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You probably know by now that I’m deeply passionate about my health and wellness. I’ve shared a lot over the last year about the changes I’ve made in my lifestyle and how they’ve improved my quality of life, but I think a few people still find the idea of changing their approach to nutrition and exercise very daunting. To help break down the changes I’ve made, I’m starting a new series – “This for That” – where I’ll share small, manageable changes that can make a big difference. 
In an article recently published by the Wall Street Journal, Alex Janin says the keys to changing our habits are simplifying the process, making it fun, setting realistic expectations, and creating a routine that is easy to replicate. A line from the movie Stick It sums up habit building quite well, “Consistency over flash is what rules the day.” So, this series will be geared toward us learning together about what simple, fun, realistic, and repeatable changes we can make to feel our best.
With Halloween and the rest of the holidays right around the corner, and reading your hundreds of DMs asking for exact information about the changes I’ve made, I thought it would be helpful to start with the changes I’ve made when it comes to sweets and snacks. I love a sweet treat, especially chocolate, but occasionally candy too. I also love chips and salty food and I feel like during the holidays there’s a lot of traveling where I want to take easy grab-and-go items with me. In the past, I would leave travel days feeling bloated and sick to my stomach. But now I’ve figured out a rhythm for myself and done a lot of research about what ingredients tend to bring my wellness down, so I’ve gathered some simple switches here for you.
Girl laying down on yoga mat with two five lb wights to her right
Listen, I used to LOVE traditional candy. Chocolate, gummy bears, you name it. What I didn’t love was the headache and stomachache I would get almost immediately after consuming it. After learning about the effects of artificial dyes in most candies, I realized that for me, the momentary sweet bliss wasn’t worth an hour of migraines, nausea, or skin break outs that followed it. 
The dyes in these candies contribute next to nothing beyond appearance. They do, however, contribute heavily to their toxicity, according to the National Library of Medicine, which cites the “evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity,” of the artificial dyes used in so much of our food. 
My solution: SKIP THE DYES! There are amazing brands who make non-toxic candies that taste just as good (if not better) than our traditional favorites. That’s It, one of my favorite snack brands, has a whole line of Halloween treats that are made from fruit. No dyes, no gums, just fruit. They also have a line of delicious chocolate truffles (my favorite is the chocolate dates), that are free from any hidden oils or processed sugar!  They’re not something I eat every day, but it’s a small switch for big pay off when it comes to lower sugar, no toxic dyes, and candy that doesn’t leave me feeling sick! One of my favorite IG creators, @morganichealth, does great breakdowns of healthy swaps and I love this one she did for Halloween. Sharing her graphics below for easy reference, but make sure to follow her for more snack swaps!
If you’ve watched my snapchat stories lately, you know that I’ve recently been obsessed with my yogurt bowls. They’re my current sweet treat hyper fixation, and before you knock it, let’s talk about the benefit of a functional dessert. I use organic Greek yogurt where I used to eat ice cream, which is much higher in sugar. According to Time Magazine, Greek yogurt contains natural probiotics which can help stabilize gut health and promote healthy digestion, making it a great substitute. I fold in frozen blueberries to get everything nice and cold, and top it with dark chocolate chips, honey, and cinnamon. Honey and cinnamon are great immune boosters and further aid digestion, while blueberries and dark chocolate are said to promote healthy brain function. And listen, when I want ice cream, I have it. I just don’t have it every night. I consistently choose whole foods with nutritious ingredients about 80% of the time. The other 20%, I eat ice cream with my friends and family. I have homemade cake and cookies (my sister-in-law makes the best organic chocolate chip cookies!). Healthy habits aren’t restrictive; they’re conducive to a well-rounded life.
One thing I was so surprised to learn this past year was how many snacks contain seed and vegetable oils that can be really harmful to our bodies. These oils are highly processed, and lack the polyphenols that help lower the risk of heart disease and inflammation found in other fat sources such as olive and avocado oil, butter, ghee, beef tallow, and coconut oil. These oils are largely found in processed snacks can disrupt digestion, hormone balance, and cause major issues when it comes to improving our overall health. Especially for travel (I’ll do a more in-depth airplane travel day this for that later) which I do a lot of around the holidays, I have been loving things like Archer’s grass-fed beef jerky or grass-fed and finished beef sticks from Chomps (both of which you can get from Costco or Amazon!). I love that beef sticks and jerky are super high in protein, since for me, getting enough protein every day is a main goal for me. I also love the dried fruit snacks from Solely (the mango jerky is my favorite), and That’s It fruit bars, which are all free from seed oils and are minimally processed! Since cutting out seed oils, I’ve noticed a real difference in my level of inflammation and overall energy. I stay fuller longer eating less processed foods and have better sustained energy through my workouts!
It may sound overly simple, but that’s a good thing! These small changes have genuinely made a difference in my ability to change my lifestyle and keep my healthy habits consistent. I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself, and therefore have an easier time committing to these changes. These foods are yummy, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything besides inflammation, processed chemicals, migraines, digestive issues, bad gut health, and hormone imbalance. 
If you’re interested about any other products or practices I may have simple switches for, make sure to email questions, comments, and suggestions to I am still learning and always want to share the credible information I come across to help us all be our healthiest and happiest. If you’re making small changes toward a better you, I’m proud of us and we’re in this together! <3 
Sienna Mae Gomez