healthy living

5 Small Changes that Equate to BIG Results

Start and end your day with a mindfulness practice. This could be a 10 minute morning meditation, a midday walk in nature and 5 minutes of writing a gratitude list at night. This simple practice, will help set the tone for your day, bringing mindfulness and attention to task that need to be done, in order to reach the goals you set.

  1. Reduce excess and minimize your living and work environment by decluttering. This simple change can help you shift from living in a state of overwhelm to a more focused and on intentional state of living. Donate what you don’t use, organize your space, and reduce clutter and noise around you. With a clear space, you will be able to better focus on the goals you have set for yourself.

  2. Indulge in a technology detox. There is no doubt that technology can make life easier. However the constant chatter from social media and emails can add more clutter to your headspace, distracting you from the tasks essential to reach your goals. Take a tech break and re-assess where you are in relation to your goals. When you re-introduce technology back from your “detox”, observe your social media feeds and email inbox. Does the content on your screen inspire and motivate you? Or does it leave you feeling negative, searching for comparison, and welcoming self - doubt?

  3. Aim to eat fruit or vegetables at every meal. This is a sure way to start and end your day with good nutrition and balanced meals. The American diet is usually low in fiber, micronutrients, and vitamins and minerals that are offered in vegetables. If you focus every meal on making sure you get in at least one vegetable and fruit you’ll increase these important components and reduce the amount of processed foods.

  4. Leave two bites behind. If weight loss is one of your goals and the idea of eating smaller portions makes you feel like you are on another “diet”, start with simply leaving 2 bites behind at your meals. This simple small change will really add up to a decrease in overall calorie intake and over time, you will see and feel the results!Reaching a new goal does not have to be complex or complicated, but goals do need to be set with intention, and action will be required daily to reach that goal. Start your day with a simple mindful practice to set your intention and remember your WHY. Need a strategy session to map out how you can achieve your goal? Contact me today!

Slow and Easy Ratatouille


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 to 6 hours

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1 eggplant (about 1 1/4 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced (white base only)
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1 small yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 (29-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1 tsp each: dried basil, rosemary and thyme
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
Ground or smoked pepper to taste
Snipped fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion; cook and stir over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, eggplant and garlic; cook for 5 more minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker with all remaining ingredients except fresh basil and Parmesan. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours. Serve hot or at room temperature topped with fresh basil and Parmesan. Makes 8 servings.

Quick Stovetop Variation: Prepare as directed above, cooking in a large pot instead of a slow cooker. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.

(Reproduced with permission of http://www.tomatowellness.com/)

5 Health Positive Ways to Kick Off 4th of July

  1. Start by Being Active: Kick off your holiday by starting your day with a walk, run, bike ride, or swim. Holidays are a great time to get active with friends and family members. Not only will a workout jumpstart your metabolism, but you can also use that time to connect and catch up with a quality conversation!

  2. Drink More Water: Regardless of where you live, July is hot! Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and prevent overheating. The best way to monitor your hydration is through the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine means you need more H2O, whereas pale yellow urine means your body is most likely adequately hydrated.

  3. Savor Seasonal Foods: Tis the season to enjoy fresh summer produce! A few of my favorite July produce include eggplant, corn, avocado, mango, strawberries, pineapple, green peas, watermelon, and zucchini. The number of meals, snacks, side dishes, and desserts that can be made with these foods are endless. Forget snacking on chips and store-bought cookies! And instead, sink your teeth into some savory foods from mother nature’s summer crops.

  4. Keep Cold Food Cold and Warm Food Warm: There is nothing worse than getting a bout of food poisoning from a summer BBQ to ruin your vacation. With an increase in outdoor temperatures during the summer months, we usually see a spike in food-borne illnesses. The warm temperature creates the perfect environment for bacteria that cause food poisoning. The most important thing you can do to combat this is to make sure that cold foods stay cold and warm foods stay warm.

  5. Wear Sunscreen: If enjoying the outdoors is part of your July 4th plans, then wearing sunscreen is essential to having a healthy holiday. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and make sure to reapply often. Take the extra step and wear a hat, sunglasses and maybe even a rash guard for extra protection.

What Does Organic Mean?


The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

There are four categories of labels relating to the product being “organic”: 

  • “100% Organic” means the product contains all organic ingredients, with the exception of salt and water as these are not certifiable. These products cannot be affected by the “big three”: irradiated, contains genetically engineered organisms (GEO’s), or grown with sewage sludge fertilizer.

  • If the label only says, “Organic,” 95% of the ingredients in the product are organically grown.

  • A label that says, “Made with Organic....,” means that 70% of the ingredients within the product are organic. The “big three” rules apply here, for the 70% organic ingredients as well as the 30% non-organic. The supplier may list up to 3 ingredients that are organic on the front of the label.

  • Labels that list organic ingredients on the side panel of the package contain less than 70% organic ingredients. There can be no organic claims on the front of the label. The “big three” are allowed to be in the non-organic ingredients.

Tropical Avocado “Margarita” Pops

Recipe serving size: 1 pop

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe, fresh avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and mashed

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 cup of orange juice

  • ¾ cup lime juice

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup of frozen mango, chopped

  • 8 lime slices

  • 8 popsicle sticks

  • 8 paper cups

Instructions:
Combine avocado, coconut milk, orange juice, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and puree until smooth. Add mango and pulse until combined.
Divide evenly between 8 paper cups. Top each with a lime slice and popsicle stick.
Freeze until firm.

Summer Guide to Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine is a new buzz word in the world of health and wellness, and while the term might be new, the principles of Lifestyle Medicine are things nutrition and wellness experts have been preaching for years. According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoiding the use of risking substances and pursuing other non-drug modalities, to treat, and prevent chronic disease. 

This month I’m sharing why the summer is the perfect opportunity to embrace Lifestyle Medicine and how you can incorporate these principles into your day to day routine! With Lifestyle Medicine, you’re empowered to take charge of your own health.

Summer Guide to Lifestyle Medicine

Why wait till September or January to start thinking about changing your nutrition and health habits, when you can start today? The summer is actually the perfect opportunity to embrace Lifestyle Medicine and start implementing new habits. Listed below are some easy things you can start doing today and reaping the health and wellness benefits.

  • Eat Seasonal Produce. The cornerstone principle of Lifestyle Medicine is to eat a plant-predominant diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, and seeds. The summer months are filled with produce harvested in their prime including sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, juicy berries, and more. Take advantage of this season to create new lifestyle habits by eating more seasonal produce. Here are a few ideas to get started: mix in spinach, tomatoes, and peppers into your eggs, enjoy fresh fruit and challenge yourself to add more plants to your meals by cooking with at least three different vegetables.

  • Sign Up for a Summer Rec League. Summer is the perfect season to sign up for a new sport. While you may love watching a good baseball game on a summer evening, there is nothing like playing the game! No need to let your skill level, age, or your busy schedule hold you back. As I like to say, where there is a will, there is always a way! Check out your local rec center and see what adult leagues are offered. From volleyball to softball to pickleball to kickball there is bound to be something that fits your skill level and schedule. If participating in summer sports does not interest you then sign up for a local running club. The key is to not only find something you enjoy but also has a set schedule of practices and events to show up and participate!

  • Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule. Avoid letting the temptation of long summer days, lack of school schedule and vacation mindset result in late nights. While late nights catching up with friends is okay to do every now and then, it is not a healthy habit for the long term. Sleep is not only important for your mental and physical health but also for . healing and repair of your muscles, tissues, and more. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

  • Create White Space In Your Schedule. Stress management is an essential component of Lifestyle Medicine. One thing I’ve observed working with clients is that not having enough time or having too much to do is a big contributor to stress. The summer is the perfect time to address this. Where can you create white space in your schedule to do less? White space, also known as free time, is just as important for your physical and mental well-being as staying active and engaged in physical and social activities. Take the challenge and see where can you create a little more white space in your schedule? How does extra free time help with your overall stress levels? How can you keep this white space protected for your foreseeable future?

  • Soak Up Sunshine! The sun is one of the best ways to get vitamin D, the nutrient essential for bone health and fighting depression, just to name a few. While it is important to wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors and sunscreen will inhibit some vitamin D absorption. However, you will still get some of the benefits. The more time you spend outdoors the more your body will be able to absorb this nutrient over time. Sunshine is also very good for your overall mental and emotional wellbeing. Whenever spending time outdoors be sure to follow the sunscreen guidelines from your physician.

  • Be Mindful of Summer Drinking. Summer can be a challenge for people who’ve struggled with alcohol and other substance abuse issues. Be mindful not to fall into the habit of drinking a few cocktails or glasses of wine during the summer nights on a regular basis. And if you’ve already kicked the habit (like stopped smoking, recreational drug use, or reduced alcohol consumption), don’t fall back into it. If this has been a struggle for you in the past, know that the simple act of self-awareness of what, when and where your struggles are is huge. The next step is to create a support system and plan on how you will not revert to old habits. Lifestyle Medicine is avoiding the use of risking substances because the effects on your overall health and well-being are serious and can be life-threatening.

California Avocado Red, White and Blueberry Salsa California Avocados

Add some color to your summer holiday party menu with festive fruit salsa. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A.

Serves: 4
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sweet white onion, minced

  • 2 ripe, red tomatoes, diced

  • 2 Serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced

  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh mint, cilantro or basil

  • 1 ripe, fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt



As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados.

Instructions:

  • Gently combine all ingredients. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to merge.

Greek Egg Mug

Prep Time: 1 minute, Cook Time: 3 minutes, Yields: 1 serving

This delicious Greek egg mug cup is packed with protein and ready in just 4 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup chopped spinach

  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped

  • ½ cup Eggland's Best Liquid Egg Whites

  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

  • Basil, garnish


Instructions:

  1. Spray a large microwave-safe mug with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Add spinach and onion; microwave for 1-2 minutes, until softened.

  3. Dry up any excess liquid from the spinach with a paper towel.

  4. Add Eggland’s Best Liquid Egg Whites and microwave for 1 minute.

  5. Stir in remaining ingredients. Microwave again for 1 minute or until egg whites are just set.

  6. Stir and allow to slightly cook before enjoying!


Recipe by Eggland’s Best 

Daily Mantra: "I am Enough"

Here is a list of short mantras you can repeat to yourself to empower yourself to love yourself just as you are.

  • I am perfectly imperfect. My imperfections make me unique in this world. I embrace my imperfections and embrace the imperfections of my loved ones.

  • I choose my path. My path may include bumps, uphill climbs, and even a few detours, but these obstacles make me stronger and wiser as I continue on the journey.

  • I choose to be grateful for all of it.

  • I have done enough for today and I did the best I could today.

  • I have everything I need.

  • I am worthy of love. I am worthy of being cherished by others.

  • My gifts are worth sharing with others.

  • I will not compare myself to my family or friends, I am on my own journey.

  • I will walk my path and support my loved ones as they walk their path.

  • I am strong enough to handle whatever is given to me.

  • I trust that I will find the strength within me to do what I need to do if an obstacle feels too overwhelming for me.

  • I am tougher and braver than I appear.

  • I got this!

  • I am enough.

Beyond a Sweet Treat: 7 Perks of Dark Chocolate

Beyond simply tasting delicious, a dose of dark chocolate adds a variety of health perks that are sure to have your body (and taste buds) thanking you! The good-for-you properties actually come from the minerals and antioxidants found in the cocoa, hence why the darker the chocolate (think 70% or higher), the better for your health. 

7 Perks of Dark Chocolate


1. Enhances Brain Function.
 Yup, it’s true - a small dose of dark chocolate may help you think better. Dark chocolate is naturally rich in the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, two compounds that can add a short term boost to overall brain function. Theobromine has been found to improve focus, concentration and visual processing of information. Dark chocolate may also improve blood flow to the brain.

2. Rich in Antioxidants including Polyphenols, Flavanols, and Catechins. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidant power, which means the more perks for your health!

3. Decreases Cancer Risk. The antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been found to neutralize free radicals that increase the risk of cancer. Therefore, enjoying a dose of dark chocolate can help decrease cancer risk.

4. Improved Heart Health. Researchers have linked the flavonols in cocoa to decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure and arterial plaque.

5. Lowers Blood Pressure. The flavanols in chocolate have been found to support the production of nitric oxide, which in turn helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.

6. Mood-Boosting. This one comes as no surprise, but there is scientific evidence that supports the fact that dark chocolate really does make people happier. Not only does it add a sweet treat, but it will help boost endorphins, lifting your mood.

7. Bonus Nutrients. While dark chocolate doesn't provide a significant amount of essential nutrients, it is rich in iron, fiber, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.

And don’t forget there is no BAD food. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation.

One Sheet Pan Tuscan Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts skin on, cut into halves if needed to make each piece equal in size (For a healthier version, remove the skin before cooking)

  • 12 oz small new potatoes, sliced 

  • 8 oz button mushrooms

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced

  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1 cup green, or black olives, pitted

  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil, or olive oil, divided

  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp raw honey

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped for garnish

  • sea salt & pepper, to your taste 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f.

  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place the chicken breast in the middle and the potatoes on the sides.

  3. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, and season generously with sea salt and pepper.

  4. Roast in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

  5. In a large bowl, add in the mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, sliced onion, garlic and sun dried tomatoes.

  6. Drizzle remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, raw honey and add all the seasonings. Mix well to get all veggies coated.

  7. Once the chicken is almost cooked, add the veggies mixture to the sheet pan, and roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and fully cooked.

  8. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh thyme and season to your taste.

  9. You may keep it in the fridge for a max of 4 days for food prep.

Enjoy!

by Rachel Maser @ cleanfoodcrush.com

Tips for Creating Healthy Dining Habits

  1. Fill up on fiber and lean protein. 

    A meal high in protein and fiber can help keep you satisfied and prevent overeating. Use the Fast Casual Cheat Sheet in this newsletter, to help identify best meals to fill you up!

  2. Be stingy with the extras. 

    Things like bacon, cheese, mayo, and salad dressings will not only add to your food bill but also add unnecessary calories and fat to your meal.

  3. Watch out for the sneaky salad toppings. 

    While salads can be a nutrient-packed meal, they can also be higher in calories, fat and sodium than a hamburger. Fancy toppings like cheese, bacon, salad dressing, dried fruit, nuts, and croutons can really add up.

  4. Substitute sides. 

    Most restaurants default to serving fries, chips, onion rings, bread or mashed potatoes as their side. Often these are eaten out of habit and not because you are really hungry and need the extra food. Ask if you can substitute the high-calorie side dish with a side salad and light dressing, steamed veggies, baked sweet potato or a fresh fruit cup.

  5. Embrace the flavors of baked, broiled, grilled chicken or roasted lean meats.

    Avoid fried and battered foods as they are high in calorie, fat and sodium. By shifting your mindset to embrace the flavors of baked, broiled, grilled chicken or roasted lean meats you are opening yourself to a new relationship with food.