Raid Your Kitchen: Quick Tips To Transform Your Eating Habits
Your kitchen will make or break your eating habits.
A kitchen stocked with the makings for healthy meals and snacks will keep you on track, even when late-night cravings strike. On the flip side, a kitchen filled with unhealthy munchies will derail your weight loss efforts every single time.
So what should your cupboards hold and what should be off limits? I’ve designed this self-guided kitchen raid to help you sort out the good from the bad.
Go ahead, grab a garbage bag, print out the list below, and then head to the kitchen.
Let’s start with the fridge, the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Dump this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that garbage bag ready.
Dump this: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.
Replace with: Water. It is a well known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and wreaks havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.
Dump this: Rich dairy products. I know that cream cheese tastes amazing, but fat-filled dairy products are extremely high in calories and should not reside in your fridge. Eliminate high-fat cheese, milk and yogurt from your kitchen.
Replace with: Fresh Vegetables. The produce drawer in your fridge should be overflowing with colorful nutrient-rich veggies. In fact, your fridge should hold more veggies than the drawer can hold. Veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and are a vital part of a healthy well-rounded diet.
Dump this: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.
Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish – there are numerous choices when it comes to lean meats.
Dump this: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.
Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.
Next let’s take a look into your freezer. Anyone who has walked the freezer aisles at the store knows how plentiful frozen temptations are. How does your freezer measure up?
Dump this: Ice cream. We may as well get this one over with. Hiding a gallon or two (or even a pint) of your favorite ice cream “for a rainy day” is NOT a good idea. Save yourself from that temptation and don’t buy ice cream.
Replace with: Frozen fruit. When your sweet tooth starts acting up, throw an assortment of frozen fruit into the blender and whip up a healthy fiber-filled smoothie.
Dump this: Frozen Pizza. This is another one of those items that is just too tempting to keep around. Why would you bother to make a healthy dinner when a frozen pizza is calling your name? Ban frozen pizza from your home and watch as your waist starts to shrink.
Replace with: Turkey or Veggie Patties. For quick dinners keep your freezer filled with lean turkey patties and veggie patties. Serve on a bed of brown rice or on a whole grain bun.
Dump this: TV Dinners. I doubt that you need me to go into too much detail on this one. The next time that you are tempted to buy a pre-packaged frozen meal, please turn the package over and read the nutritional facts. You will be shocked by the staggering number of calories and less-than-healthy ingredients.
Replace with: Home-made Portioned Meals. Spend some time on the weekends to cook up healthy meals, and then freeze them in portioned containers. Then throughout the week you simply need to reheat and enjoy.
Dump this: Frozen Breakfast Food. French toast, waffles and pancakes are popular items in the freezer aisle. Don’t fall for the pretty photos and tasty-sounding names. These items are highly processed and contain loads of unnecessary sugar.
Replace with: Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Muffins. It is just as easy to throw a slice of sprouted, whole grain bread into the toaster as it is a frozen waffle. Spread it with some natural peanut butter and pair it with a piece of fruit. Now that’s a much healthier breakfast.
Last, but not least, we come to your pantry. This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since most junk food ends up here. So take a moment to give yourself a pep talk before grabbing that garbage bag and opening your pantry.
Dump this: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.
Replace with: Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal.
Dump this: Refined/White Bread/Rice/Pasta. These highly processed products promote weight gain and a plethora of other health problems. Do not buy “white” bread, rice or pasta – especially if you want to lose weight.
Replace with: Whole Grain Bread/Rice/Pasta. Whole grain is the best choice you can make. It is filled with healthy fiber, and is less likely to contain harmful, waist-expanding ingredients.
Dump this: Chips/Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.
Replace with: Almonds. The key to making this snack a winner is to practice portion control. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.
Dump this: Packaged Sweets. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies and cakes and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.
Replace with: Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.
That completes your self-guided kitchen raid. I encourage you to raid your kitchen every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Talk with your family members about the healthy changes that you’re making, and try to get everyone’s support.
You know that weight loss comes as a result of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts. Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will get you on the fast-track to your best body ever.
BONUS: Shop Your Way Thin
Here’s your grocery shopping cheat-sheet. Take this with you as a reminder of what to buy and what not to buy.
Don’t buy food items that:
Are filled with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Are highly processed and contain unidentifiable ingredients.
Are full of fat.
Whole, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Self Love: Have It? 3 Steps To Get It.
I replied, “You just know.”
The moment I realized I loved myself was at a party with some of my girlfriends. The ladies at the party were part of my addiction-support group. We’d seen each other through all kinds of addictions like drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, you name it. For years, we’d been on a serious journey seeking self-love. Towards the end of the party, the hostess brought out a platter covered with fluffy pink cupcakes. I grabbed one, took a bite, and offered the rest to my friend. My girlfriends stopped and stared in shock.
How the hell can you possibly take only one bite and not want more!,” one said.
Without hesitation, I replied, “I love myself too much to eat the whole thing.” There, I realized my self-love.
I didn’t love myself overnight. I’d spent years avoiding my true feelings and the issues I’d acquired throughout my life. Through a serious dedication to change, I resurrected my relationship with myself.
How did I get here? The answer is simple. I showed up! One day at a time I showed up for my inner journey. Each day, I added new tools, meditated longer, prayed more and changed my mind. And, I continue showing up everyday. I continuously add new layers of love to the miraculous relationship with the woman that is me.
If you’re ready to put down that cupcake and love yourself, you can start showing up today. The first step is to be willing. With the slightest willingness, you will receive guidance to move forward. Begin now, by saying out loud, I am willing to love myself, today. For the next thirty days, recite this affirmation. Post it on your wall, your mirror and by your desk. Put it everywhere. Make the daily commitment to be willing to love yourself. By simply setting this intention, you are one step closer to self-love.
Second, get clear about how you’ve been un-loving towards yourself. Are you possibly overeating, drinking too much, staying in a bad relationship, reciting negative mantras in your head? Make a list of all the ways you’ve mistreated yourself. Carefully, look at the list and ask, Would I treat someone I love that way? Each time you act in a self-loathing way ask yourself that question. By calling yourself out, you witness your negative behavior and stop identifying with it. In the instant that you choose love over negativity, you create a shift and get one step closer to self-love.
Lastly, simply just hang with yourself. Once a day, spend ten minutes quiet and alone. Turn off your phone, stop tweeting and start chilling. Listen to your thoughts and check in with your body. Simply be aware of what your inner guide (~ing) is saying to you. When I practice this exercise, I hear awesome stuff. For instance, today I heard my ~ing say, “Go lie down for an hour and rest. You need it!” Had I not stopped to take the time to check in with my ~ing, I’d have never heard what I truly needed. Slow down and listen to the voice of your inner guide. This will get you one more step closer to self-love.
These three steps are a great start to any self-love journey. Be willing to affirm your desire and slow down enough to listen to the loving voice of your inner guide. One day at a time, you’ll get closer to the most rockin’ relationship with yourself.
Anyone who knows me has seen the ring I wear on my left hand. It is the ILoveMe ring which acts as a gentle reminder to love myself and others. My dear friend Arielle Feirman designed this ring and named it with me during a meditation. Check it out: Bewellwitharielle.com
Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, Spirit Junkie and the forthcoming book Miracles Now (published in April 2014). Gabrielle is also the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.
10 Benefits of Sexual Satisfaction For Women (And Why You Might Be Missing Out)
Hormonal imbalances impact many systems in the body, but symptoms usually show up as menstrual and gynecological health concerns. Thus, it is impossible to fully address hormonal health without talking about the healthy function of the sex organs. While medicinal foods are Laughing Sage Wellness’ primary tool for healing the body, the health benefits of regular orgasm in regulating women’s hormonal systems are so great that we always check in with our clients to make sure they understand the importance of a satisfying sex life. Plus, we have a created an advanced program for clients who want to focus on creating supportive relationships, building deeper intimacy with their partners, and improving sexual vitality.
“Does sex really impact my overall health?” you ask.
It does! And here’s how:
Top Ten Health Benefits of Sexual Satisfaction for Women:
1. Improves the circulation to organs in the pelvic cavity, the delivering nutrients, the growth of healthy tissues and the regulation of your menstrual cycle. Women who have intercourse at least once a week are more likely to have normal menstrual cycles than women who are celibate or who have infrequent sex.
2. Increases fertility and sense of wellness by energizing your hypothalamus gland, which regulates appetite, body temperature, emotions, and the pituitary gland, which in turn regulates the release of reproductive hormones that induce ovulation and cervical fluid.
3. Provides overall lymphatic massage, helping your body’s natural detoxification process to improve digestion and mood and help prevent cancer.
4. Promotes healthy estrogen levels to keep vaginal tissues supple and protect against osteoporosis and heart disease.
5. Induces deep relaxation by boosting endorphin levels and flushing cortisol (an inflammatory hormone released by the adrenal glands) out of the body.
6. Spikes DHEA levels in the body. DHEA hormone improves brain function, balances the immune system, helps maintain and repair tissue, and promotes healthy skin.
7. Helps you look younger–studies show making love three times a week in a stress free relationship can make you look 10 years younger.
8. Boosts immune system up to 20%–helps fight colds and flu!
9. Cures migraines and helps treat other types of pain by elevating pain thresholds (a bonus when preparing for childbirth!)
10. Increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, which is linked to passion, intuition, and social skills–the hormone of bonding and success!
If you are missing out on these amazing perks, it’s time to investigate the reasons why.
Stress is a major cause of decreased libido. Added stress puts strain on our adrenals, those thumb-sized glands that sit right above our kidneys and kick in to help our body combat stress. The adrenal glands also secrete the hormones necessary to keep your libido intact. When overworked from being in a constant state of stress and alert, the last thing your body wants to do is have sex or procreate.
Aside from low libido, here are some other signs that you might be suffering with adrenal exhaustion:
- difficulty waking up in the morning
- insomnia or difficulty falling asleep
- relying on caffeine and/or sweets to keep you going
- getting sick easily, low immunity
Sound like you?
If so, you’ll want to be taking extra good care of yourself this summer to de-stress and recharge your tired adrenals. It’s important to make sure you’re supporting your body with the proper medicinal foods and supplements. Ensure you are getting the proper guidance and support.
Top Photo: Flickr
Redesign Your Life
I was speaking with a client the other day, and she was overwhelmed. She said she comes home from work, and her mind is still racing with news headlines, work overload, and day-to-day tasks. Simply put, she could not relax. I’m sure you can relate!! I think every one of us, no matter what phase of life we are in, is busy with lots to do and lots on our minds! Whether working inside or outside of the home, with children or without, married, single, man, woman, busyness has become standard in the fast-paced, always connected world we’re in!
Believe it or not, busyness can be fun, too, if you learn to embrace it, and find your own sense of balance! Since we spend so much time at home, positive energy and balance can easily begin there, just by creating your ideal living space to fit your budget. Being positive will open the door to amazing things, so follow these simple tips to “redesign” your life!!
Set the Stage First things first, go through your surroundings and take inventory! Is there a room that you aren’t crazy about? wallpaper that’s screaming 2 decades ago? a light bulb that just doesn’t seem bright enough, or maybe a bit too bright? It doesn’t cost much to slap on a coat of paint, or replace bulbs and batteries for a fresh, updated look, and you’ll feel so much better! And, if design isn’t your thing, flip through a magazine to find a picture if a room you’ll love. Recreate the look yourself, and you’ll save tons!
Choose Colors Carefully Keep in mind colors affect us more than we think! Pick colors that are conducive to what you want your space to be. If you want a serene room, stray away from red! Red is an energizer and may even stimulate your appetite! Greens are calming colors, perfect for a spa-inspired setting. Or, if you want a cross between calm and amped up, choose a shade of blue!
Tackle Your To-Do List We all have mental to-do lists, but now’s the time to put it on paper and check it off! Make a list of the things that have been on your mind, like organizing a closet, filing cabinet, or drawer. Tackle the items one by one. Clearing clutter clears your head, too!
Store No More! Our closets, garages, and basements are havens for hidden treasures we may have written off too soon! You can go green and save green by refurbishing old furniture (it’s amazing what furniture treatment and new hardware can do!), using old clothes to cover pillows, pocketbooks, or accent your windows! Get creative, and you can design a whole new space with items you already own!
Organize to Organize If you’re trying to get organized, it may be overwhelming at first. Start simply by getting 3 bins together: “Use, Donate, Shred.”
Items in the “Use” bin should be put to use now! Donate unwanted items by picking an organization of your choice. Many even offer free same-day pick up services, as long as you pick up the phone to call them!! The only items we should be tossing are paper such as non-essential paperwork. Shred private information and recycle it!
Article By Jennifer Tuma-Young
Cold Season: Amped Up Chicken Soup To The Rescue
Cold and flu season is here full force, and of course one of the most popular remedies is good ol fashion chicken soup. While we all have our favorite variations, Clean Plates recently wrote about an amped up version full of nutrients and flavor.
Help for Soup (and Your Soul)
Amp up chicken soup with this umami-packed veggie of the sea.
Kelp, an edible seaweed (also called kombu) is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and for good reason. Not only is kelp chock-full of nutrients and vitamins, but it packs tons of umami flavor, says Hiroko Shimbo, chef and author of the IACP award-winning cookbook Hiroko’s American Kitchen.
In Japanese, the meaning of umami, that elusive fifth flavor, approximates to “delicious.” And kelp’s umami flavor “to me tastes the ‘cleanest,'” says Shimbo.
Shimbo recommends using kelp stock in place of chicken stock or water as the base for soups or as a braising liquid. The next time you make chicken soup, try this: simmer your leftover roast organic chicken in kelp stock instead of chicken stock or water, and you’ll have some of the richest, most nourishing, and most savory soups you’ve ever tasted.
Kelp stock is easy to make and keep on hand, as you’ll see in Shimbo’s recipe here. Best of all the chlorophyll-filled kelp is jam-packed with nutrients, including vitamins B, C, and E, soluble and insoluble fiber, plus iodine, calcium, and magnesium—a soulful spoonful for sure!
Clean Plates bonus: Kelp stock will give extra oomph to your vegetable soups, too. For a recent demo at the farmers’ market, Shimbo improvised a beet, miso, and kelp soup, recipe here. “Some people said ‘Oh, I don’t like miso,’ and some said, ‘I don’t like beets,’ but when they tasted this soup, they all said, ‘Wow-wow.’” We bet you will, too.
Top Photo: Clean Plates.
Free NYC: Union Square Sweat Fest! Feb 9-15
The Union Square Partnership (@UnionSquareNY) is thrilled to announce their third annual UNION SQUARE SWEAT FEST, a week-long event series highlighting the district’s vibrant health + fitness scene.
With more than 1,000 participants last year, Sweat Fest’s lineup has been expanded to showcase over 65 event partners at 40+ fitness activities.
The event schedule includes complimentary workouts at the district’s best athleisure retailers + top gyms, “drenching” paid studio classes with swag, a dynamic line-up of kids fitness, as well as plenty of giveaways + a social media contest.
#USQSweatFest classes have a limited capacity + are made available on a first-come, first-served basis
Some classes are complimentary + some require advance purchase + sign-up through the #USQSweatFest website or via a link to the studio’s website
Purchased classes are typically “drenched” with swag as indicated in the class description
Check the event schedule for changes + updates
SPECIAL OPENING + CLOSING EVENTS
Sweat Fest kicks off on Thursday, February 9th with a launch party featuring Sound Off™ + Insider Insights at the W New York – Union Square. Using wireless headsets, enjoy an immersive soul yoga experience led by Julie Serow of Laughing Lotus while renowned DJ Lety Love spins beats. Stay after for exclusive giveaways, healthy refreshments, and a wellness + beauty collective.
Close out the week with us on Wednesday, February 15th with a special yoga class + wellness celebration at GrowNYC’s beautiful new event space, Project Farmhouse. Led by internationally renowned yoga teacher Kat Fowler of Kat Fowler Yoga and Yoga Vida, you’ll experience 60 minutes of calming practice followed by healthy bites + drinks, and exciting swag + giveaways.
Looking to change up your workout routine or sample a new class or studio? Sweat Fest showcases a variety of local workout venues, instructors + classes. The schedule includes activities for all levels at the neighborhood’s favorite gyms, retail stores + boutique studios.
Check out Yoga Vida’s Yoga Flow and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at JackRabbit, or sample new workouts like Friday Night Power Hour at SWITCH Playground and Train like a BOSS at HUB seventeen. Bring Young Tigers to Bo Law Kung Fu, have a date night learning Tango at the 14th Street Y, or recover with Mindfulness Meditation at The Rubin Museum of Art.
No matter what you’re looking for, #USQSweatFest can help you find it.
This year, we’ve expanded the line-up to include children’s yoga, dance, ballet, martial arts + family swim. Check the schedule for class descriptions, recommended age levels, sign-up instructions + cost.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION + GIVEAWAYS
We’re giving away awesome swag throughout the week thanks to our event partners. To participate in our social media contest, follow us @UnionSquareNY on Twitter + Instagram and tag your #USQSweatFest photos from February 9th – 16th.
Stay in touch with us for the latest @UnionSquareNY news, including our summer schedule of free outdoor fitness offerings in Union Square Park, by signing-up for our e-newsletter.
Five Foods With Benefits
You may not realize it but some very simple changes could yield huge results. Clean eating can do wonders for your weight, skin, metabolism, and have you feeling re-energized and better than ever. Candice Kumai introduces us to her “Five badass foods with benefits” that will have you looking and feeling great.
Eat better, eat cleaner and reap all the free benefits.
Five Foods With Benefits:
1- Arugula: Let me give you a style update here. Iceberg and Romaine are so over dressed, change up that pantry.. opt for darker colors this season. The darker the leaf the more nutrient dense baby. In regards to greenery, dark is in… light is out.
2- Rainbow Swiss Chard: Besides being stylishly colorful and delicious, Swiss chard packs on mega amounts of Vitamins A, C and K. Along with copious amounts of manganese, magnesium and iron. If you don’t know how to cook the darn stuff? Well click here for a video that aims to please: How to Cook with Swiss chard?
3- Sardines: Dr Oz once explained to me what “leptin” levels were… levels that control your FAT. Keep them in check with more omega rich foods, Sardines are our top pick! Plus they are SO frickin’ delicious, sustainable and cheap. Get smart(er). Consume more sardines.
4- Berries: Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, currants, strawberries, raspberries! And no, I’m not talking about Captain Crunch Berries either. Berries are a spark of delight from childhood: handfuls, bowls with yogurt and a sprinkle of granola, sounds delightful! The most fantastic part about consuming these little bits of heaven? They contain plenty of vitamin C, E and antioxidants and can also help in keeping your skin smooth and sexy by helping your body with the natural manufacturing of collagen.
5- Quinoa:If you really want to fill up on one of the world’s perfect foods? This complete protein is the Inca’s secret to life longevity. With amino acids, protein and it’s gluten free!? Well, then sir, I’ll check out this interesting looking grain. You’ll be swapping from wasted cous-cous in no time.
Soaring The Skies? 4 Tips To Keep You Healthy (And Less Stressed!)
A big day is coming up, and, if you are going to be flying the friendly skies, we’ve got a few tips to keep the healthy going when sky high! When taking any trip, planning is essential and keeping a few things in mind before heading out could save you a lot of headaches. Here are 4 simple tips to help you plan a safer and healthier travel experience.
#1: Seize your Seat
Take the time to book the best seat available. Are you flying in first or coach? No matter, because sites like seatguru.com can help you to determine where you will be most comfortable in either cabin. It could be that the seat in row 32 is a tad narrow due to the wing of the plane, that seat 10B is right next to the lavatories or that 17C has limited legroom. Finding and booking the most comfortable option in your price bracket can give you the assurance that once you board, you can relax and sleep comfortably if flight time allows. Even a short nap has been shown to improve cognitive function.
#2: Dine by Design
Do you follow a low carbohydrate, gluten free, vegetarian, or kosher diet? Regardless of your which dietary program you follow…declare it to the airline. Don’t just wait to be surprised by the lack of appropriate foods that arrive to you tray table. Indicate your food preference when booking the ticket. After all, you are more likely to cheat on a diet and binge on a sugary snack at the airport during a layover if you missed eating a meal on your first flight because it didn’t fit into your nutritional parameters. You may also want to consider packing a protein bar, or piece of fruit. After all, even the best-laid plans can often go awry.
#3: Stop Stress
Maybe your alarm didn’t go off, your boss called you on the cell phone just as you were heading out the door, or the line at Starbucks was longer than you had expected. Don’t stress out. Plan to give yourself an extra hour to get to your flight. Leaving the city can be quite a challenge, and planning for life’s little unexpected hassles is a must. Stress robs your body of essential B vitamins. A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that when a subject’s levels of thiamine, a B vitamin, was just ½ that of the daily requirement, the subject became, “irritable, depressed, quarrelsome, uncooperative, and fearful that some misfortune awaited them.” Travel days are difficult enough, especially with the heightened security at the airports. Feeling any of those emotions would only make matters worse. Take the time to arrive early and stave off the stress.
#4: Nourish with Nutrients
We have to consider more than just the stressed B vitamins when traveling. Consider the number of hands that have held the airport escalator railing. Imagine the hundreds of people who have put their shoes soles facing down in the plastic security bin you might be using. Think about the small child who spit up her bottle only yesterday in the seat you might be sitting in today. People carry illness, and airplanes carry people. The air that is re-circulated can be stale and unhealthy. It is wise to take precautions to increase immunity, such as boosting antioxidant levels with a good multivitamin. Antioxidants, such as A, C, E, Alpha Lipoic acid, CoQ10, Grape Seed Extract and Quercetin, can keep you healthy by neutralizing free radicals. Hold back a head cold by keeping your nutrient levels lofty. Remember, better safe than sneezy.
You’re now ready to board that plane and be assured of a healthy start to your upcoming trip. Hey, what seat are you in? Maybe you’ll be seated next to us… you never know. Happy Flying!
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
Instant Mood Boosters for the Winter Blues
So, it’s cold and wintery here in the big city. And, I know this time of year can be tough- the holidays are well over, the bills are now coming in, the days shorter…I get it. But, I actually love this time of year because it means wearing comfy slippers, sitting by a crackling fire and cuddling to keep warm. There is always a bright side if we look for it. Here are 3 more instant mood boosters to kick the winter blues to the curb…
Tip #1 : Get Moving & Have Some Fun
When we take ourselves too seriously, we can end up in a rut. In the winter, it’s easier to drift into depression, because it’s colder and days are shorter. But, there’s so many fun things that come with cold, ice, and snow, so take advantage of them! Build a fire, and read firside stories, or look at family photos. Go ice skating, even if you’ve never done it! Wear padding and fall with the best of ‘em. Use the snow for a snowball packing party, making snow angels.
Often when I find myself moving toward a funk, I do something super-silly to get myself out of it. So, jump up and down, sing loud in the shower, do a tumble salt! Just make it a point to do something fun and take advantage of the season, instead of drowning in darkness!
Exercise also is a great remedy. It releases endorphins, lifting our mood and instantly making us feel better. Not to mention that done regularly, exercise increases our strength, self confidence and physical and mental health.
Tip #2: Make Your Home a Little Brighter
If the darkness is bringing you down, simply add more light to your space by changing your lightbulbs! Go green by switching them out with energy-efficient ones, and you’ll feel better just by turning on a brighter light. Make sure that your blinds are letting natural light in, and, if the walls are covered in old wallpaper or paint that just isn’t your style, this is a great time to tear it down and put on a fresh coat of a nice light-reflecting color! You can also simply brighten up your space by adding accessories that sparkle. Winter is the perfect time of year for using “crystal” accessories because they add an “ice” effect. You can even replace a light fixture, add pillows that pop, picture frames that glitter.
Tip #3: Warm Water with Lemon Works Wonders
If you’re feeling like you’ve added some pounds over the holidays, you are not alone!! The average American gains 7-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years alone. So, flush out the toxins with a cleansing drink!! I love this, because it’s not about deprivation it’s about adding something in! Just by adding warm water with lemon to your daily intake (8-8oz. glasses) you can easily lose 5 pounds of trapped bloat and flush out fat and toxins in just couple of weeks!
Whole Foods Winter Warm Up: Quinoa and Beef Meatballs
I recently came across this whole foods recipe for quinoa and beef meatballs and knew I had to try them. First of all, I love quinoa and all it’s healthy benefits, and secondly, my toddler seems to be addicted to pasta and meatballs, so any way that I can make them healthier helps. These contain chopped veggies (zucchini, carrots and onion) which sneakily kick up the nutrition even more. They turned out delicious, and it’s a recipe I will definitely go back to.
1 pound (95-percent) lean ground beef
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (use frozen 365 Everyday Value® Organic Quinoa, or cook it from scratch*)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated zucchini
2 tablespoons ketchup (I didn’t have any so just threw in a few tablespoons of crushed tomato)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce (some people substitute amino acids instead)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Shape into 16 balls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Serve hot.
(*Note: To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in ½ cup quinoa, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside off of the heat for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Use 3/4 cup in this recipe, and reserve the remaining for another use.)
PER SERVING:150 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 17g protein
Top Photo: Whole Foods