As is tradition, my goal for April Fools Day was to “unfool” and “unbrainwash” you by debunking common nutrition myths.

Here’s the recap of my 2015 “Don’t be FOOLED” series:

Don’t be FOOLED: Breakfast is not optional in a health-centered lifestyle! Maybe eggs aren’t really your thing and that’s okay! There are SO MANY ways to get a PFC balanced breakfast in before your day starts — and quick ways, too! It’s a surefire way to get you on the right path towards achieving your health goals. Check out my top 10 favorite breakfast eggceHighProteinCerealptions.

Don't be FOOLED: Breakfast cereals—even those high in protein—are not good for your energy levels, cognitive function or waistline!  Instead of starting your day with a sugar rush, stick with a real food breakfast like whole eggs fried in butter with a side of sautéed sweet potato or fruit. Educate yourself on the sugar comparison in common breakfasts here.

Don’t be FOOLED: Those marketed detox cleanses and programs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The best detox is one that HEALS your body and provides you with lasting changes. Eat REAL food free of harsh chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives to help you feel refreshed and energized and if you want to reset, do it in a way that still supports your metabolism as outlined in my free guide that you can get by hitting the pink button.

Get your Metabolism Boosters Guide!

Don’t be FOOLED: There is no one “magic fruit” or superfood. Most of these items land squarely in the carbs category and if you’re relying on a carb alone to fix your health issues, you’ll be mighty disappointed. ALWAYS pair your carb with a protein and fat (or just a fat if it’s bedtime) to keep your blood sugars stable and your energy levels up.

Don’t be FOOLED: You certainly CAN give up your daily designer coffee drinks or your vending machine snacks or your bread basket with dinner. While it might seem difficult to give up sugar, dairy, grains, or any other category you’re sensitive to or that your body doesn’t like, the benefit you’ll receive when the headaches, fatigue, and excess weight subside will be SO much greater than any pleasure you got from the food that caused the problem in the first place!

Don’t be FOOLED: Whole grains are NOT healthy. Even if they are “whole,” they are refined and refined foods will never be better for us than real foods. They turn to sugar in the bloodstream promoting imbalanced blood sugar levels, sugar cravings, inflammation AND contain anti-nutrients like lectins and phytates that interfere with absorption of good stuff. Replace bread with vegetables and fruits and you’ll get all of the things bread promises to deliver, and at a higher concentration AND without negative side effects.

inflammation_dietitian_nutritionDon’t be FOOLED: Those headaches, frequent colds, asthma, achy joints and IBS are only symptoms of the bigger problem happening inside your body: INFLAMMATION. Inflammation is almost always the underlying issue where chronic disease and weight gain are concerned. Treat the inflammation by healing your gut, eliminating foods your body is sensitive to, exercising appropriately, and eating real food. Talking with one of our health coaches will get you on the right path to healing that inflammation as well.

Don’t be FOOLED: More is not always better (with the exception of butter ;)), especially when it comes to exercise. Short bursts of high-intensity interval exercises are most efficient for your metabolism.

Don’t be FOOLED: Splenda and the ever expanding list of artificial sweeteners do NOT promote weight loss (and actually contribute to weight gain), and are NOT a good option for diabetics (and actually raise our blood sugars). They worsen our gut health. They can contribute to making us eat more sugar. Get the facts straight.

Don’t be FOOLED: Butter in coffee isn’t crazy! Myself, my team and hundreds of our clients have been reaping the benefits and you can too! From more brain power to less pounds, this amazingly delicious morning beverage delivers. Give it and try and report back how it works for you! Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 7.56.12 AM

Don’t be FOOLED: Drugs and “starving” a cold aren’t the best go-to options when treating seasonal sickness. There are many natural and more effective ways to battle colds including bone broth, probiotics, and increasing key supplements. Learn more here.

Don’t be FOOLED: While food certainly matters, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to weight loss. You’ve been trying this “real food” way of eating, and swear you’re following our PFC guidelines to a tee, but you’re not losing weight…what’s going on!?!?!? While you may seem to be doing everything right, our bodies are unique entities and it’s not just about food or burning calories like we’ve been brainwashed to believe. Consider many of the non-food components to your weight loss in this 3 part series.

Don’t be FOOLED: Drugs and other risky treatments are not the only (and certainly not best) route in finding health for your body. Your gut is the place to start, and there are natural, healthy ways to restore and support your gut health and, in turn, your overall health. The gut is the central activity hub for your immune system, so healing this major system is going to give you the leg up on health that you need. Learn the best strategies for healing your gut here.

Don’t be FOOLED: School-provided lunches are not the best choice for your children, and preparing them at home doesn’t need to be intimidating. Kids can eat healthy and there are many options that they’ll actually enjoy, too! Here are some ideas.

Don’t be FOOLED: Exercising on an empty stomach and restricting food in order to lose weight is not the best route to take, and could do even more damage in the process. Make sure you’re always fueling your fitness routine with proper nutritional balance so you can achieve the best results possible.

DHeart_Disease_Dietitianon’t be FOOLED: Heart health is not all about driving your total cholesterol number to the ground and steering clear of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. That won’t make you healthier! The fact of the matter is that cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease! For other heart health related myths debunked, check out 7 Things Your Doctor Didn’t Tell You About Heart Health.

Don’t be FOOLED: Bacteria are your friends when it comes to a healthy gut! Good bacteria like those found in probiotics, yogurt, and fermented foods are absolutely essential in keeping your gut flora balanced and healthy so digestion and the absorption of nutrients is a smooth process for your body.

Don’t be FOOLED: If you have diabetes, consuming 45-60 grams of carbohydrate at every meal (as you may have been advised), is not the best way to control your blood sugars. Consuming LESS of what causes your blood sugar levels to spike (carbs) and more protein and healthy fat will give you more control. You can balance blood sugar levels by eating the right foods in the right combinations! Around here we call it PFC (Protein, Fat, Carbs). Learn how to manage diabetes with real food.

Don’t be FOOLED: You CAN overcome food addictions and cravings and you CAN build a healthy relationship with food, NO MATTER WHAT your history with food has been! 🙂 (And that's what our personal coaching program was developed for.)

Don’t be FOOLED: Going gluten-free isn’t only for those with Celiac Disease. Gluten could be the culprit behind your eczema, headaches, acid reflux, or even depression! But don’t get caught up in the hype of gluten-free products… eating a PFC balanced diet is naturally gluten free! Do it the real food way.

Don’t be FOOLED: Most coffee creamers are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and/or TRANS FATS. Yuck! Keep it simple and use real cream, coconut cream or butter (all of which are healthy fats)!

Don’t be FOOLED: Not all supplements are created equal. Just like putting high quality food into your body is important, you want to be putting high quality supplements into it as well. We recommend pharmacetuical grade or nothin’, since many supplements will do more harm than good. If it's not pharm grade, then it really doesn't matter what it says is in there since non-pharm grade supps aren't regulated in any way, shape or form. Can't trust 'em! Especially after that latest study with scary ingredients being found when they tested the supplements at places like Target, GNC, Walgreens and Walmart. Yikes! We carry only the highest quality supplements in the Real Food Vitamins Store and are pretty darn proud of the high standards we hold (and have heard pretty awesome things about our customer service team :)). Be sure your supplements are pharmaceutical grade, and I’d suggest tossing the rest in the trash where they belong.

Don’t be FOOLED: Depriving your body of food, calories, fat or anything really, is not going to keep you thin. You need to fuel your body to shed pounds. Our body will never work more efficiently and you won't have more energy when you restrict it of what it needs to run. When you are hungry, your metabolism is already slowing down in attempt to conserve energy until you properly fuel it again. When you restrict, your body works aNutritionist_Dietitian_Minnesotagainst you to compensate for the energy it needs from food that it’s not getting. You might need to eat more to lose weight!

Don’t be FOOLED: Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, I believe in simplicity and getting back to the basics by eating real food in balance in a timely way to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.

Don’t be FOOLED: No one NEEDS milk and I don't consider milk to be a good source of nutrition. For babies, breast milk provides them with what they need to grow. In my opinion, cow's milk is for baby cows. Milk is very inflammatory, causes an increased insulin response and nearly 50 MILLION Americans and over 70%of the world's population are intolerant to dairy. (Yet many people don't realize this until they eliminate it!) *Side note, yogurt and kefir fall don't fall into this category because they are fermented which reduce the amount of lactose, so many people can handle it. So if you think you can tolerate it and you choose to drink it, great! Personally, I would not drink milk unless it's raw… and that's another story 🙂

Don’t be FOOLED: You don’t have to be at the mercy of your emotions or intense cravings! Hanger management is available to each and every one of you when you take the time to balance your blood sugar!

Don’t be FOOLED: Juice cleanses, Egg Beaters, superfoods, diet pills, and other health fads aren’t what makes up a healthy lifestyle. Your friends and family might swear by some wacky method to drop twenty pounds in a week, but the bottom line is it’s probably not a healthy or sustainable way to keep the weight off. Real food in PFC balance is a lifestyle that is empowering for everyone since it is both sustainable and gives you the energy and health you need to live a full life.

Don’t be FOOLED: Allergy tests won’t always tell you the whole story. Plenty of our clients have a clean bill when it comes to allergy tests, yet find through elimination and reintroduction that dairy, gluten or soy (among other potential offenders) are actually major culprits in their health issues! We recommend cutting out a suspected food item for four weeks before trying it again to see how your body reacts.booze

Don't be FOOLED: Not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. Many mixed and specialty drinks are high in sugar and/or artificial sweeteners, and who knows what else. Stick with clear spirits, like vodka, tequila and gin (liqueurs like amaretto, rum or crème de Menthe usually have sugar added). Vodka or tequila + soda water + fresh squeezed lime is refreshing and free of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Wine and kombucha cocktails are a couple of my favorites. Check out this post for more on alcohol.

Don’t be FOOLED: Eating healthy doesn’t require you to break the bank. In fact, there are many ways to be cost effective as you make lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your healthy habits.

Don’t be FOOLED: Just because something is labeled “natural” does NOT make it good for you! There are some pretty loose guidelines for food labels, so do your research when choosing the best produce, fats and meats for your body.

Don’t be FOOLED: Six hours of sleep each night is not sufficient for sustaining a healthy life. Sleep is just as important as the food you put into your body when it comes to reaching your health goals. If you find sleep to be a sore spot for you, check out this post and this one for the sleep apps I use.

Don’t be FOOLED: Eating out at restaurants doesn’t have to be off limits when eating healthy, although it may require some extra thinking and planning on your part when you’re eating somewhere without a health-conscious menu. We’ve done a little bit of that prep work for you, so take a look at our "8 Tips for PFC Restaurant Eating."

Don't be FOOLED: Gluten free is not a fad. Forty percent of people in the world have a gluten sensitivity. Many don’t know that their body can’t tolerate gluten or dairy until they reduce the amounts they are taking in. I don’t think gluten is necessary and I don’t think we need it AND did you know that PFC balanced eating is naturally gluten free? 🙂PFC_Travel

Don’t be FOOLED: Your healthy eating doesn’t need to be derailed when you’re traveling. Whether it’s a road trip or a flight, there are several strategies and ways you can make sure your health doesn’t take a hit just because you’ve left home. Check out these traveling posts: Road Trip Edition and Flying and Hotel Living Edition.

Don’t be FOOLED: Having a fit body doesn’t require hours upon hours at the gym. Physical activity is absolutely important and we definitely recommend regular exercise, but exercise can look different from person to person. There are many different ways to incorporate exercise on a daily basis from parking farther away from the store’s entrance to rock climbing adventures on date night!

Don’t be FOOLED: Despite the “health halo” they wear, bread, granola bars and flavored yogurts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when it comes to your waistline. Ditch the fake foods and embrace real ones.

Don’t be FOOLED: There’s more to reaching weight loss goals than just eating less. Your body is so much more advanced than “calories burned must be greater than calories consumed.” The key is supporting your metabolism and keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Read our series “Help! I’m Eating Real Food and Not Losing Weight!” to find out where you might be missing the boat.

Don’t be FOOLED: Eating healthy doesn’t require a catchy name or a strict diet to follow. There are many different styles to eating in PFC balance (the Paleo version, the Low-Carb version, etc.), and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that truly works for everyone. Find what works for YOU and stick with it! If you aren’t sure where to begin, I’d suggest meeting with one of our health coaches (we are all Registered Dietitians) to help you get started with an individualized eating plan.

Don’t be FOOLED: Eating before bed is actually GREAT for your health. Don’t skimp out on your fat and carb at bedtime, and your blood sugar levels will thank you for it by setting you up for a restful night of restorative sleep. Choco-Banana Pudding

Wow, that's a lot! Now what?

If this is all news to you, then thanks for being here and I’m honored to have played a role in the beginning of your journey to real food and, what I call, “unbrainwashing.”

If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, start here:

Dietitian_Cassie_Nutrition1. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for action steps and tips. (Once you’ve “liked” me on Facebook, under “Liked” hit “Get notifications” to make sure you don’t miss any of my updates).

3. Consider our personal coaching program. This is the best way to get individualized recommendations for your goals, your body, your biochemistry and your lifestyle.

4. Check out the PFC Club! This is our answer to your desire for community, guidance, exclusive access to my team and I outside of coaching appointments, and a way to connect with others who share the same desire to live a healthy, simple life. My team and I answer questions in the Community Group daily, and we offer weekly PFC balanced recipes, weekly videos, a book club and more! Watch my short video on the Club here.

5. Grab my Metabolism Boosters Guide! Just click the pink button below.

Get your Metabolism Boosters Guide!