Woman grocery shopping

Grocery shopping is an important aspect to nutrition. Most families get their food from the grocery store, and if you don’t that might be one of the key mistakes with your nutrition. When we go shopping, here are a couple of simple tips that if followed can make the whole “lifestyle change” thing a lot easier.

-Rule #1 – Stick to the outside of the grocery store. In case you haven’t realized, once you walk in, to the right is your produce section. Then you move onto the deli (stay away!) and along the back wall is your meat, followed by dairy and bread at the end. Now, there are some acceptable foods along the center isles. We do purchase canned black, red, and garbanzo beans, but the ingredients labels are very basic usually just containing water, beans, and salt. But for the most part, sticking to the outside is key. They’re way too many temptations located in the center isles.

-Rule #2 – Do not shop on an empty stomach. You can ask Chelsey, if I go to the grocery store hungry, I come back with a trunk full of food and a receipt totaling over $100.

-Rule #3 – Make a list before you go and try not to stray from it. This goes along with our previous rule, it’s more so a helpful hint.

-Rule #4 – If you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget just like us, buy seasonal. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are much cheaper!

Now, the next question is what does your grocery cart look like? Check out ours!


Here’s a quick run down of items: bread, rice, apples, grapefruit, ketchup (yes ketchup), sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, beets, and kale.

So, let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about the three items that are “unhealthy”. First we have ketchup. The ketchup pictured is organic ketchup I found at Walmart. If you read the ingredients, notice no high fructose corn syrup. This bottle cost roughly $5 so fairly expensive. Now, obviously if we are trying to lose weight we want to stay away from sugar but if ketchup will help keep you away from Cokes and Oreos I’ll gladly make that trade. Just remember moderation is key and that one block of carbohydrates is 2 tbsp. of this product (not a lot).


Next up we have good ole Mr. Bread. Who doesn’t love bread?! Now, most breads are bad. They are bleached then enriched. Do not buy these kinds of bread. Pictured below is the label from the bread I purchased today. Notice the first ingredient is whole wheat flour. Now, by no means is this bread perfect. It does have sugar in it, but once again if you’re on a budget and bread keeps you sane this is a better option.


For those of you who don’t mind spending the money, there are healthier bread option out there. I highly recommend gluten free breads, especially if you are gluten intolerant. Below is bread I normally get when I go to Winn-Dixie. Once again not perfect, it isn’t gluten free. But it is healthier that the Pepperidge Farm bread above.


Remember that the one serving size per block of carbohydrates is 1/2 piece of toast. So if you must eat bread, once again the key word is moderation.

Lastly, let’s talk about rice. Rice is high in carbohydrates. One serving size per block of carbohydrates is 3 tbsp or 1/5 cup. Not a lot at all. So basically if you’re trying to lose weight, leave the rice alone. Now most rice, just like bread, is bleached then enriched. This won’t be as hard to find on the bag though. They blast it right on the front label. Once again, I’m not a fan of eating products that have been bleached then had nutrients added to them (the only reason for doing this is to increase shelf life of the product).

Now, I purchased basmati rice. Fairly expensive for rice standards, a five pound bag costs $7. They do have other types of healthy rice, but most are more expensive than their enriched counterparts.

All in all though, you can either spend time and money on your HEALTH and BUFFNESS now or your SICKNESS later. 

Hello Buff Babes!

Many clients have asked for diet plans. Personally, I’m not a big fan of handing out diet plans. There is no generic diet plan that is going to work for everybody. Our philosophy here at Girls Gone Buff is we want YOU to take control of your diet. As many of our current members know, we tell everyone to download My Fitness Pal and track what you eat. This is how we as trainers perform a Nutritional Assessment. If you add either Chelsey or I as a friend on the app, we can view your food intake and offer nutritional advice based on that.

Next, let’s talk about what I would consider a diet plan. Dr. Barry Sears is a renowned biochemist and author. He is best known for his book The Zone: A Dietary Road Map. He developed a “diet plan” called the Zone Diet. Here is a good link to what I would call a Zone Diet for dummies. I will have print outs available this week as well.

First thing we need to discuss is how much do we eat. I really believe that is the big questions most people have. When it comes to intake, I want everyone to look at it as a “Daily Food Intake”. Not I do this for breakfast, that for lunch, I eat these for a snack, and dinner is this. With the zone diet, every day you’ll get a daily prescription of food. These are known as blocks. The way we find our block prescription is based off of lean body mass. A couple of math equations will give you this answer. First one is going to be Body Weight x Body Fat %. This is going to give you your  body fat. Next, we will use Body Weight – Body Fat. This is going to give us our Lean Body Mass. Lastly, we use Lean Body Mass x 10%. This will give us our daily block prescription. So for review:

Body Weight x Body Fat % = Body Fat (in pounds)

Body Weight – Body Fat = Lean Body Mass 

Lean Body Mass x 10% = Block Prescription

Pretty simple, right? So now you’re wondering well what’s a block consist of? One block of protein consists of 7 grams of protein. One block of carbohydrate consists of 9 grams of carbohydrates. One block of fat consists of 1.5 grams of fat. So for review:

1 block protein = 7 grams of protein

1 block carbohydrate = 9 grams of carbohydrates

1 block fat = 1.5 grams of fat

Now there are exceptions to fat. The main one is for people who do not eat meat. All meat contains fat, so if your protein is coming from meat then you abide by the 1 block = 1.5 grams of fat. But, let’s say you’re a vegetarian. Your block of fat is going to equal 3 grams of fat.

So you know your block prescription and what a block consists of. First thing we need to clarify is your daily block prescription is for each food group. Here is what I mean by that:

Let’s say Jane Doe gets 10 block a day. Every day Jane will eat a total of:

10 blocks of protein

10 blocks of carbohydrate

10 blocks of fat

When it comes to eating our daily prescription, we can break up our blocks as we please. Now, it is recommended you eat 5 times per day in the zone diet. This will help speed up your metabolism. If you think about it, it’s common sense. If you want to get better at squatting, you do more squats. More squats will help fine tune movement patterns, if done properly, and will help build muscle. Well the same thing applies to your body in regards to processing food. If we look at the definition of metabolism, it refers to the chemical reactions involved in maintaining a living state of cells and organism. In terms of eating, we are concerned with catabolism or the breakdown of energy, or as we know it food. The more times a day we breakdown food, the faster our body will process this food thus speeding up our metabolism. Our metabolism is also sped up because each time we eat our body must excrete previously eaten food to make way for the new food coming in. But back to breaking up your daily blocks, this can be something as simple as dividing it by the number of times you are able to eat daily. Or, you may want to eat more in the morning and less at night. That’s fine! You can even do it vice-versa. Main point is make sure you eat your daily blocks. You need to EAT TO PERFORM. Here are a couple of examples based off of a 12 block daily prescription:

Breakfast = B, Lunch = L, Dinner = D, Snack = S

B = 3, S = 2, L = 2, S = 2, D = 3

B = 4, S = 2, L = 2, S = 2, D = 2

B = 2, S = 2, L = 2, S = 2, D = 4

B = 1, S = 2, L = 4, S = 2, D = 3

B = 4, S = 1, L = 2, S = 1, D = 4

B = 3, S = 1, L = 4, S = 1, D = 3

So as you can see, the possibilities are endless. You need to make this convenient for your lifestyle. Some people struggle to eat during the day, so maybe you need small block easy snacks. Some people may not be morning people, so a  small block breakfast is more convenient for you. Or, you could be the exact opposite. Dinner is hectic and hard with the kids, so you need small block easy dinner options. The great thing about the zone diet is once you understand it, it can work for you no matter who you are and what your lifestyle is. The most important thing to take from this is eat your daily block prescription.

On a side note, each meal or snack doesn’t have to have equal amounts of blocks from protein, carbohydrates, and fats. You may want to carb load your breakfast and take all 10 blocks of carbs in the morning. Go for it! Just don’t eat any more carbs if that’s your prescription. For instance, we have peanut butter packets now for sale and they contain 10 blocks of fat, 1 block of carb, and 1 block of protein. Great snacking option for my on-the -go members. It’s low on the glycemic index and has a high fat content which will provide prolonged energy throughout your day. Another snaking option we will have is called “RXBAR”. The “RXBAR” has 6 blocks of fat, 2 blocks of protein, and 2 blocks of carbohydrates. Now each bar varies because of the ingredients but most adhere to that standard. Check them out here. I’ll have a couple samples of their product on Monday and am going to place an order soon, so if you’re interested let me know.

Last thing we discussed was healthy versus unhealthy. Now, one of the great things about the Zone Diet is it works with healthy and unhealthy options. In the link for the Zone Diet, they have a portion control chart which breaks down what one block of each item looks like. So for instance, one block of broccoli is 2 cups, whereas one block of french fries is 5 french fries. Obviously, I’m always going to recommend you chose the healthy options. They’re not only filled with macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) but an abundance of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and trace elements). But let’s be honest, no one is perfect not even Chelsey and I. The MOST important thing to remember in regards to healthy foods is REAL FOOD GOES BAD. Also, it is important to READ YOUR LABELS. If you have no idea what something is you shouldn’t be putting it in your body, right? Don’t you correct your kids and pets for picking up random items off of the floor and putting them in their mouths? Well you should hold yourself to that same standard.

Now we talked about a couple of common items people purchase when grocery shopping. The big ones were bread, yogurt, and sweeteners. Here is a quick run down of each kind of item and what to look for on your labels.

Bread – Most breads are bleached then enriched with micronutrients. If you see enriched wheat flour, don’t buy it. I don’t know about you but I prefer to keep bleach out of my body even if it is in minimal amounts. Look for whole wheat and not just on the front of the package but in the ingredients list. Trust me, those companies will put anything on there packaging in order to get you to purchase their product.

Yogurt – Big thing with yogurt is most have a high sugar content and a low fat content. They’re completely backwards. So look at your label and check out the fat and sugar contents. Personally, we buy Cabot Plain Greek Yogurt. Per 1 cup, it has 22g of fat, 12g of carbs (only 5g of sugar), and 16g of protein. So for my Zone people out there that is 14 blocks of fat, 1 block of carbs, and 2 blocks of protein. Now, this is plain yogurt, but all you need is some fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, mango, etc.) and you now have a healthy yogurt option.

Sweeteners – When it comes to sweeteners, almost everyone uses something. Now, our recommendation is raw agave. The benefit of agave is it is lower on the glycemic index than sugar and honey. In my opinion, it’s also closer to that sugar flavor than honey. Now, honey is not a bad option. Used in moderation, honey has many health benefits especially for people with allergy problems. The catch is it must be local honey. Both honey and agave are available at most local grocers. If your looking for local honey, I noticed at the Coffee House they have information and honey from a local honey farmer located in the lower 9th Ward. If you know of any retailers in St. Bernard Parish, please let me know. I’ll gladly check them out and tell you what I think about the product.

Shout out to all of my ladies who made it to today’s class. Looking forward to putting on another one soon!