The picture above is me on July 4th, 2013 vs me on July 4th 2017 (minus at least 40 lbs.)
One thing that I have mentioned a lot so far on my blog is how a few years back I lost 40 lbs, after completing a New Year’s Resolution in 2015. Losing weight and becoming wellness focused is a brink of midnight moment in my life that has changed me in mind, body, and spirit, (also check out the Brink of Midnight podcast if you are looking for some new motivational podcasts).
Now, losing weight, or a certain number on the scale has taken a back seat to other goals and dreams. I can tell without weighing myself if I am making healthy choices or not, and can feel changes in my body without stepping on a scale.
What I haven’t gotten over is looking at old pictures of myself. And now our phones and facebook constantly remind us what we looked at in years past. If I come across an old picture thoughts creep into my head like:
Ew I can’t believe I walked around like that
How did I let myself go so badly
I just look sad and can tell how uncomfortable I was
Why didn’t anyone tell me I looked to fat
It’s the sad uncomfortable truth. I can say that I have gotten into a habit of trying to immediately change my mindset when these negative thoughts come into my head. Having such negative about yourself, even your past self, is completely toxic, so I try to pivot them into thoughts like:
How lucky am I to have people around me that love me no matter what I look like
My body has to be so happy it’s not carrying around dead weight
Think about how much longer and happier life you will live
Look how far I have come
Although most of the time I have moved on from anything resembling my past unhealthy lifestyle, I still feel pain when I look at pictures from my heavier days. What really spurred this recently was putting on an old shirt on the Fourth of July. I don’t own many articles of clothing that are older than a year or two. I really purged everything that doesn’t fit. Thank you Plato’s closet.
There was a time when I planned on stashing a few pairs of my old pants at my mom’s house, just in case I gained the weight back. I’m so glad my mom didn’t let me, and reassured me that I would never turn back to that unhealthy of a lifestyle. The pants are really a metaphor for letting go of the past and looking into the future.
So almost everything that didn’t fit I purged, but hey, I had to save my trustee old American flag shirt. I mean it always comes in handy once a year. Well I put it on this year and thought back to an old photo I cringe at. The stringy sides of my shirt are completely pulled tight and I just see all the weight in my face. Now this shirt is actually baggy and I can really see the changes in my waist and face.
I think I look alot healthier and active in my most recent picture. Which makes me realize that in another couple years when I look back at pictures, I will thank myself for making healthier choices, rather than continuing the path that I was on. So like the clothes I purged, I need to purge the negative thoughts, because they don’t fit anymore.
Overall what I have realized about looking at old pictures is that I need to let go of the past and look forward to the progress I will make as an active healthy life eventually pays off.
What are your thoughts on before and after pictures? Let me know in the comments.
I started actually training for my half marathon on April 14th, and I wrote a blog post about it on April 17. Looking back I am so happy I wrote this post, it helped me to really manifest this idea and put it out into the universe. I highly recommend writing down goals so that you can look back and be reminded to keep working hard.
While I have made a ton of progress towards my goal in the last couple months, in the last few weeks I have hit some speed bumps when it comes to my discipline. Starting my summer job definitely threw me out of my typical routine, it is understandable that I need to make some adjustments, but I also lacked discipline on a couple weekends in a row which really hurt my progress. Weekends have been really crucial to my training, because Sunday is long run-day.
One thing that has become even more apparent to me when it comes to training is the impact of good nutrition. I’ve known this for sometime, but now I get so excited when I have a great breakfast or dinner and time it perfectly to have a successful run. It’s rewarding to reap the benefits from hard work in the kitchen.
My go-to breakfast, which is pretty much my breakfast everyday is two eggs, two pieces of sprouted wheat toast, two slices of bacon, and a small avocado. This may sound like a ton of calories, but I have no reason to be afraid of that. It’s also a meal full of fats, which really gives me fuel to be a busy body all day. Everyone is different but I have figured out that a big breakfast works best for my body, and I love not being hungry/hangry at all in the morning.
I determined a long time ago that dairy does not sit well in my stomach, and when it comes to running it really slows me down. I have been trying my hardest to cut out dairy although it is a slow process. Although I will never give up my yogurt and ghee, because I’m all about that gut health. The real challenge for me is cutting out cheese!
Although training in the summer has been great because I have extra time #teacherlife, there are also many other temptations to go out on weekends in the summer. There are so many things going on in the midwest during this time of year, when the weather is nice and it’s light out so late. I had my fun two weekends in a row, but my training schedule was neglected, and I was feeling down on myself.
I decided to fuel my frustration with myself into true discipline. My mentality over the last couple weeks has been to take training for this half marathon as seriously as if I were a professional athlete. Almost anyone can finish a half marathon, but I want to be running fast, like close to under two hours fast. THERE, I said it.
Although the training is the most important part to becoming an improved runner, I got a camelbak running waterbottle. Also as an early birthday gift I got some bluetooth running headphones (Thanks Mom!). I am really starting to look the part.
So now that I am really throwing it out there and challenging myself, I know I have to work hard to accomplish my goal.
I finally was able to finish a ten mile run last Saturday, and it was invigorating. I kept my pace around 10 mins/mile, although it was very hot. Then, on Sunday I put the cherry on top of a disciplined weekend and ran another 4 miles, for a total of 22 miles for the week. After missing most of my training for two weeks in a row and not treating my body as my temple, I am back! It really took some extra push to go out the day after my long run, but I am pushing myself and starting to see results in my times.
Going back to writing things down, I have a been writing down my runs in a planner and sticking to them as if it were set in stone and really just an appointment that I have no choice but to attend that day. I also alway say “I get to run today”, rather than “I have to run today”. Even if I’m not feeling it when I start I always thank myself after a run.
Some other running related things that I really have been focusing on are, getting to bed early so that I can wake up early, eating healthy + cutting out dairy and (alcohol completely), and stretching every night. It’s all these things that add up and make the difference. At the end of the day it is empowering to work hard towards my goal.
Although I am just focusing on all the things relating to running, it’s rubbing off on everything else. I feel more balanced in other parts of my life by improving my training attitude. So my word of the week is discipline, and I challenge you to find some areas that your discipline can improve as well.
I’m sitting down on this Sunday night, just wanting to share how grateful I am for this life, by recapping my weekend. When life undoubtedly gets stressful, I can always go back to this moment just to recognize how much I have to be thankful for.
My Husband and I have been in a routine I like to call “Zen Sundays”. Basically we relax, light candles, I usually take a bath, give foot rubs, and take a zen attitude about going to work and school on Monday.
This Sunday evening I feel grateful that I have a job that I can make money at for tomorrow, a beautiful house, an amazing and kind husband, time to spend with family and friends, health, and fitness. I could keep listing, but the point is this Sunday evening is not just “Zen Sunday”, it is also “Grateful Sunday”.
Friday: I am a substitute teacher so usually I just see kids for one or two days then move on to the next classroom. I accepted somewhat of a long term sub job with first graders, which is a whole different world. 6 and 7 year olds require so much compassion and patience, so this has been a good challenge for me. I got to do Cinco de Mayo activities with them on Friday and since I will be with them next week too, I am getting them up and moving, using GoNoodle activities all them time. Feeling fulfilled in your job is priceless.
I get home on Friday, after a day commuting an hour each back and forth, feeling a bit drained but my brother is here to stay the night! If you have ever lived away from home, you may know what a gift it is to get to see your family, even for just one evening. Together we walked to Michael’s mexican restaurant in the Old Market of Omaha. We had a great evening, I took my brother and his friend past Warren Buffett’s house, which is really just a typical house. It was a fitting tourist attraction, since they were in town for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting.
Saturday: Speaking of the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting, my Saturday morning started off early, 4:30 in the morning to be exact. You see I told my brother and his friend I would drive them to the meeting so that they could get in line first, to get a spot to see Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger speak. As hard as it was initially to get up, driving them to the meeting was interesting and I got to see 18,000 other people heading towards downtown with the same excitement.
I did end up getting to go back to bed for a few hours, but I woke up made a lovely breakfast later. My husband and I had agreed to help lay mulch down at our in-laws. Now I’m not going to lie, this was hard work and sucked a little bit. But it was a great chance to be outside, getting dirty and be helpful. Will and I put in three good hours of work, which we can feel today, and I officially got my first sunburn of the year.
My brother-in-law, Hector, who uses a wheelchair asked if he could spend some time at my house. I was at first reluctant, Hector is very energetic and I was in no mood to entertain after all the yard work, but agreed he could come over as long as he didn’t complain if he was bored. I have had Hector stay at my house many times, but this is the first where we had access to a van that could transport his powerchair (motorized wheelchair).
When we got home I made the salsa that I had meaning to make for the last two days. I had fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and tomatoes in the fridge that I did not want to go to waste. I also ended up making some guacamole, which turned out great. Perfect afternoon pre-run snack.
I am glad Hector came over because he motivated me to go out for a run. I was feeling bad because I missed a run this week, and felt like I was making up excuses and losing momentum on my half marathon training. I always knew that training for a half marathon would be time consuming, and I am really starting to learn the sacrifices that need to be made in order to stay the path. It’s hard to say no to friends, or skip netflix binges, just to make time for a run, but I’m learning to prioritize.
I asked hector if he would like to follow along for a 5 or 6 mile run. Hector was very excited to go with me and agreed to be my waterboy. I wasn’t sure how well this would work as far as him keeping up with me…
…Well, this worked out great because little did I know, Hector’s powerchair can go at the speed of a 7 minute mile, which I definitely don’t pace at in my long runs! Hector is also the funniest little ball of energy, and was not shy about cheering me on going up big hills, or when I started to slow down. I have officially given him the title of my running coach.
The best part about my run was that even after I made it to 5 miles, and then 6 miles I kept going. The end of my run was at a bit of an incline, but I just kept telling myself that I was almost there and that Hector was right there with me when I reach 7 miles.
I’m back on track after the 7 miles. I had the greatest runner’s high after. In order to complete this run, I had to turn down going to a friend’s going away party, which was really hard.
When we got back to my house, Hector took a short nap. Will says I actually tired him out which is no easy feat.
Sunday: Again I made a great breakfast for Hector, Will, and I, to start the day. Having time to wake up and do this is one of my favorite parts of weekends.
Being in the midwest, the first weekend of May is also a first weekend for Farmer’s Market. Our good friends invited us to go with them to the Omaha Farmer’s Market, which was so lovely to walk around and take in the people and booths.
I ended up getting some Rhubarb, a Basil plant, a Ghost Pepper plant, and a Jalapeño Pepper Plant. Although the pepper plants may have been an ambitious undertaking, I am going to try my best and yield a crop. Besides they were only a dollar each. Expectations were low but if this is possible the peppers will eventually be a great addition to my homemade salsa.
After walking around in the most perfect, 75 degrees and sunny weather, we grabbed a coffee from Jones Bros Cupcakes, which I had never tried before, but would recommend. They even had Nitro Cold Brew coffee, which I was pretty excited about. We ended up back at our friends playing a few games of Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros (which I won!).
After that Will took his Sunday afternoon nap, which is his bliss. I went for a walk in the 80 degree weather in the city, which is my bliss.
While on my walk, I found myself listening to a great podcast conversation, Waking up with Sam Harris, Episode #74: What Should We Eat?A Conversation with Gary Taubes. If you are not familiar With Gary Taubes, he wrote the book Good Calorie, Bad Calorie, which I have read, but this podcast was a great synopsis of the information in is book. As you may have figured out from my last post, I am obsessed with podcasts, so this is my official recommendation of the week.
I ended up finding a quiet green space where I sat for a bit, and then my mom happened to call. Again, keeping in touch with family from states away is important to me so having a long phone call where we recapped our weekends was so great.
After a little meal prep and hanging out with my pet rabbit, Diablo on my balcony, I am here. Waiting for laundry to be done, eating rhubarb crisp and writing a blog post. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Plus I have this week to look forward to. I am going to Chance the Rapper’s concert, his musically is undeniably positive and puts me in a good mood. I will see some old friends at the concert. And Joanna Jedrzejczyk fights at UFC 211, and she is one of my favorite fighters! And such a beast!
One thing I am going to try and improve on this week is my sleep. Sleep, is the time that you make “gains”, so I must not neglect it as I have this past week.
As you can see I have lots to be grateful for and looking forward to, enjoy your “Grateful Sunday”.
Jim Rohn said that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. If this is true, what about the people you listen to have hours of conversations?
For me, as a major consumer of podcasts, I have found that I often listen to podcasters talk more than people I spend time with. So I try to listen to podcasts not only for entertainment purposes but also knowledge and inspiration.
Podcasts are a huge part of my day, every morning I download new episodes from my favorites so that I can consume content on my hour long commute, during my walk to class, workout, and at night when I cook dinner.
You may spend an hour, at least, everyday playing music, or listening to the radio intermittently. If you replaced this time with a podcast, you are really opening yourself up to others’ knowledge, and experiences. Especially if you’re listening to podcasts produced by motivational people.
I really dived into the podcast world three years ago, when stuck working a desk job for 20 hours on weekends (10 hours Saturday and 10 hours Sunday, talk about sedentary). The time that I had to sit for so long in a desk to support myself became so much less grueling when I started to listen to podcasts and fill myself up with knowledge. Not to mention my walks got longer when I got home because I was so consumed with finishing an episode hearing about people’s stories.
The podcasts that I listen to today, heavily influenced my own worldview. I do feel as though I am a product of the podcasts that I consume and I would like to make the recommendation of the motivational podcasts below, so that you too can pass the time in a more productive way.
The Joe Rogan Experience
This was a gateway for me into the podcast world. It’s not surprising when you realize how widespread The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) is, making it one of the most popular podcasts on itunes. You may know Joe Rogan as the comedian who was the host of Fear Factor and is now the long time commentator of the UFC. After listening to his podcast you will realize he a just an incredibly motivated and introspective dude.
His podcasts are long form, like three hours long, and you can find episodes that vary from talking about conspiracy theories with Alex Jones and Eddie Bravo, to talking to professional athletes like Lance Armstrong and Arian Foster, to interviewing PhD’s like Neil Degrasse Tyson.
As you can see the great thing about JRE is that there is a guest to suit almost everyone’s interests. I have played this podcast for my father-in-law and my younger brother (that’s a 50 year age gap), and they both found these conversations fascinating.
I have mentioned before in past posts the influence that listening to this podcast has had on me: from trying bikram yoga, to becoming a huge MMA fan. I have gotten many people on the JRE grind, (as I like to call it). Joe Rogan is an OG podcaster, and JRE was my gateway podcast drug.
Recommended episodes to get started: Any of the above mentioned episodes. If you need a laugh, and some crazy stories, any episode with Joey Diaz as a guest. If you want to get deep listen to an Episode with Sam Harris. If you want to learn, really learn, check out all the episode with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. My mom particularly found the episode with Leah Remini talking about scientology interesting. I could go on and one, but just start looking for a guest you want to hear, and prepare to train all day, Joe Rogan Podcast all night…
“A graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School, Rich is a 50-year old, accomplished vegan ultra-endurance athlete and former entertainment attorney turned full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate, popular public speaker, husband, father of 4 and inspiration to people worldwide as a transformative example of courageous and healthy living.”
Rich Roll and his guests will inspire your fitness game and your plant power. Rich talks to a plethora of people in the wellness community from high level athletes, meditation gurus, vegan advocates and famous MD’s.
Even if you are not a vegan or ultramarathoner, you will find the conversations that Rich Roll has fascinating. He has a great interviewing style, really more like a conversation, and you will feel invigorated to do something for your health and wellness after listening.
Recommended episodes to get started: The Travis Barker episode 269! Robin Arzón, episode 230. Kerri Walsh Jennings, episode 262. Wude, episode 87.
These are really my personal favorites, and I can’t recommend them enough.
Here is where you can find them all in addition to itunes.
Dave Asprey is the biohacking guru that created the Bulletproof Diet, and Bulletproof Coffee
This is another podcast that you might have to take notes on as it is information filled in every episode. This is a podcast that I more recently discovered, but I really can’t wait to get into the archives and explore the experts that Dave has talked to. Some of the topics you can dive deep into on this podcast are ketosis, gut health, microhabitats, and fasting.
Soul on Fire Podcast
Jordan Younger is the author of The Balanced Blonde, a famous blog of all things wellness. Although this is a newer podcast, I haven’t missed an episode. If you are like me and follow all the yoga, health and wellness peeps on instagram, you will be so excited to finally get to hear them talk and answer questions with Jordan for an hour.
A common theme with the Soul on Fire podcast is following your passions and entrepreneurship. This podcast has been really inspirational for me as a blogger, and listening to her guests wellness hacks has already turned me onto some new lifestyle habits.
Recommended episodes to get started: Sophie Jaffe, Episode 3. Kathryn Budig, Episode 9. Emily Nolan, Episode 16.
Aubrey Marcus is the CEO of ONNIT, that’s O-N-N-I-T…(You’ll get it once you listen to as much JRE as I do)
Onnit is a “human optimization” company based out of Austin, Texas. Aubrey lives a crazy motivational lifestyle, as he said in the above episode, he didn’t make a health company because he was the healthiest person in the world, he made it because he aspires to be healthy (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist).
This is really more than a fitness podcast, and Aubrey has some really interesting guests along with some solo casts. The thing I love about this podcast is that Aubrey puts himself out there, whether it is talking about his open relationship with the smoking-hot, Whitney Miller or doing a spoken word that is in the above episode, which I loved by the way. Aubrey is a little out there with his world views, and is constantly explaining his inner talk with his ego. By listening to his podcast you’re really opening yourself up to some new ideas and motivations.
Recommended episodes to get started: Three Strategies to make 2017 your B***h, Episode 27, Joe Rogan. Episode 81, Trials and Triumphs of Open Relationships. Episode 68, Brendan Schaub– Submitting the Ego. Episode 85, Streetfights, a Balanced Life, and Man Stuff with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
If you’re not already listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, or if you haven’t heard of the four hour work week, what have you been doing?
Tim Ferriss is a human experiment, and I simply cannot do this podcast justice by explaining to you how much knowledge and inspiration it holds, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs. So, I will quote exactly how Tim Ferriss describes his podcast on his website.
“Each episode, I deconstruct world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.”
Tim Ferriss has some really high profile guests, and like he says he dives into their routines, habits and tricks. These are exactly the things that wellness obsessed people like myself want to know!
Recommended episodes to get started: My personal favorite guest are Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins, and Chris Sacca. (all huge names, all hugely successful)
I found FoundMyFiness from being completely fascinated by the many appearances that Dr. Rhonda Patrick has made on JRE. Rhonda Patrick will fill your brain with all sorts of research based wellness hacks. She is all about anti-aging/longevity and optimizing health. This podcast has influenced me to start growing my own broccoli sprouts and increased my obsession with sauna -ing.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick is brilliant and has her scientist/doctor friends on to really drop some knowledge on you. I often have to consume these podcasts in multiple sittings because it is so much to take in, yet such valuable information. Get your pens and papers out, prepare to learn and begin to desire to take action to improve your nutrition for longevity.
*Added bonus, after listening your friends will think you are a genius when you are able to tell them about sulforaphane, epigenetics, the microbiome and gene polymorphisms.
Recommended episodes to get started: Dr. Satchin Panda on Time-Restricted Feeding and Its Effects on Obesity, Muscle Mass & Heart Health. Ray Cronise on Cold Thermogenesis, Intermittent Fasting, Weight Loss & Healthspan. Dr. Aubrey de Grey and Dr. Rhonda Patrick Talk Aging.
Watch on FoundMyFitness Youtube or download on itunes here
The Miesha Tate Show
Although I idolized Ronda Rousey during her UFC career (as you can tell from my previous post) and never called myself a Miesha Tate fan, I will admit now how much of a pioneer Miesha Tate was for women’s MMA. Fighters have access to all sorts of health and fitness experts, and Miesha does a great job asking them articulate questions to share their knowledge.
Fighters are a huge source of fitness inspiration for me. Getting to hear Miesha Tate’s story from starting out going to an MMA class for fitness when she was 19, to holding a champion belt in the UFC really show how far hard work and dedication can go.
Recommended episodes to get started: Episodes with Dr. Jonathan Edwards, Episode with Robert Follis: Miesha’s Coach and one of the respected in MMA.
This is a podcast that just made its debut, but I am already looking forward to more episodes being released. If you don’t know already, Rachel Brathen is a yoga teacher that lives in Aruba and is an incredibly beautiful and authentic with over a million followers.
What I love about Rachel, just from following here on instagram and instagram stories for so long is that she keeps it real. She really shows when her life is not perfect, and even when she was sick of being pregnant. At one point I would check everyday to see if she had her baby yet (waiting for poppy), it’s easy to feel like you’re really getting to know her.
If you want to dive more into the yoga and healing world this is a perfect podcast to get you going.
Recommended episodes to get started: Episode 2, Manifesting Abundance (I drew so much inspiration from this, and Rachel is great at telling her story!)
If you can’t tell by now, I consume many hours of podcasts. People put out free content that we can benefit from. My wellness journey would not be the same if I didn’t have these podcasts for entertainment during workouts. Also the information from these experts has changed my life and upped my wellness game. What podcasts are you listening to? I would love any new recommendations! Maybe I will even have the guts to start my own podcast some day…
Spring every year brings about so many big events and changes to my life. It also is an easy time to be active, living in the midwest, when it warms up. Thankfully being active outdoors makes it easy for me to manage any stress that comes along with changes.
In the last week I moved from my apartment that was next to a cornfield in Lincoln, Nebraska, to a little house downtown in the “big city” of Omaha. My friend told me that life living downtown isn’t much different, there’s just more people and places. Well, so far after one week I am loving this change, but it is a different way of life when the people and places are so much closer. Don’t get me wrong Omaha really is a smaller city compared to most urban environments in the United states, but it is still a huge lifestyle change for me.
This move so far really feels like it is making a positive impact on my running journey. I have felt embarrassed to call myself a runner, even though it is something that I have been focusing on for the last year. I consistently have been running two miles a few times a week. My favorite runs were last summer in the Nebraska heat with my husband along my side. We had a hill at the end of our path near our old house that we called the “ankle breaker”. I told my husband at the end of our runs he should feel free to go at an “all out” pace to finish, even if that meant leaving me in the dust. Being the sweetheart he is, he reluctantly agreed, and I would try as I might to keep up.
By the end of the summer I was keeping up, and dare I say I even beat my husband on the ankle breaker, once or twice. Maybe. We even increased our runs from 2 miles to 4 miles by the end of the summer. Running felt incredible for the first time.
I started logging my miles on a calendar and really noting what helped my performance. Diet and hydration became very obvious factors for me.
Compare this to a few years ago before I began my weight loss journey. I started crying after running for a minute and a half. No joke. I hated it and it felt awful.
I’ve never considered myself a runner, even when I played multiple sports growing up. Running was punishment and to this day I have awful memories of having to run “killers” in basketball or laps on the soccer field.
After my running this summer I stagnated over the winter and dreaded getting onto the treadmill. I did keep up with running two miles a few times a week and that helped me manage stress and maintain good cardiovascular health. Running on an indoor track really helped me with this as well.
I feel as though this change in my living situation along with the changing seasons will give me the momentum I need to start training for a half marathon. I don’t know when or where, and I have a long ways to go but I want to just put it out into the universe. I am going to run a half marathon.
City energy makes me want to go out and run! I feel like I am ready to make the sacrifices in my time to start really investing in my running journey. Today I am just excited to put it out there and darnit! I AM CALLING MYSELF A RUNNER NOW.
Thanks for keeping reading about the beginning of my journey, I would love if you had any tips or suggestions when it comes to running a half marathon, leave a comment!
We always take health for granted when we have the luxury of not having to think about it. Personally I’ve really lucked out on my health. I didn’t take the best care of myself when I was younger, health is a top priority for me now. I’ve definitely adopted the mentality of making sacrifices and paying to be in good health now, rather than paying for health in the future i.e. disease, health care costs, and poor quality of life. This was one of the biggest shifts in my perspective that I have experienced in my 23 years of life.
Making health a top priority is not always easy, for me it took my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to realize how important health is. I constantly mention this in my blog posts, but I keep coming back to how central this is to my mindset. In order to keep the momentum of a healthy lifestyle going, I have to find enjoyment in it. Nobody really likes going home everyday and eating steamed broccoli, and brown rice, and logging 60 minutes on the boring treadmill. This is why we jazz things up and find passion in keeping our bodies healthy.
We all know, no matter how hard we try, things happen and humans are incredibly fragile. Doctors hold a wealth of knowledge but at the end of the day we have to take charge in our own health. When faced by crisis, we are our best advocate in the healthcare system. Sure our families are here to advocate for us when we physically can’t, and thank goodness they are. It really is the hardest thing in the world to see someone you are close to in pain or sick, no matter how minor. It can make the strongest people feel helpless.
When we are sick we go to the doctor, and sometimes the hospital. When I see that someone has to go to the hospital, even if I do not know them well, I immediately feel empathy. I want to disclaim that I don’t have anything against modern medicine. I really am just trying to advocate that we need to be involved 100% in our own health care, diagnoses, and treatment. In addition we do the same for our loved ones in their most vulnerable state.
According to a John Hopkins Study, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States each year. In this study, medical error included “diagnostic errors, medical mistakes, and the absence of safety nets (that) could result in someone’s death”.
This study alone is alarming and urging to make sure you keep yourself knowledgeable about your health and your loved ones’ health. In addition, I could tell you personal anecdotes of being skeptical of doctor recommendations. One huge red flag to me was going to my husbands endocrinologist appointment. When the endocrinologist was inquiring about my husband’s blood sugar numbers and making suggestions, she did not ask one question about his diet. While diet isn’t a defining factor of blood sugar, it is undeniably a huge factor that cannot be ignored in this conversation. My mind was blown, and it made it really easy to dismiss everything she was saying. I really am a holistic person I guess when it comes to managing health.
Again I am forever listening to my mom, the RN, never leave anyone alone in a hospital.
Going back to my ever changing perspective on health and the healthcare system, another huge lesson is to never ignore a problem, or tell anyone they’re being a hypochondriac. I’ve regretfully done this before. Untreated problems get worse, and while there are hypochondriacs in this world, it’s not my place to tell anyone how they feel or should feel. This is a lesson I have learned, and if people really want to wasted their time and energy going to the doctor for a paper cut, power to ya!
I wish I had time to study the healthcare system, learn how to deal with insurance companies most effectively and how to find the most qualified doctors. I might be able to solve some of the biggest problems in America right now if I did.
One of my biggest fears in life is worrying about my loved ones health if it were to go wrong. I am really a natural caregiver and constantly worry about those around me. My husband relies on insulin to survive and I often feel helpless and at the mercy to the healthcare system in order to get the care and resources he needs. (FYI insulin is the 6th most expensive liquid in the world). Often one prescription requires multiple calls to the doctor, insurance company, and pharmacy.
I hope that over time I get better at navigating this system and I can pass some wisdom onto others that feel this same helplessness. When that time comes I promise to write about it on my blog!
Until then, let’s be the most involved person in our healthcare.
Since the new year I have really been stepping up my snack game. Also, I am well aware that I sound like a young child when I say it is time for my snack.
I HATE having to go to the vending machine in the afternoon and get something that is usually overpriced. Not to mention that all of the options are processed foods!
What I mean by processed food is food with ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Processed food is meant to be non-perishable and last long in a vending machine. In order to do this, food companies have to strip nutrition from the food and fill it with ingredients like grain, salt, and sugar.
Not to say that you can’t treat yourself to candy or chips once in awhile, but I find when you don’t plan ahead, you make the unhealthy option easier every single day. Think about it, how often do we really chose the over-ripe piece of fruit from the coffee shop instead of a muffin?
The vending machine option is most likely going to have refined carbs and sugars with a high glycemic index, meaning that will give you a huge blood sugar spike. When this happens combined with the 2:30 in the afternoon feeling, will make you lethargic and sleepy. So even though you just had a little bag of Doritos (that just left you wanting more), those carbs are going to hit you quick! This means your body is going to have to release a huge amount of insulin to try and compensate.
The goal for my snacks is not low carb or no carb, but these types of foods keep my energy up for the day. Also when I am concentrated on being hungry I am so much less productive. The snacks that I recommend are packed with nutrition that your body will thrive on. These snacks are appealing on the go options that are also fresh, I don’t really eat “bars” that often. Overall if you snack on the food that you body needs you will feel satiated longer, and you can work productively until your next meal. The bag of skittles or starbursts gives no one a good feeling of satiation.
There are so many blog reads that detail fancy meal prepped snack or cute vegan recipes. When I pack a snack I can’t afford to add more than a minute or two to my routine. I can barely meal prep for dinner as it is, so the simpler the better.
Pistachios: Really any nuts make a great snack. I personally buy unsalted pistachios, I love the taste and without the salt they do not dry out your mouth. Pistachios also have a significant amount of B6 and phosphorus which your body and energy levels will thank you for.
**Believe it or not it is difficult to find grocery stores that sell nuts that are left unsalted. The best place I have found to buy unsalted nuts is Aldi, and they aim to have the best prices.
Babybel Cheese: Another snack I love to have is a small serving of cheese. In particular I like Babybel cheeses, they each have 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat (which is not bad for you, your body uses this as energy) you can find the nutrition here. This little cheese will not disrupt your digestive system, and will actually keep your body satiated. And I have to mention I love peeling of the wax off of Babybels.
Bone Broth: This is really trendy in the health community right now, but for good reason. If you don’t already know all the benefits of bone broth, (you can read more about the bone broth skepticism here) the collagen in it is said to be beneficial for joints, inflammation and immunities.
Even if there isn’t the research to back up such miraculous claims, I love drinking plain warm bone broth out of a tumbler. I noticed wellness instagramers drinking it and at first it seemed kind of wild. But I have to tell you, it is so savory and I love drinking it while i’m eating something sweet like my next snack pick…
Green Apple Slices: Fruit is a great snack, but choosing your fruit wisely is important. Green apples have pectin which is a type of fiber that the body loves, and although they are not going to create a large spike in your blood sugar like a banana or honey crisp apple would.
I find that I eat more of the apple into the “core” when I slice it up. If you are going to be eating your apple slices later in the afternoon and want to keep them fresh and not going brown, my pinterest trick is to slice the apple and then assemble it back together like puzzle pieces. Once you have done that, put a rubber band around it, and keep it in a cold place. I was amazed at how fresh my apple slices stayed when first trying this.
Sweet Potatoes: I have noticed nutritionists love sweet potatoes. In Okinawa Japan, one of the Blue Zones (areas with most 100-year-olds living) one of the factors of their longevity was during WWII with little food, they lived on a diet of their main viable crop, orange sweet potatoes. (To learn more about the Okinawans I highly recommend reading Blue Zones by Dan Buettner or go here). Sweet potatoes as an on the go snack?
Yes they are so easy to make and store for the next day! You can make them as a baked potato, peel the skin and mash with a little butter and cinnamon. Or if you prefer, you can peel and dice them and cook them with coconut oil and sea salt. I have been known to eat them cold out of a tupperware midafternoon.
Blueberry Smoothie: Not much to say about this one, blueberries are great for you and taste amazing with a high fiber amount that will prevent a blood sugar spike. Mix in you favorite greens, plain yogurt and maybe even try to substitute a avocado for a banana.
Lifeway Kefir Cup: I just discovered these recently at my local hyvee. Kefir is incredibly good for you gut health, and props to Lifeway for making it with no added sugar! Sub this for that basic yogurt cup that is full of sugar and even artificial sweeteners.
Okay, and my last selection is really for fellow sweet tooths that also deserve a little treat for eating the healthy part of their snack first. This one isn’t actually a snack that avoids a blood sugar spike, but keep in mind moderation is important. Girl Scout Cookies: I have a policy that the first student that asks me to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies gets my order. So this year a student I work with asked me and I got my favorite Caramel Delights. We are all human and deserve to indulge, what helps me is if I take them out of the box and portion them into two at a time in ziploc bags. This way they last longer and I don’t accidentally eat the whole box in one sitting.
What’s your afternoon snack? What helps you avoid the sugar spike and energy crash in the afternoon? Comment below to let me know!
**Note I do not have a formal nutritionist background, just a wannabe.
One thing my husband and I have always loved is a good chicken salad sandwich. Now I dig the fiber in some good seedy whole wheat bread, but one thing I cannot get down with is all the mayo that comes with a traditional chicken salad.
My inspiration came from using the same chicken salad that I have adjusted to my liking in the past few years, and trying to make it instead with avocado substitute for mayo. My husband was reluctant at first to try a sandwich that looks so green. After trying it, he attests that the substitution is bona fide delicious, and not just a healthier version.
Don’t get me wrong though, avocados are a superfood. I can find a way to add them to almost any meal. Avocados have the fats that our body needs to keep LDL (bad) cholesterol low and is naturally fortified with vitamins. Also it is high in fiber and low in net carbs which serves my purposes well.
So, here is how I make my chicken salad. I make this recipe to serve two with leftovers that are great on day two, especially as a packed lunch!
Time: 30 minutes
1 lb of chicken breasts
2 ripe avocados
3 hard boiled eggs
½ a yellow onion, finely chopped (you can use red onion too for a spicier flavor)
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 c. chicken broth
½ c. relish
Seasonings (these can be adjusted to taste):
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
Start on stovetop with cooking chicken breasts on medium heat in chicken broth for moisture. To ensure they are fully cooked, cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Set aside when done and let cool.
Make 3 hardboiled eggs with well-cooked center, and cooled in ice water for at least ten minutes before peeling and adding to mixture.
Mash ripe avocados with fork and add to mixture with chopped onions, celery and relish.
Add seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, black pepper and salt.
When eggs are cooled add to mixture and crumble with a rubber spatula.
Remove chicken from broth, cut into chunks and add to mixture. You can also add some extra seasonings to the chicken if you prefer.
Refrigerate mix for at least one hour to let the flavor totally develop.
The great thing about this mix is that the avocado stays green looking and does not turn brown while refrigerated. Like I said the amount of seasoning in this mixture is totally adjustable. I find that the celery salt is a key ingredient. Although I had to search, I found my bottle of celery salt at Walmart.
So there you have it, a recipe high in fats and proteins from the eggs, avocado and chicken. Not to mention the crispness of celery and onions. I have served this recipe with lettuce and tomato, but my personal favorite is to toast the chicken salad on a whole wheat bread with a slice of melted Colby jack. Let me know if you have tried this recipe!
Diet doesn’t do it justice. My diet has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. This is not uncommon as a 23 year old. My life has gone through huge changes. I was like any other teenager who ate whatever I wanted and when I went to college I discovered Big Macs, Whoops…
Flash forward to realizing that life gets more sedentary and clothes start to fit tighter, I tried to eat less rather that healthy. This is not a great “dieting” strategy. You know those 100 calorie pack of Oreos? Yeah, nobody has ever successfully just had one of those and stopped, that’s why Nabisco is genius. (For more on this concept I highly recommend reading the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Ross).
Anyway, weighing the moral and environmental factors of being a vegan or vegetarian, I realized over a number of years that this was not for me. I think that people are meant to eat animals and you should do whatever you need to in order to nourish your body.
This being said I love a great plant based recipe, and am always willing to supplement beans, nuts and seed for a source of protein. I just don’t do this seven days a week. What I live my life based on is trying to maximize nutrition. Intaking the good stuff. You are what you eat.
Looking back at my nutritional past I am amazed at the number of day I went when I didn’t eat one single vegetable or even a fruit. My body was literally sick, and not serving me well as a vessel. Having poor gut health and inflammation due to intaking a crazy amount of sugar resulted in a permanent bad mood.
Eating healthy is not something that comes easy for me but I actually enjoy doing it, I think of it as a hobby in addition to being a lifestyle. I also am the type of person who is fulfilled by caring for those around me, so curating healthy foods that my most skeptical loved ones like is gratifying.
Cohabiting with my husband was also huge for changing the way we eat. We imposed our bad habits on each other and then we had to figure out how to eat healthy together. Me and my husband have teammate mentality when it comes to everything, including wellness.
I am into the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthy vs. indulging. Life is too short, it’s okay to have a cheat once in awhile. Life is also too short to feel sick all the time. Being mindful of what foods makes me and my husband feel good has been key.
We do try to avoid processed foods, simple sugars, and sketchy ingredients. More importantly we love to try and maximize nutrition, feed our bodies and eat products that are responsibly made. When I look back at old journal writing I see that I alway mention that I wish to improve the way I eat even more, this has really manifested in my life in the last few years. I look at my health in a holistic manner and what I put in my body is what I get back in the way I feel.
Mindfulness is one word I want to embody my nutrition. Putting good food in my body.
All this being said I hope to have a few recipes coming to my corner this month. If I can make them so can you. And if you are a fellow skeptic, my husband is my toughest critic and the taste-tester for my cooking. So they are all Kado + Husband approved.
When everyone around you at work or at school is sick, it is so important to be proactive rather than reactive in keeping your immune system safe. This is especially important if you are affected by a condition that makes it more complicated for the body to heal from the cold and flu.
While there are a plethora of factors that go into what your immune system can handle (previous exposure to illness, gut health, and age, just to name a few), I would like to share my best advice of how I have avoided getting sick during this time of year for the past few years.
I feel proud of my cold and flu record for the last few years, I work with young students who, let’s be honest, are like landmines for germs during this time of year, so staying healthy is no easy feat.
Like I said before you must be proactive rather than reactive when avoiding getting sick like those around you. You are compromising your body if you’re not getting enough sleep, nutrition and exercise.
The single time that I have been sick in the past two years is after a week where I worked over 60 hours, got little sleep and was eating whatever was convenient. I didn’t listen to my body’s limits and for that I paid the price of getting a horrible cold two days before going on a vacation.
What I should have done:
First I know better than just to ignore nutrition, when I feel insanely busy with no hope of actually going home and cooking a healthy meal, my best trick is to visit the grocery store salad bar.
Sure it’s not economical to eat at a salad bar every night, but paying for the convenience of fruits and veggies will be worth it, when you don’t have to call into work or miss a big presentation. I love Whole Foods and Hy-Vee salad bar in particular. They both have a great selections of fruits and veggies and some pastas to satisfy your carb cravings.
The bottom line is getting sick is way more inconvenient than finding healthy food is.
I’m a huge proponent of juicing to get added nutrients into your diet, especially your vitamin C! If you don’t haven’t yet invested in a juicer, or you’re like me the week I got sick, and don’t have the time or energy to get your juicer out, buy pre made juices.
My favorite picks from Whole Foods are their Alternative Fuel cold pressed juice (with 540% of your daily value of Vitamin C), and the Eye Opener cold pressed juice (with 210% of D.V. of Vitamin C). These are my go-to’s if I start to feel a cold coming on or just need a healthy kick to get me going.
Finally although it’s tempting, especially for perfectionists, to say you can go, go, go 24/7, our bodies are inefficient when they have no rest.
I think that sleep is by far the most important thing you can give your body to avoid getting sick.
As someone who has been in school for a while… I can truly say staying up all night or an extra couple hours to try and study is never worth it. I have learned that an extra hour of sleep will help me more on the test.
Drinking all that caffeine and trying to stay up cramming is worthless. One, this will ruin the quality of any sleep that you do end up getting after cramming. Two, our brains are on overdrive trying to study for such an extended period and need to shut down before they can do us any good again.
Another piece of the staying healthy puzzle is stress.
Everyone knows that stress just wears on the body. Try a ten minute guided meditation, go for a quick walk, call your mom, just don’t let stress get the best of you! We know that in order to accomplish any health or wellness goal, like a weight-loss, stress will inhibit your success by increasing cortisol levels. So let’s deal with it head on before it gets in the way of health.
Advice Straight from the Doctor:
Any doctor will tell you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. I do believe that you have to be diligent in this during cold and flu season. I keep my hand sanitizer right on my lunchbox for this purpose. As DJ Khaled would tell you this is MAJOR KEY.
Second major key alert straight from my husband’s doctor is DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. This seems simple, but if you actually start thinking about this you will realize it’s more difficult than it sounds.
I hope everyone around you stays healthy this season, but if that’s not the case, be proactive!