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Key Nutrients for a Strong and Active Body

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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

 

 


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Green and Gold Immunity Smoothie

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This is one of my favorite smoothies to have in the mornings or as a post-workout snack. It’s full of protein and super energizing. Try some or all of the superfood additions, they’ll take this smoothie to a whole new level and will provide you with tons of macro and micro nutrients necessary for your radiant body and mind.

Big handful Kale (I like dino/black kale)

8 oz Rice milk (or any low sugar non-dairy milk that you enjoy)

6 pineapple squares (I like to get pre-cut from Whole Foods)

1 banana

1 tbsp. nut butter (I love raw almond butter)

½ C. ice

 

Optional Superfood Additions

For protein: 1 tbsp hemp seeds

For omegas and metabolism health: 1 tbsp coconut oil

For iron and protein: 1 tbsp chia seeds

For energy: 1 tsp maca

For fiber and omegas: 1 tbsp ground flax

Photo Credit: BeeGreenWorld.com


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Three Juices to Smile About

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Acid Wash

1 large grapefruit

2 small oranges

1 cucumber

½ bulb fennel

1 small apple

Full of fiber, this juice is hydrating, alkalizing, and gives a great boost to your immune system! The fennel is cleans out your sinuses and soothes the tummy well, good after a late night. 

Youthenize Me

4 large carrots

3 celery sticks

½ cucumber

2 small oranges

The beta-carotene found in orange fruits and veggies like carrots and oranges is great for cell regeneration which keeps you looking young and fresh faced. The celery and cucumber in this will alkalize your system, combat inflammation and hydrate you, which is another big factor that combats aging.

Sweet Roots

2 Beets

1 pink lady apple

½ cucumber

¼ lemon

½ inch chunk ginger (or more, depending on how much spice you like)

Alright party people, this one’s for you. Beets are a fantastic liver cleanser, which is where your body does all of it’s detoxing, and the cucumber will help to flush it too. The ginger is great for settling a stomach, and is a natural way to boost your energy. 

*Get the most out of your juices by buying organic or shopping at your local farmer’s market!


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Kitchen Tips for the Woman on the Go

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We live in a time of constant business. We rush from the coffee shop to work to yoga to happy hour to committee meetings on a daily basis, and repeat five to seven days a week. Living such intense lives requires that we fuel ourselves with only the best so that we can balance and maintain our demanding routines. Certain brands who’ve recognized this have developed products aimed to fulfill the needs of our society. These products will fill your tummy but don’t typically nourish your mind and body, and tend to be full of sugars and unhealthy additives. Here are some tips on preparing healthy options in the fastest and most efficient way possible, so that you won’t have to sacrifice when it comes to taking care of yourself along with your busy schedule.

1. Start your day off strong

Because you’ve been fasting for the last 5-8 hours, mornings are a great opportunity to nourish yourself with clean, whole foods. Fruit and nuts for breakfast are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and help to jumpstart your metabolism. Before you go to bed put a couple of peaches, some cherries, chopped pineapple or whatever you enjoy in a Tupperware, with a bag of mixed nuts and cranberries in your work bag. These are also great post-workout snacks and healthy afternoon treats. Being so easily transportable they’re great to keep on you at all times.

2.  Stock your kitchen the right way

Keep whole grains like rice, quinoa and farro in the house that you can easily use as a base to build up with vegetables and lean protein. Keep a bag or two of frozen mixed veggies in the fridge for those nights when you just don’t have any fresh ones on hand. Use condiments that you enjoy. Whether it’s a ginger soy sauce or a great pesto you found at the farmer’s market, the right condiment can totally transform an otherwise dull meal. Know what you like and keep it on hand. Buy pre-cut (not canned) fruits at the grocery store like cantaloupe and mango so that you don’t have to fuss with cutting them yourself, and so they’re always available to snack on.

3. Cook once and eat twice

Make a point to cook at least a couple of meals at home a week, and make extra so that you can pack it up in a Tupperware the next day and take with you for lunch. If you have even more, you can change it a bit the following night and have a quick dinner that’s easy to heat up.

4.  Shop for firm, crunchy vegetables

Buying veggies like peppers, carrots, onions, celery and cucumber is amazing because you can chop them all up right when you get home from the grocery and they’ll keep really nicely. When it’s time to prepare a meal you can just throw them in a pan and sauté them, mix them together in a salad, or have with hummus or any other dip. Find ones you enjoy and keep on hand for snacking or meals.

Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to eating well and nourishing your body. By making it a point to shop mindfully and think ahead when it comes to eating and snacking throughout your week you’ll have more energy, stop eating junk that leads to weight gain and other health issues, and will help you develop healthy and lasting habits.


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Baby Steps: How to Accomplish Anything

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Often times when I tell people I do nutritional consulting they launch into their wonderful plans for healthy living, but how they’ve never actually been able to make any of them happen. This issue is all too common. We all know what we need to do to be healthy – drink water, eat more greens, go to bed at a reasonable hour – but actually doing it can be so difficult! The problem is that so many of us feel that we have to wait until the right moment to get into a healthy routine. Unfortunately, when the time comes around to actually make those healthy changes we overload ourselves with way too many tasks, which sets us up for failure. We’ve got the right intentions, but no structure to support the actual achievement of those goals. The trick is focusing on one goal at a time so that eventually – typically after 30 days of consistency – the ‘healthy action’ stops feeling foreign and becomes routine. Here are some tips to turn those nice ideas into concrete healthy habits.

1. Pick one thing at a time

Choose one thing you want to change and start today. It’s much easier to implement a habit when you’re not trying to juggle multiple new things at once. Choose what you’d like to change, and plan to start today.

2. Remember your motivation

Whether it’s losing weight, sleeping better, having more energy, or improving your relationships, what motivates us is key to change. To keep in touch with your motivation, post reminders in your personal space, make a Pintrest board, or simply write down an affirmation each morning to help you stay focused.

3. Find some accountability

Giving up on something feels so much worse when you have to tell someone about it. Share your goal with a friend, partner or parent, and have them check in with you about it every so often. Knowing that someone else is (gently) keeping tabs on you gives you a much higher likelihood that you will stick to your plan. Hey, you might even inspire them to make changes of their own!

4. Get a buddy

Be the friend who inspires, and extend your good intentions out to others. Getting someone else on board creates a fun challenge for both of you. See who can cut out dairy for the longest. Start going to spin class instead of happy hour. Get up at 7 AM on a Saturday to hike Temescal. Having a partner can make it a lot more fun and can get you to go way beyond your initial expectations of yourself.

5. Do things incrementally

Unless you have the most extreme will power on the planet, trying to cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy all at the same time will be the biggest mishap of your life. Pick one thing you want to address and give yourself limits. If you’re trying to do less meat, try meatless Mondays. Then extend it to Tuesdays and so forth. If you want to cut down on sugar, commit to not eating refined sugar until 2 PM every day. Creating structure will help you know that you still have those indulgences to look forward to, but will prevent you from eating them as much as you would otherwise.

Once you tap into your capacity for healthy change, there’s no stopping you. Commit to one thing today, use these tools, and you’ll see positive shifts in all areas of your life.


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Why Fat Isn’t the Enemy

Over the last few years, fat has been demonized. It’s been named the source of our health problems as a society and is associated with all kinds illnesses. As a solution, a large majority of the population now seeks out non-fat or low-fat foods in order to help them keep their calorie count down for the day.

The most critical point to note about making food choices based around fat content is that so many crucial nutrients are missed in this process. Foods that are meant to have fat, things like yogurt, meats, nuts, milk, and oils, have fat for a reason. Yes, eating too much unhealthy fat will lead you to gain weight, but what many cautious consumers tend to misunderstand is the important function fat plays in our bodies’ overall health, and that eating foods injected with artificial additives actually encourages your body to gain weight.

Not all fat is created equal

By now most of us have heard about essential fatty acids (EFAs), omega-3s, omega-6s, saturated fat and trans fats.

In brief:

            Enjoy Omega-3s plentifully

            Eat in moderation: Saturated fats from animals and omega-6s

            Avoid like the plague: Trans fats (partially or fully hydrogenated ANYTHING)

The reason certain fats are called ‘essential’ is because we don’t make them naturally in our bodies, so we must get them from out diet.

EFAs are extremely important for a number of things ranging from healthy hair and skin, to metabolism regulation, to brain health.

The last point is especially important to note, as our brains are 80% fat. Researchers believe that 60% of Americans are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, and that inadequate amounts of EFAs can lead to various health issues including anxiety, depression, ADD and even Alzheimer’s disease. 

Eat fat to lose weight

Healthy fats that come from nuts, avocados, flax and hemp seeds should be included in every meal. Omega-3 fats will not make you gain weight and can actually aid in weight loss. This is possible due to the fact that they help you feel more satisfied after a meal, and more importantly, studies shows that they improve insulin sensitivity.

Insulin sensitivity means that your body responds quickly to insulin, and thus doesn’t require a lot of it to store carbohydrates. When you have high insulin levels, you have high fat storage. Having a high sensitivity to insulin keeps your levels low and allows your body to release fat more easily.

EFAs are extremely good at reducing inflammation, something that precedes obesity and also causes the body to become resistant to a hormone that tells us when we’re full. 

Eat food that grows on a plant, don’t eat foods made in a plant

I harp on this all the time, but eating chemically injected foods that are ‘generally regarded as safe’ by the USDA just don’t cut it for a healthy lifestyle. They mess with your hormones, your brain, and your skin, and certainly won’t help you feel or look good.  

If you’re looking for a healthy diet, it’s simple. I suggest eating things that are naturally low in calories – fruits and vegetables- and things that are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids– nuts, avocadoes, olive oil, hemp seeds, flax and coconut oil. Feel free to enjoy wine, chocolate and coffee, but maintain whole foods high in fiber and nutrients as the core of your diet.