Health mistakes women make

Women, generally, are always on the go.  Whether physically, mentally or both.  Working in or out of the home (and both too), juggling kids activities, multi tasking, home tasks, managing the spouses (yes, yes we do), and trying to squeeze in a bit of ‘me time’ here and there.  The sad truth is, as women, we take care of ourselves last, and that needs to reverse.  By taking care of ourselves- the right way– we will be more effective, efficient and happy while taking care of everything else. Here are some common health mistakes women make;

  1. Eating the wrong ‘health’ foods.  We are always looking for the shortcut.  Especially women since we are typically juggling so much.  We make the mistake of buying quick and easy foods that say ‘low fat’ or ‘healthy’.  Truth be told- if it is in a box, bag, or can- it is not ‘healthy’.  Go for whole, real foods.  At least 90% of the time.  Don’t O’D on protein either.  Too much protein will cause inflammation in our bodies and our bodies to store the excess as fat.  Women only need around 40-46 grams of protein a day according to the CDC- and you will be surprised how quickly this adds up.  Your plate should have mostly veggies, complex carbs/grains. Whole.  Real.  Food.
  2. Skipping on breakfast.  I see a lot of women I work with skip or skimp on breakfast.  Or just as bad- eat a high sugar breakfast.  Breakfast sets the tone for your bodies metabolism throughout the day. You just got done fasting for several hours (sleeping), so you need to fill your body with high fiber, protein rich foods first thing.  Skip the orange juice (you should skip fruit juices in general) and skip the high sugar cereals/bars.  Oatmeal with chia seed is also an excellent morning starter!
  3. Skimping on sleep.  I can easily fall victim to lack of sleep on a regular basis.   Unfortunately for daily performance (think mental clarity and focus) and for weight balance (think less sleep means weight gain!), and for energy (think hormones are screwed up when we don’t sleep) we need our sleep.  At least 7-8 solid hours a night.  There are so many studies backing this up, and yet we short ourselves on this regularly.  Lack of sleep will also eventually cause depression and can lead to long-term heart and health problems.  Bottom line- get your sleep.  Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime (the bring glare in our eyes stops the melatonin from kicking in), turn down the lights and make notes for the next day (a great way to get your mind ready to sleep and prepare for the next day).  You can always transfer the written notes into your phone tomorrow.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.
  4. No time to work out.  I call BS on this.  I hear this as an excuse everyday and my first thought is- you don’t have time NOT to.  For those that do not make the time…and we are talking 15-20 minutes a day here…there will come a point in life when they will wish they had.  Usually that time is when they are laying in a hospital bed and hoping to see grandchildren born or grow up.  At that moment you will not only wish you had taken the time- you will realize all the other crap that you were focusing on really didn’t matter.  Cut something else out if you have to.  Take.  The.  Time.  To.  Work.  Out.  There are great at home routines easily found on YouTube, a jog, a bike ride, yoga flow, whatever.  Take the time so you can live longer and feel great. (PS changing it up will keep you engaged) (PSS- just cause you DO work out does not mean you can eat crap) (PSS- don’t ignore weight lifting- it is incredibly beneficial for women)
  5. Supplementing for energy and nutrients.  I am not a nay-sayer on supplements for the most part.  If your doctor has prescribed them, or you have a true deficiency, then by all means, supplement.  However, our bodies produce (unless there is a medical reason otherwise) what we need if we feed it right and buying supplements is, well, a waste of money.  Our bodies will just flush it out…or in some cases, will stop producing those nutrients naturally and then you really will feel like crap.  Save the money.  Eat right instead.  Also..feeling tired in your day so you want to drink coffee or another energy drink?  Skip it after 2pm and go for a light jog, run, or a simple 5 minute yoga flow- getting active, even for five minutes, will give you an energy rush!

What are some ways you overcome these mistakes?

 

Looking for a wonderful holiday treat- that has some great health benefits too?  Check out our Pretzel Holiday Crunch below!


 

Pretzel Holiday Crunch

(good for anytime of the year!)

pretzel crunchIngredients

  • 1/4 cup of applesauce
  • 2.5 cups of crushed up pretzels (I use gluten free ones)
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seed
  • 1 cup of almond butter
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a medium bowl add the applesauce, pretzel crumbs, almond butter and chia seed and mix well.
  • Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an engrossed 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Put chocolate chips in a microwave safe container and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted (can cook on stovetop too if preferred).
  • Pour chocolate over the mixture and spread evenly out.
  • Refrigerate at least one hour prior to cutting into squares and serving.
  • Optional: can add a teaspoon of stevia or 1/4 cup of coconut sugar to pretzel mix sweeten further (I don’t feel its necessary) and can also add 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract to chocolate for mint flavor.

Are you wealthy?

5-Common-Habits-Among-the-Wealthy-554x317One of the lifelong (dare I say world long) struggles with humans is understanding and/or finding our life purpose.  We, as people, lay awake at night trying to decipher what the hell we are here for.  We look to prayer, our pastors, the bible, society, each other- yet we still continuously ruminate, worry and fret.  I believe, one of our main purposes in life, is to find wealth.

Yes, wealth.

But not in the form of dollars and cents (or Euro’s, Peso’s, Franc’s..etc).  Please don’t misunderstand- I enjoy making money, and spending it.  For sure.  But that is not our true purpose.  In my humble opinion.  The kind of wealth I am speaking of- is in a much different format.

  1. Wealth of health.  A good friend of mine recently told me a story.  Her client (she is an incredible realtor) just sold two of his houses (he has several) and he owed no money on them, so he made quite a bit of profit on each.  However, he didn’t seem pleased.  My friend asked if everything was ok (worried he wasn’t happy with her services perhaps) as he had also been very reserved through the process of finalizing the paperwork and closing.  He sighed, turned to her and said, “Please..never wish or pray for money.  Pray for health.” and left her standing in the office.  She learned that his wife had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Here, they had worked so hard to build a fortune together, to retire and travel and share the rewards, and when they felt they finally reached a good place financially, were now going to spend the money to pay for trial testing, medicines, trips around the world to see doctors, and any and everything to try to extend the wife’s life, even if by days.  The millions they had worked for, were now being spent on one of the most expensive, yet free things we own- our health.
  2. Wealth of attitude.  One of the most important aspects of life my husband and I talk about, is our one controllable thing in an uncontrollable world- our attitude.  Our perspective.  This is a daily, if not hourly discipline.  And it can be wiped out in a millisecond.  A car cuts you off and you swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.  You can; 1– curse, wave a special finger and let your racing heart and evil thoughts of revenge sweep you away.  Or you can; 2– send a silent prayer of thanks for not colliding, take a deep breath and hope that whatever hurry that person is in, that they make it ok.  Which is more fulfilling?  Before you answer number 1- let’s assume that person in the car is your mother, your child, your spouse and they just cut someone else off.  Maybe accidentally.  Maybe they didn’t truly see (or pay attention- yes that does happen, to all of us).  Maybe there is a true emergency.  Maybe.  Maybe.  But, ultimately, we get to decide how to let this person’s actions, thoughts, desires, affect us.  Do we want to carry negative energy and emotions with us?  The answer should be no.  We don’t.  Choose the attitude that will result in positive energy, which will then result in positive occurrences in your life.  What we focus on, what we think about- we bring about.
  3. Wealth of inner peace.  What you do, what you have, who you are- is determined by what you think about inside your mind and feel inside your heart.  No matter how much currency is in your bank account, how many cars you own, what zip code you live in or what fantastic career you have- you will not have true wealth without peace and joy in your heart. When we approach all things in life- our careers, our marriages, our relationships- with joy and love- we will absolutely experience wealth.  Significant, abundant wealth.
  4. Wealth of service. I am pretty selfish.  No doubt about it.  I pray and meditate on my selfishness all the time.  I am a selfish parent, a selfish friend, a selfish spouse.  Some of my friends reading this might right away say, “Are you kidding!? No you are not!”.  Yes, yes I am.  Because you see, even when I serve others, which I 100% love to do, it serves a selfish purpose.  It makes ME feel good.  I love working at church.  I love donating (both my time and money).  I love helping friends.  I love seeing my kids grow and develop.  I love helping my husband in his business.  I love it all.  But I fear I love it because of the joy it brings me, more than because it brings others joy.  The good news?  It is still serving.  It is still oh so good to do.  AND, it feels good (for us selfish people).  So here is my challenge to you- serve others.  Serve in any capacity you can.  The truth is- it will bring you so much wealth and joy, much more than you will ever be able to give to others.
  5. Wealth of influence.  Who is your best friend?  The one you confide in.  Do they uplift you?  Do they have an unshakable positive regard for life?  Who are the people you call to get advice?  Do they uplift you?  Do they have an unshakable positive regard for life? Who do you spend time with outside of your immediate family?  What kind of decisions do they make?  What kind of life do they lead?  Do they have joy?  Serve others?  Have inner peace?  So here’s the thing…who you surround yourself with, you become like.  This is 100% true.  If you surround yourself with gossips, negative nay sayers, unmotivated, depressed people…well…you get the idea.  I am not insinuating that your best friend, or confidant will not have an off day- that is your opportunity to uplift, but just take a few moments and analyze the people you share the gift of your time with.  Think hard.  Are they people you want to be like?

How is your wealth?  Where is your focus, your energy directed to?  Share with us how wealthy you are!


 Recipe of the week!

Is it getting cold where you are?  It is here!  And when it is cold…I love crock pot meals!  Try my vegan crock pot meal below!  I LOVE this recipe!

 

Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

butternutsquashIngredients:

  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 full carrots chopped
  • 2 medium apples chopped (peeled)
  • 2 cups of peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and finely minced
  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley and shredded unsweetened coconut (for garnish)

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients except garnishments in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8 hours.  During last hour taste and season with salt and pepper as desired (can add more chili pepper too or a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want it on the spicy side).  In the last 30-45 min check to see if chili needs more vegetable broth and leave the lid off to let it thicken up.
  • Serve over cooked quinoa or rice and garnish with fresh herbs and coconut.

Five ways to cope with stress

zenI would love to tell you that I don’t struggle with stress.  That my eating healthy, being active and mindfulness practices allow me to live a stress free life.  Unfortunately this is not the case.  I too struggle with stress.  My healthy practices however, allow me to cope, heal and not allow the stress to take over my life.  It is no secret that stress is literally a killer.  A killer of joy, of health, and of life.  Yes, you can die from stress.  Here are five things you can do to cope (and in some cases prevent) stress;

  1. Meditation.  I speak a lot about meditation and am so grateful I was introduced to it.  There is no easy way to tell naysayers who have not tried meditation except this- knock the shit off and try it.  There are several short YouTube meditation series that have a big impact.  Impact on how you feel and think.  Meditation can actually change the way you feel.  Try typing into the YouTube search, “Positive Affirmations Meditations” and pick one you connect to.  Plug in some ear buds, lay down, and give it a shot.
  2. Postpone the non essentials.  Yes you have a to do list for days.  Carpet needs repaired.  Lunches packed.  Neighbor asked for a favor.  Laundry.  Project A.  Project Z.  Drop off items.  Pick up items.  I know, I KNOW.  But here is the thing, when you are feeling extra stressed, put off what is not essential.  Delegate.  Ask for help if you can.  Tell the neighbor you would love to help, but perhaps next week would be OK..  Yes, it is OK to say no.  And if it’s not OK to say no, then let’s not be friends, OK?
  3. Be kind to yourself.  Do NOT call yourself names.  Not out loud, not in your head.  Remember my saying, “Thoughts become reality” and just by thinking or saying you are stupid, slow, fat, etc, well..you kinda bring those things in your world.  Be kind.  Treat yourself as you would a nice new stranger.
  4. Change your environment.  Have you been holed up in your office?  In your house?  In your car?  Stop for just 90 seconds and go outside.  Even if it is raining or snowing.  Take five deep breaths.  Say out loud if you can (or in your head if your neighbor is walking the dog and wondering if you are gonna be on the news tonight), “I CAN DO THIS.  I AM ENOUGH”.
  5. Will it matter?  When I get anxious or stressed I have to stop and ask myself this wacky question, “If I were to end up in a hospital bed tomorrow, and told I have less than a year to live, will this crap matter?”  Usually the answer is no.  I only use this question when I am really in a pinch and experiencing some serious mental anguish, as I don’t generally believe in bringing a negative thought (ya, hospital beds and death are somewhat negative…just sayin’) into my world, but when I do ask myself this question, I all of a sudden have some good perspective, and it shifts my thinking quickly.

Check out my YouTube video on this topic!

 

Do you have things that work for you?  Please share with us!

Become more powerful with these five steps

Healthy-Living-copyThere is something powerful in emotions. In our thinking. If we think we can accomplish something, we will. If we think we can’t- we won’t. In order to really unleash your power, and become successful in all aspects of your life- you have to become a powerfully positive person (we can call it the PPP if you want). Here are five steps to help you do just that.  Be sure to also check out my POSITIVELY POWERFUL and DELICIOUS cookie recipe below!

1- Meditation.  One of the most powerful tools I picked up from a friend is to meditate. Because I believe in it so much I have decided to become a certified instructor. Believe it or not, meditating creates a physical response in your brain. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or just plain ol exhaustion/being overwhelmed- meditation can help your brain refocus, refresh and refuel- which in turn literally does the same for your physical body. It is one of the best ways to release negative energy and connect mind, body and soul.

2- Visualization. I believe in vision boards. I believe in taking quiet time to myself and actually feeling, expressing and believing in my success as if it is already here and happening.  Visualizing literally attracts what you want to you.  This needs to be done daily.  You have to feel it, see it, hear it, smell it.  Just by visualizing what you want, how you want to feel and be, it will come to you.  I promise.

3-  Gratitude.  I have a quote I love (I am sure I stole it from someone), “If you are not thankful for what you currently have, why should you have more?”  Being grateful for every wonderful detail of your life, only brings more of those wonderful details to fruition.  Even bigger details.  Be grateful.  Feel gratitude.  Express gratitude.  Start a gratitude journal.  What you think about, and thank about, you bring about. Don’t skip this.

4- Give.  When I volunteer for organizations, or donate my time or money, those organizations express so much gratitude and I kinda feel guilty for their gratitude, cause truthfully…I give cause it makes ME feel good.   Giving is kinda like gratitude- the more you put in it, the more you get out of it.  However, I caution you- don’t give and then try to visualize a million dollars coming your way because you fed the homeless.  Give because you truly desire to.  Find something you are passionate about and put some energy into it.  Watch and see what blossoms in your life.

5- Circle of Influence.  This is one of my most biggest, most importantist (yes that is a word) aspects of becoming positive and successful.  You become like the people you surround yourself with.  Take a moment right now and think about the people you spend the most time with that live outside of your home.  Are they positive, happy, uplifting people?  Or do they talk down about or to others?  Think really, really, really hard about this.  You cannot be truly happy and successful if you absorb and/or surround yourself with others who are not happy and positive.  You just cannot.  Trust me on this.

By doing these steps you will be more connected to your mind, body, soul and the universe attracting the things you desire.

Do you have steps that work for you? Please share.

Positively Powerful Cookies

(not to mention sugar/dairy/gluten free)

cookiesIngredients

  • 3 cups paleo flour blend (or your own choice of flour blend)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure stevia
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (use what brand/type you like; I use unsweetened dark chocolate)
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • Optional: additional teaspoon or two of coconut milk if dry (depends on flour blend)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Put parchment paper on two cookie sheets
  3. Whip together the applesauce, stevia, and chia seeds. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for about 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

Choosing to be happy

We make a lot of choices or decisions throughout the day.  What to wear, what to eat, what to drink, what to spend our money on, how to respond to so-and-so….the list is ENDLESS.  There are but a few things we won’t regret choosing.  Everything else…well the results may vary.  Here are a few things you WON’T regret choosing:

1- choose to be happy.  It IS a choice.  No matter what is currently plaguing you, what happened yesterday, or this morning, or in the future.  Choose to be happy.  Allow a few moments to close your eyes.  Envision your happy place.  Breathe deep.  Embrace that feeling of joy.  Choose it.

2- choose to unplug.  Unless your kids are gone and may need  you- turn off your phone.  At the very least, shut off all social media.  Stay away from your laptop.  Instead; listen to music.  Read a book.  Paint.  Draw.  Cook.  Garden.  Choose what lifts you up and do THAT instead.

3- choose kindness over rudeness.  This is also a choice.  Someone cuts us off on the road?  Choose to believe they needed to be somewhere else in a hurry.  Someone bumps into you at the store and keeps going?  Choose to believe they are plagued by troublesome thoughts and didn’t notice.  Choose compassion, regardless of the others true intent.  Why not?  Why choose the alternative of ‘giving it to them’- all that does is bring negative energy into your life.  Smile at a stranger.  Smile at EVERYONE- even if they look at you strange. Go a step further- pay it forward to someone else.  Buy someone a cup of coffee.  Leave cookies at your neighbors doorstep.  Volunteer at a local shelter.  Watch what happens when you do THAT.

4- choose to say no.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed?  Your to do list not getting shorter?  Say no the next time someone asks for help.  It is OK.  Don’t put in extra hours in your child’s class room.  It is more important you are engaged with them when they are home.  Look where you can delegate some of your to do list and let things go.  PS- when you don’t have time to meditate or take care of yourself is when you need it the most.

5- choose to treat yourself like a queen.  We sometimes treat strangers better than we treat ourselves.  We constantly beat ourselves up- mentally and emotionally.  Don’t do that.  Don’t think or SAY that you suck at something.  Don’t think or SAY that you can’t get anything done.  Don’t think or SAY that you are awful.  Tell yourself RIGHT NOW that you are amazing.  That you are gifted.  That you can do hard things. THAT YOU GOT THIS.

I get stuck in that tornado effect of ugliness too.  I then have to slow down and make hard choices.  Like these.  But they are choices and you will 100% of the time be glad you did.  Here is my YouTube video about this topic!

Now choose to do this and possibly treat yourself to a glass of wine as well.  Or a cookie.  Or a damn bowl of salad.  Whatever floats your boat.  You can also choose to reward yourself with yummy Strawberry Coconut Treats below.  Obtained this delicious dish from Deliciously Organic.

Panna-Cotta-Small-682x1024Strawberry Coconut Panna Cotta

Ingredients

For the panna cotta:
4 cups full fat coconut milk, divided
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1⁄3 cup raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup seasonal berries (prefer fresh but can use frozen thawed out)

Instructions

Pour 1 cup coconut milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle evenly with the gelatin. Let the milk sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.

Heat the milk and gelatin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and milk begins to steam. Stir the remaining coconut milk and honey into the warm milk and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Divide the coconut milk mixture evenly among 6 glasses or small bowls. Cover panna cottas tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the cream’s surface. Refrigerate for about 5 hours, until cold and set. When you are ready to serve, top with seasonal berries.

Ways to get your happy back

Cute-Puppy-SadMany (MANY) of us have times of ‘funk’.  Where we may or may not know what the hell is bothering us, but we just can’t seem to move past it.  It can last minutes, hours or days.  If it lasts longer than a week you should probably consult your doctor.  What are some things we can do if we are in a funk, down in the dumps or just cranky?  Check out ten things to do below AND my happy salad recipe!

You can also check out my quick YouTube video below:

1- get OUTSIDE.  Weather permitting (and sometimes even if its not- put on a rain coat!), get outside. Walk, jog, run, bike, garden, whatever.  Get outside, get some vitamin D and breathe.

2- get CREATIVE. Draw, paint, write, sew, knit.  Do something creative that makes you feel good.

3- pray or meditate (or both).  There are some really good meditations on YouTube for free you can listen to.  Find one with positive affirmations.  Read a part in the bible that makes you feel good (probably wanna stay away from hell and damnation parts).  Go in the closet and think of all the things you are grateful for (I have to go in the closet…happens when you have four kids).

4- read a BOOK.  Pick a book that makes you happy and read a few chapters.

5- watch a COMEDY.  Laughter stirs up so many great chemical reactions on your body.

6- ORGANIZE.  Seems strange, but sometimes cleaning out an area that is jumbled up in your life feels great.  A closet, computer files, pantry, etc. Continue reading

How to START losing weight- the right way

Eat-Stop-Eat-healthy-eatingI am asked all the time- “what do you eat??” and my answer is- “A LOT”.  But I eat a lot of GOOD stuff. Mostly.  This is not just because I am forced to stay away from certain things due to food allergies either. Truth be known, gluten free stuff is the WORST when it comes to being healthy (loaded with sugar).  It is because I make a decision to think about what I eat.

I have comprised a list of the top ten things that work for me.  Keep in mind, these are my guidelines, and when special occasions occur, feel free to splurge, as I sometimes do.  However, I follow these 95-98% of the time.  I am not one to recommend what others should or shouldn’t do as I do not believe there is a one size fits all ‘diet’..but not only does this work for me (and some are just common sense), but it is recommended by The Health Science Academy.  Make adjustments as you need (allergies, etc.):

  1. Drink at least two liters of water a day (at minimum).  You can also drink an additional 8 oz for every 20 pounds you want to lose on top of the two liters
  2. Fill your tummy with large amounts of dark leafy greens or root veggies first (such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bell peppers, onions, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes)- side note: you may need a digestive aid as your body gets used to eating large quantities of this or you could be pretty GASSY
  3. Minimize (or GET RID OF) refined carbs such as: breads (other than paleo- in small quantities still), rice, pasta
  4. Instead of the above, include: beans, lentils, quinoa (my fav), chia seed
  5. Eat at least two servings of fresh fruit a day such as apples, berries, pears or citrus fruit
  6. AVOID drinking sugary drinks, soda, fruit juices
  7. AVOID eating sugar (other than honey or natural sweeteners), cakes, biscuits, desserts (some paleo ones in small quantities), pastries
  8. AVOID fried foods, burnt foods, hydrogenated fat, excess animal fat
  9. Focus on healthy meats; chicken, turkey, fish
  10. LIMIT alcohol intake to one-two drinks per week (of course other than special occasions), or if you are really, really dedicated- no alcohol at all (I am not on this band wagon)
I stay away and/or limit CRAP foods, and recommend you do too.  They trigger overeating, are empty calories and cause one to put on weight rapidly:
  • Carbonated Drinks
  • Refined Sugar
  • Artificial Ingredients (colors, flavorings, etc. and ALCOHOL)
  • Processed Products

What do you do to stay healthy and feel good?  Please feel free to share what works for you.