Amanda Kraft Wellness » A guide to living an Unboxed Lifestyle

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Personally, I am not a drinker and might have a few drinks a year, but I’m the last person you will see out at happy hour on a Friday night.  My husband on the other hand looks forward to the weekend, football, and beer.   Many of my clients are always asking what options are available to them when living a grain free lifestyle.  Below is a list of options, however, I want to say this. 

If you are struggling on your weight loss journey drinking alcohol is one of the quickest ways to sabotage your efforts.  While my clients are allowed up to four ounces of wine three times a week, I still suggest that they avoid it completely for optimal results.

The Lighter Side…

Beer : No & Yes
Traditional beer contains 3 basic ingredients: wheat, barley and hops. Wheat and barley are grains, and hops are actually the female flower clusters of a vine. As you should know by now, grains are out, and thus, so are traditional beers. For the best selections in this category, try to stick to gluten free sorghum varieties and cider beers.

Sorghum Suggestions: Bard’s and Redbridge
Cider Suggestions: Woodchuck, Angry Orchard

Red Wine : Yes
Red wine is my all time favorite recommendation for those who want to drink while maintaining a Unboxed/Paleo lifestyle. Red wine can be found organic, from sustainable farms that promote local economy. Additionally, in moderation, it’s good for your heart, and has antioxidants like resveratrol. This is the healthiest thing on this list. Go get some.

Suggestions: Choose 100% organic from sustainable farms

White Wine : Yes
What makes whites different from reds? They are usually made from white grapes, but more importantly, they remove the skin, which changes the color and taste (called tannins) and removes the resveratrol (bummer). White wine is also full of good stuff like antioxidants, but not as much as the red wine.

Suggestions: Choose 100% organic from sustainable farms

Champagne : Yes
A sparkling wine, champagne is made from grapes and sent through a secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create the carbonation, this is done by adding yeast and sugar.

Suggestions: Choose 100% organic from sustainable farms

Sake : No
Sake is a rice wine that is served often in Japanese sushi houses. And though it is gluten free (be careful, some cheapo brands add barley), it is not made from Paleo ingredients and should be avoided. Not the worst of the worst, but still made from a grain. Drink very sparingly.

Suggestions: None, you should avoid this beverage.

Now let’s bring on the booze…

Vodka : No & Yes
Vodka is primarily made from distilling grains or potatoes and sometimes fruits and/or sugar. Again, we’re not sure if the multiple distillation rids this liquor of grains and gluten, but if you have an allergy and you’re not sure, shoot for the stuff made from fruits like grapes or sugarcane.

Suggestions: Ciroc (made from grapes, flavorless), VuQo (coconut)

Cachaça : Yes
Cachaça is often confused with rum, but unlike its not-so-identical twin, Brazilian law requires that the liquor can only be made from the distillation of fermented sugarcane juice. No byproduct molasses or additives of any kind, making it the optimal choice when available.

Suggestion: Leblon

Rum : Yes

Here’s the skinny. Rum can be made from the distillation of fermented sugarcane juice or sugarcane byproducts like molasses. If given the choice, you’ll want to stick to the sugarcane juice version. And don’t worry about the color, dark rum is dark because it is distilled in charred oak barrels, while white in steel drums, not because of ingredients.

Suggestions: 10 Cane Rum

Whiskey : No
Whiskey is made from the distillation of fermented grain mash. This can include barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat and corn.

Suggestions: None, you should avoid this beverage

Bourbon : No
Bourbon is a whiskey that is made primarily of distilled corn, but also wheat, rye and malted barley.

Suggestions: None, you should avoid this beverage

Scotch : No

Didn’t you see what I wrote about whiskey? Oh, you didn’t know scotch was a whiskey? Well, now you do, so you can’t use that excuse anymore. It was originally made from malt barley (grain), but now is made with wheat and rye as well. Single malt or blended doesn’t matter, this drink is made from grains, so if you have an allergy and are unsure, avoid this drink.

Suggestions: None, you should avoid this beverage

Gin : No
Gin is made from the distillation of grain mash including barley, corn and wheat, very similar to whiskey. The difference is that gin is usually infused with juniper berries and a variety of floral or fruit extracts. No matter the variety, this one is out if you’re scared of allergic reactions or sensitivities.

Suggestions: None, you should avoid this beverage

Tequila : Yes
Tequila is made from the agave plant. As far as alcohols go, this one is a keeper. Stick to 100% agave. If you stray, you’ll be consuming 51% plant and the rest is all sugar. What’s the difference between silver and gold you ask? Same as rum – gold is aged in oak barrels.

Suggestion: Easy. Patrón.

Brandy : Yes
Is made by distilling wine. It is made predominantly from grapes, but can be from other fruits as well. There are many different varieties – watch out for the cheapo brands, they sometimes add caramel color to their product and you don’t want that!

Suggestions: Catoctin Creek Organic 1757 Virginia Brandy

Cognac: Yes
Cognac is a variety of brandy. To be considered a cognac, it must meet requirements like what type of grape (ugni blanc), must be twice distilled in copper pots and aged at least 2 years in French oak barrels. The grapes are combined with yeasts and left to ferment.

Suggestions: Bio Attitude.


A few other suggestions when having libations with friends.  It’s really easy to have a drink or two, order munchies, eat your way through the appetizer menu, and then without realizing order a full meal.  You may have consumed your entire day of calories in the matter of minutes.  Pace yourself.  Drink water between each cocktail, opt for your dirnk on the rocks and soda free.  Skip the fruity girlie flavors that are filled with sugar and are a black hole of calories.


The Miracle of Bone Broth
For centuries, bone broth has been used to treat illness, promote fertility, mend the digestive system, and, according to an old South American proverb, resurrect the dead!
Broth made from the bones of animals is extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and gelatin. The gelatin works wonders for leaky guts, achy joints, and even helping out the liver to detoxify the body. Want to tighten up your skin & cure your arthritis? Bone broth. Want to mend the holes in your digestion that were created by gluten? Bone broth! Want to prevent the common cold, and heal yourself quickly from infections & viruses? You guessed it – bone broth. It’s a wellness powerhouse delivered directly to your body.

What You’ll Need:

  • A large stock pot with a lid, or a slow cooker.
  • 3-4 pounds of beef bones OR a whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. This is optional, but it helps to draw the minerals from the bones.
  • Vegetables & spices – I love to use carrots, onion, and celery with a healthy dash of poultry seasoning and pepper (optional)
  • Mason jars, for storage

How To Make It?
Step 1: Easy! Toss your bones into the pot, and fill it with water to just cover them.

Step 2: Add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and any veggies you’re using.
Step 3: Turn on the heat, and bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat until the broth is just simmering.
Step 4: Leave on the stove for 24-40 hours.
Step 5: Using a strainer & baster, suck the liquid out and store it in mason jars. After refrigerating for about a day, scrape off the fat that rises to the top. If it gets all jello-like, that means it’s very rich in gelatin!

If using a whole chicken, boil that baby until the meat is cooked, then remove the meat & allow the bones to simmer for another 12 or so hours. Done!

Handy Tips and Ideas:

  • For easy storage, stick the stock in ice cube trays, and freeze it. That way, you can just pop it out & use a little bit!
  • Stock isn’t just for soups! It can be used to simmer veggies, cook quinoa, boil potatoes, or just to drink as a snack.
  • If you roast your beef bones beforehand, your broth will be more flavorful! But, it’s totally not required.

Crazy to think that I was once the girl on the left. Part of me can’t even begin to identify with her. I’ve caught myself countess times blaming my excessive weight gain on a corporate job and then transitioning into running a full time photography business. To mask my sadness I would shop every weekend, blowing my corporate paycheck on clothes to make myself feel better. I never realized that I was often buying a larger size and it wasn’t because the clothing companies were make the fit smaller! I was getting larger!

The truth is… I wasn’t taking responsibility for my health and wellness at all!

I was young and dumb! Thinking that I was invincible and that focusing on my health was something that I didn’t have to worry about for years to come! Yet, I watched as my grandmother struggled with type 2 diabetes, losing both of her legs, and having dialysis treatments multiple times a week. Sadly, she lost her strength to continue to fight and passed away when her body failed her.

Yet, I didn’t do a thing about my weight gain or acknowledge that I could very well end up with the same outcome as this women that I idolized.

I would “TRY” to get my heath under control with D-I-Y approaches, pills, and magic potions. Each of those attempts would have lack luster results and I’d end up gaining the few pounds I’d lost back.

One day, the excuses finally stopped and reality set it. My reality check in a pile of clothes on my closet floor was the ah-ha moment that I needed. I finally had the courage and strength to as for help.

I march my 50+ pounds of excess weight to the gym and ask for help. It was the most intimidating moment of my life and I almost backed out. Yet, I will tell you this… some of the most welcoming people in my life have been coaches, trainers, and other peers in the health + wellness industry!

It’s taken me fours years to become the girl that I am on the right. It hasn’t been easy and there are days, that I would rather stay in bed, skip a workout, and do a face plant into a huge chocolate cake, but I don’t want to go backwards. I want to keep pushing forward setting new goals for myself each and every day.

For those of you who don’t know… I am on a mission to help 100 people change their lives by the end of the year through health and wellness. It’s not a small fete and one that I can’t do alone. However, I truly believe that if we all band together we can create a ripple effect. If you or someone you know is struggling on their health and wellness journey I invite you to share my story, to connect with me, and schedule a breakthrough session with me. Together, we will determine an action plan for taking back control of your health and wellness. email me at for me details!

Happy Friday!


A few weeks ago, as I left the gym, I couldn’t help but notice the HUGE line wrapped around the neighboring fast food joint. As I headed to my car I watched the process of one car out two cars in and even witnessed someone finish their workout and drive over to the join the ever growing line.

My mind started to race thinking about how we treat our health and wellness much like a drive thru.  We want our health/weight problems to be fixed both fast and cheap.  If our results are less than desired we find fault with the program, trainer, or method and get back in line somewhere else.

We (as a society) bitch and complain about the price of healthy foods, gym memberships, and superfood shakes.  Yet, seem to have no problem forking over the cash for co-pays and prescriptions as we believe that will make us better.  In some cases, yes I am sure your prescription will make you better, but have you ever thought about what a change in your diet could do instead?

We read/hear stories everyday about someone who has/had cancer, went vegan, and took control of her health and wellness. Who had an auto-immune disorder, discovered paleo and healed themselves. Yet we fight the results and claim that we could never do it! 

Given half a chance, the body can heal it’s self. 

So why do we treat our bodies like a drive thru?

We only get one chance at this?

There is no back up?

No do over?

 I was a fast food junkie and washed everything I ate down with a large soda.  My waist line expanded from a size 8 to 16 in a matter of three years or less.  I treated my health and wellness very much like a drive thru.  Rather than invest in a weight loss program at a gym, I would look for the new fad pill or potion at the big box store – thinking this would be the one.  I tried a DIY approach until that didn’t get me any closer to the results I wanted.  I had to stop the drive thru mentality and start to think about the 7 course meal spanned over several hours (in my case 4 years).  Reminding myself that a 8 minute pit stop at a fast food joint was taking me in the opposite direction of my goals.

And, I still spend $4 a day except today it’s on an amazing superfood shake – made at home with more nutrients and goodness than I could ever find in that drive thru line and I am reaping all of the benefits.  I’m making deposit back into my health and wellness rather than massive withdraws! 







Many folks just see Yoga as another exercise routine. Some stretching, strength, and flexibility. But it’s much more than that. And it took me FOREVER to want to embrace the idea of adding yoga into my workout schedule! Thankfully, a new program called PIYO was released a few weeks ago and I have found myself hooked (more on that later!)

What I quickly discoverd, Yoga is about connection. It’s finding the warmth & light inside yourself, and letting it radiate all day long. It’s self love. Confidence. Balance. And at the same time, Yoga is a wonderful workout. It’s strength, flexibility, cardio, and stretching all in one. Developing a daily (or even every other day) home-practice can do wonders for your body, your mind, and your spirit.

The word Yoga literally means “to yoke” in Sanskrit. To join body & mind in a blissful union. To recognize the connection, and to learn to bring it with you wherever you go. To breathe in, and breathe out. Practicing Yoga with mindfulness & attention will help you to balance your daily life, make decisions, and stay strong, lean & lovely.

The postures in Yoga are designed to align your chakras, or the “energy channels” of your body. That’s why when you settle into a pose, you feel instant relief. A subtle radiation of joy. A release of tension, both physically & mentally.

Establishing a home Yoga routine is easy. You just need a little space, a mat (or a blanket!), and a sequence of postures. As a newbie in the world of Yoga I have been enjoying PIYO. The best way for me to describe PIYO, would be the crossfit of yoga.  I’ve tried yoga in the past of holding poses and breathing, for me that was okay for the first 5 minutes, but any longer than that I found myself with a wondering mind. PIYO on the other hand is always challenging me, with movement combined with yoga/pilates poses.  

That’s what I love about health, wellness, and fitness – it’s all customizable to your needs!  There isn’t a one size fits all option.  

Most importantly, once you are deeply connected to your body you will be able to recognize what is needs.  More often than not, it’s simple movement! 

While I am the last person to say that I am good a Yoga, in fact, I am far from it. However, being able to hold a side plank and go into in a bend was a big moment for me. One, that I was completely happy to celebrate!

A bit of housekeeping news:  If you haven’t picked up your copy of my 60 Day Grain Free Transformation Guide, do so by signing up for my newsletter at the top of the website.
Also, there are still plenty of spaces available for my 21 Day Healthy Living Bootcamp.  Now is the perfect time to take back control of your health and wellness before the holidays arrive.  Did you know that it’s not uncommon to gain 10 – 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have set the same old resolution to take back control of my health and wellness in 2015. I want to do it NOW!!!!