So…what’s up with the salt?

Literally, what’s up with the salt?!  I’m not talking about table salt.  I’m talking about the pink stuff.  The Himalayan salt that everyone seems to be raving about lately.  I was curious so I recently went to experience it for myself.

I went to visit a dear friend (and true member of my tribe) this past weekend and we decided it might be fun to try out one of the salt caves nearby.  We chose Salt of the Earth, located in Woodburry, Connecticut, mainly because of a Groupon, but hey, it was close and looked cool.  Sadly, I do not have any pictures of the inside because they had a “no phone” policy.  However, I come with me on a journey while I tell you what it was like…

Walk inside and you immediately feel a sense of peace.  There is tranquil music playing, loads of Himalayan salt everywhere and a fish take at the front desk.  Even the bathrooms are gorgeous!  They have an ocean theme, which I love because salt water seems to heal everything for me.  The waiting room has dim lighting, comfortable oversized armchairs and for your feet, an infrared pad.

Let me tell you about this infrared heating pad. It was so amazing!  You take your shoes off, place your feet inside and feel warmth.  The pad emits invisible waves of energy that help the inner tissues, muscles and bones of the body.  I typically have very sore feet and using this bed for even a short period of time helped relax the muscles in my feet and legs.  I almost wanted to use it the entire time I was waiting for my treatment.  Infrared heath therapy also helps improve circulation and eases pain in joints.  After that experience, I’m definitely thinking about getting one!

 

Since we had a Groupon, we received the salt bed treatment.  It’s like a tube that you lay down in.  There is a sheet that is in between you and the salt.  The treatment lasts about 20 minutes and while you’re in the bed, there is a fan that blows salt all around you.  You are completely surrounded and it feels so cool.  While you’re lying down, you can put headphones on and listen to music that helps you get into a zone and meditate.  During the time I was in the tube, I shut my eyes and completely took in everything that was happening around me.  The salt was blowing, I listened to the music and let my mind wander.  Let me tell you, it was the best meditation session I’ve ever had.  When the session ended, I felt an inner sense of calm…and my lips tasted like I had been at the beach all day!  It is definitely something you have to experience yourself.

When we got home, I started to research the benefits of Himalayan salt. I always knew that a salt lamp will put negative ions out into the air and add a sense of balance to the area you have the lamp.  But what else does it do?

Himalayan salt improves respiration.  I can hear all my fellow asthmatics shouting “Woo-Hoo!” now!  The salt will help clear out sinus infections and can loosen mucus in the nasal cavities.  I can testify that the salt really does improve your breathing.  When I was done with my treatment, the congestion in my nose was almost completely gone.

The salt can also stimulate circulation.  Improving circulation can help the blood flow a bit more and will relax your muscles.  Dr. Oz even recommends mixing a bit with coconut oil and an essential oil and using it as a scrub in the shower.  It’s so soothing!

It purifies the air.  This I knew.  I have one in my bedroom and it helps me sleep so well.  The lamp I have attracts air pollutants and takes them out of the air.  The salt absorbs those pollutants so they don’t affect my health as much as they normally would.  Fantastic!

Himalayan salt affects you internally too.  It has more vitamins and minerals than other salts, like table salt or sea salt.  We use it in our cooking when a recipe calls for salt because we want better options.

Who knew it would lying in a salt bed would be so good?  Unfortunately I won’t have a chance to go back to Salt of the Earth, but I am definitely going to find a place when I got home.  Think of the possibilities!  I’ll be calling my girls to go with me!  Who wants to come?

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Look Great…Save Money!

One of the ways we stay healthy is through our financial situation.  And clothes take up a big portion of most people’s budgets.  That portion of the budget doesn’t only include ourselves, but our families too!  According to a study done by the University of Michigan, parents can spend anywhere from $300 – over $1000 per year for the children’s clothing.  And the study didn’t even include how much the parents spent on themselves!  Can you believe that?  Total crazy talk!

But how can you reduce that spend?  There are few ways.

  1. Be more conscious about where you spend the money. – Instead of going to the high-priced retailers,  go to the local thrift store.  You can still get some of the best brands in good shape for a lot less price.  And just a wash before wear is all you need before adding the piece to your wardrobe.
  2. Do a clothing exchange. – I lived on hand-me-downs.  When I was a kid, pretty much all my clothes came from my older cousins.  And who I was I to care?  I was dressed.  And yes, I was very picky and the wannabe fashionista that I am today.  So set this up with the other people in your neighborhood and grab your kids a new outfit for school.  Who knows, you could even snag a dress for date night!
  3. Shop online. – It’s totally the wave of the future and some of the best retailers are heading in that direction…including thrift stores.  One of my favorite online thrift stores is Thred Up.  It’s owned by Amazon (who I love) and the prices are low, in some cases up to 90% off!  There are name brands and even pieces with the tags ripped off, which drives the price down.  Be sure to check the listing when shopping because it will tell you what quality the piece is in.  Here are a few other online retailers you might like too.

So what’s the moral to my story?  You and your family can totally look great, without spending a fortune.  And think of how much better you’ll feel when you find that amazing leather jacket in the thrift store and you only pay half the cost?  Shopping or swapping clothes is just one way to make your wallet feel financially healthy.

Now tell me…what was the best clothing or accessory you snagged at a discounted price?

It’s All About Balance!

You know I’m all about balance, right?  Well, that even includes having a little fun every now and then.  And that includes having a drink with some friends.

In Massachusetts, where I’m located, we do not have Happy Hour but I know a lot of my followers in other states do.  So what does that mean for you and your buddies?  It means going out, having a few drinks and maybe even some food.  But how can you still go and stay on track with your lifestyle?  Here are a few tips to help you.

Tip #1 – Be picky

If you’re going to go, be picky!  Read what’s on the menu and think about what ingredients may be used in the recipe.  And if there’s ingredients on the menu that you see and like, but there isn’t a meal made with them, ask if you can have something created for you.  Some restaurants may be willing to make an exception.

Tip #2 – Choose a healthier cocktail

There’s always the good ole beer, but what about something a little different.  The Lemon Thyme Cocktail by Laura Silverman seems perfect!  Herbs can spice up your cocktail just like this one and where the thyme helps you boost your immunity, you can feel a little easier drinking it.

Tip #3 – Eat before you go

If you eat a healthy dinner before you head off with your friends, you’ll be less likely to crave those potato skins on the menu.  Have something filling, like chicken breast and steamed veggies or a kale salad packed with tuna and berries.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you like and something you know will keep the cravings at bay.

If you’re going to be doing the Happy Hour at home, you can make the food and drink yourself, which can be even better.  Choose healthier ingredients in the food, organic if you can, and make things with lots of color because it will be visually appealing, which is always fun.  And for the drinks, choose beverages made from locally-sourced ingredients.  They might be higher cost, but the product quality is so much better.

And remember, don’t feel guilty about having a little fun.  It is all about balance and enjoying your life while maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle.  Now go out there and live a little…just a little, though. 🙂

It’s Ok to Say No

Sometimes it’s ok to say no.  Sometimes you feel like you have to say no and sometimes you feel like you can’t say no.  But saying no can be good for your health.

Facing burnout is a very real thing.  And it can be very damaging for your mind and our body.  In a past post, I wrote about the differences between between America and other countries when it comes to stress.  What was interesting to me was that other countries seem to have very different lifestyles.  They have more time off, they actually eat lunch without looking at a computer screen and they eat very differently.  All of this adds up to a healthier lifestyle.  But what I did not see in any of my research was information on saying no.

Saying no is hard.  It’s not a fun thing to do.  You might have FOMO (fear of missing out) when you say no.  But it’s something that, if done regularly and mindfully, will help you live a life that has much lower stress levels.  This year has been my year of saying no.  Yup, it’s true.  Last year was my year of saying yes and it caused a lot of issues.  I learned in April that I had to start saying no or I would be burnout almost all the time.  Since I started, I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that you might upset people, that you might lose a friend or two, that you might cause a riff with your family and that you might feel guilty.  But I also learned that saying no can be freeing.  Because saying no has helped me live with less stress, I’ve come up with some tips to help you feel ok with saying no.

1. Remember what YOU want!

By keeping your priorities in mind, you won’t have that guilt surrounding saying no.  If you have an event to go to or a project to work on or even just need to do laundry and get an invite, don’t feel bad saying no.  Because you’re saying no in order to make room for your own personal yes.

2. Don’t be afraid

For most people, we are afraid to say no because we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings or we don’t want to look like we’re a bad person.  Sometimes we have to do what scares us most in order to feel ourselves.  Saying no might be something that scares you so much, but by saying it more and more, it will become easier.

3. Ask yourself “What am I saying no to?”

By asking this question, you’ll be able to get down to the nitty gritty of what you’ve been asked to do or invited to.  You’ll figure out if it’s really important to you to say yes or if you can live with saying no.  And you’ll learn what is really important to you.

4. Know that you’ll find your tribe

By saying no, you actually find out not only what’s import in your life, but you’ll also find out who is important in your life.  When you say no, you may find you offend people or make people mad.  Most of the time, they’re mad because they don’t understand your situation.  Those that you say no to but still are ok with it won’t be mad because they do understand.  And you will find out, those people are in your tribe.

5. Fake it until you make it

In the beginning, saying no is going to be hard.  It’s not easy because you’re not used to it.  You’re not confident with using the word no.  I say fake it until you make it!  And this goes for anything.  If you’re not comfortable, do it anyway.  If you’re scared, do it anyway!  The more you try something, the more it will become easier.

Trust me, saying no is not easy.  I’ve said this a number of times already, but it’s true!  Saying no is something that is scary, but it can also be very freeing too.  Saying no can help you with a lot of things.  So here’s my challenge.

I dare you to say no at least 7 times in the next week – one for each day of the week.  

Yup, at least 7 times.  Next Sunday do a self-check.  How did you do?  If you only said no 5 times, don’t beat yourself up.  Heck, if you only said no 3 times, definitely don’t beat yourself up.  But continue the practice and don’t give up.  Make sure to get back to me next week on your challenge.  I want to hear all about it!

What’s Your Travel Routine?

When you’re traveling, you know your routine is going to get thrown off a bit.  It’s a given.  But do you stick to your normal routine or be a little more free?  For me it all depends – who am I with, where am I going, what will I be doing, etc.  I’m actually traveling now for my full time job and this topic came to mind after not feeling rested after a few nights in the hotel.  My dilemma was whether to sleep a little more or wake up early and get a workout in.

Before you go jumping on me, let me give you some background information.  This week I’m traveling for my full time job, to a place that kind of has nothing around it (within an hour) and is for training…training that is from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM for five days straight.  When I told my husband where I was going he said “Oh that place, there’s nothing there!”  Yea, I was a little nervous, no lie.  My plan was to come and follow my normal routine, with the exception of when I do my workout.  Because I was going to be waking up later, I figured I’d try to do my workouts in the morning instead of the afternoon/early evening.  The first day, it didn’t happen.  The second day, it also didn’t happen.  I slept in!

I tried to figure out why and a number of reasons came to me:  “The bed is not my bed”, “The pillow is not my pillow”, “The temperature in the room is not what I’m used to”, “I’m in a place that I’m not 100% comfortable with”, “I’m away from my husband”…

I could go on and on, but what’s the point.  I mean, these are really first world problems.  And yes, I’ve tossed and turned the past two nights.  It has not been too good of an experience with my sleeping pattern yet.  And don’t get me wrong, the bed is comfortable and the room is clean.  I just cannot seem to find sleep.  Needless to say, the first two nights, I chose to sleep in.  And I will tell you, this is my normal routine.  And it’s been a good decision to sleep in a bit.

What I wanted to do was abandon this routine and wake up early to workout.  I wanted to get it done so I could still feel like I’m myself.  I personally fit in fitness 4-5 days a week and it helps me feel human – both mentally and physically.  Since I arrived at my destination on Sunday, I have not exercised once.  Yes, I’ve walked a bunch and gotten my steps in, but not like I do at home.

At home, I typically get in a run or do some weight training.  It clears my mind and helps me sleep better.  The hotel does have a gym, but I have not used it at all this trip.  And trust me, it’s a good gym – treadmills, free weights, a Bosu ball, and a spot to do some yoga.  So why have I not used it yet?  Because I’ve decided to stick to my routine and get more sleep in the morning.  Although exercise is important to me, sleep is just as if not more important.

So here’s my question to you – which is more important for you?  Sticking to your routine or going outside of that routine and trying something new?  Only you can answer that question.  For me, sticking to my routine is more important on this trip, especially because it’s a trip that’s for work and I have to be on my A-game.  But for my next trip, things might be different.

My sole purpose for this post is to share with you that there are good things to sticking to your routine and there are challenges with sticking to that too.  As with anything, you have to weigh your options and see what’s in front of you.  I’d love to hear more about your travel routine, but for now…I’m off to bed.

Money & Your Health

So saving money is all the rage right now, right?  Ok, well, I wouldn’t say rage, but it’s in.  People are trying to pay off their debt fast so they can live a more free life.  I’m included in that group of people.  So how do you do it, but still have some fun?  Here are five ways to save money, but still have some fun that’s good for your health!

1. Go take a hike

Now, I’m not trying to be rude, but taking a hike is one of the best things you can do for your health and in most places, it’s free!  I live in New England and there are TONS of state parks that I can go for a hike in the forest.  One of my favorite things to do is go to New Hampshire or Maine where there’s a ton of fresh air and I can ultimately be one with the forest.  I pack a lunch, bring water and just go.  It helps clear your mind and it’s free.  Don’t forget to bring your phone or camera too…you’re going to want those pictures later.

2. Grab a page turner and hit the beach

If you’re not a reader, this one might not be for you.  Reading a good book is a great way to dive into another world and escape for awhile.  Whether you’re into mystery, romance or even non-fiction, reading a good book can be great for your mind and for your soul.  If you can’t afford to buy the new best seller, hit up your local library or find some friends to do a book swap with.  It’s fun, you educate yourself and keep your mind working.

3. Create your vision board

If you’ve got something you’re wishing and hoping for, put it out for display!  Grab a piece of poster board or a piece of cardboard from the most recent shipment that arrived at your house and start plastering it with pictures of the dream(s) you have.  You can even decorate it with paint, stickers, glitter…it can be as big as you imagine.  You can get the pictures from magazines you have lying around, printing them from Pinterest and even drawings that you create!  When you’re done, hang it on a wall in your house that you’ll see everyday.  It will give you something beautiful to look at it and motivation to save money.

4. Drop those coins

When you were in your college days, or maybe you are in your college days now, do you remember that big Coca-Cola bottle that you’d use to save the extra coins you had lying around?  Yup, even I had one.  Now I use a much prettier ceramic jar to save that extra money.  You can even use a mason jar and decorate it with stickers.  If it’s pennies or quarters, money is money.  This idea kind of goes along with #3.  If you’ve got something in mind that you want, you’ve gotta save for it, right?  It could be the new yoga mat you’ve been eyeing, a trip to Bali or even the new course on confidence to help you get out of your shell.  Whatever it is, this is a great way to help you get and stay motivated so you can reach the goal you have in mind.

5. Hook up with your local townies

In today’s day and age, almost all towns have some presence on social media.  My town has a Facebook group where business owners and townies advertise things that are going on.  It’s anything from yard sales to concerts at the town hall to fundraisers for the town sports teams.  By getting involved with your town, you’ll be able to meet your fellow neighbors and hear about some awesome free events.  Imagine going to the local park with your partner to hear some cool jazz and getting to dance with your shoes off?  Sounds fun, right?  Burning calories and having fun with your neighbors is a win-win!

So out of all these ideas, which will you try first?  Saving money (or spending less) is not only good for your wallet but also good for your heart and soul.  You’ll get to do more with less and enjoy a happy, healthy life.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

I always hear people talking about carbs, how carbs are bad for you and how you shouldn’t eat them.  But, there’s a difference in carbs.  I find many people don’t acknowledge the difference and don’t realize there are some good carbs out there.

To start, let’s talk about what a carbohydrate actually is.  A carbohydrate is a compound found in foods that contain sugars or starches.  It can be broken down to release energy.

good carbohydrate has a slower rate of absorption which means you don’t get the spike insulin, but rather it helps maintain more natural insulin levels.  It’s also not processed and is only one ingredient.  Think of the produce section in the market you shop – fruits and veggies.

bad carbohydrate is just the opposite.  When eaten, it gives a drastic increase in insulin in the blood which can sometimes cause jitteriness and the crash later on.  This drastic increase can cause more fat stores.  Why?  Because insulin is the hormone that helps create the fat stores.  Remember, fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat, carbohydrates can.

Now you’ll see from my picture above that I’ve got a picture of both.  On the left, we’ve got cherries.  All natural, organic, one ingredient and there is a lot less in the bag, so portion control comes into play.  On the right, we have cheese crackers.  Processed, definitely not organic and look how much is in that bag?!  Clearly different, right?

So what do  the bad carbs do to your body?  As I mentioned before, bad carbs cause the spike in insulin, then resulting in the additional fat stores.  I know this first-hand and am trying to fix it now.  I myself am what is known as a “carbaholic”, or someone that loves carbs and am obsessed.  Thinking back on my life, growing up I loved pasta, cookies, crackers…you get the picture.  Now that I know the difference, it’s helped me not be so afraid of eating fruit and vegetables.

One of my favorite lists comparing the good carbs versus the bad carbs is on my Pinterest page.  On that same board, you can find many ideas for clean snacks, food swaps and much more.  Make sure to connect with me on Pinterest as new content is always being posted.  Now that you know there’s a difference, feel comfortable choosing the good carbs when you’re doing your shopping.

I’m sharing this message about carbs today because I want to help you avoid or counteract what these bad carbs can do to your body.  And if you need more intensive help, ask me how my Eliminate to Feel Great Program can help you learn what foods (including carbs) affect your body on a deeper level.

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What Does Independence Mean to You?

It’s the weekend of July 4th and I see all the posts on social media about the parties and barbecues taking place.  But what I don’t see, is the celebration of our freedom.  Since Independence Day is when the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence and gained it’s freedom, it got me thinking.  Why am I not seeing more posts about how lucky we are to live in a free society?  Now, I’m going to get political on you but I do want to share with you my thoughts on freedom, how finding your own sense of freedom can tremendously help you live a healthier, happier life.

Freedom is the ability to do anything you want, when you want, wherever you want.  But as we all know, we live in a world with structure and rules.  To me, freedom is the ability to make your own choices and not having to make decisions.  Let me give you an example.  You just got paid and you really want to go to a concert next month but you also have bills due – your car payment, the mortgage, the vet bill for Fluffy’s surgery last month – you get the picture.  So what do you do?  Yes, in theory you have a choice.  But in reality, you are being forced to choose.  In reality, a choice would be paying your bills AND going to the concert because you have the freedom to do so.  Do you see where I’m going now?

What freedom looks like to everyone is different.  You can see freedom and independence in many ways, including monetarily.  But there are many ways to look at it.  If you’re a mom, freedom might be the ability to leave work and pick up your kids early from school.  If you’re a CEO, it might be the freedom to make a huge sale for your company by making the deal on your own.  Only YOU can define freedom.  But for some, it’s hard to know that you can stand on your own, support yourself and not have to lean on anyone.  This is where the brain comes into play.  It can be your best friend or you worst enemy when trying to gain your independence.  Working through personal development can help you deal with these struggles.  But it can be a challenge.

But think of what it would look like to be truly free?  It’s not all puppies and rainbows, but it’s amazing.  Working with a partner, a best friend or having a devil’s advocate to talk through your dilemma can help.  They can offer advice, share ideas with you that you might not have thought of and help you work through what you’re going through.  And sometimes, having a coach is just what you need.  Contact me to find out how you and I can work together to help you find your independence and get you to a life you always wanted.

Law of Attraction

Ever heard of a little thing called The Secret?  If not, you need to read the book.  The Secret is all about the Law of Attraction and really getting everything you want out of life.  The Law of Attraction is the theory that if you want something, you have to believe you already have it and it will eventually come to you.  Everything must remain positive – your thoughts, your environment, etc.  It must be that way because if you believe you do not have something or have negative thoughts surrounding that thing, you will never get it.  I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say you want or need a new car but you don’t have the money.  If your thoughts are only surrounding the lack of money to get that new car, then you won’t ever have enough money to get the car. Confusing, right?  Instead, what you should do is think of yourself having the car already.  Imagine the color, the make and model, how it handles, etc.  This will give your mind’s eye a vision of what the car is like and you will be telling the Universe exactly what you’re looking for.  Putting it out there is a way The Secret can take action for you.

Remember I talked about keeping everything positive?  Well, by doing that, you’re helping the Universe know how you’re thinking, feeling and being when it comes to what you actually what. One positive thought will affect everything around you.  Negative thoughts, though, will also do the same.  It’s like karma.  When you think something bad, sometimes it comes back and hits you like a brick.  But if you think something positively, instead you’ll get puppies and rainbows.

Ok, while I’m being a little silly with the puppies and rainbows, this stuff actually works.  I used to be what I called a Realist.  I was always matter-of-fact, said what was true and talked about my reality.  But when I saw something negative, I would always think that’s the way life was.  I never really saw how things could be until I read The Secret.  Since then, my outlook on life has completely changed.  I’m not more positive about anything.  Maybe too positive, but hey, it’s what works for me.

Now here’s my challenge to you, go out and get The Secret.  You can get it on Amazon or at your local book store.  When you get it, read it and put into action everything you read.  I’m glad I found The Secret and I think you’ll be too.

It’s Good to Be Happy

Ever heard that saying “It’s a good day to be happy”?  Well, that saying could really apply to any day of the week.  Let’s take Monday, for example.  For most people, Mondays can be hard.  It’s the start of the week, no one wants to go back to work and if you’re like Garfield, Mondays can bit you back.

I used to hate Mondays.  And even still, Mondays can be tough.  But every now and then, things go well – I get to work on time, I have my coffee to wake me up, I had enough food to eat during the day, etc.  The list can go on.  And that list can be different for others.  And you might think that I’m totally sugar coating things, but Mondays can be good days.  And I choose to see it that way.

I have learned over time that if you choose to be happy in a sea of people that are living negatively, then you will have a much more fulfilling life.  When I was younger, I was a negative child.  I grew up as a pessimist.  I never thought things were good and that the world was against me.  I told myself this was a realistic way of looking at the world.  Now, I laugh at myself because I think I was trying to protect myself.  Now, I see the brighter side of things.  The world isn’t as dark as I thought it was.

And what’s even better is that being happy is physically good for your health.  In 2012, Julia Boehm of Harvard School of Public Health found that people with a better sense of well-being tend to have healthier blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.  People that fall into this category also tend to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep and avoid smoking.  This sounds to me like it’s where I am now.  Do you fall into this category of people?  While more research needs to be done, it seems that this is the place to be.  If you’re not full there yet, don’t stress.  Just work on it a little each day.  Do some personal development, find a support group and take baby steps to get to the positive person that’s inside you.