Category Archives: Fitness

Sugar Blues – Do You Have Them? Enter My Detox DIY Give-Away!

Sugar Blues

 Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.  

William Dufty, author of Sugar Blues.


The United States is the largest consumer of sweeteners and one of the largest global sugar importers. We started in 1689 when the first sugar refinery was built in New York City. Colonists soon began to sweeten their breakfast porridge with refined sugar, and within 10 years individual consumption had reached 4 pounds a year. The average American now consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year. In contrast, Americans consume an average of about 8 pounds of broccoli. The USDA recommends we get nomore than 10 teaspoons per day, yet most Americans eat about 30 teaspoons per day—that’s three times the liberal recommended daily value.

 Humans love sweet things. Even before we started refining sugar, we sought out foods with sweet tastes. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in foods such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. When unprocessed, sugar contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When brown rice or other whole grains are cooked, chewed and digested, the natural carbohydrates break down uniformly into separate glucose molecules. These molecules enter the bloodstream, where they are burned smoothly and evenly, allowing your body to absorb all the good stuff.

Refined table sugar, also called sucrose, is very different. Extracted from either sugar cane or beets, it lacks vitamins, minerals and fiber, and thus requires extra effort from the body to digest. The body must deplete its own store of minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. Therefore, instead of providing the body with nutrition, it creates deficiency. It enters swiftly into the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the blood sugar level, first pushing it sky-high—causing excitability, nervous tension and hyperactivity—and then dropping it extremely low—causing fatigue, depression, weariness and exhaustion. Health-conscious people are aware that their blood sugar levels fluctuate wildly on a sugar-induced high, but they often don’t realize the emotional roller-coaster ride that accompanies this high. We feel happy and energetic for a while and then suddenly, unexplainably, we find ourselves arguing with a friend or lover.

 Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance for two reasons:

1. Eating even a small amount creates a desire for more.

2. Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue.

Today, sugar is found in many of the usual suspects, like cakes, cookies and candy. But you will also find it in canned vegetables, baby food, cereals, peanut butter, bread and tomato sauce. It is often disguised in fancy language, labeled as corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose. Even some so-called healthy foods contain sugar. A lemon poppy seed Clif Bar has 21 grams of sugar, or 5 teaspoons. Compare that to a chocolate-glazed cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, which has 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons. You may think your afternoon cup of coffee only has a little sugar, but a 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino actually contains 44 grams of sugar, or 10 teaspoons—that’s like eating three donuts! Overconsumption of refined sweets and added sugars found in everyday foods has led to an explosion of hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes.



Aileen Finch of

Win a DIY Spring Detox With Finch! Check out the Podcast with Satellite Sisters

Satellite Sisters Interview: Spring Clean your Diet with Fitness & Nutrition Coach Aileen Finch, Plus Win a DIY Detox Kit

by Lian on April 12, 2014

More Spring Cleaning, Sisterhood!  I got so many questions about my detox earlier in the year that I signed up my Fitness and Nutrition Coach, Aileen Finch of FinchFit4Life,  for our Spring Cleaning podcast series. This week, clean up your diet and energize your fitness routine. Aileen’s common sense approach to getting your mojo back will be an inspiration to busy women of all ages. She gets us!  Loved talking to her about the simple steps to more energy.


Listen to my interview here:



What’s the Most Important Meal?

Mother told you so!

The report is due in two hours. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of a mid-term exam. Or you’re making sales calls. Suddenly, bam! Around 10:30 a.m. you hit a wall. All you want to do is look out the window.

Hmmm…what did you eat for breakfast?

I hate to say, “I told you so,” so I’ll turn to Mom, who has said it countless times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the meal that’s designed to supply a third of the macro and micro nutrients your body needs to run without a hitch.

Breakfast increases our metabolism and helps you to burn calories throughout the rest of the day.  If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s critical to eat breakfast to bring your blood sugar levels back up after being lower while asleep.  Continue the day with several small meals.  Eat breakfast to keep your metabolism moving!

So let’s get back to what you’re eating each morning.  Do you exist on a cup of coffee gulped down on the go? A cup of sugary yogurt and a muffin eaten at your desk? Nothing at all?

Your body deserves so much better than that. And so do you!

When you eat a good breakfast, your day goes smoothly. No growling stomachs, low blood sugar shakiness, or wandering attention to keep you from nailing those big goals you’ve made for yourself.

What Breakfast is Right for You?

One of the best—and most fun—ways to find out which foods serve YOU most powerfully is something called the Breakfast Experiment. For one week, eat a different breakfast each day. Record in a notebook what you ate, how you felt immediately after the meal, and how you felt again two hours later.

• Day one: Scrambled eggs or tofu
• Day two: Bean soup or a bean salad
• Day three: Oatmeal
• Day four: Boxed breakfast cereal
• Day five: Muffin and coffee
• Day six: Fresh fruit
• Day seven: Fresh vegetables

Feel free to repeat the experiment for another seven days with different foods each morning. Which breakfasts made you feel energized? Which ones didn’t? After the experiment, try adding in more of the foods that made you feel great!

Here’s a recipe that I’d like to share with you from the 2014 Finchfit4life Spring Detox:

(Makes 2-3 Servings)

1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup chopped beets (use small beets)
1 large carrot chopped small
3 to 4 asparagus spears, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 sweet pepper, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons hemp seeds or ¼ avocado

Chop the vegetables. Wash and peel your beets (be sure to use small beets as these are easier to cook and have a sweeter taste). Chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop your carrots. Chop your asparagus, making sure to remove the tough, woody ends. Chop your onions and sweet peppers.

Sauté the vegetables. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped beets and carrots. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until tender. Add the asparagus, onion, sweet pepper, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onions and peppers are soft.

Extra Protein: Top with 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds, a scoop of hemp protein or ¼ avocado.Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.29.04 PM

Finchfit4life Announces Pre-Valentine’s Day Detox

Register for the Finchfit4life Valentine's Day Detox!

Register for the Finchfit4life Valentine’s Day Detox!

Register for the Finchfit4life 11 Day Whole Foods Winter Detox in February. The pre-detox launches on February 2 and the detox begins on February 7. You’ll have one week of detox eating healthy, normal foods. You’ll be ready for the big unveil on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re looking for a program that provides:

1. 11+ days of coaching by a certified sports nutritionist and health coach;
2. An easy to follow, safe, whole foods eating approach;
3. A fabulous 11-day sample eating plan with shopping list; and
4. A cook book with additional clean-eating options.

Sound like something you’d like to try? Give me a call at 626-524-6690 or visit

Blustery East Coast Meets Whimpy Pasadenian

Winter Splendor in Millbrook

Winter Splendor in Millbrook

This week I’m enjoying a pre-holiday visit with my parents in wintry-Dutchess County, New York. I had a great overnight flight-scoring three seats for my beauty sleep. The icing on the cake was the ride from NYC provided by high school buddy, Gordon Murray.

I have to admit that the two winter storms interrupted my fitness plans. Intentions to work out in the wee hours were aborted due to black ice. Instead, I enjoyed some winter jogging, slipping and slopping down the roads and through the fields. Today, I engaged in something more pedestrian, a TRX Class. My, that was humbling! What ever happened to a few rows, curtsies and then call it a day? Thank you PULSE FITNESS of Millbrook, NY. The question, will I return for 90 minutes of PULSE CYCLING tomorrow? The jury is still out!

Clean Eating Tour with Finchfit4life at Arroyo Whole Foods

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 1.34.47 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 5.28.20 PMLET’S EAT CLEAN IN BETWEEN THE HOLIDAYS!


Led by Aileen Finch, Personal Trainer and Nutrition and Health Coach, this 60-minute tour leads you through the aisles to discover the many benefits of eating clean. We’ll explore the choices of organic produce, sustainably raised products, bulk foods and much, much more. Taste products you haven’t tried before and learn how they’re produced. Learn how to read food labels and make informed food choices. Don’t shop at Whole Foods? Doesn’t matter, the nutritional information that I’ll share is relevant and applies NO MATTER WHERE YOU SHOP.

Please join Aileen Finch at the Arroyo Whole Foods
465 South Arroyo Parkway. Pasadena California 91105.

Tuesday, December 3 from 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Saturday, December 7th from 11AM – 12:00PM


Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 1.37.12 PMI can’t wait for Thanksgiving this year!
Before I launch into my strategy for enjoying and surviving Thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks for the following:

1. My Family – this year I’d like to mention my parents and brother James, Sheelagh and Mike Tellerday. They’ve been waging an amazing assault against my dad’s throat cancer. The latest list of their accomplishments includes:
Dad is driving to weekly chemo.
Sheelagh continues to swim and walk regularly and play Florence Nightengale to my dad.
All oversaw the installation of a generator in preparation of a Millbrook Winter.
They both continue to climb stairs, hang out laundry and dad was last seen using his Cub Cadet to winterize his lawn!
Michael keeps an eye on my folks and makes sure they have what they need and that the house is in working order. Something I can’t do from 3,000 miles away. Thank you.

2. The Roof Over Our Head – we’ve relocated again, this time to a dream house where I’ll happily cook the best Thanksgiving Meal Ever!

3. Our Health (enough said)

Here’s my strategy for the holiday:
1. Get up early and exercise heartily before the big eat. I will be running the La Canada 5K Turkey Run with some buddies.
For that matter, exercise regularly leading up to and following Thanksgiving so that you neutralize the calories. I’ll do strength and cardio training.

2. Limit Alcohol Intake to Two.

3. Eat Unlimited Amounts of Veggies and Turkey.

4. Decide which dessert I’ll eat and stick with one serving. I will not take mini-slivers of pie during clean-up (shouldn’t be hard because it isn’t mom’s mince pie nor dad’s apple pie!)

5. Drink at least half my weight in water. Drink all day long and the following day.

6. Enjoy the day heartily. Sit down and relax. Give thanks for our many blessings.

Please comment on how you are spending the day.


Finchfit4life Kicks of Pre-Season with Hell Week September 3

Did that headline pique your interest, or scare you?
When have you known Mrs. Finch to put you through a workout that resembles Hell Week?
Though it might feel a little uncomfortable re-joining the fold, I promise to cajole and motivate you back to your
pre-summer self in no time at all.

Please join us the day after Labor Day at 8:15AM or Wednesday, 9/4 at 5:30AM at 1010 Armada Drive. Bring some water, your mat and a sense of humor. I promise to share creative music and exercises. This fall you can expect some new offerings: nutrition and health lectures, opportunity to train for a fall 5K (walk or run), ladies night out and a few other surprises.

So before you grab another cocktail or barbequed goody, let me know that you’re joining us. There’s a place for everyone.

What’s All the Fuss About Fish Oil?

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is, well, oil from fish.

It’s rich in two specific groups of omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA, along with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in things like flax and walnuts, fall under the subheading of omega-3 fatty acids. (See All About Healthy Fats for more.)

EPA and DHA are often cited as being the beneficial components of fish oil. EPA and DHA actually originate in algae, which is the base of the food chain for fish. Fish consume these algae and thus concentrate high amounts of the beneficial fats.

606px EFA to Eicosanoids.svg All About Fish Oil
Why is fish oil so important?
Overall health

Omega-3s are very important for health, including:

cardiovascular function
nervous system function and brain development
immune health

Research shows that low DHA consumption (and blood levels) is associated with memory loss, difficulty concentrating, Alzheimer’s disease and other mood problems.
Cell membranes

Essential fats have an integral role in promoting cell health.

Cells in the human body have a fatty membrane (known as the lipid bilayer). This membrane is semi-permable: It regulates what gets into the cell and what goes out of it. The fluidity of cell membranes depend on the fatty acid composition of the diet.

If the fatty membranes surrounding brain cells are relatively fluid, as they are with lots of omega-3s, then messages from neurochemicals such as serotonin can be transmitted more easily.
On the other hand, if people eat too many saturated fats (which are solid at room temperature), without enough omega-3s, then these membranes become more rigid, and stuff can’t get through.

Cells also require these good fats for repair and regeneration.

With lots of omega-3s, muscle cells become more sensitive to insulin, while fat cells decrease. This may mean that the body can divert more nutrients to muscle tissue.

10 Cell Membrane Structure All About Fish Oil

Metabolic health

Finally, DHA and EPA can increase metabolism by increasing levels of enzymes that boost calorie-burning ability.
What you should know

We can’t make omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in our bodies, so we need to get them from our diets.
Omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

It’s easy for us to get omega-6 fatty acids. These are found in plant oils, for instance, and factory-raised animals (which are fed a lot of corn and soy) will usually have a lot of omega-6 too. (See All About Plant Oils for more.)

But it’s hard for people in Western countries to get omega-3 fats from dietary sources. We eat a lot more processed foods and a lot less wild game and plants than our ancestors did. And we don’t usually eat things like snails and insects, which are also high in omega-3s, although many folks worldwide still eat these as part of traditional diets. We rely heavily now on omega-6 vegetable oils.

We evolved with a fat intake ratio of about 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Now, it’s closer to 1:20.

Because omega-3s and omega-6s compete with each other for space in cell membranes and the attention of enzymes, the ratio matters more than the absolute amount consumed of either fat.
Fat heads

When it comes to fat intake, you (and your cells) really are what you eat.

Years of research has linked lower fat diets with aggression, depression, and suicidal ideation. Over time, the cells in your brain take on the dietary fat you consume. DHA is the active fat in the brain, and especially important throughout developmental stages.
Depletion of fish oil resources

About 1/3 of the world’s total fish catch goes toward fish meal/oil for farmed fish and other animals. Many open ocean fish like menhaden, anchovies, herring and mackerel are caught mainly for this purpose. Competition for fish meal/oil can drive up the price of fish, which pushes this food source out of reach for many of the world’s poorest.

For more, see All About Eating Seafood.
Summary and recommendations

Aim for 6-12 daily grams of total fish oil (about 3-6 grams of EPA + DHA) per day from a supplement company that doesn’t contribute directly to the depletion of fish (e.g., they use primarily fish discards). We suggest liquid fish oil, because it’s hard to take so many capsules, and because some supplement companies put lower-quality oil into capsules (or secretly cut it with soy oil). Buy from a reputable company.

Look for small-fish-based formulations (e.g. herring, mackerel). Small fish are lower on the food chain and less likely to accumulate environmental toxins. Or choose krill oil or algae oil (see All About Algae Supplements).

Add up the amounts of EPA & DHA listed on the back of the product and make sure the total is at least 300 mg per 1000 mg capsule. This will make it easier to get the suggested dose.

Avoid cod liver oil.

Find a fish oil supplement that you can tolerate the taste of, otherwise you won’t use it (unless it’s in capsule form).

Fish oil can taste much better when combined with your favorite protein powder in a super shake.

Avoid trans fats; they can interfere with EPA & DHA in the body.

Use fewer omega-6 rich vegetable oils, which will negatively alter your fatty acid ratio.
For extra credit

The amount of DHA in a woman’s diet determines the amount of DHA in her breast milk.

Omega-3 fats are not typically used in processed foods because of their tendency to oxidize.

NIH researchers have said that the billions we spend on anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen is money spent to undo the effects of too much omega-6 fat in the diet.

It’s hypothesized that populations may drift toward a lower omega-3 intake because a faster metabolism (from high omega-3 intake) increases the need for food and the possibility of hunger.

Fish oil seems to be safe (except for those on blood thinning medications).