First Step is Admission: I’m a Grazer

Anybody who knows me knows that I am not always the most healthy eater, and much like a cow, I am a grazer. I am on a lifelong mission to give my body the fuel it needs, while maintaining my snacking ways, without denying myself delicious foods (sadly, I did not inherit my mom’s ability to enjoy raw veggies as much as tortilla chips). The struggle is real, kiddos.

But I have great news! Summertime is the best time for finding healthier snacking alternatives. Here are a few of my favorites:

1229903_10101794142535873_1323238134_n.jpgFrozen grapes –
They’re like delicious little popsicles. Buy grapes (I prefer red, seedless), wash grapes, freeze grapes, enjoy grapes. While sometimes a little pricey, and not a great source of protein, grapes prove to be a great source for vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium. So they’re working hard for your bones, heart, muscles and immune system.

Veggies and dip –
Not all dips are totally bad, and if they’re the vehicle to getting veggies in your body, then don’t totally count them out. Everything in moderation, right? My favorite dipping utensils are: carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Tip: buy fresh, whole veggies and clean/cut them yourself. They’re both healthier and MUCH cheaper.

My fave dips include:

  • Tzatziki – This heavenly white dip is made with a Greek yogurt base, shredded cucumbers, fresh dill, salt and garlic. The brand that I eat (Cava) has just 35 calories in 2 TBSP. It’s a much healthier alternative to ranch.
  • Hummus – Hummus is made from mashed garbanzo beans, ground sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and spices. This dip is a significant source of fiber, which supports heart health and weight management. It’s also a great source of protein. Tip: Some people are getting real into the soy bean version of hummus… but beware of soy beans as they, like corn, are rarely non-GMO.
  • Fresh salsa – Homemade or fresh salsa is both delicious and an excellent source of vitamin C. Most contain about 10 calories in 2 TBSP, and boast 0g of fat.

Air popped popcorn –
This stuff’s the shit. You save money, you save your body from weird chemicals and you reserve the right to season it as you please. I season mine with pink Himalayan sea salt and a little bit of butter. But for reference, let me just quickly list the ingredients in a standard “Butter” flavor of microwave popcorn:giphy-downsized

  • whole grain popcorn, palm oil, salt, natural and artificial flavors [milk], color added, TBHQ (which is a preservative). Ew.

Great, so scratch out the fake crap and you’ve got what I make at home for WAY cheaper. My ingredients are: organic whole grain popcorn, sea salt, butter. Tip: Americans have an unhealthy fear of butter. Real butter, in moderation, is not bad for you. It’s certainly better for you than whatever the “natural and artificial” flavors are they’re putting in your microwave bag.

Let’s be honest, I’m not cutting out the occasional Twix bar and don’t you dare ask me to give up pretzels, but it’s good to look for some healthy snacking alternatives. Want to determine if something is “healthy?” Here’s a checklist that can help you decide:

  • Is it whole?
  • Is it fresh?
  • Can you read the ingredients and do you know what each of them is?
  • What type of fats are in it? Don’t hate on all fats, but try to stay away from saturated fats and run for your life if something has trans fat.

loveB

 

 

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All the Small Things

Ok, so not everybody has time to work out, and not everybody has the drive to workout. That’s cool. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t extremely simple things you can do each day to help with overall health. Here are just a few things to consider as you go about your day:

  • Stairs, Stairs, Stairs: While you’re young enough and you don’t have seriously achey knees, take the stairs every single chance you get. I got into this habit because I like to cruise through the airport, so instead of waiting for crowded elevators or escalators, I started taking the stairs. Honestly, give me one reason this isn’t a good idea?
  • Walk This Way: Try to make the time to walk either aimlessly or as a method of transportation. After I adopted my dog, I saw a noticeable difference in my body just from walking her a handful of times a day. We were given two legs with an incredibly complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that we should probably put to use, if we can, no?
  • Clean(er) Eating: I am not one for denying myself the things that I love. No fad diets for this chick. However, if there are things in your diet that are terrible for you that you could totally live without, drop ’em. One day, I decided to stop drinking Coke, and for the most part, I don’t miss it, and neither does my body. Coke, bye.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere:  Our body is 60% water (the heart and brain are about 73% water and the lungs are 83%!!!). I don’t have time to type it all, nor do you have time to read it all, but water does a gazillion things for you. Drink up, thirsty warriors.
  • Down to the Core: The jury is still out on standing desks vs. Swiss balls as chairs. But nobody believes that slouching all day long is any good for you. As you sit (for hours and hours and hours and hours) at work, activate your core in order to hold your shoulders up and your stomach in. This will actually be hard at first, but good posture leads to a stronger core and vice versa. It’s really a win-win.
  • Zzzzzzz: Get the sleep your body needs and deserves. Treating yourself right isn’t just about exercise and diet, it’s about allowing your body to relax and recover. It’s likely talking to you and you’re just not listening, yo.

Side note: If you’re young and just entering the workforce and you are at a company that glorifies a “work hard play hard” lifestyle, remember that it’s fun. Super fun, actually. But it’s not healthy or sustainable. Remember to put your FOMO aside once in a while to get a good night sleep.
loveB

 

 

10 Tips to Get Out of Your Rut and Back in Your Groove

We’ve al been there. Go a couple of days without exercising, a couple of days of mindless, unhealthy eating and your motivation further and further out of reach.

giphy-5

I am currently recharging my own batteries. So, let’s explore some ways we can get out of these ruts.

  1. Find a buddy. As soon as I decided to make a schedule, I texted my friend and we started with just one day that we will workout together every week.

    Kat and I working on our hip mobility and glute strength after a workout
    Kat and I working on our hip mobility and glute strength after a workout
  2. Make a schedule. Just like you do with work and making social plans, carve out time to exercise each day. Paying for group classes creates great accountability as well.
  3. Make it known. Yes, posting about your workouts and healthy eating might get annoying and old for your social audience, but it also keeps you accountable.
  4. Start small. I used to think SMART goals were silly, but they work. Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-based. The key word for me is realistic. Start small, conquer it, move on to the next one.

    A new journal and new mindfulness practice
    A new journal and new mindfulness practice
  5. Journal or Blog. This not only keeps you honest with yourself, it might enhance your awareness.
  6. Practice mindfulness. Take a couple of minutes at the beginning of each day to set your intention. Decide what kind of day it’s going to be. Starting with your intentions set allows you to live each day honestly. (Note: Intentions are different than goals. Set your intention and let it float away)
  7. Forgive yourself. This is a big part of mindfulness. If you slip up or get off track, treat yourself like you would a friend or loved one. It’s not the end of the world. Forgive yourself and move on.
  8. Make it tangible. I love pictures, quotes, vision boards, images of meaning and the like. Keep them visible.

    IMG_2517
    My bedroom wall.
  9. Stop saying should. “Should” implies someone or something is driving you. Ask yourself, “says who?” whenever you say, “I should exercise” or “I shouldn’t eat that.” If the answer is not “I say so,” figure out what it is you want to do.
  10. Play. Play around with both your exercise routine and in the kitchen. Cooking new, healthy recipes and trying new classes can help inspire you to find a new routine you won’t want to stop or de-prioritize when life gets in the way.

Share your own tips for getting back into your healthy routine in the comments below.

Locker Room Gossip: Fitness Myths

Hi friends. I’ve missed you. I recently joined the gym at my office, which means that I am now actually using the locker room as more than a storage facility for my coat on cold days. I actually get ready there.

In just two weeks, I have overheard countless comments from my fellow gym-rats that have caused me to worry about some of the myths and ideas that float around. So I am going to use this platform to try to debunk a few of them, and also to help empower some of my girl friends who may struggle with meeting fitness goals…speaking of, I’ve got a bone to pick with the word “goals.” More below.

GOALS: Your goal should not be so extreme or so definite that you are constantly letting yourself down. For instance, defining an amount of weight that you want to lose isn’t a great goal, because if you’re working out properly, you’re likely losing fat weight and gaining muscle weight. In fact, don’t focus on the weight at all. Put your hands up, and step away from the scale! Instead, make a broader goal that you can measure such as, “I want to run three miles without stopping,” or “I want to more clearly define the muscles in my arms,” or “I want to be proud walking around in my bathing suit this summer.” Build your goals around positive achievements, so when you meet them you can pat yourself on the back, hold your head high and be damn proud of the work it took to get there. #AllTheFeelings

BUTTER: At some point, butter got a bad rap. The delicious dairy spread was being replaced with margarine and was villainized as an evil, obesity-causing condiment. Hold the knife! Let’s think about this… we know that eating foods with as few ingredients as possible is important. Also important, eating foods with ingredients that you know and can pronounce. Let’s look at the ingredients in my favorite butter:

Simple. Natural.
Simple. Natural. (source: http://bit.ly/1jXqmRR)

And now, let’s look at a stick of Land-o-Lakes margarine:

Um... WTF? (source: http://bit.ly/20gts3T)
Um… WTF? (source: http://bit.ly/20gts3T)

Holy biscuits, that is scary. What exactly are the artificial flavors? Why is there color added?! Preservatives, really? Seems highly unlikely that anything made from science could be better than something made from a cow. I believe it was Patrick Henry who said, “give me natural ingredients, or give me death!” Or something like that…

ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL WORKOUTS: I have talked about this before, but it cannot be stressed enough that not all workouts are right for everyone. What you do in your fitness routine depends on various factors, including what you’re trying to achieve, what your physical restrictions may be, the time you have, the access to equipment you have and more. The other day, I overheard one woman recommend to another woman that she should not try CrossFit because they push you to do things you do not want to. I, myself, have not tried CrossFit. I am happy with my current routine, and have not had much interest in trying the philosophy that they adhere to. However, we are not cats so curiosity will not kill us. Asking people for their opinion of a workout or class is great, but don’t let them deter you based on a bad experience that they had. It may end up that CrossFit is the perfect exercise for you! In the end, you’ve gotta do you and do not compare your workout or your body to others.

Don’t get stuck being the gossip girl of the locker room. Be smart, be supportive of your friends, and for God’s sake eat some butter!

loveB