Buying Organic Guide

Guide to Buying Organic

Mention organic food to the average American and one word will come up… EXPENSIVE!

I would love to say that this isn’t the truth, but it is. Being a newlywed and a pregnant lady who isn’t working has put my husband and myself on a budget that we weren’t quite planning on being at this stage in life. Learning to buy our gorceries while sticking to our beliefs about things such as local food, GMO’s, organic and clean eating has most definitely been a learning experience for me. I have shared with you all here some of my “tips and tricks” on meal planning as well as how we use local foods to feed our bodies and finances here. But at the end of the day, there aren’t to many ways to get around the fact that organic meat and produce cost more than conventional.

I’ve learned one simply trick to cut down on the cost of our organic produce and it is as simple as this… if it has a peel, buy it conventionally.

Now of course, if you can afford to buy all organic, that is wonderful and I most definitely encourage it… however if you can’t, well, take heart! You see, if something has a peel (think bananas or cucumbers), then the peel can be thoroughly washed and then removed. Although research shows that pesticides can seep through the skin or peel of a piece of produce, some of them can be removed by simply washing and removing the skin/peel.

Like I said, ideally we would all be eating organic food, however I would much rather be using my money to buy organic broccoli and strawberries considering their porous nature. Since these foods cannot have their pesticides washed away and removed so easily, it is much more impactful to make sure that these are the foods that are being focused on when buying organic.

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Measuring Success

Measuring Success

The scale seems to be King in the world of Health, Fitness and Wellness. The truth of matter however is that those who have found success in said world, have come to the conclusion that the scale is only a very, VERY small factor in finding health and happiness.

Today I wanted to talk to all of you friends about this topic because I hear so many people agonizing over the fact that they are not happy with what the scale is telling them concerning their overall health journey. Why do we focus so much on the scale friends? Is it because it’s a solid number that we can easily compare to another? Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that measuring our success in this way is easy in that it only takes stepping on a scale. Not matter why we do it, I’m here today to attempt to convince you to start measuring your success in other ways.

Before getting to a few ideas on just how to do this, I want to say to all of you that I am not against weighing yourself. Instead, I just simply think that what you put all of your hope in is often what controls you. Putting all of your hope in a number on the scale can be very risky because weight does not accurately portray factors such as water retention, fat percentage verses muscle percentage and other metabolic issues such as hormonal changes. But let’s get to it…

Running/Walking a Mile – This is something I recommend to my clients often. Almost anyone can walk a mile! For this reason, measuring your success by walking or running a mile a few times a week and recording the time it takes you it something almost anyone can do. When you see that each week you are taking time off of your mile, you should surely be proud of the progress you are making!

Body Inches – Just about anyone who has had a gym membership has at some point had their inches taken in different areas of their body. I find this technique to be especially helpful for those who are losing fat or building muscle. It is so rewarding to see that you waist measurements have gone down while your arms or chest measurements are increasing. I also find this way of measuring success to be helpful if you are in a bit of a stalled period in your health journey.

An Activity – There are so many people in this world who are not taking place in activities that they really enjoy. This can be something like hiking, riding a bike, swimming in a public pool or taking a salsa class. Just because you haven’t reached you goals concerning your health and fitness doesn’t mean you should hold yourself back from enjoying life. By taking part in something you have always wanted to, you are pushing yourself to be healthy which most definitely qualifies as making progress.

Cooking & Eating – A huge step for many, many people in their health journey takes place in the kitchen. From choosing to cook more meals, engaging in something such as weight watchers or calorie counting, or even just making more healthy meals instead of your usual grilled cheese… stepping up your game in the kitchen can definitely be a way to measure your success.

Fitting into Clothing – A pair of goal pants is a wonderful idea for measuring your progress. Goal clothing can be anything you want it to be… a pair of pants, a dress, a strapless shirt to show off your tones arms. Any of these things will work and I highly recommend that we all do this regardless of any other progress measures you take! Because lets face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to go get some new clothes?!

Pictures – I think that taking pictures, preferably in the same clothing and the same environment, is a great way to track your progress and success. By doing this, you have something to look at and compare similarly to the way people appreciate the numbers on their scale. With pictures, you can see things such as fat pockets around the thighs, extra padding in your midsection, muscle definition in your arms and many other things that decrease and increase over time. Specially, these things do not show up on the scale so they make as a great way to measure your success!

Success is something that is very personal, is defined differently for most of us and something we should be looking for in our lives daily. Don’t limit your success because you only measure it in one way. Instead, branch out and look for it all around you.

 

Do you weigh yourself daily or weekly?

DO you find this to be helpful in your health journey or does it at times encourage you to emotional struggle?

What are some ways you measure your success in life?

Fro-Yo!

It seems like Frozen Yogurt has been all the rage for about 3 summers now. I completely understand why… it’s refreshing, delicious and a healthier option than regular ice cream.

Frozen Yogurt Guide

But here’s the thing about the last part of the above statement… most people turn this healthy treat into one that is just as unhealthy as ice cream. Add on top of that, that many eat this unhealthy treat so often in the summer (hello every night trips to your favorite yogurt shop), claiming it to be healthy and you can see why Frozen Yogurt can (and has… here, here and here) have a bad rap in the world of nutrition, dieting and health.

Now, this is unacceptable to me. Why you ask? Because I am absurdly  pregnant and frozen yogurt (along with cucumbers) is my BIG pregnancy craving. So, where do we go from here concerning frozen yogurt? Well, in my opinion we chalk frozen yogurt up to being a treat that we don’t eat everyday… even if you really think this is a good idea when you are a million months (I’m only 8, but you get the gist) pregnant and your husband is totally in agreement with you that you should eat it everyday. It’s a treat… definitely step one. Next you ask? Well, I have conjured up all of my best thinking on this topic so that we can have a great (and guiltless) frozen yogurt eating season!

Stick to the basics.… it can be VERY easy to be drawn to the delicious sounding flavors that frozen yogurt shops have to offer. From caramel to cookie batter, strawberry and double fudge, as great as these all sound, the truth is that these flavors are packed full of sugar which means extra UN-needed calories. When you go this route, you might as well just be eating ice cream. Instead, stick with the “Original” flavor that your shop has to offer and enjoy it because it really is wonderful.

Don’t fill up…. the cup that is. Frozen yogurt is measured and usually priced by weight, don’t fill up your whole cup just because you can. Instead, attempt to only fill your cup up half way and save some room for your toppings. Most people filled up their entire cup with frozen yogurt and then are slightly confused at the suggestion that they are consuming more than a single serving of their favorite summer treat.

K.I.S.S…. Keep it simple stupid! Just because you can add 25 different toppings to your yogurt doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I try to only pick out two toppings to go with my yogurt. This helps me to fill up my cup with healthy fruit while still enjoying my favorite treat. This also helps me stay away from eating tons of candy while telling myself it’s healthy.

Be honest with yourself… candy is candy, no matter what you sprinkle it on top of. When people add toppings on their frozen yogurt that has chocolate, caramel, nugget and white sugar o/in it, they shouldn’t act as though they are eating healthy things. For that exact reason, I try to stick to fruit but sometimes I do sprinkle a little coconut flakes on top of my favorites which are pineapple and strawberry.

{{ Here is a sneak peak of what my fro-yo usually looks like! }}

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I hope that this post only encourages you to make the best decision possible in all situations in life, but especially those concerning your health. We don’t live in a perfect and that’s ok, we can still make the best of it!

Do you enjoy eating frozen yogurt?

If so, how do you prefer it?

What are some of your favorite summer treats to eat?

16 Weeks Pregnant

I’m Pregnant! This baby was a bit of a surprise baby and has yet to stop surprising his or her mom and dad.

Quick recap… I pretty much hate food. And as a bit of a foodie, this has been almost life changing. I have no apatite, can only name about 5 things that I eat on a regular basis without throwing up/getting heartburn/ having indigestion, you get the picture. This pregnancy has sent me to the hospital a few times for dehydration and malnutrition and my lower back feels like it is on fire. All of this joy has actually resulted in me losing weight rather than gaining but don’t be fooled, I look like I’ve been eating a few to many burgers and this belly of mine is quite firm! I’m currently waiting for the whole “butterflies and rainbows” feelings to kick in over being pregnant but my expectations are officially low. I keep hearing from people that I should be feeling this baby move now any day, but I just cant wrap my mind around this happening. I feel like I’ll just mistake movement for the precursor to a bowel movement…. sorry baby :-/

My husband and I are over the moon with the fact that we get our own little, teeny, tiny human come June. We have so many plans to smother this baby in kisses, love and joy and are very aware of the fact that in 16 years we will have a live in hater on our hands. These last 6 months have smacked us in the face with the reality that our plans almost always fail us and we are learning to surrender to this thing called life!

All in all, I expect this baby to continue being the little firecracker he or she is and I can’t wait to meet this little world changer.

Now, with saying all of that… I wanted to write to all of you and tell you of a few of my secrets.

In the last 16ish weeks, I have learned a few tips and tricks that I whole heartedly believe will be your best friend if you happen to be pregnant (with nausea, vomiting, etc.), suffering through the flu, or having gall=bladder attacks. Now, I will warn you that this list isn’t the healthiest (non-organic and full of chemicals) way of doing life, but my doctor and I figured this out together and are convinced it will keep me out of the hospital and enjoying life on some level.

Pregnancy Tips & Tricks

Shakeology – This stuff is like magic! It’s slightly expensive magic, but has literally changed my health. The first time I went into the hospital during this pregnancy I was dehydrated AND malnourished. The last time I went into the hospital I was ONLY dehydrated. The only difference I had made to my life (which at that time consisted of throwing up daily and not being able to eat anything), was drinking half of one of these shakes a day. I didn’t do anything fancy to them, just put the powder in the blender with some milk. When I tell you that half of a shake gave me and my baby every bit of nutrient (other than water) that we needed for that day, I mean it. I am now receiving these shakes every month in the mail and that won’t be changing. My husband (the one who brings in the $) and I are convinced that these shakes changed my and our babies health and I promise you they are worth EVERY pretty penny.

Gatorade – When my husband realized how sneaky I was being with Gatorade, I think he got a bit concerned. You see, when I was home in Michigan over Christmas and the New Year, I could tell I was getting dehydrated. Even though I am throwing up less (Praise the sweet, sweet Lord JESUS), food and water still are not appealing to me and they definitely do not feel good inside of me. The result is my husband tricking me into eating and drinking by offering me back-rubs, control of Netflix at night and other totally old people married things in exchange of me eating small portions of food and drinking water. So back to Michigan, one day I could tell where things were leading based on my severely dry mouth and cracking lips and I asked my kind and selfless husband to go get me some Gatorade. He did and I am eternally grateful. I’m not to sure why I didn’t think of this sooner, but between the sugar and electrolytes, I can tell that a Gatorade a day is seriously keeping the IV’s away.

Peppermint Tums – Remember how I said food and water doesn’t feel good inside of me… well Peppermint Tums sprinkle fairy dust on my intestines and make everything feel good not bad! And that’s why I got the giant container of them. Enough said, right?!

Gummy Prenatal Vitamins – My doctor isn’t concerned about prenatal vitamins for me. She says that hundreds of years ago women had babies without vitamins but with about 100 more diseases around them. Pretty much, if they could do it, so can I! But then about 10 people a week ask me if I’m taking prenatal vitamins and it kind of freaks me out when I tell them no and they look at me with that same exact look that they all give me. You know, the one that says “awwwww, you’re already a bad mom before you’re even a mom”. It’s not good. So I figured out that if AFTER drinking my Shakeology, I take these gummy vitamins I can keep them down. And them I experience this thing called sanity. It’s really nice.

Pretty much, I am now getting my essentials covered. Do I cook? Nope, food is gross. Am I enjoying eating dinner? Nope, like I said, food is gross! Do I feel like myself? Heck no! In fact, I expect to never feel like myself again… this baby is a firecracker and I am expecting to deliver him or her uber late on July 3rd, Why you ask? Because July 4th would just be way to good, but July 3rd is just enough to steel away from all of his or her family members the ability to celebrate this country’s birthday. Instead my child will probably grow up thinking that all of America celebrates his or her birthday with fireworks every year.

Clearly this baby is a firecracker because his or her momma is one too, my husband pointed that out this morning but we will just ignore him for saying such utter ridiculous things!

Now, if you look at this list of things and think to yourself, “wow that’s a lot chemical ridden and processed junk to be putting into a body everyday”, well you you are probably right. But I don’t care right now. But since you do, here are some ideas of how to do the same thing I am, but in a more natural way.

  1. Get the vegan Shakeology and use it with almond or coconut milk.
  2. Instead of drinking Gatorade, drink coconut water. Beware though that when pregnancy drinking thick things may be the worst idea in the world.
  3. Rather than eating tums, use magnesium flakes in your bath water, mix it with water and rub in on your skin like lotion or mix it with water and drink it. Again, I don’t recommend this is water is difficult to drink or you are experiencing dry skin. But hey, give it a try!
  4. Just don’t take prenatal vitamins… maybe you are way stronger than I am feeling mentally right now and I’ll tell you, GOOD FOR YOU! Rock that confidence!

If you are pregnant and going through a rough patch, I am seriously so sorry. This has been very hard on me emotionally at times, and I will definitely be sharing that soon in hopes of encouraging someone the way someone encouraged me about 5 weeks ago. I completely underestimated the changes that take place during pregnancy, not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually and if you are currently in the fire, I promise it gets better. No matter how hard today may be, remember that you are one of the lucky people who get to bring a life into this world even if your day doesn’t seem very joyful or lucky.

16 week bbMy 16 Week Baby Bump

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** I am now such a believer in Shakeology, that I am signed up under the company Beachbody to sell it. From a nutritional point of view, I cannot tell you enough about Shakeology, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave them below in the comments and I will be happy to chat with you about this wonderful and healthy product.**

Guzzle

Hello Friends, this is a post that I wrote some time ago… but with the summer approaching, I felt it was good to share it again. Below is a post all about water and why it is important to be drinking enough of this miracle liquid. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you don’t mind me post this again.

Everyday I'm Guzzling

Water…. where do we even begin?

– Our bodies are about 60% water (source). With out adequate water, function cannot happen at the proper rate, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • lungs are 90%
  • blood is 80%
  • brain is 70%

– We lose water when we urinate, sweat and even breath (source).

– When we lose water we also lose vital minerals and/or electrolytes (source).

– Although we can get some of our water intake through other beverages, some of the chemical aspects of substances in those beverages can actually be dehydrating (alcohol, sugar, caffeine). Thus these drinks often cancel out the water intake considered from those beverages (source).

– Illness also factors into our water intake needs as symptoms can often dehydrate us as well as the fact that extra water is often needed for immunity efficiency (source).

– Adequate water intake increases your metabolism as well as decreases calorie consumption (source).

It’s vital for our health and we already know that, but let’s be honest… it’s a touchy subject. Some people tell you to drink 8 glasses a day while others hand out a formula that includes your weight to get the answer. Whether your only water comes through the form of fizzy drinks or you are throwing back 100 oz. a day, water is vital to us.

Stressed? Drink more water.

Tired? Drink more water.

Retaining water? Drink more water.

Trying to lose weight? DRINK. MORE. WATER.

When people ask me how much water they should drink, my heart felt response is to drink so much water that you crave water tomorrow. I don’t give out numbers, because well I think they are crap.

Please forgive me dear math for speaking so negatively about you…. I love, I always have and always will but sometimes you get in the way of people living healthy. Think, the number on the scale, the whole calories conversation and now water intake.

I’ve had enough of the numbers game and I am suggesting that today we all drink water… so much water that you think you may get “in trouble” by your boss for going to the bathroom too much. Then tomorrow wake up and ask yourself, “Am I thirsty?”. If the answer is yes, then drink as much water tomorrow as you did today. If the answer is no, well drink more water!

Some days, I drink 150 oz. of water without thinking twice. Generally speaking, those are days I do a lot of running/sweating, this may also have to do with caffeine intake, hormone levels and even the previous night’s sleep. All of those same factors are often the reason if I only drink, oh… let’s 80 oz. of water one day.

Do you know why it’s OK that my water intake fluctuates in that way? Because every day I drink plenty of water, and I drink it until I am no longer thirsty. My body fluctuates, and it is not a constant therefore my water intake isn’t a constant.

I do think it is important to monitor your water intake and make sure that it is somewhat suitable for your weight. By this I mean that a 200lb. adult man should not be drinking 25 oz. a day and think that is acceptable. The 5 year old I take care of drinks more than 25 oz. of water a day so you should to! Therefore, I can appreciate the formula and 8 glasses golden rule that so many people “swear” by. However we should all be going a step further, listening to our bodies, paying attention and thinking for ourselves.

So dear friends, I leave you with this today… go drink water. Get up where ever you may be and go get a bottle/glass or whatever other method you would like to use and fill it with water. Drink it. Guzzle it. Sip it. Just drink it! And when you are done, go get more. Keep getting more until tomorrow morning. Allow your body to have so much of this beautiful thing that you crave it tomorrow. If you crave water, drink water. Before you know it, you will be drinking water based on your bodies need for it! Who would have thought that maybe our body knows how much water it needs. Amazing isn’t it!

Please note that these instructions are NOT for those who drink enough water currently. Instead it is for people who drink soda every day and enjoy multiple cups of coffee. If you are drinking your far share of water, which can be somewhat checked by the formula and/or 8 glasses rule, continue drinking water and feel free to disregard this post.

#TKRgoesveg

I have a lot of ideas in this head of mine. Suggesting that about 80% of them are off-the-wall would be pretty close to accurate. I have dreamt planned about everything from adopting children and animals, to volunteering my life away in Africa… but not just any kind of volunteering, I really wanted to do it on a boat. And although those things sound noble and as if these ideas of mine should continue, those are just the “pretty ones”.

At one point in my life I was planing for a trip in which I would backpack throughout Europe for a month without any plans (or people) and literally only one backpack. I also decided at one point that I wasn’t going to have children but instead just get a lot of boats and water toys.

Then there was that time I decided to ride my bike 25 miles in one day after not being on a bike for about 5 years. This little personality trait of mine isn’t new… when I was much younger, about 8 or so, my parents got me American girl dolls for Christmas, and rather than playing with mine, I had this grand idea of saving them so that they would some day be collectables. I still have them to this day.

To no ones surprise, last week I had my latest decent “idea”. It came from being around some really cool people who are passionate about the environment and the toll we have on it as individuals. From recycling and chemical use, to meat consumption and biodegradable diapers, I was inspired to say the least. So inspired, that I decided to try something I have always promised myself and the world that I would never do…  I decided to try being a vegan for the day!

tkrgoesveg

The result was a delicious green pea and chickpea salad as well as the above hashtag. After eating the salad (it was amazing) and realizing that maybe getting out of my comfort zone for the summer isn’t such a bad thing… another idea popped into this brain of mine!

** What if I ate a few vegan meals every week… I wouldn’t be going completely vegan, just enough to open my eyes to the lifestyle as well as venture into the world of beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables and super grains.  Maybe I could do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Maybe twice on Monday’s in honor of Meatless Monday… maybe I will fail at this – but who cares, this sounds fun! **

At least that’s the conversating I had with myself in my head… so I’m doing it!

I figure that this will be a great experiment for me to depend a bit more on foods that are nutrient dense all the while being light and fresh for these summer months. I am also really excited to learn more about how eating meat and other animal products effects our environment. In fact, this is what I have learned so far about said topic!

  • Livestock are fed grains (soybeans, corn and wheat) that are grown with large amounts of pesticides which are known to reek havoc on the environment. (site)
  • 149 million acres of cropland are used each year to raise livestock, if this cropland was used to grown produce, it would be enough to feed 800 million people. (site)
  • A 2009 study found that four-fifths of the deforestation across the Amazon rainforest could be linked to cattle ranching… this translates to less natural air production and environmental homeostasis. (site)
  • The consumption of to much meat is directly correlated to high risk of cancer and heart disease. (site)

I genuinely have no intention of becoming a vegan long term… it’s hard, but I think that I can definitely change the amount of meat I eat as well as the ways I get it, not to mention all of the other animal products I am consuming. I am not trying to convince anyone of becoming a vegan, nor am I suggesting it cannot be a healthy lifestyle. Instead, I am suggesting that we all become more aware of our eating habits.

So join the party… if you are on pinterest, you can find me at kram_hael to follow along with all my meal postings, you can also search #tkrgoesveg for my posting as well as any other participants on instagram and twitter. If you want to find me on instagram you can do so at tkr_leah and on twitter at the same name. If you want to participate, make sure to use the hashtag above so that your meals can be looked at for inspiration as well.

I am shooting for 4 vegan meals a week, but you can do whatever you are comfortable with! Also, shooting is the key word… I promise not to be to hard on myself 🙂

If you are a blogger, feel free to grab the button I have below and link up on Mondays when I will be sharing with everyone what 4 vegan meals I have had the previous week! Remember that you can’t fail at this… this isn’t a competition and this isn’t about anything more than you being more aware of your eating habits all while having fun!

my vegan summer

If you plan on joining us, leave a comment below. If you already participate in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle share with us any tips you have below as well. Maybe you have some concerns about giving “my vegan summer” a try… let us know what those are and maybe we can help each other over come some fears. Also, if vegan seems to extreme for you, consider trying vegetarian meals here and there this summer… just remember to stay in touch so that we can all inspire and motivate one another.

 

Julie’s Story

 Today I want to introduce my dear friend Julie to you. She has been in my life since I was about 16 and we have developed a friendship over the years that I am extremely thankful for. She has recently been on a bit of a health journey and I asked her if she would share with all of us what it is she has done to regain her health lately.

Everyone, meet Julie!

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Julie

Body image and being overweight has been an issue for most of my life. I can recall beginning to feel self-conscious of my weight in middle school and I struggled with my weight ever since. I am your typical, notorious “yo-yo” dieter. I grow extremely motivated, commit fully until I reached my goal and then I would gain all the weight back.

When I grew tired of the extra weight I would find another quick fix, and another, and the cycle repeated continuously.   I tried weight watchers, counting calories, food journaling, paleo diet, my-fitness pal app, but could never stay consistent with the programs. I could tell that my eating habits were effecting my mood, my skin and hair, my digestive system, my sleep and really my overall health. I decided in early February to put a stop to the “yo-yo” dieting and try a program called Advocare 24 Day Challenge.

This program intrigued me because it was a combination of a cleanse along with allowing your body to absorb maximum nutrients while training your body to eat properly. I loved the program because it incorporated a schedule to follow and what categories of foods to choose from. I am an extremely structured individual, so I was able to follow the program effortlessly. I eliminated sugar, coffee, sodium, red meat, processed foods and dairy out of my diet. I strictly only consumed complex carbs, proteins, fruits and vegetables.

I taught my body how to eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals. I began looking at food as fuel, instead of a treat. I also drank 80-120 ounces of water daily. I immediately noticed a change in my mood, my sleep, my skin and my digestive system. I began to learn my body’s negative reaction to certain foods. By not consuming foods containing sugar or gluten I felt less bloated and sluggish. I also became increasingly aware of my sensitivity to dairy products.

By eating from the recommended food groups, eating every 2 hours daily and consuming 80-120 ounces of water daily I noticed my body slimming down and dropping weight. One thing that made this change of lifestyle successful was my dedicated time to grocery shopping and meal prepping every Sunday. I would cook & store my lunches and dinners for the week so that I would always have a meal to eat. This allows you to control what you are eating and it eliminates having to rely on eating out or eating something unhealthy.

Incorporating exercise 3 days a week for 60 minutes was important to me because I knew I could see maximum results if included some light weight lifting and cardio into my weekly routine. To maintain my results, I plan to continue exercising 3 days a week, continuing to make healthy meal choices for 80% of my meals and allow 20% of those meals to be what I consider a “cheat” meal. Allowing myself 2 cheat meals a week keeps me from feeling deprived or restricted and less guilty when I do want to enjoy a slice of cake or a piece of pizza! Another tip is trying new recipes. Finding healthy alternative to your favorite foods is so fun and is very satisfying!

The word “diet” is a drag to me. I like to think of it as a lifestyle change. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale, but rather focus on how you are feeling and how your clothes are fitting when you are trying to achieve results! Learning how to eat properly and making your goal to be healthy and happy is what is going to lead you to success.

Food is Fuel

food is fuel

It’s one of the most “true” statements that I have ever heard, and ever said. Follow this statement up with “I don’t have an emotional relationship with food” and you lost me!

I have an emotional relationship with food. I know, I know…. I’m not supposed to, but I do. I think most of America does. I also think it’s part of the reason we eat turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Easter. Yes, tradition plays into it and the whole Native Americans becoming friends with those from England… but let’s be honest for a moment. Thanksgiving would be really weird without a turkey for Thanksgiving.

The statement “Food is Fuel” is true in many, many ways. Food isn’t just physical fuel for us, even though it is supposed to be. Food also serves as emotional fuel, spiritual fuel, mental fuel and even social fuel.

Take for instance all of those holiday parties you get invited to near the end of every year. If you are a bit of an introvert, what nudges you to go to that party? Is it the social scene? The adult beverages that will be there? Maybe that one specific appetizer that the hostess is known for making? Food is sewn into every component of out lives, including our social lives.

Food is also a part of our spiritual lives… don’t believe me? Have you ever been to a church potluck? I thought so. How about our mental lives? Not only does our brain depend on glucose to work, but look at how visually appealing food can be. That is mental marketing. And then there is our emotional life… I’m going to be very honest with you and tell you exactly how food can be an emotional friend of mine.

I LOVE Jelly Beans… the flavor is wonderful and when I have not been having a wonderful day… Jelly Beans seem like they can turn that day around. Is it true… do they change my life circumstances? No. But for a moment, it seems like they could, due to the gratification they give in the moment. How about work… when I have a deadline that I am working towards (whether for school or work), I often find myself working through the evening and even possibly the night. Do you know how boring that is? Do you know what makes it NOT boring? Salty crunchy chips…. ok, well not long term. But in that moment, I’m 137% positive that they will help.

Maybe Jelly Beans and chips don’t do it for you. Let’s try another example then…

Are you a coffee drinker? Nine times out of 10, I hear coffee drinkers equate their morning cup of Joe to a “religious experience”… they don’t drink that cup of coffee every morning because of the burst of energy people talk about, but instead because it’s almost like a a daily tradition and ritual that eases their mind and get’s them off to a good day. If you can relate at all to this, then you my friend have an emotional relationship with coffee!

Do you remember the movie Finding Nemo? There is a scene in the movie in which a small group of sharks are at a meeting and are discussing their recent attempts to view fish as friends, rather than food. These animals (which we are too), are fighting their instance to view fish as food, and instead view them as friends. That seems absurd, hence why it was in a kids cartoon/comedy movie. But the reality of the situation in that we as American animals have to do the opposite. Because of the abundance of food in our society and the variety of it, we actually have to go against this newly found instinct to view food as our friend, and instead view it as fuel.

Hi, my name is Leah and I have an emotional relationship with food. Things need to change for me. This relationship with food that I have is a negative one and it will only reek havoc on my life in the long term. This relationship needs to become, at best a positive one, but hopefully a close to non-existent one. I’m not positive how it is going to change… I usually have some sort of action plan for my to-do lists, but this time I don’t. I know though, that this is going to change… through the grace and strength of God this journey of mine starts now!

Do you have a relationship with food other than for fuel? Be honest with yourself… maybe it’s coffee, or maybe it’s ice cream. Whatever it is, dig down deep and ask yourself if it is a healthy relationship. For most people, it isn’t and for most people, it’s not doing them any good. Let’s try and remember today that food is fuel, not our friend.

Oh and by the way… you can have such a strong relationship with food that you don’t allow certain things into your home, or you refuse to consume certain foods. Unless you have a true food allergy or a specific medical diagnosis, this is a negative relationship with food too.

 

Healthy Flying

healthy travel

I have been traveling (flying, regularly) for 6 months now. It has been a learning experiment for me and today I realized I wish I would have known then what I know now. To be honest, my heart goes out to those who travel often. It definitely isn’t the easiest things in the world to do, but I’m learning that it cannot only be done, but can be done without disrupting life and the goals you currently have for life to terribly.

When traveling, I now plan out the day before I fly, the day off and the day after relatively precisely. I find that doing so allows me to see my travel days and use them successfully as a transition day. Now, this may all seem somewhat dramatic, however I promise it is not. Quite frankly, the more responsibility you have (children, work, deadlines) the higher the chances are that flying regularly can become a negative experience.

So let’s get to things…

The day before I fly, I do the following… pack, clean, laundry, make sure I am not leaving anything in my refrigerator that will go to terribly badly, clean out my car, change my bed sheets, and check the weather. I also work on these days so in hopes of getting some sort of sleep, I don’t do the following… workout, hang out with friends, have long conversations on the phone, watch tv, read books or cook.

The above leaves my travel day itself to look something like this… wake up, workout, shower, get ready, pack my bag(s) into my car, and make sure to get to the airport 30 min before I should be there (which is an hour). By arriving early to the airport, I allow myself to get some “work” done. This work that I do is planning out my time away from home. Do I have any homework or deadlines due while away? What will my workouts look like that week(end) and what will I be eating throughout my time away?

Again, this may all seem premature and dramatic, but I promise that by knowing what is happening during the unknown, you can better navigate your time away from home in a way that still reaps beneficial to you.

Once I am on the plane I do a few things. Since I fly delta, I first look through their magazine. This is done for 2 reasons… first is that I can’t use my laptop while ascending and descending, and second is because their main article, generally speaking, inspires me to work a little bit harder at achieving my goals. Once the fasten seatbelt light is off, I pull out my laptop and start working. This may be anything from planning a menu, doing some homework, planning a new project or drafting emails.

Once I have finished my work, I start making friends. I know that some people are not talkers on planes; however I am not one of those people. I like to talk to those around me and I like to learn about them… what makes them tick, what they do for a living, what they great accomplishments are in life. You would be surprised how open and honest people are on planes. By the time I have run out of questions to ask my neighbor, my plane is usually landing and after the exchange of business cards, I am walking through the airport again.

My big rule about the day I land is to not stop till it’s time to sleep. This means that I am usually off to work, the gym, or to see my parents. I make sure not to allow myself to think that these days are days in which I can “cheat” on my healthy lifestyle with sodas on the plane, snacks at the airport or fast food while driving to and from places on my “fly days”.

The day after I get back home, life goes on as if I were in town that last week(end). The nice thing about being in control of my schedule and healthy lifestyle when traveling is that it gives my life a much more fluid movement and this helps me stay on track.

I love traveling, I love flying and I love that I can do it all without interrupting my life too severely.

 

Do you travel often?

If so, how do you go about it without interrupting your life to terribly?

What would be your top 3 tips on how to travel in a healthy and effective manor?

 

Crunch Time

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening) everyone and welcome to March! Every year, March comes around and I feel a bit of “rush” come over me. I often feel like March is crunch time and as if life kicks into high gear. Besides spring being just around the corner (or so they say), March is also National Nutrition Month and near the end of it comes my birthday. Therefore, March becomes a “NO CHEATS” month for me.

Happy March

I was thinking, and am hoping, that some of you will want to take on the challange of March with me! Here is how it is going to work! March will be a month that we continuously, as in everyday, look at our eating habits and try to clean them up over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Everyday, the focus should be on things like portion control, quality over quantity and finding fresh and clean alternatives to foods such as “butter” spray, sugar free or low sugar drinks and bread.

This is all in hope that with the coming of spring, we can feel better about ourselves so that we can get out there and enjoy the beautiful world we live in.

Now, when I say it is a “NO CHEATS” month, I mean it! Every Friday during this month, there will be a giveaway and the only way you can enter it is by posting either on facebook, twitter, instagram or here in the comments below what your workouts were that week.

Although we shouldn’t be working out hard everyday of the week without any breaks, I am going to challenge myself and you to workout hard 4-5 times a week and then to be active on your “off” days. This can be done by taking your dog for a walk, going shopping and making sure to walk a few extra laps in the mall or store, by taking your kids to an indoor play center and playing with them instead of watching them or even doing for a leisurely swim at a local indoor pool.

And if you live or are visiting somewhere that has great weather, then your possibilities are endless.

Let’s really focus on us this month. It’s a great time to re-prioritize, look back to those new year goals you possibly let fall to the way side and either get back to things or make some new ones.

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I saw a quote the other day and it definitely spoke to my day and quite frankly last week. I won’t get into it, because well, it’s over and not a big deal however this quote has stuck with me since!

Expect and Eat

No matter how poor or rich you are, how healthy or unhealthy, how much time you do or don’t have, or any other factor, life is going to happen today. We can either let the life happening effect us in a negative way or we can be prepared for it. Take it as it comes and think of it as the unknown that you already planned for! Let’s expect problem this week and take care of them from the get go by preparing for them.

Happy Monday friends and pop on back tomorrow to see a great and healthy doughnut recipe!