How To Heal Your Body With Whole Foods

Every day we make choices that will either support or worsen our health and wellbeing. The food you eat today impacts how you’ll live tomorrow. Food is supposed to be nourishing and pleasurable. Every time you eat, it’s an act of self-care but everything you put into your body is a choice you make and will have a direct impact on your mood, energy and health.

While eating on the go can seem like a time saver for busy people, it can actually have a detrimental effect on your digestive system leading to an upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea. A healthy gut is the foundation for optimal health and wellbeing.

Thankfully a whole food plant-based diet helps your body receive the right nutrition through adsorption, digestion and elimination.

By adding a few small changes one step at a time, you can help improve your health right now. Start by replacing unhealthy foods with healthy whole food alternatives.

13 Healthy Food Swaps

  • Avocado or apple sauce instead of butter
  • Whole fruit instead of juice or smoothie
  • Plant milk instead of dairy
  • Cinnamon instead of sugar
  • Veggie bowls instead of burritos
  • Garden salad with walnuts instead of fries
  • Popcorn (plain)  instead of chips
  • Trail mix instead of candy
  • Brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice
  • Almond yogurt (unsweetened) instead of Greek yogurt
  • Frozen bananas instead of ice-cream
  • Cacao instead of cocoa
  • Energy balls instead of cookies

Would you like to add more plant-based foods to your diet? Book a session with me here

How To Restore Yin Energy For Feminine Wellbeing

The principles of yin and yang date back to China. The symbol represents the belief that everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary. 

Yin is the female energy which represents restorative and receptive energy. Yang is the masculine, action-focused energy. We need both in life to stay healthy and balanced.

In today’s busy world it’s crucial that we take time to balance these energies. In particular, we need to replenish our yin energy from sleep deprivation and workaholism. Slowing down and taking the time to nourish yourself will have a positive ripple effect that will restore your energy, creativity and mental/emotional balance. 

How To Restore Yin Energy for Feminine Wellbeing

  • Meditate
  • Be in nature every day 
  • Surround yourself with people you love
  • Nourish your body by eating a whole food plant-based diet
  • Hydrate with water
  • Slow down 
  • Reduce the use of technology
  • Get 8 hours sleep
  • Practice moments of stillness by doing nothing
  • Be present
  • Wind down and relax in the evening hours
  • Be patient with yourself and others
  • Limit time in loud or crowded places
  • Attend a yin yoga class
  • Do something creative
  • Journaling
  • Be receptive

By nourishing yin energy you can be in harmony with yourself and maintain balance.

Would you like to have more confidence and balance in your life? Book a session with me here

 

 

The Fit Student: Keeping Active While Studying Hard

If being a college student isn’t hard enough these days, wondering how to find time to workout in college, can feel like a difficult task in itself. Having to dedicate countless hours a week to classes, homework, studying, exams, extracurricular activities and perhaps even a part-time job – doesn’t give you much room in terms of how to find time to workout in college. Just the idea of having another thing on your plate is enough to make you want to stay home and order take-out instead.

One of the reasons why a lot of students find it difficult to balance school and exercise is because they don’t know where to start. By trying these useful tips and tools, you’ll never have to wonder “how to fit in exercise with school” again. Having a busy schedule workout plan that you can turn to at anytime, makes life a little easier no matter how busy you are.

How Do I Fit Exercise Into My Schedule?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a gym on campus, make the most of it. It’ll save you time and money. Whether its lifting weights, running on the treadmill or hitting up a punching bag, there is something for every type of workout at the college gym. Students who are motivated by exercise tend to have better time management skills too.

You can also find out if your college offers any free or discounted fitness classes and take as many as you can. Most college gyms will offer a variety of options, ranging from karate and kickboxing to yoga. Having a fitness class in your schedule will encourage you to visit the gym more regularly.

Look for recreation center bulletin boards, which often include flyers for anyone who wants to join cycling clubs, swim teams or rock-climbing crews.

Try taking a walk or bike to classes and around campus. During a study session, take a break every 30 minutes to walk a few laps around the library or climb a set of stairs in your building.

How Do I Exercise Everyday?

It is recommended that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for just 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. Add some fun into your workout time by listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks. By making your workouts something you’ll actually look forward to doing, you’ll be more likely to do them.

If your schedule simply won’t allow you to join a sport’s team or visit the gym, consider using your dorm room. Clear a spot on the floor for jogging on the spot, doing jumping jacks, or for strength training exercises such as chair dips, push-ups, squats and lunges – next time you’re watching Netflix. That way you’ll look forward to exercising at the end of a long day or make it a great way to kick-start your morning.

There are many great fitness apps available on the market today with a workout plan for everyone. Look for apps with a personalized workout that allows you to set how long you want to exercise. Then follow the video trainer shown onscreen and start working out. It’s great for someone looking for variety in his or her workout routine. Most of the workouts don’t require equipment but offer countless different exercises. They’re great for full-body workouts too, since you can look for ones that offer strength, cardio, stretching, and yoga.

How Do You Incorporate Fitness In Your Life?

It’s important to make sure you find an exercise routine that you’ll actually look forward to doing everyday. But first you’ll need to schedule it. Once you put it on the calendar, all you have to do is make sure your workout is enjoyable enough that you’ll want to it, or social enough that you have a reason to go. Before you know it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t find the time to exercise sooner.

Use the weekend to schedule longer workouts. We often have more time on the weekends and more energy.

You may want to consider joining your college’s Ultimate Frisbee team, which is a great way to meet new people and get a full body workout. You will be working your legs and hips by squatting, throwing and jumping to catch a frisbee. While there is a lot of legwork, your arms will feel it too, especially if you play a handler role in offense.

Looking for more healthy tips? Book a session with me here

The Fit 9-to-5er: Working Out While Working Hard

When life gets busy, exercise for a busy person always seems to go on the back burner. Between meetings, deadlines, emails and phone calls; the only thing you wind up getting is an emotional workout instead.

But if you’re serious about making exercise a part of your life, you’ll need a step-by-step guide to create a busy schedule workout plan, that you can realistically stick to no matter how busy life gets.

How Do I Fit Exercise Into My Schedule?

If no time to exercise work too much is a recurring thought in your head, having a job that keeps you chained to your desk certainly makes it hard to meet your fitness goals; but it’s not impossible. Keep a pair of dumbbells in your drawer or under your desk to sneak in a set or two of arm exercises while watching a webinar.

Doing calf raises will strengthen your lower legs.  There are a lot of different ways to do calf raises, but one of the easiest and most effective is doing the standing raise.

Lunges strengthen your lower body and increase overall flexibility.  Lunges can be done anywhere. You can even lunge when you walk from your desk to the water cooler at work.

Squats are one of the most effective full body exercises around because they simultaneously work to build muscle and burn fat.

If you have a corporate office gym, make the most out of equipment you have access to. Take a moment away from your desk to do a workout. Employees who find time to exercise improve their health and wellbeing, which can have significant benefits for your business, such as increased productivity. Constant work stress and frustration can lower productivity.

 How Do I Exercise Everyday?

Even if your day is busy with meetings and commitments, finding just 15 minutes to exercise is enough to do your body good. It’s important to keep in mind that any form of exercise is better than none, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not clocking in one hour of exercise a day.

Regular exercise promotes the release of mood boosting endorphins. Exercise also helps you sleep better, giving you more energy throughout the day.

The goal is to increase your overall fitness levels through movement. Try rallying up your co-workers during your coffee or lunch break and aim for a brisk 15 minute walk. Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you.

Next time you have a conference call or a few calls to return, consider picking up your phone and going for a walk. Strive to walk whenever you’re on the phone.

Walking has proven be extremely beneficial for health. It improves fitness, strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol levels and body fat.  The fresh air and endorphins will spark more creative ideas. You’ll also feel more enthusiastic, less tense, and generally more relaxed and able to cope during the afternoons.

How Do You Incorporate Fitness In Your Life?

You will need to make time for exercise so first of all you to need assess how many days per week you would like to work out. Try scheduling the majority of your workouts for Monday through Friday. That way if you miss one or two days you can schedule sessions on the weekends.

Typically weekends work best for longer workouts. Even if you visit friends and family and have activities planned, aim to include at least 30-minutes of exercise, which could be a brisk walk around your local park or weather permitting, a walk along the beach. Your goal should be to maintain 10,000 steps a day. The best way to do that is to get a pedometer at your local sporting store, or download an app that converts your phone to a pedometer. Those wearing pedometers tend to walk more because they’re more conscious of their steps. Climbing a flight of stairs is the equivalent of walking 100 steps.

Find work out buddies by joining a walking or hiking group. It’s a great way to get out and make new friends while improving your health all at the same time.

To beat boredom, do activities you actually enjoy. Try new activities such as yoga or a Spinning class to add variety to your workouts. Find a local fitness studio that offers strength and cardio classes at convenient times. Putting a class on your calendar is like having an appointment you won’t forget.

Looking for more healthy tips? Book a session with me here

25 Travel Nutrition Tips to Help You Eat Healthy While Traveling

Whether you’re heading out on a business trip or taking a vacation, being away from home and routine can throw many of us off our nutrition game. A long flight or car trip can mean being stuck in your seat for hours on end but that doesn’t mean letting boredom give in to temptation. Believe it or not, many of the unhealthy cravings we experience on the road can be satisfied with a refreshing drink of pure water. Besides, staying hydrated, water helps you eat less by staying full and energized.

With so many fast food chains and large food portions served in restaurants, being too casual and having a mindset of, “I can eat whatever I want”, can actually wind up working against you, leaving you bloated, irritable and tired. Therefore, the phrase “If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing”, rings true.

Make eating healthy while on vacation a goal by sticking to a normal eating routine as much as possible. When you go for long periods of time without eating, you’re far more likely to pick up something unhealthy. Live by the golden rule of eating something every 2-3 hours. It doesn’t have to be much, just a handful of nuts or a small tub of unsweetened non-dairy yogurt to keep your hunger at bay.

Being prepared is your first step. You can still indulge in a nutritious diet while on the go. Here are 25 nutrition tips to help you eat healthy while traveling so you can plan accordingly and stay happy, healthy and energized while you’re on the road.

In The Car

By the time you’ve hit the road everyone in the car has a ravenous appetite. The last thing you want is to have an endless supply of junk food. Instead, pack a few snacks and easy meals. To keep things fresh, bring some airtight containers and a cooler along. Here are some foods to eat while traveling in a car:

  • Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • Home-made hummus with baby carrots
  • Gluten-free vegan sandwiches
  • Quinoa black bean salad
  • Celery stuffed with almond butter

On The Plane

While most airlines don’t provide healthy food choices, you can still plan ahead so that you can stay on track with your healthy eating goals. Instead of spending money on fast food at the airport or junk food on board, you can save time and money by being prepared. Traveling with some protein sources and a full litre of water can help prevent dehydration and fatigue, as well as excessive hunger and overeating later. Consider these healthy options next time you travel so when the flight attendant comes around passing out bags of pretzels, you’ll be able to reach for a healthy snack alternative.

  • Rice cakes with almond butter
  • Home-made hummus
  • Homemade trail mix (raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts)
  • Larabar’s
  • Whole fruit

At The Hotel

Find out ahead of time if there is a supermarket nearby. The good news is there is supermarkets pretty much everywhere. Ask hotel staff for recommendations. You can also request a refrigerator or microwave in your room to keep anything that you’ve purchased from going bad. Stock your hotel refrigerator so you have snacks on hand if you get the late-night munchies.

  • Non-dairy milk
  • Pre-cut veggies (carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery)
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Nut butter
  • Brown paper bags and popcorn kernels to pop in the microwave

By The Shore

When you need energy for a long hike, a long drive, or a day at the beach, stick with high-quality plant-based protein. It’s important to eat balanced meals throughout the day and to include a plant-based protein, such as tempeh, nuts or legumes and add some veggies to your plate. Be sure to include some of these healthy foods choices:

  • Collard Green wraps
  • Brown rice salad
  • Rice cakes with avocado
  • Homemade vegan sushi
  • Homemade energy bars

Dining

Depending on your accommodation, having access to a kitchen at an Airbnb as well as other vacation rental services, can set you up with all the amenities of home and are usually the least expensive option compared to a hotel. This means you can buy and cook your own food, which can save you money on a trip. Or search out healthy restaurant options close to the hotel you will be staying in. Here are some smart healthy choices:

  • Steamed vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes
  • Tempeh
  • Quinoa salad

Looking for more healthy tips? Book a one-to-one session with me here

7 Ingredients to Avoid When Choosing Your Protein Bars

Protein bars are a perfect snack for people who simply don’t have the time to sit down for a complete meal and who are looking for a quick, nourishing and convenient snack on the go. But how healthy are these protein bars? Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s actually in them?

While the very mention of a protein bar can conjure up an image of perfect health in one’s mind, it is extremely important to choose your protein bars very carefully, since they can truly make or break your health. Many protein bars vary from being healthy and nutritious to being completely loaded with harmful ingredients such as: hydrogenated oils, sugars, chemicals, additives and fillers, as well as preservatives. If you’ve ever wondered do protein bars make you put on weight? In truth, the answer is yes. These harmful ingredients can actually lead to stomach problems and weight gain.

Perhaps you’ve even asked yourself, are protein bars good to eat for breakfast? While starting your day with a delicious high protein breakfast does keep you satisfied all day, it’s important to opt for whole foods over protein bars. However, by choosing high protein bars made with real ingredients, most will range anywhere from 3 – 20 grams of protein per serve but you’ll want to pay attention to good sources of fat, carbs and fiber. The amount of protein you need depends on your needs and your activity levels. A bar with 6 grams of protein would be ideal.

What To Look For

Before you buy another protein bar, you’ll need to educate yourself on the seven most common unhealthy protein bar ingredients, along with what makes them the worst protein bars and why you should avoid them.

Soy Protein Isolate (SPI)

While all soy is not created equally, soy protein isolate is processed as unhealthy soy. The process of “isolating” the soy protein can leave behind traces of the neurotoxins hexane and aluminium and even cause digestive issues due to higher concentrations of trypsin inhibitors that could block the digestion of plant protein. If it isn’t organic, you can count on it containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Look for soy free protein bars.

Carrageenan

A seaweed derivative that’s used as an emulsifier in many products, carrageenan is often found in protein bars. It has been known to cause intestinal irritation in many people. Always check the label for this ingredient if you suspect that it’s a problem for you.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Made by adding enzymes to corn syrup to convert its glucose into fructose, HFCS is a chemically made sweetener that studies have linked to weight gain, increased abdominal fat and insulin resistance thanks to the high fructose content. Choose low sugar protein bars.

Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is a cheap and unhealthy fat. Unlike plain palm oil, palm kernel oil can’t be obtained organically. Instead the oil must be extracted from the pit with gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvent. The fractionated form is the most processed.

Sugar Alcohols

This includes ingredients like Maltitol Syrup, Xylitol, Sorbitol, Lactitol, Mannitol and Erythritol. Sugar alcohols are included in bars for sweetness, especially in low carb protein bars. Sugar alcohol doesn’t impact blood sugar as much as regular sugar because they’re not well absorbed in the digestive tract.

Artificial Sweeteners

One of the most harmful ingredients commonly found in protein bars is artificial sweeteners, which can lead to severe insulin imbalances in the body and which, in turn, can lead to blood-sugar spikes that will increase cravings for sweet foods. Some research even suggests that these artificial compounds may hinder your body’s natural ability to produce a hormone responsible for controlling the feeling of satiety and blood-sugar levels – a hormone called GLP-1 – which makes you feel even hungrier after consuming the protein bar, instead of satisfied. Artificial sweeteners not only make you overeat, but they can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Inulin                                                                                                                      

A type of soluble fiber found in asparagus, onions and artichokes, works as a prebiotic to promote digestion and good gut bacteria. However, the inulin found in most protein bars is extracted from chicory root to raise the fiber count. When consumed in large amounts, it can actually do the opposite to promote healthy digestion leading to an upset stomach, diarrhoea, gas, bloating or constipation.

Looking for more healthy tips? Book a session with me here

 

 

Healthy Vegan Travel Snacks For The Plane

When it comes to travel and healthy food options, often the two don’t go hand-in-hand, especially given the limited choices available in an airport that are either overpriced or loaded with sugar, fat and calories. And let’s not forget the unhealthy food choices on the actual flight itself.

The best way to avoid sabotaging your diet is to save time and money by bringing your own healthy travel snacks for the plane and airport. You can do this by planning ahead of time without spending hours in the kitchen the night before. Preparing easy snacks takes about an hour, which means, you can do this on the same morning that you’re leaving.

Packing your own healthy travel snacks will also help you resist the temptation and help you stay on track with your diet. They key is to focus on protein snacks that will help you stay energized and keep those hunger pangs at bay.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports several structures in your body and many people rely on protein supplements to get their recommended daily amount. It is also an essential nutrient needed for muscle growth and repair.

Grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are quality sources of protein to include in a healthy diet. Sunflower seeds provide 6 g of the macronutrient in a just quarter-cup serving (or a small child’s handful). Combine seeds with nuts and dried fruit in a trail mix for snacking. Almonds and cashews provide a healthy source of protein with approximately 8 g and 5 g per a quarter-cup serving.

Healthy Vegan Snacks For The Plane

  • Fresh fruit (Apples, bananas, grapes, cherries, berries)
  • Cut up veggies (Broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, snap peas, celery sticks)
  • Nuts
  • Rice cakes (plain)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)
  • Dry quinoa flakes in a cup (add hot water in-flight)
  • Trail Mix
  • Nut butter packets
  • Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • Home-made hummus or guacamole
  • Almond butter stuffed dates
  • Air-popped popcorn (plain)

Want to add more plant-based foods to your diet or transition to a vegan lifestyle? Click here to book a session with me.

 

 

 

 

10 Self-Care Tips For Women To Boost Oxytocin

“Slow down, this ain’t the Mainland”, is a catchy phrase here in Hawaii, referring to the speed limit and slower pace of life in Hawaii. But slowing down is also a healthy approach to self-care.

Sometimes a busy schedule just gets in the way of taking care of yourself, but letting that happen can actually make things worse. Neglecting self-care can actually have a negative affect on your wellbeing by keeping you stuck in unhappy and unhealthy behaviors.

Taking time each day to nurture ourselves is an act of self-love, which also boosts oxytocin aka the “love hormone”. Look for activities that promote inner peace and calm, that allow you to unwind from stress and get in touch with your needs. Be creative with your self-care and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

10 Self-Care Tips For Women To Boost Oxytocin

  • Meditate
  • Eat a whole-food plant based meal
  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Read an inspiring book
  • Take a relaxing aromatherapy bath
  • Be mindful with a cup of tea
  • See a movie
  • Get a massage
  • Tap into creativity with a mindful coloring book
  • Light some candles and listen to music

Do something to nurture yourself every day. You matter.

Do you want to be the best version of yourself? Click here to book a wellness coaching session with me.

How The Gut Affects Your Mood

Did you know the health of your gut plays a key role role in your overall health and wellbeing? There is actual truth to the saying “go with your gut”, as research has found a powerful connection between the mind and body.

Many people experience digestive problems such as bloating and stomach pain on a regular basis. What you eat can help or hurt your digestive system, and influence how you feel. Emotions and thought patterns can contribute to imbalances within the body, and therapies like hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation and yoga, are being used to reestablish balance and promote health.

Certain food additives such as emulsifiers may affect your gut health. Emulsifiers are added to many processed foods like gluten-free bread, to improve texture and extend shelf life. However, they can actually cause more harm to your gut flora.

Try to eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts can provide a healthy variety of different fibers and nutrients to your diet. Plus the more fiber and whole foods you eat, the less room you’ll have for unhealthy options. Start increasing your fiber intake with small amounts throughout the day. 

Non-dairy probiotics can also improve your gut health. These are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria.” Probiotics are available in dietary supplements and in certain foods, such as non-dairy yogurt.

Are you looking to transition to a whole food plant-based lifestyle? I’d love to help you on your path to wellness.

Click here to book a session with me. Don’t forget to take advantage of my FREE 15 minute phone consult. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Your “Healthy” Diet Is Making You Unhealthy

I wrote a column for Vegan Voice magazine for several years. One of the most commonly asked questions I got from readers was how they could lose weight despite the fact that they were already vegan. It turns out all of these people were consuming highly processed fake meat alternatives and other types of vegan junk food.

Start with real food by eating a whole food plant-based diet. Whole food is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, that will also make you feel lighter and satisfy your appetite for longer.

Whole foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes 
  • Fruits

Would you like to add more plant-based foods to your diet? Have more energy and vitality? Book a session with me here