Did you eat cereal as a kid? Many of us growing up in the U.S. are well acquainted with breakfast cereals and while the majority of breakfast cereals are atrocious when it comes to nutritional value and in fact they do more harm than good, there are some that we would recommend occasionally if you are looking to enjoy memories of your youth.

Some important things to look for are organic, non-gmo, unrefined sweeteners, stable fats (no vegetable, soy, or canola oil), and ideally sprouted grains.

Here are some we like (in varying degrees of meeting the criteria):

Probably our current favorite are cereals from One Degree Organic Foods. We love that they sprout the grains and use coconut palm sugar to sweeten.

Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps – Organic brown rice, organic coconut palm sugar, organic cacao, organic sunflower oil, organic sunflower lecithin, unrefined salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).

Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps – Organic brown rice, organic coconut palm sugar, unrefined salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).

Organic Sprouted Ancient Grain O’s – Organic Khorosan Wheat, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Palm Sugar, Unrefined Salt, Tocopherols (Vitamin E).

Organic Sprouted Ancient Maize – Organic Sprouted Maize, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Sprouted Buckwheat, Organic Sprouted Amaranth, Unrefined Salt, Tocopherols (Vitamin E).

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Choco Chimps – Great for those who used to like cocoa puffs. Organic Whole Grain Corn Meal, Organic Corn Meal, Organic Cane Sugar, Fair Trade
Cocoa, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt.

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch – Organic Whole Grain Corn Meal, Organic Corn Meal, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Brown Sugar, Organic Molasses, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt.

Kashi Organic Promise Cinnamon Harvest – Organic Wheat, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cinnamon, Natural Cinnamon Flavor.

Food For Life Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal, Cinnamon Raisin – This cereal might remind you a little of Grape Nuts. Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat, Organic Raisins, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Millet, Organic Sprouted Whole Lentils, Organic Sprouted Whole Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Whole Spelt, Filtered Water, Sea Salt.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Sprouted Multigrain Flakes – Organic Whole Grain Sprouted Barley, Organic Whole Grain Sprouted Wheat, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice, Organic Whole Grain Rolled Spelt Flakes, Organic Pear Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt, Mixed Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes – Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Grits, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Flour, Organic Maple Syrup, Sea Salt, Organic Honey, Ascorbic Acid, and Natural Vitamin E.

Do you have any cereal stories to share? What are some that you like? Leave us a comment below and let us know!


organic eggs

The Cornucopia Institute released an organic egg scorecard. Being that many organic farms and producers are actually owned by corporations which oppose organic methods and practices, it is important to see if the farm or producer actually cares about QUALITY products and not just the name ORGANIC in order to sell more product.

Here at LFA we love working with local farms that are truly providing organic, pastured, nutrient dense foods. We recommend purchasing eggs that are at least 3 EGGS (3 stars) and up on the scorecard! The Organic Egg scorecard is a great way to check up on how some farms and producers are doing. How do your eggs measure up? Check out the scorecard.


We think it’s time to connect a couple of dots in our culture. There are a few things about emotional eating that typically aren’t related to celebrating with food. Let’s spend some time clarifying what emotional eating can do on both sides of the spectrum.

You may know about comfort foods—but have you ever considered the reason why we call them comfort foods? Or maybe the better question, why do we need to be comforted by food at all? Are we so emotionally deprived that in any given moment of hurt or being let down we run to certain foods for warmth? Is it wrong to have comfort foods?

Let’s answer some of these important questions, shall we!
Comfort foods can be anything really but most of the time it seems for the majority of America it’s sugars and starchy foods. Foods like bagels, doughnuts, chips, cake, cookies, chocolate, etc. For others it can go as far as being alcohol. Being comforted by these things isn’t wrong it’s just dangerous. Dangerous because foods are just that, food. They cannot love in return, they cannot fulfill loneliness, they cannot replace a loved one or a job. Your sense of worth needs to come from someplace else. Looking for something to fill you emotionally and spiritually should never come from food. It’s not fair for you or your food. It cannot and will never be able to hug, high five, or tell you that you are loved.

Setting time aside to grow spiritually is the first step in healing your emotions, finding your self worth and working towards understanding how to love others. Now I’m not saying that you don’t know how to love others. I’m saying that tying your comforts up in things like food impedes or impairs your ability to love wholly. And it will lead to continuing let-downs because, like I said before, food cannot love you back.

Celebrating with food can be great and a great way to bring people together. However there can be some dangers too. It can be mixed in with the same dangers of emotional eating. Just like the emotional eating, the cycle gets to a point of celebrating everything or being hurt by everything. Then we tend to think that we can only feel safe, loved, happy, or fun when food is around. It might lead you to think that you can’t have fun or show someone you love them without somehow involving food. It’s a slippery slope that a lot of clients don’t realize they are stuck in. What’s the best way to counter this action?

There are several things you can do, but here are some you can try (AIDSHIC):
+ Admit that you are eating emotional (celebratory or because of hurt)
+ If you are hurt, try telling the person that hurt you along with why you felt hurt
+ Do NOT use exercise as discipline or a way out of guilt if you feel like you failed. Just take it one meal at a time.
+ Seek accountability or counsel to get healing emotionally
+ Have better foods available (there are scores of healthier versions of your favorite foods)
+ If cooking for someone makes you feel like you’re showing them love, ask them if there is anything else that you do that makes them feel the same way.
+ Celebrate with gratefulness in your mind!

Remember you are not a failure for making a mistake with food (it is just food) or having a bad day. Certainly don’t ever look to exercise as a way to escape guilt either. Be in a right place when working out and if you cannot do that in your current gym then try Life Fitness Academy. No fear, no judgment, just real people sharing real truth with their friends.


Nashville nutrition

The Food, Nutrition, and Supplement Seminar is a chance for both new and existing clients to get more in-depth information than what is available during the workout time. We will bring you the information from our one-on-one wellness consult with Tim Mallon for a reduced rate in a group setting. The seminar will cover a discussion of different types of food and nutrition (food education), keys necessary to consider for health and wellness, recommended supplements, cleanses, and products, and a question/answer time.

Benefits to attendees:
* gain a better scope and perspective for your health journey
* examples of health promoting daily routines
* aid in discerning the root cause(s) of any condition or illness
* information to help “connect the dots” when dealing with confusing health problems journey
* free product giveaways! (several items from the herbs, essential oils, and foods we discuss)

what: Food, Nutrition, and Supplement Seminar
when: 6:30pm-8:30pm Thursday, March 26, 2015
where: Life Fitness Academy Creative Space – 1210 8th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37203
cost: $20 if you RSVP by Monday, March 23, 2015 (3/23/15), else $25. You can RSVP online (click on Nutrition Workshop). Contact us if you have any questions.

Quick Eats: Fermented Foods

nashville food ferments

Our next cooking adventure will take you along the yellow brick road to fermented foods! Continuing our theme of easy eats, this class will show you simple recipes and demonstrate ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Fermented foods improve digestion and immune health. Join us, June 26, at 6:00 pm for demonstrations, samples, and options to purchase the featured ferments! Please RSVP to let us know you are coming. The cost is $12.50 and will be held at the LFA gym: 1200 Villa place. suite 406.

Quick Eats Cooking Workshop

Are you having a hard time thinking of meals that are healthy and yet are quick and easy? Many times we all get home from work for the evening and feel too tired to prepare a meal and then we feel bad that we are eating crap. Well we have a workshop to help you!

Join us as we show you some quick eats on May 8, 2014 at 6:00pm. We’ll show you some recipes that are quick, easy, and delicious (and eat!). You will leave with some good ideas so you won’t feel lost when trying to make a quick and healthy dinner.


What: Quick Eats Workshop
When: Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 6:00pm
Where: Life Fitness Academy gym – 1200 Villa Place, suite 406, Nashville, TN 37212
Cost: $12.50

Please send us a message or give us a call (615-562-2633) to RSVP!

nashville food education

Be a Skeptic

nashville personal trainer

With so many diet and exercise trends out there it’s hard to know who or what to trust. You may come across someone who looks like a trainer with their chiseled abs and defined muscles promoting their own agenda of eating zero fat along with crazy amounts of protein shakes. Or you may be shopping at the seemingly trendy, health food stores and come across something that is promoted as sugar-free or reduced fat on the label. With all of the media diet and exercise trends out there, there is just one rule that I can give my clients, and that is to be a skeptic of everything and everyone, especially when it comes to mainstream opinions on food and health.

For the longest time I was a rule follower, mostly shopping at Wally World and trying to save money by buying generic wheat bread, bags of frozen veggies, skim milk, and using Splenda and skim in my coffee. I would put many different colors on my plate with frozen carrots, brown rice, frozen chicken from a bag, and green beans from a can. I just knew I was eating healthy, but why did I still feel like absolute garbage? I found the answer when I came to workout with Terry at Life Fitness Academy. I had been eating like this for a long time, and one offseason of working out with Terry changed my whole outlook on the food and exercise industry because it opened my eyes to the way things are marketed.

It’s exhausting out there. You drink meal replacements or protein shakes. You think you’re eating healthy, buying items at the store with Low Fat or something Sugar-Free on the label. You use calorie-free Splenda and drink fat-free skim milk. You shop at trendy health food stores hoping that what you buy may just happen to be better for you than the generic cheap stuff. You just hope that that green wrapper on that food item means that it’s healthy or that All Natural means its better for you. You buy eggs with labels like Cage Free or Fed a Vegetarian Diet. All of these things appear very safe and trusting, but being a little skeptical you can see this stuff very differently. It is a great thing to want to get something healthy and it can make a huge difference in your daily life, just don’t believe the corporate opinion when it comes to what is healthy.

Try looking at the labels like this:

• Low sugar = garbage. There is no FDA regulation on defining what “Low” means so it can literally mean anything from nothing to high in other forms of sweeteners
• Reduced Fat = 25% less fat than original counterpart
• Meal replacements/protein shakes = synthetic chemicals or heavily processed and refined foods; terrible for your digestive system
• Wheat bread = modern variety of wheat with troublesome structure; due to processing and additives it can spike blood sugar levels; sometimes contains high-fructose corn syrup or refined sugar
• Splenda = caused leukemia in test mice
• *insert your favorite zero calorie sweetner here* = calories equal ENERGY so we need calories; if you can’t burn it you will most likely store it as fat
• Canned veggies = Not fresh, not as tasty, usually in cans with toxic BPA; always opt for USDA organic
• Skim milk = zero healthy fats; plus it is pasteurized meaning destroyed probiotics, enzymes, denatured proteins, and reduced vitamins
• Low Fat = high in refined sugar (which your body stores as fat)
• Sugar Free = typically this means using artificial sweeteners which are more dangerous than the sugar they are replacing. FDA states that less than 1 tablespoon/serving can be labeled Sugar Free
• Green wrapper = statistics show people prefer green labels because it has connotations with “go,” “healthy,” “clean,” “good,” and etc.
• All Natural = does not mean USDA Organic and can still contains GMOs. Also many times contain other heavily processed and refined foods (as can organic)
• Cage Free = kept in a cramped room with many other chickens, little to no sunlight (think disease-ridden, smelly, dark, noisy, and packed tight)
• Fed a Vegetarian Diet = typically genetically modified (GMO) corn and soy meal diet

So now that you see how many companies and stores are doing it, you should begin to get wise and a little upset. Many of these companies and stores, especially in the private label store brands, just want to make as much money as they can by saving as much money as they can–without thought or care for deeper consequences. If that means tricking us consumers by using misleading labels, then so be it. If that means by mistreating animals behind closed doors, then so be it.

Terry and Life Fitness Academy encouraged me about eating organic but also taking it another step further to eating local, nutrient-dense, farmed food. Eating local food, where you know the farmer is one of the best ways of knowing where your food comes from and how your food was handled; you can get food like great pastured eggs and grass-fed, unpasteurized milk. By being a skeptic you are more aware and you know what you are eating as well as how your food was handled before it was brought to the store. You won’t become a target of marketing schemes. You won’t become a victim of misleading labels. You will know how the animals were treated. By being a skeptic, in this way, you are able to live a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family and you will better know what you are putting into your body.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Recently, I spent a week dealing with bad inflammation in my hip. The pain was very hard to deal with! I literally could not walk for a day and a half! No fun!I went to a primary care physician to get it checked out when I wasn’t 100% sure it was inflammation, which he confirmed. Of course, the doctor wanted to medicate me in order to hide and mask the symptom. I politely said no thank you and decided to increase my intake of anti-inflammatory foods and it helped clear my inflammation up!

You know we always will go to food first at Life Fitness Academy! If you are experiencing joint pain or just want to jump the gun on prevention, here are some important foods to include in your diet in order to fight off joint inflammation.

Who would have thought that nutrient dense greens would make an appearance on this list? You can pretty much bet that greens will make a star appearance on most lists regarding your health! Dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens contain a high amount of vitamin E which has been linked with reducing inflammation. In fact, they contain a high amount of many essential vitamins and minerals including calcium and iron which are essential to reducing inflammation as well.

Fatty foods also play an essential role in fighting inflammation, particularly, omega 3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids have long been linked to good heart health which naturally means they can go a long way in helping with inflammation all over the body. Coconut oil and avocado oil are our two favorite oils and are high in essential fats. Nuts are very good as well and ideally should be consumed raw to get the full balance of nutrients. Salmon is extremely high in Omega 3’s and a great source to get it from as long as you get wild salmon as opposed to farm raised. Most farm raised salmon is treated with chemicals to give it that “pink” color you expect from wild fish. No bueno.

Turmeric is an Asian spice that is a true ninja when it comes to fighting inflammation. Turmeric contains an active component called curcurmin which is so strong and important that it can be taken alone and fight inflammation. But the spice should be taken in its whole form to get the most effect out of it. Ginger is another great food you can use, but it isn’t quite as effective as turmeric. You can use ginger in its spice or root form.

Berries are an extremely delicious food that help fight inflammation. They are extremely low in sugar and still have a sweet taste. Also, they are loaded with antioxidants which control inflammation. The downside with berries is that conventional crops are loaded with pesticides as the skin is so thin. So you always need to buy berries organic or just pass on them all together.

Just like with whole grains, you should ignore refined white potatoes and go for sweet potatoes. The vitamin B6 and C as well as the high fiber, beta-carotene and manganese help fight off inflammation in the body.

These are some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods! Use these while cutting back on refined sugar, refined white carbs, trans fats, and common cooking oils (vegetable, soy, safflower, cottonseed, sunflower). In addition, we recommend you always stay away from conventional dairy (opt for raw when going for dairy if possible) and staying away from feedlot-raised meat (aim for grassfed, organic meat).

Want a quick anti-inflammatory fix? Make a smoothie! Grab your blender and using water as a base, throw in some organic frozen berries, a handful of two of spinach (if you’re not a fan, you won’t taste it I promise!) and throw a little bit of turmeric in there with it, blend it up and enjoy!


As you are leaping tall buildings with a single bound to make it to the gym on time for your class, you probably aren’t entertaining thoughts of how your workout is going to help you to prevent arthritis-but it does! Furthermore, you may think that arthritis will not likely affect you or anyone you know, but consider this: more than 350 million people worldwide have some type of arthritis. Fifty million of those people are Americans. This means that one in five adults is dealing with arthritis right now. It does happen more often as people get older, but all age groups are affected, and women are about fifty percent more likely to have this disease than men. Osteoarthritis, the focus of this article, is second only to heart disease as a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Treatment for this disease costs the U.S. approximately 65 billion per year.

Osteoarthritis (OA) happens because the articular cartilage covering the endpoints of the bones within our joints begins to soften and wear away. This softening in the cartilage is caused by wear and tear on the joint and by chemical changes that take place within the cartilage itself. Most commonly, the joints of the hands, hips, spine, and knees are affected. Breakdown of the cartilage can lead to stiffness, pain, movement problems, and limited physical activity. Muscle weakness surrounding the knee joint is a common problem in people with OA, and may even be a risk factor for developing it in the first place. Other contributing factors that lead to arthritis include diet, obesity (causing extra pressure on weight bearing joints), a defect in the body’s connective tissue, or an injury to a joint.

Since cartilage regenerates very slowly if at all, it’s important to protect it. Scientists have not been able to completely answer why collagen fibers in our cartilage reorganize in a less resilient way over time. Part of the cause is wear and tear on the joints, the other possible factor is oxidization in our collagen cells that effects how the cells repair and organize themselves. We can gain leverage on protecting ourselves from cartilage breakdown and OA by choosing to exercise in ways that strengthen our joints, and by consuming a nutrient dense diet that is rich in antioxidants, which can literally strengthen our joint cartilage on a cellular level.

In terms of exercise, a consistent and systematic workout routine with isometrics, resistance bands, bodyweight, and eventually with weights will go a long way in strengthening the muscles around your joints. That added strength can reinforce joint stability and prevent damage that could lead to cartilage erosion or shore up a joint that’s already having problems. Also, aerobic exercise like walking, water aerobics, swimming, cycling, and elliptical training helps improve your overall level of fitness while minimizing impact on the joints. With all exercise you want to start out slowly and progress gradually especially if you’re dealing with arthritis. As your aerobic capacity improves, you can build up to 20-30 minutes of cardio exercise per day.

Eating whole foods that are high in antioxidants is an extremely important tool in helping to prevent cartilage damage and also in controlling inflammation from arthritis. Antioxidant foods help to eliminate free radicals- unstable atoms in our bodies that attack our DNA and cells. This process generates oxidative stress that creates many health problems. It’s possible that oxidative stress plays a part in compromising the collagen network in our cartilage, allowing it to tear more easily and become arthritic.

I asked LFA’s resident nutrition expert, Tim Mallon, for some suggestions on preventing and treating osteoarthritis. Here are a few of his thoughts:

1) Juice fasting. This process gives our bodies a rest from constantly working to digest food and provides the time and nutrients that we need in order to repair damage from mechanical and oxidative stress. Juice fasting can also help with joint pain related to high uric acid levels as it helps the kidneys rejuvenate.

2) Eating more (organic) tree foods and perennial plants provides us with nutrients that are already in a molecular form that is easy to absorb and doesn’t require a lot of extra energy from our bodies to break them down.

3) Cleansing/Helping kidneys using herbs to assist body in dissolving or removing acids and inorganic minerals and metals. If the kidneys become clogged and cannot filter these minerals and metals properly, these compounds tend to build up in the body and effect the joints much like calcium deposits end up in your shower when minerals aren’t filtered out of your water.

4) Cleansing the colon using herbs to strengthen peristaltic muscles. (These are the muscles in your intestines that move waste out of your body.)

5) Try cutting out wheat for 6 months to prevent inflammation. Much of the modern wheat that is consumed in America is devoid of its nutrition with synthetic vitamins and minerals added (which we do not recommend). It tends to create inflammation. You always want to minimize inflammation in the body, especially in the case of arthritis.

6) Add some bone broth into your diet. Bone broth made from pastured chicken or beef is rich in collagen and can help the body with the necessary amino acids to rebuild connective tissue.

7) Look for plants that are high in silica to include in your daily diet. Silica helps the body repair tissue and rebuild connective tissue to repair bones and joints. The best form of silica (plant form or organic acid form) is orthosilicic acid. Herbs and vegetal silica would be the best source. Vegetables containing silicon include asparagus, cabbage, and cucumbers. Whole grains such as rice, millet, oats, and flaxseeds contain very high amounts of silicon.

8) Take 1 T. of cinnamon (preferably ceylon) with honey 6 days pr. wk. for pain reduction. This spice helps reduce inflammation.

I hope this helps shed some light on ways that we can overcome being a victim to osteoarthritis and gain strength to do the things we love to do. So next time you’re doing your best superhero sprint to the gym, give yourself a pat on the back at the same time for nipping arthritis in the bud!