|May 8th, 2013||Advice|
Bryan and I send each other probably at least a few emails a day with random articles to read. Last night he sent me one titled, “15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.” I’m a huge advocate for inspirational articles and stories, so I knew I would love this article before I even opened it up.
I’m not going to recount for you all of the items on the list, but instead want to highlight some that I think are super important.
1. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion that you created. Just get rid of it. I’m afraid of so many things, but it’s nice to know that it’s just an illusion that I created. It definitely puts things into perspective.
2. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that’s not theirs to live. Just be yourself for you. I can certainly relate to this. When I was in high school and probably also in the early years in college, I acted how I thought people wanted me to act. I guess it was an underlying need to be liked all the time. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) it’s nice to be in my own skin and just be me.
3. Give up your need for control. This is one I struggle with all the time, because I’m a control freak. It’s super important to give up the need to always control everything that happens to you and around you.
In other news, you may have recognized that my blog was down yesterday for about an hour and a half in the early morning.
I got an email from my host that said my blog was taking up too much room on the server because of spam comments. I immediately gave them a call and worked it out, but now I’m sifting through 200,000 comments to only get rid of the bad ones. Needless to say, I got done about 60,000 yesterday and still have much more to go through.
Now when you comment, you’ll have to do a little math problem to prove you are a human. Sorry, but it’s better than getting shut down again. If you can’t do simple math, visit google .
Short post this morning, I slept in a bit longer than usual because it’s super gloomy outside. Perfect nap day – but alas, I have to head into the office. I hope you all have an amazing Wednesday!
Talk to Me
- If you’re a blogger, have you ever had a problem with spam comments? How did you fix it?
- What’s your favorite item on the 15 Things list?
- Do you keep a paper diary? I need to do this again soon.
|April 30th, 2013||Advice, Books|
Sure, my blog is a healthy living blog but healthy living goes WAY beyond just eating health and exercising. It’s important to have a positive, healthy mindset as well.
Yesterday I told you that I started reading “Creating Your Best Life,” by Caroline Adams Miller & Dr. Michael B. Frisch. I’m so excited to start this book up again and didn’t want to wait to share some of the insight with you.
Since Chapter 1 was basically just an introduction, I thought I’d start with a recap of Chapter 2. Chapter 2 is all about pinpointing the people who are happiest and specifying which traits these people have in common.
The part of this chapter I want to highlight is the section about the “Big Four.” The big four are the several difference ways to describe the qualities of happy people.
- Optimism – happy people tend to believe that they will experience happy outcomes and resolve problems faster than those people who think negatively.
- Self Confidence – happy people have confidence that stems from a high self-regard.
- Extroversion – happy people thrive on the energy that is created by interacting with others.
- Self-Efficacy – happy people not only set goals, but have a strong belief in themselves that they either have what it takes to get things done or can learn to do so.
Do I completely agree with the Big Four? Not entirely. I don’t think that you need to be necessarily extroverted to be happy. I know plenty of introverted people who are happy with life. That being said, the majority of happy people I know are optimistic, have self confidence and exude self-efficacy.
So you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I never had self-confidence. Am I screwed?” Nope. The reason that the authors love this list so much is because the traits are not hard wired from birth – they can be cultivated. For instance one way to enhance your self-efficacy is by having role models.
Talk to Me
- Do you think you would be interested in reading this book?
- Do you like book reviews?
- What’s the last book you’ve read?
|April 24th, 2013||Advice, Food|
Yesterday after work, I had to stop at Target to pick up a few household items: laundry detergent, deodorant… the normal stuff. But as everyone knows, it’s extremely hard to walk into Target and not buy 50 other random things you didn’t think you needed.
Case in point: a magazine.
Obviously I could probably read about whatever is in the magazine online, there is something about having a tangible copy that makes me happier. Maybe it’s the same reason I can’t get into e-readers.
But anyway, Keri Russell looks AMAZING on the cover of Women’s Health. Whether she’s heavily photo-shopped is a completely different conversation, but can you believe she’s 37? The girl is gorgeous.
As I was flipping through the magazine last night, I came across this little blurb:
Wahoo! Healthy food=1, Fast-food=0.
I was interested in reading more. Thus, I did some research and found the original study that was published in Public Health Nutrition. Although you have to pay money to read the full study, here are some highlights from the Abstract.
- The researchers did two studies. In study 1, people evaluated the personality of the cook who did and did not include a vegetable in a family dinner. In study 2, five different meals that either included or did not include a vegetable were rated in terms of taste of the entrée and of the whole meal.
- Results: Serving vegetables increased the taste expectations for the entrée as well as the whole meal. Serving vegetables also enhanced the perceptions of the cook. The cook was seen as being more thoughtful and attentive and less boring. Thus, vegetables helped increase the appeal of both the meal and the cook!
There my friends is your random fact of the day.
Talk To Me
- Did you know that about vegetables?
- What vegetable do you love? What vegetable do you hate?
- What’s your favorite magazine?
|March 26th, 2013||Advice, Beauty|
You know from multiple blog posts that I started seeing my face break out after using the Clarisonic last spring. A year later, I’m still seeing some inconsistencies with my skin. My face tends to be on the dry side with many of my breakouts on my chin or nose. This past weekend, I did some reading and found that dairy can be the cause of breakouts, because many people can not digest dairy properly. I’ve tried a lot of things over the past few months, so I decided to try this.
Saying No to Dairy
WebMD states that although there is no definite link between dairy and acne, there ARE theories about it. F. William Danby, MD, wrote in 2008 that the two items may be related. Milk contains components related to testosterone – which can stimulate oil glands in the skin. Another researcher found that his patients who have stopped consuming dairy found their breakouts getting better.
Dr Mark Hyman recently did a study and found that there is in fact a link. Many researchers have suggested a diet-acne link, but until recently it has not been proven in large clinical studies. In 2009, a systematic review of 21 observational studies and six clinical trials found clear links.
One scientist referred to milk as a “complex aqueous, suspended fat, liposomal, suspended protein emulsion.” Milk is naturally full of anabolic hormones – mostly androgens (like testosterone) and growth hormones like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
Two large controlled trials found that cow’s milk increased both the number of people who got acne and its severity. Other trials found that people who had higher sugar intake and a high glycemic diet (bread, rice, pasta etc.) had significantly more acne.
I have nothing to lose at this point. I have decided, since Friday, to stop having dairy for a week to see if my skin settles down a bit. As of this morning, I haven’t seen any active breakouts. Seems like a step in the right direction.
Talk to Me
- Have you ever seen the effects of dairy on your skin?
- What’s your favorite way to battle breakouts?
- Do you consume a lot of dairy per day?
|March 21st, 2013||Advice, Food|
Last night I was at dinner with two of my friends from my old job. One of them is having her baby in a couple weeks, so we wanted to celebrate her last day at work. My other friend is actually on a detox diet in preparations for her wedding. This got me thinking… what are some top foods for detoxing. I’ve read a lot of books on healthy eating and read an overwhelming number of blogs and websites each day on the topic. *Please note, that I am not a medical doctor nor a nutritionist. This list has been compiled based on my research and experience.*
1. Lemons. Lemons are great for digestion and help release enzymes into the body as well as Vitamin C. You may have thought that you could only get a good source of Vitamin C from oranges, but think again! Lemons help convert toxins into a water-soluble form that is easily eliminated from the body.
How do I like to eat lemons: I love adding lemons to my water or even in my juices. Be warned: if you are juicing lemons make sure to remove any rind and only use about a half a lemon; otherwise your juice will be very sour.
2. Apples. Apples help stimulate bile products which is used by the liver to release toxins from the body. Apples also have a high source of fiber which is great for digestion purposes. As I mentioned in my When To Buy Organic post, it’s important to buy organic apples because apples are fruits sprayed with many pesticides.
How I like it eat apples: by themselves! One of my co-workers jokes around with me that I eat a LOT of apples. She’s probably right. I have at least one a day – sometimes two. They are a great snack and keep you full because of the fiber. I like eating mine raw or sometimes with a bit of honey.
3. Seaweed. My friend, Leslee from Her Happy Balance, LOVES seaweed – and rightfully so! Seaweed has a LOT of antioxidants that help alkalize the blood and strengthen the digestive tract by extracting any toxins.
How I like to eat seaweed: I LOVE seaweed salads from Japanese restaurants, but I have never tried to make my own at home. With a little bit of lemon, seaweed salads are a great way to detox your body!
4. Dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens help boost chlorophyll levels in the digestive tract, which helps the body rid itself of toxins from our environment (such as herbicides!). The darker the greens the better. For instance, iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrients because it is very dense in water. Kale and spinach are much darker and are highly nutrient dense foods.
How I like to eat dark leafy greens: either in my salads or in my juices. I almost always eat a large salad every day. It’s something that I’ve come to enjoy and actually find fun! I like experimenting with different veggies and fruits, but one thing for certain – I also use a dark leafy green base. No iceberg lettuce or pasta as my salad base!
5. Green tea. Green tea is PACKED with antioxidants and detoxifying properties, because it is high in catechins – a flavonoid, that helps speed up liver activity and increases the production of enzymes in our bodies.
How I like to drink green tea: usually hot, unless it’s the summer. No milk for me and only a tiny bit of sugar.
Talk to Me
- What are some foods you like to eat everyday or during a detox?
- How often to do you detox?
- What foods do you typically need to detox from? Too much alcohol? Too much sugar?
|March 7th, 2013||Advice, Living|
Typically in the mornings, I will wake up around 5:30AM and lay in bed until 6AM. After that, I spend an hour on my computer (because spending 9-10 hours a day at work on my computer isn’t enough). I use this time catching up on Youtube videos, reading blogs, writing my blog post for the day and clearing my head before the work day starts.
It’s on been lately that I feel like I could use my time more wisely. I’ve been having a bit of clarity these days on how I can be more productive and use the time I do have as down-time to really focus on what’s important to me.
I’ve developed a list of a few new things I want to be doing each morning. They are so simple and I like it that way, because if they are too cumbersome I probably won’t do it.
1. Spend at least 30 minutes in the morning doing a yoga video, my own sequence or meditating. Dedicating 30 minutes out of my entire day to focus on this is VERY important to me. I know the benefits of practicing yoga and have experienced them myself, so I strive to get back into this wonderful habit.
2. Start the day off with a glass of water and then a juice. I find that when I juice in the morning, I don’t even need my morning cup of coffee. I’m trying to get myself off of drinking coffee every morning and just having it once or twice a week – until I’m ready to stop drinking it all together.
3. Open the blinds to let light in. I always feel more refreshed in the mornings when I let light into my apartment. Unfortunately my current apartment only has 3 windows, so it’s never too bright… BUT I am moving in a week, so that problem will no longer exist!
I look forward to making these small changes in my morning routine!
Talk to Me
- What do you do in the mornings?
- What’s your favorite yoga video?
- Comment below and let me know your favorite organic/healthy living/wellness websites.
|March 6th, 2013||Advice, Food|
I came across one of Andrea Cox’s recent videos and she mentioned the Ayurveda tastes. I wasn’t familiar with the term, so I did a little research. *Please note, I am not a nutritionist nor a medical doctor. This is just the research that I found and believe to be of interest.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of holistic healthcare. Ayurveda emerged from ancient India as far back as 5000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on all areas of health – including diet, lifestyle, exercise, detoxification, sleep and the mind. According to Ayurveda, health is not a state defined by lab tests. Instead health is a continuous and participatory process that embraces all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, familial, social, and universal. The balance of all of these things is what equals vibrant health.
Ayurvedic nutrition is based around tastes. According to Ayurveda, the sense of taste is a natural guidemap towards proper nutrition and it’s important to integrate all 6 tastes in each of our meals. These 6 tastes are categorized in the following way:
- sweet (fruit, grains, natural sugars) – builds tissues and calms nerves
- sour (sour fruits, yogurt) – cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals
- salty (natural salts, sea veggies) – improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion
- bitter (dark leafy greens, herbs and spices) – detoxifies and lightens tissues
- pungent (chili peppers, garlic) – stimulates digestion and metabolism
- astringent (legumes, raw fruits and veggies) – absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats
How Do I integrate all of these tastes into one meal?!
Including the 6 tastes in each meal isn’t as difficult as you may think!
I’ve put together a sample meal that is both easy to make and delicious! What is it you’re probably wondering? A salad with the following:
- Grilled salmon (salty) cooked with lemon juice (sour) and garlic (pungent)
- Dark leafy greens (bitter)
- Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots (astringent)
- Craisins or raisins (sweet)
- Olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette (sour)
Talk to Me
- Have you ever heard of the 6 tastes?
- Are you interested in trying to increase your number of meals with these 6 tastes?
- Random – how often do you grocery shop?
|February 28th, 2013||Advice, Living|
It’s been an overarching goal of mine over the past couple years to feel more positive and whole. You may remember from this post that this stemmed from a graduate school lecture I was in. My professor asked us to describe ourselves in 5 words or less. My response:
At times, I won’t lie, I sometimes go back to that place where everything is terrible and nothing is going right. Those are the times when I need to take a step back and be thankful for all the great things in my life. When I get up in the morning and my alarm is blaring at me, the first thing that goes through my mind some days is “I’m really pumped up to take on today.” Other days its “Ugh, one more day until Friday.” But hey! We can’t win them all. It’s all about balance and making sure that the positive thoughts outweigh the negatives.
In light of feeling amazing this morning, I thought I’d share with you some quotes I’ve been loving lately.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi”
“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland
“Let it come, let it go, let it flow.” – Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Today is Thursday, but it’s actually my “Friday”, because I took a vacation day tomorrow for Bryan’s birthday! We have some fun stuff planned in the city tomorrow so I can’t wait for that! Today however, I do have work, but I’m going to try my best today to not feel overwhelmed and just take things as they come.
After work today, Bry and I are going to Trader Joes to pick up more oranges and other fruits to make juices this weekend! If you don’t have a juicer, I highly recommend the Breville one. (No I’m not getting paid to tell you that). I just really enjoy the one that we bought. Juicing has made me feel so much better! I’ll do a full post on the benefits I’ve personally found since juicing at a later time.
This is a random photo of a fruit salad I made last summer for a BBQ at my future in-law’s house. It reminds me that I can’t wait for watermelon to be back in season!
Talk to Me
- Do you have favorite inspirational quotes?
- What is your favorite fruit?
- Do you love Trader Joes as much as I do? What’s your favorite item to buy there?
|February 26th, 2013||Advice, Living|
Ugh. I feel like this is a problem that most people struggle with – getting enough sleep. I can’t function on anything less than 8 hours, although I have to most days of the week. Last night I went to bed with this terrible sinus headache that still lingered when I woke up this morning. Those are the worst. I realize that there are some things that I do that always help me get a better night’s sleep. Here they are:
1. Shut down your computer and stop looking at your phone at least 30 minutes before bed. The bright lights from electronics can keep you awake longer, and playing games on your phone before bed is addictive! I’ve spent many hours at night playing Flow Free (my favorite cell phone game at the moment), before realizing what time it was. EEK!
2. If you have to check work emails, do so a few hours before bed time and don’t look at them again. I’m serious. I always find that if I look at my work email right before heading to bed, all it does is stress me out. There’s not much I am able to do at 11PM that will save the world.
3. Take a warm shower at night. I’ve always taken my showers at night, but for those of you who don’t, I recommend it every once in a while. The warm water soothes my muscles and joints and helps relax my entire body before bedtime.
4. Don’t have caffeine after 2PM. I like to stop my caffeine or high sugar for the day by 2PM. Sometimes, I’ll have a cup of coffee mid-day, but for the most part I find that I sleep best when I cut out the caffeine early afternoon.
5. Take time before bed to meditate. I’d like to learn more about meditation in the near future, so I’m not going to offer my advice in this post, but there are lots of ways to meditate. Here are some great links:
Talk to Me
- How do you ensure that you get enough sleep every night?
- How many hours of sleep do you typically get?
- What’s your favorite bedtime ritual?
|February 21st, 2013||Advice, Food|
I’m so glad so many of you enjoyed my latest post, You Are What You Eat. Going with that theme, I’ve decided to take a look at Super Foods. Some of you probably have heard the term thrown around left and right in recent years. So, what exactly are super foods?
According to Health.com, super foods are “nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.” They may reduce risk of chronic disease and prolong your life.
1. Kale. Kale is a leafy green that contains carotenoids that help protect against cancer, heart disease and infection. Kale also promotes eye health and is high in fiber. For those of you looking to lower your cholesterol, Kale is a great vegetable to eat because you can find kale year-round.
My favorite way to eat it: Kale chips! I love kale chips, because it’s a great alternative to potato chips. Do they taste the same? Of course not, but if you’re looking for a crunch than these are perfect. Drizzle with a tad bit of olive oil and stick in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
2. Blueberries. Blueberries are super delicious, but I can say that I wasn’t always a fan. Shocking, I know. These berries are high in antioxidants and help prevent infection and promote brain health. They are high in selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin C, B complex and vitamin E.
My favorite way to eat it: Raw! Although I do love blueberries in baked goods, my favorite way to eat them are raw. But, they have to be just right. I don’t like when blueberries are still kind of crunchy, but I HATE them when they are too ripe and mushy. It’s a delicate balance for me.
3. Acai Berries. Another berry to add to the list are acai berries. Acai berries contain anthocyanins for heart health and are FULL of antioxidants. They help reduce inflammation and improve circulation. They also help protect the skin from cellular damage.
My favorite way to eat it: Confession. I’ve actually never had acai berries raw. The only way I’ve had them were in juice form. I guess now with all the wonderful health benefits, I’ll be trying these raw as soon as possible.
4. Coconut Oil. You know my love for coconut oil. It can be used topically as a moisturizer, but also used in cooking at high temperatures. It helps control diabetes and contains monolaurin, a nutrient only found in breast milk.
My favorite way to eat it: I don’t. I prefer to use it topically, but I know many of you use it in baking. I use coconut oil every night to remove my makeup. It’s a great alternative to harsh chemicals and works great! Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick some up!
5. Lentils. Lentils are FULL of soluble fiber great for reducing cholesterol. Iron is also a great nutrient that is in lentils. To maximize iron absorption, pair lentils with a vitamin C-rich food.
My favorite way to eat it: I love lentils in a cold salad with cranberries. It is absolutely delicious. Whole Foods makes a great lentil salad!
Talk to Me
- What’s your favorite super food?
- Do you look for super foods when grocery shopping?
- Do you tend to pick super foods high in one particular mineral or vitamin?