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
Reality is that none of us have time for full, healthy, home cooked meals three times a day. Luckily, there are a handful of brands who are doing a great job at offering healthy meal replacement solutions.
When deciding on a protein bar, here are a few things that I make sure to look for and why:
When it comes to brand, I am pretty particular (shocking, I know!). Here are some of my favorites-
I can’t stress enough that quality of calories is more important than quantity. If a bar is higher in calories but has cleaner ingredients (words I can easily read) and more protein, I will likely go with that because it will make my body feel better. Protein bars with tons of artificial ingredients (and just intake of artificial ingredients in general) can cause side effects like upset indigestion, bloating, lack of energy, hunger, + more.
I hope this helps, friends! As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I love hearing from you!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!
Honestly, what could be better than a holiday where we are encouraged to go out with friends and coworkers to eat Mexican food? I can't think of anything. :)
So how can you stay on track during a delicious Fiesta? Here are my simple tips-
I want to balance these recommendations by saying...it's okay to live a little! There's nothing wrong with letting this be your "cheat meal" (don't forget my 90/10 rule!) and just relaxing + letting go.
Balance is key in all things. Be kind to yourself. Life is just too short.
As we draw closer to summer, the idea of the “summer body” has been weighing on my mind. With advertisements everywhere for quick-fix diet or exercise solutions to get you ready for bikini season, it’s hard not to reflect on the gap between where you feel your body is and where you want it to be and to not be too critical in the process.
Let me start by saying that I have fallen for probably every “trick” in the book…going even as far as an almost strictly Chick-fil-a Diet Lemonade diet in college (don’t ask!) to feel ready for pool season. It’s laughable and even dangerous. What I want to talk about here is not how to find the right fad for you, but how to create a lifestyle that will make you feel your best ALL. Year. Round.
The word diet typically has a connotation of restriction and weight loss, when in reality it should just be a reference to your daily/routine eating habits. These habits (in theory) should be formed after investigation (lots of trial + error) of what makes you feel your best – physically, mentally, spiritual – everything. This includes providing your body with the nutrients, rest, and rejuvenation that it needs to perform. Just like a car needing gas, oil changes, car washes, etc., our bodies will only run smoothly if we care for them properly.
I think that we all have to find our sweet spot – the place where you’ve found a healthy balance of clean diet and frequent exercise that just feels right. When you’ve found this place (it may take one week it may take one year!), I encourage you to get rid of the scale. The number it shows doesn’t really matter anyways. This process is about finding a lifestyle that makes you happy, brings positive energy into your life, and allows you to do the things that you need/want to. This is NOT about a number on a scale meant to define your feelings of self worth and self respect. What it IS about is you looking in the mirror and feeling nothing but love, pride and respect.
It’s okay to eat carbs. It’s okay to have your Starbucks. It’s okay to go to Happy Hour with your friends. I promise you the world will not end and you won’t wake up 15 pounds heavier. Don't let this summer season be associated with feelings of anxiety or body-shaming.
Stop for a moment today to feel the sunshine warm your skin and be grateful for all that your body does for you.
Sending you all good vibes, sunshine + love.
Two years of crowed NYC grocery stores have made me appreciate leisurely trips to wide-open Costco more than I thought possible. Not only are the prices tough to beat, but Costco puts their product vendors through a rigorous approval process prior to making it to the shelf - making me less skeptical of product quality.
Although the prices are hard to beat and we are ALL guilty of the mindless aisle wandering (and maybe even some sampling...), not everything at Costco makes the cut for foods I would keep in my pantry (but who doesn't love the poppyseed muffins?!).
Below I'm sharing some of my favorite finds from my latest trip to the grocery-mecca.
Hope you enjoy! xx
1. Lara Bars - y'all, these are SO good for grab n' go. I typically keep one of these in my purse to help take the edge off of cravings/hunger while I'm out and about.
2. Pitted Dates - Skip the process of pitting your own and buy those to quickly throw your morning smoothie for an extra boost of sweet and to promote digestion and heart health.
3. Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla - great plant based protein for smoothies + a boost of greens!
4. Made in Nature Figgy Pops - I love love love Made in Nature's dried fruit products and these Mangoberry Figgy Pops are at the top of my list. They're great for curbing sweets cravings or to throw in a kid's lunch.
5. Banza Chickpea Pasta - That's right, noodles made from chickpeas! This gives the feeling and satisfaction of a pasta dish + protein AND without the bad carbs that will leave you feeling unsatisfied and cause crashes in energy.
6. Kirkland Organic Hummus - These hummus cups are awesome for packed lunches or for on the go and they don't contain the junk that A LOT of popular hummus brands do.
7. Suja Drinking Vinegar in Strawberry Balsamic - There are sooooo many health benefits to getting a daily dose of vinegar so why not enjoy in a delicious Suja juice?
8. Skinny Pop - because honestly you can never have enough popcorn...
9. Kirkland Organic Almond Butter - we go through a LOT of nut butter in our house so this stuff is solid gold. Watch for added sugar in your nut butters - that should be a deal killer!
10. Tommy's Organic Sweet Potatoes - Hate peeling and dicing your SP? Or just simply don't have time? These are a great alternative for more convenient meals/meal prep.
I love eating out at restaurants...a LOT (how could you not living in New York City?). For me, the combo of atmosphere, tasy food and time with loved ones creates an experience that's far beyond what's on the plate. With that being said, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet while eating out.
Eating out and eating healthy do not have to be mutually exclusive. Many restaurants have added “light” dishes or even sections to their menus in the hopes of catering to those with more mindful diets. If there’s not a clearly marked section of offerings, here are my tips and tricks for keeping it as light and healthy as possible-
Please keep in mind that these are merely suggestions and considerations that I keep in mind when eating out. You can come up with a list that feels right for you and that won’t leave you hungry or unsatisfied.
And of course, every once and a while, let yourself indulge! Life's too short...
It's a bird...It's a plane...No! It's SUPERFOOD!
The word superfood is popping up everywhere lately, from wellness news to product packaging. So what exactly does this mean and where do we find them?
There's actually no scientific or official definition for the term superfood - it simply refers to foods that are extra-packed with nutrients and minerals that our bodies love. They are known to be high in antioxidants, boost immunity and help prevent disease. Best of all - they can be found easily at your local grocery.
Some examples of superfoods are-
Think about watering a plant that is in a pot with holes in the bottom. You can water the plant religiously, but the water will always drain out of the bottom of the pot and the plant will be left undernourished. This same principal applies to eating foods with low nutrient value - you can eat and eat and eat but never feel satisfied because your body is hungry for what it truly needs.
When considering what to eat, I try to think about the ratio of calories to nutrients. Are these empty calories? Will I feel satisfied after I eat this? What nutrient need will this food fulfill for me today? Superfoods are known to be low calorie and high nutrient - making them an excellent addition to your diet.
Try incorporating more of these into your meals and tell me what you think!
Running on the treadmill can be a total struggle for me, so when I'm feeling unmotivated I turn to structured runs to help keep me focused.
This 40-min tush-toning treadmill workout is one of my go-to's. The quick intervals (3 min high-incline walk + 1 min low incline sprint) keep me engaged and focused...and I always feel it the next day. Don't have 40 min? Condense it to 20 or 30 - make it work for YOU.
Get ready to earn the burn! (and don't forget to stretch after!)
With benefits like strong bones, regulation of blood pressure, and cancer prevention - calcium is a vital part of our daily diet. Recommended daily calcium intake is 1,000mg PER DAY for adults.
So if calcium is proven to be so important to our health - how can we ensure we're getting enough? Most of us look to dairy products as our main source of calcium, but as a "non-dairy person", I look to other sources to fulfill my body's requirements - and there are plenty! Did you know that there's just as much calcium in 1 cup of figs as there is in a cup of milk?
See below for a list of other foods that you might not have guessed are rich in calcium.
Instead of turning to supplements or high dairy intake - try incorporating one of these into your diet this month.
The more you know!
*Source. All for serving size of 1 cup.