5 Easy Ways to Kick Off a Healthier Lifestyle

Healthier.pngAs someone who loves veggies and tries to eat mostly vegan, I think about health a lot, but sometimes it’s the things you aren’t doing that can contribute to an unhealthy or less healthy lifestyle. The good news is, fixing this is super easy, even for the laziest/busiest of people.

Because I don’t eat meat and I rarely eat dairy, I am always worried about getting enough of my iron and vitamins, especially because I tend to have low iron anyways. I eat a lot of beans, seeds, and veggies, but until I started using My Fitness Pal, I didn’t realize all of the nutrients I wasn’t getting.

I have made some really easy adjustments and not only do I feel great I have lost 10 pounds without even really trying! My husband has lost weight too, all his shirts are too big! What? I know, right! Anyways, here are some tips and adjustments to things that you may or may not already be doing in order to feel good every day.

START USING MY FITNESS PAL: This is one of my favorite apps, hands down. It keeps you on track with calories, water consumption, but most importantly—nutrition. I had NO idea I wasn’t getting enough Vitamin A, B, C, protein, and iron. You can also log in calories burned from working out. A lot of the meals are pre-loaded, so all you need to know are the portions you eat.¬†You can log in via the web and your phone to log in your meals and snacks so there’s no excuse to not use it, because it’s that easy. My macros look great, but I was not meeting my daily nutrition goals, which I have adjusted and I feel great!

20160524_144011DRINK MORE WATER: This is what I struggle with big time. I would go from coffee to maybe a glass of water during the day and then I would have some water with dinner. There’s NO WAY that’s enough. I have a method now. If you have to drink 11 glasses of water a day, I know that I need to fill my water bottle at work 4 times and then drink a few glasses of water at home.

In order to stay on task I write goal times down on a post it note (11:30 a.m. , 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.) and I know by those times, whatever they may be, I need to have had a bottle of water. I always add lemons and herbs to make it more interesting. When you get enough water there’s less headaches, you have better skin, you loose weight, and my acid reflux is so much better. Also, I hardly ever drink pop, but I love bubbles so I drink La Croix instead—my fave!

VITAMINS & NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS: Because I have dietary restrictions and I take daily medication for reflux I am lacking some nutrients. When you take a proton pump inhibitor daily it can deplete your magnesium, vitamin D, calcium and can lead to weak bones. I am not trying to have a hip replacement in my early 30’s so I take magnesium, calcium + vitamin D, in addition to vitamin B12 (for energy), COq10 (for heart health), folic acid (to help alleviate cramps), 5-HTP (for anxiety), and turmeric (for joint health/inflammation). That’s a long list, but I take a few in the morning and a few in the evening and I am confident that my bones will not break, I am getting the vitamins I need, and my cramps are 50% better than they used to be!

20160613_183856EAT MORE: Wait for it…veggies! Literally, 65% of my dinner and lunch are veggies. This might be more challenging to some, but I have never met a veggie I wouldn’t try so it’s easy for me. For example, tonight I roasted some cherry tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peppers, onions, and squash and I ate it with some soy “chicken”. Because my plate was mostly veggies that were filled with fiber and vitamins, it was filling and didn’t make me feel like garbage after I ate! Try spicing them up with some garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes, yum.

WORK OUT WITH NOISE: I have never understood how people can run on the treadmill or work out in complete silence (unless it’s yoga), but even then I need some noise. If I make a certain play list while I am working out in my home “gym” aka my elliptical, bike, and treadmill, I know how far a long I am by what song is on and I know if I want to finish strong I need to push myself during a certain song. I also know what I need to start cooling down. Let’s be honest, I’m the girl listening to something fun and poppy like Passion Pit while getting into a deep thoughtful yoga pose (I’m not great at finding my center—yet!), but this is how I am able to stay on task and motivated while working out.

See…super easy! What are your simple tips to a healthier you?

6 Easy Steps To Kick-Off A Major Life Detox.

DREAMS

It’s been a pretty good week. My lovely boss gave me a very sweet card thanking me for my hard work, I am getting a promotion, AND it’s Thursday! With all of these awesome pros, there have a lot been some cons that come in the form of normal life—people, work, situations, they can all be stressors. Work is never ending, people can be mean, a girlfriend of mine I am meeting for lunch last week was just diagnose with breast cancer. There will always be stressors, but if you can navigate through and manage the toxic things in your life, you can better cope with the curve balls life throws you.

1) Yoga is amazing.

I discovered just how amazing yoga was last year when I was so stressed out at work, I almost had a panic attack before a major event. I bought a crappy mat and joined a class with my friend from work. The instructor was amazing and the class was small enough so she was able to tailor the class for what we requested; stiff back, stress pains, headaches, you name it she had a breathing technique and a sequence for it.

I highly suggest classes to progress and perfect technique, but there are also options for you if you wish to do yoga from home. For example, there are plenty of YouTube videos, one of my favorite is a relaxation sequence for before bedtime. I also have a Pinterest board filled with yoga pins. My favorite pose right now is the pigeon pose, however—if you want to do something great for your heart that promotes deep relaxation and improves circulation, do a 90 degree wall sit.

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Credit: jasonyoga.com

2) Treat yo’ self. Literally!

Eat better. Sleep More. Pamper yourself. It’s really that simple. Just because you can function on 6 hours of sleep, doesn’t mean you should and just because you have to eat dinner at 8:00 p.m. doesn’t mean is has to be McDonalds.

Try to eat something clean and raw for a meal at least once a day, like my Pink Elephant Smoothie, for example. Not only will you be getting much needed vitamins and antioxidants, you will feel great for feeding your body something healthy and unprocessed. I have days where, even though I try to follow a vegan diet, my body still doesn’t feel like it’s gotten enough fruit/veggies. Be sure to eat them.

Drink 10 glasses of water a day. Your body needs it, it’s mostly water! Add cleansing fruits like lemon or ginger to your water if you can’t enjoy plain water.

Getting enough sleep is imperative and it’s something that I am the worst about. When I am running on too little sleep I tend to binge on it during the weekends and feel terrible about myself for not being as productive as I could be in my free time.

Lastly, pamper yourself. Take an epsom salt bath or get a Lush Bath Bomb, get your nails done, so something that makes your body feel great and makes you feel pretty. Cause you totally are.

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3) Say “no” to negativity and “yes” to what’s exactly on your mind.

People have a few intentions when it comes to you. They either want to actively ruin your day by being terrible or passive aggressive towards you, passively ruining your day by just being their negative-selves in your vicinity, people who are indifferent, and people who genuinely care about having you in their lives. I think it’s entirely stupid when people tell you to completely dump all of the toxic people from your life because it’s unrealistic. There are going to be people in your life who are mainstays, whether at work or in your personal life. The key is to not their negativity effect you AND put your foot down when necessary.

My mom always used to tell me that being happy is the best revenge—so not giving people the power to have control over your mood is vital to detoxing your life. However, when people in your life are very clear that they do 1) not respect you or your feelings and 2) go out of their way to bring you down, you have two choices—ignore it because they really don’t matter or put your foot down and say exactly whats on your mind, hopefully without using too many curse words :)!

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4) Organize and purge.

There are people who thrive in “organized” chaos. I am not one of those people—and most people aren’t. It’s not fun to be in a physical state of flux. After I have cleaned, organized, and purged my house, workspace, and office of things I don’t need I feel more comfortable in my space and I am more productive. If that means I have to label every single thing in my desk, I will! It’s worth it! I love my label maker. My work calendar is color coordinated. At one point I even had my salad dressings organized by color in my fridge.

5) Volunteer your time.

This might seem like a weird suggestion, but it’s a great way to make yourself feel great and help your community. I have worked in the non-profit sector almost exclusively since I graduated college. Local organizations need volunteers just like you and me to thrive. If fact, even though I work at a non-profit I still volunteer and donate funds to local charities that I really care about. If you wish to donate your time to an organization, just contact them directly or scope them out on Charity Navigator.

You will make great friends, help the community, have an opportunity to network, and rack up some serious karma points!

6) Be your silly self.

Literally. This is all you need to you need to do, but it can be really hard because of family, work, and social expectations. Being authentically you is the easiest way to de-stress. While you shouldn’t censor yourself, this does mean being as polite and authentic you can be, but also being vocal about things you aren’t digging. If you don’t agree with the way a project is going at work—let it be known in a respectful way, if you don’t appreciate how people are acting—don’t be around them, but most importantly, if people go out of their way to make you unhappy choose to be your happy, authentic self–don’t let people’s negative thoughts, opinions, comments, or energy¬†change who you are.

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What else do you do to detox? Let me know!