Healthy Spices to Spice Up Healthy Meals

There are few things that can instantly remind you of the holidays, no matter what time of year it is – the scent of a pine tree, the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg – they instantly take you there.  Healthy spices during a healthy holiday meal are incredibly inviting, comforting and most of all, very beneficial to your health.

Healthy Spices | Healthy Meals | Super Spices | Spices for Health

Spices hold a purpose beyond their delicious taste that you may not have realized before.  Your favorite healthy spices have wonderful health promoting properties that provide you with several health benefits to keep your immune system strong throughout the year.

Benefits of Favorite Healthy Spices…

Cinnamon.  Arguably the most popular of the holiday spices and the most widely used year-round.  Cinnamon provides a warming effect to your body in the cold months, boosts your immune system, stabilizes blood sugar and aids in digestion.

Benefits of Cinnamon | Healthy Spices | Spice Up Your Meal

Nutmeg.  Another favorite holiday spice, nutmeg adds a punch of flavor with only a tiny amount needed, so use sparingly in small doses.  Nutmeg stimulates your digestion, helps in detoxifying the body and promotes healthy circulation.

Cloves.  Similar to cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves also help with promoting healthy digestion, which is certainly helpful after those heavy holiday meals.  Cloves are also beneficial for reducing phlegm, which is a common occurrence this time of year due to cold and flu season.

Rosemary.  A favorite to add to your roasted veggies, rosemary is a popular Mediterranean herb that can be used sparsely to add a punch of flavor to your dish.  Rosemary is helpful for natural stress relief, combatting inflammation, detoxifying the body and calming an upset stomach.

Peppermint.  The perfect follow-up to your hearty meal, peppermint is wonderful for aiding in digestion, relaxing the stomach and enhancing your mood.  Have yourself a cup of peppermint tea as a daily ritual during the cold months, and take notice of how different you feel.

As you can see, you have an array of health promoting herbs and spices to infuse into your kitchen this season or anytime.  Whether it be adding a cup of peppermint tea to your post-dinner wind-down, a dash of cinnamon in your steel-cut oatmeal in the mornings, ground clove into your smoothie, or sprinkling fresh rosemary on your roasted vegetables – take all the chances you can to enjoy these beneficial spices this season.  Bon appétit!

Tell me in the comments what is your favorite spice and how do you use it?

 

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Healthy Spices | Favorite Spices | Healthy Meals | Spice Up Your Meal

Healthy Spices | Favorite Spices | Healthy Meals | Spice Up Your Meal

Wonder Woman Syndrome No Longer & Stop the Weight Gain

Do you have Wonder Woman Syndrome?  Do you try to do it all, especially this time of year?  Do you feel if you don’t do it, it won’t get done? Do you put yourself last, behind everyone else? Do you feel like you are never enough? Do you let your health goals slide because you are too busy? You can let go and stop the bad habits and weight gain.

Wonder Woman Syndrome | Holiday Bad Habits | Sneaky Weight Gain

I remember watching Wonder Woman in the late 70s. I loved watching her. She was smart, fast and could handle anything that came her way. Remember her lasso of truth? I wonder if during those weekly television sessions I somehow decided to be like her.

I have always been a Type A personality.  Accomplishment feeds me. I like to get things done. I am an excellent multi-tasker.  But I wonder, has my health paid the price?

This December I have given up my Wonder Woman speed, strength, and durability for a calm, relaxing and reflective time.  I didn’t want to race through this month going from one event to the next; decorating, baking and cleaning until I no longer have strength and drop from exhaustion.  Instead, I have chosen to decorate less, attend less and enjoy more.

I have spent an hour in prayer ever day as a way to enjoy the Advent season and prepare my heart for Jesus’ birth.  It has allowed me to let go of stress and to-do lists.  Oh, I still have both, but I am choosing joy; to be joy-filled even in the difficulties.  I have cut my to-do lists down.  I am feeling mentally strong and spiritually ready.

Wonder Woman Syndrome | Snacks | Stop Holiday Weight Gain

I was still seeing the holiday creep of bad health habits. I was tempted to just say, well, hang on, and you can start fresh in the new year.  I knew that mentality was a “kiss of failure” for me.  I let go of being Wonder Woman, but could I do something today, to make a difference in the path I was moving on in my eating.

The one area I was struggling with in my health was snacking too much. I was eating several small snacks a day. I was feeling bloated and uncomfortable, even though most of the snacks were relatively healthy.

Have you let your health slide in the midst of being Wonder Woman this month?

You may want to just give up and start again January 1 with new health goals, but you don’t have to give up on the remaining few days of 2016. It doesn’t mean you have to gain weight.  You can put a stop to your health slide.

Letting Go of Wonder Woman Syndrome and Stopping the Weight Gain Today

First, read Secrets to a Stress-Free Christmas Season. You can still say no, be in the present moment, let go of your expectations, and let go of the Wonder Woman Syndrome.  Just for the remaining days of the year. You can relax and enjoy without driving yourself to exhaustion.  The world won’t stop turning if you don’t do it all. You can pick Wonder Woman back up again on January 1 if you want to, but try it.  You might find you are more relaxed than ever.  You can do anything for less than 2.5 weeks.

Then, determine which bad health habits have crept in that will make the most difference to you and weight gain.

What seems to be tripping you up?  Eating the treats at the office?  Enjoying too much alcohol at parties?  Not moving your body every day?  Eating too much at dinner time?

Finally, make one small plan to stop the weight gain. Just tackle one thing. Then do it!

Whatever it is, the one thing, make a plan to just focus on that for the remaining days.

I did it. I let go of my Wonder Woman Syndrome this month, but could I stop the weight gain and sluggishness? I knew snacking between meals too much was sneaking up on me. There are so many goodies that I wanted to enjoy.  I made a promise to myself to snack only once between breakfast and lunch and then another snack between lunch and dinner.  If I am going to a party, I skip both of those and have two small snacks at the party.  I have been doing it for three days now. I haven’t changed anything else.  Amazingly I feel better already.  I feel powerful like I can stop any bad habit creep that I want to.

Maybe by making this small change for just a few days I found my sword, shield, and lasso of truth.  Maybe when it comes to my health, I am Wonder Woman.

Comment below on your one thing you are going to do for your health with the few days remaining in 2017 to stop bad habit creep and weight gain.  It doesn’t have to be big, but it can make a huge difference in attitude and health.


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Secrets to a Stress Free Christmas Season

A stress-free Christmas. It doesn’t sound like those words go together, but they can. Use these four secrets to creating a stress-free December.

Stress Free Christmas | Stress Free Holiday | Stress LessThe holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite a bit of stress.  After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send Christmas cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones.  All of this, on top of your normal everyday life.  It can be overwhelming and stressful, to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

These 4 secret weapons for a stress-free Christmas include…

Just say no. It can be difficult, to say no.  But the first thing or person you need to say no to is yourself. Say no to being perfect and perfectionism.  Everything doesn’t need to be perfect.  Things can remain undone and you still can enjoy Advent and Christmas.  You don’t have to attend every party. Your house will still be festive with a few, less decorations.  Remember it is the thought that counts, not that the gift is “perfect”.  Take a few minutes of quiet. Listen for that small voice letting you know what really is important.  Then let go of some of the things on your to-do list and perfectionism.

Put forth effort to be present.  It can be difficult, I understand.  It’s almost a reflex to scroll through Facebook, Instagram, or email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? You can dodge this by leaving your electronics in another room.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones.  When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses.  What do I smell?  What do I hear?  What do I feel?  Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else.  It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

For more ideas read, 4 Tips to Calm Your Body, Mind & Emotions.

Stress Free Christmas | Stress Free Holiday | Inspirational Quote

Give up those expectations.  A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we have expectations.  Therefore, drop the expectations of how a gathering will go. Let go of the feeling that everyone needs to be peaceful and happy. Don’t have any expectations for how your house must look.  Just let yourself enjoy whatever comes. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. You may find you end up with a stress-free Christmas.

Make sure you sleep.  It’s incredibly important to keep a proper sleep in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel.  Make it a habit to go to sleep at the same time every night you are home. When you don’t get enough sleep, everything is harder to accomplish.  You will get more done and enjoy more when you have enough sleep.  It also helps your body stay healthier and make better eating and moving choices. You may enjoy, Sleep to Detoxify Your Body and Brain.

What are your favorite ways to make sure you have a stress free Christmas?

To get off to the right start each day by eating a healthy breakfast, download the Breakfast in a Pinch for 5 Quick, Easy Healthy Breakfasts to Eat in a Pinch.

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Stress Free Christmas | Stress Free Holiday | Stress Less

Stress Free Christmas | Stress Free Holiday | Inspirational Quote

Eat a Healthy Breakfast & Start Your Day Off Right

Don’t just eat any food for breakfast, make it healthy by including proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs. A complete, healthy breakfast will give you the energy you need for a busy day.

5 Healthy Breakfast Recipes | Quick Breakfasts Healthy EatingWhen I wrote 7 Simple Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season, I probably should have made it 8 strategies and included eating a healthy breakfast. When I start working with a client, she usually has one of two issues that she needs to fix immediately.

Two Breakfast Problems to Fix for Your Health

First, she may skip breakfast.  This is not a good idea. A small percentage of the population may be able to do this, but by far, the majority of women must eat breakfast.  After a night of ‘fasting’, your body needs to have fuel to start working.  Food provides fuel for your cells, your brain, your organs to work properly.  Plus when most people skip breakfast, they usually make up those calories at lunch and snacking, and it usually means eating low-quality foods.  The hormones in your body are telling you, they need fuel. You feel sluggish, and you reach for a quick pick me up.  That usually is a high sugar food or drink.

I strongly encourage you to eat a good breakfast.

Healthy Breakfast Alternatives | Stop eating sugar for breakfast

The second thing I see is she eats a quick, high, simple carb, high sugar breakfast.  Again, this is not a good idea.  Your body, after the night ‘fast’, needs proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs to fuel the energy your cells need to do their jobs.

A bagel, piece of toast, pop tart, even a bowl of cereal are mostly sugars and carbs.  This may give you a boost of energy as your blood sugar rises, but an hour or two later you will feel the crash and be reaching for something else to raise your blood sugar again.  Roller coaster blood sugar levels wreak havoc on your cells and can lead to diabetes and other chronic conditions. Controlling your blood sugar is an important thing to do in order to allow your body to function properly.  Starting out with a good breakfast can be a great start to balance.

If you have followed my blog at all you know that I love this breakfast by Carrie Brown for many of my healthy breakfasts or packing on the go. However, it is important to eat a variety of foods.

Since most of us have busy days packed with to-dos from the moment we wake until we drop exhausted, I have created a beautiful PDF with 5 breakfast ideas you can make quickly. If you are in a pinch for time, you can still find a way to eat a good, healthy breakfast.  Even if you aren’t in a pinch, several of these are my go-to’s, like a green smoothie.

Download your Breakfast in a Pinch: 5 Quick, Easy, Healthy Breakfasts to Enjoy In a Pinch.  These breakfasts are easy to make, healthy, and tasty.  Made with easy ingredients.  You will be starting out your day with the fuel your body needs to do its job…make and keep you healthy and fit.

Tell me what your favorite breakfast is in the comments below.

5 Healthy Breakfast Recipes | Quick Breakfasts Healthy Eating

Click on the image or fill in the form below to get your copy now.




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7 Simple Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season

Healthy holiday season doesn’t seem realistic, but it can be. Try these simple strategies to navigate the holiday season with health and ease.

Healthy Holiday Season Strategies | Keeping Healthy During the Holidays | Healthy Decisions at ChristmasThe holiday season is just around the corner. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, you may gain between 1 and 2 pounds. Yikes! Over a course of 5 years, that is 5-10 of unwanted weight. No one wants that weight gain.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  You can still enjoy the weeks of the holidays and still remaining healthy without weight gain.

7 Simple Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season

1. Decide What Your Priorities Are

As you look ahead, what are your priorities for the holiday season?  Do you want to remain healthy? Do you want to gain weight?  Do you want to have fun?  Can you remain healthy and still enjoy yourself? Do you want to spend time with those you love?

Decide that you do want to keep your health during the holidays. Commit to having a memorable season while keeping your health a priority. When you do this, it becomes easier to make decisions to keep your health and weight. Write down your commitment and keep it in a visible place.

2. Eat Whole Foods & Enjoy Processed, Sugar Foods Sparingly

Start telling yourself that you can enjoy all the festivities without all the sugar and processed foods.  Always start with the most simple, whole foods. Fill your plate with those foods including fruits and vegetables, and then enjoy one sugary food per celebration or gathering.  Depriving yourself is not the answer. Instead allow yourself your favorite sugar food in a small quantity and enjoy.

Get more tips - 15 Tips to Thriving at Christmas Parties

3. Say No

We all have a tendency to overbook ourselves, to commit to things that we know aren’t in our best interest.

Asked to a join a cookie exchange, say no…knowing you will be making healthy energy bites this year instead.

Asked to head an event that is going to take too much time, say no…find your own way of giving back that doesn’t take so much time, like donating to your favorite charity or volunteering at a food bank one time.

Asked to go to a gathering where you know it will be impossible to eat well, avoid unhealthy drinks, and it will go too late, say no…use that time instead to catch up on your to-do list, practice some self-care, wrap presents while listening to soothing music, and drinking a cup of herbal tea. Go to bed early.

You don’t have to attend all activities.  Find joy and gratitude in a quieter activity from time to time. You may find that you enjoy the holiday season even more.

4. Plan Downtime

As you start to fill in your holiday schedule, make sure you block out time for you, for your own self-care.  When you fill your schedule to overflowing, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and tired.  When you remember to take care of you, you will have the strength to make healthy choices.

Remember to include time for you to recharge.  Whether that is meditating, taking a bath, reading a holiday book, or whatever refreshes you, spend time in slowing down.  You will enjoy the festivities with more energy and vitality.  Check out my Self-care Pinterest Board for ideas.

Find out why you need Self Care for Optimal Health

 Sleep Quote | Healthy Holiday Season Strategies | Inspiring Words for the Holidays

5. Prioritize Your Sleep

Your to-do list is pages long.  There are parties and gatherings to attend. Work is crazy before year-end.  Sleep seems like a luxury, but it isn’t.  Commit today to getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  Occasionally, a gathering may go late, but at least 6 days out of the week, get to bed by 10 and asleep by 10:30.  Your healthy will benefit.

Sleep is crucial to keeping your hormone levels balanced for a healthy holiday season.  When you don’t sleep enough, your hunger and feel full hormones, ghrelin and leptin, go out of whack, causing chemicals in your body to crave sweets and junk food.  Getting enough sleep will help your body help you make healthy decisions.

6. Get Moving

Yes, you are busy, but your body needs to move.  Movement and exercise helps your lymphatic system function to clean toxins out of your body.  When you don’t clear out the toxins, you feel less energetic and therefore, crave the quick hit of sugar.

Exercising can help clear your mind and organize your priorities better.  It doesn’t have to be hours at the gym.  A brisk walk, yoga poses, 15 minute high intensity interval training, or a nature outing can all keep your body moving and feeling at its best.

7. Gather Healthy Holiday Recipes Now

When you get swamped, it is easy to make that familiar sugar and dairy laden food to take to your next gathering.  Take time now to create a short list of healthy foods you can take to a gathering.  When you take something healthy, you know there will be at least one healthy item you can fill up on.  You may become the one who brings the healthy, but delicious food and start a trend of healthy eats during the holidays.

Check out my Healthy Eats and Energy Bites Pinterest Boards for ideas and download 10 Healthy Holiday Recipes and Holiday Survival Tips.

Take a few minutes right now to prioritize these strategies to have a healthy holiday season. You can feel your best, keep your weight stable, and enjoy the season to the fullest.

This post was featured at A Fresh Start on a Budget’s Motivational Monday.  Go check out her website and link up.

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Sleep Quote | Healthy Holiday Season Strategies | Inspiring Words for the Holidays
Healthy Holiday Season Strategies | Keeping Healthy During the Holidays | Healthy Decisions at Christmas

Being Grateful Together – Thankful Quotes

The election in the United States is over. Half the country is feeling sad, and the other, glad. As with all elections in this country, it can be quite negative.  So no matter which side of the election you fell on, it is time to reflect on what is good in your life…what you are thankful for.  Thankful Quotes | Inspiring Words | Gratitude

Here are more quotes on being thankful to help you stop and reflect on what is good and positive in your life. See Practicing Gratitude for more quotes and inspiring words.

Thankful Quotes | Inspiring Words | Gratitude

Thankful Quotes | Inspiring Words | Gratitude

Thankful Quotes | Inspiring Words | Gratitude
Today I am grateful for you, the reader of this blog.  I love to write and share my message of healthy living through food, sleep, movement and self-care.  Thank you for being a part of this.

Want help reflecting on your life and things to be grateful for?  Purchase the 15 Day Savvy Gratitude Challenge. Receive 15 daily emails with a daily theme to help you start your gratitude practice by digging deep in easy ways.

Create a gratitude practice | 15 days of gratitude themes | Inner Savvy Wellness

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Practicing Gratitude – Gratitude Quotes and Challenge

Gratitude! November brings thoughts of longer nights, warm cozy fires, pumpkin pie and the start of the holidays.  But it especially brings gratefulness and thanks

Create a gratitude practice | Daily Gratitude themes and reflections | Inner Savvy Wellness
Negativity seems to be everywhere lately. Unfortunately, negativity can have bad effects on your health.  Consider that finding the positive and being grateful can make you more healthy and happier.

Science continues to study gratitude and its effects on the body. They are finding it has positive effects on the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the person.1

Why not take time this month to look for things to be grateful for?  Let’s start with some beautiful quotes on gratitude.

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words

Gratitude Quotes | Inspirational Words | Gratitude Challenge | Thankful | Wise Words
Need support in creating a thankfulness practice?  Join the Savvy Gratitude Challenge anytime.  You don’t have to wait for November to create a gratitude practice.  The Savvy Gratitude Challenge is a 15-day email challenge.  Whenever you join, you will receive an email with a gratitude topic and ideas to spark your thankfulness for 15 days.  Write 3 of the things you are grateful for down on the Gratitude Challenge Journal Sheet that you will be able to download and by the end of 15 days, you will have created a list of 45 things that you are grateful for.

This isn’t a typical gratitude challenge.  I will ask you to go deep and look for things other than the typical person, place, and work that most people start with. To make it easy for you to create a gratitude practice, the challenge is at a low price of just $7. Click on the image below to purchase and start being more grateful to feel healthier and happier.

Create a gratitude practice | 15 days of gratitude themes | Inner Savvy Wellness

Create a gratitude practice with 15 daily themes and reflections | Join Anytime - DIY

Let’s spend some time reflecting on all the blessings in our lives.  See you in the challenge.

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Healthy Living Reading Challenge – October 2016

Which book did you read this month for the Healthy Living Reading Challenge?

Reading Challenge | Genes | DNA | Healthy Living Reading Challenge | Inner Savvy Wellness

October was a beautiful, fall month here in the northern plains.  I have spent time outdoors without a jacket.  Something unheard of around these parts.  The nice weather means I have been reading a little less, however, I want to share two of them with you.

For October, I chose a book by a healthy guru I follow, Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives And Our Lives Change Our Genes by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD.

Inheritance | Genes | Book | Healthy Living Reading Challenge
It is hard to believe that our human genome was only mapped for the first time in 2003, just 13 years ago.  I remember learning basic information about our DNA, but there has been so much more discovered about our genes in the last 30 years.  It is mind-boggling.

This book is all about the fact that our genes are not static. They are not our destiny.  Our genes many mean we have a greater chance to look a certain way, have an illness or die young or old, but the way they are expressed is dependent upon our lifestyle.  What we eat, how we move, and more all affect whether or not a gene expresses itself.

Dr. Moalem makes a case for how individual we really are.  Even identical twins are not identical in how our genes express themselves.

My favorite quote from this book summarizes what Dr. Moalem wrote about in an entertaining way.

“You don’t need to travel up to the space station for your heart to shrink.  Just a few weeks in bed are all you need for it to begin to atrophy.  But our bodies are also quite amazing at recovery–we just have to convince them that we need the power.  And that’s not always a tough sell, because our cells are incredibly malleable.  What we do every day makes a big difference in what our genes tell them to do–which is just another genetic motivation for you to get off the couch.” page 42.

Yes, what we do every day makes a big difference.  What we put in and on our body, how much we move, how much we sleep, and the toxins we come in contact with all count.  This can be frustrating in that we might feel overwhelmed.  However, it can be empowering knowing you can make a difference because our bodies are good at recovery and are malleable.  You have the power.

The stories of individuals with rare genes are touching and encouraging knowing that these individuals might be the key to learning how to prevent or work with our genes.

If you enjoy learning about your body, this book should go on your list to read.

DNA Restart | Genes | Healthy Living Reading Challenge
For my local Healthy Living Reading Book Club I read another book by Sharon Moalem, Ph.D, DNA Restart: Unlock Your Personal Genetic Code To Eat For Your Genes, Lose Weight, and Reverse Aging.

This book was a little more practical than Dr. Moalem’s other book.  It covered five pillars of living within your genetic code: 1) Eat for your genes, 2) reverse aging, 3) eat umami, 4) drink oolong tea and 5) slow living. There are 31 DNA Restart Health Tips throughout the book.

As I tell my clients, it is important to eat a balance of the macronutrients when eating a meal.  However, what should the balance of proteins, fats, and carbs be?  Chapter 3 gives a cracker test to help you figure out the correct balance according to your type.  It is easy to complete.

Here are a three quotes from the book.

“….even today your body still uses IL-15, released when you are intensely working out, as the signal to stay younger for longer and help your clansmen out.  If you stop moving intensely, what you’re telling your body is that it’s time to stop being a burden on others–it’s time to die.” page 67  Movement is important for your DNA to know that you are still young, still able, still valuable.  Make sure you get movement in every day, and intense exercise at least 2-3 times a week.

“Heather Leidy, PhD,…’The group of teens who ate high-protein breakfast reduced their daily food intake by 400 calories and lost body fat mass.’  Her research also found that the group of teens who continues to skip breakfast gained more body fat at the end of the 12-week study.” pages 134-135 This tells us that whether you are a teen or not, breakfast can be a key to a healthy weight.  

“We still do not know for certain whether not sleeping enough just allows us more time to eat or whether it can change the way many of our appetite hormones such as leptin and ghrelin function. What we do know is that if you don’t make sure your children get enough sleep, this can have a bigger impact on their levels of belly fat than not exercising enough or watching too much television.  Yes, sleep even trumps TV and exercise!” Page 198. This just reinforces what I always say about sleep.  Sleep is not a waste of time, but an integral part of healthy living.

Both books are easy to read.  They give plenty of tips and ideas in an easy to read format.  If you are interested in genetics and DNA, consider reading these books.

What are you reading this month? Tell me in the comments below.

Reading Challenge | Healthy Living | Join the Challenge

 

 

8 Ingredients to Avoid in a Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are trendy right now with good reason.  Smoothies can provide nutrients for your body in a quick and easy way. However, there are foods to avoid when you are making your healthy smoothie.

Healthy Smoothies | How to Make a Healthy Smoothie | Ingredients to Avoid in Smoothies | Inner Savvy WellnessDo you enjoy a delicious, healthy smoothie for breakfast or lunch?  Do you find it an easy way to get more leafy greens, superfoods and fruits into your diet?

Smoothies are known for being filled with nutrition, but that is only if you avoid unhealthy ingredients that are loaded with sugar and artificial additives.
Healthy Smoothies | How to Make a Healthy Smoothie | Ingredients to Avoid in Smoothies | Inner Savvy Wellness

  1. Sugar.  Do not add white sugar, agave nectar or artificial sweeteners to your smoothies.  If you must add a sweetener, then consider a drop or two of stevia, a teaspoon of monk fruit or a little raw honey.  The more you drink non-sweetened smoothies, the more you will get used to the taste and enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits you add to your smoothie. Medjool dates are another natural sweetener option.
  2. Dairy Milk.  Too many people are sensitive to dairy. Get used to using coconut milk or water, almond milk or other nut milks such as a homemade cashew milk.  It may be best to avoid soy milk as well.  Most store-bought soy milk is loaded with extra sugar. Most soy is now GMO, and soy can also raise your estrogen and lead to estrogen dominance.
  3. Fruit Juices. Most fruit juice from the store is loaded with sugar.  Instead, just add a piece of fresh or frozen fruit.
  4. Ice cream.  Most ice creams are loaded with sugar and other artificial ingredients and add little nutrition.  Instead enjoy the creaminess of full-fat coconut milk. Good protein powders also add to the creaminess of a smoothie. You can also add a half of an avocado to make it thick with a creamy texture.
  5. Cheap protein powders.  Not all protein powders are created equally.  Look for protein powders that are made from only a few ingredients with low sugar or stevia.  These usually will cost a little more but are worth it for your health.
  6. Cool whip or whipped cream.  These add no nutrition to your smoothie.  Allow your taste buds to get used to not having these in a smoothie, and you won’t even miss them.
  7. Chocolate syrup.  If you want your smoothie to have a chocolate taste, add cacao powder or cacao nibs.  They are less processed so have the most nutrition.  Chocolate syrup is mostly sugar.
  8. Peanut butter.  Most store-bought peanut butter is filled with sugar. (Are you seeing a theme?)  Most processed peanut butter is now GMO as well.  Peanuts are not nuts, but legumes.  Your better bet is to add nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans.  If it must have the taste of peanuts, just add a handful of raw, non-GMO peanuts.

Healthy Smoothies | How to Make a Healthy Smoothie | Ingredients to Avoid in Smoothies | Inner Savvy Wellness
Smoothies can be a healthy part of a healthy diet, however, stay away from the foods above.  The above ingredients just add sugar, artificial ingredients, and really….no nutrition.

Create healthy smoothies with a healthy liquid base, a fruit for sweet (berries have the least sugar but a banana, mango or pineapple can help you transition from sugar sweet smoothies that are more like shakes), as many leafy greens as you like, healthy fats such as coconut, avocados, and nuts, fiber foods such as flax, hemp seeds, and chia seeds, and superfoods such as mulberries, goji berries, lingonberry, turmeric, cinnamon or Spirulina. Have fun and experiment.

Healthy Smoothies | How to Make a Healthy Smoothie | Ingredients to Avoid in Smoothies | Inner Savvy Wellness

Remember that many smoothies you buy at a smoothie store are filled with sugars and other ingredients to avoid.  If you are purchasing one from a store, don’t be afraid to request whole foods and no sugar or sweeteners and juices added.

Now go enjoy a healthy smoothie. Make it as green as you can.

Join the Savvy Circle, a closed Facebook group to support women living a healthy life.  When you join, you will get a 7 Day Low-Sugar Smoothie Challenge with yummy recipes.

Follow my Smoothie Pinterest Board for smoothie recipes.

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Drink Water – Hydrate for Optimal Health (Printable)

Though drinking water sounds too simple to be true, there are several reasons why drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day can help you feel more energetic and help you achieve optimal health.

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Water Facts for Optimal Health

Drinking water can help you be hydrated.  When you are well hydrated, your organs are able to perform more optimally. This allows your metabolism to speed up, which means you’ll burn calories more quickly. Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism.

Natural waste is produced in your body each day from basic functions such as breathing and digesting food. Getting rid of these toxins can be helpful for weight loss because toxins are stored in fat cells. Water helps flush toxins out of your body.

When you are dehydrated, the blood volume in your body is reduced. Decreased blood volume levels result in lower energy levels, which makes it difficult for you to stay active.

When you drink water, you’ll naturally end up drinking fewer high-calorie, sugary drinks which can help prevent the blood sugar roller coaster.

Did you know that 75% of the American population is chronically dehydrated? And in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.

By simply drinking more water, you may notice that you become less hungry.

You are made up of 50% to 70% water, depending on your age.  As your body ages, it contains less water, but the majority of “you” throughout your life span is water.  You can go several days to a couple of weeks without food, but you can only go about 3 days without water. Hydration is critical to most functions of the body.

Getting adequate water should be a top priority!

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Determine How Much Water You Need

You may have heard that you need eight, 8-ounce glasses or 64 ounces of water a day.  That may be a good amount for you, but it really depends on your body build and even the amount of exercise you do. However, you probably need to drink more than you do right now.

First, determine how much water do you drink each day? Do not count coffee, milk, and other liquids, just track water.  How much are you consuming?  Track it for 3 days.  Write down approximately how much water you are drinking in a food journal or even on a note-taking app on your smart phone.  Just get it down.  In 3 days, you should have a general idea of how much you drink on an average day.  It doesn’t matter how much, just start there.  The next day drink one more glass of water than your average.  Keep doing that for several days until it has become a habit, then increase it by another glass.  Keep going until you notice a difference in your body. This doesn’t mean going to the bathroom more often, because that may happen at first, but it should decrease over time.  Some signs you are drinking enough water: The color of your urine should be a light yellow throughout the day. Morning urine will be slightly darker. Your skin should look and feel less dry.  You should produce sweat during exercise.

When you are hydrated your brain is clearer, your body works better and is able to digest the food you eat more easily, and you will have more energy. Doesn’t that sound life optimal health?

Tips for Creating a Habit to Drink Water Daily

Drink 16 ounces of room-temperature water with half of a squeezed, fresh lemon after you wake up. This will get your digestive track moving, give you Vitamin C, and help you wake up.  The lemons should be organic, but start where you are; use a bottle of lemon juice or a regular lemon.  Just start and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You can always move to organic lemons once this habit has been incorporated into your life. If you need to use bottled lemon juice, Volcano Bursts Organic Italian Lemon Juice is my favorite.

Filter your water if possible. Again, start where you are, just drink water.  To get the most benefit from your water and the best taste, make sure it is filtered to eliminate chlorine and other toxins.  You can work toward this over time.

Most people struggle drinking water because of its taste. Filtering helps, but you can also put fresh fruit or vegetables in the water pitcher and let them sit overnight to get the nutrients and give the water a better taste.

Reduce the amount of sugar you eat. You will find your body naturally wants to drink water.

Get 3 additional tips on how to drink more water, including this article. Download the Water Fact Sheet.

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