Staying humble and hopeful

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Sometimes you’re on top. Stay humble. Sometimes you’ve hit a low. Stay hopeful.

A very simple concept that would make everyone’s lives 100% better if they actually put it into use.

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This is the motto for Lokai bracelets. Lokai braceletes were made to remind people of the highs and lows of life and everything else in between. You are going to have a day every now and then when you feel on top of the world or invincible. Extreme contrast, it’s also inevitable that you’ll have days when all of the hope and happiness in life seems like it doesn’t apply to you. And then there’s everything in between. The average days that don’t seem like much, but hold the highs and lows together. The bracelet is a reminder of this by having one bead filled with mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and another bead filled with water from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. The clear beads represent every other day where the highs and lows aren’t present. Together, they form a circle. According to the founder of Lokai bracelets, he says “I brought these two key elements together because life is full of cycles. The rest of the beads are clear because we all have our own story of balance to tell”.

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Finding balance, even during the highs, lows and middles of life is what keeps us sane and ultimately happy. The dramatic roller coaster may be exciting to ride when the lows aren’t too low and the highs aren’t too high, but it can also destroy us without finding that balance. Allow yourself to get lost in those moments and you forget what really matters: family, friends, loved ones.

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Me wearing my Lokai bracelet while on a run.

Finding the balance is really difficult for me. The lows make my physically ill. Most of life’s problems, I can deal with and I’m fine. But when something really knocks me down, I can’t eat or sleep and my brain goes into hyperactive mode while my body refuses to react to anything. The high points are also difficult for me to process. There’s no way to say it… but I get cocky. And arrogant. And I can be a bit of an asshole when I’ve succeeded at something.

Wearing this bracelet helps me find that balance. When I’m feeling cocky and arrogant at my success, I look down at the little white bead and remember that this is just a moment of life. I can be happy for myself, of course. But I can’t let myself think that I am better than anyone. Because we all of our highs. We all have our lows. And this reminds me that today is just my day but tomorrow might be someone else’s day. And that’s okay. If I let my head swell with pride, then when my day turns into someone else’s day, I will deflate and develop jealousy, anger, etc.

Same goes for my lows. Bad days don’t constitute a life. During those times, the little black bead reminds be that this is just one of those days. Flip that bracelet around and the little white bead is there, promising me of great times ahead as long as I stay hopeful and happy.

I highly suggest ordering a bracelet for yourself. It honestly has really helped me with my occasional emotional roller coasters and having a constant reminder worn around your wrist of staying hopeful and humble helps make the ride a little more smooth.

Scraping your insides clean: Cleansing

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The first few months of the new year is the time when people decide to get healthy. Usually this also means that they decide to do a cleanse in order to “reboot” before they (hypothetically) completely change their diet and lifestyle. Cleansing is a great idea if you’re doing it the right way and for the right reasons.

If all you want is to lose weight, DON’T cleanse. A successfully completed cleanse will only allow you to lose up to 3 pounds. If you lose anymore than this in such a short amount of time, it’s because you are literally starving your body and it’s using your muscles as energy instead, causing you to waste away. You don’t want to lose muscle. You want to lose fat. Fat won’t be lost through starvation, muscle will. To lose weight, you have to alter your diet and increase the exercise. Another post on that later.

Today we’re talking about cleansing in order to boost your health. If done properly, a cleanse can help boost your immune system, rid you of certain ailments, help with allergies and arthritis, cure bloating and many many other benefits.

There are many different ways to clean your body out to fit all sorts of lifestyles. I’m actually currently doing a three day cleanse through my job at Kreation Organics. You can do cleanses on your own and make fresh juices each day, but it can be tedious and it might just be easier to buy the juices (organic and raw, please!).

So, back to the types of cleanses:

1. All Juice:

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This type of cleanse generally has 6-8 16 oz juices that you drink through out the day. You drink juice and eat NOTHING. You can have as much (non-caffeinated) tea and water as you want as well. This type of cleanse is great because it gives your digestive system a total rest. Like any machine, if it is in constant use, then it will  break down. In today’s society, we are constantly snacking throughout the day and never really giving our GI tracts a break. A juice cleanse gives the GI tract a rest while still absorbing the important nutrients your body needs. This cleanse is kind of intense for beginners. It’s do-able, but be prepared to be incredibly hangry. PS, don’t do this cleanse for longer than 7 days. Ideally, you would do this for 3-7 days.

2. Juice and Food Cleanse:

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In this cleanse, you will drink 3-5 juices with one meal in the middle of the day. The idea is that you are still giving your body a good 20 hours of rest per day while still allowing yourself some substance. The meals you eat should follow “clean” guidelines. So no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, meat, etc. If you choose to do this type of cleanse and have more questions about what to eat at lunch, comment below or shoot me an email for more information!

This is the cleanse that I’m doing. I don’t want to lose any weight and I am choosing to still lightly work out so the higher calories work better for me. If you are a newbie to cleansing, have an active job or are still opting to work out, then this would be a good choice for you.

Since we’re on the topic of working out… Here are some general guidelines for working out while cleansing:

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1. Keep it light and simple. Don’t do heavy muscle workouts. Don’t run five miles. You’re taking in about half of the calories you normally would. Just use common sense. Workouts like a light jog, walking or yoga are all good ideas. Just don’t go all gym-rat on me and hit the gym at your normal pace. The action of working out breaks down your muscles. Normally, you would have enough protein and nutrients to build it back up. While cleansing, you don’t. So you end up just tearing down your muscle and not rebuilding it. This is not good. Just do me a favor, and keep it light and simple.

2. You should still be at least a little active. I know I said to keep it light and simple, but that doesn’t mean avoid exercise. You should still at the very least be walking about 5.000-10,000 steps.

My Cleanse:

Today is day one of my cleanse. Yay! I’m doing four juices plus a lunch. I’ve done cleanses before and had a terrible experience because I didn’t consume enough juices in general. I was BEYOND hangry the last few times of cleansing. I was the hulk and I was on the verge of smashing everything in sight. But the whole adding food thing really works for me. I’m still cleansing, the juices plus the water I’m drinking really fill me up and I’m not scary, hangry Autumn! I already feel less “icky” inside from this first day. I eat really well on a fairly regular basis already, so I’m not experiencing much of the “detox” symptoms, but some people may. This would be caused from drinking too much alcohol on a daily basis, consuming too many simple and refined sugars daily or depending on coffee to get your day going.

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I’m also taking a probiotic during this time to help restore my gut flora. This is always a good idea to implement into your daily life even when you’re not cleansing. Probiotics are a huge field in nutrition that are linked to curing or aiding in treatment for a wide range of diseases and ailments: Crohns, IBS, depression, allergies, nutrient absorption, etc.

I’ll be posting the next two days about my experience so you can understand what to expect during your own cleanse!

If you have any questions at all about cleansing, just comment below or email me at healthyfoodylife@gmail.com

Happy Cleansing!

The new year resolution conundrum.

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Have you been doing too much of this?

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Or eating too much of that?

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Yeah, I’m in that same boat. New years resolutions are interesting like that. You have SO MUCH ambition and excitement that this year will be the year that you lose 10 pounds, start eating veggies, quit smoking, drink less, etc etc etc. But then there’s New Years Eve. And you drink a bottle (or two) of champagne. There is no way in hell you’re passing up those greasy hang over cure potatoes the next morning on January 1st. So you tell yourself that January 2nd is the start of your new year. And then it’s Nana’s birthday and the cake is from that new trendy awesome bakery so you have to have a slice (or two). THIS WEEKEND. I SWEAR TO GOD THIS WEEKEND IS WHEN MY NEW YEAR STARTS. And then you get that call from your friend who just found out she got a raise/got engaged/broke up with the awful boyfriend/got a pedicure and needs to go out and celebrate. Well.. it would be rude of you to NOT do something to celebrate your friend’s newly painted toe nails. So you close down the local dive bars and leave your debit card with the bartender.

Basically, the new year isn’t what you planned it to be.

It’s not a lot of this.

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Or this.

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And definitely not that.

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You’re not alone, my friend. Everyone starts off the new year exactly the opposite of the way we had planned. I think the problem is we put our expectations for ourselves too high for such an immediate change. I’m a big believer in gradual change. You won’t stick with something that is drastic and uncomfortable, but small changes made over time can be easy to implement and stick with.

I’m actually doing a three day cleanse to reboot my body starting next Monday, so look forward to a post on picking a cleanse that’s right for your body and goals coming soon! But for now, lets pick out a few new “new years resolutions” that aren’t so extravagant and can be achieved and make you feel great about yourself!

My “Mini” NY Resolutions:

1. Drink more water.

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This sounds silly and typical and too easy but is SO GOD DAMN IMPORTANT. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. That’s a scary big number. Especially since dehydration, even the mild every day type, can cause shriveled and dry skin, rapid heart beat, heart palpitations, dizziness, inability to absorb nutrients, fatigue and lack of energy.

So here’s an easy way to drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you constantly and make sure you drink 8 oz/ hour starting right when you wake up. Make little marks on the side of the bottle so you know exactly how much 8 oz is. This alone will help detox your liver and kidneys, increase your energy levels and improve the appearance of your skin. Obviously, if you live in a very hot area or you work out a lot, this number will have to be increased, but try and maintain a minimum of 8 oz/hour.

2. Do something active (and fun) at least once a week.

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This is in addition to your workout routine. Get outside and do SOMETHING fun that’s active as well. Remember when we were kids and our idea of “fun” was running around for hours playing tag, sliding down slides and chasing groups of birds? Rediscover that inner child of yours and teach yourself how to do fun things that are active again. It’ll be great for your physical and mental health and help break up your routine of work, gym, sleep.

Here are some ideas: hike, walk the dogs, join an adult for fun sports team, get your friends together to play a pick up game of dodgeball, join your kids in games of tag, do a yoga class or go dancing with your friends! The opportunities are endless!

3. Spend the first hour that you wake up NOT on your phone.

Trust me. I know how hard this is. I love my phone like it’s my child. But try and get up at your normal time, make breakfast, read the paper, take a walk with a cup of tea, etc all without craning your head down to look at a little glowing screen. Just breaking the habit of starting your day with technology is a great feat. All day we’re bombarded by technology at work, at home, at dinner, with friends, and taking an hour in the morning to just enjoy the morning will do your mental health some good.

Happy February 3rd! Good luck with your new “new years resolutions”!

No-Bake Hiking Cookies!!

HIKING COOKIES! Not volleyball cookies… but hiking cookies. They obviously can be eaten where ever you want, but I was trying to force my friend into going hiking with me today so I was bribing her with these non-bake “hiking” cookies. She insisted that they could be volleyball cookies (because she wanted to play volleyball) and I insisted that no, they were hiking cookies. So now, in tribute to my stubborn-ness, these cookies will forever be known as HIKING COOKIES!!

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They are ridiculously easy to make and packed with superfoods. When I eventually went on my hike today up at Runyon Canyon, I had just one of them for my “lunch-snack” and it completely filled me up. Because it isn’t baked, the enzymes and heat sensitive vitamins contained in the ingredients of the cookies are retained and therefore accessible for your body to soak up! Part of the ingredients must be heated slightly just to maintain a correct consistency, but its only for a minute and on a very low heat. The rest of the ingredients have no heat applied to them whatsoever.

 

Because of the hemp seeds and chia seeds, these “cookies” are high in protein and omega 3 to help power you through your day. Plus, it contains maca which not only regulates your hormones, but also boosts your fertility and libido. I bring these with me to work paired with a small piece of chicken and salad and it provides the perfect amount of sustained energy. Plus, they taste spectacular which is always a plus!

This recipe makes 12-13 cookies so it will easily last you a week of bringing them to work or school. Just make them on Sunday and enjoy your little healthy treat the rest of the week!

No-Bake Hiking Cookies

makes 12-13 cookies

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Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

1/4 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup. not aunt jemimas)

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons maca powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

 

1. In a large bowl, mix the oats, cranberries, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt.

oatmeal pour

 

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2. In a pan over low heat, mix the almond butter (or peanut butter) with the maple syrup and almond milk. It might be easiest to use a fork with this because it helps break apart the almond butter and  combine the ingredients.

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3. Once the ingredients are combined, turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla extract and maca powder.

4. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and stir until combined.

5. Put a parchment paper sheet on a cookie sheet. Scoop two heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into a cookie shape. Put onto the cookie sheet and repeat until the batter is gone.

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6. Once the cookies are all done, put them into the freezer for 1-2 hours and then transfer to a sealed container and put them into the fridge. They can be eaten for up to a month as long as they are kept in the fridge! Enjoy!

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I brought my cookies along during my hike with a friend and my dog on Runyon Canyon. Such a great hike on a beautiful Saturday morning! My friend (not typically a healthy food eater) LOVED the cookies! Go take a hike and bring the hiking cookies along with you!

Let’s pretend this is a panzanella

I lived in Italy this summer for five weeks and I ate a lot of pasta. There isn’t exactly a whole love of big veggie dishes in Italy (trust me, I searched) unless you’re on the coast. I’m spoiled and grew up in Southern California where we have arguably the best produce in the world. I eat tons of veggies, so this overdose of pasta was quite the culture shock. However, panzanella was an occasional awesome find. It’s basically a plethora of veggies that are grilled or cooked with some toasted pita or bread of some sort. I dig it.
I was feeling a little nostalgic of my travels through Italy and whipped up my own version of Panzanella! Mine is light, limited on the bread, and very flavorful considering how few ingredients it has. Whip it up, pour yourself a glass of red and pretend you’re sitting in a piazza in Florence!

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Panzanella
serves 1
ingredients
1 green bell pepper, thickly cut
1 zucchini, thickly cut
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 whole wheat pita cut into 8 triangles
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons goat cheese

1. Put the olive oil into a pan and turn to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in the first four ingredients along with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and the dried basil. Toss the veggies with a spoon and let them cook for 7 minutes , stirring occasionally.
2. While the vegetables cook, heat the oven to 300 and assemble the pita pieces on a cookie sheet. Put them into the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas and remainder of the salt to the veggies. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Assemble the vegetables on a plate with the pita pieces around them. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

Don’t forget your glass of red! You aren’t in Italy until you have your wine!

A bagel every now and then isn’t that bad…

Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone! I hope you celebrated it with someone who served our country or at least said thank you to someone who did :)

As some of you know, I’m training for another half-marathon. One of the many benefits of running an obscene amount of miles each week is that you get to eat a little (lot) more. And I love to eat. I usually make a ridiculously healthy smoothie or chia seed pudding (recipe coming very soon) or almond butter pancake for breakfast, but every now and then… I need a bagel. This morning was one of those days. Before my workout, I stopped off at my local coop and picked up an everything bagel that they make in house. I feel at least a little better about myself if I buy a bagel made from organic and local ingredients. I tried to make this little bad boy as healthy as possible so everything is organic, local and fresh!  You might think I’m being ridiculous by saying this serves 2 with only one bagel… but this bagel is really loaded. You’ll only want 1/2 of it. And even if you are still hungry, just eat the second half! No one has to know!

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Loaded Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

serves 2

Ingredients

1 everything bagel

1 cream cheese packet or about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used an organic one)

2 eggs, scrambled

8 slices of cucumber

1/4 of an avocado, sliced into four thin slices

2 slices of red onion, or about 2 tablespoons finely chopped

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1. Cut the bagel in half, straight down the center, then turn it on it’s side and cut it down the middle forming four equal pieces.

2. Prepare all of your vegetables while you toast your bagel pieces (it’s easier to use a toaster oven for this one. If you only have a regular toaster, don’t cut the bagel in half or it’ll get lost in the toaster!) and cook your eggs.

3. When the bagel is toasted and the eggs are cooked, start to assemble the breakfast sando. First, spread the cream cheese on one side of the bagel. Then add all of the vegetables on this same side. On the other side, layer the egg pieces.

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4. Now comes the tricky part.. hold onto your egg pieces on the bagel and flip it over on top of other half of the bagel. Now you’re ready to eat this masterpiece! Just make sure you hold the insides in while you take bites… it’s a pretty big mouthful.

UrthBox made my case of the Mondays a whole lot better

I just discovered something that I wish I had when I was a freshman in college so that I could have used it my entire 4 (and a half..) years at school. Let me preface this with the fact that I get through my day because of snacking and I’m sure that’s the case with most students. When you’re a student, you don’t really have the time (or desire) to cook full meals and so quickly grabbing a snack from the store on the way to school is usually what you have to do. If you’re especially unlucky and forget to grab something at the store, you’re usually stuck buying “convenience” crap food on campus that typically consist of a coffee to keep the hunger away and a bag of chips or a muffin that has an expiration date that’s further out than your own.

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When I discovered UrthBox, I felt like all of those years of abuse from grabbing junk food on the go when I was too unorganized to have healthy snacks available could have been avoided. Even as a nutrition major, I know it takes a ridiculous amount of time to go through the grocery store and read every snack label to make sure that there isn’t anything bad in it. My friends really hate grocery shopping with me because of this… so it can cause social issues as well. Just ask any roommate I’ve ever lived with and they’ll explain the methods they’ve used to entertain themselves at the store while I desperately scan every food label for healthy snacks–basically, the process isn’t fun for anyone.

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UrthBox is everything I’ve ever needed, especially as a student (Plus, it makes a great monthly care package for family members to send to their kids! *cough* Hi mom *cough*). They provide a monthly box of goodies that have passed their strict criteria for calorie and nutrition content, ingredient source and manufacturing reviews. Only the best reach your doorstep. So not only do you get to try a bunch of new products that were delivered straight to you every month, you also don’t have to worry about checking the food labels because they’ve already done it for you!! Praise the lord! Think of all the sleeping.. I mean studying.. you could do instead of wasting time checking food labels!

UrthBox has four different types of boxes to order based off of your dietary needs as well: Classic, Gluten-free, Diet, and Vegan. I got the classic. It was delicious. But more on that later. You can also get different sized boxes delivered to you depending on the type of “snacker” you are. You can get the small discovery box which is only $19 per month and has 7-10 products, the “part time snacker” box which is $29 per month and has 12-15 products or the Happy snacker which has 20-24 products and is only $49 per month. You can do the math, but I’ll just explain this to you: This is way cheaper than if you were to actually go out and buy all of the products that they sell. And it’s delivered to your door. Every month. I really shouldn’t have to say more because those facts alone got me beyond excited about UrthBox. But one more fun fact: You can get discounts and gift cards on the products that they sent you online or at local stores.

STUDENTS and PARENTS: It’s cheap. It’s healthy. It’s convenient. It’s delicious. It’s always fun getting mail. Do yourselves or your kids a favor and sign them up for this. I’m a student and a nutrition expert and this passes both the need for something easy as well as the body’s requirement for something healthy.

I can’t possibly explain all of the perks of UrthBox in this post, so to sign up or to get more information, check them out on facebook, their website, instagram or twitter:

www.urthbox.com

www.facebook.com/urthbox (like them and you’ll get a $10 off coupon code! Score.)

Instagram and Twitter: @Urthbox

Let me tell you about my experience with UrthBox:

I first received an email saying my UrthBox should arrive in 1-3 business days. So obviously, I immediately checked my mailbox to see if somehow the magical folks at UrthBox were able to teleport my package of snacks to me. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet discovered how to do this but I didn’t have to wait long for my UrthBox to arrive because two days later (when I again over-eagerly checked my mailbox) I had my box of goodies in my hands.

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Which is when I took this picture. You’re lucky you even got a picture of the unopened box. It took a lot of will power for me to take the time to snap this picture before tearing it open.

It was like Christmas in November. Which Christmas basically is in November now with Starbucks blasting Christmas music and using their holiday cups-very confusing- but I digress.

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I first see the UrthBox card saying “You are what you eat! So don’t be fast and cheap”. Oh, UrthBox. How did you know I require humor in my relationships? I can already tell this is going to work out really well.

When I brought the box into my apartment, I suddenly had the urge to artistically display the products around a pumpkin because, you know, it’s fall and food makes me inspired.

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My roommates were eyeing all of my snacks and looking down at their own barren sections of the kitchen with extreme sadness (Again, students have ZERO time to buy their own snacks. It’s just a fact of life.).

I now have a full stash of snacks to bring to class with me so that I don’t starve/resort to snickers bars or bags of chips. You guys. Listen to me and sign up for UrthBox. It’s probably the best thing that could happen to a student. Just do it. You’ll be happy, just like me and my satiated little belly.

PS: I’m writing this while snacking on the “Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips” from my box. I’ve never tried them before until now and I’m hooked. Non-Gmo and all! God, I love snacks.