My beloved Trader Joe's (and how cute is this one?).
I'm constantly on rotation between groceries and this stop is a staple in my routine. I love the variety that TJ's has to offer plus with competitive pricing it's hard to beat.
Here's a quick look at some of my fav finds!
1. Chili Spiced Mangos - I'm a total sucker for dried fruit and I love the chili spice as a twist on a classic. I usually divvy these up into ziploc baggies so they're quick to grab and take with me on busy day.
2. Dried Pineapple Rings - I told you :). These are seriously like dessert for me and have no added sugar. Plus who doesn't need an extra kick of fiber?
3. Apple Cider Vinegar - K, so if you haven't already heard...ACV is really gut for your gut (+more!). Click here for some of it's top uses. Basically, you need this!
4. Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend - Honestly, who even needs a bagel when you have this stuff on hand? Sprinkle it on your avo toast, on your protein - its super versatile and will enhance the flavor of whatever gets a little sprinkle.
5. Organic Trek Mix, Simple Cashew, Almond + Cranberry - As much as I will ALWAYS want the one with the PB cups in it (insert eye roll emoji), this is my go to Trek Mix from TJ's. There are definitely other good options, just watch for sneaky sugars!
6. RX Bars - There are a LOT of protein bar options at TJ's but these have the cleanest (and shortest) ingredient list, which is a huge seller for me. You'll always find one of these in my gym back as emergency fuel.
7. Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad - Trader Joe's has a pretty expansive section of pre-made food options that are great for guys and gals on the go. This is my favorite salad from this section.
8. Sparkling Lime Water - I don't drink alcohol so I love treating myself to a bubbly drink with dinner and sparkling lime water is my go to! They make these in a smaller size as well but either way the TJ's brand is really good value.
9. Whole Wheat Lavash - Give this a try and it will become a staple in your diet! It's fantastic for sandwiches, flat breads, pizzas, dippers...the list goes on. It gets really crunchy when you broil (which I love) and doesn't have an overbearing flavor or calorie count.
10. Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage - I love these because they're great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can throw them in an omelet, over a salad or serve them whole with veggies/a salad. These are even Mr. Wingspan approved! :)
Let's talk inflammation.
This is one of those hot button words right now. We see it come up in conversations about everything from arthritis to heart disease to the next quick fix weight-loss.
Inflammation is our body's natural reaction to protect and defend against bacteria, viruses or damaged tissue and, for the most part, is a really good and important thing. In short, it's the process our white blood cells use to fight off the bad guys or to help the body heal. (For example - the fever you may experience with a cold is your body's response to the incoming virus.) So this is a good thing, right?
When our body's have been in fight or flight mode for an extended time, defending against foreign intruders or disease the inflammation can become chronic (long-term). This gradual transition from acute (quick and immediate response - we need this!) to chronic (which can be caused by reoccurring acute inflammation) can have lasting effects on our health. Our immune system gets so used to putting out fires that it starts to overreact or even destroy the good things that we need causing internal disruption and imbalance. The effects on our gut alone can make it difficult for our bodies to extract nutrients from the food we it causing discomfort and even malnutrition.
Reducing inflammation in the body can significantly decrease your risk for chronic disease. There are a handful of over-the-counter drugs that can help to reduce acute inflammation, but instead of relying on an after the fact fix, why not be proactive and make changes that will improve your overall wellness? Why not try incorporating one (or two, or three) of the below foods into your diet? While diet is most certainly not the only driver of inflammation, I do believe that there are things that we can do to promote and encourage healthy white blood cell activity. When we eat well and treat our bodies right, they are better armed to recognize and fight those bad guys when they come along, and they will.
Here are some key triggers to be aware of when it comes to promotion of and relief from inflammation.
Foods commonly known to CAUSE inflammation are-
Foods commonly known to FIGHT inflammation are-
Non-food related causes of inflammation-
I could go on (and on and on...). I can't stress enough the impact that removing processed and refined foods from your diet can have. I can promise you that you will see changes in your weight, your mood, your energy levels, your sleep quality, and that's just the short list.
Most important of all - I want to reiterate that each of our body's are so unique and therefore will be effected so uniquely by different circumstances, whether that be diet, environment, exercise, etc. Learn to be in-tune with your body and the way that it feels and performs. Consider and address root causes vs. surface-level symptoms. Listen when something feels off. Research things for yourself. Treat your body with love and kindness and nine times out of ten it will do what you need it to.
As always, comment or contact me with questions or feedback. Sending you all love and encouragement.
Spreading wellness is my passion and I feel so lucky to have a lot of people reach out with a lot of questions about a lot of things (I could seriously talk about wellness all. day. long...just ask my husband ;) ).
Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to post some of the most commonly asked in the hopes that you'll find something that rings true for you!
I'm always happy to answer (when and if I can!) so keep 'em coming friends!
What is your weekly workout routine?
I alternate cardio and strength training and take Sundays for rest and rejuvenation. A typical week for me would be barre M/W/F and cycle or a run T/Th/Sa. I find this routine to be really challenging yet balancing for my body.
What vitamins or supplements do you take?
I take a women's multi-vitamin, biotin, and a probiotic daily.
How much water should I aim to drink in a day?
Take your weight and divide it by two - that is how much you should be drinking in ounces. For example: if you weight 200 lbs., you should aim to drink 100 oz of water a day.
What's your go-to protein bar?
I really really love Perfect Bars and 22 Days Nutrition bars right now.
What's your go-to protein shake?
For grab-and-go, I love Evolve's protein shakes.
Do you recommend cleansing?
I think juice cleanses can be good on occasion but more-so to kick cravings or jump start a healthy diet than as a rapid weight-loss technique. The honest truth is that there is no quick-fix so anything that comes across that way means boomerang weight-gain immediately following.
Do you snack? If so, what do you normally eat as a snack?
YES! I am a typically a 6-small meal eater so snacking is key for me. My favorites are just a handful of nuts and dried fruit or an apple with nut butter.
What's on the top of your list of things to avoid eating?
This is a tough one because everyone is so different. With a long list of food allergies, my list is likely much different than yours would be. In general, I would say to just be mindful of weird ingredients and sugar in pre-packaged foods - these can make you feel really off/sneak up on you. If I had to choose a second, it would be to avoid anything fried.
What's your favorite "cheat" food?
I love love love my mom's homemade ooey-gooey banana bread. Like so much.
And also Chick-fil-a. :D
Do you ever cook with alternative flours, sugars, etc?
Yes, not always but sometimes! I will occasionally use almond flour or oat flour instead of whole wheat or use coconut sugar instead of cane sugar.
What's the most important piece of advice you can give to someone looking to make changes in their health?
This is always a tough one. The journey to wellness is so so so personal. I would say the most important thing is to find balance in your life - through diet, movement, spiritual practice, relationships, sleep, work...truly everything in your life effects your ability to "be well". It's not an easy thing, but being in-tune enough with your body to find that sweet spot is really the golden ticket to change, growth, and joy.
That's all for now! Leave any other questions you might want answered in the comments below and I'll include them in my next Q&A! xx