Archive for January, 2011

My Competition Story

Getting ready for the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championship and competing in the competition was such an amazing experience. I can’t believe that I actually did it. There are so many amazing people that have encouraged me and helped me along with this journey that I am going to list EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!! Without them I don’t think I would’ve still done it.

I have my Twitter Fitness family: @babytatten, @lilfitprincess, @FIT4LIFE2020 @beccasgym, @tracykirby55, @DonaldDDiva, @Sharde2focused, @4amaven, @CommittedTrain, @Bionic_Black, @mrgeecue, @obarmuscle, @Bodybldrmarcus, @SamuelFrauens, @OBARmuscle, @mercedesfitness, @CarrieNyden, @iamkendra86, @elleboogiee, @bikiniorbust, etc (this list can go on forever lol)…

The Rest of the crew: Romalice Reed, Godfrey Cortes, Ryan Liming, Kashka Clay, Donna Spinola, My big cousin Earnest, The VSP Crew: Dan, Joy, Jason, Juan, Hayley, etc., Kemi E, and MY FAMILY…

A BIG THANK YOU TO DRE!!! You stuck it out and sat with me all day!! Thanks for all your love and support! You’re awesome.
I know I’m forgetting so many other people I hope they can forgive me….

Ok so here it is:

Mid October is when I entered the competition and I was really hesitant about doing it but I thought why not. So I started to diet and took my first progress pic in November and I looked like this:

As you can tell I had a lot of work to do 🙂

So for the next few months I ate CLEAN and worked out to the point where I couldn’t even move. I would wake up at 6am to be at the gym by 7 and workout til about 8:30 and then go to class from 10-2:15 and then go home lol….I did that everyday about 5-6 days a week for about the first month just to get my body into a routine. So for the next 8 weeks I did Metabolic Conditioning classes @ Velocity Sports Performance, lifted weights, ate right, and here is the finished product:

So the last few weeks up until the competition sucked major donkey balls (YES! Donkey balls). It sucked because at this point I wanted “real” food. I wanted chips, cupcakes, candy, burgers, etc. I wanted to eat everything I could get my hands on. The week of the competition wasn’t as bad as I thought until Thursday rolled around. On Thursday I had started drinking Metamucil to start pulling the water out of muscles and drop water weight. I was so dehydrated that the more water I drank the more my head hurt. I could feel the water being pulled out of my quads and my arms. Friday I couldn’t drink any water at all especially if I wanted to dry out. So I started eating 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal and 2 oz of chicken breast every 2 hours. Trying to eat 1/2 cup of oatmeal dry was HARD! I didn’t really sleep Friday night because I had to dry out and my alarm would go off every 2 hours just to make sure I was up to eat another 1/2 cup.

When I did try and catch a few zzz’s I was in pain because I could feel the water being pulled out of my muscles. TRUST ME it was bearable it just hurt. So I had packed my bag and was just ready to get to:

So all competitors had to be there at 8am for the meeting and 8:30 am check in..Pre-judging was at 10 am. So I checked in and found the nearest bathroom to do my hair since the expensive ass hair people took up all the plugs in our dressing area 😦 Hair was done make-up was done the only thing left to do was get ready for pre-judging. So we were lined up in our Class A,B,C,D (for my people that don’t know what classes are: it’s just based on your height). So the expediters backstage sent out Class A and B together so the judges were a little frustrated because we (class B) had to leave the stage and come back out. We did our model turns and then all lined up and did quarter turns. Filed off stage and were told to be back at 3:15.

So I walked around the expo with my BFF Dre and we walked around FOREVER!!! He did this max rep competition where you had to bench press your weight as many times as you can in 30 seconds. We laughed because one guy who weighed 121 pounds did his weight about 41 times so everybody after him was like pretty much forget it. I really wanted to take pics with Alicia Marie, Ava Cowan, and Jamie Eason but the line for was longer than the line to get into the Expo so I was a little disappointed. I wanted to take a pic with Lou Ferrigno but he was charging $20 a pic. I said KICK ROCKS LOU!!! We watched the powerlifting competition and some of the other competitions that were there. It was a really fun expo.

So 3:15 came and it was time to get ready again. Jay Cutler (NOT FOOTBALL LOL) got on stage and spoke for an hour then it was time for finals. So they started with the Men and each competitor had 60 secs of posing…I was so cold backstage and just ready to get everything over with cause by this point I was HUNGRY and getting frustrated because Bikini Bite was causing me to stick to the seat I was sitting in lol…So the Pro Tan crew got me all greased up and I just waited back stage until the guys were over since Figure was last.

While the men were doing their posing the crowd was HUGE!!! By the time I came out the crowd was NON-EXISTENT!!! We were supposed to be done at 6 but we didn’t get done until almost 7. Here is the VERDICT: So here were my stats on competition day: 34-26-38 3/4 weighed in at 129 with 13% body fat… When I started I was: 34-28-39 1/2 136 with 21% body fat. So I am now about 117 pounds of muscle!!

This experience was priceless! It was worth every bit of sweat, tears, frustration, and hunger. I had the 3 D’s: Determination, Dedication, and Discipline. It helped me get through it all.

I got on that stage without paying for a trainer, a posing coach, an expensive suit, or Pro Tan. I did it all on my own. You have to learn from your mistakes and find out what works best for you. Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Now it’s time to BULK UP and lean out again for my next competition in June. I’m going to compete in the West Coast Classic. Competing is really expensive. So time to save up and shoot for the stars!!


P.S. I can still feel the water being pulled out of my muscles 😉



Today hasn’t been a good day….

This morning around 9:50 my mom called me to tell me that my Great Grandmother had passed. I am completely heartbroken because I wasn’t able to tell her goodbye. I haven’t been able to eat much, let alone stop from crying. I miss her so much already. She had a long fulfilled 94 years of life. She will forever be in my heart.

Fitness guru Jack LaLanne died today as well. He was the founder of the Modern Fitness Movement.

Here is the article:

LOS ANGELES — Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru who inspired television viewers to trim down, eat well and pump iron for decades before diet and exercise became a national obsession, died Sunday. He was 96.

LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay on California’s central coast, his longtime agent Rick Hersh said.

LaLanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end, Hersh said.

“I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for,” Elaine LaLanne, LaLanne’s wife of 51 years and a frequent partner in his television appearances, said in a written statement.

He maintained a youthful physique and joked in 2006 that “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

Former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker credited LaLanne’s encouragement with helping him to start exercising often.

“He never lost enthusiasm for life and physical fitness,” the 87-year-old Barker told The Associated Press on Sunday. “I saw him in about 2007 and he still looked remarkably good. He still looked like the same enthusiastic guy that he always was.”

Television staple
LaLanne (pronounced lah-LAYN’) credited a sudden interest in fitness with transforming his life as a teen, and he worked tirelessly over the next eight decades to transform others’ lives, too.

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

His workout show was a television staple from the 1950s to the ’70s. LaLanne and his dog Happy encouraged kids to wake their mothers and drag them in front of the television set. He developed exercises that used no special equipment, just a chair and a towel.

He also founded a chain of fitness studios that bore his name and in recent years touted the value of raw fruit and vegetables as he helped market a machine called Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.

When he turned 43 in 1957, he performed more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the “You Asked For It” television show. At 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco — handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. Ten years later, he performed a similar feat in Long Beach harbor.

“I never think of my age, never,” LaLanne said in 1990. “I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me. Look at Bob Hope, George Burns. They’re more productive than they’ve ever been in their whole lives right now.”

Praised by Schwarzenegger
Fellow bodybuilder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger credited LaLanne with taking exercise out of the gymnasium and into living rooms.

“He laid the groundwork for others to have exercise programs, and now it has bloomed from that black and white program into a very colorful enterprise,” Schwarzenegger said in 1990.

In 1936 in his native Oakland, LaLanne opened a health studio that included weight-training for women and athletes. Those were revolutionary notions at the time, because of the theory that weight training made an athlete slow and “muscle bound” and made a woman look masculine.

“You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights,” he once said. “It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out.

“It was the same with women. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights. I guess I was a pioneer,” LaLanne said.

The son of poor French immigrants, he was born in 1914 and grew up to become a sugar addict, he said.

The turning point occurred one night when he heard a lecture by pioneering nutritionist Paul Bragg, who advocated the benefits of brown rice, whole wheat and a vegetarian diet.

“He got me so enthused,” LaLanne said. “After the lecture I went to his dressing room and spent an hour and a half with him. He said, ‘Jack, you’re a walking garbage can.'”

Soon after, LaLanne constructed a makeshift gym in his back yard. “I had all these firemen and police working out there and I kind of used them as guinea pigs,” he said.

He said his own daily routine usually consisted of two hours of weightlifting and an hour in the swimming pool.

“It’s a lifestyle, it’s something you do the rest of your life,” LaLanne said. “How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne.

May they rest in peace.

Coming in February….

Of course your usual move and recipe of the month
But also: questions that you have wanted me to answer, my results and pics from the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championships, a book review as well as notes that I have taken from a book that I am currently reading.

Hope January 2011 was a great month for everyone. If you have a question that you may want me to answer feel free to email me: or Tweet me @monique510


I did an interview with a friend of mine from Twitter @SugaToe_Moni for her radio show called: The SugaToe Show on SacTownRadio

I listen to the radio show whenever these wonderful ladies are on the air. And Moni decided to interview me going into the new year in regards to fitness and living a healthier lifestyle. <—- There is the link for the interview if you would like to check it out.

I HAVE GREAT NEWS: After all of my hardwork and dedication that I have put in the past 7 1/2 weeks I managed to lose 6 pounds and 8% body fat. I started at 21% body fat on November 18, 2010 and on January 19, 2011 I had my body fat tested and I was down to 13%…..So what this means is that I weigh 130 lbs and have 13% body fat which means that I’m mostly lean muscle.

This was a long and enduring process and I can’t wait to grace the stage during the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championships on January 29, 2011 and strut my stuff.

I will post pics ASAP.

Hope you’re all having a great week.

My quote I live by….


As you all know that I’ve been preparing for my first figure competition. It’s been a long road since late October- early November. I’m only 18 days away from the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championship. The past few months I have been dieting and working hard to get ready for my competition. I have been on a somewhat strict diet only eating 1200 calories for about 8 weeks and then dropping down to 1000 calories. Lately I have been eating in between 600-1000 trying to lose the last few pounds. For competition I want to be 120-125 and now I am currently at 130. I started at 135 got down to 126 and shot back up to 134 really quick. But I’ve managed to get my weight back down.

I haven’t taken any protein supplements or creatine. The only supplements I have taken are: BCAA’s, Glutamine, and CLA. I drink almost 2 gallons of water/day and green tea unsweetened *YUCK*

Here is what my day looks like:

Wake up 6-7am

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 2 pieces of wheat toast, 1 cup of almond milk

Workout for about 1.5- 2 hours (depending on the body part and how much weight that needs to be used) BCAA supplement and glutamine right after

Post Workout Meal: 2 turkey burger patties, 5 egg whites and 1 egg yolk with chopped bell pepper and onion and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 cup of almond milk

Snack: 1 can of tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 chobani greek yogurt with carrots

Lunch: 3 oz of chicken breast, 1/2 cup fresh green beans or zucchini, brown rice

Dinner: 3 oz of chicken breast, 1/2 cup of veggies, and a yam or baked potato

Bed @ about 10 or 11pm

Sometimes I prefer to eat veggies most of the day. But I did cut out salt completely since I’ve started prepping. So far so good.

Dieting isn’t as hard as I thought it would be but you better believe that my post competition meal will be serious. I’m hoping to place in the Top 5. My goal is to get my Pro Card in Figure by the end of the year.

Below the pic in the red was taken in November. The pic in blue was taken yesterday you can see my progress.

If you’re in the LA area on January 29 come and check me out at:

I know a lot of you consider Chipotle and Subway to be healthy and don’t consider them to be fast foods. Well I’m here to break it to you that THEY ARE INDEED FAST FOOD!. I have taken a lot of time out to put this post together because I want you to see how many calories and how much sodium you’re really consuming in your beloved Chipotle and Subway.


I’m giving you every possible combination of burritos, tacos, burrito bowl I can think of as well and I also went based off Chipotle’s menu of what is actually supposed to go on their dishes minus the extras you may ask for. It’s just a peek.





Burrito #1- Meat, tomato salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pinto beans

B: Cals: 1100 | Sodium: 2530mg

CA: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2610mg

CH: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2390mg

S: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2340mg

Burrito #2- Meat, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pinto beans

B: Cals: 1160 | Sodium: 2470mg

CA: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2550mg

CH: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2330mg

S: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2280mg

Burrito #3- Meat, red salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pinto beans

B: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2570mg

CA: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2650mg

CH: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2430mg

S: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2380mg

Burrito #4- Meat, green salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pinto beans

B: Cals: 1095 | Sodium: 2290mg

CA: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2370mg

CH: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2150mg

S: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2100mg

Burrito #5- Meat, veggies, tomato salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1100 | Sodium: 2530mg

CA: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2610mg

CH: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2390mg

S: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2340mg

Burrito #6- Meat, veggies, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2560mg

CA: Cals: 1200 | Sodium: 2640mg

CH: Cals: 1200 | Sodium: 2420mg

S: Cals: 1200 | Sodium: 2370mg

Burrito #7- Meat, veggies, red salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2660mg

CA: Cals: 1160 | Sodium: 2740mg

CH: Cals: 1160 | Sodium: 2520mg

S: Cals: 1160 | Sodium: 2470mg

Burrito #8- Meat, veggies, green salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2380mg

CA: Cals: 1135 | Sodium: 2460mg

CH: Cals: 1135 | Sodium: 2240mg

S: Cals: 1135 | Sodium: 2190mg

Burrito #9- Meat, tomato salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1100 | Sodium: 2450mg

CA: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2530mg

CH: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2310mg

S: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2260mg

Burrito #10- Meat, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1160 | Sodium: 2390mg

CA: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2470mg

CH: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2250mg

S: Cals: 1180 | Sodium: 2200mg

Burrito #11- Meat, red salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1120 | Sodium: 2490mg

CA: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2570mg

CH: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2350mg

S: Cals: 1140 | Sodium: 2300mg

Burrito #12- Meat, green salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans

B: Cals: 1095 | Sodium: 2210mg

CA: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2290mg

CH: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2070mg

S: Cals: 1115 | Sodium: 2020mg



Taco #1- Meat, cheese, tomato salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 685 | Sodium: 1790mg

CA: Cals: 705 | Sodium: 1870mg

CH: Cals: 705 | Sodium: 1650mg

S: Cals: 705 | Sodium: 1600mg

Taco #2- Meat, cheese, corn salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 745 | Sodium:1730mg

CA: Cals: 765 | Sodium: 1810mg

CH: Cals: 765 | Sodium: 1590mg

S: Cals: 765 | Sodium: 1540mg

Taco #3- Meat, cheese, red salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 705 | Sodium: 1830mg

CA: Cals: 725 | Sodium: 1910mg

CH: Cals: 725 | Sodium: 1690mg

S: Cals: 725 | Sodium: 1640mg

Taco #4- Meat, cheese, green salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 680 | Sodium: 1550mg

CA: Cals: 700 | Sodium: 1630mg

CH: Cals: 700| Sodium:1410mg

S: Cals: 700 | Sodium: 1360mg



Taco #1- Meat, cheese, tomato salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 595 | Sodium: 1220mg

CA: Cals: 615 | Sodium: 1500mg

CH: Cals: 615 | Sodium: 1080mg

S: Cals: 615 | Sodium: 1030mg

Taco #2- Meat, cheese, corn salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 655 | Sodium:1160mg

CA: Cals: 675 | Sodium: 1240mg

CH: Cals: 675 | Sodium: 1020mg

S: Cals: 675 | Sodium: 970mg

Taco #3- Meat, cheese, red salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 615 | Sodium: 1260mg

CA: Cals: 635 | Sodium: 1340mg

CH: Cals: 635 | Sodium: 1120mg

S: Cals: 635 | Sodium: 1070mg

Taco #4- Meat, cheese, green salsa, lettuce, sour cream

B: Cals: 590 | Sodium: 980mg

CA: Cals: 610 | Sodium: 1060mg

CH: Cals: 610| Sodium: 840mg

S: Cals: 610| Sodium: 790mg



Salad #1- Lettuce, black beans, meat, guacamole, tomato salsa, cheese, dressing

B: Cals: 825 | Sodium: 2330mg

CA: Cals: 845 | Sodium: 2380mg

CH: Cals: 845| Sodium: 2160mg

S: Cals: 845 | Sodium: 2110mg

Salad #2- Lettuce, black beans, meat, guacamole, corn salsa, cheese, dressing

B: Cals: 885 | Sodium: 2240mg

CA: Cals: 905 | Sodium: 2320mg

CH: Cals: 905| Sodium:2100mg

S: Cals: 905| Sodium: 2050mg

Salad #3- Lettuce, black beans, meat, guacamole, red salsa, cheese, dressing

B: Cals: 680 | Sodium: 1550mg

CA: Cals: 700 | Sodium: 1630mg

CH: Cals: 700| Sodium:1410mg

S: Cals: 700 | Sodium: 1360mg

Salad #4- Lettuce, black beans, meat, guacamole, green salsa, cheese, dressing

B: Cals:820 | Sodium: 2060mg

CA: Cals: 840 | Sodium: 2140mg

CH: Cals: 840| Sodium:1920mg

S: Cals: 840 | Sodium: 1870mg



I dislike Subway for the obvious reason (it’s fast food) and plus the sandwiches have way too much salt for me and I personally can’t stand the taste of it.

6 grams of fat or less

6″ Ham (Black forest w/out cheese) Cals: 290 | Sodium: 1200mg

6″ Oven Roasted Chicken Cals: 320 | Sodium: 750mg

6″ Roast Beef Cals: 310 | Sodium: 800mg

6″ Subway Club Cals: 320 | Sodium: 1140mg

6″ Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Cals: 380 | Sodium: 1010mg

6″ Turkey Breast Cals: 280 | Sodium: 910mg

6″ Turkey Breast and Ham Cals: 300 | Sodium: 1140mg

6″ Veggie Delight Cals: 230 | Sodium: 410mg



6″ Cold Cut Cals: 410 | Sodium: 1450mg

6″ Tuna Cals: 530 | Sodium: 930mg



Ham Cals: 570 | Sodium: 2400mg

Oven Roasted Chicken Cals: 640 | Sodium: 1490mg

Roast Beef Cals: 630 | Sodium: 1600mg

Subway Club Cals: 640 | Sodium: 2270mg

Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Cals: 760 | Sodium: 2020mg

Turkey Breast Cals: 570 | Sodium: 1830mg

Turkey Breast and Ham Cals: 590 | Sodium: 2280mg

Veggie Delight Cals: 460 | Sodium: 830mg



Ham Cals: 180 | Sodium: 670mg

Roast Beef Cals: 200 | Sodium: 480mg

Turkey Breast Cals: 190 | Sodium: 610mg

Veggie Delight Cals: 150 | Sodium: 280mg



6″ Philly Cheesesteak Cals: 520 | Sodium: 1570mg

6″ BLT Cals: 360 | Sodium: 990mg

6″ Buffalo Chicken Cals: 420 | Sodium: 1290mg

6″ Chicken and Bacon Ranch Cals: 570 | Sodium: 1190mg

6″ Feast Cals: 550 | Sodium: 2610mg

6″ Italian BMT Cals: 450 | Sodium: 1730mg

6″ Meatball Marinara Cals: 580 | Sodium: 1530mg

6″ Spicy Italian Cals: 520 | Sodium: 1830mg

6″ Steak and Cheese Cals: 380 | Sodium: 1230mg

6″ Subway Melt Cals: 380 | Sodium: 1530mg


*Subs with 6 grams of fat include: 9 grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green, peppers

**All other sandwich values include cheese unless otherwise noted

Here is a link for a Chipotle nutrition calculator:


Basically all I’m saying is watch what you eat. Everything that is out there isn’t good for you and if you’re always on the go you may want to consider other alternatives such as making your own meals to take with you on a daily basis. Just take the initiative to make your lunch the night before and go from there.

A lot of you may not realize how much salt (sodium) you are consuming on a daily basis. Too much salt is bad for you and can hinder your results when working toward a fitness goal.

I seen this article in Prevention magazine and I am sharing it with you.




Which of the following is true of salt?

(a) It’s addictive. (b) It will make you fat. (c) It will kill you. (d) All of the above.

If you chose (d), you’re right. Salt is one of the most dangerous ingredients in our food.

IT’S NO SECRET that a high-sodium diet raises blood pressure, which in turn can cause heart attacks and strokes. But new studies show that salt is even more dangerous than we thought: Eating too much has been linked to osteoporosis, dementia, cancer, and other serious health problems (see “The Silent Killer,” p. 23). It can also add inches to your waist.

Based on this research, the US government is revisiting its sodium guidelines. The new thinking: Adults should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (two-thirds of a teaspoon), down from the previous limit of less than 2,300 mg.

This adjustment means that Americans are seriously overdosing on salt, getting 3,436 mg a day–more than double the recommended amount. Where’s all that sodium coming from? The greatest concern isn’t the flaky stuff you shake on at the table–it’s the salt that’s already in your food. The biggest culprits are processed and packaged foods, which load up on salt for flavor but also for color and texture and to prevent spoilage. About 80% of the sodium in our diets is found in the premade crackers, cookies, cereals, soups, frozen dinners, and pasta sauces we eat at home. And that doesn’t even cover fast food and other restaurant meals.

Here’s how a single ingredient with zero calories can be such a major cause of weight gain and killer health problems–and how you can sleuth out hidden sodium to protect your health.

Why Salt Is Addictive

Your body does need some sodium–to maintain the right balance of fluids, transmit nerve impulses, and contract and relax your muscles–but only about 500 mg per day. When you eat far more than that, your brain chemistry is altered.

Research shows that consuming salt triggers the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure center, making salty foods as addictive as nicotine and alcohol. Therefore, as with any addiction, eating salty foods makes you crave more. Since so many of them–like french fries and fast-food sandwiches–are also high in fat and calories, OD’ing on salt packs on the pounds.

Loading up on salt also increases thirst. This wouldn’t be an issue if we usually turned to water–but we don’t. Research has found a close link between the consumption of salt and intake of sugary beverages. (Diet sodas aren’t the answer: They’re full of sodium!)

Eating too much salt may cause weight gain in less noticeable ways too–by changing how your body makes and metabolizes fat. Studies show that a high-salt diet boosts the production of insulin, the hormone that tells the body to store excess sugar as fat. Simply put, the more insulin you have, the more fat you store and the more weight you gain.

Kicking Your Salt Habit

You can cut back on sodium with a 2-week salt cleanse, which will boost your metabolism and increase your energy as you cut excess sodium from your diet. You’ll also feel thinner, because you’ll drop water weight from bloating. Losing those pounds and inches will help motivate you to make low-salt eating a way of life as you reset your tastebuds to enjoy low-sodium foods.

Here’s how: For 14 days, you’ll eat three 300-calorie meals per day, each with less than 300 mg sodium. You’ll also drink a 300-calorie Mineral Boost Juice daily (for recipes:, which provides potassium, calcium, and magnesium to help rid your body of excess sodium. Plus, you’ll eliminate processed and packaged foods, as well as alcohol.

The good news is that your palate will adapt quickly. Most of us have about 10,000 tastebuds, each one made up of 50 to 150 receptor cells that live for only 1 to 2 weeks and then are replaced by new receptors. So after eating a cleaner diet for 2 weeks, you’ll not only begin to taste and enjoy more subtle flavors, you’ll also have less of a craving for salt.

There’s Salt in That?

In a typical day, the sodium adds up fast–hidden in foods you probably didn’t even know were salty.

BREAKFAST 1 whole grain bagel (490 mg) with 2 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese (211 mg) and 6 oz yogurt (95 mg) = 796 mg

SNACK 2 Tbsp peanut butter (147 mg) on 6 wheat crackers (194 mg) = 341 mg

LUNCH Sandwich with 2 slices low-salt turkey (432 mg), 1 slice American cheese (266 mg), and 2 tsp mustard (114 mg) in a flour tortilla (490 mg) with 1 dill pickle spear (306 mg) and 1 c vegetable soup (960 mg) = 2,568 mg

SNACK 1 wheat pita (340 mg) with 2 Tbsp hummus (114 mg) = 454 mg

DINNER ½ c pasta (4 mg) with ½ c jarred tomato sauce (480 mg) and 2 meatballs (232 mg), 1 slice garlic bread (400 mg), and salad with reduced-fat ranch dressing (336 mg) = 1,452 mg

DESSERT Homemade apple crisp (495 mg) with ½ c vanilla ice cream (53 mg) and 2 Tbsp caramel sauce (60 mg) = 608 mg

Total 6,219 mg, more than quadruple the daily recommended amount

The Silent Killer

IT’S NO LONGER JUST heart attacks and strokes you need to worry about if you eat too much salt. Evidence now connects sodium to other serious health problems, including:

CANCER Salted foods are linked to a 15% increase in cancer risk, according to a 2010 Japanese study. In other research, high salt intake has been associated with deaths from stomach cancer. Salty foods irritate the stomach lining, which can cause infection by H. pylori, bacteria that lead to stomach cancer.

OSTEOPOROSIS High-salt diets have been shown to increase calcium loss, which weakens bone and leads, over time, to osteoporosis. A 2-year study of postmenopausal women connected a decrease in hip bone density to sodium intake.

DIABETES Eating lots of salt may promote insulin resistance. Diabetes already puts you at greater risk of hypertension and heart disease–and a high salt intake only raises these risks.

DEMENTIA Hypertension may also affect your brain. Results of the 2010 Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which took MRI scans of 1,400 women age 65 or older, revealed that those with high blood pressure had more abnormal brain lesions 8 years later. Other research shows that people with hypertension are up to 600% more likely to develop stroke-related dementia.

SLEEP APNEA High blood pressure is a villain here too. It is a vicious cycle–sleep apnea causes sleep deprivation, which can increase blood pressure.

KIDNEY DISEASE Hypertension eventually damages blood vessels throughout your body, including the kidneys. The damage can be gradual: Symptoms may not occur until kidney function is less than 10% of normal.

Want Some Chips with Your Salt?

Most regular chips have 160 to 180 mg of sodium per 1-ounce serving (about 15 chips). Watch out for flavored chips, which can contain compounds of sodium not found in other chips. The worst offenders of all: salt-and-vinegar.

Herr’s Salt & Vinegar 340 mg

Utz Salt ‘n Vinegar 270 mg

Cape Cod Sour Cream and Green Onion 220 mg

Wise BBQ 210 mg

Terra Exotic Harvest Sea Salt 160 mg

Kettle Brand Organic Chipotle Barbeque 150 mg

Lay’s Natural Sea Salted 150 mg

Cape Cod Original 110 mg

Lay’s Lightly Salted 90 mg

Wise Lightly Salted 80 mg

Terra Original 50 mg

Kettle Brand Unsalted 5 mg

Adapted from The Salt Solution by Heather K. Jones, RD, with the editors of Prevention (Rodale, January 2011).

BRAG ABOUT how you beat your salt addiction at magazine. To buy a copy of The Salt Solution, go to


I was reading my Clean Eating magazine and I came across a little clipping regarding clean eating so I thought I’d share it with you. Since most of you are new to dieting and not sure where to start and don’t think that you may be disciplined enough to be able to watch what you eat, try these out. Take baby steps.

What is Clean Eating?

Eat 5-6 times a day– three meals and two to three small snacks, include a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

Drink at least 2 liters of water a day– (preferably from a reusable canteen, not plastic; we’re friends of the environment here!).

Get label savvy. Clean foods contain just one or two ingredients. Any product with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered clean.

Avoid processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead.

Know thy enemies. Steer clear of anything high in saturated fat and trans fats, anything fried or anything high in sugar.

Shop with a conscience. Consume humanely raised and local meats

Consume healthy fats (essential fatty acids, or EFAs) every day.

Learn about portion sizes and work toward eating within them

Reduce your carbon footprint. Eat produce that is seasonal and local. It is less taxing on your wallet and our environment

Drink water with a lemon wedge. A glass of red wine for a special occasion is OK but it should be a rare indulgence. The health benefits of red wine are reversed after more than one glass a day.

Slow down and savor. Never rush through a meal. Food tastes best when savored. Enjoy every bite.

Take it to go. Pack a cooler for work or outings so you always have clean eats on the go

Make it a family affair. Food is a social glue that should be shared with loved ones. Improve the quality of your family’s life along with your own.


Serves 4


  • 4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz green beans, trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • pinch sea salt
  • Sweet paprika, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


  • Remove any visible fat from chicken, cut breasts into 1-inch cubes and set aside
  • Fill 2 medium pots halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add beans to 1 pot and turn heat down to medium. Simmer beans for 5 minutes; drain and set aside. Add potatoes to second pot reduce heat to medium and simmer for 8 minutes; drain and set aside.
  • In a small nonstick pan, saute garlic in 1 tbsp oil over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add ginger and cook for 1 more minute, then remove from heat immediately. In a small bowl, mash garlic-ginger mixture with a fork until it’s a smooth paste. With same fork, stir paste into potatoes. Chop cooled beans into 1-in long pieces.
  • Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is just beginning to sizzle, add chicken and saute for 3minutes. Add green beans and corn and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. (the chicken will finish cooking by method of poaching, thanks to the liquid from the vegetables.
  • Using a slotted spoon, lift vegetable-chicken mixture from pan, letting liquid drain out, and place 1 cup mixture onto each of 4 plates. Season with salt, paprika, and pepper. Serve alongside 1/2 cup potatoes

Calories 326 | Total Fat: 9g | Carbs: 25g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 30g |

**Courtesy of CLEAN EATING**