I'm letting this delicious salad marinate for later this afternoon - can’t wait! I made this salad over the long weekend, and I'm already ready to eat it again. I tucked into this dish after spending an afternoon splashing around in the sun at the river. We usually bring a few snacks with us to the water, but inevitably, we all turn up back at the house several hours later, absolutely famished. This salad was the perfect combination of carbs, proteins, and refreshing greens. It filled me up without weighing me down!
There a million different ways to make an incredible salad, but this one ranks at the top of my list. I think it's that amazing combination of vegetables and tangy, sweet spices. There are a few staples to this salad that make it exceptionally good, and I'll be sharing those, but there's also a truly fantastic "secret ingredient" that I want to share with you all, because I don't think too may people know about it!
Moving through a Warrior Series can feel so empowering. The position above engages my quads, my core, and my arms. I've added in a slight elevation on my forward leg to create added resistance. Just be careful to watch the position of your knee.
This pose tilts your head to the sky and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. The key to using yoga moves effectively is to focus on identifying strong and weak muscles. Take everything slow. Choose a few of your favorite poses and really let yourself sink into them. You should spend a minute focusing on your breathing, then another minute really allowing yourself to stretch out - to get the most you can from each muscle engaged by the pose. Yoga, unlike our fast-paced lives, isn't about speed. It's about strength, flexibility, and balance - several things that you need in order to feel like you're in control of your day.
Whatever poses you choose to work into your routine, make them ones that you enjoy. Take the chance to slow down, be attuned to your body, and access that place of calm and happiness that can be found when you give your body and a chance to show you how strong you are.
I've been trying to work more fish into our family meals lately. Summer time is the perfect excuse to fire up the grill, and while my 16 year old is totally gung-ho about the idea of eating steak every night, Greg and I have fun dreaming up the creative recipes that offer us some healthier options. Grilled Tilapia with seasonal veggies is one of our absolute favorites. It's mouthwateringly good, especially when we get to throw in the fresh produce that we picked up at the farmer's market over the weekend. It's also fast and totally fuss-free!
Now there's been some buzz about Tilapia lately, so here are a few good things to know. Tilapia is low in calories, mildly flavored, inexpensive, and high in protein. It does not contain as many healthy fatty acids as some other fish (like Salmon, for example), but that's just fine as long as you're not only eating Tilapia to get those nutrients. It may also be worth it to look into where your fish is coming from. As with most other kinds of fish, there has been some concern in recent years over farming practices. If you're worried, you might try to find some Tilapia that isn't sourced from China. Other places, like Canada, have a little bit more regulation. Overall, Tilapia is a wonderful fish to include as part of a healthy and varied diet!
Total Time: 35 Minutes
180 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat); 2 g fiber; 7 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 52 mcg folate; 57 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 511 IU vitamin A; 17 mg vitamin C; 45 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 423 mg sodium; 591 mg potassium
**if you are a chocolate mint lover, try chocolate protein powder instead. Use a dash of stevia or honey if your protein isn't already sweetened.
Blend all of the ingredients together thoroughly. It can be stored in the fridge overnight, though stir before drinking the next day!
For a truly creamy texture, try adding 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt and reducing the protein powder by half.
Each new Spring I take a moment to remind myself to focus on growth. As the natural world begins to change and flourish, I ask myself, what am I doing to make sure I'm growing, as a person? There are a lot of elements that go into this: volunteering more, being kind and positive, tackling new challenges, and setting aside time to be creative...And then there's food. Food plays a huge role in how we feel day to day, how much energy we have to achieve our goals, and how capable we feel of giving back to the people around us. So this season, with growth in mind, I've put together a list of 5 foods I want to eat more of this Spring, because growth starts with the smallest choices, just as a flower begins with a seed!
Think getting your greens is hard? Maybe it's just time to rethink your moves!
Here's the real deal: Greens go with everything.
Also the CDC says only 27 percent of you are getting your greens and I care about you, okay? Eat ALL the spinach!
The Green Smoothie
It’s quick, it’s fuss-free and totally easy to prep ahead of time if that's your thing. Simply add your greens, a little fruit, some kefir, and whatever else you love to put in your smoothie into a container or reusable ziplock bag and freeze. Add to your blender with a little extra liquid when it’s smoothie time! If you're throwing together your smoothie in real time, just toss greens into whatever you would have made. It's so easy, you might just forget they're in there.
Juicing is one of the quickest ways to nourish your body with easy to absorb nutrients. Plus it’s portable! If you don’t have time to make a green juice, you could buy one from a juice bar.
Steamed or Sauteed Greens
Many leafy greens contain fat-soluble vitamins, so to best absorb these, we need to eat our greens with a little fat! Lightly sauteeing your greens or steaming them for a few minutes and serving them with avocado will help to make sure you’re getting the most out of your greens! Plus, it's an incredibly easy way to cook your crew's seasonal favorites. Check out one of my favorite recipes here! RECIPE
A super simple way to get more greens into your diet is to enjoy a salad. But to prevent boredom from eating the same salads day in, day out, switch things up! Why not try this Chopped Salad Recipe that I just can't get enough of? RECIPE
Want an easy way to make tacos, burritos, or rice paper rolls? Use leafy greens instead! Collard greens, silverbeet, cos lettuce, swiss chard and even cabbage all make great cups or wraps and help boost your nutrient intake of these alkalizing foods! Looking for dinner inspiration? I'll confess, sometimes I tweak this family favorite and replace the daikon radishes with some fluffy greens. RECIPE
A few weeks ago, my family and I rented some top-notch bikes and took off on a mountainous adventure through the rolling hills of the Ozarks. We spent quite a few days there, taking in the sun soaked-blue skies and the endless forests. It was a reminder, as most outdoor adventures are, not to discount the importance of nature in our busy, technology driven lives.
I never get over how lucky I am to get to be active with my family and friends. I know no better than feeling than sharing these types of spectacular moments with my son, as he appreciates what a wonderful thing it is to be alive.
It was a camping trip, so of course I had the requisite cup-a-noodles! But hey, if I eat spinach with this, it's totally better for me, right?
I hope you make time to find peace and happiness with people you love this weekend. Remember that health is about more than what you put on your plate - It's how happy you feel when you wake up in the morning, and how proud you are when you go to bed at night. Dedicate your time to the people in your life who matter, and dedicate your effort to the goals that make everything better. Happy Friday. :)
So here I am, perched against a wall on a random street near the beach in California. I didn't have access to a gym that day, but I DID have a wall, and if you're looking to tone those isometric muscles, that's really all it takes.
The average American spends 12 hours a day sitting. To put that in perspective, you're awake for 16 hours, and you spend a full 12 of them with your butt in a chair. The overwhelming consensus? It's not good!
So here's the challenge: Take at least one minute for each of those hours you spend sitting, and turn it into a wall-sit. In 12 minutes a day you can seriously tone your legs, lower abs, and if you're up for it, your arms too!
I won't belabor the description of how to do a proper wall-sit. You sit! Like you're in an imaginary chair with your back straight against the wall. The most important part is to make sure that your legs are bent at a clean, 90 degree angle. No knees hanging out over your toes!
Start out holding your plank for how ever long you can and work up from there. Ideally, you'll be able to hold the pose for at least two minutes - That's when you start to get into really good muscle building territory. If you can hold your wall-sit for longer, that's even better. Do however many reps it takes you to get to 12 minutes each day.
If you're up for it, there are lots of ways to tone your arms while doing a wall-sit as well. Hold your arms up overhead, add in some light hand weights and do curls or straight arm lifts, or simply press your hands together like I am in this picture, applying a constant force. There are endless combinations of ways to tone your arms while you're working your legs.
You've probably heard of Matcha by now, and if you haven't, welcome to the in-crowd - It's hip, it's trendy! Matcha is the powdered green tea that's taken the world by storm, and for good reason. When I'm in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, it's not coffee I turn to. Don't get me wrong, I love a good cup of coffee - alway will! - but here are the 4 reasons Matcha just might be better than your average cup of joe.
3. Matcha boosts memory and concentration: Matcha powder contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something I'm always in search of during my workday!
4. Matcha has more antioxidants: Matcha is ridiculously full of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the mighty epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications to the treatment of so many disorders, including cancer.
I think one of the best parts of this green wonder is how easy it is to find! Maybe you haven't tried Matcha yet, but your opportunity is just around the corner! Seriously, you can order this drink at any Starbucks, or you can find the powder at almost any natural foods retailer or Walmart. If you decide to order your first drink, just be sure to watch out for all the heavy add-ins. This tea is so good it doesn't need cream or tons of added sugar.
For Deanna Duplanti, getting to your breakthrough is all about looking outside the box, and doing something different:
“I’ve experienced many breakthroughs in my health and fitness, but one of the biggest had to do with my nutrition. I learned that I could train, I could go all day long, but unless I had the proper nutrition, I wasn’t going to improve like I wanted to, and I wasn’t going to feel very good.
They say in a marathon you’re going to hit a wall at mile 20. The thing is, I don’t believe that wall exists. What I have found is that you just have to make a decision, ‘I’m going to give it all I’ve got.’ What you’ll often find is that you could do it, and you did.
Look outside the box. Do something different. Even with food, things that I said ‘oh my gosh, I would never like that,’ those foods often turned out to be the tastiest thing ever. High in fat foods taint your palate. Now, I find healthy foods taste wonderful, fresh and clean. That’s a breakthrough.
Get out of your comfort zone. Goodness knows I had never done a polar plunge, but the first time I did, I loved it. Be creative. You can be disciplined, but don’t let those boundaries mean too much. Lastly, remember that there’s no time limitation on a breakthrough. Every day is a new day, so start out fresh each morning.”
Remember. You have to be in the market.
The holiday season is here! I've been spending a lot of time in my kitchen lately, working with one of my favorite foods-cranberries! These delicious berries are packed with antioxidants and actively work to promote a healthy digestive system, immune system, and reduce inflammation. Check out a couple of my favorite holiday cranberry recipes below!
Wishing you and all your loved ones a happy, healthy Thanksgiving. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life and the many exciting experiences we bring to each other each year. This is a wonderful time to appreciate our health, friends, abilities, the abundance and variety of good, clean food, and the privilege to make choices in our daily life. Now, more than ever, striving to be positive and inclusive can help you to feel healthy of body and spirit. Make the most of this fun season!
CRANBERRY ORANGE PUMPKIN MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
2 large, very ripe bananas
½ cup orange juice plus zest of one orange
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup Date Paste
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon alcohol-free Vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened or fruit juice sweetened
3 cups gluten free oats
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
When pumpkin is plentiful, I like to make pumpkin spice oatmeal in the morning. One day I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to eat it and I wondered how it would taste baked into a muffin. The result was pure pumpkin perfection! These little beauties are moist and delicious.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process bananas and OJ until smooth. Add pumpkin, date paste, extract, zest, flax seeds and spice and continue processing until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the oats and dried cranberries. Spoon an equal amount of batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners or silicone baking cups. You need to fill each muffin liner with about ½ cup of batter as these do not rise. A retractable ice cream scoop works well. In a separate bowl, mix the nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly into each of the 12 muffin liners. A cheese grater or nut grinder works well for grinding the nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Mavie’s Fresh Cranberry Salsa
1 bag fresh cranberries
1/4 C sugar or 1/8 C. sugar, 2 T. orange juice concentrate if you like orange
1/4 c minced green onions
1/2 c minced cilantro
2 medium jalapeños (or to desired heat)
2 Tbs lemon juice + lemon zest
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger (Freezing makes it easier to grate) or use minced jarred ginger
Place cranberries in food processor with jalapeños (de-seeded & de-veined). Put mixture in bowl and add remaining ingredients. Chill for 4 hrs before serving. Serve over cream cheese if desired.
I have also placed cranberries, japs, cilantro, and green onions in the food processor rather than mincing the latter two. Seems to work well!
Enjoy these fun recipes and time with your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving, from my kitchen to yours!
When I first met Keith Sams in Fall of 2012, he was 45 pounds heavier than he is now, but had already lost a great deal of weight. He came into our meeting with all of his exercise stats from the past 6 months totaled, which included exactly 3325 miles of cycling and 450 miles of running. He described himself as obese, told me how much weight he had already lost, how much more he wanted to lose, how much faster he wanted to get, and all the reasons why. He also said he didn’t “want to wear the scarlet letter of obesity” anymore, and wanted to be Keith LITE! He then detailed all of the things he had already changed in his diet, and that he would be a dedicated client and work really hard to accomplish anything that he needed to do to accomplish his goals of losing weight, being healthier, and getting faster on the bike. Running was something that he enjoyed, but cycling was his biggest goal. He and his wife Cara were soon to be “empty nesters” and he wanted them to be healthy and active and go on fun trips.
Wow, I must say I was a bit overwhelmed by the intensity of this guy! He talked fast, and abundantly, smiled most of the time, and surprisingly, when he stopped talking, was a fairly attentive listener. We set out on the task of accomplishing his goals. By February of 2013 he was at his goal weight, feeling great, running and riding faster, and about to explode with excitement about all the events he wanted to take on as the “new and improved, lean and healthy Keith!” You could hardly keep this guy’s feet on the ground he was so high on how good he felt! During 2014, Keith and I worked together on some of his athletic goals, including multi-day cycling events, multiple half marathons, a couple of marathons, the list goes on. Keith could tell you every single one, and all of his stats on them, in great detail! We learned a great deal about working together, he learned to ask and clarify, he learned that rest, recovery, flexibility, fueling, and hydration were all part of the training formula, not just doing the miles or the hours. We talked often about respecting your body’s work, and giving it time to heal, replenish and recover. Even if Keith didn’t get the execution right on something, you could count on him putting forth a Herculean effort. This turned out to be a very important thing to learn about working with Keith. If for some reason he got off on a sidebar, or didn’t clearly understand the path, he’d be so dug in and busy trying to accomplish what he perceived as the goal, you could hardly rein him in to re-direct or reset! This ability to put his head down and accomplish the task at hand is one of his greatest assets, and little did he or anyone else know, it would be put to the test in a very real, and serious manner.
In 2015, Keith snagged a lottery spot for the NY Marathon. This was a bucket list goal, and he wanted to be in prime condition to have his best marathon ever. He and Cara would make a fun trip out of the event, and the wheels were already turning in his mind. Keith asked me if I would help him prepare for the marathon, and we discussed all of his goals, what was realistic, and I agreed to be his coach. Following his early summer conclusion of distance cycling events, Keith was ready to start his training for the NY Marathon which was in Nov. of 2015. Right up through late August training was going well.
In Late August, while in Atlanta for business, Keith participated in a Half Marathon event and suffered a stroke. His physicians believe the stroke occurred during the early miles of the half marathon, but in his finish the workout mindset, Keith endured all 13.1 miles, and finished. He then went back to his hotel and proceeded to collapse. It wasn’t until much later that he called anyone for help. He assumed he was just tired, dehydrated and disoriented from the heat during the run and didn’t fully grasp the serious nature of his problem. Thankfully his friend and his wife convinced him to get to go to the hospital. There his road to discovery and recovery began.
This is an excerpt from the email I got from Keith less than two weeks after his stroke:
To some extent he’s treating my recovery as you would for a post-concussion recovery. Because of that and some lingering vertigo-like symptoms (knocking things off the counter, bumping into things), he did put in place several restrictions for the next 30 days:
· No driving
· No running (walking is approved with no restrictions to speed or intensity).
· Restricted core. I can do core, but I have to avoid the specific exercises that put pressure on the head (pushups).
· He did approve swimming and cycling on the trainer! Thus I have a number of options to maintain my fitness and help me prep for a full-time training after the 30 days.
· He did approve light yardwork (really all yardwork but said to use common sense on those).
· Additionally, he said that I would not get medical clearance for any marathons for 90 days. This will officially end my NY Marathon aspirations, but does not rule out Disney in January 2016!
I have never met a person more determined to recover and conquer again, and exercise was going to be his way to do it. Think what you like, but he grabbed onto these goals and held on for dear life! Frankly, I was a little worried that he was going to push himself too far, too soon, or go against his doctor’s advice. He did none of that. He walked, he was patient, he started strengthening the weakened side of his body. He slowly returned to running and cycling, he took breaks often and as needed. He ate healthfully to help his body heal, he listened to his wife when she said he needed to take a break. In short, he was humble but determined.
Fast forward to November 7, 2016, just a little over a year later, and Keith Sams is finally getting to run his NY Marathon! Please join me in wishing Keith a great adventure with his wife, and a wonderful experience in the marathon. He is trained and ready, and has a fabulous plan to smile the whole way, while still striving to accomplish some personal goals. This guy has put in the blood, sweat and tears. He has completed every workout, taken every rest day, and earned a big accomplishment already.
Best of Luck Keith! Thanks for the opportunity to be on your team. I am humbled, and impressed by you. Have a blast in NY with Cara!
Hydration is without a doubt one of the biggest benefits of drinking fruit infused water. The majority of us are walking around dehydrated and simply don’t have a clue. Infusing your water with fruits, vegetables, herbs, any other ingredients you want will certainly encourage you to drink more water and to feel satisfied afterward. Here are some of the benefits of keeping your body hydrated:
Speaking of vitamin water, you’ve also likely seen those water flavoring packets on store shelves, as well. A lot of people use these as a quick addition to their water to make it taste better. Once again, these things contain coloring, sugar, and other additives that simply aren’t good for you. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are another popular option among people on the go. These are even worse for you than the powdered additives and vitamin water.
If you’re truly concerned about your health, you want to drink fruit infused water. All the ingredients are natural, and you get to control exactly what you’re putting into your body. You’ll be responsible for all of the ingredients, and the sky is the limit. Cucumber and mint is my favorite combination, but you can come up with a mix that's entirely your own. You will be able to add ingredients that give you all the vitamins and nutrients you want, without any of the harmful additives like food coloring, sugar, or aspartame. You’ll be able to drink water with a lovely fruity taste, but without all of those extra calories.
The start of spring brings with it fresh blooms and a sense of new growth. It’s no coincidence that people across the world have made this season a time to start anew. Spring is for rejuvenation, and while many of us may be planning to schedule some time to spruce up our homes and yards over the next few weeks, I’d like to suggest that we take the idea of Spring Cleaning to a new level—Let’s clean up our bodies and minds! Here’s how you can begin this month with a bright new outlook.
Ever have days where it feels like you're fighting an uphill battle - when even your most simple jobs feel like herculean tasks? Most people experience periods of low energy in their daily lives, and often, it's a result of their lifestyle. The good news is, there's a quick way to jump start your energy system and turn those bad days around.
Magnesium, in foods like whole grains and leafy greens, often gets top billing as a magic energizing mineral, but potassium is the secret superstar. Potassium reduces sodium intake and lowers blood pressure, which lessens stress and improves energy levels. What's more? Most people fall far short of the recommended amount of potassium intake. In fact, the American Medical Board reported that only about 2 percent of Americans consume the recommended 4,500-milligram per day. In general, multivitamins contain only up to 99 milligrams of the mineral, so you should include plenty of potassium-rich foods in your diet.
Some of the best sources: a medium-size baked potato with the skin (926 mg), a cup of cooked spinach (840 mg), a half cup of dried prunes (637 mg), a banana (422 mg) or a six-ounce cup of tomato juice (417 mg).
When you're feeling the afternoon crash coming on, grab your potassium-rich snack and gear up for a productive evening, because you're going to have all the energy you need.
Have you ever ordered a light salad at dinner and looked around the table to see your friends shifting uncomfortably as they dig into a plate of ribs? Perhaps you’ve deliberately chosen to wake up early while on vacation to get in a workout, only to face some not-so-subtle teasing from family members. Maybe you’ve even been the one who “ruins it for everyone” by declining a second round of drinks.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle comes with many challenges– some even in the form of unsupportive friends and family members. There are few things quite as discouraging as attempting to make a healthy decision for yourself only to be ridiculed by a person whose opinion you value.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be miserable, or change your choice to comply. Here are some ideas to help you handle your response better and perhaps end those hurtful jokes and disapproving glances altogether.
Step 1: Understand Where the Peanut Gallery is Coming From
The sad fact is that many of us have spent years secretly building an over-eaters support network. We often find solace in validating each other’s eating habits or skipped workouts. Before long, every social outing revolves around food, you're celebrating a birthday every week (someone’s), and your friends have convinced you that not only do you deserve that drink, you need it.
So, when you finally embrace a healthier lifestyle, it’s not unusual for coworkers, friends and family to feel threatened, or even judged by you. You’ve robbed them of your complicit validation, and now they’re at a loss as to what you’ll do together. Who are they going to share late night cookie dough with? Understand that the root of this frustration and stress actually has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the individual who is feeling poorly. Don’t let someone else’s insecurity undermine your own health. Be understanding but within your healthy choices.
Step 2: Be Honest
If you value your relationship with the person who has been hassling you about being healthy, the quickest way to put a stop to the teasing is through honesty. The next time they make a disapproving comment, don’t laugh or shrug it off. Give them a prepared speech. Explain exactly why you’ve chosen to make your health a priority. Be serious, and tell your friend or family member that their support is really important to you. If they care about you, that should be enough to tone down the negative feedback you’ve been receiving.
Step 3: Look for Patterns
Occasionally, there is someone who just can’t seem to get over your healthy lifestyle. Maybe they continue to make negative comments after you’ve opened up to them and asked them not to. Or perhaps their sabotage is more subtle, even driven from a place of love. Many family members show that they care about you by feeding you. If your mother has made your childhood favorite desert, it can be hard to say no, even if that bowl of gooey chocolate is definitely not on your eating plan for the day. In those scenarios, it might be best to accept the food but ask to take it home with you instead of eating it there. Then, you can do with the food whatever you please and your family member still feels like you’ve accepted their show of affection. Whoever your naysayers are, remember that you can empathize with them without allowing them to affect your choices. You and you alone are in charge of your health.
Step 4: Be Proud of Progress and Choices
Regardless of what anyone else says, you should always, always, feel positive about what you’re doing. When someone teases you or calls you out on your healthy choices, don’t get defensive. You don’t have to be defensive, because what you’re doing is good for you and everyone around you. Making your health a priority isn’t easy. It’s something you have to re-commit to every day. So give yourself some credit! By pursuing a healthy lifestyle, you’ve proven that you’re both brave and strong. Wake up everyday and tell yourself that – shout it from the rooftops if you want to. At the end of the day, your opinion is the only one that matters. Make sure it’s a positive one, lead by example, and reap the benefits.
Our modern word Diet has a history, with origins coming from the Greek diaita . Diaita was a noun that meant a way of living, and also had a more specific meaning, signifying a way of living which could include a food diet as well as other other daily habits. Most of our daily food choices ultimately depend on preference, marketing and trends. Someone may decide to follow a trend and go fat free, carb free, hi protein, rustic or something else. Restaurant commercials and food products tempt us everywhere. When you combine our fast food culture, a trendy diet, and then limit it further with personal preferences, it’s fairly easy to come up nutritionally short, under satisfied, and overweight.
What does your diet say about you? What is your Diaita; your way of living? Does it include too many fast foods, packaged foods, or high sodium meals that dominate your taste buds into food ignorance? Have you bullied your taste buds into submission? Our taste buds are capable of subtlety unless you bully them with salty, fatty or highly processed foods and add-ons. By giving our taste buds simple, clean foods, we can re-awaken our taste buds and our good health.
My food philosophy is built around whole foods that are seasonally and readily available combined with essential food groups. Learn the basics, and then add flair and flavor! I assist my clients in learning simple recipes that use natural ingredients and to proportion their serving size for each meal and snack. Expanding the number of foods and flavors in your go to selections can bring even more flair and nutrition to your plate. You have to learn to play the diet game for good healthy living. Once you learn the game, you can keep your skills up by practicing.
Some of my favorite ways to “practice” are to experiment with color themes of food, try something new or mysterious to me, and try foods and spices from other cultures. When at the local market, I look for fruits and vegetables that are bold in color, flavor and even name. An earlier post of mine was a recipe that used Daikon radishes as a sushi wrapper, and it was AMAZING! Finding new, unconventional ways to eat healthy can be such fun, and can really help expand your diet. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Trying new things, although sometimes weird or scary, can really open your eyes into a whole new world of foods, flavors, and cultures. Get some friends or family in on the game too!
Go with whatever smells or looks good to you, and start playing in the kitchen!
Expanding your diet is a great way to keep you moving forward in your health journey. The more you expand your healthy variety, the less likely you are to expand your waistline.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone experiences the point in their fitness or nutritional journey where giving up begins to overpower perseverance. This can be especially true if the results we desire do not come as quickly as we want them to. We start to downplay our goals, cheat on our schedules and simply think that our dreams are not attainable. It is at times like this when our foundations become so important. Having something to reflect back on can be one of the best things to push you through whatever ditch is keeping you from accomplishing your goals.
I wrote in an earlier post about the importance of building a foundational “safety net” to fall back on when we start to lose sight of the finish line. Whether it’s a picture, list or something else, I can’t emphasize enough how necessary it is to have a method of reminding yourself of why you’re even on this journey to begin with. We cannot let our self-doubt keep us from accomplishing what we set out to do. A small reminder everyday can really make a big difference in the long run. Even something as simple as saying your self-mantra every morning can really help keep our negative thoughts away from our dreams. Something I like to do is keep an inspiring quote on my mirror so that when I look at myself every morning, I feel confidant and encouraged. Whatever motivates you to continue on, find a way to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Making motivation a habit will help prevent you from hitting rock bottom and keep you moving forward.
So whether your just starting out, halfway done or at the end of your health journey, I highly encourage everyone to find a small motivational task that can be done every day. Keep yourself from loosing sight of your end goals. If you still lose sight, build a strong foundation that will get you back on track. Regardless of the method you choose, perseverance is something that must be maintained.
I hope everyone enjoyed Mother’s day yesterday! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the love and support that your mom has given you, and to show some love back! Whether it’s from your mom or simply someone special in your life, support is something that we could all use a lot of. Regardless of what we need it for, knowing we have a team cheering for us almost always gives us that extra boost of confidence to carry out our mission. I always give as much support as I can to my clients, because I know how much it can help them to do great things with their health. I am inspired and amazed by the efforts I see every day.
Not only do we need support in our healthy lives, but in our personal lives as well. When people support us through tough times, it makes a huge impact. I’ve written before about how important it is to have support, but I want to emphasize how important it is to give support. If someone you know is starting to pursue a healthier lifestyle, I highly encourage you to seek them out and let them know how much you are rooting for them! Letting them know that they have at least one person backing them up can be such a confidence booster and could push them to continue on if they get off track. There are plenty of influences out there tempting us off track. Let’s build a team of positive influence that supports the healthy efforts of those around us. Take notice of small things that people are doing to improve their health and fitness, and lend an encouraging word of support. If you see someone in your office filling up their water bottle, or a person loading their grocery cart with veggies or having an apple for snack – give a little kudos!
If you’ve ever heard the line “you get what you give” then this is the idea that I’m pulling at. If you notice and seek out people who desire to be healthy and give them your support, you are more likely to find that support when you need it. Follow the pay-it-forward concept and inspire others. By giving others support and surrounding ourselves with supportive people, we can all feel and be healthier.
Building a strong foundation is one of the best things you can do for a healthy lifestyle. This foundation acts almost as a net to fall back on if you lose your way, and makes it a lot easier to get back up and keep going rather than just quitting all together. We tend to avoid thinking about the possibility of getting off track with our health until it is upon us, but it’s an important factor to consider and plan ahead for. Our foundations are what define who we are, what are goals are, and how we are going to reach them. They are a reflection of our strengths and a tool to fight our weaknesses. If you think of your health journey as building a house, then you can see how important the presence of a foundation is. You can get every other detail right on the house, and make it gorgeous. But, if your foundation is weak, the house will eventually begin to fall apart. A strong foundation keeps a house together, and can keep your healthy lifestyle intact.
Foundations for health feel or look different for every individual, but should share a common purpose. The purpose is to help support us when things get a little shaky. If the foundation is strong, we weather the storm better, and can put ourselves back on track much more quickly and efficiently.
Whether it’s setting goals with dates attached, writing down the top 5 reason’s why you want to be healthy, or that picture of what you DO, or DO NOT want to look like - your foundations should be inspiring things that will push you forward to the finish line. Summer is just around the corner, and the lively weather is the perfect inspiration to make that push towards a healthier lifestyle. With all of the fresh produce and cheerful faces and warming sunshine, it’s hard to resist the urge to go outside and be active! Take those pale limbs out for some fresh air, and take advantage of this time to strengthen your foundations. You will be amazed at what motivation and confidence it brings.
As the last few days of April come to an end, I am starting to plan for summer! In the next month or so, school will be out, folks will start vacationing, and I will finally be ready to enjoy the sunshine! There’s just something about the approach of summer that makes me feel extra bright and happy.
One of the best ways to embrace the upcoming change in seasons is to embrace the new foods and styles that will come with it! Summertime is filled with tons of colorful fruits and vegetables. There are endless possibilities when it comes to summer snacks, salads, and even healthy desserts! I am a huge fan of fresh stuff! Luckily, with farmers markets being at almost every corner, we can find awesome foods that were literally just picked. I really want to encourage you to give each meal some color in the next few weeks. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things you’ve never had before. The more color you bring to your meal, the better!
Another way to embrace the upcoming season is to brighten up your workout clothing. I always feel more confident if I’m wearing a little bit of color when I exercise. There’s just something about bright colors that really makes me push myself towards success. Have fun with your workout gear and match the happy weather! Be bold, and pick something that pushes your color limit and you might just push your workout limits too!
Coloring up your health can have so many great effects. In the end, it’s all about finding ways to motivate yourself to keep working towards a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s through new recipes or updating your wardrobe, the key thing to take away is that motivation can come in many different forms. As May is upon us, I encourage everyone to find ways that will motivate them to stay healthy during the weeks ahead!
“Growing” your health can be a hard concept to grasp. For most of us, when we think of changing to a healthier lifestyle, we want the changes to be easy, and to start seeing results fast. That’s why quick fix diets and products are easy to sell. We want it now! The reality is that it takes time for results to show, and that can often be frustrating. Growing our health can seem like standing there watching, waiting for the garden to grow. It takes so long to actually harvest something you can see. The good news is that you can harvest feeling better very quickly! Improvements in energy, attitude, sleep patterns, and alertness are right around the corner, and well within reach. The visual and physical harvest will follow if you tend the garden well.
The transformation into a healthy lifestyle needs to be thought of as a progressive process, making sure to embrace even the small details that go into the mixture. I am known for asking my clients to “Dream Big, and Work Small.” Having a vision of where you want to be; change goals that encourage you to reach; that’s the Dream Big. Taking small steps each day to implement changes; that’s the Work Small. As you emerge into a new way of thinking about your health, it takes time to understand the significance of each part of the process. One of the best things you can do for yourself is make a plan as to how you’re going to attain a healthy lifestyle. What mini goals must you achieve in order to accomplish your big goal? How will you get there within the constraints that you have? These are questions that I help folks with every day. Transformation doesn’t have to be a lonely process!
Mapping out your goals can not only help you stay organized, but it can make you appreciate the small accomplishments that you have made in order to reach your end destination. Think about a plant. You don’t usually see a flower with a dead stem and blossoming petals. Every part of the plant; roots, steam, leaves needs to be healthy in order for the flower to be full of color and life. The same idea goes for your healthier lifestyle. Instead of rushing the process of building a healthy lifestyle, take the time to make sure every part of your plan is strong and will actually lead you to your end goal. Takes those small steps every day to nurture your garden of good health.
Plan your journey, and celebrate the small victories. Nurture and grow your health and fitness. Not only will you achieve your goals, but you’ll build a strong foundation and feel great along the way!
Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown
April brings lots of change in the natural world. Everywhere you look, things are morphing into a new shape, growing, shedding, bursting, and blowing. The natural world and the living things in it aren’t still or stationary, they are ever chaotic. That phrase about the “balance of nature” doesn’t really mean that nature IS balanced. In fact, the natural world is constantly in chaos, seeking towards balance. Maybe that’s how we are too, constantly in chaos, movement, change, but striving for balance.
It is this striving for balance that helps nature, and us, flourish.
I think one of the hardest things about staying healthy and happy is finding the strength to continue on even when things are tough, and the courage to believe that things will swing back in the other direction. The courage that builds our strength ultimately roots back to our inner peace; our peace of mind and heart.
So, this week I am suggesting the idea of nourishing our inner peace. Sounds like a tall order, but it can be accomplished through consistent, small efforts. Here are some ideas to try.
Remembering to Smile
This is something that is so simple, yet can make a huge difference. Finding a way to smile (or even just stay positive) through tough or stressful situations can help you work towards an impactful solution and keep you from getting too worked up. We all know how wonderful it is to bump into that person with the infectious smile. Mantra: “Let it be me that shares an infectious smile.”
“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” ~A. Lincoln
Wise statement. The concept applies in looking for good as well. If you work to notice and embrace the loving-kindness of others, you will find yourself exemplifying loving-kindness without even trying. Mantra: “Notice acts of loving kindness – see them, share them”
This is something that I think a lot of people (including myself) struggle with. It can be hard to completely clear your mind and hear nothing but emptiness. But, if you embrace the weightlessness that comes with peaceful meditation, it becomes easier to push away the heaviness of stress and life. Mantra: Today I will sit quietly with myself for 5 minutes”. More is even better!
EMBRACE YOURSELF this week and see what amazing things can come from it!
Are you getting in the way of achieving your goals? We can talk all day about how setting the right goals and staying accountable is super important (and of course, it is), but when everything really boils down, the only thing left standing there is you. So, what can we do about that?
The answer? Know that you can do it.
If you believe that you can accomplish your goals, then you certainly will. But having a strong self-mantra goes beyond setting goals. It can be the foundation that allows you to build confidence. Confidence leads to courage, and leads to success. This success could be personal, work related, or whatever else you might think of. This is a tried and true fact. The book store is full of books based on this simple, but elusive concept. I personally see it every day, in action. My clients not only talk about how they loved losing weight having more energy, sleeping and eating better, but describe how they are changing with the feeling of confidence from loving themselves more.
Here’s one of my secrets. Everyone looks in the mirror at some point in their day. Our reflection stares back at us from glass doors, elevator walls, and sleeping computer screens - but it's best to do this idea when you aren’t in a crowd. Say your self-mantra 3 times while looking yourself in the eyes. Self-doubt is easy, self-belief is challenging.
Make it short and make it powerful. You are strong. You are your own force. In both good times and bad, remember your statement. Have one, have three, change it as you feel the need. It is who you are and who you will be, for as long as you continue to remind yourself of it.