know you are super pumped and motivated when you start your journey. But as I mentioned before, this energy will come and go. That’s why it’s so important to create and build healthy habits in the beginning. Before you dive right in, try taking baby steps first. Start by assessing where you are now. How is your mental state? Are you stressed out a lot? If so, maybe you need to focus on practicing meditation and take some time for you. Does your diet consist of healthy whole foods or fast food? Are you drinking enough water? Then, maybe you should focus on your nutrition. The point is, don’t feel like you have to eat right, exercise, and rest in a perfect balance in the beginning. It is all a learning process and by slowly introducing these aspects in your life, you will set yourself up for success.

 

 

What is one thing you wish you knew before you got started on your journey?   

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Heather

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