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Pantry Clean-Out!!!!!

It’s time for a pantry clean-out.  Most people don’t even think about cleaning out their pantry but I had to.  The timing was right for a lot of reasons.  One, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and I wanted to clean up my diet.  Two, my A-game organization skills were clearly slacking.  And three, I needed to shorten my meal-prep time.  Sounds logical, right?  I thought so too.  So here’s what my pantry looked like before I started.

Looks organized, but trust me, it’s kind of messy.  I tried to place like-foods near each other – breakfast,  snacks, dinner prep, things for a party etc.  This set-up has worked for quite a long time.  Since we’ve moved into this house, really.  The thing I notice when I look at these shelves, though, is that everything is just, put on a shelf.  There really is no organization.  Some things are hidden behind other things, the stuff on the bottom seems to get lost and the foods that I have at eye level may not be the healthiest.  So what did I do?  I literally took everything off the shelves.

Everything was put on the floor so I could go through it all, one item at a time.  This allowed me to get a sense of the space I have available. Doing this took some time, but let me tell you, it was so worth it!  I cannot tell you how much stuff I had that was expired.  Seriously!  I’m talking stuff back to 2015!

After clearing out all the junk and the stuff that was too old to even open, I had to develop a plan.  How was I going to get all my food back on the shelf without it looking like it did before?  I did not want to go back to where I was before and I did not want to have things expiring without me even knowing it.  I knew I needed some help and I knew I needed a few things to help me organize and prep in a way that would work.  Two things immediately came to mind – baskets and snack size bags.  These were the easiest “tools” I could find to help me get e started.

The baskets I got at my local department store for less than $10.  They came in two sizes so I grabbed both.  I didn’t realize it, but I would use them for two different reasons.

The taller, more square baskets I decided I would use for tossing things in.  Prepped foods that would be great for grab-and-go, like granola bars and bagged snacks.  I also used these for putting like-items together, like seasonings.  The shorter, longer baskets I decided I would use more for keeping things together.  Like toppings for my yogurt and salad additions.  Easy peezy!

The other tool I grabbed was snack size Ziploc bags.  The snack size ones.

These I knew would be good for prepping the grab-and-go foods.  I had pretzels, sweet potato and beet chips, sweet potato chips, trail mix and nuts.  Once the snacks were prepped, I tossed them all in one of the taller baskets.

So what did the end result look like?  Well, here it is!  Clean, organized, put together and ready for the taking.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  I felt at peace.  I felt like I could take on the world.

Ok, no, I’m just kidding.  But I did feel like my life was organized again and like I would be able to eat healthy and not feel guilty about what I’m putting into my body.

If you’re still with me, you probably are wondering if you could do this too.  Trust me, you can.  All you need is some time, some energy and maybe a little bit of money.

This project was definitely something I loved doing and it was fun for me.  If you need help going through this exercise, let’s schedule a meet-up.  I’d be happy to come over and help you do your own pantry clean-out.

 

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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.

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.

Need More Activity in Your Desk Job?

I’ve been working a desk job for the past 13 years and I’ve just recently learned how important being healthy really is.  That includes proper nutrition AND physical activity.  You probably already know, but a lack of physical activity can create an onset of many health risks.  Unfortunately, you cannot have one without the other.

For many people with a full time job, it can be very hard to fit in any type of physical activity and therefore they rely solely on nutrition during the week.  Trust me, I get it.  If you have a demanding full time job like me, your focus the majority of the time is at work or dealing with the demands of your household.  If you’re in a corporate setting, it can be even more challenging.

Many people in a corporate work environment, like myself, sitting more than 5 hours a day.  Yes, I said 5 hours.  Crazy, right?  We’re either working at our desk or in meetings the majority of the day.  Unfortunately this sitting can lead to decreased longevity, among other things.  The American Journal of Preventative Medicine actually found that sitting for long stretches of time can increase our risk for heart disease and cancer.  What’s even more shocking is that even if people had physical activity in their lives, their lifespan was still shortened because of the extended periods of sitting.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to live a long, healthy, happy life.  So what do we do to slow the aging process?  One way to do this is to switch to a standing desk or one that can be adjusted throughout the day.  While many corporate offices do not have this luxury yet, I believe there is a movement to go in this direction.  The organization I work for not only has adjustable desks, it also has walk stations where individuals can walk at a slow pace while they work.  I should consider myself lucky.

Another way to get in some activity during your day is to change up your meetings.  Switch from meetings in a conference room to mobile meetings and hold your meetings on the go.  This mobile meeting allows for business activities to take place while allowing small groups for people to get moving.  Think of it in the Spring or Summer – get in some fresh air and get work done!  It’s the best of both worlds, really.

Unfortunately, both of these options may not work for you.  If that’s the case and you just cannot find time to leave your desk, why not get in some activity at your desk.  For starters, make sure you’re sitting with the best posture you have.  This means sitting up straight with your abdominal muscles engaged.  Sitting like this helps you strengthen your core and can help to reduce the early onset of cancer.

Want to kick it up a notch?  Do some leg lifts while at sitting.  This will not only work the strongest muscle group in your body – your legs – but also your core.  If you keep weights or stretch bands at your desk, you can even add some intensity.  You can do even more too!  Just think about squats, tricep dips and wall push-ups just to name a few.

The biggest recommendation I have for you is to stand and stretch at least once an hour.  Stretch your arms and legs as both areas of your body may get stiff.  Whatever you decide, make sure you at least attempt to factor in some physical activity throughout your day.  It can be as little or as much as you want, but I promise you, your body and mind will thank you later.

I’d love to hear what activities you fit in during your workday!  Comment below to share some ideas.

Halloween Candy or Healthy Lifestyle?

Trick-or-treat!  That’s what children say when they go to the front door on Halloween, right?  What if it had another meaning?

To me, “Trick” relates to anything that is going to trick me into derailing from my plan.  It could be the candy from Halloween, the extra stuffing at Thanksgiving or even the champagne at New Years.  Yes, I will partake in a little of the indulgences, but I don’t allow the treats to completely steer me off my path.

“Treat” to me is the healthy lifestyle I’ve chosen to lead.  I get to treat myself because I’ve changed my lifestyle and I can live a little.  It’s because I live the healthy lifestyle that I can have one or two pieces of Halloween candy.  The real treat, is being healthy and allowing my body to have what it really needs to survive.

Now that Halloween has passed, what is your plan to get back on track?  Are you going to continue to indulge and trick yourself into thinking the path you’re on is ok?  OR…are you going to change up what you’re doing and treat yourself?  Either way, the decision is yours.  If you are thinking of changing it up, there are things you can do!

  1. Start to reduce your “boxed foods” and increase your “clean” ones. – If you read the ingredients on a box, I bet some of the ingredients you either won’t know or can’t pronounce.  Each time you go to the grocery store, stick to the outside aisles more and more.  That’s where the good stuff is!
  2. Add physical activity into your lifestyle. – You can start small too.  Start with 2-3 days a week and over time, increase the number of days.
  3. Eliminate the soda! – By removing soda out of your diet, you will reduce your chances of becoming a diabetic and help you lose weight.  Instead of soda, go with water that’s infused with fruit.  And if you like the bubbly, try a carbonated water.
  4. Find an accountability partner. – This can be anyone!  Someone you work with, one of your family members, someone you know online through social media.  Wherever you find that person, stay in contact so you can start this new lifestyle together and hold each other accountable.
  5. Set goals and stick to them. – By writing out your goals, you are more likely to stick to them.  What I suggest doing is writing out your goals and post them around the house wherever you are likely going to see them…on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, on the back of the front door, etc.  The more place you post them, the more they will remind you that you are doing this for a reason.

I am not a nutritionist and I am not a doctor, but I have learned a lot since I started my own journey.  I can help you find the right program fro you that you can do right in the comfort of your own home and I can help you with the proper nutrition you need to get started.  After reading this, if you are serious about starting your journey and need help getting started, message me.  Finding this healthy lifestyle has really helped me and I cannot wait to pay it forward!

Meatless Mondays

While traveling on a business trip awhile ago, I read an article in Men’s Fitness magazine about something called the Meatless Monday Movement.  It made me start to think…and gave me some very interesting takeaways:

  • It takes 1,846 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef.  It only takes 39 gallons of water to yield the same amount of veggies.
  • Farm-animal waste is funneled into football field size lagoons that release toxic gases such as nitrous oxide and methane.

The first point was shocking and yes, the second one was even more shocking than the first.  I could not believe this when I read the article.  The article even went on to say that if everyone gave up meat and cheese for just one day, once a week for a year, the impact on greenhouse gases would be the equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road.  Yes, I said MILLION!

I want to be up front and say I am not a vegetarian and I am not a vegan because I do like to eat chicken, fish and turkey, mostly.  I am not someone who likes to eat a lot of red meat but will have a burger every now and then.

This article, though.  It really made me think.  What if I started a Meatless Monday in my house?  Would my husband go along with it?  When I read this article, I wasn’t sure.  I thought it was something worth trying, though.  I thought if i could slowly incorporate this idea into my house it wouldn’t be so hard to do.  I would be doing my part for the world and we would be eating clean and healthy.

We tried it and it’s worked.  There are a few meals we have each week now that are meatless and it’s been kind of fun coming up with different meals.  One of my favorites is my Southwestern Tacos.  If you really cannot remove meat from your diet, then my recommendation is to choose antibiotic-free, pasture raised beef and antibiotic-free, free-range chicken that are raised using sustainable farming practices.  You may have to do some research to find farmers in your area but they are out there.

Have you tried Meatless Monday in your house?  Share your favorite recipe below and help those thinking of joining the Movement.

**Product Review** – 3 Day Refresh

Wow!  This 3 Day Refresh kit was EXACTLY what I needed.  What is it?  It’s a program brought to you by Team Beachbody that consists of a meal plan for three days.  It’s three (3) daily shakes, a fiber drink, plenty of filtered water and an assortment of fruits, veggies and healthy fats that you choose from your own market.  Sounds complicated?  Well, I promise you, it’s not.

 

Every day, I had 8-10oz. of filtered water when I woke up.

Breakfast was Shakeology, some fruit and a cup of herbal tea, if I wanted it.

Mid-morning snack was the Fiber Sweep shake.

Lunch was a Vanilla Fresh shake, some fruit, some veggies and a healthy fat.

Mid-afternoon snack was veggies and a healthy fat.

Dinner was another Vanilla Fresh shake and a dinner from the recipe book.

 

That’s it!  It was so easy, especially because you could prep the same food for three days in a row and save time.

One of the things I was worried about was whether I could work out or not.  I’m happy to say that I could workout.  Moderate exercise is recommended so instead of doing a high intensity interval training, I would walk to work and walk home from work every day.  I walked more than five (5) miles a day.

Sounds a little more simple now, right?!  It was…very simple!  In just the three days, I lost five (5) pounds too!  The 3 Day Refresh helped me get off my plateau and made me feel so much better.  Want more info?  Contact me below and we’ll get you started on your own path to refreshing your body!

What Really is a Health Coach?

 

I was asked this question today and wondered if other people are curious what it is too.  When I think about a health coach, I think about the people in the world that help others with the health and wellness goals.  The truth is, a health coach can be so much more than just a personal trainer or a nutritionist.

A health coach really is the guidance that helps you while you’re on your journey.  This person can be your support system, a friend, an ally, a confidant.  A health coach helps you learn the ropes and helps you transition that learning into real action.  In most cases, a health coach and their client learn together.

Health coaches are different from personal trainers, nutritionists, clinicians and educators.   In most cases, the client does not have access to a personal trainer or nutritionist between sessions.  The client of a health coach would have access in between sessions because communication is key to helping the client grow inside and out.  A physician or an educator can give the client all the information in the world and share how this information would help the client be healthy, but in some cases, the physician or educator doesn’t help the client learn how to put it into action.  A health coach would help the client really put the information given into action through cooking demonstrations or workshops.

Don’t get me wrong, a health coach does not replace a physician, personal trainer or a nutritionist.  But a health coach can supplement the care received from these individuals.  Today there are endless opportunities to start a journey toward a healthy, happy life, but where do you start?  This is where a health coach can come in and help guide a client.  A health coach can help the client choose the right meal plan or fitness plan right for the individual.  And the health coach can help the client stick to it.

I recently became a certified health and wellness coach and the information I’ve learned in the past year is amazing.  I want to share it with people and help others learn what it feels like to live a healthy, happy, balanced life.  Are you someone looking for an addition to your current healthcare routine?  Connect with me today and set up your free consultation.

Southwestern Meatless Taco

 

Ingredients:

1/4 medium avocado, mashed

2 tbsp. fresh salsa or pico de gallo

3/4 cup of cooked black beans

3/4 cup of cooked brown rice

1/4 cup of cooked corn

1/4 cup of diced tomato

1/4 cup of diced onion

1 6″ corn torilla

 

Combine mashed avocado and fresh salsa in a small bow; mix well.  Set aside.

Place black beans, rice and corn on one half of tortilla and fold.

Serve with avocado and salsa mixture.

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

 

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium cucumer, partially peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp. chopped red onion

1 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tbsp. chopped basil leaves

Himalayan salt, to taste (optional)

Herbal seasoning, to taste (optional)

 

Combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and oil in a small bow; mix well.  Set aside.

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, basil, salt (if desired) and seasoning blend (if desired) in a large bow; mix well.

Drizzle dressing over cucumber mixture; toss gently to blend.

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