wellness

Recommiting

Today I am recommitting to this blog. I have put it on hold for quite some time now. As I’m sure you can attest to, things come up. Children, jobs, spouses, friends, and everything else under the sun will come up…if you are not committed. I wasn’t. As it turns out there were a few other things that I loved that I didn’t have the time for anymore. I didn’t like that feeling of giving up so I took some steps to stay committed to things that are most important to me. I am going to give you my list of things that I am 100% committed to and then I am going to give you my 3 steps to successfully commit to anything you have been putting off in your life. I used these steps in my own life and had great luck. I hope you do too!

YOU CAN DO IT!

YOU CAN DO IT!

My List for 2014

  1. This blog
  2. My health
  3. Taking my fitness routine to the next level
  4. Unplugging after work to spend uninterrupted time with my family

Here is how I have been able to stick to prior commitments to myself and how I plan to stick to these as well.

  1. Write down your commitments or goals

Make a list of all of your goals, aspirations, dreams, and things you wish you could commit to. Then list out why. Why would this make you happy? Why is this important? Maybe you would like to take a yoga class once a week to distress from work (great idea J) Next to each goal list the action steps that you can take to make sure you stick to this commitment. For instance, next to your yoga class you can write “put yoga bag in car, pack snacks for after work and before yoga, make sure my husband can pick up the kids this ONE day, etc.” Make sure you are very clear here. Be clear with your goals and be clear with your action steps.

  1. Adjust your priorities

If this is truly important to you (and I suspect it is) then adjust your priorities to make it work! Get a babysitter to watch your kids while you are at yoga. Prepare everything the night before so you have no excuses not to go. Here’s the key: STOP MAKING BULLSHIT EXCUSES! Make the time! You are important and so are your goals! As soon as an excuse comes up to not do something, STOP, DROP, and FEEL. Feel the feelings of achieving your goal or sticking to your commitment. Go back to your list of goals and re-read WHY this is important to you. Visualize yourself during and after. How do you feel? I can’t begin to tell you how important this step is. This will help you manifest your end result and motivate you to take the next step.

  1. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate

I committed to an exercise class not too long ago. As luck would have it, things came up! I got busy with work and kids. I stopped going. But I was using these three steps so although I stopped going to the class, I started my own exercise routine at home instead. I re-evaluated my goals. My ultimate goal was to have a fitness routine. The exercise class was a good way for me at the time to stick to this commitment. However, it no longer served me and I took note of that. So I adjusted and came up with something even better! Now I workout at home and don’t have to leave my house in 14 degree weather! Check in with your goals periodically, and don’t be afraid to adjust them if necessary. Lastly, don’t forget to also celebrate how far you have come and how good it feels to stay committed and focused to something that you love!

What are you recommitting to?

XOXO,
D.

Inspiration

Who is your inspiration/motivation? Today I have been thinking a lot about what keeps us going. Mentally, physically, emotionally, we all get run down once in a while. So who do you go to to bring you back up? I get a lot of my inspiration from motivational teachers. I actually have a dream team of teachers that I go to whenever I need a boost!

When my spirit needs a lift I go to Gabrielle Bernstein. She is a miracle worker and a teacher of A Course in Miracles. She is an amazing woman who inspires me daily to meditate, love, and believe in myself and miracles. She has two books (Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie) both of which are fantastic. Her next book about miracles is due out later this year. Gabby also has a social networking site just for women to connect, learn, and share.

Feeling run down and in need of a stretch? My girl Tara Stiles is an excellent yoga instructor. She is actually Deepak Chopra’s very own yoga instructor. She also has books, videos, a youtube channel, and a blog with wonderful advice on getting your body moving and your mind relaxed. I find her yoga videos to be challenging but very relaxing at the same time. But I need a real butt-whopping I go to Lisa-Marie of BodyRock.

For food matters I head over to Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Life site. I have spoke about Kris in other posts, she is just amazing. After being diagnosed with cancer in her 30s she took charge of her health and food choices. She completely turned around her life and became an advocate for healthy, cruelty free eating. Her Crazy Sexy Diet book is excellent. She is also coming out with a cook book later this year/early next year.

Lastly, for some business advice for women I turn to Marie Forleo. She has built an empire on giving women business advice and is a superb teacher. She also has a weekly video newsletter that she sends out answering her readers’ most burning questions. I always learn at least one thing when I tune into her channel.


Do you have a dream team? What/who is your motivation or inspiration? Check out my team of pros!

XOXO,
D.

Give yourself a break…a Kit Kat break

I am often times asked what I eat when I have a sugar craving or a craving for something comforting. As much as I would like to say that I don’t get these cravings often, it would be a lie. I try to eat VERY healthy but I’m only human, as are you, and deserve a break every once in a while.

I know we talk a lot about how to be in tip top shape by changing the way you eat. And I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite but I do cheat every once in a while and believe that everyone should. Just make sure it truly is every once in a LONG while 🙂

Although I try to pack myself some healthy snacks for work (such as fruit, dark chocolate, or almost anything from Chocolate Covered Katie), the occasional Oreo, pumpkin bread, or doughnut may creep its way toward my desk. And you know what? That’s okay. If I don’t have that small indulgence when the urge hits (and stays), I tend to have a big indulgence sometime later. So I cut myself a break and I have half the doughnut or just 1 Oreo. The key is moderation not denial. Don’t go crazy and don’t let it happen often. It sort of takes the fun out of it and that’s typically when guilt sets in.

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Ah, guilt. My thoughts on guilt is that is sucks and it’s completely useless. What’s done is done is done. Ponder on it, learn from it, forget it. That’s it. Don’t stew in your guilty feelings because that will only promote more guilt, depressing thoughts, and negative perceptions. Good for nothing! So you had 2 pieces of cake, no biggie. Have a large glass of juice with dinner or vow to drink extra water the next day. Acknowledge how you feel and remember those feelings next time. We are repetitive creatures. Practice makes perfect.

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So tell me, what is your favorite tiny treat to indulge in every now and then?

XOXO,
D.

Dangerous food additives

I came across this really interesting article about the top 10 food additives to avoid. This article was mind blowing. I mean I knew that processed foods were horrible for one’s health but some these side effects are down right deadly. What are your kids eating? Are you unknowingly feeding your families poison? Educate yourselves! This information is crucial for living healthy, non-diseased, clean lifestyles.

Here is the list. For more information on where these additives are commonly found and why they are bad for us please visit: Hungry For Change

1. Artificial sweeteners
2. High fructose corn syrup
3. Monosodium glutamate
4. Trans fats
5. Common food dyes
6. Sodium sulfite
7. Sodium nitrate/nitrite
8. BHA and BHT
9. Sulfur dioxide
10. Potassium bromate

For more information on where these additives are commonly found and why they are bad for us please visit:Hungry For Change

XOXO,
D.

Organic: to buy or not to buy

Organic. Just how important is it? Well it depends. It’s no secret that our produce is sprayed with toxic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and more chemicals that I can’t pronounce let alone spell. Organic produce, less so. There are certain regulations that farmers must adhere to in order to become certified as organic. They use natural fertilizers that benefit the environment as well as the fruit/vegetables. When it comes to packaged foods, organic plays a big part as well. People want to know that the items they are eating are free of harmful chemicals, GMOs, and other toxins.

So who decides whether something is organic? The USDA for one and other 3rd party certifiers. Not surprisingly, the USDA is more lenient then some of the other agencies out there (i.e. QAI). The USDA has a list of 30+ chemicals that they allow be used in organic products. These are NON-organic chemicals! They are also very easily swayed by corporations with deep pockets as we have discussed in previous posts.

What can we do to protect ourselves against these toxins? Buy organic! Of course I would love to buy all organic, but frankly I can’t afford it! So I buy the dirty dozen (see below) as organic and not the clean fifteen (see below). I try to buy the veggies that I am going to juice as organic (to avoid direct absorption of chemicals). Certain things that have been known to be genetically modified I will buy organic (tofu, corn, soy). When it comes to organic certifiers, I personally don’t even consider what is labeled as USDA Organic as organic. I don’t trust them and prefer an organic seal from another company.

Dirty Dozen: think anything with a soft shell that you may eat as well
**This has been updated for the new 2012 list from ewg.org

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Sweet Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Cucumbers
    and perhaps Kale/Collard Greens

Clean Fifteen: Anything that you peel to eat

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet potatoes
  15. Mushrooms

You can get the 2011 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce here.

Again, I encourage you to do your own research as well.

XOXO
D.

Forget what you’ve been told about being healthy

Think about everything that you have been told about nutrition from meat and dairy. Dairy is good for strong bones, meat has all the protein you need, yogurt is good for digestion, low fat dairy will help you lose weight. Now forget it all. Seriously, all of it.

Casein is a protein found in milk and cheese. It is also widely used as a supplement in bodybuilding. What many people don’t know is that casein has been scientifically proven to promote the growth of cancer. T. Colin Campbell conducted the largest nutrition study ever using a known toxin called Aflotoxin and casein (Alfotoxin has been known to cause cancer). Two groups of rats were given the same amount of Aflotoxin but different amounts of casein. One group received 20% of their diet from animal based protein (casein) while the other only 5%. Surprisingly, 100% of the rats receiving the higher protein diet developed cancerous cell growth while NONE of the rats in the other group developed these.  But that’s not all. Campbell  and his colleagues were able to then turn the cancer “on and off” by changing the rats’ casein intake. That is incredible!

It goes without saying that “The China Study” is an amazing book and a must read for anyone wanting a healthy lifestyle free of disease. Dr. Campbell speaks about reversing many cancers, curing diabetes, lowering your risk of heart disease, losing weight, increasing energy, avoiding premature death, and many more benefits to a whole food plant based diet. Worried about calcium, protein, and other nutrients? They can ALL be found in their perfect form in plants. I will have a follow up post about this so please check back.

Aside from these findings, let’s use our common sense to think this through. Do you consume you’re mother’s milk at the age of 30? Or even 6? I didn’t think so. So why would you consume milk from a cow that has been injected with hormones? Would you eat your dog? NO! So why eat any other animal?? Because it tastes good? Get a grip! Do you live to eat or do you eat to live? I urge you to do just a tiny bit of research on the subject that you will find that what you have been told you’re whole life about nutrition may be untrue. It’s all about the benjamins. The USDA and the FDA can be bought. Dairy and meat industries have some of the strongest lobbyists in the country. They do a hell of a good job marketing to your family. Don’t believe everything you’re told. You don’t even have to believe what I am telling you. I encourage you to do the research and see for your self.

The following is taken directly from TheChinaStudy.com :

The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, “this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease.” The findings? “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” said Dr. Campbell.”

XOXO
D.

*Resource used was “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell

Hit the refresh button with green juice

Green Juice Refresh

Nothing is better than a fresh green juice after a 4 mile run with my hubby. I thought I was going to die for most of it but I made it and I feel great. Running with a buddy is so great for motivation!

Check out my refreshing after-run juice and make sure you get out and move your body today! Exercise is beneficial for every single part of you.

Juice:
a few collard greens
some dandelion
1 cucumber
2-3 bok choy leaves
swiss chard
1 lemon
2 green apples
tsp of spirulina

Insert all but spirulina into juicer. Add the spirulina powder to the juice and shake it well to dissolve the powder.

Experiment with your greens until you find a good balance. Rule of thumb for juices is 1 piece of fruit for every 3 veggies.

What is spirulina? Well, it is algae, which grows in the ocean, AND a superfood! It is 60-70% protein (depending on the type) and is also a perfect protein. That means that it contains all essential and non-essential amino acids that humans need. It is used as a dietary supplement by many because of its immense benefits:

Boost the Immune System
Improves Digestion
Reduces fatigue
Builds Endurance
Cleanses the body by clinging to free radicals
Boost Energy Levels
Control Appetite
Maintains Healthy Cardiovascular function
Supports the Liver and Kidneys
Reduces Inflammation
Reduces Allergies

Nutrex – Organic Spirulina: this is a trusted brand and it’s organic!

xoxo
D.

Juicing

You may have heard people say that they “juice” and thought to yourself, “What the hell does that mean?” It usually means that the person prepares nutritious homemade juices from fresh fruit and vegetables.

When I began my journey to health, I found juicing to be a really important part. It gave me energy, filled my body with nutrients and vitamins, and made me feel refreshed. It was a great way to ingest all the fruits and vegetables that I couldn’t eat during the day.

Think of it as stripping out the most vital nutrients from a plant and sending it on a one way road into your body. Because you remove the pulp (fiber) when you juice, there is nothing to inhabit direct absorption of all the vitamins and minerals. However, smoothies are very beneficial as well (with pulp). The fiber that is ingested is great for digestion. Due to the pulp, it may take a bit longer for your body to reap the benefits of your smoothie. That is why I prefer juice. It’s also a personal preference because I like the consistency and texture of juice better than smoothies.

Some benefits (among many others) that come with daily juicing:

  • clear skin
  • higher energy levels
  • less fatigue
  • alkaline body free of disease
  • improved digestion
  • graceful aging
  • Cleansing of toxins

Here are some juicing tips:

  • For ultimate benefits, juice is better digested in the morning on an empty stomach. Try to go as long as possible without eating or drinking anything else to let your body absorb the deliciousness.
  • Rule of thumb is 3 veggies to 1 fruit (don’t forget all the sugar that is in fruit)
  • Try to buy organic. You don’t want your body directly absorbing chemicals and pesticides with those nutrients. Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen
  • Shop around. Club stores (Sam’s, Costco), farmer’s markets, produce stores, Whole Foods, WalMart. Check prices, quantities, and quality!
  • Juice it all! Many people throw out kale stems, for instance. I juice them! Why not?

Looking for a juicer? They can be quite pricy. I love my Breville Juice Fountain because it’s reasonable priced, easy to clean, and efficient. Not willing to shell out the cash yet? I used a blender then strained the smoothie through paint straining bags to remove the pulp and extract the juice. It was cheaper. But a little more time consuming.

Breville Juice Fountain

P.S. Just received this e-mail from “Hungry for Change figured I would share:

“…this week we’re featuring Jason Vale. Jason learnt from his own health issues just how much one can benefit from juicing daily. He suffered from psoriasis, eczema, insomnia, asthma, hay fever and was also a heavy drinker and smoker. After adding in a couple of juices per day he began to notice dramatic changes, seeing a fast improvement in his health! His body was finally getting what it needed. His 7-day juicing program has allowed him to see many others heal their bodies too. Find out more here: www.HungryForChange.tv/Juicing

XOXO
D.

5 simple ways to get healthy now!

We all know we should eat more veggies. Stop eating junk food and processed foods. We’ve heard that high fructose corn syrup is the devil. Some people do really well by going cold turkey. They stop eating the junk and replace it with green veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. It may take some time and balance for others. I am a strong advocate of taking it slow. One step at a time. Here are the 5 baby steps that I have found to lead to living a healthier life:

1. Do your research: Plug in the laptop and surf. Look up nutritional information for your favorite lunch spot. You will most likely be shocked. Google that strange ingredient in the snacks that you feed your children. EDUCATE yourself. This is the most crucial step.

2. Listen to your body: give your body time to digest. Eat slowly so that your brain has time to tell your stomach that you are full. Don’t feel great after dinner? Dig deeper! What did you eat? Can you remember the last time you felt that way? Look for the pattern. When in doubt, eliminate the food item for a few weeks and see how you feel. If you are good to your body, your body will pay you back enormously.

3. Replacements: Are cucumbers the only greens you like? No problem. Replace something on your plate with a cucumber. The key here is to replace not add. Pick one veggie each week. Try new things. Google recipes, take it slow. Focus on the nutrients you are bringing to your family’s bodies.

4.  Drink water: You’ve heard it before, so just do it. Water detoxifies the body, hydrates, and cleanses. It has so many benefits. Just drink it.

5. Move: Get your butt off the couch. Don’t have time? Walk up and down the stairs a few times to start. But get moving. Exercise is a mood booster and calorie buster. There are so many things you can do from going to a walk to jumping on the trampoline. Just do something! Nobody ever said “Wow, I really regret that workout”!

Remember, take it slow. Do what feels good (as long as it’s not a whole pint of ice cream). Listen to your body.

xoxo
D.

Hello world!

Hi.

My name is Danna and in my free time I research nutrition. I am a bit of a nut… and a health nut. I have a no bullshit approach to living a healthy lifestyle. I wasn’t always like this. ‘

In 2009 my son was born. It was then that I started to realize how important our family’s health was. Fast forward another year, my husband was deployed, and I had lost control. Stressed, busy, depressed, and eating the Standard American diet, I became sick. I was under 100 pounds, suffering from allergies, colds, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and the like. Knowing something had to be done, my mother dragged me to the doctor. After many tests we discovered gluten, dairy, stress, and many other factors played into my health. I decided it was time to take my life in my hands. After all, we are the creators of our own realities, right?

And so the research began. I now eat primarily gluten free. 100% vegetarian and about 85% vegan. I eat and drink my veggies. I love my spirulina. I work out regularly. I meditate. I work full time. But these things don’t define me. I am happy, alive, thriving, loving, helping others, a mother and a wife. Those things define me.

But, you are what you eat! And eating well absolutely effects every single part of your body. Changing your diet impacts your skin, hair, body weight, diseases, sicknesses, ailments, feelings, thoughts, moods, organs, blood flow, and so much MORE!  I want to open people’s eyes to this. Educate others; nudge them to make healthy choices. All the while learning new things myself. We can all live better, healthier, fuller lives.

It’s not too late, start today!

xoxo
D.