Health and Lifestyle Information, tips, and fun facts!
Are you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like? Do you think that eating whole foods requires a large budget because the cost of healthy is much higher than the cost of easy? A study published in 2016 actually showed that people perceive high cost foods as being the most healthful of foods. Apparently we correlate monetary value with health value.
I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have healthy and delicious meals all week long is by meal planning, being mindful of reducing food waste by making only what I truly intend to eat, and shopping wisely.
Having a plan saves time, money, and stress all the while staying on track with eating healthy.
STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP
I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes and meals for the upcoming week. I create a list based on what I will have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. I use a weekly shopping list as my guide and then I’m off to the store!
If this step alone overwhelms you, this is where my meal plans come in! I have done all the work for you. I break down all my plans into recipes, shopping lists, and even meal prep ideas for each week, based on the servings you need! This option will be returning to my site in Summer 2019 - so stay tuned!
I also have spent some time recently comparing prices for quality foods at my local grocers. I have found that Aldi foods actually has an amazing selection of organic and whole foods for much less than the next budget-minded grocery store, and a fraction of the cost of Whole Foods. I think we as a culture tend to be extremely label aware, so when we see things that are "off brand" we tend to assume they are poor quality or cheap knock-offs. In reality - much of the off-brand products are just as high quality as name brand, if not the EXACT SAME PRODUCT just repackaged. Marketing comes at a cost - and we the consumers pay for the brand awareness we crave!
Next time you are heading out to grab groceries - pop into an Aldi if they are local to you and see for yourself the savings.
STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD
When I get home from the store I keep out the items I plan to use for my meal prep. I pull up my meal plans and get to washing and cooking! Throughout the week, I typically have a protein shake, slow cooked steel cut oats, or fat free plain Greek style yogurt with granola and blueberries for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go. Check out my Food Formularies page for my Steel Cut Oat recipe that is a must this winter!
I generally prepare big batches of veggies. I start with washing the greens, then set aside to dry and move onto slicing, dicing, and dividing veggies into containers for use in cooking and salads. I also find that spending a little more for pre-cut veggies is a huge meal prep time saver for me.
When a recipe calls for sautéed chicken or lean protein, I cook it in big batches in my biggest pan or crock pot, that way I am only prepping chicken and/or lean meat once for all the recipes. I also will buy a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked proteins to save time. I store the extra chicken in the freezer for use later.
STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES
To keep it simple, I make a large salad in advance and then add the extras when I’m ready to eat it. If I’m taking it to go, I divide it into containers or use as leftovers.
For dinners, I typically make two favorite main dishes, which allows me to prepare and freeze in advance making it easy for during the week.
STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY!
After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in containers and place it in the fridge. Now I have delicious, fresh, whole foods for all meals during the week in minutes.
If you are still scratching your head, don’t let it discourage you! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things.
My best advice - keep it simple. Have a few recipes that you keep in rotation that you have the ingredients on hand for in a pinch. I always have the makings for Chili Verde,Pasta and Sauce, and Tacos ready for any time I am in a pinch.
It is finally here! Spring...
Spring is a time of renewal – a time that the world around us blooms and sprouts in bounty – and there’s an innate desire within us to do the same. The heaviness of Winter is still lingering, but when the sun starts shining a little warmer, we desire to go into major spring cleaning mode.
This could mean our homes, closets, eating habits, relationships, and maybe even a social media detox -- who can’t use that every once in awhile!? Needless to say, we are thirsting to feel a little lighter, in more ways than one, when Spring finds us.
Here are a few ways you can feel lighter this Spring…
1. Simplify. Simplify your meals and you’ll feel like a brand new person. Meal planning, grocery shopping, having to think of what’s for dinner each night… it’s exhausting. Try eating very simply for the next week and see how things shift for you. Eat whole foods, with few ingredients and low prep time. Think mason jar salads or roasted broccoli and a small piece of grilled salmon. Simplicity.
2. When life gives you lemons. It may sound incredibly simple, but that’s what we’re doing here! Simple, beneficial changes that don’t overwhelm. Add a squeeze of lemon into your water in the morning (and throughout the day, if you wish) and enjoy the alkalizing, naturally detoxification benefits. Your digestive system will thank you and you’ll enjoy a nice boost of natural energy.
3. Start small. Make a list of what you’d like to declutter in your home. Start small, and make a list of which tasks have priority. Can you not even remember the last time you’ve worn one whole half of your closet? Start there. Start with whatever is the biggest burden on you. The state of your surroundings has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.
4. Improvements. What have you been hoping to add to your life to give it more value? Have you been meaning to start painting again? Have you been promising yourself for months that you were finally going to start working out, or reading more? What instantly pops in your head when you read this? Start by adding one thing in the next week that will improve the quality of your life. Perhaps that’s a new, relaxing evening ritual or a commitment to get bi-weekly massages for stress relief. Pick one thing, and go for it!
Baby steps coupled with consistent, daily action will get you there in no time, without overwhelm. I’d love to hear what you pick. Hit reply and let me know what new thing you’re going to start next week to add more quality to your days, and I’ll let you know what I picked!
A few weeks ago I started to put some intention in my eating as well as focusing on the content of my food choices and the timing that I was eating them. I am happy to report that as of today I am down a pant size and my energy is really through the roof all thanks to switching from eating to fueling and supporting my body's natural bioelimination and biotransformation processes!
If you're like most people, you might believe that eating healthy requires a lot of work. From planning out meals to grocery shopping to buying quality ingredients – it can seem like a mass effort sometimes. That’s not to say the effort’s not worth it -- but a big effort that sometimes seems easier to simply avoid, right?
We all know that eating the right foods, especially vegetables, is essential to better health. But what if you're not a huge fan of shopping, chopping, and prepping? As it usually goes, the things that are the best at keeping us healthy and nourished aren't always the easiest path to take. It takes some practice and trial and error to find your sweet spot for infusing health into your day on a daily basis – and one great place to start is finding some simple ways to add more veggies into your day.
Here are my 4 favorite ways that you can add veggies into your day...
1. Use Veggies to Kick Off Your Day
Vegetables are not just for lunch and dinner. Kick off every morning with veggies on your plate. Throw a handful of kale into your morning smoothie or use last night's leftover veggies to whip up an omelet. There are numerous ways to add veggies to your morning meal, and getting them in early means you’re well on your way to eating your daily servings of veggies by dinner time. I include at least 1 cup of greens at every meal, breakfast included. Get creative on how you start to use them!
2. Go for Frozen
Fresh veggies are typically the better option, but chopping and preparing vegetables from scratch isn't always practical for many of us. So, stock up on frozen veggies on your next supermarket run. Freezing vegetables is considered minimal processing, as many of the veggies will still retain a lot of their nutritional value. Having frozen vegetables on hand at all times leaves you no room for excuses when you’re in a time pinch. My favorite frozens? Chopped onions, finely diced celery, carrot and onion mix, and roasted peppers with onions. I use tehse to whip up quick and easy fajitas, sausage and peppers, and and toppings on pizzas,
3. Double Up
When you're preparing salads, soups, pasta sauce, or a healthy casserole, double the amount of vegetables that the recipe calls for. Stir extra veggies into your soups or put an extra portion into your sauce. You’ll only enhance the flavor and nutritional value, so it’s a win-win! Choose veggies that you ENJOY, do not try to force yourself to eat something you cannot stand, it will only result in wasted food. With that said, do not be afraid to be a little adventurous is what veggies you add to foods. Making homemade mac and cheese? Add in pureed butternut squash or pumpkin. Making chili? Add in peppers, onions, carrots and some greens. Making soup? It just calls for veggies!
4. Join the Meatless Monday Movement
If you’re a meat eater, have you started going meatless on Mondays yet? This is an excellent way to get more veggies onto your plate every week, and it's simple. Just cut out meat on Mondays and dedicate your plate to more fruits and vegetables. If Monday is not convenient, pick another day that works for you. Not only will you be lowering your grocery bill and getting more nutrients by eating more veggies, but you're also trying something new, and variety is the spice of life! Be careful of meat like substitutes. These may be not-meat based, but often are also not plant based, packed with preservatives, sodium, and lacking in nutrients.
Vegetables are a fabulous source of many beneficial nutrients for your body. When you cut back on processed foods and "sneak" more vegetables into your day - you're making better choices that set you up for a lifetime of healthy habits.
So, what are a few ideas that have sparked? What’s on the plate next week for Meatless Monday? I’d love to hear your ideas, so hit reply and let me know what you plan on cooking up!
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This week in the March Whole Detox by Deana Minnich, PhD, we are in the Love system, the system tied to heart health, blood, upper lung and back function, and of course our self and outward ability to love.
Exercise is key to heart health, this is known, however is there a type of exercise that maybe providing us more bang for the buck time wise? Research indicates that yes, possibly so.
Our blood pressure is measured in terms of Systolic blood pressure over Diastolic blood pressure. The heart beats in 2 parts, the systolic part - where blood is moved from the ventricle to the artery, and the diastolic - where blood is allowed to enter the ventricle, refilling it for the next beat.
In people with heart failure, high blood pressure, and other health concerns need to strengthen the heart and increase it's functioning. Exercise is typically included in a treatment for heart and overall health conditions, and is always recommended to the healthy population for keeping their hearts healthy and functioning at optimal levels for not only health but for our true ability to thrive.
Clinical trials have been done to see the effects of HIIT training (such as Tabata training, interval training, on/off max rep training, etc.) vs. moderate constant-state exercise (such as jogging, swimming, etc.) and the results indicate that HIIT improves peak oxygen uptake and left ventricle diastolic dysfunction better than the moderate constant state exercise.
So how do we put this into practice for ourselves?
1. Mix it up!
If you are a constant state exerciser, such as runner, cyclist, swimmer, elliptical fanatic - mix it up! Add in faster and slower intervals into your workouts. In the middle of a long steady paced run, add in a few wind sprints to wake the mind and keep the body on it's toes.
Increasing your Vo2 Max also helps with overall sports performance, so if you are trying to get faster or go longer in your preferred activity, HIIT are key to doing so.
2. There's an app for that
Download a Tabata or Interval app for your phone so that you can throw in a HIIT session at any time! Click here for a listing of some top recommended apps for your interval needs.
3. Know your zones
Even if you are not interested in adding in HIIT specifically, knowing your HR zones can mean that you are at least spending the time in the right zone for your goals. Endurance, fat burn, cardio fitness all happen in different zones. If you are working out constantly and are not seeing results - you may be in the wrong zone.
A very basic and easy way to calculate your HR zones is using the following process.
Max HR: Subtract your age from 220. The result is an age-predicted maximum beats per minute.
Resting HR: Take your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning. Do this for several days in a row to get consistent readings.
Heart Rate Reserve: Subtract your heart's resting rate from your maximum rate. This heart-rate reserve represents the cushion heartbeats available for exercise.
Using the guide above, then calculate out based on the heart rate reserve what your different zones are.
If you are 40 years old with a resting HR of 80, your numbers would be as follows:
Max HR: 180
Resting HR: 80
Heart Rate Reserve: 100
60% of 100 (HRR)= 60, and 70% of 100 = 70
Z1 range = 60 (60% of HRR) / 80 (resting HR) = lower 70 (70% of HRR) / 80 (resting HR) = upper Z1 limit.
lower range = 130, upper range = 155.
Do this for every zone based on the %'s in the chart above.
You will want to find a training resource or plan on how to train with HR for your sport. There are many books on Amazon for Heart Rate Training, and a good investment would be a HR monitor - Garmin, Polar and Fitbit all have wearables that monitor your HR while you workout so that you do not have to stop and measure with your fingers.
4. 15 minutes is all you need - here is my 7 minutes in heaven workout!
If you are short on time, travel a lot, or are lacking the motivation for hou rlong workouts, do not let that be an excuse. HIIT workouts can be 10-15 minutes long and provide more benefits than a steady state workout 4 times as long. If you only have a few minutes, you can do my 7 minutes in heaven workout to keep you active when time is a premium. Rest for 30-60 seconds between each 1 minute set.
1 - Knee ups (1 minute) Video here
2 - Inch Worms (1 minute) Video here
3 - Push Ups (1 minute) can modify if needed
4 - Front Lunges (clock lunges if you are advanced) ( 1 minute) Video here
5 - Jump squats (1 minute) Video here alternatively you can do normal squats, Video Here
6 - Burpees (1 minute) Video Here please modify if needed!
7 - Plank (1 minute) feel free to mix up your planks to engage other areas of your core!
Total time: 10 - 15 minutes depending on rest intervals
5. Join a Group
If you are interested in upping your health game and do not want to spend tons of time on it - then join in a local bootcamp or outdoor fitness group (such as Pursuit Detroit that will be launching this summer!)
To be kept up to date on the Launch of Pursuit, as well as to see what I am offering in the vitrual training space, please visit Pursuit Detroit and sign up to be kept in the loop!
In (heart) health,
High-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous exercise training in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: a pilot study
Siddhartha S. Angadi, Farouk Mookadam, Chong D. Lee, Wesley J.Tucker, Mark J. Haykowsky, Glenn A. Gaesser
Journal of Applied Physiology Sep 2015, 119 (6) 753-758; DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.00518.2014
It is 5am and your alarm goes off. Do you hit snooze until you are running late for work, or do you spring out of bed and get in a quick workout, make some coffee, read the newspaper all before getting ready for your day? Does the thought of a 5am alarm freak you out?
Are you in a low-energy rut? Sometimes it's lack of sleep that's the culprit, but other times – even if you're getting your Zzzzs – you can fall into a vicious low energy cycle. And before you know it, you're making frequent stops at Starbucks to kickstart your day. Make a few tweaks to increase your energy naturally without relying on caffeine or processed sugar.
Here are some of the ways that you can keep your energy level high all day.
1. Drink apple cider vinegar
I call this my morning elixir... Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) plus warm water, a squeeze of lemon, and some cinnamon. I drink this daily for hydrate, to help kick start the inner fire before eating cooling foods, plus it tastes good! ACV has been tied to many health benefits, but did you know that increasing energy is also one of them? The amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar work to counter fatigue. This also means that a switchel made from ACV< apple cider, ginger root and lemon makes for a wonderful pre-, during, and post-exercise drink! Next time you're feeling worn out, add a teaspoon or tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water or your smoothie and watch your energy level rise.
2. Fuel up with fiber
Starting your day off with a breakfast containing fiber can help boost your alertness throughout the day. This is possibly because fiber takes longer to digest by slowing the absorption of food in the stomach, so blood sugar levels remain more steady for a longer period of time. Some great options are whole-grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal with ground flaxseed.
3. Pick a protein
While protein isn't going to give you the energy surge you would get from a macchiato, it's in it for the long haul giving you lasting energy for hours to come. Include protein in your meals throughout the day for energy without the crashes. Additional bonus... it curbs that appetite and keeps blood sugar levels balanced.
4. Have more frequent meals
Rather than having three meals a day, it may be beneficial to you to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. This allows you you to maintain a higher, more stable blood sugar level throughout the day so you're not experiencing the sugar highs and lows. I have recently switched to 5 meals a day, each with nearly equal macro-nutrient ratios and my energy is consistent throughout the day.
5. Go for a stroll
If you tend to get a mid-afternoon energy downturn, going for a short walk can invigorate the rest of your day. The next time you feel a coffee run coming on, head outside for a walk instead.
These are just a few ways that you can increase your energy. Start with one of these tips and over time you'll begin to reap the benefits of lasting energy -- all it takes is a few simple shifts in your habits.
What do you plan on implementing this week to try to maintain your energy throughout the day? I’d love to hear, hit reply and let me know what you plan on doing!
If you are looking for more energy, I have just published my newest Guide - Refuel for Health - Eating for Endless Energy available for download for free to you as my thanks for being a part of the Shine community of wellness renegades!
The common cold is something we’ve all experienced at some point, and undoubtedly, we will cross paths with again on our journey. It seems like an inevitable part of life -- especially if you have little ones in the house, work in a large office, or you take the subway. Germs are everywhere, and without the ability to see them lingering, we can’t always avoid them.
Even though we can’t fully evade germs, there are many simple, natural things we can do to prevent those germs from winning the fight against our immune system – and even shorten the lifespan of the cold if and when we do happen to get sick. You don’t even have to leave the kitchen to find a slew of helpful immune boosters.
My favorite foods that can help combat an illness and boost the immune system are…
1. Garlic — if you can stomach raw garlic, this is the best option. Adding it into tea is another option, if you enjoy the taste. If you’re not a big fan of garlic and you’re staring at your screen in horror at the thought of eating raw garlic… have no fear. Just cook with it as much as possible when you’re feeling a cold coming on, or you are currently battling one. Toss in several cloves during each meal and enjoy the benefits.
2. Probiotics — we’re programmed to hear the word bacteria and think it’s a bad thing, but good bacteria exists and your body needs it. Probiotics provide your body with the good bacteria it needs to function optimally. You can take probiotics as a liquid supplement, capsule, or you can enjoy the probiotic properties of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha.
3. Cloves — it doesn’t have to be the holiday season for you to break out the cloves. Cloves have incredible properties that help the body fight against germs, alleviate pain and even helps with loosening the phlegm that you may be battling with a cold.
4. Cayenne — this is another simple option that you can sprinkle on any meal. Adding that pop of spice can help decrease the mucus buildup and assist with easing your sore throat and congestion. Adding fresh lemon and cayenne into boiling water as a homemade tea packs a punch against that cold you’re battling. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which only helps boost the immune system response.
There are many more natural ways to boost your immune system, but starting with a few will help you have other options in battling your next cold. Make a note of these foods and remember them next time you feel a cold coming on. What are your favorite natural ways to fight an illness off? Hit reply, I’d love to hear any tricks you may have!
Looking to hit the rest button on your immune system? I am supporting the Whole Detox program by Dr. Deanna Minich, PhD Starting March 24th, and in April I am launching the next in the line of seasonal programs - The Seasonal Fresh Start Program for Renewed Health: SPRING.
Email or comment below to learn more about the program!
Grains – the food group that plays a big role in the eating habits of millions of kids around the world. Oatmeal, YUM! Crackers, YUM! Toast, YUM! Cereal, YUM!
Sure, most moms always tell us that we need to eat our veggies too, but most moms also always serve some sort of grain for or with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks as well – so grains have to be just as important as meats, fruits and veggies, right?
For some people this is wrong.
But grains make up a hefty spot on the food pyramid so they must be healthy! Well, just because the government says it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it is. I can name you 14 foods off the top of my head that are banned in other countries but served here.
But I need the fiber! Yes yo do however... sorry…wrong source. You can get it elsewhere, like in a myriad of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds – sources that don’t have all the other bad stuff in them like toxins.
So as you can see, the importance of grains in a diet is actually pretty much a tale spun by the American food industry and regurgitated by moms around the world. That’s a tough pill to swallow, isn’t it?
Health advocates around the world, especially those who follow a Paleo lifestyle, understand that grains can actually pose a great harm to your body, leading to illness, disease and even death.
However, grains are so ingrained (cute, huh?) in our lifestyle, that my clients and so many others can say they want to ditch the grains, but find it so difficult to actually do it. So I want to share with you some of my tips for going grain-free.
Want to learn more about living Grain Free? Message me for more information and to see if going grain free is for you.
Did you know that studies show that this one thing can make you 25% happier? It boosts your immunity to anger, disappointment, and frustration.
It's even been shown to heal pain and illness in your body. It can certainly heal relationships, especially with your beautiful and miraculous body.
That one thing is GRATITUDE, and amazing things happen when you integrate it into your meditation practice.
Here's a fun exercise to try:
1. As you sit down to meditate, breathe in deeply and imagine your heart filling up with glowing, green light. Allow this energy to pulse and radiate to light you from within. As you deepen into the glowing, green energy in the center of your chest, begin to give thanks for your life. Give thanks for anything that pops into your head. No filter, just give thanks for it and show it appreciation.
2. Think about five things to be grateful for on this day. See these events as pictures. It may be the way your dog greets you or that nice person that let you have the parking space in the crowded lot. It could even be seeing the birds fly to their nests as darkness comes. Just let the images flow in and notice the feelings they give. If an unwanted image pops in, let it pass like a random car on the road. If it is important, you can think on it later.
3. Now, see the people behind the images you are grateful for and express thanks to each of them.
4. Remind yourself that whatever you focus on expands. When you focus on gratitude and positivity, you will get more of that in return.
What you appreciate, appreciates.
Be mindful that you will attract more abundance, love, and health by being grateful for your current state in these areas. Your body, your health, and your relationships can only be improved by honoring where they are in this moment.
The breath is one of the most useful tools we have to settle our mind and relieve stress. This advanced breathing technique is really quite simple and accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time.
It's called Square Breath. It's super easy to remember how to do because you do it just the way it sounds.
The beginning breath ratio is 4 x 4 x 4 x 4.
Easy right? Start with a really deep breath in and just release it.
Then seal your lips and:
That's one round. In as little as 5 rounds you can completely shift your mind towards more peaceful thoughts.
Here's an audio guide for you. Go ahead and download it to your phone or computer and use it any time life seems to run away with you.
I decided to make a grain-free Banana bread tonight to get rid of some bananas turned mush.
I am going to retool this recipe to be vegan and include some nutritional boosts, but for now here is the recipe as I made it tonight. Please note that I did not bake in a bread pan, I actually baked it in a square, I guess you would call it brownie pan. This makes 8 servings.
I hope that you enjoy this filling dish! This recipe makes for a great breakfast or post-workout refuel. Packed with over 19g of protein and 16.6g of healthy fat per 1 serving, this is a wonderul way to increase your protein intake and crush your cravings!
functional nutritionist, transformation coach, and lighter of paths.