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Did you know that you can improve your mind by improving you gut microbiome?

Do you suffer with:  low energy?  brain fog?  hunger?  over-weight?  gas?  bloating?  constipation (you should have a regular bowel movement 1 to 2 times a day)?  We seem to get used to these conditions being the norm for our everyday life, but it is not normal to feel this way.  We should feel Continue reading “GUT HEALTH 101”

soaked black beans in a colander

Cooking sprouted beans to reduce flatulence

I know beans are good for me, but they don’t like me.

Are you sick of getting bloated, gassy, and flatulent every time you eat beans?

I know I am not the only bean eater who farts.  Want to reduce your flatulence?  It’s scientifically proven that eating beans causes gas.  Check out this article from Nutritionfacts.org on beans and gas. Not only can that gas be uncomfortable, it can be embarrassing. Are you afraid to eat beans because you know you have an important meeting, appointment, or job interview later? Have you ever completely stopped eating beans for a period of time over the hassle? I have. I am ready to give eating beans a try again, but only sprouted, then cooked beans. Continue reading “Cooking sprouted beans to reduce flatulence”

Date Paste Recipe

Date Paste

Dates are a highly nutritious sweet alternative to all of the sweet junk food on the market these days.  Today I made some date paste from Medjool dates that had been sitting in my fridge for a very long time (no one wants to know how long).  Dates don’t go bad fast, think of how long raisins last.  The recipe is very simple to make with only two ingredients.

Continue reading “Date Paste Recipe”

Weight Plateau Breached

On May 26th I created a post titled Burn more fat.  Today is exactly one month and I am ready to report my results so far.  I am ecstatic to report that I lost 5.2 lbs using the “slow down” method of running with MAF heart rate training.  One of the reasons I am so ecstatic is that I had hit a plateau in my weight loss until changing to this MAF training with my Polar heart rate monitor.  I started noticing a difference in my face first, a coworker asked me one day if I had lost more weight, that my face looked thinner, and I was excited to say yes and tell her my MAF experience.  Then I went on vacation for two weeks and didn’t exercise as much and didn’t eat as well as usual, and I still lost weight.  I was very active on vacation though, my sister likes to be active too, which helps.  I drove to her house in UT ( an 11 hour drive) and stayed for a couple of weeks.  During my stay we ran a few times, hiked once, camped 4 nights, and went paddle boarding 2 days.  I usually run 3 to 4 days a week.

With all of this in mind I should see better results in another month.  It is really hot here in AZ though, so my training is suffering (especially since I am not a morning person).  The coolest it has been lately is 85 degrees and that is at 6am, by 8am it is 91 degrees.  Today I started my run at 9:45am and it was 94 degrees and overcast.  I ran for an hour.  By 10:45am it was 96 degrees.

As far as eating, I have been trying to avoid processed sugar and junk food.  I have been eating more higher fat plant foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados.  After reading Finding Ultra I decided my body would be ok with the higher fat foods since it is switching to burning more fat.  Rich Roll talked about eating avocado sandwiches, and I have been enjoying a few since then.  I eat more fruits and VeggEase and less pastas, grains and beans.

Review of Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

While I was on vacation, I set a couple of goals I wanted to accomplish:  first I wanted to try Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP)…done.  Love it!  Second:  I wanted to finish reading a book.  I happened to check out Finding Ultra after getting interested in improving my aerobic fat burning, so that became my goal book.  I had my trusty iPad with me and was able to read the book for free by using my library card and checking out the digital version with my Overdrive app and reading on my free Kindle app.  (I usually “read” more audio books because I listen to them while running, but this one was not available in audio form, so I actually read it).  I accomplished my second goal too, and I am glad I did because I learned a lot about being a plant-based endurance athlete.

finding ultra
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

Before reading this book I thought of ultra endurance as unhealthy!  How can running 100 miles be good for you?  I learned how amazing our bodies are and just how much they are capable of.  I once thought marathons were not healthy either.  I now am seriously planning to run my first marathon some day soon.  I ran my first half marathon this year (April 2016) and felt really good, I didn’t even hit any dreaded wall or have any bears jump on my back.  Rich Roll is about five years older than me, so I feel confident that I can complete a marathon safely in my old age.

Rich shared some very personal moments in his book about overcoming addiction and fatigue.  His stories inspired me to be a better me.  Like Rich, I too was an athlete at a young age.  His sport was swimming, mine was running.  He learned a love of swimming partially because he was good at it, just like me with running.  We both competed in college, he in swimming and I in running.  Our stories differ in my ways too, I was lucky to never have felt the grasp of addiction (well besides chocolate, does that count?). Another similarity I have to Rich is being reunited with my love of running after finding a plant-based lifestyle.  Once he started eating plants he found new energy and a desire to exercise.  I found this to be true for myself as well.

I loved hearing about how he is a family man and how he tried to balance his ultra training, work, and family time.  It can be a struggle trying to reach an important goal and not let other priorities slide.  His passion was apparent to his family and they supported him and encouraged him.  They helped encourage him when he thought he might be focusing too much on his ultra goal and letting work or family priorities slide.

This book may not be for everyone, but if you have any desire to be plant-based or to get in shape I highly recommend it.  You will experience some of his lowest lows and highest highes in the pages and hopefully it will awaken in you a desire to live life a little fuller, like it has done for me.

Burn more fat

One side effect of switching to a plant-based lifestyle is losing weight, bummer right?  Wrong…I loved it!!!  I lost 26 lbs in less than 5 months with no effort.  In January 2014 I weighed 217 lbs.  I am 5′ 10″, so even though I didn’t look obese, I felt it.  I was definitely overweight, and still am.  In March 2014 I started eating plant based full time (after easing into it).  By July 2014 I was down 26 lbs.  Today 5/25/16 I weigh 181, that’s  a total of 36 lbs gone.  I still have more fat to lose though, so I continue to tweek my diet and exercise to try to get down to a more healthy weight, my goal at the moment is 170 lbs, that would get me into the normal BMI range.  (I have Hypothyroidism, so I struggle with a system that is not optimal).

Karen October 2013

Karen May 2016
Once I lost weight, I felt so good I started walking regularly for exercise.  I walked for about a year then eventually I starting running again…well jogging.  I was a long distance runner starting in grade school (if you can believe it).  My first race was in 4th grade, the Y-ild  (wild) run for fun at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego, CA.  It was a 4 mile fun run.  I placed in the top 3 in my age group and I was hooked.  Who wouldn’t enjoy doing something they were good at?   I continued running cross country and track in Jr. High, High School, and college.  After giving birth to my two sons my weight started to grow year after year. My weight finally ballooned to a point I could not longer ignore once my boys were in high school.  I started having serious health problems in 2014 so I knew it was time for a change.  I am so greatful I found the Forks Over Knives documentary and that it gave me the motivation to change my way of eating.

Now I am obsessed with losing the rest of the weight.  I believe I have finally found the answer to losing the rest of the weight, I was working too hard.  I need to slow down to burn more fat.  I recently discovered Dr. Phil Maffetone and his 180 MAF method when I was listening to a podcast of NoMeatAthlete.com.  If you want to burn fat you have got to check out his method:  The 180 formula .  He explains how to get your aerobic system (fat burning system) to work more efficiently so you are burning fat instead of sugar (carbs).  Our bodies are amazing, they can run on two different fuels, fats and/or carbohydrates (sugar).  He also explains how the better fuel for us to function optimally is fat.  He teaches you how to get your body to switch to fat burning instead of sugar burning with his 180 formula.  If you are a runner you get to slow down.  If you are a walker, you may need to speed up.  The best part is that once your system switches to fat burning you will be healthier and less prone to injury.  I just learned about this last week and started implementing my MAF heart rate into my runs, so I will keep you posted.  11 lbs to go and I will reach my goal.

I am currently using my Apple Watch to monitor my heart rate, but just purchased the Polar H7 heart rate monitor today.  It looks more user friendly for runs.  How did I not know this valuable information before now, with my background?  I am so glad I know it now.  This is certainly a fun adventure.

**I DO NOT recommend using Maffetone nutrition!!  Rich Roll trains with MAF and a plant-based diet. **

Polar H7 heart rate monitor





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