Why Calories Will Always Matter

One of the biggest mistakes people make when switching to clean eating is assuming that calories are no longer of consequence. Well, the “bad” news is that calorie counting always matters … that will never change. The “good” news is that there are many apps out there that make tracking your food intake (and water and exercise) relatively effortless, whether you download an app to your phone or use your computer. It’s too easy not to do it when your health and weight loss are riding on it.

Everyone knows that too many calories will make you fat. I don’t think a technical explanation is needed other than to liken it to a bank account – debits and credits. If you eat more than you burn off, you’ll gain weight. Simple as that. But did you know that too few calories can not only inhibit your weight loss but also cause physiological problems?

oprah with wagon

Back in the 80s, medically supervised diets that involved very low calories and shakes were very much in style, especially after Oprah came onto the stage in size 10 jeans pulling a Radio Flyer loaded with fat. Very low calorie diets can certainly yield super fast weight loss, but the method is not without risks. Not only that, but people who do very low calorie diets seldom keep the weight off long term unless they adopt a healthy lifestyle. And it’s not exactly intuitive to transition from nothing but shakes to handling everyday food choices. This is why I believe that baby steps are important to creating a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain. Extreme, sudden changes can, and usually will, set you up for failure. Take it a step at a time, be patient with the weight loss and treat it as a reward … a byproduct of getting healthy. If you’re making truly healthy choices – and I’m not talking about the brand in the grocery store freezer – health and weight loss will happen, and faster isn’t always better.

Side effects of too few calories may include fatigue, constipation, nausea or diarrhea. Seems a small price to pay for a potential weight loss of 40ish pounds over a twelve-week period, right? WRONG. You could also develop gallstones as the result of too few calories, and complications from gallstones, such as inflammation of the gallbladder, blockage of the common bile duct, blockage of the pancreatic duct, and an increased risk of gallbladder cancer may be life-threatening.

Seeing that scale move isn’t worth all that, especially when I see so many Plexus testimonials from people who have lost inches and sizes without seeing a shift on the scale. Keep it in perspective – that number on the scale does not determine how you’re feeling, it cannot describe a healthier state of being (and appearance!), and it sure doesn’t determine your worth. Throw the scale in the trash if you need to. If that number dominates you, it’s time to break free and live life without it. I did it, and I highly recommend it.

The numbers that SHOULD dominate you, however, are those calories you take in every day. One piece of misinformation that concerns me is that people who have begun to shop the produce section more than the processed food shelves at the grocery store may think that they are exempt from calories. That isn’t true. For me, eating clean means that I must be vigilant in ensuring that I get enough calories every day, which is important not only for the aforementioned health reasons, but also when you let your calories fall too much for too long, your metabolism goes right down the tubes with it. Your body will start conserving, rather than burning, and when you feel like you’re not losing anymore, despite being so disciplined and good on your diet, the truth is, you’re probably not losing anymore. Being a product of the 70s and 80s, my gut instinct was always to cut calories even more – do the words “crash diet” ring a bell with anyone? If you want to lose weight, and keep it off, this mindset is the kiss of death. When you’re hitting your calorie goal consistently and the weight loss (or inch loss, however you want to look at it) stops, the key is to INCREASE your calories for a couple of days, not cut them. Get that metabolism working again! Don’t give it more reason to hibernate.

On the flip side … some of the healthiest meals I have eaten have been extremely high in calories because they are laden with protein and healthy fats. I could put away 500-700 calories in one sitting with a reasonably small amount of food on a dessert plate (avocados and nuts will really push calories over the top), and if I hadn’t done my homework and my calorie tracking, I would think that since I’m eating healthy foods, I could just do that all day long and never have to worry. While my heart health would thank me, my backside would not be as pleased.

calories in the belly

My daily calorie goal is 1200-1500 calories, so you can see how having that serving of super nutritious food four times a day could come out to nearly 3,000 calories. I would not lose weight that way. You wouldn’t just go shopping with your debit card and spend, spend, spend without tracking your purchases and balancing your checking account, so be just as vigilant with your body and the calories that go in and out.

If ever a race were won by “slow and steady,” it’s the weight loss race. Anyone who has much weight to lose will not want to hear that – I know I didn’t. But making yourself sick will represent a much bigger setback than slow, steady weight loss ever will. In one year, if you lost “only” two pounds a week, that still comes out to 104 pounds. Where would you rather be in one year? Still yo-yo dieting, losing, then gaining, then losing, then gaining? Or down to your goal weight/size and feeling healthy enough to get out and enjoy life?

eat more chikin

Here’s my advice, and this is from someone who has been all over the map with yo-yo dieting and repeated failed attempts at getting healthy:

  • Use your Plexus products to HELP YOU make the changes YOU need to make for the long-term. Plexus Slim to manage cravings; ProBio 5 for a healthy gut (poor gut health is a lot of the reason some people gain and are unable to lose weight); and BioCleanse to ensure that all that clean eating and gut cleansing leaves your body once and for all.
  • Take baby steps to work in good habits that you’ll actually stick to. Start small, such as eliminating sugar from your breakfast and having protein instead. Cut sodas. Incorporate a salad or other greens into your daily diet. As the Chick-fil-A cows would say, “Eat mor chikin.”
  • Movement is important for all your body systems. When you’re feeling better because you’re nourishing your body rather than depriving it, you’ll be more likely to want to burn off that excess energy that you didn’t used to have. Stroll the baby, walk the dog, put on some disco and dance, shoot hoops with your teenager, do yoga, Zumba! The list goes on and on. Just find something you like and try to do it as often as possible. You’ll get hooked, I promise.
  • And last, but not least, determine your calorie goal and monitor it daily. You may be way over your calorie goal, or you may be way under. Neither is acceptable to your body, so choose your calorie tracking method and get to it. If your results are anything like mine, you’ll feel twenty years younger instead of twenty years older.

There are many great calorie tracking apps out there, but my personal favorite is myfitnesspal.


It’s free, and it does all the calculating for you, up to and including restaurant menus and a bar code scanner, as well as a daily nutritional food profile that tells you how much protein, sugar, sodium, fat, etc. that you’re taking in. Nothing could be easier. I also like that you can make your food diary viewable so that if you’re working with someone to figure out what’s wrong (and right) with your diet (or theirs), you can take a peek and no one can claim they’re “eating healthy” after they’ve killed a bag of Donettes for breakfast. Just sayin’! Accountability is king, and a great place to start is with your own calorie counting. Be diligent – it’s your life and health on the line.







Ahhhh, Magnesium. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

About two years ago, I became a “frequent flier” at our local emergency room. I’m sure I looked like a drug seeker because I would always show up with abdominal pain, they would do tests, and then tell me there was nothing wrong with me other than my colon wasn’t completely empty – that’s a nice way of saying, well, you know. I would leave absolutely frustrated, afraid that “they” had missed something, afraid for a while that I had colon cancer because all the symptoms lined up (I sometimes Google too much for my own good), but still, in pain and with a new round of prescriptions that did nothing to help.


The only thing positive that came from any of those trips to the ER was one nurse telling me about magnesium citrate, which is the stuff you drink before surgery or a colonoscopy to clean out because laxatives and over-the-counter cleanse products did absolutely nothing for me. It was like my colon just went out of business. And the magnesium citrate did work, but it’s no picnic.

So when my husband suggested that I try Plexus BioCleanse, my response was “Yeah, right. Like some MLM product is going to help me. I need surgery.” But he ordered it, and I took it, and within the week, my colon was back in business! I was functioning normally! Not MY normal, but what anyone else would consider normal. To say that was a miracle would be an understatement.

So I did what I always do … I studied. I needed to understand. I knew that my colon issues were particularly bad because I have what’s called intestinal malrotation, which means that what’s on the left in your body is on the right in mine, and vice versa. I found this out when I had lower right abdominal pain several years ago, and we were all surprised to find that my appendix isn’t even on the right side … it’s on the left. Weird, huh. I also had colon polyps removed in my 30s. So I’m kind of on the “I’m a mess” end of the spectrum, and if BioCleanse works for me, I feel quite confident that it will work for pretty much anyone.

Back to my studying, though … I already knew that I had systemic inflammation, although I didn’t know why. I knew that I had a jacked up colon, and I knew part of the why, but not all of it. As it turns out, all these things were coming from something very new agey sounding called “candida yeast overgrowth.” We all have candida yeast; it’s the overgrowth that gets us. Now, a lot of people will immediately dismiss the possibility that they have candida yeast overgrowth because they don’t really use antibiotics much. I was one of those people … I would be given a prescription and always say, “I’ll fill it in a few days if I’m not better. I want to give my immune system a chance first, and on top of that, when the day comes that I really need antibiotics, I want them to work.” So I used very few antibiotics throughout my life. But did you know that candida yeast can be fed by things other than antibiotics? Refined carbs and sugar, alcohol, the pill, fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles, and get this … stress can all feed candida. Not even kidding. I was a breeding ground for candida yeast to thrive and grow (and grow and grow and grow).

So I added ProBio 5 to my regimen to kill off the bad stuff and restore the good stuff in my intestine. At first, I thought it was going to be like the little scrubbing bubbles in the bathtub commercial, “We do the work … so you don’t have tooooo …” Only not quite. We do have to do a little work, like stop feeding the candida while the ProBio is trying to kill it. So when my progress came to a standstill, I started cleaning up my diet. I eliminated gluten. It was hard at first, being a bread lover and all, but considering that my pain is gone, as well as about 50 pounds, I can’t say that I miss it. And I strongly resisted the idea of even trying to go gluten-free because I didn’t think I could live without bread. The key is just to find other things you like even better, and believe me, they’re out there! I thought I was pretty worldly in my food choices. Not even close. There are so many things I’ve never even tried, so I consider it an adventure to discover all these cool sounding and cool looking foods. I’m like a foodie hipster now.


So back to why I love magnesium, and more specifically, BioCleanse. Just like the label says, it does these things:

* Helps oxygenate the entire body

* Helps detoxify and cleanse the gastrointestinal tract and arteries

* Energizes both physically and mentally

* Helps neutralize acidic conditions that may promote pathogens

* Enhances weight loss

* Supports collagen production

* Relieves constipation

But why do these things matter so much? For starters, because 80% of your immune system resides in your gastrointestinal system, so if you don’t have a healthy GI tract, you don’t have a healthy YOU.


There are lots of symptoms that can be attributed to a sick gut, and these are just the 10 most common:

* Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)

* Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia

* Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea

* Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis

* Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog

* Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes

* Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression

* Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching

* Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears

* Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

I had almost all of those symptoms, and I had the last one in spades. I couldn’t control those cravings for long. Until I started Plexus Slim … I’m getting to that.

We all know to turn to probiotics (ProBio 5) to clean up our digestive act, but why magnesium (BioCleanse)?

Magnesium is an essential mineral, and it has many benefits that are fairly apparent, such as relaxation, improved sleep, and relief from constipation. But a habitually low intake of magnesium can really increase the risk and incidence of illness over time. Do you feel like you just get sicker and sicker with every passing year? Don’t ignore that! That’s an important sign; it’s not just a normal part of aging (and it’s also pretty ridiculous to attribute such things to aging when you’re only in your 30s, 40s, or 50s). High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches can all be related to low magnesium intake.

Thanks to the lifestyle habits most Americans have picked up due to being under the lash of a busy schedule and just a general habit of reaching for what’s the most convenient (read: we eat too much fast food and other junk), many people are deficient in magnesium. And those with gastrointestinal disease, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence, as well as older people, have an even higher risk of magnesium deficiency because of the demands their bodies already face.

ProBio 5 and BioCleanse work together to provide a solid foundation for outstanding gastrointestinal health, but if you’re fanning the flames while they’re trying to put out the fire, they can only do so much. So here’s the key to success in getting your gut healthy: Plexus Slim every single day to help control sugar and carb cravings so you can eat clean (and not fan those flames), and ProBio and BioCleanse (to put out the fire). That’s it! You got this!

big three

Less is More. Or is More Actually Less? I Don’t Know, I Just Know That You Have to Eat These Four Foods to Lose Weight

When you decide that you’re going to lose weight, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most people, you’ll start thinking of all the things you won’t be able to eat. Ever again. And then you’ll probably pound your fists in the dirt and pull a carrot from the ground and sob and say something really dramatic like, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” And you’ll probably give up before you even get started.


Let’s leave the drama to the Real Housewives and just relax. Of course you will have to cut some foods if you’re not eating right, but it’s not as big a deal as you think it will be. There are sugary foods and drinks that supply little to nothing in the way of nutritional value and offer you a whole load of calories in its place; there are foods that are high in fat (some healthy, some unhealthy, both also compensate you with plenty of calories); then there are the buzzword foods, such as gluten, lactose, GMOs, which everyone knows by now are big no-no’s but a lot of people don’t know why. For now, let’s just say if they’re swirling in the tornado of bad food buzzwords, you should probably avoid them.

But no matter what diet you’re on or what your lifestyle change plan may be, and no matter how different every body (and that is not a typo; I did mean that as two words: every body) is, there are certain things every body needs. And if you want to lose weight the healthy way, or more frankly stated, if you want to lose weight at all and keep it off, you have to get these four foods onto your plate and into your belly or your weight loss efforts will be for nothing. Fill up your daily personal menu with these foods first, and then you a: won’t be craving the junk so much and b: won’t have room for the junk anyway.

If you ditch these four foods, you’ll mess up your nutritional balance, and your body will try to compensate in all kinds of weird ways, none of which you’ll enjoy because sooner or later, regaining the weight will be inevitable. Case in point: When you don’t eat enough, your body fights back with a starvation response and stops giving up fat because frankly, it doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from, so that fat to your body is like those year-old ramen noodles in the back, back, back of the pantry are to a starving artist: You just have to keep them around to be safe. So no matter what type of diet or nutritional overhaul you’re considering, make sure these four foods are included in the plan. And if your diet guru tells you otherwise, well, give ‘em that sidelong look that says, “You did not just say that to me,” shake your head with an appropriate amount of theatrical dismay, and say very sweetly, “Well bless your heart,” and then hit the door and get on down the road.


Now, let’s get to those four foods you just fired your trainer/nutritionist/doctor/whomever for … good carbs, good fats, lean protein, and fiber-rich foods.

“Good Carbs”

I always hated to label foods as “good” or “bad” because I think some counselor told me once that was an unhealthy attitude to have toward food. I seem to remember being told something along the lines of, “It’s just food. Quit being weird about it.” Something like that. Realistically, though, there really are good foods and bad foods. They just are what they are. And the “carbs are the devil” people may need to re-evaluate their position because all carbs are not alike. Your body needs “good carbs” for fuel so that it doesn’t rob Peter (your muscle) to pay Paul (your energy needs). The higher your percentage of muscle, the faster and better your metabolism will burn calories. So protect the muscle that you have, and build on it at every opportunity. Okay, I got a little sidetracked there … “good carbs” consist of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Things that grow out of the ground, essentially. “Oh, snap!” you say. “Bread is a grain! Therefore, I can have all the bread I want!” Not so fast, slick. When’s the last time you saw a slice of white bread sprout up from the ground? How about that macaroni tree? Rule of thumb: Does it come from planet earth or does it come from the little elves that live in a tree? Learn to differentiate between whole grains and refined, processed foods (which really are the devil in my food religion). Refined and processed anything pretty much qualifies as “bad.” But since we aren’t cave people, we’ll probably have to buy things off the shelf or out of the grocer’s freezer from time to time, so just know what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy, become a maniacal label reader to weed out the bad stuff, and you’ll do just fine.

“Good Fats”

If you’re a female over the age of 20, chances are that you’ve tried a low-fat diet at some point in your life. If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve probably tried it more than once. It’s easy … you just go to the store and buy anything that says “low-fat” on the label. Right? No, no, no, no, no … The low-fat diet works for some people, but not for most people, and those who are insulin-resistant can tell you that it’s an epic fail. You know us insulin-resistant types … we’re the ones who can’t even look at food without looking like we suddenly became six months pregnant. We’re the hard cases that you can usually spot from a block away because of all that visceral fat … “apple shape” is the socially polite word for it, I believe. We’re also probably on the road to Type 2 Diabetes if we don’t change our ways. So, forget low-fat, which all too often translates into high-sugar, and let’s concentrate on “good fat,” which is not only good for your waistline, but also good for your heart health and your cholesterol levels. Remember “mono” and “poly.” Those are the two fats you want. Make a mnemonic out of it to help you remember that, such as “Everyone caught mono except Polly because she ate her healthy fats.” I know that’s lame, but it’s late, and I bet you’ll remember it anyway. How about this one: “We don’t like trans fats because they transfer fat to our thighs?” Yeah, well, anyway …

butter is bad

So where do you get these mono and poly fats? Nuts, seeds, fish (wild caught fish and shellfish are healthiest), avocados, and good choices of cooking oils, such as sunflower, walnut, olive, peanut, and sesame. There seems to be some dust-up recently about whether or not canola oil is healthy, so I’ll omit that as a recommendation for now. But I’m not going to say it’s bad, either. Mayo Clinic says, “Health concerns about canola oil are unfounded.” So if you’re concerned about the safety of canola oil, I suggest researching it until you come to a comfortable conclusion. However, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true! So make sure your sources are trustworthy before you make a final decision.

 “Lean Protein”

Not just any old meat will do for this important source. This is high octane fuel, baby! Protein takes its sweet time through the digestion process, keeping you satiated longer. Sated or satiated? Anyway, it makes you feel full and provides sustained energy. When you feel full and energetic, you’ll be less likely to run to the vending machines for your afternoon wake-up soda and candy bar. When shopping for meat, look for the word “lean” on the label. That’s important. Lean meats include chicken, turkey, and fish (notice how fish serves double duty as a protein source and a source of good fat? Score!) Eggs are also a great source of protein (keep an eye on that cholesterol, though), and for non-animal sources of protein, choose beans or quinoa, which is really cool to eat just so you can say out loud that you ate it. “I had keen-wah for lunch today.” There’s no way you can say that sentence and not sound totally hip and cool.

hey girl


And then there’s fiber, which you never want to be caught without. It’s nature’s roto-rooter for your pipes. Without it, you’re going to be facing a major clog, and it won’t be pretty. So to keep things moving, incorporate fiber-rich whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose pretty fruits and veggies that will make a pretty plate. I love pretty food. In fact, I swear by it. Though you may be tempted to juice those fruits and veggies, be aware that while you’ll retain the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, you will lose the majority of the fiber to the compost pile—or garbage disposal, whichever way you handle your scraps after juicing. Fiber also has the same secret weapon as protein: You will feel full longer after eating fiber-rich foods, and you won’t be so tempted to pack away sugary snacks an hour after you eat. Make procuring your fruits and veggies an adventure. Go to the Farmer’s Market, grow your own … whatever makes fresh produce appealing to you, I beseech you to do it!

So the moral of this whole late-night rambling is this: The more you focus your energy on the things you MUST eat to lose weight, the less you’ll be consumed by what you MUST NOT eat. It’s a little mind trickery, but if it works, so be it. Especially with Plexus Slim to take the edge off your cravings and balance your blood glucose levels, along with ProBio 5 and BioCleanse to get your gut health back into fighting condition, you won’t want to do anything to mess things up again.

Clean eating really is easier than you think. Once you get a dose of feeling amazerful inside and out—especially when those jeans go from “uggggh, that hurts!” to “aaahhh, they’re loose,” your belly stops hurting every time you eat, your energy is smooth and even, and the words “food coma” leave your vocabulary, then you’ll start to see what feeling good really means. And you’ll want to hang on to it. It isn’t a life of deprivation that you’re facing, it’s a lifetime (and probably an even longer one, at that) of being free from food duress. Plus, your body will be primed to be a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. It just takes practice, baby steps, a few deep breaths here and there while you get the hang of it, and these four foods, and it gets much, much easier after that. Now start practicing the word “keen-wah” until it rolls off the tongue. You got this!

Four Foods to Lose Weight

How to Get Unstuck With Your Weight Loss in 23 Days


When I started my weight loss journey with Plexus, I lost 14.5 pounds in the first two weeks. I was thrilled, needless to say. I had never seen such amazing results. I was actually happy to have any results at all. I knew I couldn’t (and shouldn’t and wouldn’t) sustain that rate of weight loss for long, but I hoped for at least at 1-2 pounds a week. It did for a little while, then it pretty much stopped. If I hadn’t been feeling so much better in other areas—such as joint, back and neck pain; improved moods; more energy; and just a generally fantastic sense of well-being—I probably would have decided that the product didn’t work for me, and I would have quit. But besides those reasons for hanging on, I really did believe in the product. I had seen far too many other people getting the results I wanted, I had friends and loved ones taking the product and I didn’t want them to quit because of me, but that scale just wouldn’t budge. Not long after I got stuck, I learned about ProBio 5 and BioCleanse, and I had heard that many people would find themselves stuck until they got their gut health back in order. So I added those products, too, and I waited. Some more weight came off, and then I got stuck again. Why didn’t I quit then? Because the BioCleanse was nothing short of a miracle for me. I had tried so many over-the-counter cleanses, laxatives, and even prescription medications, but my colon was sluggish, and the BioCleanse was working. No way was I going to part with it! But I still really wanted, and needed to lose weight!

So I started researching, and no matter which angle I took in my searching, “food allergies” kept coming up. Specifically, gluten. Well, that’s just great. Cheeseburgers were my favorite food, and cheeseburger buns are bread, therefore, they have gluten. How in the world will I LIVE without gluten? It’s in everything! Well, that’s another blog, and I’ll get to that soon enough. Today, I want to tell you how I figured out which foods were making me sick and overweight. Armed with just a couple months’ research at the time, a limited budget, and an extremely busy life, I set out on my own amateur elimination diet. I didn’t know the words “elimination diet,” I just knew that I needed to figure this out. So I improvised, and I cut my food intake down to salads, watermelon (it was summer, after all), and grapes. And water, water, water with lemon and lime. My thought was to get my food list down to the bare minimum, then start adding foods back in one at a time to see what each one was doing to me.

The first thing I noticed is that my belly deflated like a balloon. I had been distended for so long, I didn’t think it would ever go back, really. So that was a huge deal to me because it represented another piece of me getting back to normal. Then I noticed my abdominal pain stopped. It didn’t just get better—it stopped. Putting two and two together, I figured out real quick that food was causing my bloat and my pain. Now, to find out which foods.

After some time, I reintroduced gluten. It was obvious. My belly bloated and the pain returned … that old, familiar pain I used to get every time I ate. It took some work to eliminate gluten completely. I did lots of label reading and learned to make substitutions, but I am now 100% gluten-free. And I know that even a flake off a crumb of a crouton can cause me to bloat right back up and have that pain again. Just to be sure, I tested this thoroughly on Thanksgiving by enjoying all the rolls I wanted. My pain level on a scale of 1-10? About a 7. That used to be my normal. I’m happy to say that it is no more.

After a while, I started tracking my calories again and realized I was way under my calorie goal, so I’d struggle to the finish line every night and try to fill up on anything but gluten to hit my calorie goal. By doing this and gradually reintroducing foods in the process, I found other foods were causing me similar problems. Certain beans do not agree with me. Certain types and quantities of cheese do not agree with me. Same thing with meats—it depends on the type and the quantity. So I made adjustments accordingly and researched some more. I learned that when one is gluten sensitive, the body may transpose and react to other foods as if they were gluten. In other words, the brain can trigger that same response to foods that contain no gluten whatsoever. This isn’t true for everyone who is sensitive to gluten, but it is for some. (It’s also a pretty fair indicator that you could be dealing with leaky gut, which is, in the most simple of terms, a damaged digestive tract that allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other waste to enter into the bloodstream and launch an autoimmune response.) Casein (a protein in milk) is a common offender, as are whey and chocolate, which brings me to my “death by chocolate” story.

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse


One night in January, I asked my husband to go to the store and get me some chocolate. I was in the mood for chocolate and saw no reason not to treat myself. So I had two candy bars, and on came the chest pain within 15 minutes. This chest pain, mind you, has sent me to the hospital more than once. I’ve had angiograms more than once. Stress tests, cardiac enzymes checked … they could only tell me that nothing was wrong with my heart. And I really didn’t  believe them because when you have crushing chest pain and it’s just like the textbooks describe and you like Marlon Brando clutching his test right before he died in the tomato plants at the end of The Godfather, it’s hard to believe you’re not having a heart attack. But there it was … brought on by a chocolate bar. Okay, two chocolate bars, but that’s neither here nor there. It hurt! And as I was waiting for the pain to go away, I realized how similar the pain was to how I usually felt after I ate. And it all started to click: I have a really sick gut! Weight loss or no weight loss, I’ve got to figure out how to heal this!

So I kept researching, and I learned about leaky gut. I learned that leaky gut is caused by years of intestinal damage brought on by poor gut health, and that it causes the body to attack itself. Aha! That’s what was causing my elevated SED rate, chronic inflammation, and the undiagnosed autoimmune disease I’d been battling for the last five years (not for nothing, I realized I’d been battling the extra weight for the same length of time). More pieces came together.

Probably too late to say “long story short,” but here’s what I hope your takeaway from all this is: I was an amateur armed only with Google search, a little basic info, and my symptoms to go on. Out of that, I came up with a facsimile of an elimination diet, which I now see was fully flawed in the foods that I chose, but nonetheless, I was able to pinpoint what certain foods do to my body. And like putting your hand on a hot stove, eventually you learn what you don’t want to do anymore. To me, that was far more convicting than any diet plan or Cosmo article. Now where does Plexus fit into all of this? Plain and simple: Plexus Slim gave me the energy, the mental clarity, the blood glucose management, and the appetite control needed to be able to pull that off. Being a sugar-rollercoaster-rider for years, there was no way I could have done it without that tool to help me manage my hunger and my cravings. The ProBio 5 and the BioCleanse were like little scrubbing bubbles “doing the work so I didn’t have to” before I even formulated my plan. In my case, there was enough wrong with my insides that there was work that only I could do. Plexus had done all it could without my help, and I was happy to have it along for the ride so I could do the rest.

Come On—Do I Have To?

Considering all the other dangers and toxins we hear about that are looming in our food supply, I think it’s smart for anyone and everyone to do an elimination diet at least once, especially if you feel like your body is doing some alien thing that you can’t figure out. Though that may sound extreme, ask yourself this question: If you could do something for just 23 days, and then learn what you need to know to infuse the rest of your life with energy, health, and freedom from obesity and pain (and other very real health issues, such as diabetes), wouldn’t that 23-day experiment be worth it? Think about it: 23 sort of difficult days in exchange for a lifetime of feeling better than you’ve felt in years, or maybe ever?

If you have fungal infections (athlete’s foot, nail fungus), chronic fatigue, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, autoimmune disease, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, skin issues, mood changes, allergies, more severe allergies, joint pain, strong cravings for sugars and refined carbs, along with extra weight that you cannot get under control with the usual methods, or the methods that used to work for you, then you’ve got to consider the possibility that you have food sensitivities, candida yeast overgrowth, or leaky gut—or all of those things. There are tests that your doctor can perform, but the tests won’t tell you how each food makes you feel or how your body responds. Only you and your body can do that. So if you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I really should do this, but I just don’t see myself pulling it off,” let me tell you … If I could do it, anyone can do it. I’ll say it again … I couldn’t do it without my Plexus Slim, so if you’re already using Plexus, great! Your secret weapon is already locked and loaded. If you’re not, consider getting a 30-day supply to get you through the 23 days. It will certainly make things easier.

So where do you start with an elimination diet? First, you put on your ninja suit … just kidding. I’ll make this as simple as possible because, if you’re going to give up most of the foods you’re used to for 23 days, then we can at least make it simple, right? So here goes …

Make a List of Your Symptoms

Write it all down. Everything. Every physical and mental symptom you can think of. Gas, bloating, allergies, skin problems, joint pain, swelling, fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, depression … Start at the top of your body and work your way down, one organ and process at a time, making sure you write down every single thing. And start with a brand-new notebook or Word document so you can journal throughout the 23 days and beyond as you notice any change in symptoms.

Read Labels for a Few Days Before You Kick Things Off

Get to know the ingredients in the foods that you’re eating. Imagine my shock when we were low on groceries one day, and I started to have a can of tomato soup thinking there was no way gluten would be in there. Well, it was. So start reading labels so that you can eliminate anything that contains wheat, barley, rye, and oats and anything derived from wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Search Google for whole foods that are gluten-free that you like and will actually eat and make your own food list. Google for recipes using those foods that you like. You’re looking to eliminate gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and oats), dairy, eggs, soy, fast food, and alcohol. Really? Alcohol, too? Yep. Sorry, but we have to be thorough or what’s the point? Some alcohol has gluten in it and some does not, but you will still need to take a break from it because the sugar in alcohol makes a cozy little haven for the gnarly bacteria in your gut to thrive on and do all kinds of crazy stuff.

Learn What You CAN Eat


The majority of your food while you’re on the elimination diet will consist of vegetables—aim for 70%. The other 30% should be protein. Your grocery list should look something like this: wild fish, shellfish, lean beef and chicken (preferably organic, grass-fed), avocados, white beans, black beans, brown beans, green beans, yellow beans, red beans (I’m trying to say all beans), nuts, seeds, seaweeds, and it’s also a really great time to learn to love quinoa, the gluten-free grain. Use olive oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil for food preparation, and enjoy fresh greens to your heart’s content. (Caveat: Mix up your greens and choose dark ones as much as possible; too much iceberg lettuce is known to make you gassy, which is no fun to discover at the office after an all-you-can-eat salad bar extravaganza for lunch). During this 23 days, avoid processed foods like the plague. What do I mean by processed foods? If it didn’t sprout up out of the ground, and it’s not beef, chicken, or fish, try to leave it alone. A word about “gluten-free” packaged foods: gluten-free cereals, breads, and chips still contain refined carbs and calories, so take it easy and skip them as much as possible. And, of course, oatmeal is out. Sorry about that. I was bummed about that, too.

When Your 23 Days is Up

Fast-forward through the weirdest, but hopefully some of the most interesting, 23 days of your life, and you’re done! Now what? Well, the really great news is that you will have spent 21 days teaching yourself new eating, shopping, and cooking habits (Yay YOU!!), but the point of the 23 days is that the antibodies in your immune system will have had time to recover from any of the foods that were assaulting it before you started the elimination diet. Now, you’ll introduce foods one at a time. Start with gluten. Or dairy. Or whatever you want. Just choose one, though, and try it out. Give yourself up to 48 hours to see how that goes (although in my case, it never took me more than 30 minutes to say, “Yep, you’re outta here!” or “Safe!”) But 48 hours is a commonly suggested time frame for deciding how your body is going to react before you choose the next food to reintroduce. And each time you reintroduce a food, refer to that list of symptoms you made before you started, and compare how many symptoms went away during the elimination diet, and see how many, if any, reappear as you reintroduce each food.

Congratulations! What Have You Learned?

Is your belly flatter? Does your skin and hair look crazy healthy? Have you been in a better mood? How’s your sleep? Your energy? Your body functions? How’s your mojo? Pain—what pain? You now have a guest list in your hand, and you are your body’s personal bouncer. Who’s welcome to the party, and who isn’t? It’s that simple! Now, go out and enjoy your life as a healthier, slimmer, more vibrant you!

Oh, and p.s.: This really does work. It’s how I got my weight loss really going again. As of today, I have passed the 40-pound mark, I’m closing in on 50 pounds, and I will make the full 80. Yes! I’ll be wearing shorts this summer. No more sweats in July. Just me, my pink drink, my flip flops, and some really cute summer clothes. Maybe even on a beach in Maui! Aloha!


Overcoming Emotional Eating

If you’re using Plexus Slim faithfully, but your eating is still out of control, you’re probably struggling with emotional eating. If you know the basics about how Plexus Slim works, then you know that its primary function is to help level out blood glucose, which brings sugar fluctuations and the cravings they cause under control. But most people are emotional eaters, too, and until you get a handle on emotional eating, you may very well struggle with food no matter what kind of diet, supplement, or other type of plan you use. Even weight loss surgery patients who have great success in the beginning can end up right back where they started due to returning to old habits such as emotional eating.

What causes emotional eating? A better question is, “What doesn’t?” Happiness, sadness, boredom, celebration, anxiety, stress, and just coping with life can all trigger emotional eating. We’re trained that way from the time our parents reward us with ice cream or dessert for a job well done or console us with comfort food when things don’t go our way. Dieting is to emotional eating what a band-aid is to a shotgun wound: It’s totally ineffective. You have to reconfigure the way you handle your feelings and the way you think about food, or you’ll be forever engaged in a losing struggle. If you’re an emotional eater, then feelings and food are intertwined. Once you separate them, you can take back control.

How do you do squash your tendencies to soothe yourself with food? Where do you start? Believe it or not, simply start with your thoughts. Let feelings be feelings, and remind yourself that they have nothing to do with food. When I was learning to meditate, I discovered Vipassana meditation. Vipassana means to see things as they really are, and this ancient technique is simply mental training to do just that: see things for what they are. Vipassana meditation teaches you to acknowledge your feelings, good or bad, and then simply allow them to pass on through. It’s that easy, and it doesn’t require special training; it just takes practice. Just as we use physical exercises to condition our bodies, you can use this technique as an exercise to develop a healthy mindset toward your feelings and food.

Most all of us have been conditioned to use food to celebrate, to console, and to nurture. In fact, eating as an ongoing accompaniment to life is so ingrained in us that there are also times when we don’t even realize we’re doing it. So try this approach to eating: Eat mindfully. Just pay attention. Don’t eat absently (munchies at your desk while you work, a bag of chips on the couch while you watch TV), but instead, when it’s time to eat, stop everything else you’re doing, and eat. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy the food. When you start to pay attention to your eating, you’ll begin to eat what you need when you need it; on the flipside, you’ll lose the urge to reach for food when you don’t really need to eat. You’ll get to know your true hunger and fullness signals again. And you’ll come to enjoy and savor your eating time rather than have it disappear into the background noise of life. Couples, families, and friends will also enjoy sharing mealtime together again. Singles may learn to enjoy their “me” time even more.

Now granted, if you’re on that runaway train of sugar and refined carb cravings, then managing your eating may be very hard. But this is what Plexus Slim was designed to do, so work with it, and let it happen! You can use Plexus Slim every single day, but if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll probably get the same results. Or … you can take advantage of the help Slim provides with cravings, make some mental adjustments, and completely change your life!Image