Not Only Juice

Many of you know how much of a smoothie fanatic I am if you watch my Instagram stories; always creating a new concoction, not to mention my morning daily smoothie. What doesn’t get much love though; is juicing! And you may ask; “well what’s the difference?” The main difference between smoothies and juicing; is the pulp content / or lack thereof of fiber in juicing most of the time.

juicecollage

Well why would I juice then if I could just make a smoothie? The act of juicing contains a condensed version of most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals found in the contents, both juices (homemade not store bought full of added sugars) AND smoothies have their benefits in your everyday healthy lifestyle– it’s not one or the other.

When I was younger; I drank apple juice all of the time, of course the highest sugar content juice presumably. I never cared for orange juice, though I always asked for an apple juice at breakfast. The majority of processed juices are loaded with excess sugar and ingredients. Ever wonder why children are so susceptible to cavities? Between the sugar content in milk and juice alone; is enough explanation (though I am proud to admit I didn’t have my first and only small cavity until I was in my twenties.)

Not only are processed juices high in sugar content; but also calories! One of the first things I tell people when they ask me for nutrition advise is to cut out the excess beverages. It seems people tend to forget about the copious amounts of calories they consume through liquid alone!

Enough of the negativity already; back to the benefits of juicing your own fruits and vegetables! It seems more often than not, people tend to not drink enough water a day; juicing ensures getting not only many vitamins and minerals–but water. Vegetables such as celery, cucumbers, and spinach are nearly composed of all liquid! It is a quick and easy way to not only get all of your servings of vegetables in one sitting, but also hydration.

Ever notice how long it takes you to eat a cheeseburger (for me it is like 3 minutes flat) and then how long it takes to eat a large salad? I am already quite aware I eat too fast; it’s all so good, I just want to get it in as quick as possible! However, the physical process of chewing food helps to break it down into smaller particles. Which helps to reduce stress on the esophagus, and helps the stomach metabolize your food. When you chew each mouthful properly, you also release a lot of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes. Needless to say I take longer to sit and chew raw vegetables in a salad, than I do to shovel in a hamburger.

Which means; if you don’t enjoy most vegetables, you are not going to take the time to sit for 20 minutes and chomp on them like a rabbit–your solution: juicing.

Let’s review some health benefits of vegetables you may not be first to grab in the grocery store; but are easily hidden in a juice, or smoothie.

BEETS

Can help lower your blood pressure, boost your stamina, fight inflammation, as well as aids in detoxification!

GINGER

Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, may prevent cancer.

GRAPEFRUIT

High content of Vitamin C and A, can provide health benefits for the skin, blood pressure, heart health, and disease prevention.

KALE

Vitamins A, C, and K, Folate (a B vitamin that’s key for brain development) Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts– Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

PARSLEY

Antibacterial properties; freshens breath, can help eliminate body odor and treat excessive flatulence, flavonoid called myricetin may help fighting skin cancer, Apigenin decrease the size of tumors caused by breast cancer.

CILANTRO

Rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, Vitamin A, K, and Potassium, calcium help to build strong bones, teeth, and hair.

TURMERIC

Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (with the consumption of black pepper to aid absorption.) anti-inflammatory, boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain, aids in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and cancer.

RED CABBAGE

Vitamin A, C, fiber, sulphur which helps the liver at filtering toxins, potassium, which improves blood circulation, Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, manganese, Generous levels of a particular amino acid called glutamine are found in red cabbage, which is excellent for reducing the inflammation and discomfort linked with stomach ulcers.

SWISS CHARD

Excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

POMEGRANATE

Polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation, Vitamin C, can aid to protect the heart and arteries, Vitamin E, Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a daily may improve learning and memory, according to a recent study. Ability to impact oxidative stress make it a potential fertility aid, may help reduce soreness and improve strength recovery. It also decreases oxidative damage caused by exercise.
The bottom line; be sure to check with your healthcare professional before drastically changing your diet and adding in an array of new foods, to be sure they don’t counteract any medication you may already be taking. Otherwise; to the everyday individual, next time you are at the grocery store–check out the produce section and select a few interesting fresh ingredients you may have not tried otherwise! Stick them in a juicer and sip on the longevity elixir of life and health!

 

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The Secrets of Meal Prep

As many of you know; and some may not, I competed in my first fitness bikini competition in 2016. In some areas of my life; I am a black and white kinda girl, and I don’t mean in how I dress. I am naturally a perfectionist (which I am growing day by day away from, or trying to at least!) Which means when I started my new meal plan back in 2016 I was very precise, 11 almonds meant 11 almonds not 10, not 15; not a handful, but 11.

While taking out a food scale and weighing 4oz of chicken, 4oz of sweet potato, and a cup of broccoli was cumbersome; it instilled the procedure and dedication I needed to keep me on track. But this way of meal prep isn’t for everyone; and it certainly isn’t for me anymore, and probably isn’t for you either.

So what got me from 2016 to 2018 (where I am now) and how will this help you? Well what got me from 2016 to 2018 is a loaded question of ups and downs and learning curves for sure, but we won’t get into that here; but we will pause on learning curves.

mealprep

Through the diligence of being so strict, I learned the basic principals that I still carry with me today. After weighing chicken and vegetables for countless days; I now have a keen sense on what an approximate 4-6oz looks like, and in the everyday healthy lifestyle sense–it is good enough! When you are not stepping on stage at a certain body fat percentage; the extra gram or two of chicken won’t hinder your day to day healthy physique.

Another valuable lesson learned was how to shop at bulk superstores like BJ’s Wholesale; not only does it save you money, but when you eat a lot of the same food it is easier to get larger portions saving you trips to the grocery store each week. Now, my weekly trip to the store looks like 10 items or so rather than a cart full. Every morning my green smoothie consists of frozen vegetables which are not only cost effective, but their longevity far outlasts that of fresh. Which leads me to frozen fruit and vegetables are not only cost effective; but already cut, clean, and when talking about vegetables– already partially cooked. Which means less prep time for you during the week!

Typically I eat between 5–6 meals a day because I love eating and snacking. Eggs are a big staple in my diet not only because I love them; but because they are also cost effective. I usually add one whole egg to egg whites, and while egg whites are more expensive sometimes than buying eggs; they have a high protein complex.

Let’s do a little recap; shopping at wholesale clubs, frozen vegetables and fruit, eggs–which brings me to whole fresh fruit, and pre–packaged vegetables. Now depending on whether you are looking to save money, or time (because let’s be honest here, they go hand in hand) both of these topics may be beneficial to you–as they are to me. I love snacking on fresh fruit; which means my go-to are usually apples, and berries which are pre-packaged and when I want any kind of melon, or pineapple I buy the whole fruit and cut myself to save on cost. Whereas with something like pre-cut and washed vegetables or even frozen are sometimes more appealing to me than taking time to chop various veggies and blanching.

The grill and oven are probably my favorite meal prep tools; not only can you cook large amounts of ingredients at the same time, but they come out really tasty as well! Grilling chicken, and roasting vegetables changes things up, dedicated a day of the week (Saturday and Sunday usually work best for the 9–5 corporate world schedule) to go to the store and pick up anything you may need, and then prepare, cook, and pre-portion out your meals for the week. This makes each morning a breeze of just grabbing and going with your already planned out meals for the day.

I could go on and on about my favorite topic of food; so I will end with services such as HelloFresh and Home Chef, which make the modern life easier and healthy. Our family subscribes to both and while I prefer the majority of Home Chef meals over HelloFresh (HelloFresh is a lot more kid-friendly with their meal choices.) Anything from Salmon with Green Goddess Sauce to Chicken, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Grain Bowls make for delicious, healthy, no–brainer dinners. Each week; these companies send you a box with ice packs, and all of the ingredients you will need to cook the meals inside. As well as directions, and sometimes the vegetables even come pre-cut for you! This makes dinner a breeze, to come home after work, cook for on average 30 minutes and from kitchen to table you are able to enjoy time with your family through a communal meal. Because let’s face it; as much as we meal prep, and stay on schedule of a healthy lifestyle–food is sociable, and we need to not only enjoy it, but in good company!

Hike Like a Pro

If only I knew this information before embarking on 180 days of walking in the woods; trial and error, networking, and so forth is how I learned–but now I can teach you!

Backpacking is putting one foot in front of the other over and over again; well we do that daily don’t we?! Yes, and no–backpacking isn’t really that complicated; but by no means is easy. Most of us read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and think romanticized thoughts “I can do that!” “that would never happen to me” and so forth. But the truth of the matter is: your pack is heavy, blisters happen, bad weather and complications arise no matter what. So what can we do about it?

hikeprocollage

Avoid some common mistakes, plan accordingly, and avoid at least hopefully (maybe) one problem because of it!

The most common question I get is “what did you eat?!” As if my response would be skinning deer, wild berries, and mushrooms. While this is a valid question; you need to remember to pack the right amount of food. Since I had support at home monitoring my food boxes being mailed to me; it was more than once I had to tell my Mom that if she is going to send this much food, she is going to come carry it for me. And while I am forever grateful for her planning, and support along the way, the reality was; whatever I ate weighed me down.

Individuals who have never backpacked, and especially beginners; worry about not having enough food. Abundance is a trait well-known in our day and age; but that wasn’t so for our ancestors, or even cultures outside of the Western part of the World. We can survive on less, but we don’t want to; and with burning so many calories a day–I wouldn’t recommend it. The average calorie consumption per hiker per day should roughly be 3,000 calories; I know some hikers that had that in one meal alone…HoneyBuns are a staple out there I tell ya!

If you can afford dehydrated meals like Mountain House (Pasta Primavera so good!) Good To-Go (Pad Thai yes please!) etc. then they are the way to go taste, and weight wise! Otherwise, items like Knorr Rice Sides were a staple in my bag at times, as well as Tuna packs and of course the best tasting bars around! Lay out all of your food by day to really visualize what it all looks like and most importantly what it will all weigh!

Have you heard of carrying a crayon in your purse or backpack as an emergency fire starter? Well, if you haven’t–now you have! Another way to make a fire starter is to melt down some candle wax, add a dryer lint sheet cut up (as a wick) in an old egg cardboard carton.

This may be pretty obvious to the seasoned hiker; but Ziplock freezer bags make for great companions, from lining your pot to omit dirty dishes, to waterproofing maps, guides, and journals.

Many times throughout my days on the trail I was told by fellow thru-hikers, people in town, and day hikers alike that I did not look or smell like a thru-hiker (my family begged to differ.) There is a reason for this however; I chose to obtain the extra weight of carrying a packet of baby wipes. Not only for general hygienic reasons, but for cleaning injuries, spills, but yes mostly to wipe the daily sweat off me at the end of the day in my tent before bed. (Trust me, you can clean your skin and feel cleaner but the next morning you still have to put back on those stinky clothes! Don’t feel like carrying wipes, or want to eliminated some shirt stench? Submerse in a nearby creek and lay out on a rock to let the sun dry and disinfect!

I could go on and on about trail like hacks and tips (and will with upcoming entries) but I will end this one with a How To Tape or Wrap an Injured Ankle because let’s face it, I had my share of injuries along the way!

 

  1. Position your foot at a 90-degree angle with your calf (such as sitting on the floor)
  2. Wrap tape or elastic fabric around your calf give or take about 2 inches above the injured ankle
  3. Loop 2 U-shaped stirrups around your heel and up both sides of the ankle. Wrap another around the calf to finish off
  4. Start from the injured side; wrap down your ankle, under your arch, and across the top of your foot–repeat this twice
  5. Make figure 8 paths by wrapping down the side of your ankle, across the top of your foot, across your Achilles and the other side of the ankle finishing back at the arch–repeat this twice and you’re done!

 

I hope at least one of these tips and tricks was or will be helpful to you in the future adventure you are about to embark on! Drop a comment below to share where you are off to–I’d love to know where my fellow hikers are adventuring to currently.

 

You need special shoes for hiking — and a bit of a special soul as well.

                                                                                                                       –Terri Guillemets

Traveling for Free

While I am not paid to travel (yet); nor do I travel completely for free– there are several tips, tricks, and hacks that make it feel as though I travel for free. We will start with rather small and simple executions working our way to the larger ones.

One of the biggest complaints is the cost of food and beverages in the airport, especially water; you’re telling me I can’t even bring my own water?! No, but you can bring your own water bottle…empty. Genius! After passing through security, fill that 32oz bottle up and hydrate before the flight.

travelhacks

If you are like me; I constantly check flight prices and destinations, but did you know the prices will go up for you just because you keep checking a certain location? My two go-to flight booking websites are Skyscanner and Momondo –with both however; be sure to turn on “Private Browsing.” If you are un-aware how to do this, just go to: File– New Incognito Window. Travel sites can record your visits by installing cookies on your browser, which can cause the prices you’re shown to rise simply because you’ve searched for those flights before!

Don’t pay overage fees for luggage; learn how to roll! My Nana taught me this strategy at a young age; but I never implemented it until traveling internationally. Rather than folding your clothes, roll them up into a little tube. This will save a ton of space and stop creases and wrinkles as a bonus point.

This doesn’t really save you money; but when time is money, I guess it balances out– plus it’s pretty cool! Did you know you can download an app called FlightBoard onto your phone and experience personal virtual arrival and departure board at your finger tips? –well now you do!

If you don’t have pressing plans to be at a certain place at a very specific time; then this one is for you. Often when flights are overbooked; if you give up your seat, you will be compensated with freebees and upgrades. Free food, beverages, and upgrades to Business class sounds comparable to me; just don’t offer up the karma on your way to your Sister’s wedding–she may not be excited by your extra leg room a day after the ceremony.

Do you travel often? Maybe you (and I) should consider being a market researcher. Why not get paid for something you will be doing already anyways? Companies all over the world are looking for people to try out their accommodations and give feedback.

Frequent flyer miles are another investment worth being aware of; by saving up these points you can book a trip and fly business class even for less than you would have flown in economy, pennies on the dollar!

Did you think Airport lounges are for the rich and famous? Think again, what if I told you I know how to get into these little oasis hidden in the walls of an airport? There are a few ways to get free massages, food, alcohol, showers, and more while waiting on your layover. The first would be purchasing a Priority Pass membership which can cost anywhere from $89–$359 annually with access to 1200 lounges worldwide. But you may say; well that’s not free! Sure, you can look at it two ways; it’s not–but if you travel often how much would all the food, alcohol, coffee, beverages, showers, sleep stations, and massages run you? Exactly. The other hack would be applying for a credit card such as Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum which includes Priority Pass as one of the perks as well as travel points, and travel allowance.

It never hurts to ask; I’ve found this beneficial in a few of my most recent bookings. What do you offer? We all offer something we can share with the world, most people will pay your services or trade compensation. Such as the destination wedding I will be shooting in Greece in September of this year, or the 28 days I’ll be in Thailand composing videos of training Muay Thai– not to mention Costa Rica in January 2019, who knows what will come up before that!

Safe travels my friend; maybe we will catch each other in the Al Mourjan Lounge in Qatar one day!

The Power of Routine

Routine is key; not everyone’s will LOOK the same, it’s about finding what works for you. But, there are many rituals reiterated time and time again:

  • Read. Read, and then Read some more
  • Exercise of some sort. Physical activity
  • Nutrition and healthy lifestyle
  • Meditation (in whatever form that looks like for YOU)
  • SLEEP, breaks, and rest/naps
  • Nature and getting outside

routine

 
The list goes on, in many forms; but these things seem true to living the BEST life that you can live. So what does my typical ritual look like?

  1. Wake up at 5am
  2. Listen to Joyce Meyer
  3. Get up at 5:45
  4. Listen to ipod with “Morning Mix”
  5. Make my Green Smoothie (click for recipe if you missed that article)
  6. 6am Train fitness client
  7. 7am Drink smoothie, read daily devotion from The Daily Stoic Read chapter book
  8. Dishes OR laundry
  9. 8am write, and schedule upcoming blogposts
  10. 9am Turn cellphone on, respond/initiate any texts or e-mails
  11. 10am Meal #2 (usually eggs of some sort)
  12. Social Media/Blog sharing/Vlog sharing
  13. 11am Gym
  14. 12:30 Meditate
  15. 1pm Meal #3
  16. Graphic design, Photography, video work
  17. 4pm Meal #4
  18. 7pm Meal #5
  19. 10pm Turn phone on airplane mode
  20. Netflix documentaries/vlogs on YouTube/Editing video/vlogs
  21. Read
  22. 11-12pm Bed

Now, things come up; travel happens, special plans, etc. so not everyday may look like this exactly. For example –some nights I may go to muay thai training, maybe I don’t go to the gym, maybe I go on a hike, or a friend’s pool, or out to lunch with a friend. BUT, most days; I try to certainly follow from 5am–9am as closely as I can and then all else is fair game.

I’ve never been a morning person…doesn’t matter if I was getting up at 4am to go snowboarding, or 3am to fly to Thailand. Morning is not my jam…I’m a peanut butter girl (no idea what that analogy has to do with anything.)

For me not being a morning person; (you may say, “you sure seem like a morning person if you wake up at 5am and get up at 5:45!”) I find this morning ritual extremely important. Everything helps ease me into my day. Just because I wake up at 5am doesn’t mean I am bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to meet the world…God, no! Half asleep with one eye squinted open I roll over to my laptop and try to type in “YouTube” half of the time with my eyes still closed. I listen to Joyce Meyer sometimes in and out of consciousness. My morning Mix consists of John Mayer, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Iron and Wine, and so forth– not to mention my first client is my Mom, which I train from home, outside. So you can see how each event rolls me into the next slowly easing me into a productive day.

But why do I drink a green smoothie every morning? The answer is simple…
It makes me FEEL amazing. Not short term like the 5 minute endorphin spike I get with junk food, and later regret with a sugar crash–but long term; mentally and physically.

I love devoting the nourishing food I choose for my body over the occasional junk BINGE. The great part about this awareness?
The junk is slowly moving out of my lifestyle, and less impulses to indulge are arising. I never want to preach something I do not practice; I will not sit here and deny I didn’t have graham central station ice cream from J. Foster in Avon, CT this past weekend, I did.

But! And that’s a big BUT, that– is part of the process. Do not beat yourself up. Do not tell yourself you cannot have something. And do not feel defeated. Competing taught me in a negative way to associate food with accomplishment and celebration (something I never struggled with before.)

Time and time again we are told we are what we eat; and that is certainly true! Instead of thinking of taking away certain foods, think about just adding more and more healthy options IN.

Daily, we have to choose what we want to fuel our bodies with, it is a process, not an end goal. EVERYDAY choose YOU. And just like the balance of everything else…celebrate with chocolate every now and again to remind yourself you are human!

Growing up I was never a bookworm; I didn’t particularly like reading, and I sure didn’t like school. NOW, I can’t get enough of reading and knowledge! Constantly trying to evolve and learn through growth inside and out. Don’t let the pattern of what you’re used to; and your thoughts, keep you from evolving and changing. If there is one thing for certain; it’s change!

No matter the activity; working on my laptop, eating meals, working out, reading– I try to implement them all outdoors. I try to get outside as much as possible, I am happier outside, and I feel more justified staring at a computer screen for hours when I can hear the birds chirping, and the sun slightly kissing my skin.

Too many people seem to LIVE for the weekend…

Burning themselves out during the week; at a job they don’t find fulfilling, surrounded by miserable people, counting down the hours until 5pm on Friday.

Only then; are they too mentally drained and exhausted to do much other than spend their time “relaxing” mindlessly in front of the television…draining more of their energy –without even realizing it.

My goal, is to be oblivious to the day; for it does not matter–
when you do the same thing everyday.

To build a life in the long run that I don’t have to look forward to the weekend, be inspired by my work, and help others stop spending mindless money on things that are not fulfilling!