Monthly Archives: January 2014

The link between your gut & your mood!

Your Mood

Your gut, aka “inside your belly”, has been proven to be your bodies literal “second brain”. For years, the medical world has been trying to figure out what causes our moods to change and what causes common problems that most of us face like stress, anxiety, and even depression. These are common problems, and we know they are linked to serotonin, but did you know that 95% of serotonin isn’t even produced in the brain? Serotonin is actually produced in the gut.

What we put inside of our bellies is directly related to our emotional health. Our gut consists of bacteria and we need that bacteria to have a healthy balance or the rest of us will not be balanced including our mood. Your gut and your brain work together, so if one is out of balance the other will be also. Have you ever had an upset stomach because your mind was stressed? Well, think about it, if it works one way it works both ways. Their have been many scientific studies that have linked mood problems to gut problems and vice versa.

Is your gut balanced with 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria? That is the recipe for a healthy gut and a healthy mood. The best way to make sure your body has healthy bacteria for your gut is to feed your gut healthy bacteria. Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut include gas, bloating, nausea, sugar cravings, and more. The best way to make sure that your gut is getting the healthy nourishment it needs is through probiotics. Probiotics can be in pill form, or you can get them right through your diet. Excellent sources of probiotics include kefir and fermented or cultured foods and beverages.

Keeping a healthy gut in check will help you to digest food properly, absorb vital nutrients, and maintain a healthy state of mind aka your mood.

Karen 🙂

Super Bowl Sunday (healthy) Recipes & Tips

Just because this weekend is Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t mean you have to cheat on your diet! Here are some great recipes I have found that will help you stay on track to obtaining your bathing suit body –

1. Caribbean Spiced Chicken Wings: This recipe uses a spiced rub vs. a marinade which helps to cut down the calories!

CaribbeanSpicedChickenWingsGawk1

2. Guacamole With Jimcama Sticks: Instead of using chips try using jimcama sticks – they pair so well with guacamole!

healthy-super-bowl-party-recipes-and-tips-L-1_J4Oq

3. Skinny Baked Mozzerella Sticks: Baked not fried – need I say more!

Skinny-Baked-Mozzarella-Sticks

4. Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips: Try using a greek yogurt based dipping sauce vs. your normal blue cheese dressing.

skinny-buffalo-chicken-tenders

Hopefully you will just LOVE these recipes and keep choosing healthier any day snacks!

Here are some great quick tips for staying healthier during the big game –

1. Eat Mindfully & Carefully: Don’t sit at the buffet table the entire game. Grab a plate, sit down, and be done with it.  Try to fill up on healthier options and take small bites of the more sinful food.

2. Avoid the fried food:  You will thank yourself later!

3. Remember that alcohol has calories! For every beer or glass of wine you drink ass on around 100 calories.  Try to avoid mixed drinks (and their massive amounts of calories) at all costs!

4. Get a pre-game workout in: Give yourself some time to get a solid workout in before the game. The more active you are the healthier you will feel! This will result in smarter food & drink options for when the game comes on!

Have a great day! 

Karen

Why You Should Be Juicing!

juice

Did you know that when you make juice from raw vegetables, your body absorbs the nutrients within 15 seconds? Talk about an energy shot! No need to buy those sugary and chemical-ish concoctions from your local drug-store or mini mart. Juicing is an all-natural way to boost your energy and feel amazing. When you juice your fruits and veggies, you end up extracting all the water and nutrients from them and leave behind only the plant fibers. By separating the fruit or vegetable from its fiber, we gain access to all of the amazing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients which are much more easily assimilated by our body than if we were to eat them.

vitamins 

This allows your body to absorb the nutrients more quickly, without having to digest the dense bulk of the plant. You can also fit an amazing amount of veggies into a single glass of juice, making it a great way to use up those extra veggies from your garden or CSA share. PLUS, you will end up with a glass of deliciousness that packs a powerful nutritional punch. Although some would also say that the cost of stocking enough fresh organic vegetables to make daily juices can be somewhat expensive, my feeling is that if you stop buying all of the pre-packaged foods/snacks you were buying, you will end up saving money in the long run on your food AND your doctor bills. 

One more thing before I go:  while you can control the quality of ingredients when you are making fresh juice at home, always read your labels when it comes to buying store-bought juice. These juices can be high in sugar and have a high glycemic load, which may cause blood sugar imbalances. 

Karen 🙂 

Wednesdays Are For Women

andiamo1

 

Last night I got the amazing opportunity to speak at an empowering event for woman.  Wednesdays Are For Woman hosted by  Andiamo Restaurant + Bar in Newburyport held an event focusing on woman’s health! Getting the opportunity to share my 10 tips for better nourishment was  over-the-moon exciting!  The best part was we had 40+ women sign-up for the event.

wedsforwoman

Thanks for everyone who came out for this fun-filled event!

This is a great start to a wonderful new partnership! Look out for more fun events in the future.

Karen!

The Magic of Vitamin D

magic of D

Many health experts consider the benefits of vitamin D to be one of the most important health discoveries in the last century!!! How amazing is that?

The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Vitamin D is SUNSHINE. 🙂

sunshine

The Basics:

Vitamin D is found in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is made by plants. You can find it in foods that have been fortified, such as juices, milk, or cereals (not really the best source). However, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), the most complete form of Vitamin D, is made when the skin is exposed to sun.

We’ve been somewhat “brain-washed” by the media to think that all sun exposure is bad. This is NOT TRUE! Getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on unprotected skin is usually enough to get in your daily dose. Nature is your best bet for Vitamin D. Including foods in your diet that contain vitamin D, like fish (wild salmon is good), cod liver oil, milk, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables will also help. Unfortunately, most of us cannot get enough Vitamin D through food sources or sun exposure. :(:(

It is estimated that up to 2/3 of the population is Vitamin D deficient and needs to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Keep in mind that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with a meal for the best absorption possible.

benefits

  • Bone Health – Vitamin D aids in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous
  • Increases bone density & helps decrease fractures
  • Helps to prevent osteoporosis
  • Enhances the immune system, lowering the incidence of colds or flu
  • Lowers incidence of cancer & rheumatoid arthritis
  • Controls hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Aids in heart/cardiovascular health, preventing premature death
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Prevention against diabetes, autoimmune diseases, & multiple sclerosis
  • Eases muscle aches & fibromyalgia symptoms
    Improves serotonin levels, thus aiding the control of depression
  • Helps control appetite and even improves fat-loss efforts!!

As you can see, Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for good health & the list of benefits just keeps on GROWING.

How do I know if I am getting enough? 

Have a blood test called 25(OH). It is the ONLY blood test out there that measures the amount of Vitamin D to determine if you are getting enough or not. This test is especially important if you have family history of cancer or autoimmune disease.

Hope you found this helpful!

Karen 🙂

HOW TO AVOID THE MIDDAY SLUMP!

midday slump

It’s coming. You can feel it. You’re trying desperately to will it away, but, inevitably the clock strikes 3:00pm. Suddenly, you are exhausted. The thought of striking the letters on the computer keyboard seems like a daunting task, not to mention you can barely keep your eyes open.

‘Argh!’ you think to yourself. When this happened yesterday, you swore it wouldn’t happen again. As you walk to the café to get a cup of coffee, you wonder how to avoid this midday slump tomorrow. Here’s the good news:  there are steps you can take to energize your body throughout the day and avoid this desperate feeling.

EAT BREAKFAST!

OATMEAL

The best place to start is with breakfast. Before we even talk about what to eat, let’s recognize that it’s important TO EAT breakfast. Your body has been in a state of rest, relaxation, and recharging for several hours. It needs fuel in the form of carbohydrates and protein to get going in the morning. Instead of processed cereal and milk, why not go for oatmeal with almonds and blueberries? Or prepare a couple of hardboiled eggs that you can grab-n-go in a hurry. Pair them with a brown rice cake with almond butter and jelly and you’re starting your day off on the right foot.

DRINK WATER!

drink-water21

It’s also important to remember to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration is certain to cause sleepiness and fatigue. Imagine that a few glasses of water could be the difference between your 3pm exhaustion and vitality.

SNACK HEALTHY!

APPLES

Don’t forget to put some thought into your snacks. You want to be sure to stay away from excess fats and sugars, which are in candy bars and most packaged food. The fatty foods will make you feel lethargic and the sugars will provide an initial spike, but then you’ll feel the afternoon slump as you come down from the sugar high. Take a few minutes at home to prepare trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Goji berries, and Incan berries. For sweetness, you can add some cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life brand because their products are free of common allergens).

The midday madness doesn’t have to continue. You can control how your body feels by nourishing it with healthy food (and water) throughout the day.

 Have a great day!

Karen 🙂

How to eat healthy with less time in your kitchen!

healthypsd

Are you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like?

I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have healthy and delicious meals all week long is by meal prepping once for the whole week.

It saves me time, money, and stress, all the while allowing me to stay on track with eating healthy.

STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP 

I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes and meals for the upcoming week. I create a list based on what I will have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. I use a weekly shopping list as my guide and then I’m off to the store!

If this step alone overwhelms you, this is where my meal plans come in! I have done all the work for you! They are broken down into the recipes, shopping lists, and even meal prep ideas for each week, based on the servings you need!

STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD

When I get home from the store I keep out the items I plan to use for my meal prep. I pull up my meal plans and get to washing and cooking!  Throughout the week, I typically have a protein shake for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go.

I generally prepare big batches of veggies.  I start with washing the greens, then set aside to dry and move onto slicing, dicing, and dividing veggies into containers for use in cooking and salads.

When a recipe calls for sautéed chicken or lean protein, I cook it in big batches in my biggest pan or crock pot! That way, I am only prepping chicken and/or lean meat once for all the recipes!  I store the extra chicken in the freezer for use later.

STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES

To keep it simple, I make a large salad in advance and then add the extras when I’m ready to eat it.  If I’m taking it to go, I divide it into containers or use as leftovers.

For dinners, I typically make two favorite main dishes, which allows me to prepare and freeze in advance making it easy for during the week.

STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY! 

After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in containers and place it in the fridge! That way, I have delicious, fresh, whole foods for all meals during the week in minutes.

If you are still scratching your head, don’t let it discourage you!!! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things. A great place to get a jumpstart is with my meal plans, which provide weekly shopping lists and quick & easy recipes, along with simple steps to prep and store for the week.

Have a great week!

Karen 🙂

How You Can Become Happier!

 

excercise Did you know that studies show that this one thing can make you 25% happier? It boosts your immunity to anger, disappointment, and frustration.

It’s even been shown to heal pain and illness in your body. It can certainly heal relationships, especially with your beautiful and miraculous body.

That one thing is GRATITUDE, and amazing things happen when you integrate it into your meditation practice.

excercise

1. As you sit down to meditate, breathe in deeply and imagine your heart filling up with glowing, green light. Allow this energy to pulse and radiate to light you from within. As you deepen into the glowing, green energy in the center of your chest, begin to give thanks for your life. Give thanks for anything that pops into your head.  No filter, just give thanks for it and show it appreciation.

2. Think about five things to be grateful for on this day. See these events as pictures. It may be the way your dog greets you or that nice person that let you have the parking space in the crowded lot. It could even be seeing the birds fly to their nests as darkness comes. Just let the images flow in and notice the feelings they give. If an unwanted image pops in, let it pass like a random car on the road. If it is important, you can think on it later.

3. Now, see the people behind the images you are grateful for and express thanks to each of them.

4. Remind yourself that whatever you focus on expands. When you focus on gratitude and positivity, you will get more of that in return.

What you appreciate, appreciates. 

Be mindful that you will attract more abundance, love, and health by being grateful for your current state in these areas. Your body, your health, and your relationships can only be improved by honoring where they are in this moment.

Have a great day!

Karen

Breathing To Relieve Stress

Easy-Peasy Stress Relieving Breath

breath

The holidays are over and it’s time to face a new year! Many peoples resolutions include becoming a calmer and more healthier person… so I am here to help you get your new year and resolution off on the right foot with using your own breath to relieve stress!

The breath is one of the most useful tools we have to settle our mind and relieve stress.  This advanced breathing technique is really quite simple and accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time.

It’s called Square Breath.  It’s super easy to remember how to do because you do it just the way it sounds.

The beginning breath ratio is 4 x 4 x 4 x 4.

Easy right?  Start with a really deep breath in and just release it.

Then seal your lips and:

  • breathe in through your nose for 4 counts
  • hold the inhale for 4 counts
  • exhale through your nose for 4 counts
  • hold the exhale of 4 counts

That’s one round. In as 5 rounds you can completely shift your mind towards more peaceful thoughts.

Here’s an audio guide for you.  Go ahead and download it to your phone or computer and use it any time life seems to run away with you.

Have a wonderful and calming day!

Karen 🙂

 

I Love You, Avocado

Ah, Avocado.  How Do I Love Thee?  Let Me Count the Ways 

avocado

  1. I love that your decadence tastes sinfully delicious, yet it’s the “healthiest” of fats.
  2. I love that you make my skin beautiful. The antioxidants in avocados help to get rid of toxins that promote premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. A lot of the toxins on your facial skin are the residue of makeup. Applying 1 mashed avocado as a facial mask and leaving it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing will help to remove these toxins and soften the skin. I promise, in the end, you will not look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
  3. I love to use you as a spread on my Ezekiel bread toast with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
  4. I love that you make my hair shiny.  One avocado mashed and mixed together with 1 egg and your favorite essential oil is great for conditioning your hair. The healthy oils in the avocado help to moisturize and soften dry and brittle hair, and the vitamin E helps to restore a natural shine to your hair. To obtain these benefits simply massage the avocado and egg mixture into your hair and scalp and leave in for about 20 minutes. Then wash and condition with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
  5. I love to use you in my salads.  Any kind of salad.
  6. I love to use you on my sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
  7. I love that you complete me.  Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body, because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet. Highest protein content of any fruit (yes, it’s a fruit).
  8. I love to use you in my smoothies to add some creamy richness.
  9. I love to scramble you in my egg white omelet.
  10. I love that you help me with my ABCs.  While avocados have a high caloric count (one avocado is 320 calories), the various nutrients and “healthy” fats make it a must-eat. They are an alphabet of vitamins. One avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Perhaps the biggest health benefit of avocados is that by adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients. This means that when you combine other fat burning foods with avocado, you can improve your nutrient absorption up to 400%!

Check out this amazing recipe, using yes you guessed it, avocado!

Have a great day!

Karen 🙂

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