- Take it slow. Start small! You don’t need to go from eating processed foods to eating only salad. What’s worked for me in the long run (and to avoid crash dieting) is starting to include fruits and vegetables in each meal. Fruit is the most perfect, easiest, and most simple snack food! It literally takes no preparation. Take an orange or banana with you when you go to work, or while running errands. If you’re starting out, you don’t need to substitute all your meals with “pure” and “clean” meals right away. Start by adding some sautéed spinach with mushrooms as a side to your lunch. Add some salad to your dinner. Little by little, eating healthier foods will become more natural and habitual. The goal here is for healthy eating to become part of your life, not just a few days or weeks. Think long term!
- Cook at home. This is HUGE! Ever since I’ve started cooking at home more, I have become more in control of what goes into my body. When you cook at home and focus on making healthy food without preservatives, you begin to look for recipes that are made with fresh and real ingredients. Recently I’ve started making my own salad dressings with fresh squeezed orange juice as a base. Sweet and delicious! It takes less than two minutes to make. So simple.
- Be Prepared. Have go to snacks that you keep in the house and take with you when going out. Currently my go to snacks are oranges and apples! If you carry healthy snacks with you, you’re less likely to stop at a fast food restaurant and get something that’s not going to help you reach your goals! Another thing to keep in mind is to have a go to restaurant that you order from that has healthier options. Mine is sushi. I love my avocado rolls and miso soup with extra ginger on the side 🙂
- Make a list. Before you go grocery shopping, try to think of a few recipes or snack ideas you’ll want to make or have throughout the week. This way you can focus on buying the ingredients you actually need. Too many times I have gone to the grocery store without a list of items I’ve needed, and came out with random things. Making a list helps keep us organized and on track.
I’ve had my fair share of sleeping issues, from being exhausted but not being able to fall asleep, to waking up a few times a night. I've even experienced bouts of insomnia. Throughout my struggles I’ve found a few things that help me get a good night’s rest.
Dim lights before bed
Dimming lights before bed may help you sleep better. Studies found that if you keep the lights on before going to bed, it decreases the production of melatonin, which makes it harder to fall asleep. Once I’m ready to start my bedtime routine, I like to limit my exposure to light by turning on my Himalayan salt lamp.
Read before bed – skip the TV
I’ve been trying to limit the amount of technology I use after work and especially before bed. I'm on the computer all day long, so when I get home I make sure to put my phone away in my room and go downstairs to have dinner. I feel like this gives me the break from technology that I need (even if I watch TV during dinner) and gives me the ability to just disconnect. Since we have a TV in the bedroom (which I don’t recommend) I feel like we tend to watch TV before bed. I’ve recently joined a book club, so I’ve been trying to read before bed instead of watching TV. I feel like it helps me get sleepy and sleep better.
Diffuser with lavender
If anyone has ever experienced some insomnia, they may know that anxiety may come hand in hand with sleeping. When I was experiencing my bout of insomnia, I would start to get anxious before bed thinking and worrying if I’d be able to fall asleep. I recommend a diffuser with essential oils because it helps me relax before bed and helps calm my mind. Having something that soothes you is important to get your mind off of worrying and overthinking, especially if you struggle with sleep apnea.
Black out curtains – I got mine from target
Am I the only one that loves sleeping in total darkness? I got my black out curtains from Target, which block out 99% of the light in my room. I honestly feel like this has really improved the quality of my sleep because I sleep longer if I need to, especially if it starts to get light super early (like the summer time). I also like to block out any little lights around the room. (maybe I go a little over board…but I like it that way!)
Don’t eat dinner too early or too close to bed
Food gives us energy, which is why eating too close before going to bed is a no-no. However, eating dinner too early also may leave us too hungry to fall asleep. Try to time your dinner a few hours before bed, and if you get hungry, have a snack. (Apples are my go-to before bed).
Limit or get rid of caffeine
So I’ve had a love-hate relationship with caffeine and coffee. I quit coffee a couple summers ago, but would still have it occasionally. But, I noticed that I would end up falling back into the habit (because coffee tastes amazing) and would experience anxiety from drinking it and then difficulty falling asleep. Some people have absolutely no issue with caffeine & they are LUCKY. I’m not one of those people. If you have trouble sleeping and haven’t cut back on caffeine, I would try it. Try having it only in the morning, try green tea and if that all fails like it did for me, cut it out completely. I went through an intense withdrawal period when I quit caffeine, but it was well worth it because I was able to stabilize my energy throughout the day and now I sleep better. Since I miss the taste of coffee, I substitute it with Dandy Blend. It doesn’t taste exactly like coffee, but it has similar qualities and I love it.
Start a bedtime routine
Bedtime routines are so important because they prepare your body and mind for bed. Having a bedtime ritual creates a constant routine, so I feel like it helps your body know that it’s time to wind down for the day and it’s time to get sleepy! I love taking a bath before bed, doing some light stretching and reading or writing in my journal.
Have you ever experienced any issues falling and staying asleep? What has helped you?Leave a comment
Taking care of yourself is so important. Many times, I find myself so busy that I don’t make time to just rest. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, but it’s also the time I tend to always get sick. Last year when we moved to Vegas, I got so extremely sick and it lasted for over a month. I really can’t remember a time that I was that sick. Once again this year, I also got hit with a cold right around mid-October, so I thought I’d share some of my go-to holistic remedies for fall.
My coworker recommended this herbal tea to me when I was started to feel a little sick. This tea boosts your immune system and contains vitamin A, B and E.
Local raw honey
When I’m sick I make sure I head over to whole foods and grab a jar of raw local honey. I make a ton of lemon and honey tea and it helps soothe my sore throat and contains antioxidants.
So I’ve always heard of the neti pot, but was hesitant to get it and use it because of the obvious fact that you have to stick something in your nose and have water run through it. It sounds very uncomfortable, but I have to say that it’s made a huge difference for me. It helps clear mucus and clears your sinuses so well. I add a little bit of Himalayan sea salt in warm water and it does the trick.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Add in a tablespoon or two of ACV into a glass of water in the morning and it will help kill of bacteria all day long. Trader Joe's has a great deal on Organic ACV, so if you live by one, that's the place to get it!
Lots of rest
I am the first to admit that I tend to lean towards the ‘always doing something’ type of personality. However, I’m truly trying to learn to relax and rest more. It’s especially important to rest when you’re sick because your body needs rest to heal. So if you’re sickie, cancel your plans and get back in bed.
Last year when I got really sick, I felt better about two weeks in, and decided to go to the gym and workout. Sometimes you hear people say that they need to sweat out their sickness. Although it may work for some people, it does NOT work for me. After working out I felt terrible. And ended up getting more sick. Do your body a favor and just rest and limit intense workouts when you’re not feeling well. Light walks are great if you feel like you need to move your body. Some light stretching is also nice to get your flood flowing without making yourself more sick.
Eat extra healthy – no refined sugar
I remember when I got my tonsils out in 8th grade and got to stay home for two weeks eating ice cream. Although not feeling well may be an excuse to eat junk food, here’s why you should think twice before you grab a cookie to make yourself ‘feel better’ when you’re not feeling well. When you're sick, your immune system is already weaker than normal so it needs all the help it can get to get stronger. The best thing you can do is eat extra healthy, avoiding sugar and processed food. This will allow your body to focus on fighting off that cold and getting healthy again.
Ever hear of probiotics? Good bacteria boost your immune system and improve digestion, which is exactly what you need when you’re feeling under the weather. Sauerkraut contains probiotics along with vitamin C, iron and potassium. Next time you’re at the store, stock up!
My night time ritual includes taking a candlelit bath almost every night. Spice up your normal bath time with a detox bath by adding in some Epsom salt, baking soda, ginger and essential oils. My favorite is lavender because it helps me relax and sleep well.
Feeling sickie? Grab a bowl of sauerkraut & get back in bed!Leave a comment
According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, happiness can be described as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” As the field of positive psychology is growing, research is continuously being done on the study of happiness and how to attain it. Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s engineer turned happiness coach, moved to Google’s HR department and created a course for employees to teach them how to cultivate happiness. He got the idea of developing a course to help generate happiness, when he observed that his coworkers were stressed out and unhappy at work. He set up a three step process that would help educate employees on mindfulness skills and enhance wellbeing.
Chade-Meng Tan’s three step process to cultivating happiness requires calming your mind, logging moments of joy, and wishing other people happiness. Calming your mind consists of “finding easy ways to take pauses during the day and be mindful of your breath.” In other words, it is a form of meditation. According to a review of 209 studies, mindfulness can keep negative thoughts away, which could lead to a treatment of anxiety, depression, and stress. The idea is that when harnessing the negativity, and focusing on positive thoughts, our mind will learn to release the negativity. When there is less negativity present, it is easier to focus on the positive, thus feeling happier.
Step two of Chade-Meng Tan’s method is to log moments of joy. Choosing to acknowledge good moments while they are happening can increase our ability to label days as happy ones. It is easier to hold on to negative moments when they occur, and can be more difficult to remember the good moments. Logging moments of joy can help build the muscle of holding on to positive experiences. Writing down positive experiences can add another step up to this. A 2006 study reported that when people document positive experiences in a journal or diary, they can experience higher feelings of satisfaction that lasted up to two weeks.
Wishing others happiness is step three of Chade-Meng Tan’s method to happiness. According to Meng, the joy experienced from giving to others has more benefits than receiving. A study that backs his claim was completed to measure acts of kindness and how they correlate with life satisfaction. The study included voluntary participants ages 18 to 60 that had been assigned to complete acts of kindness and track their level of satisfaction in life. The study concluded that there was an increase in life satisfaction. Although the field of positive psychology does not have as much information and research on happiness, as they do on depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness, it is continuing to grow as more and more people are gaining interest. Meng equates building physical strength at the gym as the same, and as equally important, as exercising the mind to think positively.
Why should people be interested in attaining happiness? The answer is simple. Happiness does not just make us feel good in the moment. It is not just an emotion that can be experienced. Happiness can improve our physical health, relationships, financial position, ability to deal with stress, and can help people be more creative. When people are happy, they are more likely to be in good physical health and more likely to live longer. Those who are happier, have a higher chance of having an expansive social life, with more friends. Happiness also correlates with productivity. When people are happier, they have the ability of making more money and are productive employees.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Positive psychology researcher and author, found that “roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent by our life circumstance, but 40 percent depends on our daily activities.” This means that people have a good amount of control over levels of happiness based everyday activities. Activities that Lyubomirsky recommends for cultivating happiness include imagining and writing about how you want your life to be, imaging your relationships going great, photographing and then writing about the things that add value to your life, and even thinking about how your life would be without those things. These exercises are meant to build up the positive muscle and to generate positive thinking.
Happiness is not only a great feeling to experience, but it is a necessary emotion to cultivate. Happiness leads to greater life satisfaction. Happiness also benefits other aspects of life like physical health, relationships, finances, and productivity. Research produced by the positive psychology field concludes that there are steps (daily exercises) to take towards attaining happiness and decreasing negative thoughts. Happiness is something that is worth cultivating and attaining. What do you do to cultivate happiness? Let me know in the comments!Leave a comment
I love farmers markets! Not only is there a ton of fresh and local fruits and vegetables available, but sometimes they even have music, hot food, drinks, and activities! It's a great atmosphere and I look forward to going each year.
Today I went to the Lion's Farmers Market near me and bought some yummy fruits and veggies that are currently in season.
How much I spent:
Strawberries 2 for $9 (or $5 each)
Cucumbers 2 for $2 ($1 each)
Tomatoes $2 total (they had a deal for 'bruised' tomatoes but they were perfectly fine)
Depending on your budget this may or may not seem like a lot. But, for me, fresh and tasty food is a priority and even a necessity. Personally, I'd rather spend a little more to get fresh, local, and organic produce. Attending and shopping at your local farmers markers is a great way of supporting local and organic farmers. It's also a great place to take your kids (many times they have activities like face painting, henna, and more).
The strawberries were so good. I can't seem to eat store bought strawberries. To me, they just taste so much different. So I'm so glad I finally got to enjoy some sweet and juicy ones.
After the farmers market, I made a fresh salad with the lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and even threw in some strawberries in there! It was seriously so good that I didn't even add in salt, pepper, or olive oil (which I normally add to salads).
If you want to find a farmers market near you click here!Leave a comment
I’ve been there before, where I’ve set a goal to eat clean and healthy, and eventually got out of the habit of eating well. Getting back into healthy eating can be simple and it can be easy. Here are my tips!
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Slip ups happen, and that’s okay! We all need a break or a treat sometimes. Keep in mind that healthy eating should be enjoyable. It should make us feel good! What tips do you have for eating healthy? Let me know in the comments section!Leave a comment