Eat Out A Lot? Always on the Go? Five Easy Tips to Still Eat Healthy

Entertaining, eating out in restaurants and grabbing grub on the go can derail even the best laid plans for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

I can totally relate to the effort and time it takes to stay on-track!

I travel A LOT.

I eat A LOT… and I eat in certain ways because of preference and necessity.

When I’m running around or on the road (as anyone who knows me, road tripped with me or follows me on Instagram can attest), I try to prep ahead of time and bring meals and snacks. A LOT of snacks.

Sometimes, though, it’s not enough! I may have an impromptu session or a lunch meeting with a Client or colleague, during which I want to eat with them as part of that time together.

In those instances, I rely on tried and true tricks to make the most of the menu! Many restaurants have expanded their menus to include healthy options making it easier, too!

Your Five Easy Menu Modifications (+ a few extra hints!)

✔Put your dressing on the side & dip your fork instead of ordering dressing on the salad. Similarly, forgo cheese, mayo, sour cream and aioli or get it on the side for better portion control.

✔Skip the croutons, too, and the bread or tortilla in favor of whole grains, like rice, or lettuce wraps.

✔ Opt for chicken or fish over beef.

✔Go for grilled over fried.

✔Ask for steamed vegetables without any butter instead of French fries; if you opt for the fries, add veggies to the meal however you can, like an extra side salad or lettuce on the sandwich. SKIP THE GUILT!

✔ Always let your waiter know if you have food allergies, too. They’ll be much more mindful about your order and even guide you towards healthier options that fit your needs!

✔Keep learning how to make simple easy substitutions that work for you and you’ll achieve & maintain your health or weight goals for life!

Do you make the menu work for you and your health? Let us know, and if you have a friend or two who could use a few tips to revive their resolutions, share this post!

To your greatest health & happiness!

 

 

 

Winter Skin Care Tips for Beautiful Skin this Season

As the weather changes, changes in the texture and appearance of your skin are inevitable, signaling you to change up your skincare tools and techniques – no matter the season! With winter coming – and in some cases, here already! – your skin may have already presented different needs, and you may not know where to start!

In today’s post, we offer not only skin care, but also DIY and diet tips that you can use to reveal your inner radiance with an outer glow this season!

As we mentioned in this springtime post, what happens on your skin, happens within, so let’s start with diet.

Eating + Drinking for Sensational Skin

Winter means drier conditions. Walk outside, and you immediately feel moisture evaporate from your skin; re-enter the home and office, and you’ll likely sense drier interiors from the increased use of heat.

Get plenty of water and non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated, non-sugary sources of hydration to naturally hydrate you from within. For every hot toddy or cup of joe, drink a glass of water to replenish from the effects of those delicious, but dehydrating, bevvies!

Omega-3’s and Vitamin E nourish and moisturize from within, so don’t skimp on healthy fats this season! Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil offer plenty of health benefits and yummy flavors to your day (with the added benefit of keeping you fuller longer, stoking metabolic fire and fueling your brain, too!).

Eat whole foods and shy away from processed boxes, bagged and bottled noms to nourish your body far more than the quick snacks and meals. The extra anti-inflammatory, pH-balancing and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits of a diet free from these items also reduce redness, acne, and degradation of cells for longer-lasting health benefits overall.

Skin Care Products + Practices

Although nourishing your skin from within is a must-do, better products and practices offer quicker results and relief. Added bonus? You don’t have to break the bank with these!

First, let’s talk skin dryness. Winter brings redness, flakiness, dullness and even cracking to the point of bleeding on hands, legs, lips and even the face, itself. When I was a kid, my mom would slather Crisco on me immediately after a bath because it was the only thing that would treat the itching, cracking and dryness! (Skin issues often accompany auto-immune issues, like asthma, so my mom had her work cut out for her, but that’s another blog post. #thanksMom 🙂 )

As a result of encountering this myriad of skin woes over the years, I’ve experimented with, created and reviewed numerous products and rituals. Here are my favorite products, tips and tricks!

Cleansing

Gentle cleansers are always my favorite, even in the summer, but definitely in the winter! In fact, regardless of the season, I only cleanse underarms and “nooks and crannies,” and I only wash my face at night to remove make-up and anything else that may have settled while I was out and about during the day. In the morning, I may rinse again, using only water, particularly on my face.

Science has shown that the natural oils of our skin moisturize and condition as nature intended and excessive scrubbing or washing disrupts the balance, so why overdo! “Less is More” and “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” are my mottos; besides, overwashing and overscrubbing not only zaps the moisture from the skin, but can also create breakouts. Eek!

Products to consider: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, any others provided by your dermatologist 🙂

Another step of the cleansing phase that I enjoy like a kid in new snow is making my own face masque! It’s like a smoothie for your face!

A Delightful DIY Masque for Brightening & Toning

  • 1 tsp kaolin clay
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • ½ tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • Combine and apply for 5-10 minutes after cleansing; rinse. Proceed with regular skin care rituals.

Exfoliating

Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells that create a barrier to absorption of your skin care products. However, many products in this category can be painful and excessive, even if effective.

Because of the controversial nature of the barrage of info on exfoliants, let me start by saying, if you’re already using a doctor-prescribed product, keep with it, noticing if your skin responds differently this time of year. If you have an inkling that it might be too strong or not the right fit for you, stop using it or use it less frequently.

No treatment should leave you uncomfortable for a prolonged period of time, and you are the expert in your health and what is right for YOU, including skin care. So many of my clients have wanted to try out trending products, even under a doctor’s care, and have suffered through it. Listen to what your skin is telling you and adjust as needed!

If you’re looking for a gentle way to exfoliate, mix a tsp or so of baking soda into your cleanser and gently scrub, avoiding the eye area and the delicate skin in that area. There are also topical products that will remove dead skin, such as Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage Spa Gel, which take a few minutes to apply and remove and can be done as part of a DIY facial!

Moisturizing

During winter months, Nivea and Cetaphil are my go-to’s for full-body moisturizing. They’re fast-absorbing, very rich and leave skin radiant. If your skin type doesn’t need a heavy cream to retain oil and feel supple, go for what works for you! Lotions are just as decadent as the rich creams if your skin tells you so!

CAVEAT: Nivea & Cetaphil are do contain some chemicals, but with my allergies and skin care needs, these products are preferable for me during serious dryness. Sometimes, it’s a trade-off. If you’re into only all-natural, use a blend of coconut oil mixed with essential oils. It’s fun and fulfilling to create signature scents while getting the benefits of an all-natural, no-unprounceable-ingredients product!

For both body and face, oils are very effective, too! Many clients use coconut oil directly on the face. For me, Sea Buckthorn Oil (like this) has become a staple. I have a bar I use to cleanse a few days a week, and my daily routine includes Sea Buckthorn in the am and pm. I layer it on top of other products and underneath my sunscreen – another daily must-have, even in winter! EltaMD has a great product line that offers lasting sun protection without toxic additives. Their Clear Broad-Spectrum is a non-negotiable in my morning routine.

The Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Moisturize within 30-60 seconds of drying off to maximize the moisture retained in the skin and effectiveness of whatever product you choose.

Products to Avoid or Use Less Frequently

This time of year, go easier on scrubs (use exfoliants as needed, but pay attention to how your skin handles it and adjust the frequency). Retinols can still be used, but try to apply every other day or every couple of days if you are concerned about increased dryness, flakiness and peeling in the winter, and remember your sunscreen!

If your skin hurts, stings, burns or reacts severely with any product – whether discussed here or prescribed – discontinue use and follow-up with a dermatologist, if needed.

The Bottom Line

Even if the weather calls for gray days or dry flakes, your skin doesn’t have to follow suit! Try out these tips and let us know what works for you!

As always, we love hearing your feedback and seeing your generous shares of these posts! If you or a friend want some help adjusting diet and lifestyle for better skin health – or better health in any way – drop us a line below!

Cheers to your health!

Three Healthy Holiday Tips You Can Start Doing Today

Healthy Holiday tips and tricks, healthier habits, health, lifestyle healthy lifestyle

We are now embarking on Holiday Season! Thanksgiving is next week! It feels like this year has flown by, doesn’t it?

From family gatherings to office parties to shorter days and cold weather comfort foods, temptation abounds, and we can easily lose sight of our healthy intentions amidst all the excitement and expectation of the season!

Not to worry! We’ve got a few tips to help you stay on top of your health this holiday, starting today!

Tip #1: Set Your Intentions with Healthy Holiday Goals

As you go through your day, take note of how you want to feel this holiday season. How do you want to describe the last few months of 2017 when you look back on it next year or years after? Is it saying no to foods you don’t really enjoy so that you can prevent weight gain? Is it spending more time with close family and friends? Or taking more pictures to document the memories? Whatever your heart’s desire for this holiday, set the intention today.

Why this works?

You get clear and convicted before the hubbub distracts you and pulls away mental resources. The act of simply setting a goal makes you more likely to achieve it, and writing it down increases your likelihood of success by 42%!

Consider your intention like a compass for how you can stay healthy this holiday season.
 

Tip #2: Eat Cleaner Now

Any of the intentions you set above will be more successful if you’re feeling well, have energy and are clear headed. Your food choices make a huge difference in mental clarity and physical energy.

Why this works?

The brain gets wired by food additives, emotional eating patterns and biology to crave certain foods. The best way to crave something tomorrow is by eating it today.

Begin reprogramming your brain and your biology before you hit a time of heightened stress. When you are in those more stressful scenarios, your brain doesn’t have the capacity to be as effective in forming different habits. Laying the groundwork before you hit holiday peak time sets you up for success!
 

Tip #3: Establish Exercise Routine Today

Much like food and drinks play a part in keeping your stress managed, your brain firing on all cylinders and your body fueled for fun and frivolity, so does exercise! Find a few pockets of twenty minutes throughout the week when you can be more active.

Why this works?

Twenty minutes a few times a week catalyzes weight management, overall physical health, stress management and mental well-being. Start today! Whether before work, during a daily conference call or after dinner, seize the opportunity to be more active. Walking counts! So does holiday shopping, washing the car or even vacuuming.

Do the best you can to make the most of the time you have and start now by making small shifts that lead to long-lasting benefits!
 

Up next…

We’ll share healthy holiday tips for the kitchen, holiday parties and even managing family dynamics and social pressures! As always, we love to hear from you – what are your favorite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy during the holidays?

 

Upgrade the Candy Bowl with Healthier Halloween Treats

bowl of halloween candy, healthier halloween, halloween candy

Halloween marks the beginning of the Holidays! Sure, Thanksgiving is the heavier kick-off to the Season, but Halloween marks the beginning of the teeter-totter of balancing your health goals with the onslaught of temptation of sweet treats, shorter days, sleepier bodies and sluggish feelings.

Want to keep your health goals in check, and maybe uplevel the neighborhood Trick-or-Treating? Try these healthy swaps!

Instead of candy, try…

  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Individually-packaged dried cranberries
  • Fruit strips, like these
  • Mandarin oranges, like Halos or Clementines
  • Packages of pretzels
  • Granola bar bites
  • Mini bottles of water
  • Plastic rings in the shape of spiders, skeletons and the like!
  • We had one client who passed out quarters, half-dollars and rolls of pennies instead of candy!

To mitigate the possibility of higher costs for these healthier options, shop sales and bulk stores, like Costco and BJ’s. It’s well worth it to share healthier options and you certainly won’t feel as guilty when you sneak some treats from the pile 🙂

How do you make Halloween healthier? We’d love to know! Share your ideas with us below!

Three Quick (& Healthy) Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried

Looking to slim down, drop weight or lose inches? Our three healthy weight loss tips will help you kick-start or rev up your weight loss efforts.  No powders, pills, or starvation necessary. You’ll use your body’s natural science to boost your metabolism, tone up and slim down.

Tip #1: Kick all processed carbs to the curb.

Get rid of boxes, bags, and bottles. Bottled, store-bought juices and smoothies (particularly those in the grocery store aisles), breads, pastas, cookies, crackers, low fat snacks and whole grain snacks contain a lot of sugar and starch that slow down weight loss, particularly for those with food sensitivities.

Kick them to the curb!

Need some ideas on better snacks, here are a few, along with some other no-effort ways to clean up your diet.

Tip #2: No carbs after 4PM.

Say no to any and all carbs after 4PM, including fruit, popcorn, chips (corn, potato, beet, apple, etc.), rice, pasta, potatoes, sugar, and … wine and beer.

Choose dark leafy greens (which not only help with weight loss, but provide vital nutrients that ramp up your overall health, complexion, detox and vitality!) and the best quality protein you can find. Use the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app for the safest, sustainable seafood options in season, and shop your local farmers’ market or meat section at the grocery store for the best grass fed, organic beef!

Tip #3: Finish your last meal three hours before you fall asleep.

Eating in advance of sleep allows your body to digest your food without hampering the natural detox & healing processes that take place during sleep. An added bonus, it also helps you shed those unwanted pounds. If your schedule doesn’t allow for this one, aim for breakfast 12 hours after you ate dinner to help the blood sugar and metabolism reset.

We love to hear your health tips, weight loss secrets and delicious recipes! Share with us on social media or leave a comment below.

To your health!

We’re Loving Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens

Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens in Vanilla - nutritional benefits, low sugar, high protein, vegan, green powders, organic

A key to the success of a healthy lifestyle is making meals and concocting snacks that are tasty and as packed with nutrients as you possible. Making your recipes work for you means you’re nourishing your body and mind without depleting your precious physical and emotional energy. One way to do this is to through smoothies, which is why you see the onslaught of smoothie recipes on this site and in our social feed.

As a nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free practice, we are always on the hunt for vegan protein without nuts or soy that can be integrated into a variety of meals and snacks, like – you guessed it – smoothies!

A veteran dilettante of vegan protein powders, we were thrilled to see the repackaged and re-formulated Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens during a foray of shopping to restock our own inventory!

Raw Protein & Greens Powder? Here’s the scoop #punintended 🙂

  • HIGH PROTEIN: 20 grams of raw organic plant protein from Organic Peas and Sprouted Organic Grains, Seeds and Legumes plus 6 organic greens and veggies
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help your muscles recover with a clean nutritional shake powered by organic protein and nutrient-rich organic green energy
  • GREEN SUPERFOOD DRINK: This delicious vanilla protein powder is power-packed with green energy from raw, organic greens and green juices
  • PROTEIN POWDER WITH PROBIOTICS: Tasty, smooth protein shake with 1.5 billion CFU probiotics and 13 non-GMO enzymes for easy digestion
  • VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER: Organic, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, Informed Choice Certified (Trusted by Sport), non-GMO whole food protein

Our Take

The vanilla flavor is subtle and not too sweet. The smell and flavor is almost identical to the Garden of Life Raw Vegan Protein Powder we’ve grown to love with only a subtle earthy smell, attributed to the greens. The relatively high vegan protein content has additional benefits of sprouted greens and grains and is organic, as well, with low sugar (<1 gram). Even with the sprouted grains and legumes, this protein powder is gluten-free and gentle to digest for those with aversions to beans.

It’s a perfect add-in to protein pancakes or to a variety of smoothie flavors/recipes with its low glycemic index (you know how we’re off the sugar wagon!), added greens (like alfalfa, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrot and beet – yay!) and versatile vanilla flavor.

One last note: The probiotic content was not a strong selling point because we supplement gut flora with a high dose of probiotics via capsule. Because of the way we use protein powder, which includes smoothies as well as baked goods, the probiotic power is diminished significantly; even used in a smoothie, we can’t vouch for the healthy bacteria making it to the small intestine intact because we haven’t seen or performed the research. If you’re looking to increase your healthy gut flora through Garden of Life products, try probiotic capsules, like these, or explore fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, or low sugar kombucha.

Let us know how you get more from your smoothies with added greens and protein!

As always, wishing you a week of greens, grace and gluten-free goodness!

What the Health and the Keto Controversy

What the Health and the Keto Controversy - making sense of two very different lifestyles and how to make better diet and lifestyle choices

With the recent release of What the Health, aka “The Health Film That Health Organizations Don’t Want You To See,” healthy eating by way of veganism has experienced a rise in attention, specifically within certain social circles and demographics (Netflix is the primary viewing venue).

Friend groups and communities are atwitter over the science and positions explored in the film, and the conversations have incensed many due to the data revealed and what it means to their lifestyle choices or because of the confusion and frustration generated by trying to apply yet another batch of science and expert opinions to an already mixed bag of seemingly conflicting information in the world of health and wellness.

In this post, we explore two primary at-odds lifestyles and offer perspectives and guidance to empower you to follow the path that best suits you. 

First, What The Health!? and Veganism

Veganism, or the practice of eating only non-animal products, has, for years, been touted as a surefire way to lose weight, lower cholesterol and slow aging. In the Middle and Far East, for centuries, practicing veganism is common due to the moral, ethical, and spiritual pillar of the regions to “do no harm.”

Domestically, many celebrities, doctors and industrial leaders have emerged as vegans, and we, the viewing public, have observed the benefits of the vegan lifestyle as they unfolded in that individual’s life as documented through the lens of the camera, social media, USA Today, etc..

All indications point to veganism is The Way!

Here’s where it gets controversial.

Despite these incredible success stories that we’ve seen with our own eyes and the scientific findings cited by vocal vegans and What The Health, arguments that favor the veganism movement can be disproven by other science, research, medical and scientific journals and health experts.

Case in point, the ketogenic lifestyle.

Keto.

As we discussed earlier this month, is a diet globally recognized for centuries for its anti-aging, disease reversing, cancer preventing benefits (among other heroics). The foundation of the keto lifestyle includes a certain cadence of eating, which simulates fasting and subsequent benefits,  and a diet comprised of a high ratio of protein and fats and lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates than the Standard American Diet (SAD, an acronym that is both entertaining and accurate).

Modified keto, for example, may include a diet of 60-70% of calories derived from protein and fats (including saturated and unsaturated) with only 30% or less of calories derived from complex carbohydrates (i.e nothing processed and no sugar). Some keto’ers also shy away from grains, beans, soy, corn, etc., due to the high carbohydrate content and effect on blood sugar, which throws the individual out of a ketosis state, thus undoing the chemistry that yields the incredible benefits.

Protein and fat sources for many followers of the keto diet include animal products, yet, due to the individual’s unique metabolic make-up and how the individual metabolizes carbohydrates using insulin, many keto’ers base a large portion of the diet on plant-based eating, i.e. vegetable-heavy.

It’s Getting Hot in Here.

The conundrum we face are two very different diets, both of which tout health benefits. One is entirely animal-product free, and the other – in many cases – promotes the consumption of high-quality animal products.

You can see how these two dynamics are at odds with one another, and how the confusion and overwhelm accompanying the effort to make sense of them as a consumer can be significant!

Layer on top of any confusion the emotional charge we inject into our relationship with food and the deep ties to our identity that develop in relation to our food choices, lifestyle and the ethics, beliefs and mores therein, and you’ve got a hot button topic that triggers some internal moral dilemmas and very passionate discussions.

What’s Our Take?

As far as we’re concerned, any catalyst, be it a conversation, documentary, book, article, Ted Talk, etc. that activates an authentic, respectful conversation among communities and an inward assessment of one’s health, lifestyle and holistic wellness is a good thing.

Any proponent of a whole food, clean-eating, know-where-your-food-comes-from way of life? Also, a good thing.

Any wake-up call to ask deeper questions, fuel optimal wellness and make intentional, mindful choices? DEFINITELY a GREAT thing.

If you find yourself curious, or even enraged, by What The Health or Keto, and the science, ethics, or the arguments of each, then consider it your wake-up call.

Lean into this conversation vs. throwing in the towel. Casually explore various diets and lifestyles, and shift your mindset into thinking of it as a fun exploration. How you’ve eaten in the past may not be where you want to go in the future, and that doesn’t mean you’ve been fooled or failed! It means you now have different information you’re using to perhaps make different choices.

How to truly know what is best for YOU?

Some people’s constitution and metabolisms need higher levels of protein and fat and opt to include animal products as a manner to supplement those needs. Others have food allergies that preclude them from going all-in on a certain way of eating. Other people’s ethical beliefs trump all else, and they opt to forgo animal products or other food groups.

Every body is different, and therefore, every diet must be different, even if slightly, and that’s OK.

Select one of the diets or lifestyles that have caught your attention or that most closely aligns with you, and test it out for three to six months. Changes take time. Observe your energy levels, food cravings, blood work numbers, fit of your clothes, joint flexibility, mental clarity, emotional resilience and tolerance as indications that you’re on the right track or need to adjust your approach.

The Bottom Line

There is no one diet that – when followed identically across a population without some level of modification – is right for everyone.

Do what is best for you! Take what you can from the diets and lifestyles that you explore, apply them to yourself, observe the results over time and modify where needed. Speak kindly to yourself as you explore a new way of eating. Stay open to the experience and share what you observe with your friends and family; get them in on it, and support one another on your unique journeys to your best selves!

As always, we love hearing from you! Drop us a line to let us know which diet or lifestyle impassions you, how you found your way to better health and we’ll cheer you on! A rising tide lifts all ships, and our community is on the rise with you!

Wishing you a life of greens and grace and all the goodness!

Nine Low-Effort Ways to Better Your Health

These nine little- or no-effort habits create better health without added effort. Health is as much about "adding in" better options as it is "cutting out" the old habits that are no longer serving you. From upgrading your comfort foods and boxes, bagged and bottled snacks to gentle lifestyle shifts, these simple, small changes will add up to significant health improvements over time.

choose a better breakfast, cut out sugar, kick sugar, sugar free, no carbs, low carb, cinnamon sugar buns, better breakfast

Choose a Better Breakfast

Sugar buns, PopTarts, regular yogurt and instant oatmeal are low in nutrition and set you up for sugar cravings and energy roller coasters later in the day. Instead, choose a breakfast that fuels you with a blend of fiber, protein and fat. Try steel cut or old-fashioned oats, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, or Gluten-free Protein Pancakes for more nutrients for a longer-lasting energy!

Drink One Glass of Water for Every Coffee or Cocktail

Coffee and cocktails are dehydrating; to keep your skin, joints, and brain hydrated, drink one glass of water for every caffeinated bev (including soda), beer, wine or cocktail you enjoy! 

caffeinate, hydrate - drink a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume
get the veggies and the french fries. eat the veggies first

Get a Side of Veggies and the Fries

Order a salad or steamed veggie as your side along with the fries. Yes, it may cost you a few dollars more, but your body and brain will thank you. Eat the veggies first, and in time, you'll find you're eating fewer fries and making better choices! 

Order your Sandwich as a Salad

Adding in veggies and a salad can be as easy as getting that BLT or Turkey & Swiss as a salad. Healthy choices can be chock full of flavor and enjoyment, too! Keep what you love, and make a few tweaks here and there, so you reap more benefits from what you're already doing. 

Turn your sandwich into a salad by skipping the bread
get protein at every meal, even an egg as a snack or lunch

Get Protein at Every Meal 

Protein keeps you full, gives your body a key component of building healthy cells and balances blood sugar. Steer clear of a meal entirely of carbs, like a peanut butter and jelly with a side of potato chips, and choose tuna or chicken salad, or keep the PBJ and choose sprouted grain bread over white and add in a hard-boiled egg as a side. 

Favor Healthy Fats 

As you know after reading about Keto, fats are key for longevity and feeling good today. Rather than looking towards fried foods for fats, stick with nuts and seeds, avocado, cage free eggs, clean (unprocessed) meats, and oils, such as sesame, olive, avocado, sunflower, and coconut! Experiment with cooking and concocting your own salad dressings, too! It's fast, fun, and gives your salad or sandwich a little extra love!

favor healthy fats over fried foods and experiment with nuts, seeds, oil, avocado and even fish oil to get a slew of health benefits
savor the moments, enjoy the water, dance in the rain

Savor the Moments 

How often we get lost in the news reel notifications on our phone or our social feeds and miss out on the moments with friends and family (or sleep!). Instead of a connected-device coma, try being present in the moment. Actively listen to those around you. Take in your surroundings, sights, smells, and sensations. Savor the experience, even those that are unpleasant or downright painful. There are meaningful moments among the mire, and the time you have today will flit and float by. By paying attention, you live life more fully.

Take Twenty

Practicing guitar, coloring, journaling, breathing, sipping tea, walking, doing yoga, meditating. Whatever makes your soul sing, take twenty minutes every day and do it! Studies have shown that "indulging" in a hobby or a quiet time activity we enjoy benefits your whole body, including your nervous system and brain. Taking time to feed your spirit is as critical to your well-being as eating well!

take time to do something you enjoy every day
hug a friend every day, even if that friend is furry.

Hug it Out!

Hugs, as well as snuggle time with furry friends, have been shown to lower stress levels, increase immunity, and boost happiness! Phone a friend and having a few moments of connection if you can't wrap your arms around the person. It's amazing how much of our optimal well-being extends beyond our plate! 

We love hearing from you on the simple changes you make in your diet and lifestyle that add up! Let us know your favorites of ours and share your own by leaving a comment below! 

Trending Now: Keto Diet

tables cape of a meal that is considered keto, keto diet, disease prevention, diabetes management, eating for blood sugar, weight loss and weight management

Here’s a phrase you’ve likely heard lately, and if not, you will, and most likely while discussing the newest diet that your PureBarre and BLAST friends have started.

Keto.

Or Ketogenic Diet, to be accurate.

If you dabbled in the Atkins Diet in the 90’s and 00’s,  you are probably familiar with “ketosis,” or the phase of the Atkins Diet that indicated you were burning fat for fuel instead of sugar (as most of us do). Ketosis also came hand-in-hand with the less-attractive side effects of bad breath, mood swings and constipation.

Although similar to Atkins with its relatively higher ratios of protein and fat than the typical American intakes, the ketogenic diet, or keto diet, takes a cleaner, less-processed approach to protein and fat sources and has risen to the forefront of health due to the incredible health benefits that have been observed over decades. Some say over thousands of years, as fasting has been a religious practice since the dawn of time. (Those unpleasant side effects still hold, but only last for 1-2 weeks, say practitioners.)

Where did it come from?

Like many other diets, the keto diet was originally “prescribed” as a method to treat disease. Doctors used this method of eating to treat children with epilepsy in the 1920s. In its original form, the diet reduced carbohydrate intake to just 5% of caloric intake with 75% from fat and 20% from protein. Today, many people who subscribe to the keto way of eating alter the amounts & types of carbohydrates, protein and fat to include 30%/40%/30% respectively, all of which are clean, aka non-processed. For instance, bacon, though OK for Atkins, is not OK for keto.

So, what’s the big deal about keto?

As mentioned above, keto brings the body into ketosis where it burns fat for fuel instead of sugar, thus burning through the fat stores in the body, simulating fasting and eventually achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Weight loss and weight maintenance are not the big deal, though.

The reduction, elimination and prevention of cancer cells, recovery from diabetes, reversal of cognitive impairments, like Alzheimer’s symptoms and brain fog, and protection against heart disease risk factors are the biggest headliners of benefits of the keto diet.

Wait, it does what? How?

By reducing the amount of glucose in our blood, insulin is not released. Insulin strongly influences the chemistry and balance of our bodies. It tells cells to store as much energy as possible, which means if we don’t burn the sugar, we store it as fat. Fat storage is a result of too much sugar, not too a result of too much fat.

Therefore, by eliminating carbs (and eating the right amount of protein, which, in excess, also gets stored as fat) and by keeping the carbohydrate stores empty, we avoid a flood of insulin being released that we can’t fully utilize, which triggers insulin resistance, which contributes to diabetes AND premature aging, oxidative stress, chronic systemic inflammation, and other degenerative conditions and diseases.

The keto diet offers a solution by eating in such a way that the body is quasi-fasting, insulin is not released, inflammation and insulin resistance are avoided, and disease is prevented.

The Main Take-Away

The ketogenic diet is a proven method of eating that yields impressive results. Its focus on healthy fats and protein, much like the foundation of other blood-sugar regulating diets, allows the body to heal and repair itself, prevent disease and even reverse damage.

As with any diet, do your research, apply what feels right for you, and have check-up’s with your trusted medical professional to track the changes through blood work and biomarkers.

Additional reading:

Ketogenic Diet Boosts Fat Loss and + Fights Disease

Bulletproof Podcast: Dominic D’Agostino: Mastering Ketosis

New York Times’ Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, “Making a Case for Eating Fat”

2 Keto Dudes – Ketogenic Lifestyle Podcast

We love to hear what works for you and how you’ve taken charge of your own health journey by actively participating and applying what makes sense to you. Tell us about it below!

Five Healthy Holiday Tips

Collage of table scapes for Chinese New Year Feast, Hanukkah Feast, Christmas Feast and Kwanzaa Feast

 

We are officially in the swing of the Holiday Season!! This magical time of year brings so many opportunities for us to reconnect with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our traditions. (All of which are rich with complexity and emotion…and usually also desserts 🙂 )

Here are a few tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive during this time of year, so you can both take care of yourself and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of the season.

Stick to the Basics.
Throughout the Holidays, these year-round basics will be your best allies:

  • Pack in the greens and unprocessed, whole foods as much as you can, for instance:
    • When you’re invited to a party, bring a veggie (or even raw veggies with dip) as your dish to pass to ensure that you’ll have healthy options at your finger tips
    • Plan ahead and stock up on healthy snacks at home, so you’re not reliant on cookies and leftover pie for snacks when you get hungry
    • Fun fact: the best way to guarantee you’ll crave something tomorrow is by eating it today; if you eat less sugar and more veggies today, you’ll work with your natural wiring to prevent off-the-rails sugar cravings the next day and the next…
  • Drink plenty of water, i.e. one glass every hour if not more; when attending a party, alternate a glass of water with every sugary or alcoholic beverage, which will give you the added benefit of something to occupy your hands while also preventing a hangover
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes each day; even a 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day makes a difference for your mental and physical well-being
  • Get enough rest; when we’re rested, our willpower, patience and energy levels are significantly higher, which means better decisions and more equilibrium and energy to navigate the jam-packed social calendar!
  • Meditate or practice positive visualizations and/or affirmations five minutes a day

Be Mindful.
Very important is to be aware of what you’re eating, how full you are and why you’re reaching for seconds. Often times, we choose to feed our feelings instead of to satisfy our physical hunger. Being mindful of our choices and the reasons behind them will help us outsmart the autopilot eating that is easy to slip into when we’re having fun (or not) and surrounded by food and friends!
Quick tip: If you find yourself on emotional overload, try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Do this about five times whenever you feel the stress or anxiety (or any emotional trigger) overwhelming you.

Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Holiday – the planning, the parties, the presents – and the allure of saying yes to it all! Families, friends, work, and school activities are abundant, and whether out of obligation or delight, we will say yes… and yes, and yes.  In doing so, we get thrown out of whack and worn out. Make sure you keep your overall well-being in mind as you schedule your fun and festivities.

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your equilibrium:

  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar, so you can blow off steam and get those natural endorphins to keep you energized
  • Say no to social engagements if it’s too much (or simply leave early, so you can get enough rest)
  • Schedule time with friends who lift you up and nourish your soul (you know the ones)
  • Put quiet time on the calendar, such as reserving a few nights for doing absolutely nothing
  • Take a nap on a Saturday afternoon
  • Have a “wrapping party” to allow you and friends to catch up as you wrap gifts or a cookie swap where the cookies baked can be given as goodies for co-workers or teachers (time with friends AND gifts for folks on your list sounds like a win-win!)
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help and/or delegate; for instance, if you’re having a party, prioritize your to-do list and enlist family to help or hire someone to help clean before or after, ask friends to bring a dish to share or help clean-up afterwards, etc.

Whatever helps you maintain your sense of self and balance this time of year is a MUST.
Spoiler alert: it may vary day-to-day, and it may not look the same as what your friend, sister, mom or significant other needs, and that’s OK. Taking the time to make time for yourself and your mental, emotional and spiritual health this time of year will reap enormous benefits!

Eat the pie. Then let it go.
It’s OK to indulge, especially if you’re keeping the other 80% of your food and drinks on the lighter side. One powerful trick to minimizing the impact on your overall health (and waistline) is letting go of any guilt your carry for indulging in a slice of pie (or two), and then resetting to “normal” eating habits. Remember that there are hidden calories and sugar in holiday libations and dishes. Swap in water or herbal tea where possible, and if you do indulge at that office party, overindex on clean eating for your other meals that day and a few days after.

Enjoy!
Most important of all… Enjoy the moments, the meals, the memories of this Season! Savor each bite and every experience because this year’s Holiday season is different than all those that have come before and all those to come. Soak it in. Even if you eat too much, have an emotional breakdown, or don’t get it all done before your family or guests show up, it’s OK. It truly is OK. Breathe. Speak kindly to yourself, and give yourself grace. ‘Tis the season after all. Take advantage of the joy and generosity of this time of year. Live in the moment. Say yes when you feel it, and say no when you feel called to. Take care of yourself and those you love and enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays!