Adrenal Fatigue and Food Intolerances OH MY!

For many years I have been following a diet of lean proteins, high fiber foods, lower fat, good fat, clean carbs and weekly treats to keep me “sane.”  I also workout often (mostly due to teaching many classes each week).  I also practice what I preach – I work on managing my stress levels through meditation, yoga and daily leisure walking. 

So you would think I have it all together, right?  If you were to read my food and activity blog you would expect to see a super fit and very lean woman. 

Well, not so much. 

Over that past year my waist has grown several inches, my hips the same and my weight has pushed to the highest level I’ve seen since losing over 65 pounds 12 years ago and my body fat has increased by 6%.

Not only has my body changed in a negative way, but I’ve been exhausted all the time, my joints hurt, I have headaches all the time, my throat has a constant soreness/lump in it, and the heart burn has been ridiculous.  Not to mention the depression I’ve been experiencing.  I have a great life, so why so sad?

Seriously WTF?

Due to my knowledge of nutrition, fitness and hormones, I have tweaked and twisted my eating to every degree I can think of.  I’ve tried eating more protein, more veggies, more good fats and cut out more starches.  I’ve changed up my workouts by reducing how much I participate with classes and do my own tailored workouts for myself.  I have even cut back on cardio due to research that points to more belly fat with too much cardio.  I’ve tried.  Really, I’ve tried.

So, after going to a couple doctors, I finally found someone that would listen to me and take my situation seriously.  I have felt like there is something “wrong” for a while now.  I don’t want to hear the standard answer of “you’re just getting older, deal with it.”  I couldn’t hear that again.

At my very first appointment I explained my symptoms and what I’ve been doing and the doctor was nodding her head like she’s heard it all before.  I was expecting her to say “well, you are getting older and you’re getting ready for menopause.”  BUT she didn’t say that!  She said, “I think I know exactly what is wrong with you – you’re experiencing some adrenal fatigue and probably have some food intolerances or allergies that you don’t realize are there.”

Now we are getting somewhere.

Off I went to the lab to get all my hormones checked and to get a food panel done to see if there are any allergies/intolerances.  BINGO!

I was very shocked to see the results of the food panel.  I was instructed to avoid all the foods that came back as a positive result for 3 months.  No problem, until I read the list!!  Here it is:

Chicken, salmon, wheat, gluten, barley, rye, eggs, dairy, peanuts, almonds, green beans, bell peppers, cauliflower, and mushrooms. 

WHOA!  What?!!  Chicken and eggs?  Those two foods are a part of my daily diet.  Also, I eat a ton of peppers, green beans and cauliflower. 

The feeling I got when seeing this list was both exhilarating and devastating.  I wanted to cry because I love eggs, I love most of the foods listed and eat them a lot!  What the heck will I eat?  However, I also felt excited because maybe this is the answer I have been looking for.  If I am consuming a lot of these foods that don’t agree with me, I will have a negative response in my body – inflammation, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, etc…  It really explains a lot!

Here I am on Day 20 of eliminating these foods (the best I can – eating out is tricky and I do my best to avoid the foods) and I am already feeling SO MUCH BETTER!!

Brain fog is totally gone!  I’ve lost 5 pounds!  I can see the muscles in my arms (a little bit more), I’m sleeping very good, I don’t need or even want much coffee and I’m learning to eat foods I normally avoided (steak, shrimp, other types of grains and coconut everything).

It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing is easy. 

I encourage you to always listen to your body.  When you know something isn’t “right” or you feel like something is “off”, don’t ignore it.  Be your own wellness advocate.  Research, find a doctor, find a coach, find a friend, just do something about it.  Life is too short to feel like crap all the time.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!

I will keep you posted on my journey over the next couple of months.  I pray that I can add back eggs because I really love eating eggs for breakfast, but we shall see what happens.  If I can continue feeling this good, I will keep all the foods out of my diet because it’s totally worth it!

I know that I have a long road ahead with healing my adrenals (more info will be coming soon about that) and straightening out my hormones, but I am thrilled to know I can control some of my symptoms simply by watching what I eat.  Knowing I have the power to change my body and mind is a wonderful thing!

Let me know if you think you have the same symptoms, maybe I can help point you in the right direction.

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

I love to give gifts.  It’s so fun to see the look on someone’s face when they open a gift they love.  I also think it’s funny to see someone’s face when they don’t like a gift.  My sister-in-law, Michelle is the BEST to watch.  She just cannot hide her enthusiasm or lack of I should say.  Ha!  It’s not a bad thing, I love her for it.  I’m even thinking about getting her something really awful just to see how she reacts! 

I want to share with you some ideas for holiday gifts.  I especially love giving the gift of health and fitness (obviously I love that!), because it really shows someone how much you care for them.  I mean, if someone gave me a gym membership or a consult with a nutritionist, I would be thrilled!  To me these services are truly a gift of love because they care enough about me to say “I want you to be healthy for a long time so I can keep on loving you so much.”  It could also mean, “your butt is getting big, go workout and eat better,” which is still loving because they want you to feel better and be healthy. Right?  I hope.

Now, if someone gives me a vacuum or a lawn tool, that’s a different story, I might be offended.  LOL!

Here are some of my favorite ideas and hopefully you will see something you would like to get and to give!  Happy shopping!

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  • Gift Card to Athleta, Lululemon or any other higher-end workout clothing store.  I say “high-end” because it’s a gift and many women do not want to splurge on workout gear (shocking to me -ha!), so help your friend or family member get something nice that will make her feel awesome when she’s working out.

  • Gift Card to a local shoe store that can do a full gait analysis and fitting.  Shoes are super important for many reasons besides how they look.  A person’s whole workout experience can be improved greatly by wearing the correct or best shoes for them!  Not to mention all their joints and feet will be happy!

  • Gift Card for a Massage.  I think this one is self-explanatory.  Stress is literally killing Americans.  Give your loved one the gift of stress-relief by getting them a massage or two.

  • Speaking of Stress, giving a gift of doTERRA Essential Oils is another amazing idea!  You can set them up with a consultation with a doTERRA advocate (me or anyone else you may know in your area), and let the advisor discover the best oils to help with many ailments and concerns. 

  • Fitness and Health Journal/Log.  My friend and long-time client, Kristie, is slightly obsessed with planners.  Not really, but she has introduced me to many different calendars and journals with the works!  Stickers, dry-erase markers, color-coded pages, sticky notes, etc… Very fun and very cute!  I especially love the Fitness/Nutrition Tracker I found while shopping with Kristie – it’s fun to fill it out everyday.  Keeping a log of food and exercise is one effective way to stay focused on reaching your fitness/weight goals.  It’s a perfect gift for a friend that is trying hard to lose weight.

  • Tech gear is another hot item – Apple watches, FitBit’s, and all other activity trackers are great as gifts!  It’s fun to track miles, steps, calories burned and most of the trackers can connect with others to compete if that’s what you like. 

  • Cooking gear!  If your loved one loves to cook or wants to learn how to cook healthier meals, I highly recommend the Vitamix blender!  This machine is amazing!  You can get a large blender that is good for making meals for the family or you can get a personal-sized blender for making smoothies and other smaller meals or sauces. This or any other cooking tool is perfect for giving!  Other favorites are coffee makers, steamers, good knives.

  • Gift Card for a consultation with an online Fitness & Lifestyle coach (me, me!!).  If you have a friend or someone that really wants to be healthier and more fit but they aren’t sure where to start, this is the perfect gift!  I will gather all the information needed about this person on their first call and create an action plan so your friend can get moving in the right direction for her.  This can be life-changing for many people!  Contact me if you want more information on pricing, etc…The cool thing is that I work online so I can help anyone from anywhere! Email me for a quote: raeanne@raeannemullins.com

  • Membership to my RAM Life Online program.  This is a women-only group coaching program that is intended to help women live a balanced, healthy and happy life.  Lots of recipes, workouts and education are included in this fun and helpful program!  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

  • Gift card for iTunes or another music platform.  Working out to new and fun music can be the difference between a mediocre workout and a super workout.  They can also use the gift card to purchase fitness or music apps for their phone. 

 

I hope this list gives you some ideas on healthy gifts you can give to those you love the most! 

5 Tips to Enjoying a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday.  I love that it isn’t about giving gifts and that it is about appreciating our country, our family and all the good things we Americans take for granted.  Of course I look forward to eating good food and drinking wine, but mostly I enjoy celebrating with family.  Through my balanced and fit lifestyle I’ve learned to appreciate the true meaning of holidays and I find it much easier to moderate my food intake and truly enjoy myself.  Here are some of my tips for enjoying your Thanksgiving this year.

1. Don't Stress!  We only have Thanksgiving once a year, so don't spend your day stressing over your nutrition plan- just enjoy your day.  One day of indulging is not going to make you fat.   If you let yourself go further than enjoying just this one day then you need to be careful, but don’t freak out if you eat too many rolls or too much of Grandma's pie. 

2. Eat a balanced breakfast.  Don't make the mistake of eating a tiny breakfast or skipping it altogether so you can "save" your food for later.  Nope, this will only make you overeat more at the big meal and then you will probably get a stomach ache and a bad case of the munchies later in the evening. Once this happens you will not be able to get away from that leftover apple pie.  I recommend including a protein, clean starch and fiber (eggs over sautéed spinach with a slice of whole grain toast) or a berry protein shake.

3. Watch your alcohol consumption.  Hold off on drinking alcohol before your meal or avoid alcohol all together. The more alcohol you consume the less you will care about how much you eat and next thing you know you are miserable.  I love to enjoy a glass of wine while cooking, but the problem is that while you are sipping your Pinot you may also be slipping more food into that hole in your head.  Save the wine for the table and enjoy each sip.  Another option would be to do a trade-out by skipping the roll or mashed potatoes and have the wine or beer instead.

4.  Drink a lot of water.  Traditional Thanksgiving foods tend to be full of sodium.  By drinking a lot of water you will help flush the excess salt. 

5. Eat with moderation in mind.  Do NOT eat that sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows.  That’s just gross! Save your sugary sweet treat for the dessert. (Ok, that’s just my humble opinion).  Really no food should be totally off the table, just make sure you eat the things that you really want and don’t waste your time on the foods that don’t appeal to you even if grandma is putting it on your plate.

5. Exercise!  Take a fun hike or workout with your family BEFORE (and maybe after too) you break into the turkey and gravy.  Hiking or going for a walk is something the entire family can do together.  Exercising together is a great time to bond.   I plan on hiking with my family and then challenging them to a bodyweight circuit workout.  Below I have a sample workout you can do at home!  


THANKSGIVING WORKOUT

Try this Quick total body circuit before your Thanksgiving feastCLICK for PDF

Complete the following exercises for 60 seconds with minimal rest.  Repeat the list 3 times! 

Squats

Mountain Climbers

Push Ups

Jumping Jacks

Reverse Lunges

High Knees

Plank


Also, this week I visited with Lauren Melvin from WFMY News 2 and showed her 5 exercises you can do right in your kitchen!  Here are those 5 exercises:

1. Countertop Push Ups - use the kitchen counter top to do your push ups!  Get your heart pumping and your upper body toned up!

2. Squats - squats are a "do anywhere" exercise that tops my list of most important moves.  By using your large muscles in your legs and your bottom, you will be burning calories and boosting your metabolism in no time!

3. Can Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press - just grab those cans of pumpkin puree or cranberry sauce and start to work those arms.  Curl the can up and press over head!

4. Standing Side-leg-raises - Standing at the kitchen counter, lift one leg out to the side.  Balance on the standing leg and squeeze your outer thigh and hip of the leg lifting.  To make the exercise more difficult, don't hold on to the kitchen counter.  Be sure to do both sides!

5. Tricep "Can" Kickbacks - grab those cans again and press them back behind you to work your triceps (back of your upper arm).  Focus on squeezing your arm and keep your abs tight! 

No matter what you choose to do on Thanksgiving, enjoy your time with friends and family.  I am so grateful for you and wish you a happy holiday season!

How about some Adult Halloween Candy Instead?

Halloween is notorious for ruining many diets and healthy eating for at least one whole day (or two).  My son is very allergic to all nuts, so it’s my duty to ensure he is not consuming anything with nuts.  When he arrives home from trick-or-treating, I go through his piles of candy and separate all the “nut” candy from the rest. 

At this point I have a couple options; 1) I can throw out the offensive candy so that he is not tempted to try it, 2) I can EAT IT ALL – making sure my husband doesn’t get in the way, or 3)  I can give the candy away to another child that is able to eat it (or toss it), and indulge myself in a more decadent and worthy treat that I make myself.

Hint: I used to choose #2, but have made some life changes that make it much easier now to choose #3.

I could say to you “Do not eat candy on Halloween.  You will get fat, increase your chances for cavities and diabetes and you will feel like crap for days.” However, that’s not my style.  I know you will eat candy.  I know I will eat candy.  What I would rather us all do is eat candy that is actually worth eating and worth every bite of calories, sugar and fat. 

Instead of eating 10 mini-candy bars, I recommend you make your own treat with higher quality ingredients without the preservatives and extra junk added to them.  No, they aren’t really healthy and yes, they do still contain sugar, so they are not free foods.  They are still a treat and should be treated as such. You still should not eat 10, but at least you can feel better about what you are consuming.

I thought about which candy I like the best and the winners are: Twix Bars, Reese’s Cups, Snickers and Crunch bars.  I absolutely love cooking and baking, but I wanted to find something to prepare that is super easy and fast without making a huge mess.  I found two winners!

Here they are:

Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mini Cups

 Instead of a Reese’s cup, these are dark chocolate cups that have natural peanut butter swirled into them with some sea salt sprinkled on top.  The dark and rich chocolate paired with the creaminess of the peanut butter and the touch of salt is splendid!  Much better than a Reese’s Cup!  AND so easy to make.

Ingredients:

8 oz chocolate chips or broken-up chocolate bars

3-4 tbsp peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative

optional sprinkle sea salt

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop, pour the chocolate into mini cupcake wrappers or into candy molds.  Then drop warmed peanut butter by the spoonful into the cups.  Then with a toothpick stir the peanut butter around in the mini cup (or not).  Finally, with your fingertips, lightly sprinkle course sea salt over the chocolate and peanut butter cups.

WARNING:  I would not recommend eating all the leftover warmed peanut butter and chocolate.  It’s heavenly as it goes down, but I was sick for hours!!  Very rich and although tempting, try to avoid doing it or at least stop at one spoonful! 

Dark Chocolate Crunch Bars

There’s something about a Crunch bar that I just love.  I think it’s the crispy crunch it makes when you bite into it.  Unfortunately, the last time I did have one (last Halloween), I felt disappointed because it wasn’t as tasty as I had remembered.  So, by changing the chocolate to a darker version and adding even more crisps, these are way better than the commercial brand.

Ingredients:

2 cups Dark Chocolate Chips

2 cups of Brown Rice Crispy Cereal

Melt the chocolate on stove or in microwave; stir in cereal and mix well.  Spread the chocolate mixture onto a parchment covered sheet pan.  Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes until hardened.  Cut or break into pieces or desired sizes.

Other options for this one:  mix in chopped almonds or peanuts; sprinkle sea salt on top or add some peppermint extract or essential oil to make it a minty dark chocolate crunch bar.  YUM!

Both of these options take only minutes to make with minimal ingredients.  Of course you could make them even healthier by using an organic dark chocolate bar from a health food store, but I just used some Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. 

Whatever you choose to do on Halloween is up to you.  No matter what day it is, just watch your portions and enjoy every single bite so that it’s worth it!


Need workouts to work off your Halloween Candy?  Check out the RAM Life Online program we have lots of super effective workouts you can do at home!

Do Your Friends Sabotage Your Healthy Lifestyle?

I recently had a client ask me “what can I do when my friends try to sabotage my healthy efforts?” 

My first response was “well, misery loves company!”  This question made me ponder the juicy topic of “sabotage.”  In fact, when I say or think of the word, I usually imagine dooming music playing really loud, like "da da da daaaa".  Ha! 

When we look at the definition of sabotage, it says:  to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct something.  It’s hard to believe that our friends or family want to “destroy” or “damage” us in any way, but sometimes it’s hard to know their intentions.

Imagine the scenario:  You start a new nutrition and fitness program that is going to help you balance your hormones, reduce cravings, lose weight, and feel awesome.  In walks your friend who has been on a million diets but still struggles to lose even a pound and when she does, she puts it right back on the next week.  She is your “fun” friend that likes to drink margaritas, eat cookie dough and talk about all the drama going on in her life and in yours (and anyone else’s).  She likes to tell you how to do things and approves or disapproves of all your actions.  She likes to control you and you sort of just go with it because “that’s just how she is.”

Before I go on – do you have someone like this in your life?  Or someone similar?

This friend invites you to go out to dinner and you want to go because she’s your friend and despite her drama, you still enjoy her company most of the time.  She is aware that you have invested in this program that is going to help you feel better and be a better version of yourself.  When you arrive at dinner she immediately orders 2 margaritas (one for you) and an order of spinach artichoke dip. 

“Oh, I can’t drink that tonight, I’ve started my new program and I’m not going to have any cheats until Saturday, but you go ahead and drink yours,” you say carefully because you can already see in her eyes what she’s thinking.

Is she trying to sabotage you?  Is she trying to throw you off course? 

Stop right there: What happens at this point is critical. This is where YOU GET TO DECIDE what happens next.  You have a choice – you can either indulge or not.  Unfortunately, a lot of people will throw in the towel and say “oh, ok, just one margarita – you’re right, I need to live a little – this won’t bother me. I can always start again tomorrow.”  Next thing you know you have consumed two jumbo margaritas, a basket of chips with 500 calories worth of dip AND then you eat dinner on top of that. 

Fast forward to the next morning when you wake up and realize that you didn’t make it one week in your new program without being SABOTAGED!  Right?  Can you see this exact thing happen?  How many times has this or something similar happened to you?

So the big question is:  Is your friend really trying to sabotage you or are YOU sabotaging yourself? (Cue the music again….)

Maybe it is your friend’s fault. Maybe she is scared that you are going to be successful and you won’t want to be around her anymore.  Maybe she is scared that you will find the answer and lose the weight and leave her for better, thinner, healthier friends and she won’t have anyone to drink margaritas with anymore!  Just maybe. 

OR maybe not.  Maybe she really doesn’t get that you are serious about the new program.  Maybe she just wants to have a drink with you and isn’t even thinking about your program. Maybe she is just used to doing what you do together and it hasn’t even crossed her mind.

We are in complete control of our choices, our actions, our lives.  What you decide to do is totally up to you and has NOTHING to do with your friend. 

 What can you do to prevent these situations?

  1. Decide.  Decide what you are going to do.  Are you doing this new program (whatever it is – healthy eating, exercising, new job, etc….) or not.  Truly make a decision one way or the other.  If you haven’t decided, then you will continue to flounder around with no real finish line in sight which will continue to steer you in all the wrong directions.

     

  2. Commit.  Once you DECIDE you can COMMIT fully to your goals.  If you are truly 100% committed to your new meal plan or exercise program, NOTHING can stop you.  No more letting people sway you off track.  You have decided and committed to YOU and your goals. 

     

  3. Mind Your Business.  It is NOT your fault that your friend feels bad about herself.  That is on her and she cannot bring you down.  No matter what she is thinking about you or about your new program is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.  She can think whatever she wants to think and that is totally her problem – not yours.  Stay in your own business – you can only control yourself and your own outcomes.

     

  4. Stop Blaming.  You have to stop blaming other people for your weaknesses.  You are the only one that decides what goes into your mouth, what activity you do and where you go in life.  Nobody (hopefully) is holding a gun to your head saying “eat the cheesecake!”  I recently caught myself blaming my husband for making me drink too much beer.  It’s totally his fault that he brews delicious beer that sits in my house (I’m talking hundreds of bottles of beer!).  BUT it’s only my fault if I drink it – not his.

     

  5. Do Not Take ANYTHING personally. This is similar to minding your own business, but slightly different.  You cannot take other people’s opinions, comments, dirty looks or actions personally.  This really has NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with that other person.

     

  6. Be a Role Model.  By deciding, committing and staying true to yourself, you are being an amazing role model.  Imagine helping your friend make better choices just by sticking to your plan.  Your weekly margarita outings can become weekly tea outings where you can try new tea or coffee shops.  It doesn’t have to be alcohol or greasy food that makes you have fun.  Maybe you can meet at the park for a long walk instead.  Show your friend how your new healthy ways can help her too.  If she resists, then go back to #3 and #5.

     

  7. Believe in yourself. When all else fails you MUST believe in yourself.  At the end of the day you only have to answer to yourself.  Did you make choices today that lead you toward your goals? Did you stay true to yourself and your beliefs?  If you can answer yes, then nothing else matters.   You ARE GOOD ENOUGH and you are worth doing your best for YOU not for anyone else.

     

Sabotage then is just a way of taking blame off of ourselves and putting it on someone else.  Be in control of your own actions, truly commit to your intentions and nobody can sabotage you again!

 

Let me know if you are ready to take control of your nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.  I can help you get started on the path to AWESOME!

5 Tips To Fitting in Your Jeans This Fall

Today I actually felt a little chilly as I stepped outside to head to my 8:00am small group training session.  I thought “oh, I may need a jacket.”  Yay!! That makes me super happy!  Fall is my favorite time of year and October is my favorite month of the year!  Yes, I like the typical pumpkin spice aromas, the changing colors, the fact that I can wear a sweater in the morning or evening and of course – I love to wear JEANS!

Pulling out my jeans for the first time in the season always makes me pause for a moment.  “What if they are too small?”  “What if they won’t zip?”  “How many deep-knee bends will I have to perform to fit in these suckers?” LOL!  You know what I’m talking about, right?

In order to feel your best in your denim, you may have to do some preparation.  The prep does not include drinking pumpkin spice lattes and eating pumpkin chocolate chip bread (at least not every day), but some easy meal planning and effective workouts. 

Here are my top tips for getting ready for your favorite jeans!

1. Eat Your Lean Protein and Clean Carbohydrates

Aim to fill up on high-quality foods so that your body won’t crave the sugary junk.    For breakfast, eat an spinach and mushroom omelet with a slice of whole grain toast or small bowl of fresh fruit.  Skip the sandwich for lunch and eat a large mixed salad with some grilled chicken or fish.  For dinner pass on the pasta and enjoy a filet with roasted veggies and a small baked potato

2. Incorporate High Intensity Cardio Intervals into your Workouts

Sure – running 5 miles will burn a lot of calories, but who has time for that (unless you’re training for an event)?  Research shows that short and super intense cardio workouts burn more fat after your workout than long duration cardio. 

3. Lift Heavy Weights

Come on ladies – smart girls use heavy dumbbells.  Get out those weights to really sculpt and tone up your body.  Push, pull and press weights heavy enough so that getting in 12 reps is tough.  It’s ok to take a break but keep minimal time between your sets of exercises to increase the fat burn.  The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest AND your jeans will look super hot on strong thighs!

4. Drink Plenty of Water and Green Tea

I know you already know that drinking water is important.  Aim to drink 3 Liters of water everyday.  Yep that’s 12 cups of water!  Yes, I know that it’s more than the recommended 8 cups of water.  Just do it! You will get used to the increase in water and will start to crave it.  Green Tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning, so drink it!  Instead of having more coffee, try hot Green Tea instead. (Watch out – Green Tea has caffeine, so don’t drink it at night if you are sensitive to caffeine).

5. Get your Zzzzz’s

We have always heard the term “get your beauty sleep or rest.”  This is a true thing!  Sleeping can “reset” your stress hormones, your hunger hormones and your muscle building and fat burning hormones.  While you sleep all of the fat storing machinery is turned down and the longer you sleep the more likely you are to make the switch from fat storing to fat burning. 8 hours of sleep is great, but 7will do the trick.

By doing these 5 tips consistently, you will start to see some amazing changes!  All it takes is a little determination and commitment.  Get ready to feel strong and sleek in those jeans!

If you would like more guidance and more specific meal planning and workout ideas, check out the RAM Skinny Jeans 6 Week Program.  Our program starts on October 3, 2016.  Not only will I give you an entire meal plan, lots of recipes, support and guidance, but you can WIN A NEW PAIR OF JEANS!  2 Amazing Options available for this program. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.