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Eating Healthy on a Budget

I know it seems complicated to eat healthy when all the healthy options are so expensive and processed food is so cheap.

What if I told you that you could eat healthy on a budget that will save you time and money without sacrificing flavor?

Here are some helpful tips on being able to eat healthily without breaking the bank. 

SIMPLE TIPS TO EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET:
  • Always plan your meals & prep for the week. Stick with those ingredients for those items on your grocery list
  • Choose cheaper protein sources like edamane, lentils, chickpeas, beans, eggs, quinoa, canned tuna or salmon, chicken thighs, tofu, or ground turkey.
  • Try eating meatless meals once or twice per week. 
  • Use frozen fruits & veggies. Eating produce out of season can be expensive. Frozen veggies and fruit taste fresher than canned and can help reduce food waste.
  • Stock up on low sodium versions of canned tomato sauce, diced or stewed tomatoes, beans, green beans, boxed broths, salsas, etc are great to throw in any meal and cheap.
  • Buy Whole Foods & produce when it’s in season. Produce is cheaper when you buy it in season; better yet, use a co-op with a local farmer on getting weekly boxes of fruits and veggies. Some have where you can purchase meats, cheeses, milk, and baked goods. You will find they are fresher as well.
  • SALES. Check for weekly or daily deals or use coupons.
  • Shop the outer section of the stores. Stay away from the inner aisles of the grocery store or the end of aisle sections.
  • DON’T BUY GROCERIES WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY!
  • Buy spices, beans, oats, or rice in bulk.
  • Cook more at home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Premake breakfast like overnight oats, egg bites, or smoothies on the go. Lunch can be wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups, or leftovers. Eating less out or on the go will save money and is healthier as well.
  • Batch cooking. Make meals or side items in large batches for leftovers or to throw in for meals.
  • Buy generic when you can. Believe me; it tastes as good as the name brand for a heck of a lot less price.
  • Cook up what you have already in your refrigerator. Try to challenge yourself using anything that is about to expire in your next meal. Have fun with the creativity. I usually have a day later in the week I call clean-out frig meals. Make me feel like I am on an episode of Chopped.
  • Cut out sodas and juices. Drink more water or make flavor waters.

Some great ideas of meals that can be budget-friendly are bowls (throw in any grain, protein, veggies, sauce, or seasoning), tacos or burritos, pasta dishes, soups or stews, stir fry, and casseroles. 

The bottom line, eating healthy on a budget is possible, and you do not have to sacrifice your taste buds either. There so many recipes and meals you can whip up that are budget-friendly. Try to slowly incorporate some of the helpful tips in your weekly routine and see what you think.

Need help with healthy recipes or meal planning? I can HELP! Email me or book a 15 min FREE Discovery call to find out how. 

What is Online Training & Coaching

What is Online Training? Why is Online Training and Coaching the New Way to Fitness & Wellness?

I know you are probably skeptical about Online Personal Training & Coaching. You have heard about it but confused and unsure what it is all about, correct?

Did you know that the perfect harmony of reaching optimal health and also obtaining your fitness goals fast is through specific coaching and guidance? This is through training your body and mind, not just workouts. Doing this will help transform your body, peace of mind and help you gain a fulfilled and happier life into a better version of YOU.

So what is Online Training and Coaching, and what are the Benefits?

Convenience & Flexibility. Work out on your schedule. Online Training gives you the freedom to work out anywhere, anytime, and at a schedule that works for you. No more missed classes, missed personal training appointments, or waking up early trying to race to the gym. You can wear whatever you want, at whatever time that’s convenient, and with whatever equipment you have at the comfort of your home’s privacy.

Cost-Effective. You still get a professional fitness trainer’s benefits with the hand on experience of having a structured, customized workout program designed each week tailored just for you. You get MORE motivation & accountability from a coach to push you to reach your goals, but you also get a customized mobile app to use anywhere. My Wellness app gives you the ability to sync the app with your Heart Rates devices like IWatch or FitBit and sync your nutrition from MyFitnessPal with your Macro & Calorie Goals I have set for you. You get 5-6 custom-tailored workouts, a variety of meditations, on-demand workouts you can do besides your scheduled workouts I have arranged, message me 24/7 within the app, get ongoing support, and with a cost-effective package. Depending on your package, you get will also get Nutrition, Habit & Mindset Goals, and coaching call sessions.

How is it cost-effective? If you add up the cost of $60-$100 per session that you pay a personal trainer, the cost of receiving recipes & meal plans per month, and the cost of a health or wellness coach for the coaching services and call sessions, you would pay thousands a month.

You get everything bundled together in an excellent package. Still, you also get MORE accountability and motivation with an online trainer as your coach; that’s me, can watch your every move with your Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness goals. You can also see your stats, history, and PRs easily. Even better, you are also able to message me at any time through the app. This means you get more bang for your buck!

Don’t like or feel safe at the gym? If you feel intimidated going to the gym, feel shy, or a beginner feeling overwhelmed on where to start in a fitness program. By using an online health and fitness coach, there are no excuses for being timid or embarrassed. You can enjoy logging on at your comfort level and at home.

Prefer being at the Gym? No problem, you can take your Online Training and Coaching with you at the gym where you can have access to a wealth of fitness programs with all the equipment your gym offers as well as your home or outdoors for when you want to switch things up. Your coach can tailor your workouts to whatever equipment and wherever you are working out.

I know what you are thinking, can’t I just get anywhere online workouts for FREE or next to nothing? What makes your program or online Training different? First, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Just getting online to find exercises or doing your gym’s online classes are not custom-tailored for you and your goals. You also don’t get the modifications you need. Know if you are working your muscles correctly and strategically in scheduled workouts. You also don’t get a coach’s accountability to push you and keep you motivated and guide you through all the way. Think of it as getting Health, Wellness, & Fitness all at your fingertips 24/7. This information will be a valuable resource as you continue your pursuit of optimum health and wellness.

Whether you are working out at the gym, at home, or traveling on the go, I can help you. I can custom-design workouts for the gym, at home, limited time on the go, or while traveling with the available equipment.

Time to stop spinning your wheels and getting nowhere but feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Stop trying to figure out your workouts and get them custom-tailored just for you, bringing you a step by step exercise plan with guided instructions, pictures, and videos that will get you started on your fitness journey, transforming you inside and out to a better version of YOU

Take the guesswork out of your Health & Fitness goals. Sign up TODAY for a 7-Day FREE Trial of my Wellness app to TEST DRIVE my Online Training and Coaching programs.

If you are still skeptical or have concerns about my online coaching and have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me or book a FREE 15 min Discovery call.

Foods High in Calcium

We all know that Calcium is essential for our health.

In fact, did you know that you have more Calcium in your body than any other mineral? This critical mineral makes up much of your bones and teeth and plays a role in our heart health and muscle function.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most adults, though women over 50 and adults over 70 should get 1,200 mg per day. (1)

Unfortunately, many people don’t meet their calcium needs through their diet and try to supplement to make up for it.

But there is good news! Did you know there are plenty of other food sources you can eat that are high in Calcium or have a decent amount for you to be able to reach your intake goals for the day?

You know that dairy is an excellent Calcium source, but there are nondairy foods rich in the mineral.

Here are some foods you can incorporate into your daily routine that are excellent sources of Calcium.

  • Dairy Products from cheese, milk, yogurt.
  • Broccoli Rabe or Broccoli offer a high source of Calcium. Broccoli Rabe, a cousin of Broccoli has 100mg of Calcium, and one cup of Broccoli with 87 mg of Calcium. (2)
  • Beans or Legumes. Not only are beans high in fiber, protein, and iron, but they offer a great source of Calcium as well.
  • Tofu or Edamame. Tofu is an excellent source of Calcium. The Calcium content varies depending on the firmness and the brand but can range from 275–861 mg per half-cup. Edamame is a great snack or great in dishes. One cup of edamame contains 98 mg of Calcium and is a high-quality protein with all nine essential amino acids. (4)
  • Dark Leafy Greens. Eating more dark leafing greens like kale, spinach, collards, bok choi, and mustard greens are not only high in iron and antioxidants but high in Calcium. They are ranging from 100mg-266mg of Calcium.
  • Oranges or Fortified Orange Juice. Oranges are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps strengthen your immunity, and is also a good Calcium source.
  • Seeds. Seeds like chia, sunflower, poppy, or sesame seeds are good options to increase your calcium intake. Chia is a powerhouse for also an excellent protein source and great Omega fatty acid source. (2)
  • Nuts-especially Almonds. Almonds pack the highest in Calcium for all nuts. Just 1 cup of whole almonds contains a whopping 385 mg of Calcium. (4)
  • Sweet Potatoes. Believe it or not, sweet potatoes are high in potassium, antioxidants, and Vitamin C and high in Calcium.

Now you can easily meet your calcium needs by eating from the Whole Foods list above, including with dairy. Try to aim to consume 2 or 3 servings of plant-based Calcium per day in your everyday routine.

This site offers health, fitness, and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

Setting Your 2021 Goals

It’s a New Year and a clean slate. This is the time everyone thinks of resolutions and goals for the new year. This is when everyone starts to look to improve their diet into a healthier one or even want to lose weight. Others may be working on stress management or even improving their financial gain by cutting the unnecessary weight in their budget.

Achieving your goals probably will not be easy if you set unrealistic goals for your self and allow self-sabotage. Resolutions made on New Year’s Day are often in the trash bin by Valentine’s Day. But this year can be different if you learn how to set realistic goals that can be achieved for a lifetime.

Before working on your 2021 Goals, make sure to write down to evaluate or take stock of everything you accomplished in 2020 and everything you were grateful for this year before going into the new year.

If you want to work on being healthier or lose weight, then reduce the urge to do them all or nothing approach or crazy wack diets that are very restrictive.

Looking to Get Healthier?

  • Slowly add healthier options in your diet and slowly reduce unhealthier ones like incorporating more wholes foods and reducing heavily produced foods.
  • Start adding slowly each week ways to be more active. Taking stairs more, walking during your break, standing more every hour, reduce TV sloth time laying on the sofa, or get outside to do something fun. Aim to add one cardio exercise in a week and strength training to eventually get at 3 days strength training 3-4 days cardio along with a stretch or yoga day.
  • Add in some “Me Time” and self-care.
  • Slowly reduce alcohol and sugar consumption. You don’t have to eliminate it; reduce your portion, and even replace it with healthier options.
  • Water consumption-Start consuming more water daily. Depending on your activity level, make sure to follow the recommended daily guidelines on hydration. You will need more if you are working out and outside in the heat. Strive for 10-12 (8 oz glasses) a day. Start drinking a full glass of water upon waking, along with meals and in between meals. Always stay hydrated during workouts.
  • Incorporate more fruits and veggies in a day. Eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables daily. Try to slowly increase your serving size to get up to the daily recommendation.

Looking to Reduce Stress?

  • Slowly work on scheduling more ME time for yourself each day. Start for 1 min a day, then 3 min, then 5 min and eventually work up to 30min to an hour of ME time and self-care to be able to decompress and recharge.
  • Focus on your breathing. Start taking a few moments each day to focus more on your breathing. When we get stressed, upset, or focused, we tend to hold our breath, or our breathing becomes erratic. Take 3-5 mins a day or a few times a day to inhale through your nose for a 3 count, hold, and then take one big exhale out through your month.
  • Be more mindful, and take time to pause by staying in the present moment more each day. If you are eating, step away from the computer or TV and enjoy your meal, savoring every bite. If you are walking or with family, be more mindful by putting down your phone and enjoying the scenery or company.
  • Take up the practice of Yoga or go for walk. Yoga or walking are great ways for reducing stress and being able to pause from the craziness in your life.
  • Get outside to enjoy some fresh air and scenery.
  • Take time to read a good book or listen to an audiobook away from any distractions.
  • Listen to some good music and break out in a dance. Dancing and listening to music can release feel-good endorphins.
  • Stop trying to do everything and put too much on your ToDo list each day.
  • Start Journaling. Journaling like mediation forces you to stop and pause in the now. Take a few moments each day to journal down 3 things you are grateful for, 3 three things you can do to make today great, and an affirmation-something positive about yourself.

Want to Workout More?

  • Start adding slowly each week ways to be more active. Taking stairs more, walking during your lunch break, standing more every hour, reduce TV sloth time laying on the sofa, or get outside to do something fun. Aim to add one cardio exercise in a week and strength training to eventually get at 3 days strength training 3-4 days cardio along with a stretch or yoga day.
  • Add more Strength Training in your routine. Besides looking and feeling great, and there are many excellent benefits that you can receive from strength training consistently. Strength training can help you get stronger, look, and feel better with just 2-3 short workouts each week. You can do strength training with free weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, weight machines, or even with no weights with TRX Straps or your bodyweight.
  • Stay active & MOVE More. Try to incorporate more ways in being active like walking, running, jogging, biking, taking stairs, etc. Doing more cardio activities increases your cardiovascular, helps reduce blood pressure, reduces stress, and boosts your mood. (1)
  • Try Yoga or Incorporate Stretching. Besides with helping reduce stress, Yoga is something that is great to incorporate in your routine. Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles. They can help you move better and feel less stiff or tired. Stretching helps improve your flexibility, reduce stress, help prevent injuries, and improve posture.

Need to Improve your Financial goals?

  • Look over your monthly spending and cut the fat, so to speak, on unnecessary expenditures. Even if it is a little here and there, it will add up to reducing monthly costs. Did you know that spending only $5 additional a day (the price of a fancy latte) can cost you $150 a month?
  • Double-check on monthly subscriptions or services you no longer use but are still paying.
  • Meal Plan & cook more at home. Not only does this help you stay healthier and lose weight, but it also reduces stress and saves money. So you are hitting all goals; you can batch cook

Need to Work on your Time Management?

  • Top 3 ToDos-Make a list of your Top 3 Priority ToDo’s. Put it down on your planner or at the top of your ToDo list with the top 3 ToDos you must get done for that day. Then add other to-dos you will like to get done after the top 3’s.
  • Start with the Easy Stuff 1st-Think of the items on your list you knock off in the next 15 to 30 minutes. Returning emails, make phone calls, or so on. Creating a smaller list of tasks on your to-do list will help you reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and reduce your anxiety level.
  • Prioritize-Write down your to-do list the day before. Start with prioritizing deadlines when writing out your ToDo for the day or week. For tasks with shared deadlines, order them by magnitude, putting the bigger items on top. 
  • Get Assistance- Look at your ToDo’s and see what item a spouse, child, family member, or co-worker can help take off your plate.
  • Set a Time for your ToDos-Give yourself set block of time to work on each ToDo list. Plan for 30 or 45 minutes, something you can commit to work on and complete each item.
  • Carve out a Chunk of Time with no Distractions-Try to put down on your phone or calendar a set of times that you will work on completing on ToDos. Put your phone away; don’t check emails and text messages frequently, nor scroll on social media during this time. This will help you stay focus and get the work done without distractions. 

Sustaining Healthy Habits is a lot about mindset. It takes 3 weeks of performing a routine for it to become a normal habit. So be patient with yourself and take things one day at a time. YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Remember, the past has passed, so learn from 2020 so you are ready and prepared for 2021. Don’t just wish for a great year this year; MAKE IT a GREAT ONE. Here is to the New Year. Wishing you a happy and wonderful New Year

You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. None of my services shall be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. I cannot and do not provide medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before altering your diet or starting any fitness program

Metabolism Boosting Foods

Feeling like your Metabolism is sluggish or sleeping? Here are some Foods that can Help Boost Your Metabolism

  • Eat More Avocado-Did you know that Avocados Boost Metabolism and Exercise Endurance? The protein in this delicious fruit contains all 9 essential amino acids, plus heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has plenty of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help boost your metabolism and keep hunger at bay. Try adding avocados in your smoothies or with your eggs & on toast for breakfast. You can also swap out mayo for avocado in your sandwiches or your meals or salads. (1, 2)
  • Increase your Protein-Rich Foods. Eating foods high in protein, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds could help increase your metabolism for a few hours. Not only can protein-rich foods help boost your metabolism, it also helps maintain muscle mass.
  • Eat more foods high in Iron, Zinc, and Selenium-Foods rich in iron, zinc, and selenium promote your thyroid’s proper function, which helps maintain a healthy metabolism. You can incorporate foods like meat, seafood, legumes, edamame, nuts, and seeds into your daily menu. (3)
  • Chili Peppers-Studies show that eating spicy foods like chili peppers may help speed up metabolism. Due to the chemical Capsaicin found in chili peppers, it may boost your metabolism, increasing the number of calories and fat you burn. Try spicing up your next meals with chili peppers for flakes, sauces, or a mixture of spice blends.
  • Legumes-Beans/Legumes, such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, and peanuts, high in protein compared to other plant foods. They are also high in fiber and certain amino acids, which can have metabolism-boosting properties. Try adding more legumes in your meals, salads, soups, stews, blending up in dips.
  • Nuts-A small handful of nuts are great as a snack and are high in protein. Pumpkin seeds, in general, are not only high in protein but also in iron and magnesium.
  • You can also add nuts in your salads, on top of chia puddings or overnight oats, in smoothies, and your next meals.
  • Eggs-Eggs are low in calories, but they’re an excellent protein source and some healthy fat to help stave off hunger. This popular breakfast go to doesn’t just make for a filling breakfast; it can also speed up your metabolism! Eggs don’t have to be for breakfast anymore; try switching up your meals, including eggs.
  • Green Tea-Did you know that a cup of green tea has a hearty serving of antioxidants? Studies have found that drinking green tea each day can increase your body’s fat metabolism. (4)
  • Quinoa & Whole Grain-Unlike refined grains, whole grains contain fill-you-up fiber, are anti-inflammatory, and may be beneficial for weight management. Quinoa, in particular, is also high in protein. Don’t be scared of whole grains or quinoa because they have carbohydrates. Incorporate more in your next salads, as a side, with one-pot meals, and even make a bowl.
  • Leafy Greens-Kale & Spinach are one of those veggies you know you should eat more of but unsure. These greens are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and are also rich in iron, which speeds up the metabolism. Try adding fresh kale or spinach to your morning smoothie in the morning or your salads, soups, stews, or as aside.
  • Flaxseeds-Flaxseeds are another fiber powerhouse known to boost metabolism and overall health. They’re also rich in protein to keep you full between meals. This seed is also a great source of Omegas. Try adding ground flaxseed to your morning smoothie, overnight oats, oatmeal, or baked goods.
  • DON’T EAT BELOW 1200 Calories. Also, make sure to never eat below 1200 calories and eat a balance Whole Foods diet with less processed food.

Make sure to cut back on the following when it comes to metabolism.
▫️Processed Foods
▫️Refined & Simple Carbohydrates
▫️Alcohol
▫️Sugary Beverages

If you need help with your energy levels, weight, or on getting your life back, contact me for a 15 min FREE Discovery Call session to see how I can help you.

Want a FREE 7-Day Hormone & Metabolism Balancing Meal Plan to help you feel your best and flood your body with nutrients? Click on my FREE 7-Day Meal Plan to help get your hormones in check, boost metabolism, and eat more of a Whole Foods balanced diet. The meal plan comes with colorful recipes, nutritional facts, meal plan for the week, and a grocery list.

You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. None of my services shall be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. I cannot and do not provide medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before altering your diet or starting any fitness program

Side Stitch Blues

Why working out or running can be a pain in your side. Ever started jogging or in the middle of a HITT workout to be stopped dead in the track with an unbearable side pain? Ah, the oh so common Side Stitch. I remember those a lot in high school during practice or PE. Suppose you’ve ever felt that pain, commonly know as a side stitch or medically known as Exercise-Related Transient Abdominal Pain (ETAP). In that case, you know just how irritating that pain can feel during working out. (1) (2)

So, what is a side stitch? A side stitch is localized pain to one side of the abdomen, just below the rib cage. The pain can feel like a cramp, sharp pain, or a dull ache.

What Causes a Side Stitch during Exercise? Many causes or unknown causes create a side stitch to come on, but the following can usually bring on the side pain.

  • Drinking Sugary drinks before exercise has been known to increases the likelihood of stitches.
  • Going for a run too soon after eating.
  • Eating a heavy high fat, a lot of liquids, or high fiber meal 3 hours before working out.
  • Not practicing good posture.
  • Not warming up before a run: Runners sometimes report that they seem more likely to get a side stitch if they start running without warming up.
  • Increasing intensity or length too fast or too quickly 
  • Shallow breathing: Make sure to breathe correctly while running.
  • Your core is weak. Strengthening your core can strengthen weak diaphragm muscles, making them more resilient to fatigue and less likely to cramp. (3)

How to Reduce the Pain

  • If you’re running, take a break or slow down to a walk.
  • Breathe deeply and exhale slowly.
  • Stretch your abdominal muscles by reaching one hand overhead. Try bending gently into the side where you feel the stitch.
  • Stop moving and try pressing your fingers gently into the affected area while you bend your torso slightly forward.
  • Stay hydrated while exercising. 
  • Make sure to warm-up before any exercise.

If you get a side stitch, it will usually disappear on its own when you stop exercising or a few minutes or hours later.

If you are experiencing side pain during a run, jog, or intense workouts, experiment with some of the techniques listed above to help you get over your side stitches.

Always contact your physician before performing in type of exercise or nutrition program.

How to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

It seems so simple yet challenging for many people to get fruits and veggies daily. Did you know that only 1 in 10 adults consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables? I know you are thinking, how many servings of fruits and vegetables should I be striving for daily? The federal guidelines recommend that adults eat at least 1½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables per day as part of a healthy lifestyle. (1)

Eating vegetables and fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet, and making sure to eat a variety is as important as the quantity. Make sure to eat the RAINBOW because not one fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need.

Why is it important to eat your veggies? They are loaded with healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, & phytonutrients. Eating more veggies can help you maintain healthy body weight and even lose some fat because they fill your stomach but are low in calories. Fruits and vegetables also help keep you hydrated since they have a lot of water content. (2)(3)

You know you should eat more fruits and vegetables, but you are probably scratching your head on how can I incorporate more into my daily routine?

Before we dive in, always make sure to start from where you are. If you’re not used to eating any fruits or veggies, try to incorporate just one or two per day. Build up from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet one day; that will set you up for failure.

Now, let’s dive into some easy ways to eat more fruits and veggies every day or ways to sneak them into your family’s meals.

Ways to SNEAK them into Your Meals

OK, this one may be a little “sneaky,” but I’m all about transforming you from the inside out, so hear me out. If you or a family member are not a big fruit and vegetable eater, this is for you.

Some dishes are super-easy to enhance or tweak with a bit of strategically placed produce. So for your next meal, try some of these ideas.

  • For smoothies in the morning or as a snack, try adding a vegetable like a handful of spinach, or romaine lettuce, or some diced cucumbers, diced carrots, or diced zucchini, or even diced cauliflower. You can make some great smoothies with veggies, added carrot cake smoothie, zucchini bread, etc.
  • Fruits you can add on Smoothies 1-½ apple or pear, a frozen banana, peaches, mangos, pineapple, cranberries, oranges, or berries. There is no limit or the variety you can add, so enjoy experimenting. Need some inspiration? You can download this Smoothie Recipe Pack to get you to blend some healthy and nutritious smoothies. 
  • Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini, frozen peas, cauliflower, spinach, collards, kale, or peppers into your soup.
  • Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce, or cucumber to it? You can even add veggies in your next chicken, tuna, or salmon salad by dicing up a stalk of celery, shredded carrots, and roasted red peppers throw-in. 
  • Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas for the sweetness?
  • Upgrade your Salad. If you eat a small salad or a salad with only iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Why not try a larger size filled with spring mix and spinach, even arugula? Add a variety of veggies to it, like roasted butternut squash, roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, artichoke hearts, banana peppers, and a various of peppers zucchini, squash, or asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, and much more. 
  • Throw them in your next scrambled eggs, omelet, or quiche. Spinach, peppers, mushrooms, or tomatoes are always a great choice to add.
  • Making Italian? How about with your tomato sauce, add in some mushrooms, shredded carrots, zucchini, or peppers.
  • Like Mashed Potatoes? Try adding mash cauliflower or rutabaga in your next mashed potatoes.
  • Coleslaw with a nutrient punch. Add some shredded brussel sprouts, collards, and/or kale in with your cabbage for your next coleslaw.
  • Like Ice Cream? Try making NICE Cream with frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk or milk of choice, along with cinnamon and vanilla extract. Blend to form ice cream.

Make them Taste MORE FlAVORFUL

  • Roast or steam some veggies and add a touch of olive oil and your favorite herb or spice.
  • Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap. Iceberg Lettuce or Collard Leaves are usually a good choice.
  • Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sauteing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil, broth, and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon, or cumin.

OPTING FOR THEM AS SNACKS

  • Kale or Sweet Potato Chips, anyone? Wash, pat, and massage kale leave with oil and seasoning throw-in in the oven to make kale chips or thinly slice sweet potatoes with a little oil and seasoning to make healthy homemade chips.
  • Why not throw a banana, apple, grapes, blueberries, or a couple of clementines into your lunch or snack bag?
  • Ditch the chips and dip – Instead, try some carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber, or cauliflower, peppers with a dip like hummus, guacamole, bean dips, or even your favorite salad dressing?
  • Add fresh or frozen berries, strawberries, or other fruit to your yogurt.

YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK

Take any two of these suggestions and try them this week. Each week add one or two more fruits and veggies to your day. Then next week, add another one or two more. Before you know it, you will be meeting your daily intake as well as looking and feeling better.

And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again in a different way. Studies have shown that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before beginning to like a new flavor. You can do it, and your body will thank you.

Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.

If you struggle with your health and nutrition or need some creative and delicious ways to help, you eat more fruits and veggies. I can HELP! Contact me TODAY to find out how I can help or book a 15-minute Discovery call.

Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

It’s that time again for the Big Turkey Day where everyone goes ahead and splurges, seeing it only comes around once a year. Besides being safe during the pandemic, everyone’s number thought each year is fear of gaining weight during the holiday season. It is something that is always dreaded and expected during this time of the year. Each year, most people will pack on to 1-3 lb during the holidays that stay on permanently. (1)

Here is the Good NEWS! Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight or derail your healthy lifestyle. You can make a few tweaks and adjustments to the day where you can enjoy your traditional favorites guilt-free and finally enjoy your Thanksgiving without obsessing. View the helpful tips below so you can enjoy your Holiday and not have any regrets.

Stay Active. Make sure you are active on Turkey Day. Go for a walk or fit in a workout during the day of and try to stay active throughout the week.

Don’t Skip Breakfast. I know you think if I don’t eat before my Thanksgiving mealtime, I will not go overboard and save calories. You might think that makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, but research has shown that eating a small meal in the morning or before your Thanksgiving meal can give you more control over your appetite, not to mention it helps you make better choices since you will not be starved and hangry. Start your day with a healthy, nutritious, balanced meal with protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats to keep you satisfied before the Holiday gathering (1)(2)

Plan Ahead. Planning is the key to any success, so planning ahead before the big event will save you in the long run. If you cook the Thanksgiving meal or bring a few side dishes, try to replace your recipes with healthier swaps that reduce the fat, sugar and save on calories. You will notice that most desserts and some side dishes have way more sugar and fat than is needed. If you reduce it, no one will notice the difference, and you will be reducing the calories in the long run.

If you are making sweet potato casserole, reduce the amount of sugar in the sweet potato filling. The sweet potatoes already have a natural sweetness, and you will be putting a sugary topping on top, so really no reason to pile it on in the filling. Try using fat-free chicken or vegetable broth to baste the turkey, make gravy, and on sautéing. Reduce the amount of butter you add as well. You can also try plain yogurt in creamy dips and casseroles.

Don’t Get Overstuffed-Thanksgiving tables are filled with an abundant amount of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate sky high, make sure to survey everything and decide what you’re going to choose. When you are ready, do not go overboard on the portion sizes. Add reasonable-sized portions of your favorite foods. Let’s leave being stuffed to the turkey!

Enjoy the meal, but make sure you are eating slowing and savoring every bite. There’s a way to savor it and not overdo it. Doing this will help you not get overstuffed as if you were eating too fast.

Don’t go for Seconds. I know this will be hard, but try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Don’t worry; I am not saying you can not enjoy your favorite delicious foods. This is a great way to pack up all your favorite family comfort foods to enjoy the next day. Leftovers are just as good or better the next day. Also, if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overdo it and have more room for a few bites of some dessert to enjoy.

Healthier Holiday choices are white meat turkey (baked/roasted), snack on veggies or fruit, choose plain or roasted veggies, roasted or baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (watch the gravy), and pumpkin pie.

Go Easy on Alcohol. It is easy to drink up calories in no time quickly. Don’t forget those calories in alcohol can add up. Have a glass of wine or watch the amount of mixer if having a cocktail. In between alcoholic drinks, enjoy the water or sparkling water if you want the carbonation. That way, you are staying hydrated also.

Set Realistic Goals. Don’t go thinking you will be perfect and not enjoy some family favorites. The holiday season is a time for celebration. So enjoy yourself and time with family. That is what it is all about, spending quality time with family or friends and not obsessing on what is on the table.

Try not to beat yourself up if you overdid it. Just get right back to your usual healthy eating and active routine. You’ve got this!

If you need help with healthy eating and incorporating a healthier lifestyle, I can HELP! Contact me TODAY to find out how I can help you become a better and healthier version of YOU!

How Much Exercise Do You NEED?

So I hear it all the time, “How Much Exercise Do I Really Need to Get in Shape? The more important question is, how much exercise do you actually need to get in shape?

Twenty minutes three times per week? Half-hour per day? And how much is too much? Do you need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?

Let’s go over the amount of exercise that is ideal for your health, wellness, and ideal for getting into shape.

Let’s first start with the minimum.

WHAT’S THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF EXERCISE?

Of course, you’re going to have to start from where you are right now. So that means if you are not already exercising regularly, there is no need to go overboard. In fact, trying too much too soon may derail your motivation and become a reason you throw in the towel.

So, let’s say you’re not active quite yet. What if I were to say that you only have to exercise 10-20 minutes every other day at a level you think you can do? Does that sound like a good starting point? (1) I would say, and I am sure you are shaking your head yes as well.

If you’re not training for a competition or an athlete needing to increase their performance, then you can absolutely get into shape, starting with up to 20 mins 3-4 days a week.

My recommendation is always to do a 5-minute warm-up at an easy pace, then perform your workout up to 20 minutes in your fat burning-cardiovascular heart zone. That would be between 60-70% HRZ (Fat Burning) to 85% HRZ (71-85% Cardiovascular). Then end your workout with a 5-minute cool down or stretch.

HOW TO DESIGN YOUR EXERCISE PLAN

Now, there isn’t one answer for everyone, as everyone is different. The main rule is, to begin with where you are right now and your fitness level. Take note of your fitness and health goals that you want to accomplish. Then each day and each week, try to increase and improve slowly. This will get you stronger and will help you reach your goals.

Always consider what is reasonably sustainable for you, based on:

  • What is your long-term fitness goal?
  • What are your limitations and roadblocks in your life (i.e., how much time do you have, overworked, recent injury)?
  • What is your current fitness level?

But don’t stop there! 

As you stay consistent in your exercise routine, it will start getting easier. Don’t forget to make it a bit more challenging as you go and always switch things up. Every week do something to push yourself a bit farther than you were before. If you’re strength training, do a few more reps or grab the 5-10 lb heavier weights on the next exercise. If you’re doing cardio, go a bit longer, add inclines, increase your miles, or increase your speed.

A great motivational tool is to log your workouts, keeping up with your stats to see when you hit personal best or milestones. A simple notepad, workbook, or my online fitness app-will do! Just enter your reps, sets, time length, and days you workout. This will help you keep motivated and excited to continue, but it will also help you see where you can squeeze in that extra challenge as you progress.

After several weeks you can stop and evaluate. This is usually where I have scheduled body stats for you to measure and see your progress. Doing this will help you decide to either keep going the way you are, ramp it up, or change up completely. Eventually, you will find yourself getting stronger and more fit!

DON’T FORGET YOUR NUTRITION

While exercise is essential for your health, wellness, and longevity, it’s not the only thing to consider. What you eat is going to have as big, or bigger, impact on your shape. They don’t say ABS are made in the Kitchen for no reason.

Some of my favorite quick and simple tips that give you the biggest “bang for your buck” are:

  • Eat more veggies throughout the day.
  • Swap the soda for sparkling water with fruit or citrus.
  • Try to remove any temptations but if you must have, make sure to cut your treats or sweets in half smaller portions.
  • Eat more Whole Foods and less processed food. Keep your meals balanced with Protein, Fats, and Carbs. If you need a guide on keeping your meals balanced, view my A Health Plate blog.
  • Reduce the serving size of your main meals if you are used to eating huge meals. Make sure to eat until you are about 80-90% full.
  • Eat slower and savor it more by chewing each bite of food more thoroughly.
  • Carry around healthy snacks with you when you are on the go.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Strive to drink about 68 oz of water daily. That is about 8 (8 oz) glasses of water per day.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

You don’t need to exercise like crazy doing BootCamps or CrossFit to get into shape but try to incorporate the following:

  • Start from where you are and don’t go overboard. Listen to your body and take it one day at a time.
  • If you’re a beginner, start with 10 – 20 minutes every other day at a comfortable pace.
  • Log your workout progress to track improvements and keep motivated. 
  • Slowly increase and challenge yourself every week as you get stronger, healthier, and fitter.
  • Don’t forget to eat more veggies daily, add fruit, eat a Whole Foods balanced diet, reduce your serving sizes (mostly treats), drink more water, and carry around healthy snacks.
  • Always talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

You don’t have to keep feeling frustrated or unhappy about how you look or feel. Let me help you transform from the inside out, becoming the best version of YOU! Book a 15 minutes FREE Discovery session to see how I can HELP! 

For more information, view my online fitness training service below or Contact Me!

Always contact your physician before performing in type of exercise or nutrition program.

Omega-3s

Let’s talk Fatty Acids, shall we? If you are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, you have probably heard about Omega fatty acids, especially Omega-3. You know Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to your health, but unsure exactly why.

Omega-3 has many powerful health benefits for your body from your heart, joints, brain, and even mood.

If you don’t eat fish, which is a vital source of these healthy fats, it’s important to know how to navigate natural sources or take a supplement to get proper intake.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats. The “essential” part means that the body cannot make them on its own, so you have to get them from food or supplements. So for that very reason, you must consume omega-3 fatty acids through food every day. (1) (2)

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital components of cell membranes, allowing nerve impulses to pass easily between cells. They’re also the building blocks for hormones that control inflammation, blood clotting, and relaxation and contraction of artery walls. (3)

There are three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) plentiful in fish and seafood, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in flax, chia or hemp seeds, flax or canola oil, walnuts, soybeans, and many fortified foods. (1)

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish (particularly coldwater fish) at least twice a week.

*The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that young children, women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast-feeding mothers groups limit the amount of fish they eat.

Don’t eat fish? Hate taking pills to get your recommend daily intake of Omega 3s? Are you tired of belching up fish oil supplements? No problem! I’ve found some natural food sources and plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids to add to your diet.

Here is a helpful list of foods and natural sources you can start incorporating into your diet.

  • Salmon
  • Sardine
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Cod
  • Herring
  • Lake trout
  • Canned, light tuna
  • Oysters
  • Seaweed
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed, Chia Seeds, and Hemp Seeds
  • Flaxseed oil, Soybean Oil, Canola oil
  • Soybeans or Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Kidney, Pinto, & Navy Beans
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Green leafy vegetables

Here are some health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

  • Mood Booster for Anxiety & Depression-Mental health has been something that has been gaining awareness, especially nowadays. Depression and anxiety are common mental disorders. There have been studies that indicate people who consume omega-3s regularly are less likely to have depressed feelings. Furthermore, when people with depression or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, their symptoms improve. Consuming Omega-3 has also been known to help women during menopausal depression. Surprising even one study found EPA to be found as effective against depression as a common antidepressant drug.(4), (5)(678) (9). 
  • Improve Eye Health-Omega-3 can help improve your eye health. It is actually the DHA, a type of omega-3, a major structural component of your eye’s retina. Did you know that when you don’t get enough DHA, vision problems may arise? Interestingly enough, Omega-3 has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration, one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness. (10) (11), (12).(13), (14).
  • Heart Health-Omega-3 has been linked in many proven studies to improving your heart health. Heart attacks and strokes have been the world’s leading causes of death. Omega-3s help keep your heart healthy and protect against stroke. Not to mention, it also helps improve your heart health if you already have heart disease. Several studies have shown that individuals who consumed fatty fish a few times per week had almost one-half the risk of death from coronary heart disease and almost one-third the risk of death from a heart attack compared to those who consumed no fish. (15) (16) (17)(18).
  • Fight Inflammation-What is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural response to infections and damage in your body; the reason why it is vital for your health. Unfortunately, inflammation can sometimes persist for a long time, without any signs of an infection or injury. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines. The American Heart Association journal Circulation Research found that consuming fish oil supplements containing a specific omega-3 fatty acid formula can reduce inflammation. Studies have consistently observed a connection between higher Omega-3 intake and reduction in inflammation. (22) (23) (24)(25), (26).
  • Help Fight Autoimmune Diseases-Autoimmune diseases is when your immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign cells and starts attacking them. One prime example of this is Type 1 diabetes, in which your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Omega-3s can combat some of these diseases and may be especially important during early life. Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) Gina M. Finzi found that consuming a diet with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) prevented the disease’s development. DHA’s ability to minimize inflammatory pathways in immune cells. Studies have shown that getting enough Omega-3s during the beginning years of life is linked to a reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Omega-3s also help treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis. (19(29) (30) (31)(32) (33,) (34) (35)
  • Reduce Fatty Liver-Fatty liver disease is not just in alcoholics. Did you know that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is more common than you think? In today’s Western diet, it has increased with the obesity epidemic to become the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world. Surprising news; supplementing Omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces liver fat and inflammation in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (36) (37) (38).
  • Bone and Joint Health– Bone and joint health are vital in your day to day life. The good news is that studies have indicated that Omega-3s can improve bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones, which should lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis. There have also been studies that Omega-3s may also treat arthritis. Patients taking Omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength. (39(40) (41)
  • Improve Sleep–Ah, getting a great night’s sleep. Making sure you get ample sleep is one of the foundations of optimal health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and depression. Studies have shown that low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with sleep problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Even more, low DHA levels are also linked to lower levels of the hormone called melatonin, which helps you fall asleep naturally. This research revealed that supplementing with omega-3 increases the length and quality of sleep in children and adults. (42) (43) (44) (45). (46) (47) (48).
  • Skin Health-Everyone wants healthy and great skin, right? Did you know that DHA is a structural component of your skin? We already talked about that it is responsible for cell membranes’ health, but those cell membranes make up a large part of your skin. A healthy cell can result in soft, moist, supple skiing, even wrinkle-free skin. EPA is also vital to your skin in several ways. It helps manage your skin’s oil production and hydration, reduces premature aging of your skin, & reduces acne risk. Surprisingly enough, Omega-3s can also protect your skin from sun damage. That is because the EPA helps block the release of substances that eat away at the collagen in your skin after sun exposure. Pretty cool. (49) (50). (51)
  • Brain Health-Omega-3 is important for normal brain function and development throughout all stages of life. Some researches suggest that Omega-3s may help protect against or slow down Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Increasing Omega-3s had a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging. But it’s not 100% certain yet. What was found is that patients with Alzheimer, had lower levels of fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA. In conclusion, it is important to ensure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids to avoid some of these effects on brain function and development. (52) (53)

Bottom Line: When it comes to fat, there’s one type you don’t want to cut back on, which is omega-3. Ensure you are getting them from whole foods, such as fatty fish, two times per week, and other natural sources to ensure your daily recommended intake. If you don’t eat many fatty fish or foods that are high in Omega-3, you may want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement. *Omega-3 dietary supplements, such as fish oil, have the potential to interact with medications. Make sure to talk with your physician before taking any new supplements or medications.