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5 Habits for Exceptional Health

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1. Start your day with awareness

Meditate. Drink tea. Write down three things you’re grateful for.

By paying attention to yourself first thing in the morning you set a peaceful tone for the day ahead, and honor the possibilities of a new day.

2. Only eat when you’re hungry

We make thousands of choices about food every day. Eating should only be done when you’re hungry. Not bored. Not sad. Not lonely. Not drunk. By eating when you’re not hungry you don’t allow your digestive system to relax, and more than likely you’ve got waste hanging out in your intestines that won’t get properly broken down and used for energy. This leads to weight gain, lack of energy, inflammation, and toxicity in the body. When you feel hungry, ask yourself if that’s really what it is. Most of the time, a glass of water, cup of tea, or walk around the block will help get rid of the urge and tide you over until your next meal.

3. Don’t punish yourself

We all do things we’re not proud of, but when it comes to food we tend to be typically brutal on ourselves. If you want desert, eat desert. If you want a glass of wine, enjoy a glass of wine. Don’t look back on it and hate on yourself for it.

By making reasonable indulgences part of your regimen, you won’t go crazy at your niece’s pizza party and pass out covered in ice cream. Commit to a solid foundation of whole, nutrient dense foods, and mindfully appreciate when it comes to enjoying things that aren’t necessarily so healthy.

4. Make exercise an enjoyable ritual

If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. If running the stairs ten times makes you nauseous at the thought of it, stay away from the stairs.

Being active is a critical part of a vibrant life. The most important part of exercising is finding activity that suits you as an individual. This is the only way you’ll stick with it and the only way it will benefit you. Do whatever is in line with what makes you happy. Ride your bike at sunset. Walk your dog for an extra twenty minutes. Join a local team for a sport you played in high school. Pick something and get to it.

5. Eat the colors of the rainbow

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds – these foods are completely packed with all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. Do as best you can to start all your meals with vegetables, and to snack on fruit and nuts during the day.  You’ll have tons of energy, great skin, and a strong immune system, and will save money at the store not buying packaged products.

Photo by Ben Moore


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Eating Right Before and After Your Workout

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The right nutrients are essential to having good energy for your workouts and in providing your body with a speedy recovery. When it comes to exercise, the first thing that comes to mind for many of us is protein. Protein is certainly a very important part of muscle repair, but there are many other minerals that play an important role such as electrolytes, iron, antioxidants, and essential fats. Here are some tips on getting these into your routine, and at what point around your workout you should enjoy them.

1. First thing in the morning
Start your day of with a large glass of water, or warm water with lemon if you have the time. This will hydrate you after a long night of sleep, and the lemon will alkalize your system. This will help reduce any inflammation you have, aids in strengthening your bones, and improves muscle efficiency.

2. Before your workout
Eat something that’s very easy to digest and full of energy. One of my favorites is a juice with a cucumber, celery, grapefruit, and apple. This juice is highly alkalizing and is a great source of electrolytes, which hydrate you and enhance your heart’s efficiency. Because juice is raw it’s packed with nutrients that our bodies can absorb very easily.
Bananas and dates are two of the most energetically packed fruits out there, and because of their texture they’re very easy to digest. Any other fruit will give you a great boost of energy without depleting you during your workout. Stick with things that are light and easy for your body to process, as these will provide you with the most available source of energy for your workout.

3. After your workout
This is an important time to provide your body with a nutrient rich and easily digested meal. I like to start with a kale smoothie, loaded with omegas, protein, fiber, and iron. Greens are packed with chlorophyll, which oxygenates your cells and boosts your energy after intense exercise. You can add anything you want to a smoothie, which makes it the perfect post-workout meal, as you can take care of all your body’s needs in one drink.
Antioxidant-rich berries are great for after a workout, as they speed recovery and protect cellular health. A soothing cup of green tea can do this too. Nuts like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and hemp seeds are excellent sources of protein, so its worth always having those around to snack on. Or, try my raw SuperCereal. If you’re up for it, a spoonful of coconut oil is a quick way to get an omega-3 boost, which will help you burn body fat as fuel more efficiently and improves joint function. A quinoa salad with avocado, tomatoes, spinach, and pumpkin seeds will cleanse your system and provide you with calcium, iron, protein and omega-3s.

By properly taking care of your body before and after your workouts you’ll ensure that you get the most out of your practice, and will also prevent any odd cravings that might arise with an intense regimen. Share your favorite way to get ready for or wind down from a workout, and any recipes you really like!

Photo credit: CityofShamballa.net