Category Archives: Weight Loss

I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

In my journey and constant research on healthier living, I kept seeing this stuff called ghee while researching grass fed butter information. We started using grass fed butter but had not yet jumped on the ghee wagon.

Last weekend at our local grocery store that has the most extensive organic, healthy food section we found a jar on the shelf labeled GHEE. Did you read that? Jar on the shelf! I had to check this out for myself.

Ghee is a form of butter that is an integral part of traditional Indian cuisine. It is clarified butter, which means that the water and milk solids (mostly proteins) have been boiled off, leaving just the rich, golden butterfat. 

Ghee is a simple word for ‘clarified butter’ actually. If you have ever ordered lobster or crab legs at a reputable restaurant, you were most likely served a little cup of clarified butter. That very golden, translucent and rich butter in a cup. So guess what, you’ve probably had ghee before but just didn’t know it.

Ok so we know what it is but why should you care? Read below for the Top 10 Reasons to get to Know Ghee.

I bought the exact brand below, Purity Farms. It’s paleo, lactose and casein free, kosher, non GMO, organic, pasture raised (grass fed) and salt free.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

I found this great post by lahealthyliving.com about ghee and what makes it’s so awesome. Here are their Top 10 Reasons To Get To Know Ghee

  1. Outstanding Cooking Oil. Ghee’s smoke point is 485°F which makes it an excellent cooking oil.  Unlike butter, ghee can tolerate high temperatures.
  2. Supreme Taste.  Ghee has a more creamy texture and nutty flavor than butter since most of the liquid is skimmed off during the clarification process.
  3. Long Shelf life. Because of its low oxidation rate, ghee can be kept unrefrigerated for a long time.
  4. Easy to Digest. Ghee aids in a healthy digestive process as it stimulates the secretion of stomach acids thus increasing the absorption of nutrients.
  5. Boosts the Immune System. Modern research found that ghee also contains phenolic antioxidants which boosts the immune system.
  6. Lowers cholesterol. CLA ( conjugated linolenic acid) contained in ghee, not only lowers cholesterol, but also reduces total cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. (source)
  7. Improves Eyesight. According to Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad,  eye disorders such as glaucoma, can benefit from adding ghee into the diet. Ghee improves our vision by helping our bodies properly digest fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A.
  8. Body Detox. Ghee is the perfect tool for body detox. Ghee penetrates the body tissues dissolving any toxins found in them. Then it gets rid of the toxins in the body through the intestines.
  9. Anti-inflammatory. Ghee has been proven to reduce leukotriene secretion and reduce prostaglandin which are both responsible for  inflammation.
  10. Aids in weight loss. Due to the conjugated linolenic acid contained in Ghee, it aids in weight loss (especially belly fat). Being easily digestible, it helps to develop a faster metabolism.

So now we have an opened jar of ghee sitting on our counter. I love cooking with it. It gives foods a richer taste. I also cook veggies in it and because of the properties, allows the body to absorb more of the goodness of the organic vegetables we eat.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

Our eating philosophy is to consume as much “whole foods” as possible into our diet. Seems like every week we are finding a food in a more natural state and incorporating it into our lives. Why don’t more people use this and why aren’t people talking about it, constantly?

Well I say “WELCOME TO FAMILY, GHEE”.

 

 

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Lost A Size Without Losing A Pound

Lost A Size Without Losing A Pound

It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I went from a size 10 to a size 8 without losing one pound. If you don’t know my story, in the past year and a half I have lost 100 pounds. You can see before and after pictures and read about it here.

I’ve been at 142 pounds for the past 3 months, fluctuating between 1 or 2 pounds at times. But my body seems to have settled at 142 which is exactly 100 pounds less than when I started my weight loss journey.

before picture weight loss success story 100 pounds fat healthy

I thought that my size had settled at size 10 in pants, medium in tops on average. To my surprise, I bought one pair of size 8 pants a while back but I attributed that to the particular brand.

In the past month I’ve done a little clothes shopping because I have hardly any summer clothes and my guess is that winter in the Midwest will end someday so I should probably have some clothes that fit.

Just yesterday I noticed that I now own 6 pairs of pants in a size 8 from different brands. Having realized that, I believe I can confidently say I now wear a size 8 in pants!!!  I know it’s just a number but coming from a TIGHT size 18 to a single digit size is a HUGE deal for me.

weight loss success 100 pound yoga healthy fitness good food exercise results

The idea that I lost a size without losing a pound had me scratching my head. I wasn’t intentionally trying to lose more weight or even trying to get into a smaller size. I was just working on being healthier and stronger.

My goal to be healthier and stronger takes me to hot yoga classes 3 or 4 times a week. In the past I was going at least twice a week but in the past few weeks I have stepped it up to 3 or 4 classes a week. Hot yoga is my main source of physical fitness. Read why here.

Every single aspect of my life improved when I started my yoga practice. From my body to my relationships with myself and others.

    • When I’m in a bad mood, yoga fixes my mood
    • When I’m having trouble clearing my mind of heavy thoughts, yoga clears them
    • When I’m feeling tense, yoga loosens me up
    • When I’m having trouble sleeping, yoga makes me sleep like a rock
    • When I’m not feeling very confident, yoga makes me feel like a warrior
    • When I feel I’m losing patience, yoga teaches me patience
    • When I’m not feeling the self-love, yoga loves me
    • When I feel weak, yoga makes me feel strong
    • Yoga never ever makes me feel bad, never
    • Yoga improves my mind, my body and my life

By doing something incredibly awesome for my body and mind, the consequence were losing fat, gaining muscle, tightening up my jiggly parts and losing a pant size unintentionally. Those are consequences I can live with.

yoga muscle strong weight loss fitness exercise healthy success story

Screw the scale, get your butt moving and awesome things will happen.

Namaste

 

5 Things That Helped Me Lose 100 Pounds

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

5 Things That Helped Me Lose 100 Pounds 

My 100 pound weight loss did not happen overnight. I actually took about a year and a half. In that time I’ve learned so much about food, exercise and myself. I learned that food is fuel and energy and good food is necessary for my body to be at it’s optimal health and happiness.

Good food never makes me feel bad after I eat it. I never feel ashamed or regret working out and when I see the scale going down, I never feel defeated or discouraged. Every time I do these things I’m telling myself “I Love Me”.

I’ve had a terrible relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Who knew that unhealthy relationship would affect almost every relationship I had during that time. I didn’t love myself enough to treat my body right therefore I certainly didn’t attract the people that would treat me right.

It’s a vicious cycle but you can make it a healthy and happy cycle. You can turn things around  by making small changes. Small changes become habits and before you know it, they are big changes. A consistent drop of water over time makes a very big pond.

This is why I started this blog. To inspire and share what I’ve learned. These are the top 5 things that have helped me the most in my journey to shed 100 pounds.

EAT WHOLE FOODS:  Read and repeat…put crap in, get crap out. Gone are the processed food days. Foods with laboratory created ingredients, preservatives, dyes and chemicals have no place in my body. The least ingredients on the label, the better.

I purchase organics every chance I get, from poultry to cheese, even spices. GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) scare the crap out of me. GMO labeling is required in 64 countries but not in the United States. Why? The big food companies are afraid they will lose billions if we are informed of the cancer causing, nutritionally void foods they are putting on the grocery shelves. I encourage you to do your research.

“Natural” doesn’t mean organic or non-GMO. The label needs to say that it is certified organic or at the very least “is a non-gmo food”. Only certified organic labeled products are certified organic. Know what’s in your food.

By eating organics, I know I’m getting the full nutrition benefit of the food I eat. This way I can make an educated decision based on the nutritional benefit of my food. In doing so, my body doesn’t require a truck load of food to get the same nutritional benefit as a cup of organic food provides. Simple organic whole foods, period.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy yoga hikingHOT YOGA:  When the hubby and I decided to get healthy for each other, we knew exercise would need to be a part of our lives. We needed to find something we loved enough to stick with. The hubby originally tried jogging but it was just too hard on his body. He ended up falling in love with biking.

I had not found my niche yet but I started biking with him. I really liked it but I wasn’t in love like he was. My co-workers were all taking hot yoga, they looked great and were losing weight. I remembered taking a regular yoga class years ago and really liked it. I started researching the benefits and found that it was a great way to build strength and lose weight so off I went to my first class.

Guess what.  In love.  Addicted. I attribute to at least 70 pounds of my weight loss to hot yoga. It makes me feel like a warrior when I’m all done soaked with sweat on every single part of my body. I feel confident and strong and sleep like a rock after a yoga class. I still do other forms of exercise like biking, light weight training, a P90 video here and there, some wi-fit and hiking when the weather permits. But hot yoga is my main and favorite form of exercise.

PORTION CONTROL:  After meeting with a nutritionist and re-learning about food, she helped me see food in a whole new way. I used to eat until I was stuffed, took huge bites, didn’t always chew my food and down went huge chunks of unchewed food.

This was wrong for a couple of reasons. I would be full LONG before I stopped eating but because I was eating so fast, my stomach didn’t have time to tell my brain. We do not require a belly full of food. I can’t even count the times I had to loosen my pants or went into a food coma from eating so much.

Another reason this is bad was because I was taking down chunks of food at a time, my digestive system had to work extra hard to break down that food and get the nutrition from it if there was any. This left me with all kinds of digestive issues.

Today I eat 6 -7 meals a day, 3 – 4 ounces at a time. The key is to make each meal count nutritionally. I give my body what it needs now. It does not need junk food or processed foods.

In taking smaller bites and really chewing my food, it made me eat slower and savor my food. It also made my smaller portions go a long way. Then by the time I swallowed, the digestive juices in my gut were able to easily absorb the nutrition from the food and not putting undue stress on my digestive system. It also keeps my metabolism constantly running which in turn helped the pounds to come off even without exercise. I actually lost my first 30 pounds with just diet.

BYE-BYE BAD CARBS:  I still eat carbs, just heavily limit the bad ones like white bread, pasta, rice, white sugar, white flour, rice, potatoes, etc. I am not gluten-sensitive that I know of but have noticed a big difference in how I feel when I eat gluten-free foods.

I rarely eat bread but if i do it’s a small piece of sour dough or pumpernickel and usually has 4 or 5 ingredients or I make my own. I use zucchini or spaghetti squash for pasta, quinoa in place of pasta, rice, meat, potatoes and oats. Lots of quinoa. I also use coconut flour and coconut sugar.  Real maple syrup and honey are staples in our house too. I still get all the taste, I just make better food choices.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my sweets from time to time. I just make much better choices now to satisfy my craving and I don’t take down the whole box of cookies. I actually eat the suggested serving size, take small bites and savor it. It’s a once in a while treat, not a daily routine anymore.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

STAY HYDRATED:  Last but not least. We’ve all heard we should drink 8 glasses of water a day.  I just couldn’t stomach all the water. I felt like I was drowning. But it wasn’t the actual water that was giving me hesitation. I just hadn’t found the right “water” for me.

While I was in the hospital for hernia surgery I was supposed to drink water but just couldn’t get it down so the doctor suggested warm tea. It was like the skies opened up, the light bulb went on and I realized what the problem was all along. My tummy loves WARM liquids. Ever since then, I get in my 8 glasses and then some in each day. I even take lukewarm tea to yoga. The key was finding what “water” worked for me.  Everyone is different and one glass of water does not fit all.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

 That’s my story. Thank you for reading it and allowing me to share it with you. I hope you’ll come back and see what’s new here at The Organic Rabbit real soon.

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Hot Yoga Beginner – What To Expect

I recently wrote about some of the reasons I love hot yoga.  If you are considering taking your first class, here are some tips to help you know what to expect.

Hot Yoga Beginner – What To Expect

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What to Wear: i wear yoga capri pants and a tank top.  Others wear sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I tend to adjust my clothes more if they are baggy so I prefer to have tighter clothing so I can concentrate on poses rather than my clothes.

What to Bring:  You definitely need a yoga mat.  I have a yoga mat towel that I lay on top of my mat but you can use a regular towel too. It will help absorb the sweat so you aren’t slipping and sliding on your mat when you sweat on it. Whatever kind of towel you use, I definitely recommend using one. If you forget your towel, chances are you will only forget once. And I always bring a hand towel to blot the sweat off my face.

Before class:  Drink plenty of water during the day before class.  You will sweat a lot and if you aren’t properly hydrated you may feel dizzy.  Many bring a bottle of water to class and take sips in between poses.  I got dizzy my first time because I didn’t hydrate enough but that rarely happens now as I make sure to hydrate properly.

Also, it’s best not to eat at least an hour before class.  Having a full belly will slow you down and you may feel uncomfortable.

What if I get tired: If at any point in the class you feel nauseous, dizzy, faint or just too tired to go on just sit in child’s pose. It is very common in every class I’ve taken to see students in child’s pose at some point.  There actually has not been one class I’ve taken that someone DIDN’T go into child’s pose to rest.

The main goal for your first class should be to just stay in the room for the duration of the class. Even if you sit in child’s pose or cross legged the whole time, it’s fine – it’s totally fine. The instructor won’t get mad and no one around you will care.

But if you have to leave the room, by all means, pay attention to your body and do what you feel is right.  Just get up and quietly walk out, take a breather or go to the washroom and come right back in.  No one will remember or care for that matter, I swear.

I have a friend that started coming to class with me and his first time he left the room 3 times. I was proud of him for continually coming back to the mat.  Now he doesn’t leave the room until class is over.

What if I don’t know the poses: When I first started going to hot yoga, one of my concerns was that I didn’t know all the poses.  The good news is that you do not have to know all the poses.  If I am ever unsure of how to do a pose I just look around the room and watch what others are doing.  Every single person is a beginner at some point. The only way to improve your practice is to practice.

Occasionally the teacher will come around and adjust my pose if I am not doing it to it’s full potential and I really appreciate the assistance.  I find that when the teacher is adjusting a student it’s because they sense that the student is taking it very seriously and will welcome the assistance. It’s not intended to shame or make you feel bad at all.  The teachers objective is to help you grow your practice safely.

Whether you do 20 poses or 1 pose, your practice is your practice.  There is no expectation of you by anyone else.  You set your intention when you enter the room.  People are there for different reasons.  Some for the work out, some for the stretch, some for the mental clarity, some just need a good sweat (it’s very detoxifying), etc.

Class:  When I arrived for my first hot yoga class I made sure to show up early so I could get a spot that I felt most comfortable with.  I was new so I felt self conscious and wanted to be in the back. As the students shuffled in I noticed ALL shapes, sizes and ages were there and ready to sweat.

The yoga room is a somewhat sacred place.  We take off our shoes before entering and once inside speak in a whisper if at all because others are taking these first few quiet minutes to relax and slow down.  Also, if you have your phone with you, make sure it’s on silent.

In my classes, the teacher enters and starts with warm up stretches called Sun Salutations. You will ramp up slowly to more challenging poses and work up a great sweat. After some time the temperature in the room will start to slowly get cooler and towards the end of class you will do work on the floor.

At the end of class, your last pose will be Shavasana (corpse pose).  Pronounced shah-VAHS-anna.  This pose is one of the most important. It allows the body to regroup and process the information it has just received from your yoga practice. Stay in this pose as long as you need.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Namaste

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Why I Practice Hot Yoga

 Why I Practice Hot Yoga

yoga peace strength exercise bikram

Before I started practicing hot yoga I always wanted to try it but was too scared.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I had only taken a few beginner classes previously, I was overweight, self conscious, didn’t feel strong enough, didn’t know all the poses, what if I couldn’t handle the heat, etc.  I’ve come to learn that all of my fears were absolutely normal.  I was definitely not the only beginner that felt that way.

A good friend had finally talked me into going to a class with her. I made her promise that I wouldn’t die and turns out she was right. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it and love how I felt during and after.

What exactly is hot yoga?  Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions. Different types of yoga can be performed such as Bikram, hatha or a flowing vinyasa style. Typically 105 degrees and 40% humidity.

Yoga is for all walks of life.  All ages, sizes, shapes and fitness levels.  I’ve seen big bellied pregnant women in class, men and women that are 60+ in age, big football player shaped men, etc. Yoga does not discriminate.

When I started my practice I was 70 pounds overweight and not in good shape whatsoever.  I couldn’t do a push-up to save my life.  My practice has done so much for me.  I still have lots to learn and I’m excited about that.

My Top Favorite Things About Hot Yoga (So Far)

  • It’s a fantastic workout, I sweat buckets.  There isn’t one part of my body or clothes that isn’t drenched in glorious sweat when class is over.
  • My skin has never looked better.  The heat and the sweating clears my pores and detoxifies my skin.
  • I sleep like a rock!  On occasion I have trouble sleeping but hot yoga is my remedy.  I fall asleep faster and sleep more sound, better than taking any medication.
  • What back pain? I used to visit the chiropractor maybe once every week.  I haven’t seen her in over a year.  Pity, she’s a really nice person.
  • I have muscles now.  I was goofing around with my husband a couple of days ago and he was like “you have guns now”.  Of course I thought he was joking until he had me go flex in the mirror.  Hello gun show!
  • I’m ubber flexible now.  When I first started practicing, I couldn’t touch my toes. Class after class I became more and more flexible.
  • “Private Time” with the hubby is way more fun now (sorry for the TMI but it had to be mentioned).
  • My anxiety issues have greatly diminished.  Yoga helps clear my mind and let go of whatever it is that is weighing on it.
  • Improves my digestive track.  Yoga massages the organs and in turn helps them to function better.
  • That time of the month is so much easier to deal with.  My hormones stay in check, I’ve become more regular, cravings aren’t as strong and cramps are much improved.
  • I love myself more every day.  The sense of accomplishment after completing each class is like giving my a huge hug and high five.
  • It has helped me shed close to 70 pounds!

I think those are great reasons to check out hot yoga.  All it took was showing up to my first class.  If you are thinking about it, do it!  At least you can say “I did it” as opposed to “I’ve always wanted to do it”. Check out my article about hot yoga for beginners.

 

 
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