Mood Boosting Foods

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No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?

Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.  While we don't know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (the major ones that regulate mood are serotonin, dopamine, gaba and norepinephrine). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

Mood-boosting foods

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you're eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in very many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. In fact, 2 brazil nuts provide more than your recommended daily dose of selenium.  Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body's main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal.  (organic choices of animal protein and plant protein)

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, quinoa, and whole grains are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone).

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

INTERESTING FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3  fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%.

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

Mood-busting foods

You won’t be surprised to hear me say sugar and processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent!

But, have you ever noticed that some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily?

Food companies study how to maximize the "pleasure" centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste can light up our taste buds and make us feel good…....Temporarily.

A few other things to avoid if you are experiencing low moods:

●      Alcohol (nervous system depressant)

●      Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)

●      Sugar (worth mentioning again.......messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

Conclusion

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. IT can be a vicious cycle. If you need a mood boost, stick to nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (especially leafy greens), nuts and seeds, green tea, eggs, fish, organic poultry and grass-fed beef.  Take a break from the common mood-busting foods like processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-and-mood

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-fight-depression-naturally-with-nutrition

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/

 

Recipe:  Mood Boosting Fig and Ricotta Toast

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Ingredients for 1 serving

  1. 1 slice crusty whole-grain bread
  2. 2 tbls ricotta cheese
  3. 1 fresh fig
  4. 1 teaspoon sliced almonds, toasted
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. Pinch of sea salt

Toast bread. Top with ricotta cheese, figs and almonds. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with sea salt.

10 Best Foods For Beautiful Skin

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When it comes to healthy skin, what you eat really matters. In addition to staying hydrated, using safe skincare products and wearing sunscreen, make sure you get plenty of these foods in your diet for glowing, healthy skin.

1. Sauerkraut

Probiotics do more than just heal your gut, they boost the production of ceramides (healthy fats in skin) and aid recovery from exposure to UV rays.

2. Blueberries

Among berries, these have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants, giving protection against free-radical damage from pollution and the sun. Keep a stash of frozen blueberries in your freezer so they're ready to go into a smoothie.

3. Walnuts

A high concentration of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) helps skin stay smooth and plump. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on lunchtime salads or your morning cereal.  See recipe for walnut vinaigrette below.

4. Honey

Natural sweeteners are much better for skin than refined sugar or artificial sweetners. The latter can also cause hormonal imbalances, leading to inflammation. Honey is an especially sweet choice because it's antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

5. Kale

Simply put, the darker the green, the better. Kale is packed with vitamins (A, B, C and K) and beta carotene, which increases cell turnover, tightens and detoxifies. Make a kale salad, saute it with garlic or roast it to make kale chips.

6. Avocado

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. They also help create a strong, protective skin barrier. Use avocado on toast or make a guacamole for a dip with crudité.

7. Citrus fruits

Anything with vitamin C is very beneficial to the skin It reduces dark spots, helps with collagen production and brightens overall skin tone.

8. Pumpkin

The enzymes smooth out imperfections to deliver a luminous and the seeds are a good source of zinc. Add canned pumpkin to a smoothie or oatmeal for an instant dose of this healthy food.

9. Cacao

Chocolate for your skin? Yes, really, as long as it's dark (70 percent cacao or higher). The polyphenols repair damaged skin and restore elasticity.

10. Green tea

It's loaded with antioxidants, which protect from free radicals that can damage the skin

Beauty Recipe:  Walnut Vinaigrette

Beauty Tip: Make a superfood salad with a base of green leafy veggies every day.  Add kale leaves, avocado, pumpkin seeds, blueberries  and a healthy drizzle of this walnut vinaigrette to "beautify" your salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup raisins
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I like Grey Poupon)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1⁄4 cup walnuts, chopped

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor.

 

Portion Control

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People are often surprised that I don’t normally recommend calorie counting to my clients.

It's not because I think it doesn’t work (it does) or that calories don’t matter (they most definitely do).

It’s just that I don’t think most people need or want to use use math or take measurements every time they sit down to eat a meal.

That’s why I teach my private clients this simple method of measuring portion sizes of protein, carbs and fat. . Here is a handy guide to help you stay on track.  Note: I put vegetables into their own category even though they are technically carbohydrates.

  • Vegetables = 2 fist sized portions
  • Carbohydrates = 1 cupped hand serving for women, 2 cupped hand servings for men
  • Protein = 1 palm sized serving for women (3-4ounces), 1-2 palm sized serving for men (6-7 ounces)
  • Fat = 2 thumb sized portions
 Source:  Precision Nutrition

Source:  Precision Nutrition

An Example:

Here is an example of a simple meal with the correct serving sizes for men and women:

Protein + Veggie + Carb + Healthy Fat

For women, the meal might look like:

  • Protein = 1 palm sized serving of fish.
  • Veg = 1 fist-sized serving of broccoli + 1 fist sized portion dark green leafy salad
  • Carb = 1 cupped hand serving of brown rice.
  • Fat = 1 thumb-sized serving of olive oil + 1 thumb-sized sprinkle of sunflower seeds on the salad

For men, the meal might look like:

  • Protein = 1-2 palm-sized servings of grilled chicken.
  • Veg = 2 fist-sized servings of broccoli.
  • Carb = 2 cupped-hand servings of brown rice.
  • Fat = 2 thumb-sized servings of avocado.

Remember:  This is just a starting point!

The great thing about this system is that it is simple and easy to use. Using your own hand to determine portions will help you "eyeball" serving sizes and keep your calories and nutrients in balance.

Activity Level:

Depending on your activity levels, you may find that the basic starting point is either too little or too much food.

I suggest that you try this approach consistently for a week and see how it goes. Keep track of how hungry you feel and take note of any changes in weight or how your clothes fit.

If it works well, great! If you feel too hungry, try increasing one or two of your portions in some of your meals. If you feel stuffed or aren’t losing weight (if that’s what you desire) then try decreasing one or two of your portions in some of your meals.

One of the best skills you can learn is to listen to your body.  Experiment and see what works for you. 

People who insist that they need to be  told EXACTLY what to eat, down to the smallest of details, are typically the people who do not have much long-term success. They’re either “on” or “off” their rigid plan. 

On the other hand, people who are flexible enough to create a meal plan that fits their unique lifestyle are more likely to make changes that eventually bring them long-term success.

Resource:

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/calorie-control-guide

 

5 Books That Have Inspired Me

Jim Rohn said it best: “The book you don’t read, won’t help.”

For as long as I can remember, reading has been one of my greatest joys.   I definitely read for pleasure, but the books that I love and treasure the most are the ones that inspire me to expand my thinking and become a better person. I keep my favorites stacked at the edge of my bed, so that I can always go back to them when I am looking for inspiration.

These five books are some of my favorites: filled with insights, observations, true stories, and research on everything from creating better habits to finding meaning and purpose, and becoming healthier and happier.  Each of these books has impacted me so profoundly that it’s my great pleasure to recommend them to you!

1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl

A life-changing book for me. During the Holocaust, Frankl spent three years as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. This first part of the book is a memoir.  A retelling of the unthinkable experience of living in the concentrations camps and the power of the human spirit to transcend suffering.  The second part of the book explains Dr. Frankl's philosophy of psychotherapy which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then imagining living that purpose in your mind.

My favorite quote:

"The truth - that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love."

2. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

My best friend Anna gave me this book many years ago and it is one that I love to revisit over and over again.  According to author Miguel Ruiz, four agreements in life are fundamental steps on the path to freedom:

My favorite quote:

“Be impeccable with your word.  Don’t take anything personally.  Don’t make assumptions.  Always do your best.”

 

3.  THINK AND GROW RICH, BY NAPOLEAN HILL

One of my favorites to recommend!  Quick Summary: "What the mind can conceive, and believe, it will achieve."  Written 80 years ago after the author spent 20 years researching the accomplishments and common characteristics of the 500 most successful people of his time. The book sets out the 13 key principles for success identified through this research.

My favorite quote:

“There is no substitute for persistence. The person who makes persistence his watch-word, discovers that “Old Man Failure” finally becomes tired, and makes his departure. Failure cannot cope with persistence.”

4.  The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

Habit Change is fascinating to me and is central to all of the work that I do with my clients. How do some of us wake up for 6 a.m. jogs every day? What leads people to develop shopping addictions? Why do people brush their teeth every day while never remembering to stop at the post office after work?   Charles Duhigg answers these questions and more in The Power of Habit, a well-researched book on what motivates us to make the decisions we do in everyday life and in business.

My favorite quote:

“The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building successful companies and achieving success is understanding how habits work.”

5.The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Also given to me by my best friend.....She always knows what I should be reading.  The most important and profound message that I got from this book is that we are NOT our thoughts, we are actually the “observer” who hears the thoughts.

My favorite quote:

"The best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively," Singer writes. "There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind--you are the one who hears it."

Right now I am reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and I love it! 

Here is the description from good reads:  "Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together."

 

Your turn:  What book has inspired you lately?

Mindfulness and Meditation

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Mindfulness and Meditation......Does it Really Work?

Well...yes, it really works. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.

Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”

“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.

Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “meditation" for the rest of the post.

The link between meditation and health = stress reduction

Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors' visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!

So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.

Meditation reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.

I'll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of meditation is branching into many other exciting new areas too.

Meditation for mood

The most immediate health benefit of meditation is improved mood.

In one study, people who took an 8-week meditation program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale.” They were compared with people who took a stress management program that did not include meditation. It seems that the mindfulness training was key to lowering symptoms.

Other studies show that meditation has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

While meditation alone  isn’t always a cure, it can certainly help to improve moods.

Meditation for achieving healthy weight

Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including meditation, have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indices).

How can this be?

One way meditation is linked with lower weight is due to stress-reduction. Meditaiton can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. It can also help reduce cravings and binge eating.

Another way it can work for weight is due to "mindful eating." Mindful eating is a "non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating." It's the practice of being more aware of food and the eating process. It's listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are. It's not allowing yourself to be distracted with other things while you're eating, like what's on TV or your smartphone.

People with higher mindfulness scores also reported eating smaller portion sizes of energy-dense foods. So it seems that more mindful eating = eating less.

Mindfulness about food and eating can have some great benefits for your weight.

Meditation for gut health

Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion).In theory, meditation-based stress reduction could be a way to help prevent negative changes in the gut's microbes.

Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seems to be linked with both stress and problems with gut microbes. In one study, people with IBS who received meditation training showed greater reductions in IBS symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.

The research here is just starting to show us the important link between stress, gut health, and how meditation can help.

Conclusion

Science is confirming some amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. For moods, weight, gut health, and more.

Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, have you seen benefits? If not, would you consider trying it?

Let me know in the comments below.

BONUS Relaxing Herbal Teas:

There are many relaxing herbal teas that would be great after meditation.

Try any of these by steeping in boiling water:

●      Green tea (has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated green tea)

●      White tea (also has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated white tea)

●      Rooibos tea

●      Peppermint tea (or steep fresh peppermint leaves)

●      Ginger tea (or steep slices of real ginger)

Serve & enjoy with a touch of honey if you prefer.

BONUS Guided Meditations (videos, apps & podcasts):

How to Meditate video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0y1Lu0L8nU&index=5&list=PLerdqrUWzOkd7m9HQj1yfJiI09pwVhPcD

How to Meditate in One Minute or Less Every Day video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtG8No-MMOM&list=PLerdqrUWzOkd7m9HQj1yfJiI09pwVhPcD&index=10

Calm App

https://www.calm.com/

Headspace App (free 10-day trial)

https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

Daily Meditation Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/daily-meditation-podcast/id892107837?mt=2

Hay House Meditations Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hay-house-meditations/id955266444?mt=2

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/benefits-mindfulness-meditation/

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

https://authoritynutrition.com/mindful-eating-guide/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4454654/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26186434

 

My Favorite Skincare Products For Summer

I am sharing my favorite (and safe) skincare products for summer with you today in this video!

If you are like me, your skin could use a little extra love and attention in the summer.  With the exposure to UV rays, air conditioners running on high, swimming pools and outdoor sports, your skin is working overtime.

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. We often forget this fact.  And we don’t realize that almost all of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream.

About a year ago, I was reading a wellness blog by Kris Carr (she is a wellness advocate, writer, cancer survivor)  about the toxic ingredients used in skin care products and the lack of regulation in the beauty industry, and her words really made me think.  Here I am, working so hard to be the healthiest I can be, dedicating so much time and energy to good nutrition and exercise, yet I’m using skincare products that are full of toxic chemicals. And I’m absorbing them right through my skin.

Click on these links to purchase any or all of my summer faves mentioned in this video: 

Sugar Scrub, Sunscreen, Face Oil, Body Butter.

Email me if you would like a safe skincare consultation or click below to shop the entire collection at my online store.

The Stress Mess

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The Stress Mess: How Stress Messes With Your Health

We all have some level of stress in our lives.

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be beneficial by helping you react to and solve problems.

Under these normal conditions, when the “threat” (“stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

It's the chronic stress that's a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

Let's dive into the "stress mess."

Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be at the top of the list for discussion.

Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

Mess #2 - Immunity

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you're stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

Well, that's because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

Mess #3 - "Leaky Gut."

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as "intestinal permeability." These "leaks" can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

Picture this: Remember the game "red rover?" It's where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!

Mess #4 - Sleep Disruption

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

And when you don't get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren't doing you any favors.

Stress-busting tips

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

●      Put less pressure on yourself?

●      Ask for help?

●      Say "no"?

●      Delegate to someone else?

●      Finally, make that decision?

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

●      Deep breathing

●      Meditation

●      Walk in nature

●      Unplug (read a book, take a bath)

●      Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)

●      Connect with loved ones

Conclusion

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

You can ditch that stress mess!

Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

 

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Serves 1

  • 1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled
  • 1 peach, diced

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

 

Coconut Matcha Latte

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This matcha latte is a delicious and frothy mug of health that’s vibrant green without artificial coloring; and flavorful without being “flavored.”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Water (hot)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Green Tea Powder (Matcha)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 1 tbsp Raw Honey (optional

Directions:

In your blender, combine the hot water, coconut milk, matcha, coconut butter, and raw honey (if using). Blend until creamy and frothy. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Simple Tips For Getting A Good Night's Sleep

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Have you said “bye bye” to the days when you used to sleep through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program?

Knowing this it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

●      To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.

●      To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.

●      To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

●      The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.

●      Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you're getting some protein every time you eat.

●      During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.

●      Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).

●      Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

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Serves 1-2

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavor combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

Joyful Joints

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Did you know that 30% of people over the age of 18 in the USA complain of joint pain?  Study

Are you one of them?

Joints are the junction where your bones come together and are connected by cartilage and connective tissues.  Common areas of pain in the joints are the sacrum, spine (low back, mid back and neck), hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrist, fingers, toes and jaw.

Joint pain, whether it stems from an old injury, accident or an inflammatory conditions like arthritis is common, but there is much you can do to avoid living with constant joint pain by focusing on proper exercise, nutrition and hydration. 

Stretching (also yoga) is one of the best exercises that can be healing and beneficial for your joints. It can keep your tissues hydrated, muscles long and lean, and your joints fully moveable.....referred to as full range of motion. When any of your joints gets restricted, through injury, lack of movement, or inflammation, then the whole body can be thrown off balance.

Here is what you can do to keep keep your joints heath and happy no matter what age you are:

  • Keep Moving.  Exercise daily or simply take a walk to stay active.
  • Nourish your body with a whole foods diet.  Include plenty of healthy fats (avocado, olives, olive oil, fish -especially salmon, nuts and seeds)
  • Take a high quality fish oil supplement
  • Stay Hydrated.  Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.
  • Stretch or Do Yoga

Here is a Stretch Routine that will keep you fit and keep your joints happier all at the same time!

Enjoy!
Lisa C

 

Safer Skincare: 4 Harmful Chemicals To Avoid

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You may already know that beauty products can be a major source of our exposure to unhealthy chemicals. And since the skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs most of what is put on it, we need to make sure all of our beauty products are healthy and non-toxic!

Here is an assignment I give to all of my health coaching clients.  Take the time today to count how many beauty products you are using.  I 'm talking about everything from your makeup bag to your shower.  Now read the labels on those products.  Look them up on the Environmental Working Group ( EWG)  Skin Deep Database to see how they rate for things like hormone disruption and toxicity. 

* The Environmental Working Group or EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database lets you search more than 62,000 products and rates them based on the ingredients listed on the label.  The EWG scores products on a scale of 1-10, with 1-2 being least hazardous. 3-6 being moderate hazard and 7-10 being high hazard.

Did You Know?

  • There are over 80,000 chemicals used in commercially available products. Many do not have any safety data.
  •  Only 10% of of the chemicals found in beauty products have safety data
  • The United States has not passed a federal law regulating what companies can put in personal care products since 1938
  • In the past 20 years the US has banned a mere 13 ingredients found in personal care products–the European union has banned 1,300.
  • Anything that you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Consider that we use birth control patches, nicotine patches, and hormone creams because our skin acts as a conduit  to the rest of our body.
  •  Research has shown there is a connection between toxic chemicals exposure and disease.

Here is a list of a few of  the harmful chemicals that we know to avoid.  If you want to fast forward to see 5 very easy and natural beauty swaps that you can make today, CLICK HERE.

1. Triclosan

Found in: toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap

Triclosan was all the rage as antibacterial products became ubiquitous in the 1990s. Even the FDA agrees that there is no health benefit to humans who use triclosan, and in 2013 ruled that manufacturers using it had to demonstrate that there were no long-term detrimental effects. Triclosan (in liquid products) and triclocarban (in bar soaps) have been linked to hormonal disruptions, bacterial resistance, impaired muscle function, impaired immune function and increased allergies. Instead, use naturally antibacterial and antiseptic agents like tea tree oil.

2. Parabens

Found in: makeup, moisturizer,  shampoo, personal lubricant and spray tan products

The FDA acknowledges several studies linking parabens, which mimic estrogen, to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count, but has not ruled that it is harmful. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. Look for ingredients with the suffix “-paraben” as well—paraben-free products will be labeled as such.

3. “Fragrance”

Found in: moisturizers, deodorant, lotion, face cream, shampoo, conditioner

Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name-brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Our advice? Buy fragrance-free wherever possible.

4. Oxybenzone

Found in: sunscreen

Oxybenzone is one of the highest-risk chemicals found in sunscreen. It acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system. Opt for sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide or avobenzene instead.

I know that is a lot of information, but it’s important we all know the facts! Knowledge allows us to make confident, empowered decisions about the products we buy  Plus, it is easy to  avoid or reduce your exposure to these toxins with a few simple swaps to your beauty routine.  Check out my recommendations here:

Natural Beauty Swaps

If you are new to my website....Welcome and thanks for being here!  I specialize in helping women lose weight, balance hormones, and get healthy and fit so that they feel like the most vibrant version of themselves and have the energy to focus on what matters most to them. 

Shoot me an email I'd love to chat about your health and wellness goals.

Yours in health,
Lisa C.

What To Eat For Gorgeous Skin!

Friends,

Winter is here and for a lot of us that can mean extra dry skin!  If you are like me, you want radiant, glowing,  youthful skin......and good nutrition plays an important role!

Studies show that certain foods have the power to nourish and hydrate skin from the inside out. By changing up our diet in the winter to focus on these hydrating foods, we not only achieve a healthy glow, but also reap the benefits of boosted immunity and energy levels. So what are these magical foods to keep our skin glowing and fresh?

  1. Avocados: loaded with Vitamin C, E, and monounsaturated fats, avocados help our skin lock in moisture and increase blood circulation. The folic acid in avocados also improves the skin’s appearance.
  2. Orange fruits + veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers, pumpkin, papaya, mangos): vegetables and fruit of the orange/yellow variety are packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant known for fighting dry skin and protecting it from sun damage. Many of these fruits and vegetables also have Vitamin C and A which repair body tissue and produce collagen.
  3. Fish and Fish Oil:  Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, the nutrients from fish and fish oil not only protect the heart, but can improve skin color and radiance, reduce the redness caused by rosacea, protect against the sun’s damaging rays and boost hair quality.
  4. Spinach: rich in iron, omega-4 fatty acids, and vitamins A/B/E. All of these are a great source to protect skin and improve the immune system while also providing hydrating qualities too.
  5. Nuts + seeds: with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A/B/E, monounsaturated fats, and a load of antioxidants, nuts and seeds are a surefire way to hydrate our skin. All of these elements promote the skin’s elasticity and help regenerate cells, which in turn fight against pollutants and free radicals.
  6. And of course……. Drink lots of water!  Drinking 8-10 glasses of water and tea per day can help flush out toxins, prevent the skin from drying, increase cell turnover and keep you skin looking hydrated and fresh.  Herbal teas are a great way to stay hydrated or you can choose a green tea variety to help reduce inflammation for extra beautification.

Beauty Tips For Fall

Fall is in the air.  The mornings are chilly, the leaves are golden, and I have a pot of hearty cauliflower soup on the stove.  As the days get shorter and the weather changes, so do our bodies.  We begin to crave warm comforting foods.  Our sleep patterns might change.  And if you are like me, your summer skin could use some extra love. 

First, here are a few health and wellness tips that can really help your skin look it's best:

  • Drink up.  There are so many reasons to stay hydrated, and keeping your skin healthy is one of them.  Drinking water is one of the best ways to detox the body and give your skin a radiant, healthy glow.
  • Sweat.  Moving your body everyday is paramount to staying healthy, and getting sweaty is a great way to cleanse your skin of impurities.  Fall is a great time of year to get really sweaty in a hot yoga class.
  • Get your zzz’s.  It's one thing to "look tired" after a late night, but a chronic lack of sleep really takes a toll on the integrity of the skin, from reducing collagen to inflaming the skin from the inside out (which not only prematurely ages the skin, but also triggers pesky skin issues like acne and eczema). 
  • Eat well.  The foods choices you make impact the health of your skin as much as they impact your health and well- being.  Here are some important nutrition tips for healthy skin:
  1. Notice how certain foods make you feel.  Good or bad?  Consider eliminating foods like sugar, gluten and dairy from your diet if you are sensitive or intolerant.
  2. Include plenty of healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, fish and healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil.  Fats help to keep your skin moisturized and your cells healthy.  More on healthy fats.
  3. Increase your intake of colorful fruits and veggies.  The powerful antioxidants found in these foods fight free radicals that can cause premature aging.
  4. As always, avoid processed foods and refined sugar.

And now the fun part!  Here are my favorite beauty products for taking the best care of your skin this fall:

  1. Beauty Counter Sugar Body Scrub – Polish your skin to a healthy-looking glow with Sugar Body Scrub, made with brown sugar to buff away dull skin, and mineral-rich evening primrose, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sunflower oils to leave skin looking supple and smooth.
  2. Body Oil in Citrus Rosemary – Instantly absorbed and intensely moisturizing, this nourishing blend of 13 botanical oils leaves skin smooth, silky, and luminous, while hints of grapefruit, sweet orange, and rosemary create a beautifully complex yet subtle scent.
  3. Balancing Face Oil – My all time favorite product.  I use this oil morning and evening as my moisturizer, and my skin has never looked so "glowy".  This plant based and toxin-free oil sinks deeply into the skin, leaving the skin feeling soft and never oily.

How To Start Meditating

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Here's why I am such a big fan of starting the day with meditation:

When I meditate my day goes better.  I have more energy and I feel less stress. I am more creative and focused in my work. I have more patience.  I am kinder to myself and others. 

Many of my clients resist starting meditation because they "can’t sit still", they "don't have time" or they don't think they are "doing it right".

I can totally relate to those challenges! For years, I just dabbled with my meditation practice. I KNEW that meditation was an important key to my overall health and wellness, in the same way that exercise and nutrition are essential components.  But I didn't have the same powerful habits in place for daily meditation as I did for my exercise and nutrition routines.  Creating the HABIT was the key for me to finally start meditating daily even though I had tried a million times before. 

My practice is super simple:

I wake up an hour earlier than the rest of my family.  (Don't worry,  You can meditate at any time of day that works for you!)  It just works best for me first thing in the morning, and I find that I am more rested after meditation, than if I got that extra hour of sleep.  I get a cup of coffee, and sit down in the same spot every day, spine aligned, legs crossed.  I bring my attention to my breath.  Sometimes I use a mantra like 'So Hum', if my mind is really wandering around and I need to gently steer it back to my breath. My goal is to meditate for 5 minutes, but I usually sit for 20-30 minutes.  That's it!

Here's how to get started:

  • Get Settled: Find a quiet place where you can relax.
  • Breathe deeply: Take five deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, on the last exhalation, close your eyes.
  • Check in: Settle into your body. Align your posture and take notice of how your body feels.
  • Scan your body: Turn your mind inwards and take note of your body from head to toe, acknowledging any tension, and relax those areas.  Then turn to your thoughts, notice what comes up without trying to alter them.
  • Bring your attention to your breathing: You can count each breath, one (in), two (out), three (in) and so on, or use a mantra.  If you notice your mind wandering just gently bring your mind back to the counting or the mantra

Sometimes, I listen to meditation music on Pandora.

Sometimes, I use guided meditations.  Here are a few resources that I love:

I have a sweet, 5 minute gratitude meditation on my blog:  Practicing Gratitude

On the rare occasion that I do miss my practice - I am just not at my best.  But don't just take my word for it!  There is plenty of scientific evidence that suggests that meditation affects the brain and the body in positive ways;  Check out the research in the articles below:

What does your meditation practice look like? (Don’t worry if it’s not consistent). Or what questions do you have about meditation? I would love to hear from you!

Peace & deep breaths,

Lisa  

EMAIL ME

Eat To Thrive

We are all different.  There is no "perfect diet" that works for everyone.  Your idea of the "perfect diet" may change several times over your lifetime.

People are often surprised that as a Nutritionist and Health Coach, I don't recommend a specific type of diet to my clients.   My philosophy is "Eat to thrive."  Whether you are Vegetarian, Vegan, or follow Paleo or Keto programs.......my philosophy is to eat what makes you feel amazing.  Relax.  Listen to your body and don't judge.  And know that what makes you feel great today, may change at some point in the future.

I was a vegan for 5 years in my 20's.  I was attracted to a vegan lifestyle because of my love for animals and my desire to find the healthiest diet.  For several years, I felt great.  I experienced incredible energy, vitality and weight loss.  I worked out like a maniac in those days...hiking, biking or skiing for hours each day and teaching fitness classes.   I also avoided fat like the plague!  Overtime, I no longer felt nourished the way I was eating.  My energy reserves were depleted, my digestion was off, and I battled rosacea (a acne related skin rash) for many years.   In the end, introducing some meat, fish and healthy fats into my diet was the right choice for me.

Today I am not married to any one stye of eating.  I call it being "Flexitarian"!  I eat a heavily pant-based diet that includes good quality fish and meat.  I drink 60-80 ounces of water and 1-2 cups of green tea every day.  Most days, I lean towards vegetarian meals until dinner which makes me feel light, bright and energized throughout the day.  I always start my morning with an energizing green smoothie and I usually have a giant salad loaded with green leafy vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil for lunch.  Dinner is usually fish or high quality meat, or a whole grain dish with tons of veggies.  I don't digest beans and legumes well, so I naturally avoid these foods even though they are incredibly nutritious.  My favorite snack is avocado toast topped with a poached egg or sliced nectarines and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.  (Yum!)  If my energy is low, I will kick sugar, wheat and dairy to the curb for a few days.   I also love cooking for my friends and loved ones.....The more the merrier!  That is how I eat to thrive.

My "Eat To Thrive" philosophy is about focusing on whole foods, reducing sugar and processed foods and noticing how you feel every day.

  •     Do you have sustained energy throughout the day?
  •     Do you feel radiant and sexy?
  •     Is your skin clear?
  •     Is your hair shiny and healthy?
  •     Do you sleep well?
  •     Do you have trouble managing your weight or losing weight?
  •     Do you poop at least once per day?
  •     Do you often feel bloated after meals, or energized and ready to go?

When it comes to finding what foods make you thrive, you can carve out your own path. Don't be obsessed.  If you are trying to reduce sugar or gluten and some mistakes happen....Don't worry about it.  A little bit won't hurt you!  Just get back on track at your next meal. 

Yours in health, 

Lisa  

EMAIL ME

Tips For Healthy, Radiant Skin

You may already know that beauty products can be a major source of our exposure to unhealthy chemicals. And since the skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs most of what is put on it, we need to make sure all of our beauty products are healthy and non-toxic!

The challenge we face today is that healthy products are not the norm. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

    “The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients daily. Many cosmetic chemicals are designed to penetrate into the skin’s inner layers, and they do. Consequently, some common cosmetic ingredients turn up in people’s bodies. Among them: industrial plasticizers called phthalates; parabens, which are preservatives; and persistent fragrance components like musk xylene.”

Here is a an assignment I give to all of my health coaching clients.  Take the time today to count how many beauty products you are using. I’m talking about everything from your makeup bag to your shower. Surprised? Now, read the ingredient labels on those products. Look them up at EWG’s Skin Deep database and see how they rate for things like cancer, immunotoxicity and reproductive toxicity. Do those same products make you feel beautiful now?  If not, you are not alone.

You might be feeling like you just don’t want to know. You’ve been using the same moisturizer, cleanser and toner for a decade and they work—end of story. If that is your mentality, I hope you will reconsider.  Two years ago, I was reading a wellness blog by Kris Carr (she is a wellness advocate, writer, cancer survivor)  about the toxic ingredients used in skin care products and the lack of regulation in the beauty industry, and her words really resonated.  Here I am, working so hard to be the healthiest I can be, dedicating so much time and energy to good nutrition and exercise, yet I’m using skincare products that are full of toxic chemicals. And I’m absorbing them right through my skin.

Here are a few simple ways to start cleaning up your beauty routine.

1. Cut down on the number of products you use each day. Sometimes, cutting down on your body burden is as easy as simplifying your beauty routine. Less is more!  These days I have only two products in my skincare routine.  I wash my face with Beautycounter's Cleansing Balm and I use the Hydrating Face Oil as my moisturizer.  That's it! 

2. Start reading labels. EWG has created this handy list of the top ingredients to avoid for women, men and kids. If you have a smart phone, check out these great apps -  EWG’s Skin deep. or Think Dirty

3. Choose a safe sunscreen.  This is one of the easiest healthy changes you can make!  We're all going to be buying sunscreen and enjoy the outdoors this summer.  So why not choose wisely?  I love All Over Sun Protection by Beautycounter.  It is 19% zinc and goes on transluscent.

Of course, it is not just about what you put on your skin. In addition to using safe skincare products, do you know what makes my skin glow?  Taking AMAZING care of myself.....eating nourishing foods, staying hydrated, sweating every day, managing stress and getting plenty of rest.  Having a non-toxic skincare routine is essential, but it is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to looking and feeling your best.

 

 

 

If I Had $200 To Spend On My Health, What Would I Buy?

 
 

Last night at a dinner party I was asked a terrific question:  "If you had $200 to spend your own health and wellness, what would you buy?" 

I love this question, because it – very simply – cuts to the chase.  It allows me to share with you what I value most in a health and wellness plan to help you look and feel your best!

So here is how I would spend my $200..........

 
I would start every day drinking two cups of water with lemon and an Energizing Green Drink   $2.26/day. 
 

(Note:  I already have a high powered blender!  If I didn't have a blender for my smoothies, I would buy that first.  Wow.....$200 goes fast)

Smoothie Ingredients that I buy every week:

  • Almond Milk $4.99 (or use water)
  • 1 12oz box spinach $2.49
  • 1 bunch kale $1.99
  • 1 bag frozen blueberries $6.40
  • 1 bunch of bananas $5.50
  • 1 bunch celery stalks $2.00
  • 4 honey crisp apples $4.00
  • 2 cucumbers $1.78
  • 4 - 6 lemons $2.50 for a 1 pound bag

(This is not exactly accurate because I also use various herbs, chia seeds, hemp seeds and coconut oil in my smoothie, but they last a long time, so I estimated)

Total = #31.64. $4.52 per batch or $2.26 per smoothie. 


 
I would get A Fitbit to track my daily steps and I would do "at home" strength and stretch routines.  The Fitbit Flex is $70.00, but the steps are free!
 

I always tell my clients "You don't have to join a gym to stay strong, slim and healthy!"  If my budget was too tight for a gym or fitness classes, I would get a basic pedometer and set a goal of 10,000 steps per day (that's about five miles.)  I would do my my strength training and stretching at home for 20 minutes.


 
I would take a high quality fish oil supplement   $30
 

If I was going to choose one supplement to take daily, it would be fish oil. Fish oil supplements are rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are vital to good health. They support your body’s ability to prevent chronic diseases and help protect it against inflammation. They also promote a stronger immune system; they support cardiovascular, joint and vision health; they strengthen skin, hair, and nails. 


 
I would get a great face oil to moisturize my skin.  $68
 

I can not live without my favorite face oil from Beautycounter.I have to admit, I was skeptical before I first tried putting an oil directly on my face.  I wasn’t sure it would work well for me......I was wrong!  My skin has never looked more soft, radiant and "glowy". Lightweight and silky smooth, this blend of seven natural oils moisturizes, nourishes, and helps firm skin. Fragrant jasmine oil replenishes moisture, while omega-rich argan oil helps minimize the appearance of fine lines.


 

Looking For A Private Consultation To Jumpstart Your Health And Wellness?

Call me for a FREE Breakthrough Session and let's figure out a plan that will work for you!

7 Natural Energy Boosters

 

Many of my clients tell me that they feel tired all the time.   They are overworked, stressed-out and exhausted thanks to jam-packed schedules and today’s go-go-go culture.

Sometimes, lack of energy can be related to something physical – you might need more sleep, better nutrition or more regular exercise.   Other times, it can be emotional issues that make us feel drained.

Many of us are living a life in which we are being pulled in countless directions and feeling distracted and burned out.  In that case, we may just need to slow down and recharge. 

Whatever it is, once we make a healthy shift back to balance it can be surprisingly easy to get your mojo back!  Here are some simple ways to get your energy flowing again.  I hope it helps........You deserve to feel great, and have the energy to focus on what's most important to you!

7 Natural Energy Boosters

Exercise - I know that this might be the last thing you want to do when you are feeling exhausted but I promise, regular exercise will actually boost energy levels. Physical activity sends oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells, helping your heart and lungs work more efficiently and boosting your energy.

And remember, you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits — moderate levels of your favorite fitness activity will reap the good energy benefits, too.

Sleep - Most people need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night to maintain good energy throughout the day.—yet the average American gets only 6.5. If you struggle to sleep, try a magnesium supplement which helps relax muscles and calm nerves. You can also try a sleep-promoting supplement such as melatonin or an herbal blend that includes valerian,.  Click here for more tips on getting your zzz's

Keep your water bottle handy - Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired and decrease your ability to concentrate. As a rule, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces each day, plus more if you are really active.  If that sounds like a lot, remember that fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and cucumbers are very hydrating! 

Check your Vitamin levels - The slightest drop in Vitamin D levels can zap your energy. Ask your doctor to test your blood levels of Vitamin D.  You should be in the 40-80 range. If your levels are low, start supplementing with 2,000 IU’s daily.  And for my vegan friends, you might need a B12 supplement to keep your energy system rev'd. 

Eat and drink well - The afternoon slump is often related to what you have had to eat during the day.  For all-day energy, eat a mix of nutrients at each meal, including plenty of fiber-packed veggies and fruits, protein and some healthy fat, found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil.  Steer away from carbs like pretzels, bread, and sugary treats which can spike your blood sugar levels and crash your energy. 

It's ok to enjoy a little caffeine if you need an energy boost, as long as you don't over do it.  Try some green tea, black tea, kombucha or a few squares of dark chocolate for an afternoon pick me up.  All contain moderate amounts of caffeine to keep you going and lots of antioxidants too.

Breathe some fresh air - A study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that being outdoors increases feelings of vitality.  In the study, people who spend 20 minutes outside felt more energy during the day than those who spent the day inside.  2O minutes of sunlight actually boosts the oxygen levels in your blood stream and provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

 

Looking For A Private Consultation To Jumpstart Your Health And Wellness?

Call me for a FREE Breakthrough Session and let's find a program that will work for you!

 

 

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Even if you belong to the "Valentine's Day is a silly holiday invented by the card companies" camp, there is never a wrong time to spoil the ones you love or yourself with a little chocolatey goodness.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

 
  • 1 1/2 Cup Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Banana, Frozen
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • Garnish With Fresh Strawberries and Cacao Nibs

Why I love this:  Cocoa and strawberries are both antioxidant powerhouses. Not only are strawberries rich in the potent antioxidant vitamin C — just five large berries provide almost 59 milligrams of vitamin C, or 98% of the recommended daily value — but they’re also low in sugar. This means that they won’t cause the inflammatory spike in blood sugar that sweeter fruits can.