Plant based – 16 days in!

I started my plant-based diet 16 days ago.  I decided to try this way of eating to help eliminate inflammation in my body and live a healthier life by eliminating animals products from my diet.

Since I am very active, exercising 6-7 days per week,  twice a day on some days, I proceeded with caution.  I wasn’t going to make myself sick and I NEED to have energy to keep up with life.  I am happy to report that I feel great!  I don’t feel deprived and I’m not craving meat or dairy.  I have plenty of energy and feel strong!

I don’t want to be “that Girl”.  You know, the girl that can’t find anything on the menu to eat and expects others to cater to her way of eating.  If I want a piece of meat or fish I will have one, I just really haven’t wanted or needed it.  I did have a half of a piece of salmon when I went to dinner with my husband and I ate 4 small blackened shrimp at lunch with my Boss, other that it’s all about the plants.

This weekend I am taking time to plan better – I do find myself eating the same things several times a week, I need to mix it up.  There are plenty of resources out there for yummy, plant-based recipes – it’s just a matter of planning and shopping.

I am noticing that my skin looks better, not that it was “bad” before, it just seems brighter now.  My body is responding as well, my gut feels  better than it has in a very long time 🙂

I will continue to keep you posted, who knows, I might find myself shoving a cheeseburger down my throat next week, but right now I don’t see that happening.  This way of eating very well may work for this girl!

Eat up!

This week has been super busy for me, so rather than posting something half-*ss and uninteresting I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes.  If you’ve found yourself in a rut, making the same things week after week, try to step out of your comfort zone and give these a try!

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24544/minimalist-bakers-butternut-squash-kale-quinoa-bake.html

http://rawfoodrehab.ning.com/photo/party-popper

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17504/20-minute-meal-red-quinoa-salad-with-black-beans-corn-avocado.html

http://blissfulbasil.com/2015/06/05/vegetable-burrito-bowls-with-cauliflower-rice-sunflower-sour-cream-vegan-gf/

http://raiasrecipes.com/2014/03/avocadograsshoppers.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18821/chickpea-cucumber-avocado-salad-for-a-refreshing-lunch.html

http://www.superhealthykids.com/rosemary-squash-meatballs-squash-puree/

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/02/balsamic-chicken-with-roasted.html

ENJOY!

 

The power of attitude is yours

We live in an imperfect world, bad things happen to good people, work is stressful, life is busy, there is illness, injustice, prejudice and general bullshit. On the flip side, good things also happen to good people, work allows us to pay our bills and live the lifestyle we choose, a busy life means it is a full life, there is good health, justice and love.  The way we choose to look at things and life impacts us and others in many ways.

Some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.

Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Some believe positive thinkers experience health benefits due to coping better with stress and stressful situations, which reduces stress on the body.  These individuals also tend to live healthier lifestyles in general.

Positive thinking can also help individuals be more resilient.  Resilient people can face crisis and trauma with strength and resolve. Rather than falling apart in the face of stress, they have the ability to carry on and eventually overcome.  When dealing with a challenge, optimists typically look at what they can do to fix the problem, instead of giving up hope.

Positive individuals are also more pleasant to be around in general.  I’m not referring to a “Pollyanna” attitude, I’m referring to people who aren’t complaining and speaking negatively the majority of the time.  It’s natural for people to gravitate to upbeat, positive individuals and to avoid the “Debbie Downers”.

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following ways to help you think and behave in a more positive way.

  • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.

There will always be unpleasant people, situations and issues – it’s up to you how you deal with them.

Can you lose with booze????

If you’re trying to lose weight, drinking alcohol can sabotage your goals.  Just as you need to pick the foods you consume carefully and watch the portions, the same goes for your drinks.  I’ve had individuals ask me “WHY can’t I lose weight???”, when I review their diet I find they’re consuming an average of 3-4 drinks per day or binge drinking on weekends – BINGO, there you have it!

You CAN have alcohol and still lose weight, although it’s much better to wait until you’re in the maintenance phase of your diet plan, it is doable.  If you’re trying to lose weight and you like to indulge there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

How much is too much?

Research shows that both men and women who drink in moderation are less likely than non-drinkers to be obese. But on the other hand, more than moderate drinking is linked to a greater risk of being overweight or obese. What’s moderation? For a woman, it’s no more than one “standard drink” a day, or two for a man. One standard drink is either a 1.5-ounce shot of 80 proof distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine or a 12-ounce beer (a bottle or can). Each contains about the same amount of alcohol, and will therefore raise your blood alcohol concentration fairly equally. And nope, they don’t roll over, so abstaining during the week and downing 7–14 drinks over the weekend doesn’t count as moderate drinking.

Watch your portions

The average amount of wine and liquor served at restaurants is about 40 percent more than a standard drink. Also, ordering a pint of beer rather than a bottle means an extra 4 ounces. Watch those mixed drinks, like a frozen margarita in a tall, pretty glass, which can pack nearly 500 calories! See below for the average amount of calories in your favorite spirit.  These calories represent a “standard drink”, note the portion sizes above.

  • Beer — 250 calories
  • Red or white wine — 120 calories
  • Daiquiri — 259 calories
  • Vodka and club soda — 64 calories
  • Champagne — 84 calories
  • Rum and Coke — 91 calories
  • Cosmopolitan — 230 calories
  • Bloody Mary — 140 calories
  • Sangria — 167 calories
  • Martini — 69 calories
  • Margarita — 270 calories

Carbs – watch em.

Vodka sodas have become the customary skinny cocktail because both vodka and club soda (not tonic) are carb-free. Twelve ounces of ultra low-carb beer and five ounces of dry wine contain a little more, but a regular beer packs at least 10 grams, about as much as a quarter cup of brown rice. Just 4 ounces of cola contains about 12 grams, and the same amount of sour mix will cost you 25 grams of carbs.

Watch your mixers.

A 100-calorie shot of tequila turns into a 500-calorie margarita once it’s poured into a blender with a sugary mixer. Try a healthier, skinnier version of the umbrella drink. Eight ounces of pina colada mixer contains 250 calories. Cut the calories (by about a third) and add more nutrients, blend a handful of ice with one-quarter cup each 100 percent pineapple juice, coconut milk (the kind in the dairy case) and sliced banana.

Avoid alcohol-induced munchies.

Alcohol can act as an appetite stimulant and lower inhibitions. This is the key reason most weight loss plans nix alcohol.  Try to fill up on healthy food before drinking and have them available for when you want to snack with or after your cocktail.

Control your intake.

If you think you’re knocking back too many drinks each week, mix things up. Plan social activities that don’t revolve around drinking, , or volunteer to be designated driver.

Tip: If you’d rather cut back than cut out alcohol, order drinks that will help you take in less alcohol per volume, like a wine spritzer instead of a glass of wine.

If you’re serious about losing weight, it’s best to put alcohol aside until you’re in maintenance mode. If you are going to have a drink, choose wine, which may protect the heart and help lower inflammation,. Or, opt for a drink with clear alcohol and no sugary mixers. One drink a day probably maxes out the benefits, though, so keep a cork in your alcohol consumption.

 

 

Energy drinks, are they really worth it???

It seems energy drinks are everywhere these days.  They tend to be marketed to a younger generation and athletes, two demographic groups who should probably avoid these sugary, caffeinated beverages.  But these aren’t the only people drinking these drinks, and we really don’t much about them.  Many of these companies market their products as a supplement rather than a food, therefore they are not regulated by the FDA and are not required to list how much caffeine they contain.  Without regulation and studies, it’s unclear how the caffeine interacts with the plant-based and herbal ingredients (guarana, ginkgo biloba and ginseng are common ingredients) also contained in these products.

I believe it is important for companies to list every ingredient and how much of those ingredients are in their products, consumers need to know what they’re putting into their bodies, they need that information to make an educated decision regarding consumption of these products.

There really isn’t much data out there or studies that show the short & long-term effects these products have on the human body.  Let’s talk about what we DO know.

  • Increased Heart Rate

    Energy Drinks can raise your heart rate, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. The University of Washington reports that caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and can increase your heart rate. Studies also show, guarana has three times the caffeine content as caffeine in coffee. According to Johns Hopkins University, in a survey of 496 college undergraduate students, 19 percent of students indicated that they experienced heart palpitations from energy drinks. The American Heart Association confirms this, noting that people consuming two energy drinks everyday experienced blood pressure and heart rate increases.

  • Dehydration

    Another side effect of Energy Drinks is dehydration. The combination of caffeine and guarana in energy drinks can lead to dehydration. The caffeine in energy drinks acts as a diuretic and can leave you severely dehydrated if you do not replace the water that is lost; this is particularly dangerous if you are exercising and sweating. If you are using Energy Drinks as a pre-workout dietary supplement, make sure you are properly hydrated before training and replacing lost fluid by drinking water during training.

  • Dangerous Combination with Alcohol

    Combining alcohol with Energy Drinks can have fatal results. Energy drinks have received a lot of negative press from their popularity in the party scene. According to Brown University, combining the depressant effects of alcohol with the stimulant effects in energy drinks can be dangerous. The stimulant’s effects can reduce your sensation of impairment. When the stimulant’s effects wear off, your blood alcohol concentration may still be raised and cause you to vomit while you sleep or make you have a reduced capacity for breathing. Northwestern University reports that Michigan, Washington and Utah have outlawed the sale of energy drinks that contain alcohol, due to the potentially fatal side effects.

    Drug Interaction

    Some of the ingredients in energy drinks can interact with prescription medications especially medications taken for depression.

 

  • Insomnia

    Energy drinks do a good job of keeping people awake, but when abused, they can cause some people to miss sleep altogether. This lack of sleep causes impaired functioning and can be dangerous to drive or perform other concentration heavy tasks.

These are just a few of the side effects that we know about, without regulation and studies we will have to continue to learn about the effects the hard way, when something goes wrong.  It is best to consume these beverages in moderation until you know how they will affect you or skip them all together.  It is said that 80% of adults use caffeine to help keep them awake and alert, it is best to stick with what we know to be safe, coffee or tea, again in moderation, are good choices.  It’s always best to KNOW what you’re eating or drinking!

energy drinks:

Day 9

Today is the 9th day of my plant-based eating plan.  I haven’t  had any animal products, with exception of 1 ounce of cheese over the weekend,  cheese is a hard one for me to give up :/

I’m feeling good!  I don’t feel deprived or hungry.  I was worried about my energy level,  I wasn’t sure how my body would respond, but I have plenty of energy and feel strong.

I am getting tired of eating the same things everyday (my fault, poor planning), so I’m looking into new recipes to mix it up a bit. Please feel free to share some of your favorite plant-based recipes in the comments section, I’m always open to trying new things.

As of day 9, I am giving this plan 4 out of 5 stars!  Stay tuned.

#forksoverknives #plantbaseddiet

 

The power of energy

A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.  Sounds wonderful!  What is it?  It’s Reiki!

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”  Now, some may think this is a hokey fad, I say, don’t knock it until you try it.

Reiki is a form of alternative medicine developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing or hands-on-healing. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring “universal energy” through the palms of the practitioner, which they believe encourages healing.

Reiki is believed to have many healing benefits:

  1. One of the greatest Reiki healing health benefits is stress reduction and relaxation, which triggers the body’s natural healing abilities (immune system), aids in better sleep and improves and maintains health.
  2. Reiki helps bring about inner peace and harmony. It can be valuable in the quest for spiritual growth
  3. Reiki also balances the mind and emotions. Regular Reiki treatments can bring about a calmer and more peaceful state of being, and to cope better with everyday stress. This mental balance also enhances learning, memory and mental clarity. Reiki can heal mental/emotional wounds.  Reiki can help alleviate mood swings, fear, frustration and even anger. Reiki can also strengthen and heal personal relationships. Because Reiki enhances your capability to love and help your relationships grow.  Reiki allows you to connect with people on a deeper level.
  4. Reiki offers relief during emotional distress and sorrow. Reiki helps in the grieving process. It cleans and clears the emotions, preventing them from being so draining and offers perspective.
  5. On the physical level, Reiki helps to relieve pain from migraine, arthritis, sciatica ~ just to name a few. It also helps with symptoms of asthma, chronic fatigue, menopausal symptoms, and insomnia.
  6. Reiki speeds up recovery from surgery or long-term illness. As it helps in adjusting to medicine/treatment, it also tends to reduce side-effects. For example, Chemo-therapy patients who received Reiki noticed a decrease in side effects from treatment.
  7. Reiki can be an effective way to treat immediate problems, such as physical or mental illness (recovery from surgery, but regular treatments can also improve overall health. By helping to maintain a state of physical and emotional balance, Reiki can not only treat problems, but perhaps even prevent them from ever developing.

We are bodies of energy, it makes sense that energy can be used for self healing.  Anyone can be treated with Reiki, young old, adults, children, even pets!  If you decide to try Reiki, here are some tips when looking for  Reiki professional.

  • Ask what level of training they’ve received, First or Second Degree or Master.
  • Ask where they were trained and how long their classes were. Look for instruction and practical training.
  • Ask about clinical experience.

Most of all, if you decide to give Reiki a try, keep an open mind – this will help you receive and accept the practitioners healing energy.