Managing stress and mental health through healthy living - mindful nutrition, joyful movement and self-care.
|Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM||comments (1)|
Asparagus is a great vegetable for people who are physically active. It supplies almost 66% of the daily recommended intake of folate, which is crucial for red blood cell synthesis and preventing iron deficiency anemia. In addition, it is high in vitamin K content which is important for chelating calcium to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Asparagus also contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin that promotes the formation of a health-friendly bacteria in our large intestine.
My favorite way to prepare is to cut about an inch off the thick ends, toss in some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast in an even layer in the oven on 400 degrees until slightly tender and bright green. Also super yummy wraps in goat cheese and bacon.
Fun fact: it makes your pee smell really unusual! Ha Ha!
|Posted on October 3, 2014 at 4:25 AM||comments (0)|
Artichokes are a disease fighting food, combating diabetes, heart disease and cancer all at once. It is the main carbohydrate source inulin that is known to help stabilize blood sugar levels which is important for the prevention of diabetes. Artichokes also have high choleretic activity meaning they promote bile secretion. Bile binds cholesterol, decreasing the formation of arterial plaque, in turn decreasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. The heart of an artichoke also provides a group of flavonoids called silymarin which are potent anti-inflammatories that help to ward off cancer.
|Posted on September 26, 2014 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
Red, yellow, green, raw, cooked, alone or paired with meat, nuts or other fruits - there is no wrong way to eat an apple!
This delicious fruit is filled with vitamins A and C, potassium and copper. Vitamin A and C are anti-oxidants which reduce the incidence of free radical damage, heart disease and tumorous cancer growths. Apples also contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which promote heart and digestive health. The skin of an apple also contains a special flavonoid called quercetin, which reduces the risk of cancer.
|Posted on September 19, 2014 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
Amaranth is a great grain for physically active individuals as it boasts 5 grams of high quality protein in only half a cup. Amaranth is also high in iron and vitamin C which helps oxygenate the muscles to fuel your cardiovascular workouts and reduce fatigue. Amaranth is rich in magnesium, which helps to relax blood flow and aid in post-workout recovery. This grain also contains zinc, calcium, potassium and phosphorous to support a strong immune system, healthy blood pressure and strong bones. Lastly, Amaranth is gluten-free and a great choice for those with celiac disease or a wheat allergy.
|Posted on September 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
One of my favorite quick snacks, especially when paired with fruit and/or yogurt!
Almonds are a nutrition packed nut. Like others nuts, it is high in fibre, monounsaturated fats and antioxidants like vitamin E. Almonds contain high amounts of magnesium important for circulation of oxygen in the blood which is crucial to optimum cardiovascular performance. They are also high in potassium which is important for heart function to increase endurance, as well as for muscle contraction, to promote strength andassist in a speedy recovery.
(Watch out for the "roasted" almonds that you find in the snack aisle, these are usually full of added salt and oils and often sugar)
|Posted on July 18, 2014 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
I listed this post under stress management and personal development because I truly believe that the negative energy in our lives is what creates the majoirty of our stress, and to learn how to better cope with that is the key to great personal development. Whether the negativity be in the form of other people, our own thoughts and self talk or our actual environment itself.
Bad news travels faster than good - we all know that do we not?
I tried a little experiement a while back and found it oddly amusing when I saw the results.
You should try it....
Post a positive comment or thought or experience to your Facebook and see how much activity you get. Then post something negative - bet you can tell me before even doing it what will happen. Seems misery loves company hey? You know, we all have the friends that you only hear from when things are going poorly? Yeah, I have them as well. You know as soon as you see the message in your inbox or the number on your phone.
But not only do we have those people in our lives but they can live in our heads too. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to the negativity in our lives but the even scarier part is that we are so unaware of the thoughts that go through our minds - regularly - that we are oblivious to the effect that they can have on us.
We all have negative tapes that run in our minds. It might be the words of the fourth grade bully, the taunting of your sibling, the criticism of a parent, the rejection of a former boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, a judgemental friend, a critical in law.....the words may have been theirs but the voice now? It is yours.
Listen to it.
What is it saying? What is it telling you over and over again?
Is it right? Is what that voice says true? Maybe you failed. Or maybe your made a mistake. But does that make YOU a failure or a mistake?
Now pay attention to how you feel. How your energy changes. Ebbs and flows, or maybe becomes stagnant. Each and everytime you hear (or even when you don't hear, when you are unaware) the voices, the tapes, there is a physical reaction in your body. The same is true for every time you tell a story to someone else or repeat the details of an event, you relive the emotions as well as the physical reactions. (This also places the body in a "fight or flight" response which means that the nervous system is stimulated, increasing blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, cortisol levels, etc, etc, etc.)
There is a physical response to your thoughts as well as your words - whether they are spoken outloud or not.
Back to the voice. Listen to it. Acknowledge it. Become aware of it. Now CHALLENGE IT! Ask yourself if what those voices say are true. When we get into a negative space it is easy to run with it, catastrophize, blow everything out of proportion. When one thing goes wrong, all of a sudden it seems like EVERYTHING is going wrong. But is it? Or is it just a reaction to what is going on in your head, your perception of things.
Remember: nothing is inherently good or bad, everything simply is what it is. But we label things as good or based based on our perceptions and experiences.
So listen to that voice, recognize that it is there, question it, challenge it and when you realize that it is wrong (and here's a hint, it always is) you can move forward with that tape no longer a part of your repetoire. With practice it becomes easier to hear those voices and once you can recognize them for the lies that they tell you can begin to eliminate more and more negativity from your life. But you might also notice something else....as the negative energy is replaced with the truth you will begin to recognize much more positive energy in your life as well.
As they say, like attracts like. So what are you attracting?
Health and Happiness,
|Posted on March 15, 2014 at 8:30 PM||comments (0)|
I went from living healthfully, eating well, moving most days and being present and joyful, to competing in physique competitions from which I rebounded physically and propelled me into a depression and obsession with food and body image.
Then I started doubting everything that I believed about food and how to nourish my body.....And so I started on my anti-diet journey.
Despite the fact that I felt fantastic when I ate my 5-6 small carb/protein meals per day, I had loads of energy, my bodily functions were on track, my skin was clear, I enjoyed the foods that I ate and I still enjoyed a treat now and then; I started to question whether my "healthy eating" was just another diet in disguise.
I didn't trust myself any more!
Then I found a number of articles, books and old blog posts about Intuitive Eating and making peace with food but also nourishing your body and what real deprivation means. And I realized that I have been eating just because I told myself that I could, whether my body really wanted it or needed it or not.
Just because I gave myself permission to eat whatever I want, whenever I want
doesn't mean I have to!!!
I have to say that one again.....
Just because I gave myself permission to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, doesn't mean I have to!
If I give myself unconditional permission to eat ice cream and yet ice cream gives me cramps and leaves my bloated and constipated, should I eat it just because I'm not restricting it from my diet? Or should I eat spinach because its "good for me" when it causes me joint pain and flares up my gout?
So maybe by traditional Intuitive Eating standards and some anti-diet people, my eating style might look like dieting - but if it works for me, does not create stress in my life, is still flexible when it needs to be, is enjoyable and nourishes my body then isn't THAT what matters most?!?!? Isn't how I feel more important than any rules - whether those rules are diet or anti-diet.
Learning to listen to what the BODY, not the mind, wants, needs and deserves is the key to healthy, balanced nutrition and peaceful eating.
|Posted on February 20, 2014 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on February 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
- Opt for dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the higher levels of cocoa colids and flavonoids, the better. Strive to consume a square of 70% cocoa or higher a few times a week for optimal health benefits.
- Reduce Milk Chocolate Consumption: Made with milk and sweeteners mixed with cocoa, milk chocolate is higher in fat than dark. Some also contain high levels of parafin wax which changes the flavour and lowers the nutritional value of the chocolate.
- Stay clear of white: White is the least nutritious of the three types of chocolate. White is generally made with cocoa butter but not the cocoa solids and is also made with high amounts of milk and sugar.
|Posted on January 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on January 5, 2014 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on January 3, 2014 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
- Fennel: High in iron and can help prevent anemia in those with iron deficiencies. The herb also helps to alleviate digestive system problems.
- Kale: This green leafy is epecially high in vitamins A, C and K. It can also help lower cholesterol, act as an anti-inflammatory and aid the body in detoxification.
- Leeks: Known to protect the lining of your blood vessles, provide foliates and and decrease the risk of low-level diabtes and arthritis, this onion like vegetableis also high in vitamins C, B6 and K,
- Artichokes: These powerhouses have more antioxidants than any other vegetable. The edible flower bud helps with liver and gall bladder health and cholesterol reduction. It can also help encourage cell death in some common types of cancer.
- Pomegranates: Also high in antioxidants, these delicious reddish fruit can also help prevent blood clots and increase oxygen to the heart.
|Posted on December 28, 2013 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
- It takes repetition to create or break a habit - 21 days some experts say but there really is no set timeline, everyone is different. For example, a new workout routine takes both time and consistency to become a normal part of our routine. Missing a workout does not mean that you have failed! Just be sure to not let small setbacks derail you from staying consistent.
- Mental activity decreases with the formation of habit, in other words, it becomes automatic and does not require any thought. While you are performing this habit, you are not consciously thinking about what you are doing.
- It is easier to create a habit than to break one. Once the neural pathways to the brain have created new information, they remain for years. That's why is it easy to relapse into old behaviours even after a lot of time has passed. This fact holds positive potential though as we create new habits. It is easier to create new positive ones than try to break old negative behaviours - so rather than trying to STOP doing something negative, work on STARTING to do the opposite positive behaviour.
- Some of your habits might stem from a related or an unrelated desire. Examine your daily routine to see if you can notice any patterns (ie. midday cravings due to not eating regular meals earlier in the day which can create blood sugar imbalances; or craving that snack simply because you need a mental break).
|Posted on December 24, 2013 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
With holiday indulgences and the chilly, snowy weathe,r it's always tempting to skip your winter workouts. But it is important to maintain a good exercise regimen throughout the colder seasons too.
Here are a few "Winter Workout" success tips:
Warm Up: The cold temperatures can cause muscles to tighten. It's imperative that you properly warm up your muscles to prevent strains, sprains and other injuries. Static stretches, jumping jacks, arm circles and squats are all good ways to get the blood flowing and muscles firing.
Insulate your Body: You might feel warm while you are working out, but you can still lose heat, especially if you are perspiring. When finished, be sure to remove layers slowly to allow the body to adjust to the temperature differences - hypothermia can result from too quick of a cool down. Remember to always dress in layers, with the one closest to the skin absorbing and maintaining the most heat.
Stay Hydrated: The cold can take away as much moisture as the heat so be sure to stay hydrated by consuming enough fluids. Plain water is always best!
Try New Things: Experiment in the winter months with new and fun exercise options. Getting outside will also give you the added bonus of a vitamin D boost.. Sliding, hiking, skiing...... even simply walking in the snow can be a great workout - just always be sure to be careful of ice and wear proper clothing and footwear
Exercise Indoors: When all else fails, take your program inside on the days that you simply can't get out. Seek a variety of new indoor options or your favorite routines. Join a gym or fitness center, swim, dance, martial arts, DVD's, kettlebells, cardio, strength training.....balls, benches, kettlebells, dumbbells, jump rope, treadmill, elliptical, bodyweight.....the options are endless.
What better way to beat the winter blues and to stay healthy, active and fit than by maintaining your exercise program through the dark, cold winter months. There are no excuses.
|Posted on December 20, 2013 at 5:15 PM||comments (0)|
The follow up to my last post....here is the rest of the list!
4. Assess your fitness, nutrition, sleep routine and stress management techniques and look for ways to improve. These elements are all essential to a good, balanced wellness plan. Create a routine that works for you, in your life. Make adjustments and changes to help create healthy habits. Try new things and have fun!
5. Assess your emotional health and your coping mechanisms. Do you feel your feelings and work through them or do you eat, drink shop or gamble them out of your thoughts? What feelings, situations or relationships do you find the most difficult to deal with and why? How can you improve your emotional health?
6. Consider your career. You do it every day…for a whole lot of years, so you had better find a way to enjoy it. Let’s be real, every job has aspects that we don’t care for, or even people that we would rather not deal with on a regular basis, but to really and truly be happy and healthy you need to find the joy in your daily life and your job. You need to feel satisfied. Do you help people feel better Do you enforce laws that keep our society safe, healthy and productive? Do you sell goods and services that truly add value to people’s lives.
If you truly can not find joy in your job then you may even want to consider a change; and if that is not an option then make sure that there are other aspects of your life that bring joy to your day. Maybe a volunteer position with a local service organization, being involved in your church, donating to a favorite charity…. Joy can be found through serving others.
7. Stimulate your brain. When you stop learning, you stop growing. Find a new passion or hobby or topic that interests you and run with it! Those who continually learn appreciate life.
8. Be aware of your environment. I’m not talking living “green” although that is an important issue for so many of us. But I mean the environment of your life. Is your life cluttered? Too many commitments and not enough time? Is your brain on overdrive? Are your constantly connected yet totally disconnected from your body and the people in your life? Is your house cluttered..drawers and closets stuffed? Is it time to clear out and simplify?
9. Spiritual growth. I’m not talking religion here as much as about nurturing the spirit within you. We can get into the habit of being down, low or depressed or simply apathetic. Create moments in life that allow you to reconnect with that spirit. Commune with nature, take a hike, play with children, help out others, and be kind and loving to those you meet, true joy in life comes from our experiences, not from our “stuff”.
10. Pass it on. Share your wisdom and your story to help others as they live theirs. You never know who or how you might impact another life.
|Posted on December 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM||comments (0)|
1. As we head into the new year we reflect on the time that has passed and we look ahead with hope and optimism and plans for positive change – hence the popularity of the “New Year’s Resolution”.
But how about trying something different this year? Instead of the fads, diets, resolutions and promises why not try taking a positive approach by evaluating each aspect of your lifestyle and creating a positive statement of intent for that category. And instead of “giving up” something why not try “taking up” something? Try adding more vegetables to your meals, or adding exercise twice a week, or trying one new healthy recipe a week.
Look at your social, emotional, spiritual and physical health and consider ways that you would like to improve these areas. By stating your goals as a positive affirmation, you have already created the framework for success.
“I exercise twice a week for thirty minutes.”
“I eat healthy balanced meals consisting of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.”
“I communicate effectively with my family and friends.”
2. Motivation. This is something that doesn’t always come easy or naturally. As a popular quote from Zig Ziglar states “people often say that motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” There are four common barriers to motivation and self care and they are lack of skill, family dynamics, social pressures and probably the biggest culprit, unrealistic expectations. Motivating yourself is the key to overcoming these barriers but first one must realize their own worth and the value that comes from caring for oneself. Often the belief exists that taking time for your own health, fitness, emotions, etc is selfish…..women in particular find this to be true. But you cannot give from a dry well and you are of no use or help tp anyone that you care about if you are not living your best life.
We are here to love, support, encourage and care for others but not to be martyrs. YOU ARE WORTH IT!! Once you believe that, the rest begins to fall into place.
3. Support system: Develop a strong support system with healthy, open and positive relationships to help you through life in all of its ups and downs. This may mean we have new people come into our loves or vice versa we may find that we have outgrown certain relationships. And that is perfectly normal. There is no point hanging on to something that no longer serves us or our goals just because it has always been that way or we fear the change.
When we make changes in our lives, especially changes that affect our habits and lifestyles it can sometimes create tension with those closest to us. People don’t like change and they may feel that they are being left behind or that your “new” habits and choices are in some way pushing them out. They may, at times, even be a little envious of your new happiness. The biggest thing to keep in mind, whether you are the one going through the changes or the one watching is that IT ISN’T PERSONAL. People function in their own world, and while we are all connected and our choices do affect others, the purpose and passion behind those choices is strictly personal.
So be very conscious of the company that you keep and ensure that you have a good network of supporters and cheerleaders because we all need that for healthy growth and change.
Stay tuned for part two with my remaining tips for healthy change and balanced living!
|Posted on December 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
Well it is that time of year again the holiday parties have started and the food is spread and the drinks flow.....a little too much for most people.
But maybe, just maybe this year you could start a new tradition?
Can you imagine what it would be like to go into the new year feeling light and happy, healthy and joyful?
Imagine not being a slave to the "new years resolution drama".
It is possible and really quite simple. Here are a few tips to help you make this year your healthiest christmas yet...
Be realistic: don't plan to "diet" during the holidays (or ever again for that matter). Being realistic, we all recognize that there will be times during the holidays that we will probably overinduldge. When it happens, savour every single bite, eat slowly so that you can truly enjoy it. It is only food. It will always be there!!!!
Plan ahead: you know when those big parties and dinners are going to be well ahead of time. Use your indulgences wisely and prepare by eating well the day of and maybe even a few days before a big event.
Don't eat your feelings: The holidays can be stressful. Don't use food as an escape from your feelings. Talk with a friend, journal, exercise, make crafts....just don't use food to numb yourself.
Eat regular meals and snack: Don't go to a party starving. Some people tend to "save up their calories" for later in the day to indulge at the party. This is a recipe for disaster - you will over eat and feel way worse! Eat your regular meals every few hours, when you are hungry, and have a normal sized meal at the event. Be sure to pay attention to your body while eating as well. Eat slowly and allow your body time to signal to you when you are getting full. You don't HAVE to finish everything on your plate just because it is there. One trick that works....lay down your fork between bites. Seriously, it slows you down and it works!!!
Get your protein and veggies: I had to put this one in. I don't follow many food rules any more but this is one that still tops my nutrition priority list. Getting enough protein will keep you fuller longer and increase satiety of your meals. It is essential to keep your body properly fueled. Get your veggies is equally important for their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Let everything else fill in the gaps.
Drink your water: This goes without saying, especially if you plan to induldge in some beverages during the season. Flush out the extra toxins, sugars, processed foods and chemicals that will inevitably make their way into your system.
Continue or begin a simple exercise regime: It's a busy time. Schedule your exercise like an appointment, keep it a priority and use it to your advantage. You'll be able to cope better with the emotional stress as well as work off some of the extra calories that you might consume. Anytime is the right time to start. You don't need any fancy equipment and a workout doesn't have to be an hour long. Sometimes just 15-20 minutes is all that you need. Just make it a priority and stay consistent. That is the only secret.
Focus on one choice at a time: In all of this it all boils down to choices. Try not to get overwhelmed and look at it as a month long challange. Look at each meal as it comes and make the best choices in that moment. Seek out healthy options especially for appetizers - there is almost always a fruit or veggie tray around! Take every commercial break during your favorite show to do a few exercises or get up a little earlier and hop on the treadmill and then enjoy a solid breakfast.
In the end, enjoy the holidays and plan ahead so you induldge without guilt. Life and food is meant to be enjoyed but you can't enjoy it without your health, in the long run it is far more "tasty" than the extra piece of cake or cookies.
If you need some extra support, come on over to my Facebook Page and check out my events. I have a challenge ongoing where people are tracking their exercise. Fifteen workouts between now and christmas. Social Accountability is my favorite tool for maintaining motivation for one reason and one reason only. It works!!!
Join the Facebook event today! (the link isn't working for some reason, so just come on over to FB and search Healthy Holidays Challenge or find it at the top on my page)
|Posted on September 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on September 5, 2013 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
This is today's workout which was a great one - keeping it simple....the intensity goes up a little next week when we get into the full swing of things. The September workouts will be a variation on this one and yesterdays with some additional exercises and some metabolic work thrown in for fun. (insert evil laugh here).:lol:
Strength: again supersets for 3 rounds
- 1/2 kneeling KB halo - alternating clean to squat thrust
- bulgarian split squat - 1-arm DB press
- suitcase deadlift - TRX row
|Posted on September 4, 2013 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
First day of school!!! Yippeee!!
That means the beginning of the ever evolving schedule,which makes me incredibly happy! As much as I love summer and camping I am always ready for September to come. Business halts over the summer as people are in and out of town, as are we, and the kids are home which makes scheduling massage appointments very difficult. (Thank God for my amazingly understanding clients). So back into the groove we go!
I woke early this morning and decided to make the best use of the morning and hit the treadmill for a walk to wake up.
Treadmill: 30 minutes - but by this time it was still only 7am so I figured I had best do my weights too
Strength: 4 supersets, 3 rounds of each
- Ball roll out - push press
- offset DB front squat - 10arm plank row
- 1-legged DB deadlift - pushup
- Marching glute bridge - toe raised ankle mobility