3 Ways to De-Bloat

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Did you know that food is not supposed to bloat you?

Did you know your suppose to be able to zip up your jeans after you eat?

Did you know you can have relief from your tummy bloat?

Bloating is an abnormal, general swelling which may cause abdominal pain, increased stomach growling and can at times be accompanied by gas, oh my.

All this can be caused by overeating, stress and/or not chewing food properly. Be aware certain foods might not agree with your digestive system and unfortunately bloat you. It’s imperative to avoid those items to remain bloat free, but if you are, here are three simple home remedies to de-bloat.

1.   Water:

I can’t say enough about H20 and all its benefits to your bodies when we drink it. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of bloating, and the cure is natural hydration. Drink lots and lots of water. It’s commonly noticed that drinking a lot of alcohol or eating foods that are too salty consistently results in bloating. Water helps wash the waste out of your system. Drink eight glasses of water daily to not only de-bloat but also for the other amazing things water does. If possible, swap all your beverages with water. Doing so will help you lose weight and have great skin.

2.   Avoid too much fiber at one time and increase potassium intake:

Too much fiber at one time when your system is not used to it can be difficult to digest and results in bloating. Don’t increase your daily fiber intake by more than 20-25 grams a day. Also, always remember to include eight glasses of water in your daily routine.

When you eat too much salt, increase your potassium intake to de-bloat. Avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas and coconut water are all rich in potassium.

3.   Warm hot water, lemon and a pinch of turmeric:

This is a wonderful trick. It’s very simple and inexpensive yet effective. If you have severe internal bruises or are suffering from bloating, this will always be your savior. It benefits every system in your body and does wonders for your long-term health as well.

The practice of sipping hot water all day long is very beneficial, as the ancient science of Ayurveda suggests. Yogi’s believe that hot water is very soothing to your digestive system and cold water hampers digestion. Try it and I think you’ll agree. Traditionally turmeric is said to work as a carminative and aid in digestion and relieve intestinal gas.

Including these three, be sure to look at your other eating habits and avoid bloating before it makes you suffer. Avoid drinking out of a straw or chewing gum. Both cause air to fill your stomach. Are you eating on the run…slow down and eat your meals in a relaxing space and pace.

If you found these tips helpful I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share which tip was most useful to you.

Great Substitutions for Carb Cravings that will Keep You Healthy and Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans.

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When I was a teenager carbs were all the rage. Eat carbs and lose weight. Sounds great, doesn’t it? BUT…what carbs were you eating? Pasta, bread, crackers and fat-free cookies (full of sugar)? I know I ate my fair share of all white flour carbs to stay skinny (at the time we thought that was healthy).

Times have changed, and now everyone is afraid of carbs and fat is the reigning queen. Yet we, women especially, want to eat carbs all the time, craving them and bingeing on them in massive amounts.

Let’s break down carbohydrates and help you with your cravings.

Even when you begin changing your eating habits for the better by incorporating cleaner foods and better practices, you can still fall victim to the massive carb craving. Sometimes, we attribute these carb cravings to a lousy day at work or a stressful week of deadlines, but carb cravings can also come from physiological imbalances.

When you feel stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, skyrockets along with your blood sugar. To compensate, your body releases the fat storage

hormone, insulin, to help bring your blood sugar back to stable. When that happens, the insulin tends to overcompensate, and your blood sugar dips lower than it should. Your body becomes confused and thinks it needs more energy, and thus, a carb craving is born.

Now that you know this, you can take steps to outsmart your body when it comes to carb cravings. First, you can take steps to reduce your stress or learn healthy coping mechanisms for when it arises. Next, you’ll need to change your eating habits to satisfy that carby craving without derailing your progress.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to curb your carb cravings...

Salt be gone: I know many people who have enormous hankerings for salty carb snacks. They stick their hand in a bag and don’t stop until the bag is empty. Next time you can't shake your craving for a crunchy, salty snack like potato chips, go for something that gives you what you want in a healthy way. For example, carrot and celery sticks with a side of hummus will fill you up and fuel you for the rest of your day. You can also air-pop popcorn or roast chickpeas, sprinkling each with a little sea salt to fulfill your saltiest desires.

Replace sugary sweets with natural sweets: Sweet tooth at it again? Next time you're longing for a dessert, trick your brain with something naturally sweet that isn’t full of refined sugars and processed junk. An orange, apple, strawberries or melons are a sweet swap for sugary snacks. An organic square of dark chocolate, as long as it’s at least 80% and pure, is an indulgent choice that won’t derail your habits and is very appealing to your taste buds. You could also have a banana “shake” using almond milk, a dash of cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla extract for a treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth, guilt-free. Yum!

I love pasta and bread: Why can’t we all be Italian and eat pasta, risotto, and bread every day? Rice, pasta, bread, even cereal…these are all high-carb foods that will derail your efforts if you eat them too often. Luckily, there are swaps you can make that will fill you up while still being wholly satisfying. Cauliflower is a great way to make pizza crust, breadsticks, mashed “potatoes,” and rice. Using a spiralizer will help you make noodles out of vegetables that taste amazing, too. I love zucchini noodles with a homemade pesto on top. In all honesty, when I go to Little Italy in NYC, I’m going to eat carbs but I go with a whole wheat pasta and load up with more veggies than carbs to help balance out the meal. Delish and no regrets.

Remember this, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, and carrots are all sweet vegetables that can fill your plate and offer you the sweetness you desire.

If you really can’t control a craving, suck on a lemon. It will totally clean your mouth and will help you not want carbs and the sweet flavor they offer us. Also, if carb cravings seem to be an everyday experience, be a detective and figure out if you are missing something sweet in your life such as love, healthy relationships, downtime, or time in nature, and see if you can carve out time in your day for these activities. Sometimes it’s not food were craving, but life experiences.

I would love to hear from you. Now that you've gotten some ideas on how to tackle those carb cravings leave a comment below and share what ingredients you are going to arm yourself within your kitchen at all times, so these swaps become second nature

5 Ways to Diminish Your Sugar Habit Easily (and lose weight!)

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For most of my life, I’ve had a love affair with sugar. I remember when I was in middle school I would eat a Little Debbie Snack Cakes every afternoon after school. I looked forward to it all day long. Star Crunch was my ultimate favorite. I think I ate my meals in order to have something sweet afterward. Basically, I ate a lot of sugar growing up and in my adult life.

Most people typically don't have a firm grasp of how much sugar we consume on a yearly basis unknowingly. It's been said that the average person consumes more than 40 pounds of sugar in a calendar year. Yikes! Quite alarming when you think of it in pounds, right?

What do you think of when you think of sugar? Sweet desserts such as ice cream, cakes, donuts, candy, and cookies come to mind immediately. But there are tremendous amounts of sugar hiding in everyday things (especially packaged items) we consume, and when we consume them regularly, they add up fast,

Making a few mindful tweaks can make all the difference.

Here are a few of my top favorite ways to keep added sugar out of my life:

Eat fruit to sweeten your life: Please, I beg you, don’t be afraid of fruit. Fruit is there to give us energy, a sweet taste, and many phytonutrients to help our bodies thrive. All ripe fruit is wonderful for you and the perfect processed sugar substitute. It takes no extra time to grab an apple rather than a pre-packaged fruit cup or applesauce. It's just as easy and doesn't contain any of the added sugar the pre-packaged items have. So, choose something fresh from the produce stand instead.

Fiber fills you up and protein gives you power: Fiber-rich foods will fill you up and keep you that way for longer so you’ll be less likely to eat something when you’re not hungry. Protein-packed foods have the same benefit. Remember protein-packed foods are nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetable, and quinoa. Combine both of these for delicious ways to stay satisfied throughout the day, and you’ll be less likely to seek out sugar.

Cut the sugar bombs out of your daily diet: If you’ve put sugar in your coffee every morning for the last ten years, start decreasing the amount until you no longer use it. You can also try kicking the habit on the spot if you’re ready for it. I know, I know Coffee had a tight hold on me for a very long time but you can let it go. I actually use Teeccino as my morning cup of joy. It’s caffeine free and has a sweetness to it so I don’t need sugar.

Be a detective and read food labels before you buy. Is your pantry brimming with pre-packaged, processed foods? Ditch them. It's time to learn to live without these foods and when you do, commit to reading all the labels of every packaged food item you buy from now on. Added sugar is in some of the most unsuspecting places so read every label before putting anything into your grocery cart. If anything you buy has fructose (sugar from fruit-when not in its whole form of the fruit it’s not good for you because it’s processed) or high-fructose corn syrup, do not buy it. It will cause disease, aging, and muddles with hormones.

Water is healing and stops cravings. I’m from the south and sweet tea is a staple at meals but it’s loaded with sugar. If you drink sweet tea or you’re a soda drinker, you can cut out quite a bit of added sugar by ditching your sweetened beverage habit. Sometimes, we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty -- and other times, a stressed day makes us reach for desserts. Whatever the case, a glass of filtered water can solve the problem. Drink a cup and then wait 15 to 20 minutes. The craving will usually be gone but if not, choose a piece of fruit to satisfy the urge. I also like to add one drop of therapeutic grade lemon essential oil to flavor my water.

Trust me, it takes time to get used to life without added sugar in it, but you’ll soon feel better than ever and you’ll look better. You don’t realize how something such as sugar affects you until you delete it out of your lifestyle and then feel and see the difference. Finding the perfect sweet treats that aren't harmful to your health is a powerful way to get past the urges and learn to adapt to your new lifestyle without processed sugar.

If you're really feeling you need something sweet, and we all have those days, a few Paige Hinton approved sweet treats are one square of dark chocolate, 2 to 3 dates and fruit.

Leave a comment below and tell me how do you combat your sweet cravings.

Use my 6 Easy Steps to Clean Eating for Miraculous Health

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By now, most of us have gotten over to post-holiday blues and back to the rhythms of life with work and family. We’re in a special time of year. It’s a time where we think big for ourselves making ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities. The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are usually ready to do that after the holidays are over. As tasty as the holiday goodies are, they leave us feeling bloated, heavier, lethargic and a little less on track with our goals than we'd like.

Just to hare some insight, those new healthy resolutions don't have to be complicated, and they don't have to end before February even arrives. The key to looking and feeling your best is to keep things uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. In case you've heard the term "clean eating" but haven't quite understood what it means because it can be a loaded word -- clean eating is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out the processed junk. For me it’s a 90% plant-based diet Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I’ve got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating.

  1. What is motivating you from the inside?

Your motivation can be anything….running in the Boston marathon next year or maybe you have seen first-hand the damage done by not eating healthy through the suffering of loved ones. Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it in your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan. Motivation is best if it’s not on focused on losing weight for a special event. Although this is a usual goal for many, one can lose sight of their health, wellness and eating clean as soon as the event is over and revert back to their normal routine that leads to eating processed foods, weight gain, feelings of failure and disappointment in ourselves. Great incentives for clean eating can be desiring to experience amazing energy, feeling younger, looking younger, and reduce your risk for disease so you can age gracefully.

  1. Take a look at what you’re currently eating

Before you begin to change your daily diet (lifestyle) and dive into your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating currently before beginning. This way, you can truly see what you’re eating and look for patterns. After the stressful week at the office, you might notice you’re more prone to ordering pizza. Make sure you observe only and do not judge yourself for eating the whole bag of chip, greasy takeout, or a whole bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (that was a confession from chocolate lover, yours truly). There is no shame in the game at all. Writing down your food intake is about witnessing your behaviors so you can change them and you can take steps to change them rather than falling into the same pitfall time and time again.

  1. Set realistic, measurable and specific goals

When people make changes to things in their lives such as their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. That means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should tackle one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific. If you desire to lose, verbalize or write down your goal. For example, state, “I will weigh 135 pounds by April 1, 2018.” From here you can break down the goal into action steps you can take on a daily and weekly basis. When April 1st arrives and you hit your goal of 135 pounds, you will feel like a rock star and on top of the world. Talk about feeling good- your vibrating high.

  1. Get rid of the crap in your pantry

Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label and anything unnatural should go. If you have a lot of unopened items, donate them to a shelter.

  1. Change your grocery shopping strategy

We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should avoid the majority of the middle aisles of your supermarket because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk! To be really bold, change the store you shop at and opt for health food stores and farmers markets.

  1. Become a meal prep master

One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. Write down your recipes for a time period (two weeks to a month) which eliminates the daily decision of what to eat often leading to unhealthy options. Every Saturday, go grocery shopping for the week ahead. On Sunday cook your meals. Freeze what you need to and get it out later in the week when you’re ready to eat it. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to prepare the food in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night.

If you want a sustainable, healthy lifestyle it’s yours to live. As you’ve read, it’s all about taking small changes over time to create your healthy and clean lifestyle. I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way.

Leave a comment below and let me know how you are feeling, and what you’d like to accomplish as your first step. I’d love to hear your plans.

4 Simple Ways to Not Get Sick this Winter

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Wintertime causes a yearning in my soul to warm up by a cozy fire and finally slow down with a cup of organic dark hot chocolate. Are you feeling the same? There is a reason we feel this way…we’re meant to slow down in the winter. I love that nature works like this, innately causing us to change with the seasons. Have you ever noticed? The winter brings the desire for warmer foods, connection with loved ones, and more rest and relaxation. The critical part of this fascinating natural phenomenon is that we listen and oblige.

Another tendency is to feel our desire to workout slow down this season, which is also common. I want to share with you my top way to help keep a winter wellness routine. These work for me each year, and I hope you'll gain some ideas you can use, too!

My favorite Winter Wellness tips...

  1. Slow down

If your social calendar looks anything like mine, it's jam-packed this season. We just made it through all the holiday parties, and now it's time to catch up with those we didn't have time to see last month, and of course, celebrate the New Year. However, don’t feel obligated to attend every gathering you get invited to, particularly if you’re feeling burnt out from work and your other obligations. It’s great to meet new people and socialize, but if it causes you to get less sleep or it stresses you out, decline some of the less essential offers. Don’t burn the candle at both ends.

  1. Be conscious of social settings (and your workplace)

For the events you do attend, remember that cold and flu germs often lurk without symptoms at first. There’s no need to be paranoid about shaking hands or meeting people, but be mindful of your hands before you eat and don’t touch your nose, mouth or eyes after shaking hands with someone. Keeping your hands clean is the best way to avoid a winter illness.

  1. Keep exercising and practicing yoga

Your best battle against the winter blues is to keep moving your body through yoga and your workout routine. Finding it hard to stay motivated during the colder months? Switch things up. Try a new class at your gym or take on a new challenge that will help keep you motivated. Yoga is your best friend in the winter because you can roll out your mat at home anytime and practice. Yoga will also help you stay mindful of the foods you eat too.

  1. Water, water, water.

Getting enough fluids is essential on any day, but in winter the weather is drier and so is the heat indoors. Not only that, but your skin can become parched too. Drinking more water and applying more moisturizer is a must. Here’s a trick to keep you hydrated…drink warm water. It’s nicer for your digestive system and you're not trying to drink cold water on a cold day.

So, what's the norm for you? Do you try to stay on track during the winter months, or do you put things off until it starts to warm up outside? I make sure I stay on track with daily yoga and toning exercises. I like to drink warm water to warm me up form the inside and take time to reflect on where I am and where I desire to go. I want to feel good and refuse to let the cold month (and it’s been really cold this season in NYC) bring me down.

Be kind to yourself during the winter months and the rest of the year too!

Leave a comment below and share steps you take to stay healthy this season.

Deep Nourishment for the New Year

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Hey, I have an idea…

This year instead of focusing on weight loss, let’s focus on providing Deep Nourishment to our bodies.

What do I mean by deep nourishment? It’s actually really easy if you don’t overthink it. It is taking care of your whole body at the same time.

When you nourish your body with whole, delicious foods, weight loss will be a by-product of the nourishment your giving your body.When you eat healthy foods, you’re helping your ease your mind from the stress we all feel about gaining weight. When you take your focus off dieting, you can hear your spirit talking and can follow your hearts desires instead of hiding because you're unhappy your “fat” (exact words spoken from one of my clients).

When you work on one part of your life…whether it is something to do with your body or mind… body or life every other part of your being is affected because our bodies are ONE…not unconnected parts.

Here are some deep nourishment actions to take:

  1. Instead of looking in the mirror and hating your body. Look in the mirror and give loving vibes to your body. Say “I love you” and thank you your body for being strong and supporting you on planet Earth.
  1. Instead of going on a crash diet in the New Year, DECIDE to eat more fruits and veggies…. plain and simple. When you fill up on fruits and vegetables your satisfied and actually don’t want chips and cookies or fried chicken wings. Don’t allow yourself to be another New Year’s resolution statistic on failed weight loss. Be the change your seeking by changing your approach to eating fresh whole foods cooked simply.
  1. Take time to breathe on a daily basis. Sounds kind of silly since you automatically breathe on your own. What I am referring to is deep, relaxing breathing. Breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts and breathe out for six counts. When your exhale is longer than your inhale, it allows your body to slip into “rest and digest” mode instead of “fight or flight” mode. If you can do this for 5 minutes in the morning I know your day and outlook will be different.
  1. Drop the crazy gym workouts that leave you so sore that you can’t sit down on the toilet without dire pain (been there) and choose movement that works best for you. If you’re a runner and that makes you happy, do it. If you’re participating in HIIT workouts at the gym but hate it and are in pain then head to a vinyasa class or walk in the park with your friend. Not everyone is meant to do athletic intensity training such as Cross fit. Do what is right for your body.
  1. Instead of hating your life and everything that has gone wrong in your life over the last year, bless it instead. Yep, I said bless your life. Send gratitude to the lessons you had to learn the hard way that made you stronger. Be grateful for the challenges, the debt, the failed relationships and all. These experiences have given you an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself better.
  1. Take full responsibility for everything in your life. If you're not happy with anything in your life then you have the power to change it. No one or no thing has made your life the way it is. We make decisions every day that lead us up to where we are in the here and now. Don’t like it? Accept it with full responsibility, and work toward changing it. Cut the blame game and take your power back.

The last 5 tips might have been hard to take in, but deep nourishment means taking a look at your life and making necessary changes to get you to where you want to be and enjoy life. As you take the above steps, you begin to get to the roots of who you are and an amazing relationship will be created. Drop the love/hate relationship that got you to 20 pounds overweight or unhappy with your life. Blessings.

Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can be quite stressful. After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones. All of this on top of your normal everyday life can be overwhelming, to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

The stress-free guidance I'd love to share include…

After wrapping presents be present: It can be difficult, I understand. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room. Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones. When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses. What do I smell? What do I hear? What do I feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Let go of expectations: A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect. That’d be lovely, of course, but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned, spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. Tis the season!

Move your body: It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after waking up or after lunch or dinner. Make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or go with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.

What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months? My favorite way to stay moving during the cold season is yoga. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. You can choose a vinyasa flow to build heat and sweat off your holiday dinners or take it slow in a gentle or restorative yoga postures to relax and renew your body, mind, and spirit.

The holidays are a time for fun and love. You can stop stress in its tracks by following the above tips and actually enjoy this jolly season.

Winter Immune Boosters

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Winter is upon us! My hometown in the deep south just got blanketed with several inches of snow last week, which was a big surprise. It is always important to prepare for the winter weather…wood for the fireplace and flashlights for power loss. But even more important, we could all use a health boost to our immune systems. Holiday decorations are going up everywhere but so are cases of colds and the flu. If you don’t want that kind of gift that keeps on giving, focus on these immunity-boosting tips to keep healthy all season long.

Warm Up Inside Out with Veggie Broth

With the chilly weather getting even colder, the best thing to bring everyone to the table is warm, soul-soothing soup or stew. You can make this even more beneficial though by adding veggie broth to the mix. I know bone broth is the talk of the health industry but for a girl who will not eat animal products vegetable broth works just as well. (If you like bone broth please feel free to use it.)

Vegetable broth with mushrooms, kombu, ginger, sweet potatoes and any other veggie you like will help provide much need vitamins and minerals, which nourishes the entire body.

Ways you can use broth:

- In soups and stews

- As a standalone warm beverage

- In place of olive oil when cooking

Eat Fermented Foods

Recent research has provided us with a new astounding fact – your gut is home to a second brain. It may sound crazy, but it's true. The good news is that you can keep those beneficial bacteria that flourish there to keep you healthy thriving and strong. The best way to do this is to start developing a fondness for fermented foods. Things like kimchi, the popular Korean side dish served with every meal, as well as sauerkraut, kombucha, or even pickles, to name a few.

Fermented foods list:

-Kombucha

-Sauerkraut

-Kimchi

-Miso

-Pickles

-Coconut kefir

Make Room for Mushrooms

The kids might not be happy about this, but mushrooms have beta glucans in them, which help strengthen your immunity and block infections. You can eat whatever mushrooms you enjoy for this effect. Put them in your soups, add them to your mixed veggies, top your salad with them raw or cooked, chop them up and include them in just about anything. If you are like me and not a mushroom lover, I find chopping them up very small and adding into casseroles is a great way to get mushrooms in to non-mushroom lovers.

Stuffed mushroom recipe: Clean and de-stem mushrooms. Sprinkle olive oil inside mushrooms before stuffing. Stuff with your favorite ingredients — between 2-3 ingredients. Tomato, onion and an herb is always a great combination. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and pepper. Cook at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Other delicious foods you can add to your diet are ginger, garlic, turmeric and the superfood spinach.

Get Some Sunshine

Most people don’t get enough vitamin D in their lives. It might be cold out, but grab your warmest coat and let your face get some sun. Committing to a ten-minute walk each day makes a load of difference throughout the winter months. I take my dog, Taz, out for a walk and make sure we are facing the sun. It warms us as and we get some vitamin D on our face as we look for squirrels. To supplement, there are certain foods you can eat. Cook up fatty fish like salmon or serve more eggs, particularly the yolks. These have robust sources of vitamin D and for strict vegans, you can supplement.

Get Outdoors

Even though it’s freezing out, there are some fun activities you can enjoy this season that doubles as exercise. Activities such as ice skating, snowboarding, sledding, walking your dog, and even build a snowman.

Get More Rest

Maybe those hibernating bears are on to something. When your immunity is wearing down, one of the best things your body needs is to simply rest. It’s during the state of rest that your white blood cells work their magic, so take a load off and get in that nap or go to bed earlier every night. Take care of your health now because if you don’t build up your immunity, chances are you’ll come down with something right before that big party you’ve been looking forward to all season. Stay healthy!

Tips for great sleep:

- Get into the routine of a relaxing bedtime ritual such as reading a book, a self-massage, breathing exercise or even the yoga posture child’s pose.

- Use blackout curtains to block any streetlights beaming in your windows. I’m sensitive and wake up easily so the darker the room the better. Some people need blackout curtains to make sure they get their 8 hours.

- Go screen-free an hour or two before you crawl into bed. I know this can be hard but make it part of your bedtime ritual. The blue light from the TV and devices disturb your sleep hormone, melatonin.

Your immune system is tough and can fight off any nasty winter bugs if you take care of it. Stay strong and well this season.

4 Ways to Sneak Healthy Foods into Your Holiday Dishes

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The holidays are here, and it is time to savor all the joy they bring -- friends, family, meals together, giving & gratitude. Of course, along with them are hearty dishes and sweets that can certainly wreak havoc on our bodies. Casseroles laden with cream, sugary cakes and cookies, and other tempting empty calorie bombs will adorn the dining tables we surround. Unless we do something about it, that is!

But how can you make healthy decisions during the season of eating, especially without anyone noticing? Well, I have a few of my favorite tricks to share with you that I use each season, and the best part is, everybody loves it.

My favorite ways to sneak more nourishment into my holiday meals are...

Toss beans into your salads soups, or casseroles

Beans are so full of fiber they might just help you and your family from eating thirds at Christmas dinner because they are full and satiated. Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrients that include meat-free protein, zinc, folate, antioxidants and more. Adding beans to your soups and pureeing the soup give a nice velvety smooth texture too. These gems are very versatile and can replace meat in many dishes for any vegans you have visiting.

Add turmeric to your dishes

Make some of your food a pretty orange color by adding turmeric. It’s a natural, powerful anti-inflammatory that is filled with antioxidants. It is related to ginger and looks quite similar to a ginger root, and is most easily consumed in dried form. You can sneak it into dishes by sprinkling it in and enjoy the benefits it brings. Add just a little bit to your soups, sweet potatoes, salad dressings, and dips. Go easy on it since the flavor can be strong to those that aren’t used to it.

Use alternative sweeteners for your sweet treats

Don't worry -- I'm not suggesting you do away with your dessert table altogether, but those unrefined sugars are what we are trying to avoid. If you swap out the unhealthy stuff for a natural sweetener that is a better option, you’ll still get the sweet tastes everyone loves without the slew of chemicals. Try raw organic honey. Local honey is best which can typically be found at your local health food store. You can also look for coconut sugar or coconut syrup, or even use dates, which is my favorite sweetener.

Utilize fresh herbs for flavor and health benefits

Fresh herbs add a new dimension of taste to your dishes without adding fat and calories. Plus, they naturally have their own benefits from adding more antioxidants to reducing inflammation. Experiment with your favorite ones to add more zing to your mashed potatoes or liven up your veggies.

The holidays don’t have to be so heavy on the unhealthy items, particularly when you use these simple tricks for making your favorite holiday dishes healthier. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Season Eating Tips: Quick, Healthy And On A Budget

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The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to for parties, gift giving, stuffing stockings and tree lightings. Most likely all your time and money are being spent on family and friends leaving you low on funds, little time to cook and a hungry tummy. I’m here to help you get through the holidays on a budget while eating healthy foods that can be made fast.

I wish I had a present for how many times I've heard the sentence "I can't afford to eat healthy foods." FYI, this couldn't be further from the truth -- there are so many ways to enjoy healthy foods without breaking the bank. In fact, the pre-packaged, processed foods that aren't improving your health are more expensive. They cost more per serving, and they certainly cost more in the long run if we're factoring in your long-term health and doctor bills. The good news though is with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can eat healthy and for much less than you think.

Here are 6 tips that will have you eating healthier without straining your budget...

Dust off your slow cooker. A crockpot is like having a personal chef cooking for you. All you have to do is chop some veggies of choice such as onions, carrots, garlic and butternut squash. Add some BPA free canned beans, (lentils, maybe?) low sodium vegetable stock turn the cooker on for a 4 to 6-hour slow simmer. Wa-la, you have a homemade vegetable soup that is nutritious and didn’t take any time to prepare.

Buy frozen berries.This is my personal favorite tool in my kitchen toolbox (or should I say icebox?). Berries are notoriously expensive, even when they’re in season. With the frozen ones, the nutrients are locked in at the peak of freshness. They don’t spoil, and you can toss them in with spinach and fresh bananas for a simple smoothie. I also like to put frozen berries in my hot oatmeal. They defrost quickly and add nutrients to morning hot cereal.

Quick oats for on-the-go. Morning breakfast can still be fast without those pre-packaged oatmeal packs which have additives and sweeteners. If you have to get out the door quickly, pour boiling water on your quick oats and breakfast is done. You can also toss in some of those frozen berries for good measure. Steel cut oats have more nutrients but I’d rather you eat quick oats than a donut.

Make use of kale. Kale is s superfood that is delicious and easy to use. Most people only use lettuce to make salads and those same people, despite their best intentions, become tired of those salads a few days into the week. Instead, buy kale, which is less expensive and more nutrient dense. You can make it into salads, bake it into chips for a fantastic snack, or even sauté it like spinach. I like to throw kale in a soup that has been simmering in a crock-pot the last 5 minutes to let it wilt then serve dinner.

Fresh from the farmers market. Check out the produce from your local farmer’s market. Often, the fruits and vegetables you’ll find there are considerably less than those you’ll get at the supermarket and much fresher too. Plus, many local growers will discount bruised produce even further. Don’t be afraid to check it out and score an even better deal.

Meal planning is not a dirty word. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re not planning your meals for the week, then you’re going to be throwing money away. Take the time to sit down and get organized for the holidays, prepare for leftovers to be incorporated and stick to the plan. You’ll find you’re saving a lot more if you do!

Include seasonal items. One area where you can and should be flexible is with incorporating seasonal items. If a recipe includes asparagus, but it’s not in season or costs too much, replace it with something that is in season and costs less like greens, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or beets.

If you look around your kitchen, you’ll likely find even more ways you can save on eating healthy the next time you go grocery shopping. Try out these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a holiday gathering!

Do you have any more tricks up your sleeve that I didn’t mention here? Hit reply and let me know, I’d love to add any tips to my list.

Don’t get sick this winter with these helpful tips

For many, winter is a refreshing time of year that they enthusiastically wait for including me. The cold and crisp temperatures, the beautiful blankets of snow covering the earth, the festivities with family and friends, and the anticipation of a brand new year right around the corner is all so exciting. Unfortunately, along with all of these great things, colds and the flu are also rampant. You might feel yourself surrounded by people coughing and sneezing. It can often feel like germs surround you anywhere you go this time of year, but by boosting your immune system, you'll be less susceptible to catching those colds.

Here are a few of my favorite and natural ways to boost my immune system during the colder months...

 

Rest and relax. Winter is a time to reflect. During wintertime, the days are shorter and there is more darkness for a good reason, so we can reflect and take time to restore our energy for the bounty of spring. When we ignore nature’s queues to slow down, it’s easy to get run down emotionally and physically. Take time to relax, watch a movie, read a novel, get lost in a hobby or sip on some delicious tea or hot chocolate. It’s good for your body but wonderful for your soul.

Eat whole and local. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record when I keep writing about eating whole foods, especially locally- sourced, but this practice is best for maximum nutrients, flavor, and freshness. For big flavors that boost immunity, make sure you cook with immunity-strengthening items like garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Eating plant-based whole foods diet can be healing to the body.

Vitamins C and D to the rescue. Popping a vitamin is not my first choice and you can get ample supplies of vitamin C by eating citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark green vegetables, and berries. They’re all excellent sources of vitamin C. Even with the cold weather the sun still offers vitamin D and it's important to get outside in the sun for a few minutes each day, preferably in the morning when the sun will put to sleep your melatonin and raise your serotonin levels making you feel good. A short sunbath on your face is a great way to get the vitamin D your body needs. Plus, a few minutes of fresh air always boosts your mood and energy levels!

Stay hydrated. Have you ever found yourself not drinking water in the winter because you’re too cold? I have and found myself completely dehydrated. When our bodies are dehydrated, it’s much easier for us to become susceptible to illnesses and your skin gets drier making your look older. You can always add a wedge of lemon to give it more flavor, plus you’ll get more vitamin C -- a win-win. If water isn’t the answer for you then boil some water, put in a thermos with your favorite caffeine free tea and you have warm tea all day.

Lie down and get some sleep. In a society that tends to run themselves ragged, take the time to get your rest and rejuvenate. You’ll be less likely to get sick if you sleep 7 to 8 hours a night, even if you come into contact with the people that are battling an illness. Sweet dreams!

Stay active. Exercise is one of the best ways to benefit your body overall, but it also helps keep your immune system strong. Even if you only have time for a 10-minute walk after lunch, take it. It will help your body fight off illness. Yoga, restorative yoga, Tai Chi, HIIT, weightlifting or just brisk walks in the park are all brilliant ways to get moving.

Reduce your chances of being bed-ridden by being proactive about your health right now! No one likes getting sick but with the ideas above, you’re on your way to a healthy winter.

6 Excellent Ways To Sneak Wellness Into Your Workday (and stay fit)

Daily workouts can be quite difficult to fit into the busy schedule, and often, this causes us to throw our hands up and give up altogether. I understand. I’ve experienced this and know how it feels. It is easy to have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to exercise, but this way of thinking is harming our health, so let’s put this mindset to rest today and talk about how we can move forward.

A workout doesn’t have to mean an hour and a half of sweating at the gym or hot yoga class. Although these are great if you have the time and energy, we can find ways to sprinkle wellness into our everyday lives and can even fit wellness into our workday.

Here are a few ways to focus on wellness during your workday…

 

Exercise your way to work

Your workday essentially begins as soon as you leave your home in the mornings. If at all possible, you could walk or cycle to work instead of using public transportation or your car. Not only is this great exercise, but it'll also allow you to start your day off in a much calmer way, rather than stuck in traffic. If your workplace is too far to choose this plan, decide to park as far away from the building as possible. Doing so will create the opportunity to walk a bit further allowing for extra steps. Also, ditch the elevator and take the stairs. You’ll be amazed at the difference it’ll make over time! Little steps, when done consistently, add up quickly.

 

Green up, de-clutter and biceps

An excellent way to lighten your mood at work is to make your workspace comfortable and inviting. Find some plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight and add as many as you’d like to your office area. Live plants will also assist in cleansing the air in your office, which is an added benefit to the beautiful scenery. Aside from the greenery, keeping your office space clutter-free will help you feel more productive and less stressed. So, creating an organization routine you can maintain will help keep your office space running smoothly. Don’t forget the photos of your loved ones to lift your spirits, along with daily, positive affirmations.

Buy 3, 5 or 8-pound weights and keep them in your office. Every time you come back to your office from the bathroom do some form of exercise. Lunges, bicep curls, triceps dips, squats, push-ups and shoulder exercise such as front raises and lateral raises are easy to do in a small space and are so effective.

 

Nice posture is sexy

Good posture is a conscious effort we must make, especially when we slouch in office chairs for most of the day. I know, I know — it’s more comfortable usually — but the long-term effects are not. Don’t worry, yoga to the rescue. Yoga poses for great posture include cobra pose, mountain pose, bridge pose, and cat-cow.

If you need a better chair it is well worth the investment. Look up ergonomic chairs and visit your local office supply store to try some out in person. Good posture will assist you in concentrating better and lessen those back aches you take home with you daily.

 

Healthy lunch break

It’s time to stop working through your lunch break while you munch on a snack from the vending machine. One of the best ways to add wellness into your workday is to bring a healthy lunch. It doesn’t take much effort to make meals for the week on a Sunday afternoon — so head on over to Pinterest and look up some new, delicious looking healthy lunches you can start taking with you. If there’s time, squeeze in a 10-minute walk after you eat for better digestion and a clearer mind.

 

Snacking is great for wellness.

I get it — sometimes when you’re racing against the clock to meet a deadline, you crave a sugar boost to keep you going. Keeping healthy snacks in your office will help curb your snack cravings while not having to resort to the vending machine. Fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, protein balls, healthy granola bars or trail mix are great options that will keep in your desk without going bad.

 

Hydrate your body with water

Ah, water. It’s often so undervalued, but it is truly essential. Staying hydrated will help your focus and give you natural energy. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of tiredness, headaches, and cravings. So, be sure to keep the water flowing throughout the day. You won’t regret it. If you can, drink only filtered water to lessen the chemicals in normal tap water.

 

These are simple ways to begin implementing wellness into your workday every day. You’ll find that the positive changes will reveal themselves quickly and leave you feeling great. Your body will start to crave these good feelings. Remember, it’s not about perfection -- true wellness is about finding ways to fit it into your schedule, and about making the best choice available with what you’re given.

What are a few ways you plan to add some wellness into your workday? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

 

Feel Grounded and Keep Weight Off Eating With These Autumn Foods

This is my favorite time of the year. The cooler weather, apple picking, leaves falling and the scent of roots veggies cooking bring great memories and happy time. But with autumns arrival, and the busy back-to-school season that's quickly met with the hustle and bustle of the holidays is among us. If you're anything like me, this last part of the year flies by in a blink of the eye. Because of this, it can feel like a time where your out of control schedule is controlling you. You're pulled in many different directions, and you just want to sit down for a second to catch a break.

Do you struggle with feeling grounded on most days? I know if I don’t eat healthy foods that are in season I feel unsettled in my mind, body, and spirit. Eating grounding foods, practicing yoga and meditating all help me keep calm and rooted.

There is a brilliance in nature. She knows the truth of the season. Mother Nature knows how insane this time of year gets and provides exactly what we need to bring us back to nature. So many grounding foods become available this season, and it's of our highest benefit to take advantage of them. These foods can ground us and help us to re-balance when we are feeling out of control.

Here are a few of my favorites…

 

Orange is the new healthy

These are two traditional autumn foods, but they’re also exactly what we should be eating to ground ourselves. When you want some sweetness in your meal, these are the ideal way to achieve that and a much better alternative to chemical-laden artificially sweetened items. So, the next time you’re at your local farmers market, look for pumpkins that are labeled “sugar Pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”. They have a sweet flesh inside that is perfect for roasted and making soup to create a healthy meal. You’ll feel oh so healthy and grounded while enjoying a delicious pumpkin dish. Hint… roast the pumpkin seeds with a little sea salt for snacking during the day

 

Root vegetables

Vegetables that fall into this category are sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, garlic, and ginger. They add some great flavor to your meal and will make you feel rooted and grounded. Interesting how that works, right? Foods that grow as roots in the ground are naturally rooting and grounding to us. Nature is amazing.

 

Naturally Fermented Foods

Raw sauerkraut is perfect to add some sourness to your autumn meals, while also strengthening your gut health. Fermented foods don’t only make your meals taste great and assist with grounding you, but they also act as prebiotics and feed all the good bacteria in your gut. Some other naturally fermented food items include kimchi, kefir, Kombucha (be careful of the sugar content), and pickles, to name a few.

 

Add on the proteins

Finding healthy, high-quality protein sources will be of benefit to you this time of year. Proteins that come from high-quality foods give you the nutrients you need to build strong muscle while also feeling more grounded. We tend to crave more substantial meals this time of year due to their grounding effect. Hearty stews and soups are among the most popular food items this season, and that’s exactly why. Are there any plant-based proteins you use in your meals such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds and milk, quinoa, nutritional yeast, spirulina (add in a smoothie) or greens and veggies? Now is a perfect time to be adventurous and try something new.

Don't pass up these delicious autumn foods that are not only enjoyable but beneficial to us in many ways. Aside from eating foods that naturally ground you, there are other ways you can enjoy feeling grounded. Being in nature has a natural grounding effect -- so take a walk outside as often as possible to breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the colorful scenery. Breathing exercises help with feeling more grounded, so focus on your breathing throughout the day and take note on if you're breathing freely or holding your breath often. When you notice you're holding your breath, take a moment to practice a short breathing exercise.

What practices do you implement to help you feel calm? Leave a comment below, I’d love to chat about it.

Got Food Cravings? Try These Food Swaps.

Have you ever suffered from a food craving? Found yourself at the refrigerator door eating with the door open? I certainly have. Food cravings can seriously take control of your life until you feed the craving.

When you think about food cravings, typically the first thing that comes to mind would be some type of junk food. Something that is high in calories, low in nutrients, processed and quite unhealthy. Is that what you tend to crave when a craving kicks in? That would be me- give me sugar, give me chocolate.  What is your go-to craving -- chocolate chip cookies? A big bowl of ice cream? I would go right for the chocolate bar(s).

I'll be honest with you -- I believe in a balanced life. I'm not saying to never enjoy a sweet treat again. The issue with ingesting processed foods and the chemicals that come along with them on an ongoing basis is the danger of addiction. We absolutely don't want that, as it can disrupt the way our bodies function and wreak havoc in more ways than you can imagine.

So, if you feel like you may be addicted to sugar and/or processed foods, there is something you can do to help break the addiction. There are many foods you can add into your diet to balance your microbiome (gut bacteria) and get your good bacteria back to a healthy place. These foods are generally fermented foods that are filled with the good bacteria that your body needs to balance itself again and rid you of those cravings.

These fermented foods can include kimchi, Kombucha (look at the sugar content as they can get very sweet), sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots and coconut kefir to name a few. I'd love for you to choose at least one of these to add into your diet this week and get the good bacteria back into your body. Some doctors recommend taking a probiotic on a daily basis to help balance your bacteria, but after years of study, I believe that probiotics are great as you start getting your gut back into shape but you don’t want to rely on them. One they are expensive and secondly, the store bought probiotics might not carry the healthy probiotics stains your body needs to thrive. Eating fermented foods is the best and healthiest choice for you precious microbiome.

Do you have other cravings? Salt, something fizzy or creamy? Keep reading for help.

Exchange popular food cravings with these genius swaps…my favorite way of combating cravings is to trade out unhealthy foods with beneficial ones.

 

If you're wanting to put your hands in the potato chip bag... Try some raw carrot or celery sticks instead for that crunch. Dip the veggie sticks in hummus for a filling snack.

If you're craving fizzy sodas... Try some sparkling water such as Perrier or Pellegrino.   There are so many flavors to choose from; you're bound to find one you love -- and you can finally ditch that soda! Add a little Pomegranate juice to the sparkly and enjoy a virgin cocktail.

If you're hungry for a milkshake... Try a green smoothie instead to quench your desire for something cold and sweet. Adding chocolate, vanilla, or any other flavored protein powder will give you the milkshake taste you love without the sugar and bad fat while filling you up with protein.

Another helpful tip that I implement is to indulge mindfully. When you do decide to have a treat, enjoy a smaller portion than you’d even like to have. Teaching yourself restraint and how to indulge mindfully is an incredibly useful tool that you will always carry with you. I always have dark chocolate every day but just two squares. I get what I want to eat, it’s a healthier option instead of store-bought candy bars or cookies with trans fat and I don’t feel deprived at all. I feel extremely satisfied.

Let me know how you have won the war of food cravings by leaving a comment below.

 

4 Simple Healthy Lunch Ideas For Your Busy Lifestyle (and more ideas for back to school)

If lunch isn’t planned ahead of time, it can be the easiest meal of the day to resort to convenience foods, which are generally junk foods. The vending machine in your office building is just one button away from a quick lunch when you’re pressed for time, right?

Luckily, it doesn’t take a ton of time to plan meals ahead of time! It only takes a commitment and a few minutes each day. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ideas for simple, healthy lunches that I plan my meals around.

Here we go…

 

A Healthy Twist On Sandwiches

Although it’s not hard to spruce a sandwich up to be fairly healthy, you can make them even healthier by substituting any meat and cheese for vegetables of your choice. You can add things such as spinach, tomato, onion, avocado and more. Ditch the mayo and use hummus or guacamole. If you choose to use bread, be sure to choose a healthy, sprouted option, and a gluten-free option if needed.

 

A Simple Salad

Ditch those heavy salads drenched in Ranch dressing and create your own salad made up completely of raw vegetables and possibly and simple dressing like apple cider vinegar with fresh herbs.

Some great in season veggies to toss in your salads include:

  • Beets
  • Radish
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Peppers

 

A Healthy Wrap or Pinwheel

These are quite simple to make and easy to transport as a lunch. Toss all of your healthy ingredients into a sprouted tortilla or even a lettuce leaf as a wrap. Enjoy it as a simple wrap with a side of your favorite fruit, or spice it up and create your wrap into a pinwheel.

Pinwheels are made by rolling your ingredients in the tortilla and cutting it into bite-sized slices. Another option is to use thinly sliced zucchini as an alternative tortilla option for pinwheels. Use fewer ingredients than for wraps to create an easier to eat and less messy pinwheel.

 

Veggie Sushi Is All The Rage

Have you ever tried to make your own sushi? It’s a lot of fun and actually quite simple. There are loads of tutorial videos online, so give it a quick search one weekend when you have some free time to experiment.

Regardless if it’s homemade or purchased at a grocery store, veggie sushi is a great, light lunch that is quick and easy.

If available, try sushi with brown rice or even quinoa instead of white rice. Enjoy!

Not only are these simple recipes ideal for lunches, but they’re also perfect for picnics. Before summer comes to a close, make sure you enjoy a picnic in your favorite outdoor area. Bring along some freshly sliced watermelon and any other fruits you love to enjoy as a refreshing dessert afterward.

 

Back To School

Back to school is my favorite time of year. The possibilities of what’s’ to come as the summer comes to an end is fun and exciting. As autumn transitions into winter, delicious foods such as soups and stews bring us back to the kitchen for goodness for our souls!

If you have kids here’s some help for the back to school.

Sometimes it’s a struggle to get back into the groove of making lunches every day, and often you can hardly think of anything other than a sandwich to make.

I know exactly what it’s like to have your mind go blank when trying to be creative with lunches, so here are a few options in each category (main dish, veggies, fruit, etc.) to choose from, so you can create many lunches to come!

Main Options:

  • Zucchini & Carrot Muffins
  • Pasta with Olive Oil & Pesto
  • Mayo-free Egg Salad
  • Zucchini boats

Veggie Options:

  • Carrot & Celery Sticks
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Pepper
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber

Fruit Options:

  • Apple (maybe handpicked from an apple orchard)
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Peach (Get the end of summer produce now)
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple

Miscellaneous Options:

  • Hummus for Veggies
  • Trail Mix
  • Protein Balls
  • Popcorn
  • Lara bar

I would love to hear your awesome back to school healthy lunch ideas. Leave a comment below and let's share recipes.

 

Reduce Inflammation By Eating These Foods

Header It has been said that inflammation is the root cause of all disease. When your skin is inflamed it’s easy to see due to the redness, blotchiness, rashes, and hives, but how do you recognize inflammation inside your body and how do you assist your body in healing its self?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the source and the cause of inflammation. Whether it is acute or chronic inflammation caused by environmental irritants or what we're eating, many factors go into why we're dealing with inflammation. Chronic inflammation can indicate the body's inability to respond to its irritant. Infections can jumpstart an inflammatory response, along with other sources of inflammation such as stress, unhealthy habits, and other underlying health issues

The good news, though, is there are natural remedies for inflammation, and a lot of those are naturally available foods that are probably already in your kitchen.

Before we get to remedies that will help your body feel better from the inside out, I want to share some signs that you might experience if you have inflammation in your body which you can’t see.

  1. Fatigue
  2. Being overweight
  3. Aches and pains especially joints
  4. Red itchy skin
  5. Allergies and infections
  6. A diagnosed autoimmune disease
  7. Throat tickle or constant coughing
  8. Acne, cysts, hives, rashes
  9. Itchy ears
  10. Craving white flour processed foods
  11. Puffy Skin and water retention

Don’t get worried or scared if you have any of the above symptoms Just begin to use the foods in your kitchen as your medicine,

Filling your kitchen with anti-inflammatory foods will help combat your inflammation on a regular basis. Some powerful anti-inflammatory fruits include blueberries, strawberries, cherries, oranges, and pineapple. Many of these contain bromelain and quercetin, which are incredible for helping ease inflammation in the body.

 

Here are some other anti-inflammatory foods to use in your kitchen include...

 

Ginger. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory chemicals and adding this root to your routine can be quite simple -- add it to your meals, toss some in your juicer, or make some fresh ginger tea.

Green tea. This popular tea has catechins, which have antioxidant properties and power. Substitute out your afternoon coffee for a green tea to enjoy the natural anti-inflammatory benefits it provides.

Beets. In my opinion, beets are a superfood and they are oh so good for you. Filled with the betalain pigment along with countless other beneficial nutrients, beets provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that your body will love. Toss some on your salad, in a juice or in your smoothie and reap the benefits.

Tomatoes. The lycopene found in tomatoes helps provide the body with an anti-inflammatory benefit. Summer is a fantastic time to enjoy loads of tomatoes, so eat up!

Garlic. Garlic is so versatile and can be added to nearly everything. Take advantage of that and toss it in your home cooked meals or salad dressings to enjoy its anti-inflammatory benefits regularly.

Along with these important foods, sleep is another powerful element in reducing the risk of inflammation. If you’re in need of improving your sleep quality, take this as a sign to begin now. Sleep is such a crucial link in your overall wellness, not just with controlling inflammation. Making healthy lifestyle choices gives your body a better chance of curbing inflammation in the future, so start with baby steps.

What can you do this week to make healthier habits? I am currently working on my sleep routine. I’m a light sleeper and it takes me a long time to fall asleep. For the next month, my focus is on getting some deep snoozing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

** Disclaimer:   I do not provide the services of a licensed dietician or nutritionist, information received should not be seen as medical or nursing advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing licensed health professionals.

 

5 Tips for Eating Healthy On A Budget

Header What is the number one reason complaint I receive about eating healthy? It is too expensive! I completely understand and it can certainly appear that way at first glance -- but after a bit of evaluating, you soon realize that eating healthy is absolutely possible on a budget. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it can be quite simple!

I'm going to share some of my tried-and-true tips on how to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Take these tips and make them habits in your life and you'll soon find you can successfully have a healthier kitchen without sacrificing a large chunk of your bank account.

Shop the perimeter of the store. Stay out of the inside isles. Think about it -- all of the healthy items are on the outside perimeter of the store. For the most part, the inside aisles are the pre-packaged, boxed foods that typically aren't ideal for a healthy lifestyle – and they’re more expensive per serving. There are certainly some items you'll need from the inside aisles, but the majority of the cart can be filled with items from the store perimeter. So always start by shopping the perimeter of the store before you dive into the inside aisles.

Skip the pre-cut items. Yes, it takes extra time and elbow grease, but buying pre-chopped onions or cut-up fruit costs a significant amount more than buying a full cantaloupe or butternut squash and cutting it yourself.

Shop and spend your hard earned money at different places. Wholesale stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club may be most beneficial to shop at for some healthy items, but probably not your entire grocery list. Scope out where you can get your staple items weekly. Are your veggies most affordable at the Farmers Market or Trader Joes? Is it most economical to get your grains and beans in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods? Shop around and find the best deals for what you need on a weekly basis.

I always buy local and recommend to everyone to buy local when you can.

Get your green thumb ready and start a garden. Are there some items you frequently eat that you can grow in your backyard or on your balcony? There are a tremendous amount of foods that you can easily grow at home, many of them you can even grow from scraps. Free is always great, right!? And when you grow it yourself, you know your food isn't laden with harmful chemicals. So, what can you look into growing yourself - leafy greens, strawberries, herbs, carrots, cucumbers…the list is endless.

Eat and buy in season. In season vegetables and fruits are far less expensive, more nutritious and easier to find. Fruits are almost always on sale at conventional grocery stores so check online to see where you can get berries half off or where you can stock up on fruit for the week.

Some produce costs more than others. Making the bulk of your produce the least expensive ones can keep your grocery bill down each week. Greens, carrots, apples, bananas, and celery are among a few very inexpensive options. Balance those out with some more expensive broccoli, brussels sprouts or berries, and you're well on your way to eating healthy on a budget.

Here is a big tip; the best way to get produce that is in season is through CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. Go to localharvest.org to find a CSA near you.

I personally buy what I need and do my best not to fill up my grocery cart with foods I don’t need to eat such as snacks, cookies or chips. These items add up quickly at the register and on your waistline.

Do you have a great way to save on your health and wellness producing grocery bill? Please leave a comment below and share.

Healthy Hormones With Food

carrot-1085063_1280 Having balanced hormones such as estrogen, adrenaline, testosterone, and insulin is an integral part of enjoying a healthy life. When our hormones are functioning properly, our bodies can operate at optimum levels and to our greatest benefit keeping us healthy. When we struggle with out-of-whack hormones, it can indeed throw our health and lives for a loop and this seems to be happening more and more lately. Luckily, there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to help our hormones stay on track and these easy things involve the foods you put into your mouth.

Before we begin getting into different foods that are helpful for balanced hormones, let’s dive into the importance of hormones to our health.

So what do hormones do? Hormones are tiny molecules that function as chemical messengers and triggers all sorts of responses in different parts of the body. There are various types of hormones, but here, I want to share about five important types of hormones.

 

  1. First, we have cortisol, the stress hormone. When you’re in a stressful situation, this hormone raises your heart rate, provides your brain with extra oxygen and releases energy from fat and glucose. Many of us have constant high levels of cortisol due to stress. This is the hormone that will leave a ring of belly fat around your stomach and it’s hard to get rid of the fat if you stress levels stay high.
  1. Secondly is testosterone, a hormone that we commonly know as a male hormone, but women have it too. Testosterone influences your sex drive, muscle mass, and brain function.
  1. Moving on to melatonin-- this hormone regulates your sleep cycle. Melatonin is activated by the pineal gland in the brain later in the day when the sun begins to set.
  1. Next up is estrogen, which is responsible for the growth and development of female characteristics and reproduction. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat tissue.
  1. Lastly, adrenaline produced in the adrenal glands participates in the body’s fight-or-flight response. This hormone allows us to cope better with stressful and dangerous situations.

 

Foods That Help Balance Hormones Naturally

 

  1. Fats

Healthy fats are the building blocks of many different types of hormones. Some sources of these important healthy fats include coconut oil, avocado, eggs, and certain kinds of fish such as salmon and tuna.   Consuming these healthy fat sources allow you to fuel the healthy hormone production you need.

  1. Nuts

Walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a building block of hormones, and it also helps reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, Omega-3's are excellent at promoting cell-to-cell communication.

Other nuts and seeds high in Omega-3's include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and beechnuts.

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that encourage a healthy gut. The link between probiotics and a healthy gut is that these two balance important hormone levels in the body. Several foods provide probiotics naturally. Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut have live probiotics. Liquids such as Kombucha and bone broth are also filled with essential probiotics.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that's extremely beneficial to you. This spice helps to balance your hormones naturally, and luckily, it is very versatile for how it can be used!   Turmeric is also an incredible anti-inflammatory that can assist you with having healthy digestion. You can use this spice in your meals, take it in capsule form, or even create a turmeric latte and enjoy it as a hot beverage.

  1. Green Veggies

How many times have you heard it's important to eat your greens? This isn't new information, for sure -- but it certainly is ever so true.   Green veggies including things like Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus help metabolize estrogen and balance hormones. So try to find a place for green veggies on your plate as often as possible.

 

What To Avoid

 

Now that we know some foods that will help balance your hormone levels, it’s also important to know which foods you can avoid so they do not interfere with your hormone levels.

  1. If you consume caffeine, be mindful not to overdo it. When you do consume too much caffeine, to the point that it interferes with your sleep, this can cause your cortisol levels to increase and your hormones to fluctuate as a result.
  1. Alcohol can be a deal-breaker too. Besides the fact that consuming high levels of alcohol can damage your organs, it can also interfere with your testosterone and estrogen levels.
  1. Sugar is typically a good thing to avoid anyway -- but indulging in processed sugar is another way to throw your hormones into a tailspin potentially. Sugar can be tough to kick, but lowering your intake over time is better than nothing at all. You can do it!
  1. Eliminate toxic bath, household and beauty products. The toxins in these products create havoc on your hormonal system. Switch to all-natural products.
  1. Reduce stress. We all know too well how we feel when we’re stressed and it doesn’t feel good.

 

Overall, add in more hormone balancing foods into your daily routine (all natural foods grown from the Earth) and begin reducing the "avoid" list. It's okay to make this change over time to make it last, so start one step at a time.

 

I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share how you keep your hormones happy and healthy.

 

 

 

 

8 Ways To Feel Forever Young Overnight

person-731141_1280 Close your eyes for a moment and imagine waking up feeling five or even ten years younger in your appearance, confidence, weight loss and aura. Ahhh… that feels so good, doesn’t it? The secret to feeling and looking 10 years younger is reducing gut inflammation. Yes….I am serious. Gut inflammation can result in a lack of motivation and an increase in autoimmune disorders, tiredness, and irritability, leaving you feeling worn-out and exhausted. These three simple steps will have you feeling younger, more vibrant, and healthier overnight.

1. Eliminate sugars, bread, and pasta from your diet. Replace those unhealthy carbs with natural options like berries or starch vegetables. Gut inflammation is often exacerbated by food sensitivities. Some food sensitivities are so hidden you may not know you have one without a food sensitivity test. Proactively removing unhealthy carbs and white flours from your diet will aid in the replenishment of your gut lining and reduce the inflammation in your gut.

2. Try some bone broth. Now, please know that I’m a vegetarian, 99.5% vegan, but know many people who have used bone broth with amazing results and that’s why I’ve included it here. Grass-fed bone broth helps to build antibodies, tighten skin cells, and can even reduce the appearance of cellulite. It’s packed with gelatin and collagen which rebuilds your gut lining and helps to strengthen your immune system. Bone broth contains potassium and glycine which aids in liver detoxification. Enjoy it warm for dinner in a soup. Grass-fed bone broth can be found at your local health food store.

3. Eat probiotic foods. Do you like sauerkraut, kimchee or coconut keifer? These foods are said to be healing for your gut and full of probiotics, which replenish your good gut bacteria. Can I just take a probiotic pill? Yes, but probiotics pills have only about 20 different strains and your body might need a different strain (plus supplement pills scan get expensive fast). Go ahead and take a probiotic pill but also have fermented foods with your meals at least once, preferably twice a day.

4. Eat dinner early and eliminate snacking before bed. If you keep eating before bedtime you only extending the time your body has to work at digesting the food you ate that day. When you keep your body working to get rid of the food you ate late night, it has no time to actually go into healing mode as you sleep. Personally, I made this change when I was in my 20s’ and have never looked back. I wake up refreshed, with a flat belly, feeling full of energy and refreshed.

5. Laugh, laugh a lot. Laughing is pure joy and keeps you in a high vibration. Laughing makes you feel wonderful and is healing for your soul. Talk to a toddler (kids say the funniest things). Play with puppies and laugh at how cute and clumsy they are. Watch good clean comedy (Big Bang Theory anyone!) or remember past events with loved ones that made you chuckle.

6. Slow down and enjoy the simple things. Take time to read a book or a slow walk in the park. Don’t move too quickly from one task to another (something I need to work on) and be grateful for the moment. Slowing down makes you feel younger at heart when rushing makes you feel stressed. Always remember, stress will age you quicker than anything.

7. Decide to be happy. I know this is a hard one for many people, including me, because we determine our happiness by external events and people but true happiness is an inside job. You have the capacity to be happy right now if you choose. Happiness makes you smile form your heart and nothing makes you look younger and feel young than a happy smiling person. Every day for the next 40 days, at one point during your day when things may not be going the way you want them too, choose to just be happy right then and there. It doesn’t matter what going on in your external environment. If you’re stuck in traffic choose to be happy and sing along to the radio. If someone is upset with you, know that it’s not about you and send them a blessing and choose to happy. If something happened at work, do your best not to get in a tizzy, take a deep breathe in and remember in the big picture… YOU ARE OK… don’t let anyone, anything or situation rock your boat. Choosing to be happy can be done and the more you try the easier it gets.

8. Last but not least, establish a regular, calming evening routine. Brushing and flossing your teeth every night is crucial to feeling better the next morning. Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health! Spend a little time before bed winding down, reading a book, or writing a journal entry. Meditate or go for a moonlight walk. Ensure you are getting at least eight hours of sleep every night, and commit to taking a little time out of every day for yourself. I personally love an essential oil infused coconut oil self-massage with an inspiring and spiritual book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, Gabrielle Bernstein or Marianne Williamson or a short mediation to relax my body. The greatest change comes from within and the willingness to commit to the change

  These five simple steps will usher in a big difference in your overall health and wellness. I recommend committing to these lifestyle changes for at least 21 to 40 days to really begin to see changes and fully repair the inflammation in your gut. By then, you will already have forgotten about those old habits that used to be your norm. That feeling of lethargy and lack of motivation is in the past. You’re well on your way to a healthier, younger you!

Remember, change can be uncomfortable especially if your use to eating late, drinking wine before bed to unwind or staying up watching late night T.V, but you can do it. Stay committed. To your goal of feeling better and looking better and close your eyes for some ZZZ’s.

Now it's your turn. Do you have a Forever Young ritual you do that keeps your body, mind, and emotions forever young? Leave a comment below and share. I'd love to hear it.

5 Steps to Detox Your Mind for Weight Loss, Health and Rejuvenation

peace-of-mind-349815_1920 The Internet is full of diet blogs and nutrition advice. There are countless recipes for detoxifying drinks, which make use of various natural ingredients that can remove various toxins and harmful molecules from our body resulting in blood cleansing and therefore a healthy body, which is amazing. But only a few people understand the true value of mind detoxification apart from body detoxification. I talk about body detoxification all the time on my blog but it’s time we get deeper into your precious mind.

Your body is always detoxing to keep you healthy and alive. But did you know that your mind can also be detoxing from attacks (toxins) of the mind?

A healthy mind reflects a healthy body. Therefore, a healthy body follows a healthy mind, and a healthy mind follows healthy thoughts. Did you come to the same conclusion I did…. a positive mind is the prime determinant of your overall health. But how do you maintain a positive mind in today’s acquisitive world?

 

  1. Adopt mindfulness:

A mindfulness approach utilizes synchronization of the surrounding environment with your inner self. Concentrate of what’s happening around you and how it’s affecting your mental state. This will help you identify some negative elements around you, which might be the reason for your disturbed subconscious state of mind. Identifying these negative elements will help you to modify them or remove them to achieve a positive state of mind. This is the first step towards detoxification of your mind.

If your mind is not settled it will cause challenges in your digestion, assimilation and elimination of foods.

 

  1. Use a planned approach:

An unorganized routine distracts your mind from your major responsibilities. A diverted mind gets tired more easily and frequently than a focused mind. One of the best measures of which you can take to organize your mind is to organize your daily schedule, a systematic approach. This doesn’t mean to create a ‘hard and fast’ schedule with accurate timings for your various daily performances. Allow flexibility in your routine but understand the difference between flexibility and disorganization.

I plan and write on paper (or if you are into a paperless method, the Evernote app is great) the meals I’m going to prepare for the week knowing that it may change due to schedule changes which still allows some spontaneity. At least I’m prepared and not trying to pull food out a magician’s hat.

 

  1. Let go of perfection and just BE you:

You have been created to be a good human being. Therefore, adopting a robotic lifestyle is against nature and will only result in your annihilation. Remember, perfection is merely an illusion. What’s normal for the spider is a trap for a fly. Therefore, bring an end to the "inner human comparison" which your mind creates to achieve the superiority complex. Your mind will temporarily get satisfaction and feeling of dominance, but chronic stress comparison will result in a tired and a distracted mind.

 

  1. Release the past:

It is imperative you stop your mind from constantly recalling the regrets of past and creating anxiety towards the future as both are not in your present moment. When a regretful moment from past strikes your mind, reassuring yourself that you have learned from the past is an excellent trick to prevent the past from conquering your mind in the present. On the other hand, staying apprehensive about your future will create stress, and chronic stress cannot only damage your mind but is also detrimental to your body’s health. Just do what you can do in the very moment you are breathing in. Allow the past to be gone and the future to be excitingly unknown.

 

  1. Possibilities:

The world can be a selfish place to live in but reacting negatively neither changes the nature of the world nor is it healthy for your mind and body. It’s sometimes unpractical to react positively in an off-putting situation, but always taking the high road is helpful.

Maintaining positive thoughts will automatically create a positive exterior. Researchers have stated that the negative thoughts your mind creates are so strong, they dominate over all the positive options. On the other hand, positive thinking broadens your sense of possibilities and opens your mind, which then allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life.

As you have read, steps in a mind detox will eave you filling fulfilled, happy and on the right track to your weight loss goals.

Please leave a comment below and share other tools you use to detox your mind and your body.