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.

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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! 

The Best Workout for Weight Loss & Long-Lasting Health

getting ready for a workout by lacing up running shoes on park bench

“What’s the best workout?” is easily one of the top two or three questions I will be asked as a Health Coach and Corporate Wellness Presenter no matter the speaking engagement, small group or 1:1.

Or often asked in a different way, “if I want to lose weight and stay healthy, what workout do I need to do?”

The answer is very simple, and it applies to everyone. 

The best workout you can do is… the one you’re going to stick to.

That’s it.

There’s not a magic bullet that is going to make the weight fall off and stay off.

Every body is different, and every body adapts and adjusts to activity types and intensities over time.

The exercise regimen you used to lose the first twenty pounds might not be effective against those last five or fifteen. Your metabolism normalizes; your muscles “master” the activity or workout.

There is no one “right” way to get and stay fit.

Whether you love CrossFit, or enjoy yoga, or mix up HIIT and LISS because you love a good acronym when you work out, DO THE WORKOUT THAT WILL KEEP YOU ACTIVE. Aim for thirty minutes a day. Then,  change it when you grow bored, or stop seeing the results.

Listen to your body. What do YOU need? What activity, exercise, or workout do YOU want to be part of an ongoing and lasting exercise regimen for the long-haul?

Work with a health coach to help you identify what you like and how to apply it to your life, or talk to your friends about what works for them, and then MAKE IT YOUR OWN.

That’s it. That’s the secret. Find what you enjoy, and try different things to keep activity a part of your daily routine.

We love to hear from you what’s working for you! Tell us what workouts you enjoy, your motivation to exercise and stay active beyond the fad workout, and how you, your friends and family create healthy activity in your lives! Leave us a comment and share this post with a friend who’s stuck in a workout rut!

Cheers to your health, wellbeing and longevity!

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!

 

How to Grocery Shop for Gluten Free Living

gluten free grocery list, glutenfree, gluten free tips, easy gluten free, slow food atlanta

If you’ve embarked on your elimination diet and have a sense that gluten-free living may be in your best interest, you may be wondering what to do next, particularly since “going gluten-free” often evokes concerns of very restricted eating with few to no tasty, affordable options to be found. Not the case!

Making the transition to living gluten-free can actually be quite a cinch, particularly when you’re fueled with the knowledge that this new way of eating will actually help you live in your body more comfortably and with more energy and radiance than before.

Now that you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, it’s time to – quite literally – put your money where your mouth is.

Here’s how:

gluten free products, udi's baguettes, crunchmaster, three bakers, glutenfree
Some of my favorite GF substitutes copyright Sprout and Rosebud

Swap out gluten-filled favorites with gluten-free varieties and whole foods.
Choose the products with the fewest ingredients listed, and even more importantly, no matter the length of the list of ingredients, select the products with ingredients you can actually pronounce!
As they say, if it took a laboratory to create it (with unpronounceable chemicals), it would take a lab to digest it. Give your body a break and try to avoid ingredients that are the length of your arm 😉

Choose pastas that have a blend of grains, like quinoa, rice, and/or corn, which will cook more like the pasta you may already be used to. I’ve found pastas made solely of rice tend to be a little mushier if cooked the traditional way. Asian noodles composed of only rice will have different cooking instructions, so make sure to read the packaging.

Baked goods, like bagels, breads, etc., found in the refrigerated section tend to be more like gluten-filled items with more familiar textures and tastes.

**Even better for your body and your wallet: Choosing whole foods, like beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat or even brown, black, or red rice, which can be bought in any grocery store and even in bulk at natural food stores. Plenty of traditional recipes can be de-glutened by swapping these ingredients for their gluten-filled counterparts.

Don’t forget that beer contains gluten, too, so look for gluten-free beers or ciders to help whet your whistle. (Wine and liquors are considered GF by the Celiac Foundation.)

As you’re starting to make these small, but somewhat drastic changes, the most important piece of the puzzle is to approach this process with playfulness and curiosity. Sometimes, the recipes will not turn out as you think (don’t worry; it’ll get better with a small amount of practice and you might even create your own unique recipes!), or you might fall off the wagon and pick up a non-gluten-free cupcake. It’s ok!

Be kind and patient with yourself, and keep on keepin’ on. You are worth the journey and the work, and this new way of living will become a lot more fun and rewarding than you might have ever imagined!

Thinking of Going Gluten-Free? How to Know if It’s For You!

Certified Gluten Free, Gluten Free, Is gluten free for me, is gluten-free for me, easy gluten free tips

Gluten free. Two words, much mystique. From trendy diets to health conditions, living gluten-free is becoming more mainstream, but what does it really mean?

First off, gluten is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not an additive or an unnaturally occurring substance. It is a natural protein found in rye, wheat and barley that some people find hard to digest. It can become stuck to the lining of the intestines, wreaking havoc for those with a sensitivity or allergy and encouraging a slew of other health challenges to take shape. From a B-vitamin deficiency to joint pain to brain fog to IBS to The Real Deal Celiac’s Disease to MS-like symptoms to even cancer, a gluten intolerance left unattended can become a real roadblock on the journey to optimal health, to say the least.

Before you take off to your kitchen to exorcise all potential gluten-filled items from your pantry and fridge, let’s talk about the best approach if you’re interested in dabbling in this (currently on-trend) gluten-free lifestyle.

Try an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is simply a way of eating that removes gluten-filled foods from your diet (not to be confused with a diet that limits your food for weight-loss; going gluten-free does not guarantee weight loss, but it is a possibility!)

An elimination diet is a simple and relatively cheaper method of figuring out if you are gluten-sensitive. Depending on how long you’ve been eating gluten and how significant the impact has been to your sweet body, it may take 7 days to 6 months to truly feel the relief of going off the gluten. For me, it took about six months of going gluten-free before I felt the symptoms significantly subside; other people can deduce a sensitivity within a week. Your best bet is to go off of it for a week, then add it back in for a day and pay serious attention to how you feel. I’ve seen people get a runny nose the first time they take one bite of a bagel (ONE BITE!). That’s an indication you may want to remove gluten from your diet. Other indications that you might be better off going G-free could be lesser joint pain, decreased belly bloat, fewer digestive problems, and/or clearer thinking as a result of going G-Free. Just reading that list alone certainly makes testing out going GFree quite attractive, doesn’t it!?

Keep a journal or mental list of the changes you notice in your body, mind, energy level, etc. as you go through the week. After the seven days of gluten-free living, add some “normal” carbs back into your diet and then notice how you’re feeling. Re-read your journal of observations and decide if G-Free living is for you!