Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

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Paleo: Why I Eat Like a Caveman

Told you I would revisit this Paleo diet thing in a later post! 🙂 (and, as a disclaimer, I am by no means a dietitian or nutritionist, but would like to use this post to educate readers about some possible healthy food choices and how helpful it could be!)

Sorry for the hiatus, folks. I am launching my new private practice in the upcoming months and it’s kept me QUITE busy! So busy, in fact, that I’ve been more easily persuaded to chew on convenience food in all my rushing around (Hello, pizza, my old friend…) as opposed to my 75% paleo diet.

The result? Increased belly aches, waking up in the middle of the night feeling g-r-o-s-s, irritability, and a sense of ‘blah’ in my workouts (not very scientific, I know, but that’s the reality). This is probably because those convenience, comfort foods are loaded with things I haven’t been digesting on a daily basis – sugar, grains, and dairy.

So, what is Paleo, and why should you care? If you have five minutes, take a second to watch this YouTube video:


If you don’t have five minutes (perhaps just 2-3 to read this post) I’ll sum it up for you:

Grass fed meats, free range chickens, wild fish, eggs, veggies, berries, nuts, seeds, coconut or almond oil instead of EVOO/Canola (basically, coconut or nut-based products as a replacement for a lot of things from flour to milk)

NO dairy, legumes, sugars, high salts, grains (Essentially, every middle aisle in the grocery store is skipped when I shop).

Why are the above items stated “bad”? I eat low-fat yogurt all the time, Caitlin! I thought my whole grain Cheerios were great for me! I did, too, and please don’t get me wrong – there are many people out there who eat healthy diets including grains or dairy and look/feel great. But humans, at the dawn of time, did not have Cheerios, nor were our bodies designed to digest it. For the millions of years man has been on earth, we’ve only been farming grains for about 10,000 of that. So, the Paleo diet emphasizes that we eat foods MADE for our bodies to work with. For athletes, especially, this tends to have great results, because we are giving our bodies the healthiest, cleanest fuel to burn through.

When I started eating Paleo, I didn’t even intend to loose weight. I did, because I was, essentially, “inflamed”. Dairy has hormones in it that tend to cause our digestive track a struggle when it’s processed. Grains, too, have inflammatory side-effects, and are broken down differently then, say, a strawberry. After eating a 75% Paleo diet for over a year(Yes, I still enjoy pizza and ice cream from time-to-time, and that is entirely OKAY!), my cholesterol levels have shot down, I sleep better, I perform better in workouts, AND, as stated above, my body says “YUCK!!” when I eat too much sugar (signaling that it’s time to fuel it properly again!).

I, again, must emphasize that I support healthy eating in a way that works with your body and makes you happy (that’s most important). I ate a traditionally healthy diet for most of my life and still found myself with a clean bill of health at my yearly check-ups. But, I’m sold on this Paleo thing, as are many of the people in my life who have jumped on the caveman train and found themselves feeling stronger than ever. If you’d like more information or resources, please feel free to contact me. A great book that I own is called “Practical Paleo” (found on )  that not only has great recipes, but a has a user-friendly description of the Paleo diet and science behind it.

Happy reading and eating, everyone!



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For Boston

So, I grew up in a Boston suburb, and I’m a runner. A marathon runner. Meaning, I can’t keep quiet about how tragic today feels with the events that took place at the Boston Marathon.

I want to use this post to share how my heart aches for the lives lost and people injured today. The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest around, and it’s an event that brings a sense of community, pride, and togetherness to the city of Boston (heck, the state of Massachusetts) every year. The feat of running a marathon is challenging in itself, and I can’t help but think about how at the times of the explosion, the people nearing the finish included many who anticipated that crossing the line was the only obstacle left. There were most likely first time runners, those running for charity, runners with their own triumphant stories about difficult training runs, and adversity felt along the way. Of course, there were hundreds of loved ones ready to cheer on their athletes, as well. Nobody could have imagined this.

While this event brings immense sadness with it, and many of us are still in a funk, disbelief, or upset around it, there is something I am confident in: It takes perseverance to run a marathon. And you know what? Runners aren’t easily broken. So to everyone affected by today’s tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are with you tonight. Stay strong, Boston.

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“Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” Takes Flight!

531784_10151519259371358_1687074196_n(Insert lots of exclamation points here!!!) 

Today’s post is short & sweet, but a lot of exciting things are kicking off, folks! For the past month, I’ve been immersing myself more into the personal training world and have been really energized by what I’ve seen. The quote I posted above really spoke to me. I love being a therapist, because I can be the person who believes in somebody, even in a person’s darkest hour. Now that I’ve practiced personal training, I’m noticing that’s entirely what I love about working people out, too – pushing clients through those out-of-breath, can’t-go-on, don’t-know-if-I-can moments. When I first decided to combine physical & mental health, I had no idea how that would “look” – I only knew I saw connections every day between people’s physical & mental health and wanted to take action.

Well, what started as an idea is now slowly becoming a reality as I officially launch “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Healing From Head to Toe” – the business! Based on clients I’ve worked with (in both facets), here’s what I’m planning to offer:

1.) Personal training from a strength-based approach. Working with your already existing talents (everybody’s got them!), you set goals related to your physical health with the help of your trainer (moi). This could be anything from “I want a killer bikini body” to “I just want to walk a mile without loosing my breath”. As we work together, we identify any blocks, challenges, or patterns that have kept you from obtaining these goals in the past. Think of any episode you’ve seen of “The Biggest Loser” where people have that “A-ha” moment about their unhealthy pasts… but without the in-your-face yelling of Jillian Michaels, (unless you like that) AND, you know, not reality TV….

2.) A specialized program for youth that focuses on healthy lifestyle awareness, self-esteem, and puts the fun back in fitness. I love working with tweens/teens! Youth today are over-saturated with media-based ideas of what “health” is AND have to contend with social media & peers to boot. Yikes. From personal training programming to mentorship, my vision for Healthy Mind, Healthy Body is to help our young members of society recognize that good body image does not come from MTV, nor do you have to ball like Kobe to be an athletic success. If a child is struggling with weight, self-esteem, or other various emotional issues, I’d like to use personal training to help clients gain confidence around feeling strong – inside and out! (Oh, and parents get to join in, too!)

I’d love some reader feedback on these programming ideas – if you can relate, if I’m missing a population, even if you just like it! Very excited for this all to take flight, and I again invite people to e-mail for referrals or further information!  


Spring Ahead: Warmer Weather Means Motivation to Move!

Has anyone else noticed more of a “spring” in their step over the past week or two!? I’ve made it to not only one but THREE 6 AM workouts, have that “I should go for a run” feeling, and when I do go for a run… there seems to be a lot more people out on Kelly Drive… and they all seem, well, happy! There’s no denying it – we’re bikini season bound; And while that may strike fear in the hearts of some, there is no time like spring to find that motivation that’s been hibernating all winter!

Remember my previous post about running the “mental marathon“? Nothing kills your motivation more than looking outside your window, and it’s dark, and gray, and 28 degrees… and you HAVE to run 17 miles for training (talking about finding some mental strength!). Well, folks, it’s warm, sunny, bird chirp-y, and people have come out of their caves to embrace spring! What I’m getting at is – it’s time to stop making excuses about your health. In fact, getting outside in that sunshine may not only help you burn calories, but cheer up, to boot.

Often times in the winter, we experience more gloom than usual. Coupled with this, we also tend to have less motivation to be active. Enter: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Characterized by typical symptoms found in major depressive disorder (persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, irritability, sadisolation, etc.), S.A.D. comes around in the fall and zaps you of that full-of-life feeling you had all summer long. People who suffer from S.A.D. often feel as sense of “heaviness” that deletes their bodies of any energy to go outside, let alone enjoy a gym session. Why is this? In the winter, decreased light ends up depleting our serotonin transmitters. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that makes you feel like this: 🙂 Too little of it, and you’re 😦 :-/ or even >:-|!!

But hey, guess what helps pump up our serotonin? That’s right… EXERCISE!! In fact, one of the best ways to ward winter blues away is to get yourself active. People who suffer from S.A.D. often say that the beginning of spring is the hardest time to get moving, given how dormant they’ve been all winter. The good news is, springtime gives us the perfect conditions to facilitate fitness.


That being said, fitness can come in many forms. Here are some ideas to jump start your path to happiness this spring:

1.) Attempt to get up early before work and talk a walk in the morning. Not only does this clear your head for the day, but your body will thank you all day long for getting moving so early (hello metabolism boost!)

2.) Skip that play date with the kids at Chuck-E-Cheese for a day at a local park. Pack a picnic lunch, organize a family game of tag, or lead your kids in a playground obstacle course. Oh, did I mention parks are free?!

3.) You will find that numerous gyms and fitness companies offer discounted or free classes in the spring. For example, Core Fit, located in the Art Museum neighborhood of Philly, gives new participants a free trial class for their fun yet challenging boot camp (great for any fitness level): Check them out on my resources page!

4.) If you’re coupled up, talk with your partner about doing a 30 day challenge of some sort (diet, weight loss, exercise). Having somebody to hold you accountable can be a great motivator (and, I’m a huge believer that couples who work out together strengthen their bond!) If you want a “fun” one, try the 100 burpee challenge 🙂 (1 burpee day 1, 2 burpees day 2, 3 burpees day 3, etc. etc. until you get to 100, taking note of how fast you can do them on days 25, 50, 75, and 100…)

So, that being said, I encourage you all to get out there and begin to enjoy this delightful weather we’re having. Walk, jog, ride a bike, hey – even spring shopping can be a workout! I often find that seeing other people out and about is sometimes enough to make me think, “Hmmm… maybe this TV show can wait”.

Happy Spring, everyone!


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It doesn't have to be paleo - just has to be worth sharing