Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Goal Survival Guide For The Holiday Weekend Ahead

Holiday weekends in the summer can derail a healthy eating plan in a minute. Actually, any Holiday can knock you off track in an instant. The good news is you can and you will survive! Better yet, you will stay on course to reach your goals IF you follow the simple guidelines of portion control. We've all heard it a million times, "You can enjoy anything, as long as it's in moderation." We know it but the key is actually DOING it!

1. PORTION CONTROL: Stick to proper serving sizes! You can still enjoy ALL of the foods at your cook out just don't over indulge! Also remember you can overeat on healthy foods. If portion control is something you really struggle with you should check out the 21 Day Fix. The challenge pack is on special all weekend long in my shop! This portion control system allows you to enjoy brats, pasta salad and even wine. Just keep in mind that the healthier your food choices, the quicker you reach your results!

2. SKIP THE BUNS: Unnecessary processed breads can set you back big time. Grab a fork and knife and enjoy your burger or brat without taking in empty calories. This will also slow you down while eating, allowing your body to recognize the nourishment.

3. MORE VEGGIES PLEASE: Grab your plate and head to the salad and veggie side of the table first! This will fill you up with the delicious healthy foods leaving little room for the not-so-great-for-you options. (Natural portion control ;) )

4. DRINK MORE WATER: You should be taking in half of your body weight in ounces a day already, but when you add in being outside in the heat and alcohol to the mix you need even more! It'd be best to skip the alcohol, but if you are enjoying some spirits, make sure to drink plenty of water. It will help keep you full and satiated and also keep you hydrated throughout the rest of the day. 

5. DON'T OVERTHINK IT: You know the foods that are beneficial to your body and that one's that work against you reaching your goals. If you are going to partake in the latter, think back to portion control. If it's a "cheat treat" savor it, every bite of it BUT do NOT beat yourself up over it.

So this weekend enjoy the barbecues and enjoy the last weekend of summer! Just be smart about it!

If anything at all remember this,  Everything is permissible, but everything is NOT beneficial.

For more support and accountability reaching your fitness and nutrition goals fill out an application to join my next online challenge group!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Did you know that in Asian countries the strawberry has been deemed "the queen of fruits" because it is PACKED with numerous health benefits. Compared to other fruits, strawberries have the highest amount of nutrients in them! Thats not all though- Strawberries...

1. Help burn stored fat
2. Boost short term memory
3. Low in Calories-High in Fiber
4. Ease inflammation
5. Lower cardiovascular disease
6. Promote bone health
7. Prevent esophageal cancer
8. Contain anti-aging properties
9. Great for weight loss (in proper portion sizes of course #21DayFix
10. Promote eye health

Now you know why they are always at the TOP of the list of fruits to reach for! **Feel Free To Share**

(Don't forget to wash them first! Head here for an easy & effective way to clean fruits/veggies and make them last)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Downward Dogging 101

Ever hear of the yoga move "Down Dog" and try it and think to yourself, 'This isn't even doing anything, how is this a workout move? Am I supposed to feel something?' Chances are you are doing it wrong! But don't you fret my friends, I am here to help! Follow these steps and you will FEEL the BURN!

Step 1: Get in plank position. 
Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, feet separated, core tight, heels pressing towards the wall behind you and legs tight! Your head should be in a neutral spine. ((Think of how your head is when you're standing and looking forward. Your head isn't tilted back or forward--do the same while in plank- no bent necks!))
((Just holding plank you should be feeling it, if you're not: focus on tightening that core i.e butt down, pelvis slightly tucked under and squeeze those booty cheeks))

Step 2: Down Dog.
Push your body up and back using your hands. Your hands and feet should stay in the same place as they are in plank. Lift your tailbone to the ceiling while pressing your heels towards the floor. Your head should be framed by your arms. Spread your fingers to help keep you in place and to keep your arms straight. Suck your belly in keeping your core tight and lift your tailbone..if that's too much have a slight bend in your knees 

Focus on what you are doing with your body! 

You should feel this in your back, core, shoulders and HAMSTRINGS!!

Give it a try.. NOW do you feel it?! Let me know!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Are you losing the can't-fall-asleep, can't-stay-asleep battle every night? The bags and dark circles under my eyes speak for themselves for my answer to that question. I have had the hardest time getting to sleep, then staying asleep, and then getting out of bed in the morning is a struggle too. I'm giving these tips a try and hoping that in a few days, I'll have a rhythm going and will be much more well rested. After all, good sleep is the secret to better skin, weight loss, better energy and a better mood.

>>Turn on the lights as soon as you wake! This helps your body get a jumpstart on the day.  Staying in the dark produces a constant production of melatonin (the sleepiness hormone) in your body.

>>Work out first thing. Whether it's a brisk walk, a PIYO workout or getting right down to P90X3 business, has been proven to help people sleep longer and better throughout the night following the exercise than those who did the same workout later in the day.  Getting it done not only keeps you energized and on track with your nutrition the rest of the day, but will keep the Z's going longer!

>>Keep your blinds open.  We need light exposure and those who get it can sleep longer by 47 minutes.  It also helps you from getting drowsy throughout your day.

>>Add salmon to your meal rotation. Omega-3 rich foods, when eaten regularly, may boost the effects of melatonin.  Salmon is the best source of the heart-healthy fats, but it is also found in flaxseed and grass-fed beef.

>>Don't eat unhealthy fatty foods before you head to bed. This means skip the pizza, nachos, and fried anything.  Your body has to work overtime to digest these high fat foods, which can keep you up. If you need a midnight snack grab about 6 almonds. It's a healthy snack with protein and fats that will help stabilize your blood sugar through the night.

>>Ban bright electronics at least 90 minutes before bed. Yeah, I said it. No phone, computer or TV. Our eyes associate that kind of brightness with daylight.  This signals the body to stay awake.  Grab a book and unwind. If you insist on electronics, make sure the screen settings are dim.

>>Write down anything that's bothering you, especially your to-do list.  I personally keep a notebook and pen in my bedside table. This lets me get them out of my head and calms my mind.

>>Hit the sack at the same time you did yesterday. Our bodies needs routine when it comes to sleep. This gets us on a natural sleep cycle and allows our bodies to get proper rest. A regular schedule can help you find your natural rhythm.

>>Just go tot sleep! Don't stay up later than you intend for no reason. Turn off Netflix, Game of Thrones will be there again tomorrow, Orange Is The New Black isn't going anywhere. Enough with the bedtime procrastination. Set yourself a bedtime and stick to your schedule. Snapchat can wait and you can reorganize your drawers this weekend ;)

I've implemented a few of these already but I am the WORST about sticking with a sleep schedule.  I'm going to give all of these a try and I'll let you know how it goes! Give them a try and let me know if they work for you! Feel free to email me your new sleep habit results or some extra sleep better suggestions at Don't let the bedbugs bite ;) xoxo, A

Monday, August 11, 2014

Know your nuts

Raw nuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and plant sterols.  They contain a ton of vitamins and minerals and have shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Nuts are a perfect snack and a great addition to any salad.  Although they have amazing benefits, raw nuts need to be eaten in moderation! 

Raw nuts are a domino food, meaning that once you start eating them it's hard to stop and are very easy to over eat. Here is a simple guide to break down the most popular and beneficial nuts into 100 calorie servings!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Clean Costco Cart

Eating healthy, wholesome food isn't as hard as people make it out to be.  It's also not that expensive either.  I know how expensive it can be to feed a family, I also know that you can nourish your family without breaking the bank. Thankfully, Costco makes eating clean a LOT easier! I eat a Paleo based diet, so I eat fresh foods constantly! I know that it adds up and I'd rather not go shopping all the time, so I look to Costco for all of my favorites!
One thing I have learned from eating a nutritious diet is to utilize all of the resources available. Buy in bulk, clean your produce properly (here is a great way to make fruits and veggies last), and meal prep as much as possible!

Eggs: I eat eggs daily. I'll have them for breakfast and I keep hard boiled eggs on hand for a quick protein snack! Did you know that whole eggs contain almost every single nutrient we need? 

Spinach: I eat the stuff like it's going out of style. Loaded with nutrients these leafy greens are best organic (they are smothered with pesticides otherwise). Look for packages closest to the light, the brighter the green the better.  If the leaves look pale- the nutrients are fading and the package isn't going to be beneficial. Saute or steam it and add it to any meal or throw it in your blender with your shakeology or prep a salad with it!

Himalayan Salt: This pink salt is hand mined from the Himalayan mountains.  The crystalized sea salt beds, which are now deep within the Himalayans, were once covered by lava a couple hundred million years ago. Aside from being kept in a pristine environment that was surrounded by snow and ice year round, the lava is thought to have protected the salts from modern-day pollution. This has lead to the belief that Pink Himalayan salt is the purest salt found on earth. So when using salt, make sure it's pretty in pink. ;) Costco has a big grinder of it for less than $5!

Unsweetened Almond Milk:  Specifically, Silk brand! This stuff is great for those of us whose bodies can't handle dairy, or if you are trying to be healthier. Also if you are cutting out sugars, unsweetened almond milk is a great replacement for your regular dairy milk. BUT keep your eyes peeled when buying any dairy substitute.  Carrageenan is a carcinogen found in these kinds of products as well s other processed foods.  It can lead to colon and gut inflammation. Keep your eyes peeled for this in your ingredient list on ANY packaged food you consume, organic or not. Thankfully, the unsweetened almond milk by Silk does NOT contain carrageenan! Cheers for being dairy and carcinogen free :) I just picked up 3 cartons totaling less than $8. typically it's around $4 just for one in a general supermarket. 

Frozen Fruit: Great for adding to smoothies or your Shakeology without breaking the bank. Fresh berries can be a hit to your wallet, especially if you eat clean regularly like me. Costco has awesome large frozen bags or organic frozen fruits that are the same price as a bag of regular frozen fruit at Meijer. What. A. Steal. Frozen fruits are also fun to snack on in the summer, they are like a popsicle and are great to that and put in your oatmeal (very kid friendly).

Avocado: One of the healthiest fats there are so they are very easy to over eat! I love these mini guacamole cups.  They are the perfect portion size to spread on a burger or dip some carrot sticks in!

There are tons of products that Costco carries that aren't even pictured! The majority of the foods they carry are organic too! Hooray for high quality at a good price!! 

Other healthy Costco favorites:
LaCroix sparkling water
Frozen Organic Vegetables
Frozen/Fresh Wild Caught Tilapia, Cod, Salmon (wild varieties are healthiest)
Anything and Everything in the produce section
Greek Yogurt
Hummus (they even have single servings like the guacamole!)
Coconut Oil
Skinny Pop (not the healthiest but it's my favorite treat to eat without feeling guilty after eating it!)

In no way am I affiliated with Costco, but I know a good deal when I see it and believe it should be shared.  I believe that eating a healthy, clean, nutritious diet should be priority for anyone, especially families. Eating better doesn't mean breaking the bank, it means taking advantage of savings every where you turn.

One of the best tips I can offer is when looking for recipes to cook for yourself or your family, look up ingredients you already buy and consume frequently so you can buy in bulk.  Find recipes based off of those foods- don't look for recipes based on foods you need to go out and buy.  Use fun twists on your favorite goods. It really does save!!

Always remember to keep your focus on healthy foods like fresh produce, eggs, and organic/grass fed animal products. Pay attention to your ingredient lists on food labels! And most of all, treat your body with kindness and love and it will treat you kindly back! 

And don't forget to grab a big box to carry all your stuff to your car and inside easily ;)

xoxo, A