What’s The Problem with Seed Oils?

Have you heard of seed oils? If you have, chances are you know they aren’t good for you. But, I’d bet you have some questions. What are they? What is the problem with seed oils? Are they really that bad? How important is it that I avoid them? What are seed oils found in? What should I use instead?

We’re going to dive into all that and more. If you’d rather listen to this and hear a conversation about seed oils, tune in to episode 1069 of the Primal Potential podcast. And, if you have any questions about this topic, let me know so I can do a part 2!

What Are Seed Oils?

Seed oils are oils that come from seeds or grains. Grains are classified as seed oils because grains are seeds of grasses. Seed oils are a subcategory of vegetable oils.

Seed oils are the most abundant source of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Linoleic acid is naturally found in lots of foods, but the concentration in seed oils is exponentially higher than other foods. Why? Think of it this way: there’s linoleic acid in brown rice, but you need more than 30 cups of brown rice to make a couple tablespoons of brown rice oil, so there’s more than 30x the amount of linoleic acid in brown rice oil than there is in brown rice.

You can find seed oils in nearly every processed food out there and they’re used in the dramatic majority of restaurants because they’re cost effective and flavor neutral. They’re in coffee creamers, salad dressings, condiments, crackers, chips, candy, protein bars, orange juice, bread, pasta, biscuits, cookies, popcorn, granola, ice cream and more. More on this in a bit.

The History of Seed Oils

Seed oils started as machine lubricants. No joke. They were a waste product and someone decided that ground up, they might pass as a lubricant, and they were right! Where there is innovation, there’s opportunity for financial gain so people started to find other ways to use this waste. It was light, cheap and didn’t spoil. They packaged it up and Crisco was born.

Prior to this “innovation” and introduction into the food supply in the early 1900s, only about 2-3% of our calories can from linoleic acid. Unfortunately, that percentage has 10x’d since then. We’ll explore why that’s a huge problem for human health and chronic disease.

In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack and national attention switched to heart disease. The US government put forth recommendations to reduce saturated fat consumption, creating a huge market for polyunsaturated seed oils. (If you aren’t familiar with the corruption and flawed science behind those recommendations and the whole low fat movement, do some research on Ancel Keys as a starting point. It’s fascinating and horrible.)

Consumers began to shun saturated fats from animal products like lard and butter and opt for canola oil and other seed oils. Since then, vegetable oil consumption has increased by more than 1,000x. Yes, 1,000.

It’s important to note that correlation does not equal causation, but trends do matter. Over this time, every known chronic disease increased dramatically. Rates of overweight and obesity soared as did cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, mood disorders and fertility disorders. Fortunately, we have much more than this correlation. Research consistently demonstrates that the consumption of seed oils is linked to all these diseases and more.

What’s the Problem with Seed Oils?

This is where things get a bit technical. If you’d rather hear this discussion than read it, tune in to episode 1069 of the Primal Potential podcast.

It’s important that we understand the chemistry. The concerning compound within seed oils is primarily linoleic acid. Again, linoleic acid is found in many foods, but it’s the exponentially higher concentration in seed oils that’s problematic.

Linoleic acid is an omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. When we talk about fats, we can classify them as saturated or unsaturated. When we’re looking at unsaturated fats, there are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This is determined by the presence and number of double bonds.

Fatty acids are combinations of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are chains of carbons with a carboxyl group at one end and hydrogen atoms down the length of the chain. If there are no double bonds in the chain, it’s saturated fat. If there are double bonds, it’s an unsaturated fat (meaning it’s not fully saturated with hydrogen). If there’s only one double bond, it’s monounsaturated. If there is more than one double bond, it’s a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Olive oil, for example, is primarily monounsaturated fat. Seed oils are primarily polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think lard and butter). Most polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc).

Saturated fats are more chemically stable than unsaturated fats. They do not have loose electrons while unsaturated fats do. This makes unsaturated fats more likely to oxidize. When we think of fat oxidizing, we usually think of it going rancid, and this is true. At the molecular level, however, oxidation is the loss of electrons. Electrons are a big piece of the puzzle when we’re trying to figure out the problem with seed oils and why they are so dangerous. An unpaired electron is known as a free radical. Free radicals are highly reactive. They create a cascade effect of electron theft which is essentially an unchecked cascade of damage and instability. When the unpaired electron is lost/stolen within a polyunsaturated fat is “stolen”, that fat becomes what is known as a lipid peroxide. This process is magnified when heat is applied, as is often the case in the use of seed oils (anytime they’re cooked or heated).

What is even more damaging than linoleic acid itself are the byproducts of linoleic acid in the human body.

Linoleic acid produces toxic byproducts including acrolein, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) and malondialdehyde (MDA). Acrolein is one of the toxins found in cigarette smoke known to cause lung damage. It’s a biocide, meaning it kills life. HNE and MDA are cytotoxic and mutagenic, which means they kill cells and alter DNA. NHE is always found in damaged brain tissue and when we look at animal models, it causes amyloid plaque formation in the brain. Amyloid plaque is associated with many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers.

A study on mice showed that diets high in canola oil are shown to significantly impair memory and lead to amyloid plaques.

HNE has been shown to damage mitochondrial ATP generation — the fuel needed for your brain.

Cancer is caused by oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and genetic damage. Seed oils have been shown to cause all three. One of the mechanisms here is cardiolipin damage. Cardiolipin is one of the primary phospholipids found in our mitochondria. One of the markers of cancer presence and proliferation is cardiolipin damage.

HNE has been shown to damage the p53 gene, which is a tumor suppressor.

How Do You Know If Something Contains Seed Oils?

First and foremost – read the labels! Here are some of the ways seed oils will be listed:

  • Rapeseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Palm oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil

This is not an exhaustive list! If you aren’t sure, google it! This is serious enough that you really want to know.

How Do You Avoid Seed Oils?

A fantastic place to start is not purchasing or using oils like canola, corn, safflower, etc. If you have these in your pantry, throw them away. Have a can of Crisco? Please toss it.

Avoid processed foods! If you’re going to consume something processed, check the labels! This is important for everyone but especially important for children! I said goodbye to Roman’s favorite Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies after doing my research for this topic. Why? The second ingredient is a seed oil. Just because you perceive something to be healthy because of something like the word “organic” does not mean it’s healthy at all! A lot of protein bars and protein shakes have seed oils!

How Are Seed Oils Different from The Seeds Themselves?

The primary difference is the concentration. Dr. Paul Saladino recently put forward a video about rice bran oil, explaining that a single meal at Chipotle is prepared using a few tablespoons of rice bran oil. Doesn’t sound bad, right? Wrong. Why? Because it takes approximately 34 cups of brown rice to make those few tablespoons of oil. So the massive difference here is in the concentration. You’d never eat 34 cups of rice in a day, but you could easily have tablespoons worth of the oil in one meal or a part of one meal. And of course, people aren’t having these oils at just one meal or in just one component of meals. That’s why our intake is up 1000x.

My Personal Takeaways

I’ll be honest – I knew that seed oils were bad news but I didn’t consider just how bad they are and I hadn’t gone through the research until preparing for episode 1069 of the Primal Potential podcast. One thing I did right away was throw away my son’s Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. It’s a no for me.

Another sad shift – I’m not much of a protein bar gal, but I do sometimes treat myself to a crumbled up PowerCrunch bar in greek yogurt. Not anymore. It’s not worth the risk. I’ll find an alternative free from seed oils.

I use The Consistency Calendar to track certain habits each month and for the next upcoming month, one of the habits I’ll be tracking daily is “Zero seed oils”.

Want to know more?

Head over to the Primal Potential podcast and listen to episode 1069! If you have questions, be sure to let me know so I can do a follow up episode!

Chris Kresser is an incredible research if you want to dive down the rabbit hole further. Here’s a fantastic overview on seed oils he put together.

To read more about saturated fat, here’s a good paper.

Research specific to polyunsaturated fats.

On omega 3 versus omega 6 over the decades

BHA as endocrine disrupter

Vegetable Oils and CVD risk

The Rise of Seed Oil Consumption

Plant Based Diet or Animal Based Diet? Which Does The Research Support?

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a long-time listener who shared that she feels a plant-based diet is best for human health. Though she didn’t share any particular research, she indicated that her research indicated that plant based diets offer health benefits not seen in animal based diets. I disagree and I want to explain why but more importantly, I want to shed some light on why nutrition research can be misleading.

How is it possible that nutrition research can indicate that plant based diets lower cholesterol, lower inflammation and reduce risk of chronic disease due to the exclusion of meat while at the same time, different research indicates the exact opposite? It’s true: there’s compelling research on both sides. More importantly, there’s compelling real world evidence on both side. There are plant based individuals who have seen reduction in disease markers and animal based individuals who also experience dramatic health improvements with their carnivore diets.

Can this be explained? Yes, it can.

When the research is muddled, where should we focus? I’ll share my thoughts on that, too.

The Big Picture About Health: It’s Not As Simple as Plant Based Diet Versus Animal Based Diet

One of the big issues in nutrition research is known as healthy user bias. Science Direct describes healthy user bias this way.

“Healthy user bias gives the impression that the health of participants is the result of therapy {intervention}, when their good health stems from other healthy habits. Thus, healthy user bias can skew the results of case control or cohort studies. For example, in a cohort study using electronic records of statin use, those who renewed a statin prescription were more likely to receive a number of other preventive health services, including prostate-specific antigen testing, mammography, and influenza vaccinations, than those who didn’t.”

So, are their results related to statin use? Or is it that this group was more likely to receive other preventive health services? It’s an important question.

Studies that examine the health benefits of a plant-based or carnivore-style diet often do not or cannot control for confounding variables. A study of 100 vegans may find that they have better health markers than the general population. But this may be due to the fact that vegans are more likely to be active, non-smokers, not overweight, and consume less sugar and processed foods. It’s not necessarily because they don’t eat animal products.

Similarly, studies of people who follow a carnivore-style diet often fail to control for confounding variables. These individuals may also be more active, consume fewer processed foods, and carry more muscle and less fat. It’s not necessarily because they eat animal products.

The biggest issues affecting health are sugar, processed foods, seed/crop oils, overeating, being sedentary, and being overweight. It’s not just about whether you eat meat or plants. If you want to avoid animal products, that’s great. If you want to eat animal products, that’s great too. My role isn’t to convince anyone to eat a certain way.

What’s important is that we understand the bigger picture about health. And that we listen to our bodies and do what represents an improvement for us as individuals.

Anyone can claim that it’s about plants or animals. For most individuals, they’d be better served to focus on eating fewer processed foods, eating less seed oils, avoiding overeating, walking and putting on some muscle mass. And when you come across someone who wants to argue for these edge-of-the-spectrum approaches, keep in mind that these big rocks are what matter most!

My 3 Priorities For Postpartum Weight Loss

Several years back, I lost over 130 pounds after struggling with yo-yo dieting and obesity for most of my life. Here I am again, after having 4 kids in less than 2.5 years, on a postpartum weight loss journey.

Fortunately, I’m not interested in diets, plans or programs. I simply want to be fit, healthy, confident and have a rock solid relationship with food. I’m not interested in counting calories, macros or the latest restrictive way of eating that promises fat loss.

I could have said all the same things when I lost 130 pounds, but things are a little different this time. I’m older, I’m a bit wiser and I have 3 kids under 2 (so I don’t have the same amount of flexibility that I did years ago!) I talked about this in episode 1062 of the Primal Potential podcast in a lot more detail, but I wanted to summarize the 3 pillars of my postpartum weight loss approach. I’m always learning, rethinking and fine tuning, so here’s where things stand today.

The 3 Pillars of My Postpartum Weight Loss Approach

  1. Healing comes first
    I’m not sick. I haven’t been sick. Years ago, if someone had talked about prioritizing healing, I’d probably have tuned out because I didn’t think I had anything to heal from. Here’s what I know now: just looking at 3 pregnancies, 3 c-sections and 4 babies – there’s healing to be done! Then if we add in stress, antibiotic use, overeating, trauma from the loss of my daughter, lack of sleep (and more), there’s A LOT of healing to be done! I’m specifically talking about healing the gut. All the things I mentioned, and many more, break down the protective barrier in the gut, causing the immune system to kick into overdrive.As that happens, our inflammatory response is triggered and that leads to everything from brain fog to metabolic impairments to hormone imbalances, weight loss resistance and more!Because I want to be as healthy as possible and make weight loss easier, one of my primary priorities for postpartum weight loss is to heal my gut. (Tune in to episodes 1061 and 1062 of the Primal Potential podcast for a lot more about this! In these episodes I talk about how I’m doing this and some of the supplements that help. I’ll also link to them below.)
  2. Protein is a constant priority
    Every time I eat, whether it’s a meal or a snack, it will contain protein. Protein is essential for healing. It’s also essential for satiety and helps to reduce cravings. Most of us aren’t consuming enough protein. That doesn’t mean I’ll be going crazy with protein shakes and steaks the size of my head, but as a way of supporting blood sugar balance and warding off excessive hunger and cravings, protein will be present each time I eat.Some of my favorite ways to fit in protein are greek yogurt, eggs, protein smoothies (this is the protein I’m currently using), chicken thighs, salmon and cheese.
  3. Get strong as hell
    Okay…on this one, you first need to listen to episode 538 of the Primal Potential podcast. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and tune in to that episode. It doesn’t matter if postpartum weight loss is a goal of yours or it’s not. Everyone needs to listen to this episode at least a couple of times.I’m weight training (at home) 4 times weekly with the goal of getting STRONG. Cautionary tale: if you’re afraid of getting “bulky” if you lift weights, please know that only happens if you’re eating a caloric excess. If you are getting bulky and don’t want to be, that is a food issue, not a weight training issue.

    In getting strong and putting on some muscle (which has nothing to do with getting bigger – that’s a common misunderstanding), I’ll not only improve my fitness, improve my balance, my health span and my ability to take care of my loved ones, but I’ll also look better naked! And, one of my favorite benefits, because muscle is more metabolically active than other tissues, I’ll be able to eat more without putting on weight or preventing weight loss.

    But seriously – listen to episode 538 if you haven’t yet! Don’t skip it!

Here are some podcast episodes that you should listen to for more details:

Episode 1061: One of the Most Important Health & Weight Loss Episodes I’ve Done

Episode 1047: 10 Tips for Fat Loss

Episode 538: If You’re Over 30, You Need to Hear This

Supplements I’m Taking for Postpartum Weight Loss





Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase from the link, I could receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you pay. 

Weight Loss Cheat Sheet

Since the Primal Potential podcast started back in 2014, I’ve put together countless resources on the topic of weight loss, but it’s not always easy to sort though and find what you’re looking for. I’m putting together this weight loss cheat sheet to make it easier for you!

Weight Loss Cheat Sheet

Important Episodes on Weight Loss

Please note that the only place to listen to all episodes of the Primal Potential podcast is a podcast app like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Audible, Stitcher, Podbean, etc. For the first few years of the podcast, I made a blog post for every episode and those episodes do also live on my website. However, I haven’t done that for a couple years so you will not find every episode on my website. I‘m listing episode numbers so that you will head into your preferred podcast app and listen there. 

On Calories & Caloric Deficits

Episode 062 – 4 Reasons Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

Episode 002 – Hormones Trump Cals (and Why)

Episode 121 – Fat Loss Basics – Calories & Hormones 

On Carbohydrates

Episode 195: The Golden Rules of Carbs & Fat Loss

Episode 058 – Understanding Carbs & Fat Loss – The Insulin Effect

Episode 331 – Carb Storage and Fat Loss 

Episode 170 – Improving Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

On Fitness & Exercise

Episode 538: What Everyone Over 30 Needs to Know about Muscle 

Episode 513: The Elements of Fitness for Fat Loss

Episode 160 – Fat to Fit Part 3 (Fitness)

On Supplements

Episode 951 – The Impact of Your Microbiome on Your Weight

On Mindset, Excuses and Limiting Beliefs

Episode 903: My Top Tip for Getting Results

Episode 444 – Overcoming Excuses for Good!

Episode 939 – What to do About Inconsistency

On Protein

Episode 123 – Fat Loss Basics – Protein for Fat Loss

My Two Fave Protein Shake Recipes

Weight Loss Blogs

My Weight Loss Strategy for 2023

My Weight Loss Strategy for 2023

Yup, I’m breaking down my personal weight loss strategy for the new year. As most of you know, 2022 brought us identical twin girls! That means I was pregnant and had babies in 2020, 2021 and 2022! Not surprisingly, I’m not feeling as amazing in my body as I want to be!

Before you continue much further into this post, head to the Primal Potential podcast because in episode 1051 I’m sharing all the details about how I set goals, how I track my progress and (most importantly) how I keep my goals top of mind as I move through my busy days. That information is super relevant and important, but since it’s on the podcast, we’re not going to dive into it here.

My time is in seriously short supply with 3 kids under 2, multiple businesses and a non-profit, which means the only approach that will work for me is a simple one! Here it is!

My Personal Weight Loss Strategy

Nutrition is reigns supreme when it comes to fat loss but I don’t subscribe to time-intensive strategies like counting macros, calories, carbs or anything else. Instead, I follow the very simple Golden Rules of Carbs and Fat Loss. Essentially, I save my carbs for either post workout or my evening meal and I watch the quantity, quality and pairing of the carbs.

Here are some episodes where I share lots of info on what that means:

Episode 195 – The Golden Rules of Carbs and Fat Loss

Episode 007 – Carbs and Fat Loss – Timing Matters

I strength train 4 times per week, for 25-30 minutes per session. I do it at home with dumbbells and kettlebells – no time for trips to the gym in this season of life. Getting strong is critical for fat loss that lasts! If you don’t know where to start, hire a trainer! Even if you work with him/her for a few months, you’ll get the basics and can continue with what you learned on your own.

I get 10,000 steps per day. Seriously – sitting is the new smoking. It’s one of the deadliest behaviors we could habituate. Get up and move. You don’t need to jog or run, just walk at a leisurely pace. Often, I have one of my twins strapped to me in a carrier while I walk on the treadmill after Roman goes to bed, but no matter what, I get it done.

I drink 1 gallon of water today. To be honest, I usually drink more (because I’m pumping/breastfeeding two babies!) but the minimum is 1 gallon. Hydration impacts everything from metabolism to energy, immunity and more! Drink up!

I take 3 specific supplements to support my fat loss goals. 

The first is called GBXFit and it’s the first of it’s kind. It’s a quadbiotic (prebiotic, probiotic, postbiotic and phytobiotic) with strains that are proven to support optimal body composition.

I also take Relief+, an all natural anti-inflammatory because most of us have systemic inflammation and inflammation impairs fat loss.

Lastly (on the fat loss front) I take Mood+ which is an all-natural adaptogen blend. It helps my body adapt to physical and emotional stressors because stress impairs fat loss.

If you want to follow along with my journey, I share the most inside the Primal Potential FB group. It’s free to join and an amazingly supportive and informative community!

*please note that some of the links on this post and on my site are affiliate links, meaning that if you were to click and choose to purchase, I’d make a slight commission. It does not increase the price to you at all and I only share things I personally use, love and find tremendous value in. 

3-Day Detox

I recently shared that I’m doing a 3-day detox and so many of you asked me for the details that I figured it would be wise to put it here on the blog so you can easily find it whenever you’re interested. There are a million ways to detox, as many things to detox from and countless detox plans and programs. If you know me at all, it won’t surprise you that I detox my own way based on my goals, needs and lifestyle (and I think you should, too).

Yes, I could follow someone else’s rules or program, but that’s not what I’m doing. One of the reasons I’m making up my own rules is because my circumstances are unique to me in the same way that yours are unique to you. For example, I’m currently breastfeeding (and pumping), I’m a couple months postpartum and I’m anemic. While I do have a goal of weight loss, I also need to keep my milk supply up. On top of that, I have no interest in being miserable, cranky or having no energy for 3 hours, never mind 3 days!

Why A 3 Day Detox?

I don’t know about you, but I love to challenge myself. I like to mix it up and gain a little momentum. This is one way to do it and one of my reasons. I like sprinkling in fasts or detoxes, but I can’t fast right now (for the above stated reasons).

I think it’s incredibly important to detox. It’s valuable to detox from media, from screens, from alcohol, complaining, toxins, sugar and so many things. This particular detox is a nutrition detox, designed to jump start weight loss, reduce cravings, increase energy, eliminate toxins and help my body heal by reducing inflammation.

As silly as it might sound, my breast pump, coffee maker and washing machine prompted me to do this detox. Does anyone else have one of those fancy coffee makers that prompts you to run a cleaning cycle? While I’m the first to dismiss reminders to update my phone or computer, I rarely dismiss the cleaning prompts from my coffee maker. Why? Because I hate the idea of build-up from the machine getting into my morning cup of coffee. I hate the idea of mold or grime accumulating inside the machine. So, I run the cleaning cycle. I feel the same way about my breast pump. I’m vigilant about cleaning the parts thoroughly and constantly. Why? Because build-up accumulates and will absolutely get into the milk! No, thank you! And I’m sure you have all noticed how your washing machine gets kind of nasty if you don’t clean it, right?

Well, that illustrates why I think the occasional detox is important! You’d better believe that toxins accumulate in our tissues and that this accumulation impacts how we function! Not only does it lead to things like low energy and brain fog, it impairs fat loss, creates hormonal imbalance and drives inflammation/disease.

Nutritional detoxes are as important as flossing our teeth – maybe even more!

What’s My 3 Day Detox?

You can detox however you’d like. You can detox the way I am, you can fast, you can follow someone else’s detox (make sure they’re trustworthy!) or you can make up your own! I’m happy to share mine, with the caveat that I made up the guidelines based on my goals, needs and priorities. A big factor in how I’ll detox is the fact that I’m a very simple girl and I don’t like things that are complex or confusion. Here are the guidelines:

  • 1 gallon of water daily (plain water)
  • Meat, veggies and fruit only (if it’s not in one of those categories, I don’t eat it)
  • Reboot supplement pack (this is only about $15 with the code BENTON)

You might be thinking, “What about coffee?” Is coffee meat? Is coffee a vegetable? Is it a fruit? You can answer for yourself. I know some of you are convincing yourself that coffee berries make coffee a fruit. Your detox, your rules!

What Will I Eat?

I’ll be posting daily in the Primal Potential FB group so you can check out the details there, but here’s a sample day:

AM: leftover chicken thighs + 1 medium apple

Lunch: Salad from Chipotle Mexican grill (lettuce, steak, pico, fajita veggies, guacamole)

Dinner: Steak and broccoli

Snacks: Blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes

Do You Have to Take Reboot?

It’s your detox. You make your rules. I think about it like this: if I run my dishwasher without detergent, are the dishes clean? Well, they’re cleaner than they were before I ran it, but they aren’t as clean as they would be if I had used detergent. You can detox without supplements that support detoxification and elimination. However, your detox probably won’t be as effective as it would have been if you included them. The way I see it, it’s a really effective 3-day product pack specifically for detoxification and it’s really affordable, so it’s worth it to me. You get to do your detox your way!

Remember to drink a lot of water! That’s going to help flush out any toxins! Happy detoxing!


Postpartum Weight Loss

This post includes affiliate links and non affiliate links, always to things I personally love and recommend! If you follow the link and purchase, I may receive a small commission. 

As crazy as it sounds, I’ve had 4 babies in less than 3 years. It’s even crazier when you consider that includes 3 c-sections, twins born over 3 months premature, months in the NICU and the unexpected death of our daughter Dagny at just 14 days old. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least! The twins, though still in the NICU, are now a couple months old and I’m ready to focus on postpartum weight loss.

Because my kiddos were born so close together, I didn’t lose all my baby weight from my first pregnancy before getting pregnant with my son less than 6 months later. I didn’t lose all the weight from those two pregnancies before getting pregnant with twins, either!

Dagny – 2020

Roman – 2021

Piper & Charlie – 2022

I’ve noticed a lot of shame and pressure in conversations about postpartum weight loss, and while I certainly have moments of not loving how my body looks, I’m determined to not choose the perspectives of pressure or panic. As I see it, we can want to change something while remaining calm, positive and relaxed in the pursuit. Plus, with a 16 month old at home and the twins in the NICU two hours away, I’m not opting into additional stress.

How I’m Approaching Postpartum Weight Loss

As is the case for many moms, postpartum weight loss isn’t as straight forward as weight loss in other seasons of life, because I have to factor in my milk supply. With two babies to feed, I can’t have that dropping down for the sake of weight loss. Plus, I’m recovering from a c-section which factors into my workout choices and I’m trying to overcome anemia from significant blood loss before the twins were born.

Most importantly, I only want weight loss I can sustain. For me, that means only adopting nutrition strategies that I’m willing (and wanting) to sustain for life. I’m not working hard for results that I can’t or won’t maintain – that’s the worst, in my opinion!

There are a few additional factors I think it’s important to share as they impact my food choices and lifestyle:

  • I’m a super simple girl. I don’t do complex recipes and I want to spend as little time as possible cooking.
  • I currently spend 7-8 hours a day outside of the house between driving to/from the hospital and visiting with the twins.
  • I don’t make separate meals for my 16-month old. Everything I eat needs to be something he can/will eat.
  • I don’t eat foods I don’t enjoy. I love food! I want to enjoy every meal. That’s a must for me.
  • Though sleep is important for fat loss (and healing), I don’t get much of it. My 16 month old is going through a sleep regression and I get up by 4:30 every morning to drive to the hospital.
  • I think working out is incredibly important for health and longevity. It’s not, however, primary for fat loss. Nutrition is. So, while I workout a few days a week, that’s more of a lifestyle strategy and not a fat loss strategy. Fat loss is all about hormones and nutrition.

Eating for Postpartum Weight Loss

This is what works for me right now. It doesn’t mean this is what works for you. In fact, what so many people overlook is that one of the reasons this works for me is because it’s inclusive of foods I love. If these aren’t foods you love or look forward to eating, it’s probably not right for you!

These are also foods that my toddler will eat and foods that are super portable for my trips to and from the hospital. I also drink about a gallon of water throughout the day.

Here’s a pretty typical day of eating:

4:30am coffee with a splash of heavy cream

5am 5% (full fat) plain greek yogurt with 1 scoop chocolate protein powder

9am Kalahari Biltong (sugar free beef jerky)

11:30am Chipotle Mexican Grill (Here’s my order: burrito bowl, no rice or beans, add fajita veggies, steak, pico, guacamole)

2:45pm protein shake made with water, ice and a spoonful of cashew butter

5:30pm spaghetti squash topped with ground beef, tomatoes, basil and cheese

**Sometimes I’ll have some popcorn before bed, but I go to bed as early as humanly possible, so when I have the choice of bed or popcorn, bed wins!

Two or three times a week we’ll go out to dinner instead of eating at home. I’ve found that as long as I’m not choosing starch or sugar, I can be pretty flexible in what I order. I remind myself that if I eat even just 4 times per day, including snacks, that’s 28 times per week. Two or 3 of those 28 times aren’t the make or break for fat loss. With that perspective, I don’t stress over eating out as much as I used to. However, I have done a few podcast episodes on eating out, if that’s something you want help with. Check out episodes 091 and 439 of the Primal Potential podcast for more on this! 

Supplementing for Postpartum Recovery and Weight Loss

It’s hard to distinguish between supplements I take for restoring health after pregnancy/c-section and supplements I take to support weight loss because at the end of the day, your body will resist fat loss if it’s unwell. Supporting recovery is supporting weight loss. Of course none of these supplements are required for fat loss, but I’d be leaving a lot out if I didn’t include this part of my protocol.

Thorne Ferrasorb – this is an iron supplement I take because of my postpartum anemia. I don’t take iron daily outside of this goal.

Relief+ – this is an all natural anti-inflammatory. There’s a lot of inflammation in your system after pregnancy and delivery. Additionally, carrying extra weight often initiates inflammation and yet excess inflammation can slow fat loss. This is one I take all the time, even outside of a fat loss or postpartum period.

GBXFit – this one is the world’s first quadbiotic and it’s a supplement that specifically targets fat loss.

Mood+ – this is an all natural adaptogen that helps to moderate the body’s stress response. This is a must-have for restoring hormone balance, reducing the likelihood of postpartum depression and facilitating fat loss (because stress inhibits fat loss). I take this in all seasons of life.

KidsMood – same as above, just a different formula to tackle different angles. I take this in all seasons of life.

Grass fed Beef Liver – you won’t catch me eating liver. I think it’s disgusting but the health and healing benefits are unrivaled.

Omega – If you don’t take DHA, you don’t have DHA. For a million reasons, this is one I take daily. Fat is healing and healed bodies burn fat better. These omega fatty acids are some of the most important ones. I take this in all seasons of life.

What About Workouts?

As I shared earlier, I view working out as something to do for longevity, mental health and energy more than something for fat loss. After all, you can negate the caloric benefits of a workout in a single snack or meal! If you can only focus on one thing for postpartum fat loss, have it be nutrition!

With that said, I emphasize walking as much as possible and lifting weights a few times per week. I’ll move toward heavier weights as my core heals from my c-section. I like to focus on compound functional movements like squatting, deadlifting, pressing and pulling. These workouts are low intensity and short in duration. Nutrition and hormones are the drivers of fat loss, especially postpartum!

What did I leave out? I’m an open book so hit me with any questions you have and join the Primal Potential FB group to see and hear more updates from my journey!

The Best Protein Shake: My Two Favorite Recipes

*This post includes some affiliate links. That means I may make a few pennies if you choose to purchase, but your price is never impacted.*

I’m not going to lie: I’m picky, especially when it comes to protein shakes. Hands down, I make the best protein shake. Not only does it need to be healthy, it’s just as important to me that it tastes good. If I don’t enjoy drinking it and look forward to it each day, I’m not going to go to the trouble of dirtying the blender. Today I’m going to share with you my top two recipes and some variations based on your preferences and favorite ingredients.

best protein shake

Before we get into the recipes though, I have to share a few under-appreciated tips for creating your best protein shake.

  1. Make sure you have a great blender! 
    Ever had a clumpy protein shake? Yeah, that’s gross. Especially because I’m a huge fan upping the nutrient density and volume by adding cauliflower rice. It has no flavor and takes on whatever it’s with, but you want it to be creamy and smooth, so a good blender is a must. For the last 10 years, I’ve used a Vitamix. Yes, they’re pricey, but they last. If I did the math on the price per use, it would be pennies.
  2. Choose a quality protein powder
    Here’s the deal – not all protein is created equal, at all. I won’t tell you “the best” because that depends on your goals. The best I can do is share my criteria for selecting a protein powder and the one I love most. I want to make sure I’m getting at least 15-20 grams of protein in my shake and I want to be sure it’s high quality, “clean”, and a form that is easily digested. It’s also important to me that it’s low in both carbohydrates and sugars. I don’t want artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. But at the same time, it has to taste great and mix well. I’ve tried a ton and the vast majority leave me disappointed. Currently, there’s one that I truly love and it’s Amare’s GBX Protein. It comes in vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel. I use the vanilla and chocolate most. One serving delivers 17g protein, only 4g carbohydrate and zero sugar. Yes please!

The Best Protein Shake – My Two Favorite Recipes

As of when I’m writing this, I’m pregnant with twins and this one is my daily favorite. Sometimes it’s breakfast, sometimes it’s lunch, sometimes it’s dinner, but it’s always part of my day. When I drink it, I know I’m getting some veggies, protein, fat and some carbs from a whole food source. And of course, it’s delicious, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t drink it! My 11 month old is a big fan, too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana

Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until creamy!

  • Approximately 2 cups water (you can absolutely use your favorite milk, if you’d prefer)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (I use cashew butter most often)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein (this is the one I swear by)

If you’re looking to pump up the protein even more, add 1/2 cup of greek yogurt! If you’re looking to stay even lower carb, you can ditch the banana and/or just use 1/4 of it. At the same time though: don’t stress over 1/2 a banana. No one has a weight issue because they put 1/2 banana in their protein shake, ya know? #perspective

Green Protein

Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until creamy!

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk of your choice (I use almond or cashew milk)
  • 1 handful raw spinach
  • 3/4 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (you can use any fruit you love – I like blueberries or mango best)
  • 2 scoops vanilla GBX Protein 
  • *optional 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • *optional 1 scoop mentabiotics
  • *optional 1 tbsp maca

I have a million variations of these shakes based on what I’m in the mood for and what I have on hand. Sometimes I skip the spinach but I rarely skip the frozen cauliflower rice. These are a great way to pack in a super nutrient-dense meal AND have something very quick and easy that you enjoy!

I have a coupon code for the protein I use, so reach out if you’d like me to share it!

Mental Mistakes That Will Kill Your Progress

What if, from this point forward, you made consistent progress toward your goals without being held back by excuses, delays or the dreaded self-sabotage? Even if it seems unlikely, or unlike you, it’s absolutely possible. The key is avoiding a few super common mental mistakes that can kill your progress!

We’re diving into them in episode 953 of the Primal Potential podcast, so if this sounds like something you need to focus on, don’t miss the episode!

Mental Mistakes That Will Kill Your Progress


I know, no one likes to think of themselves as dramatic and you probably don’t think that of all things, drama is what’s holding you back. However, think of drama the way author Cy Wakeman defines it: drama is what you add to the facts. 

When I look back at my decades of failed weight loss attempts, I see a lot of drama. If I pledged to eat super clean all day but quickly succumbed to the donuts in the break room I’d think, “What’s wrong with me! Why can’t I just be consistent! I screwed up the whole day!” Drama. The plain fact is that I ate a donut. What I added to the fact was all sorts of emotion, judgement and doomsday-ing.

I hear drama from my clients all the time when they share their own judgement and emotional projection over something that’s really not a big deal at all.

Drama keeps us from moving on to our next best choice. It drains our energy and tricks us into focusing more on the problem than we do on the solution. Sometimes we just need to practice being a bit more rational and emotionally mature. Being objective when you are used to be emotional can change the game completely!

(A big part of drama stems from unrealistic expectations. I dive into that piece in episode 953 so make sure to tune in to the episode for that!)


We have a lot of competing priorities and a finite amount of time to give to them. That’s one of the major reasons people drift away from their good intentions, discipline and commitment. It’s not easy to stay engaged but it is possible. It requires that we recognize our tendency to drift and instead choose to remain intentional each day.

We’re not striving to be perfect – there’s no need to execute a perfect 10/10 day, but we do have to stay tethered to what it is we’re trying to achieve.

Personally, the Change Makers Journal is the tool I use to ensure I don’t drift. That doesn’t have to be your tool, but you do need one!

Pretending You Don’t Know

Almost every day, someone in my Primal Potential FB group messages me to share that they ‘just don’t know’. They don’t know where to start, they don’t know how to reach their goal, they don’t know what’s wrong with them or they don’t know how to get unstuck.

More often than not, I respond to these statements the same way. I tell them, “I think you do know. I think you can absolutely tell me one idea for where to start, or one thing you could do to reach your goal or one thing you’re doing that’s getting in your way, etc.”

Every single time – literally every single time – I’ve been right. They do have ideas. They do know improvements they can make. But, this mental mistake of telling ourselves or others that we don’t know…it’s lethal!

It’s a way that we subconsciously let ourselves off the hook. We don’t have to do anything when “we don’t know”, but if we’re begin honest, we ALWAYS know enough to take a single step forward. Every. single. time.

With each and every one of these mental mistakes, and others, we have to slow down enough to allow our higher, more rational thinking to show up to the party.

If you can relate to any of these mental mistakes, make sure you tune in to episode 953 of the Primal Potential podcast!


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