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Nutrition and wellness is tasteful

  • Exercise

    Exercise is a benefit to every part of the body--mind included.

    Exercise makes you look better, lose weight, and lowers your risk of many chronic diseases, and slows down aging.

  • Healthy children, healthy life

    "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces--just good food from fresh ingredients."
    --Julia Child

    "If we're not willing to settle for 'junk living,' we shouldn't settle for junk food."
    --Sally Edwards

  • Food is medicine

    "Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine."

    "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
    --Michael Pollen

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Building your inner coach | Brett Ledbetter | TEDxGatewayArch

I posted this because so many times we focus on the things that are out of our control. Don't we do a good job of beating ourselves up over not having lost the last 10 pounds or not sticking to our healthy eating plan for the work week?

It does no good to beat ourselves up, right? What if instead we improved the process to get there? What if instead of saying, "I am going to lose 10 pounds in "x" amount of time"; we say to ourselves, "I am going to do something everyday that will make my chances of losing those last 10 pounds more possible instead of improbable".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

8 Free Health, Wellness and Sleep Apps to Improve Your Life

The following are some good -- and free -- health/wellness/sleep apps to look out for on the quest for better health overall!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

25 Tiny Habits That Could Totally Change Your Life

There is no doubt that we all have good days and bad days. It doesn't matter if you are a wealthy person or one of more humble beginnings; but, it does matter how resilient you are in general. 

Perhaps there is another way of looking at life -- like the glass is half empty or half full -- but, making tiny changes to the way we approach life is key. Do we get impatient when the red light is taking too long to change to green? Do we get upset because of the traffic and we are late to work...again? Do we get upset with our kids because they refuse to cooperate and get ready for school on time? What if we started by making what can seem to be a tiny habit change every day? 

Over time, I've made it a habit to really hear the sage words of people like Stephen Covey, B. J. Fogg and Charles Duhigg, who have made a mark on the way we can approach life in a healthier way. As I continue to grow in my own health coaching experience, there is so much common sense and daily life application that comes with approaching life in a different way. It is a matter of taking the small changes and making them permanent by repeating them over and over again until they come naturally. 

The following are 25 habits that can become an essential way of how we approach our lives. 

(1) Tiny Habits for Better Physical Health
  • Start your day with a tall glass of water. If it helps you to remember to drink water -- which we generally forget -- leave the glass by your nightstand so you can visibly see it in the morning -- just do it! That can be your reminder!
  • When going to Target or the grocery store -- try parking at the furthest end of the parking lot, even if there are plenty of spots in front. This way you can get a few extra steps in to add to your "no longer being sedentary" lifestyle.
  • If you are a writer, have a sedentary job, or simply are on the phone all day, make every effort to get up and stretch every hour on the hour -- do jumping jacks or push ups or something to get your body moving! You may even bypass the coffee that you thought you needed and become refreshed again naturally.
  • If you know you will be out and about going to appointments, going to the gym and the market or whatever it is -- bring a few healthy snacks with you like an apple, a small pouch of nuts or even a small yogurt. 
(2) Tiny Habits for Better Mental Health
  • Ask open-ended questions. Even if you are in a job interview, talking with the boss or speaking with the neighbor who moved in recently -- ask "deeper" questions instead of ones that just require a "yes" or "no". Get to know your audience, be interested and engaged. Don't we like the same courtesy when we meet someone new simply so they can get to know us better? 
  • Be creative and draw or write, especially when we start to feel like we are getting tired or bored of something we are doing. It does get our creative "juices" going to maybe see a problem in a new light that we hadn't seen before. How about a new perspective?
  • Be still and quiet before your day gets started -- even for a few minutes. This will help you to not only think about the day ahead, but simply will also help you to think about being present at that very moment, being grateful and just being you. 
  • Write down your thoughts -- even if they appear to be crazy or nonsensical. Sometimes we may be stressed out about something that we really didn't think was a "big deal", but apparently, it is! There is something soothing about getting your frustrations, aggravations, blissful moments and more down on paper.
  • Repeat a personal mantra or affirmation to yourself everyday. This may sound crazy, but as we have so many "head conversations" within our head everyday, it is so smart to repeat some good stuff to ourselves! How about something along the lines of..."I can do this", or "This to shall pass".
(3) Tiny Habits for Better Productivity and Work
  • Be your own hero. Okay, this may sound a bit "cheesy", but it can add some depth and insight to how you really would like to be perceived. If we can think of someone we admire and how they might handle a difficult situation, we can then try to "mirror" that mindset on handling a difficult situation. It just might add a new perspective. 
  • At the end of the day we may feel like we didn't accomplish much, right? But, if we can take a few minutes -- at the end of the day -- to review what we've done, we can pleasantly surprise ourselves. If we didn't complete what we would have liked to complete, there is always tomorrow. Oh yeah, and don't forget to be accountable for the added tomorrow task too.
  • Silence all of the email notifications. This one is pretty big, especially when we really want to accomplish some good work and priority stuff, those little "dings" are distracting! 
  • Has it ever happened that you were on your way somewhere and you got an invitation to a networking event or other career-oriented meeting and you weren't in front of your calendar? Many times we may say "yes" or "no" automatically without saying something like, "let me check my calendar first". It is just smart to not commit to something we aren't really sure we can commit to doing. 
  • Visualizing is so important, isn't it? By visualizing our success at completing a task or getting closer to a goal, we can actually believe it and do everything in our power to follow through with it -- whatever it is.
(4) Tiny Habits for Better Relationships
  • Stay in touch! In this day and age, it really is easy to shoot off a quick email to a friend or loved one simply to say -- "Hope you have a great day" or "Just checking in to say hello" or something of that nature. 
  • Cultivating gratitude is so very important. So, send out a thank you note (or email) to a friend for being a friend or send a "thinking of you" card to someone you haven't been in touch with lately -- guaranteed that it will really makes their day as well as yours, don't you think?
  • Acknowledgement of your partner by saying thanks for being there or thanks for supporting me at this really important time means so much to them...and it will ultimately help with building your own self esteem and self awareness.
  • Really listen to what the other person is saying. This one is so important, especially if it is coming from your partner or good friend because so many times we already "know" what they are going to say, right? Instead, take pause and let them finish what they are saying and really listen.
  • I've said this before, but it really is important -- don't beat yourself up if you are having a bad day. Know that tomorrow will be a new and better day with a good night of sleep. That can change your perspective.
(5) Tiny Habits for a Better Community and Environment
  • The simple act of taking a walk around your neighborhood for exercise or go to the local CVS for something you need and noticing your surrounding environment is healthy. If you see a piece of trash that is next to a trashcan, just reach over, pick it up and put it in the trash where it belongs. It just beautifies the area where you live more and improves the environment, even if it is a teeny, tiny thing.
  • Don't be so isolated. Say good morning to a neighbor or nod to someone on the street that you know, if not for a simple hello and acknowledgement. Wouldn't you like the same courtesy?
  • Have you ever admired someone who saves money by buying at a local grocery store instead of the "expensive one" in the neighborhood? What about someone who can "afford" to buy the new bestseller; but, instead go to their local library to check out a book? It's just smart to save where and when you can. 
  • In your budgeting, set some money aside for giving. It just feels good to know you have a little extra to give the "homeless" guy on a really cold night or the charity that you so admire and want to give to more frequently.
  • Lastly, borrow when you can. If you can manage by walking somewhere close instead of driving or even sharing one car -- for awhile -- it can work out great for your budget and your environment.
The above-mentioned tiny habits really do and will make a difference in your life if you start doing them more frequently. It may just improve your attitude and make you more grateful for the things that you already have now, right?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

7 Essential Habits of Highly Mindful People

This article just called to me, not so much because mindfulness is the latest "trend" to talk about, but because being mindful is simply a smart way to live. Haven't we had someone in our life -- whether it is current or in the past -- that really made a strong impression in our lives? Someone we've looked up to or greatly respected because they were so wise despite going through difficult times? These people that we've looked up to were mindful and thoughtful in their approach to life, wouldn't you agree? There are 7 essential habits that those that we've grown to admire more than likely followed and that made them stronger individuals. Regardless, the habits mentioned below are good habits to keep.

(1) They hold their thoughts lightly. It is easy to get caught up in the "warp speed" that life takes us in whether it is in getting to your meeting on time in the morning or completing job tasks that have a deadline of "by the end of the day" no matter what! This is when it is good to assess your own thoughts to approaching the day -- are you believing you can complete those tasks on time? will they be good enough for the boss? do you doubt your own capability to do a great job? One does not have to believe everything that comes to mind! How many negative thoughts clutter up our mind in a day? Many! But, we have the capability to not believe in those negative thoughts. This is where a positive mindset comes into play -- use it over and over again, believe in yourself and it will become a habit.

(2) They feel what they are feeling. There is no doubt that many times one can "read" someone's face, especially if they are unhappy, sad or angry. I don't suggest that we become so transparent, but it is important to acknowledge that we may not always have a perfect day! There are days that are tougher than others, even if you are typically an upbeat and positive person. After all, how can we continuously have all peaks and no valleys? That just isn't life. By becoming more mindful, we know that the tough times will pass, and when they do, there can be another peak!

(3) They accept the temporary nature of things. Once again, a mindful person recognizes that a bad day or going through a difficult time won't last forever -- there will be better days ahead. Just as an amazing weekend with friends or a loved one won't be a constant we can rely on, we can simply look forward to the good times ahead. When the "peaks" or good times are over, mindful people recognize that life is constantly changing and much of how we work and approach life can influence our good and bad times.

(4) They meditate. Not everyone needs to call it meditation, especially if you aren't used to it. But, it is important to take a few minutes of quiet time for ourselves to simply be in the moment and be aware to enjoy the silence and see where it takes us. If negative thoughts come to mind, we have the power to change that and think of something beautiful or a special memory of good times you've had in the past. It is invigorating.

(5) They do one thing at a time. We've heard so many times about how people are so busy because they have a million things to do, right? But, it does make sense to do one task at a time well and move on to the next instead of trying to do a great job at 2 or 3 things at the same time! As Stephen Covey mentions in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", time management is most effective when we've lived -- or attempt to live in a state of perspective and balance instead of constant crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects. By living more purposefully, we can minimize arising problems that may not even arise if we've prepared for what may be ahead of us.

(6) They turn everyday tasks into mindful moments. If we make gratitude part of our daily way of thinking and living, we can turn the everyday tasks ahead into ones that we can be thankful for even being able to accomplish on our own. As easy as it is to take a shower in the morning to get ready for your day, think of those that can't even do that on their own! So many times we take our everyday tasks as merely tasks that need to get done. We don't question ourselves every morning by saying, "How do I take a shower again?" By being grateful for the everyday tasks of life, it begins to set the tone for the rest of the day.

(7) They protect and nurture their bodies and mind. We've all heard and learned over the years that your body is a temple and so we need to take care of it and keep it healthy! After all, this is the only body we get in our lifetime, right? There is nothing like knowing that once you've reached a certain age that you've done a fairly good job of taking care of yourself. In observing other people around us, one can see that some have taken care of themselves better than others, right? Doesn't everyone want to live a healthy life? Absolutely yes! So, it is just as crucial to eat well, sleep well and exercise too. It pays off in the end!

Life is short and goes by so fast, doesn't it? Isn't that reason enough to live life as purposefully as possible by following the 7 essential habits as mentioned above?

Monday, March 6, 2017

10 Nutrition Mistakes That Vegans Make

I recently attended a vegan cooking class at the invitation of a friend. I'd like to consider myself to be open-minded even if I don't follow a particular diet -- such as veganism. The class was interesting to me though because the focus was on how foods fight cancer. Hence, this cooking class was targeted to people who may suffer from cancer or have a family member who suffers from cancer. 
Regardless, eating a healthy diet -- whether or not cancer is the motivator -- should be at the forefront of the way we think about eating. Imagine if we minimized processed foods, minimized sugar in our diet and simply ate more fruits and vegetables? We would be so much better off with regard to our health!
The thing is though, as individual as people are, shouldn't our diets also be individualized? No doubt there are many people within the healthcare world -- like physicians and nurses and registered dietitians -- who follow such a diet. We know of them either from work or a book that they've written as an example. But, how long have they been on such a diet? Is this kind of diet sustainable in the long run? They may very well have the knowledge and discipline to be sure to eat the right amount of nutrients/minerals/supplements. But, what happens to those vegans that are following the rules of veganism, but fall short on eating enough nutrients/minerals/supplements? 
The bottom-line is -- even if I myself am not vegan -- I really do respect those that are vegan for various reasons whether they've been told that they need to improve their heart health or minimize their chances of getting cancer that runs in their family.
But, if people are going to go down that "vegan rabbit hole", know what you are getting yourself into by avoiding some of the nutrition mistakes that vegans can make as written in the article here. Animal foods like meat, fish, and dairy are not "evil", but in fact, are very nutritious. It really does matter where the source of your protein comes from though. One can learn more from food service companies that do support local agriculture and safe sustainability guidelines.
You can't put a price on your health -- or that of your loved ones -- but, you can become more informed by doing your own smart nutrition research. If you don't know, ask a reliable source! There are some great informative resources available now-a-days. Many times people who are on a specific diet such as this one can become "judgmental" towards those that don't follow it because of environmental reasons or animal cruelty. But what happens to us if we neglect our own health and wellbeing? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

10 Things We Should Do to Keep Our Brains Sharp!

So much goes into our health and wellbeing and in keeping our brains healthy, we encourage strength and stability in our everyday lives.

The following are 10 Things We Should Do to Keep our Brains Sharp:

(1) We have this awesome brain, so let's try to understand its functions better! When you think about it, it is so amazing to even try to fathom the billions of neurons and synapses that make it function as it should!

(2) Eat Healthy! Eating healthy is one of those things that we hear more and more about, right? But, it is because we are in such need of nutritious foods! The brain actually consumes 20% of the nutrients that we absorb! That means that if we are constantly eating "junk food" or overly processed foods, we are limiting our brain's amazing functionality. This is why it is recommended to have a healthy breakfast in the morning, especially if you've got a busy productive day ahead of you.

(3) Be active! Did you know that exercise actually enhances neurogenesis? Neurogenesis is the the growth and development of nervous tissue.

(4) Stay positive! This can't be overstated, really! Having a positive mindset creates a blend of creativity, encouragement and wanting to make a lasting positive difference in people's lives!

(5) Use the brain. Yes, while this might seem crazy because we use the brain everyday, why not challenge it? Just as we challenge ourselves by going to the gym we can challenge our brain by learning new things.

(6) Don't stop learning. Again, learning something new and challenging ourselves to do just that creates a healthier more positive outlook on life in general.

(7) Travel. This was interesting to learn, but it makes sense. We challenge our brain to function in a new environment, that's gotta be good, right?

(8) Keep good friendships. Especially in this day in age of crazy and hectic lifestyles, it is so important to enjoy quality relationships with people that actually care about you!

(9) Make your own decisions. While it is good to follow direction when necessary, it is also great to "go it alone" and make your own decisions. This enables our brains to function in a healthy way by further challenging it to try new things, so start up a new hobby or take a night class in an interesting subject you've been curious about, you'll just be smarter for doing it!

(10) Laugh! Laughing is such a great release to the brain, it can actually improve your outlook on life. Not bad, huh?

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Science of Stress

It is Monday and the start of a new week -- yes, that means stress -- at least for most people. Stress can be either good or bad, but in truth, much of how we handle it is where it gets a bit tricky. While stress isn't something that we can avoid entirely, it is more about keeping ourselves in a steady, healthy rhythm of life.

So what is the difference between good stress and bad stress? Good stress (also called "eustress") is normally the kind of stress that is -- well, good! You know that feeling you get when you get a great workout in at the gym or you have a great morning run? How about a nice promotion at work? or...How about preparing for your wedding day? All of those things are good types of stress. The not so good or rather bad stress comes from such things as an unfulfilling job, a disagreement with a loved one, or even some personal issues at home that need resolution.

While external stress that can come from our jobs or bad traffic are hard to avoid, we can do something about our internal stress. The internal stress that we deal with on a day-to-day basis comes from bad nutrition or bad sleep or even anticipating an upcoming event like a company presentation or something else we may not be looking forward to doing.

The bottom line is if we allow the bad stress in our lives to become the focal point of our existence, we begin to see our health falter in ways that we wish we would have known about in the first place so we wouldn't experience unpleasant health episodes. Keeping our cortisol (hormone) levels from getting to high prevents the things we want to avoid like high blood pressure, lowering our immunity, and increasing the fat storage around the abdominal area. Hence, this is where we can turn to meditation, exercise and positivity to keep us at our best!

The stress in our life and how we respond to it can be positively life changing, isn't that worth it?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Retrain Your Brain To Make Healthier Choices

Certainly as we enter into a new year, things haven't changed much with regard to worries over what the healthiest foods are to eat and those to avoid. As in any creation of a new habit, we really need to focus our minds to see where the triggers are -- do we get tempted when walking by the refrigerator?do we get hungry at 3 pm when the vending machine is calling out to us? or do we simply skip breakfast at home because there will be fresh donuts at work?

Read about the new app here. The app helps with retraining the brain to crave healthier foods rather than the unhealthier options out there. The game allows those that participate to choose between pictures of healthy and unhealthy foods by simply clicking on the picture.

"A study of 83 adults showed that people who played the game online just four times in one week lost weight and ate an average of 220 kcal less per day -- roughly equivalent to a chocolate-iced doughnut".

This could be a good opportunity to start working on those SMART (specific-measurable-attainable-relevant-time-sensitive) goals that most of us start and would like to keep throughout the year.