January 10, 2017by Rock Fit0

How to Avoid Processed Foods

Lab Created Foods Dominate our Diet

It’s no surprise that eating well is highly challenging in today’s modern world. Food is advertised and offered everywhere. Big money in the food industry is spent perfecting the appeal – message, taste, and satiety – of the processed foods that now dominate the American diet.  All the while, food allergies and food sensitivities have increased among the women we train at our personal training studio.

According to an article published earlier this year in BMJ open, 58% of the energy (i.e. calories) Americans eat comes from ultra-processed foods. These foods are created in a lab, and contain salt, sugar, oils/ fats, chemicals, and additives that imitate the qualities of real foods.

In addition, food plays a starring role in how we socialize. Deviating from accepted traditions or social expectations for eating and drinking can bring us under fire from well meaning friends and loved ones.

Combine this with the over burdened lifestyle common in major US cities–work, family, technology, chores, social obligations, and traffic fill every minute, leaving little time for shopping, prepping, and preparing foods at home.

In short, the deck is heavily stacked against us and our intent to have a healthy diet.

Healthy Eating Mindset Tips

For me, the first step in managing my eating strategy is to acknowledge and accept the realities of the situation.

Second, I make eating whole natural foods a priority, while realizing that I will not be able to eat this way in certain situations.

Third, I listen to my body and follow what it’s telling me in terms of food preferences. I would not be successful by forcing myself to eat foods I don’t truly enjoy.  I ask myself, within the realm of foods that came from the earth, which are the ones I most enjoy?

Fourth, how can I purchase, prepare, and store these natural foods to support my goals?



Here are some great strategies for making eating nutritious food a forever lifestyle and not a short term diet:

1)  Prepare fresh food and have it ready to add to meals, for snacks, or to take with you on days you’ll be out of the house.

  • Red, orange, yellow or green peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, and broccoli florets can be cut into bite size pieces for on the go healthy snacking.
  • Plan meals where vegetables play the starring role:
    • Lettuce, tomato, onion, and peppers can be chopped and ready to add on top of beans, chicken or beef for fast Mexican at home. Add mashed or sliced avocado for a healthy fat.
    • Ready to eat spinach can be topped with pecans, bee pollen, chopped apple, a sprinkle of Feta cheese, olives, and a teaspoon of drizzled Olive Oil or honey for a fast salad.
    • Snap peas, green beans, peppers, mushroom, and broccoli can be washed and prepped for a quick at-home Asian-themed stir fry.

2)  Keep it visible – on countertops and what you see when you open the refrigerator.

  • On the flip side, place processed and unhealthy foods in closed cupboards and high shelves or, better yet, simply don’t keep them at home.


3)  Regularly shop for fresh food. TEST – does this grow on Earth or come from nature?


4)  Eliminate as many processed foods as possible. For those you do buy, check and compare the list of ingredients and opt for brands with less total ingredients. Aim to eliminate or reduce processed foods with added chemicals, artificial colors, added sugars, added flavor, and ingredient names you cannot pronounce.


5)  Be aware of portion size. If you have specific foods you love, but that are not healthy choices – go ahead and enjoy them, but do so in moderation. When you enjoy these foods, savor them and focus on their flavor and texture. One trick to help you stick to this is to buy individual size bags of these unhealthy foods. It’s much easier to realize you’ve had too many chips if you’re opening a third small bag than it is if you’re eating out of a party sized bag.


6)  Pay close attention to your body, and stop eating when you are satisfied rather than full. Follow the Okinawan rule “Hara Hachi Bu”, which instructs people to eat until they are 80% full. It takes the brain time to process the sensation of being full. Given the lag between the brain and stomach, eating to 80% actually means we are eating to being full, rather than overstuffing ourselves.


7)  Opt out of food advertising – turn the channel, walk out of the room, turn the page. Major companies and powerful brands are spending significantly to sell their products, but we must train our brains to love and crave the foods that are truly best for us.


8)  Avoid foods that are designed to trick our minds into overeating. Foods that combine and balance multiple flavors so that no single flavor lingers (such as Chips, Doritos, and Diet Coke) turn off the brains built in mechanism for flavor satisfaction, which results in over-eating. Foods that dissolve/ melt into nothing (i.e. Cheetos, cotton candy, etc) use vanishing caloric density to trick our minds into thinking we’ve consumed nothing. And, in a way, we haven’t consumed anything but empty calories due to the lack of nutrition within these processed foods. This leaves us with a feeling of hunger and may even trigger cravings for more of these empty calories. (


Make the Best Decisions for You and your Family

As a mom, navigating the world of processed food is a big challenge. Using these strategies may reduce your and your family’s risk of gaining weight, suffering from disease, and suffering decreased quality of life. Doing so will help you feel confident that you’re making the best decisions for yourself and for your family.

If you have strategies that work for you, share them with us in the comments below. Let’s all support each other in this uphill battle!




Michelle Berkley, NASM-CPT
Rock Fit Personal Trainer



June 13, 2016by Rock Fit0

1) Drink Water

Drink 3 liters of water a day, or half of your body weight in ounces. Yes, drinking water from a pure source like an uncontaminated spring is the best kind to drink, but finding and having access to water like this is next to impossible.  Drinking filtered tap water is the next best option.  It isn’t a perfect option, as tap water contains all kinds of things that may not be healthy for you.  Relatively speaking, when compared to drinking soda or sweetened drinks, tap water is almost always the better option.  The important thing to remember here is that man-made sweetened drinks, at best, do nothing for your body and, at worst, make you gain weight.

2) Eat your Protein

Chicken and fish are your best bets for lean animal protein.  However, don’t overlook other lean cuts of meat, such as pork chops.  Red meat, on occasion, could also be good for you—especially if it’s organic grass fed beef.  It all depends on your family history with cholesterol and your own personal ideas on eating red meat.  At Rock Fit, we personally feel occasionally eating red meat can be very healthy for you.  If you’re a vegetarian, consider eating 3-4 eggs daily, as well as supplementing with protein powder.  A good way to determine your proper serving size for meat is to eat as meat as the size of your fist.

3) Eat your Vegetables

Vegetables contain much-needed vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will satisfy your body’s need for nutrition.  Veggies also contain lots of fiber relative to sugar.  There is not a food out there that has a better fiber to sugar ratio when compared to vegetables and herbs.  These phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber are all powerful weapons against feeling hungry and having cravings.  Having 6-10 servings of vegetables is ideal to keep hunger and cravings at bay, when you’re dieting to lose weight.  Try purchasing a Greens powder to supplement your daily intake of vegetables and help you reach 6-10 servings.

4) Lower your Carb / Sugar Intake

Many people consider this tip to be the most important one for losing weight.  Yes, it is true that we need small amounts of carbohydrates (sugar) for good health. However, the amount of added sugar we eat is far more than what we need.  A good rule of thumb for losing weight is to avoid or minimize processed food and you will minimize your sugar intake.  Just focus on eating real, whole food.  The more processed a food is, the more sugar it probably has in it.

5) Eating Herbs and Spices

Adding herbs and spices to foods will help your body function optimally.  Some great examples of potent herbs include: Ginger, cocoa, pepper, turmeric.  A little goes a long way in helping your body function well.  In turn, your body will be able to burn fat and lose weight more effectively.  Plus, these herbs and spices have high levels of anti-oxidants that can help you reduce your risk for Cancer and slow down the effects of aging. Cinnamon, in particular, is one the most powerful anti-oxidants known to man. You don’t need much to give you these benefits.  Simply use a variety of them in your meals and in your cooking.


P.S  If you’d like to feel more confident about your body and step into Summer without the extra pounds, then check out our 28 Day Fitness Challenge! We’re accepting applications by July 2nd. 
Ken Diaz Founder, Rock Fit
Ken Diaz
Founder, Rock Fit

May 9, 2016by Rock Fit0


On our most recent video on YouTube we talked about which supplement women should take to lose weight effectively and get more energy throughout the day.


(In case you missed the video, you can watch it here)


We’d like to continue talking about “Best Supplements For Women“, but this time about Protein – why you need it, daily intake, hormone in-balances, when to take it, and which protein powder is the best.


If you’re already working out with weights or thinking about joining a fitness program, our advice is to always take protein powder, before or after your workout, to replenish the muscles, and especially if you are lifting weights.


To lose fat and shed weight we need a certain amount of protein. Protein helps us become fat burning machines–and protein powders are highly recommended for women that work out using weights.


To learn more about protein powders, watch the video above.



Ken Diaz Founder, Rock Fit
Ken Diaz
Founder, Rock Fit
P.S.  If you feel sluggish, and struggle to get up and get moving in the morning, then check out our 28 Day Summer Fitness Challenge. We’re accepting applications by May 30th.