Goodbye Processed Sugar!


I have to admit, it is easy to become addicted to processed sugar. It is in many processed items, and we don’t see it unless we read the label. Processed sugar is an addictive food source with no nutritional value. Natural sugars come from fresh fruit, like the strawberries in the above photo.

I’ve cut about 95% of the processed sugar from my diet, and the remaining sugar is organic. It’s important to understand that the single word “sugar” on a food product is usually GMO sugar beets. This means that the sugar is from a source that is sprayed with an abundance of chemical pesticides.

The words “cane sugar” is still conventional, but there is a good possibility it is not GMO. I use organic sugar. It will say organic sugar in the list of ingredients on the label.

It can be challenging to cut out the sugar, but I did it easily. I started Shakeology, and I no longer craved the sugar. It was easy to stop my twice daily mocha, and choose healthier items to consume.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Timing. . .


It’s easy to think about losing weight or improving fitness. It’s really easy to talk about it. It’s more difficult to find the time and energy to commit to a lifestyle change. After talking the talk, we need to decide to walk the walk. . .

Timing is everything when committing to a lifestyle change in nutrition and fitness. We make these changes when we are truly ready to change. It’s a life-long commitment to self care. This can be a big, scary step for some. It may bring to the surface unresolved issues.

The trick to these internal self-talk is to confront them. The question is whether or not they are you own thoughts or someone else’s. Past emotional injuries are simply in the past. At some point, all of us face these issues, and either succumb or rise above them.

Challenge to those who accept. . .Release negative self talk, and replace it with positive self talk. It does take some time, but it releases issues that hold us to a certain lifestyle. Releasing the negative allows you to commit to self care easier, and in the process find true happiness.

To Wellness for Everyone. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Taking Time Daily. . .


Ever hear “Stop and smell the roses”? It’s a simple concept that gets lost in our modern age of technology and schedules. All it means is to get outside and enjoy small natural things. Find the beauty in a flower or bird.

This concept is part of wellness. It is a moment where we slow down enough to see what is around us in the world. It’s drinking in the beauty of nature. It has a calming affect on the mind, body, and spirit. It’s that moment we have the opportunity to feel at one with all things.

This concept goes hand-in-hand with gratitude. It is the art of appreciation. Once we can appreciate something, it has value and we can choose to be thankful it’s part of our lives. It helps us refocus our priorities, and have clearer insight into our lives (and busy schedules).

Challenge for those who chose to accept. . .stop and find the beauty in the natural world every day for a week. Observe how it affects your perspective of the world. Natural beauty can be found in our yards, parks, or local plant nursery.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Get Up & Move Club

copyright Karen Ulvestad

No matter what our age is, all of us need to get up and move more. Movement does not mean going to the gym. It is possible to increase movement by parking further away from the store, and walking a little further. It could be a walk on the beach or through a park.

Movement gets the heart working harder, and increases our metabolism. It maintains or increases lean body mass (muscle), which burns more fuel (calories) throughout the day. It’s easy to add a few extra steps throughout the day while maintaining the same amount of food intake.

Losing weight or gaining fitness requires rewriting habits, and creating a healthy lifestyle. It needs to be fun, and easy to maintain. It is easy to change when we want the change to happen. Small changes like this increase calories burned, and slowly decrease body fat stores.

The best part of small changes is that they are not painful, it’s easy to incorporate into a busy life, and increases metabolism.

Challenge to those who accept. . .Monitor steps per day, and increase the distance walked daily. It’s easy with an app for your phone or a fitbit. Remember to document your daily steps, so you can see your improvement. To your health! 

To Wellness for Everyone. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Spring is Time for Change


With the sun finally peeking out from behind the grey clouds of winter, it is the perfect time to make lifestyle changes to welcome the upcoming summer. Whether it is in dietary intake or personal fitness, each of us has an idea of where we would like to be looking / feeling like during the next few months.

One of the easiest changes is food intake. What we consume shows in our bodies. It can show itself in disease or obesity or fitness. The bottom line is that food is the fuel that makes our bodies run, like gasoline is fuel that makes our cars operate. Without the proper fuel, there are problems.

In the next few weeks, this blog will discuss in-depth and simple changes each of us can make without feeling deprived.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Dietary Changes for the New Year

copyright Karen UlvestadI believe that our over-all wellness and health are directly connected to what we eat. Our bodies require certain nutrients to be healthy, and it is easy in the modern world to lose sight of this. We are busy, and we trust the food in the grocery store to be good for us. That is not necessarily true.

It’s time that all of us start reading the labels of the food we purchase. A simple rule is not to consume an ingredient that cannot be pronounced or a chemical.

I would suggest cutting out all artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate.

Natural sweeteners would be cane sugar and stevia. The listing of sugar is usually GMO Sugar Beets. Cane sugar is simply cane sugar (and non-GMO). Stevia comes from a leaf of a naturally occurring plant. It can be grown in the garden outside, and wintered inside in colder climates. The leaves can be eaten right off the plant.

One good reason to stop consuming artificial sweeteners is simply because they make the body feel hungry. This contributes to eating more food, thus contributing to obesity. Diet foods that contain these ingredients set-up consumers to ultimately fail at weight-loss.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a chemical flavor enhancer added to food, and there are scientific indications it could contribute to developing major health issues. Allergies to this chemical can show themselves as migraine headaches, joint pain, and other symptoms. It is used in many processed foods, and is synthetically made. In its natural form, it poses little problems for the body occurring in some fruits and vegetables.

The hard part about this change is three issues. First, most non-organic processed foods contain these ingredients, especially diet soda. Second, these ingredients are in over-the-counter medications. Third, these additives go by many different names on the ingredient list. Hence the idea not to consume any ingredient that is difficult to pronounce or a chemical.

Change takes time, but small changes can make huge improves your life.

Eating Healthy on the Go

copyright Karen UlvestadOur lives are lived at a fast pace, and destinations are dictated by time. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of buying food on the go, and it becomes “the quicker the better”. Often, these fast food choices lead to excessive weight gain, contribute to health issues, and lack the nutrition our bodies’ need.

So, how do we avoid the pit-fall of a fast food restaurant? Especially with hungry children in the car. . .

The biggest thing is to bring healthy snacks, such as organic string cheese, fruit, or vegetables. For quick and easy, I choose organic granola bars or breakfast bars. These ideas work for children or adults.

The reason I mention organic foods is simply they are not treated with toxic chemicals, retain more nutrients, and taste better. It’s also the best way to avoid GMO food products.