You suggested Trader Joes and Whole Foods, which are both good choices for organic products, but I also like Wegmans. During one of my past Daniel Fast’s, my friend took me there to purchase items in preparation for our fast and I thought their prices were pretty good. I found them to have a good selection of name brand, organic and gluten free products as well as their own house label brands. They're in-house brand items seemed to be of very good quality, whereas at times when I've purchased in-house label products at comparable grocery retailers, they didn't seem to parallel the quality national brands. Would you as an expert suggest Wegmans as a good source for these offerings?
My apologies. Yes, Wegman’s also offers great options. I would sometimes forget about them since they are farther from me than the other choices. I now visit them often, and fell in love with their organic almonds!
Speaking of gluten free, which you hear a lot more of now (they even advertise Cheerios as gluten free as of late), for someone that doesn't necessarily suffer with an intolerance disease such as Celiac, but would like to consider gluten free foods in aiding in their weight loss or nutritional efforts, what would be your suggestion?
This is a great question and one that is very dear to my heart, as I myself follow a gluten free lifestyle. Many articles have been written recently on this topic. The majority of them will tell you that if you have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease you should not follow a gluten free diet. This is based on the mindset of Western (conventional) medicine that again does not look at causes but only attempts to address symptoms. It also ignores the fact that many other people benefit from going on a gluten free diet who receive a negative diagnosis when tested for Celiac disease. Many African Americans do not possess the digestive traits needed to process the genetically modified wheat products we have in America efficiently. This inevitably leads to health problems.
It is true that going gluten free is not necessarily a weight loss tactic. There are many options for processed bread items (donuts, waffles, cereals, breads, etc) that taste great, however often times contain high sugar and/or fat content. They are also often devoid of whole grains. As I first went gluten free, I didn’t know about these options and actually lost about 10 lbs in a month. However, as these items crept into my diet, very quickly the weight came back.
The best approach is to focus on consuming fresh, whole foods that are prepared at home (vegetables, fruits, nuts, high quality protein etc) which are naturally gluten free. This style of eating puts less stress on the digestive system and helps us to prevent/address many health conditions. Going gluten free helped me to stay away from the medications I spoke of earlier, so please do the research and give it a try if you haven’t already.
In your response to what a healthy day’s menu should look like, you mentioned using Stevia as an alternative sweetener, is that only a personal choice (why) or is it a healthier option opposed to alternatives like Splenda or Equal? You also suggested not just using Stevia, but using a high-quality version. Is there a low quality Stevia, if so what’s the difference?
I use Splenda frequently and see it offered quite a bit (just as much as Sweet-n-Low) in drinking/eating establishments such as Starbucks etc but I'm starting to see stevia more, so is there anything we should know and be more conscious of concerning sugar free sweeteners as a whole? I'm a Splenda junkie myself and think others might be as well, lol!!
Another great question and subject that is dear to my heart as I am a recovered sugar addict. Our diets contain waaay too much sugar, especially from juices, sodas, desserts, etc. Consuming these items on a daily basis keeps our blood sugar levels unbalanced, leading us on a long road to diabetes among other things.
Artificial sweeteners like splenda, sweet-n-low, equal, aspartame, etc are highly processed chemicals, not actual nutrients. They are an easy way to stabilize blood sugars, however consuming these items over time can contribute to cancer and other conditions. The better approach is a high-quality stevia liquid purchased from a health food store that contains no other ingredients. Powdered stevia and other sugar alternatives have gone through an extensive bleaching and refining process, rendering them again very hard for the body to process. A high quality liquid stevia can be slightly expensive, however is a much better choice for your health.
What can a person who always craves sugar or better yet, sweet foods such as cakes, pies and cookies incorporate in their diet to help satisfy this craving? I've found this to be a big issue with women who are trying to lose weight, especially myself. I love dough-y type desserts, so much so that I’d rather eat them than food!
The easiest thing I have clients do to start weaning away from sugar is to start using fruits. With a decent quality blender it is quite easy to whip up easy smoothies, sorbets, etc, just using fruit without added sugar. Stevia can be added if the individual feels they need a little more sweetness to start off with. Adding essential oils like doTERRA wild orange, lemon, etc can help to add great flavor to fruit items without the need for additional sugar. You can also switch white sugar for more natural sweeteners such as honey, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar. These items still contain natural sugars, but can be easily incorporated into recipes for baked items, allowing us to still consume treats once in awhile in a way that is much better for us. Adding an all natural supplement such as doTERRA Slim and Sassy metabolic oil blend to your regimen can also help to balance blood sugars, boost metabolism and minimize cravings.
Ok, I’m notorious for my quick-fix can of Starbucks Double Shot Espresso for a quick burst of energy. If one wanted to eliminate coffee from their diet, but feel they need something to act as a jet fuel pick-me-up, what would you suggest as the replacement, especially, if you don't have access to a smoothie at your desk or forgot to bring one or didn’t have time to make one that day? What can help with the mid-day crashes and feelings of fatigue? My former aerobic instructor/fitness professor, years ago told our class not to eat starchy foods before 1:00 to avoid against that mid-day slump, what would you say to this to give us stylish girls the energy that we need to keep it going consistently throughout our day?
Coffee and caffeinated beverages often give us a false energy that brings us up and crashes us later, creating the perceived need for more and more caffeine. A high quality green tea can be a great segway into ditching caffeine. I find that consuming healthy smoothies like I mentioned previously, exercise, and incorporating essential oils all work wonders for energy level. I personally carry doTERRA peppermint oil, citrus bliss blend, and slim and sassy which all have very energizing qualities. This has allowed me to remove sugar and caffeine from my diet but keep up the energy needed to get through busy days.
This has been a wealth of knowledge to help us sistahs become nutritionally sound. Sonya what’s next for you a cookbook, nutrition manuals, branded lines of oil, tell us?
I actually do have some books on the way including cookbooks, so stay tuned. I'm also teaching classes and hopefully developing large scale curriculums to be used in large settings like corporations. At this point, I'm just seeking God to order my steps in how to best serve His people with knowledge of health.
Now that we’ve addressed topics that will help keep our temples fit on the inside, let’s move on to topics that deal with our style on the outside! Do you have a favorite designer(s) or a person or celebrity whose style really inspires you? Why and in what way?
I am honestly not very brand conscious and tend to find discount versions of many trends that come on the scene. Its hard to pick one person's style, but I probably have a cross between Keri Washington and Gabrielle Union. Keri has a wonderful classic style, and Gabrielle chooses very fun pieces with a trendy flair.
I have a witty style question that I pose to all of you style gals of faith that I interview, “What’s your Style Innuendo” (after being in your presence, the way you would like others to consider or view your style without even saying anything - your silent style suggestion)?
I love for people to consider my style as cute, classy, and comfortable. Again there are days where I end up in different settings, so these three aspects are at the top of my list.