The Healing Powers of Yoga

Hello readers! This week I want to share about something that is very dear to me-yoga! I’m super excited and happy to announce that after years of practicing yoga, I recently enrolled in a program to become a certified yoga teacher! I’m looking forward to sharing more information about yoga with you in the near future!

There are many different forms of yoga, each of which has many of the same health benefits, but each style also has some unique qualities. There is hatha yoga, hot yoga, restorative yoga, and so many others. In this blog post, I want to share about restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is so AMAZING!

With restorative yoga, you are doing a practice that is much gentler on your body. It is intended to help heal your body and mind, promote wellness, and help you learn basic stretches that will open up your body and allow for healing. This form of yoga-like others, promotes deep breathing through the nose, which leads to a very calming, cleansing, almost meditative feeling that reduces stress and anxiety, and bring a focus and stillness to the mind.

Do You Need Restorative Yoga in Your Life?

Have you felt a little anxious? Perhaps you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep? Maybe you wake in the morning feeling un-refreshed or cloudy headed? Maybe you have moments of anger building up during your day, or simply realize you need a sense of more calm and less drama in your life? Maybe you are a multi-tasker or someone that simply cannot turn those constant thoughts off long enough to find some peace? Perhaps you simply feel little aches and pains in your life from a lack of getting proper exercise, or perhaps, you’ve paused to check your phone a few to many times  while reading this post???? Yoga….it IS your friend!

Restorative Yoga for Stress Relief

Most forms of yoga can be amazing for stress relief, but restorative yoga has a few added benefits for this purpose.

First of all, restorative yoga is more of a slower and gentler form of yoga. Instead of moving swiftly from one pose to the next, each pose in restorative yoga is going to be held for considerably longer, with deeper and very measured breathing. This is great for building up your strength and flexibility, but also gives you time to adjust and stretch through each pose. You are given more time to breathe during the pose and relax your muscles fully-you will find that with each breath, you are able to relax deeper and more completely into your poses.

You will notice that in a restorative yoga class, the entire environment is much more relaxing, which in of itself makes it better for people who are doing yoga specifically to help relieve stress. Often, whether done in class or online, there is meditative sounds or music to bring you even further into your relaxation for both mind and body.

Why Props Are Used in Restorative Yoga

Another big difference between restorative yoga and other forms of the practice is that props are used frequently. This is a mellow yoga class that is meant to relax you, so props are often used to help support your body. This allows you to hold the poses in the proper position, and for longer periods of time. Keep in mind-It is this length of time for each pose that really makes it “restorative” and healing for both your body and mind.

If you take a yoga class, they might tell you what items to bring, though most classes also provide them for their students. However, if you are doing it at home, get props like yoga blocks and bolsters if you can. Otherwise, rolled-up towels or small blankets also work great. These props make it easier for you to reach and hold each pose even if you have little flexibility or balance, therefore taking much f the body challenge out of the yoga equation.

The Best Stress-Relieving Yoga Positions

While many yoga poses used in restorative yoga are great for stress relief, there are some that are better to start with. If you are dealing with stress and overwhelm, try some of these beginner-friendly poses:

Child’s Pose

It is always good to start with a yoga pose that is very simple and easy to get your stretch in, such as the child’s pose. If you do other workouts, like strength training or Pilates, you might be familiar with child’s pose as it is a common post-workout stretch.

The child’s pose is done starting on your knees, with the top of your feet and shins flat on the ground. Leave your knees about shoulder-width apart, then start bending your body forward until your head and shoulders between your knees. Bend forward as far as you can with your arms stretched out in front of you. You want a good stretch, but not so much that it causes discomfort or pain.

Child’s pose helps calm the breath, eases lower back pain, stretches the hips and thighs, and increases circulation throughout the body.

Supported Bridge Pose

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet just far away from your bottom that you can touch them with your fingertips. Place a folded blanket or pillow under your lower back if support is needed. In this pose, you will gently rise from the hips, through the thighs, into a “bridge, with the upper back and shoulder still on the ground. Keep your arms relaxed and by your sides, or place them over your belly or heart. Hold this pose while breathing slowly through the nose. Bridge pose strengthens the back and glutes, while opening the chest and hip flexors. It brings calmness to the body, alleviates stress, improves digestion, and can even help with depression.

Legs up the Wall

 You can try the legs up the wall yoga pose, another classic pose that is great for beginners. All you need to do is find a wall in your home or the yoga studio that you will be able to lean your body against. You will lie with your back and buttocks on the ground, with your legs straight up in front of you, on the wall. An easy way to get into this position is put one hip on the wall, lay down flat, slowly swinging your legs around to go up the wall. Using a folded blanket under your hips will reduce any pressure from the lower back. Holding this position while using a steady breath will release tension throughout the entire body, reduce anxiety, and even lower the heart rate. This pose can also help with insomnia.

I use restorative yoga almost nightly in my personal routine. In recent weeks, during some especially stressful moments, I have pulled out my mat several times a day to spend a few moments doing simple poses and breathing deeply and slowly. The degree of calm I feel almost immediately has made me a huge believer in the practice. I hope you will take a few moments to try a pose or two each day and see how it can bring a calming, positive affect to your daily life. As always, if you’re interested in exploring new mindsets and pathways for your health and wellness journey, please reach out to me! I’d love to help set up, support, and motivate you in a program designed just for you.

Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent fasting has become a hugely popular way of eating and living for health, fat burn, longevity, and even brain clarity. It’s not so much considered a “diet” as it is a lifestyle and eating pattern. In recent months, it’s become a huge topic in many of my circles and groups, and it’s often one of the first topics my perspective clients want to discuss when we begin our health relationship. So, this week, while searching for the perfect topic for a blog post, IF-intermittent fasting just seemed like the perfect choice!

This way of eating doesn’t so much involve “what you eat”, but “when you eat”, so the restrictions as to food choices are not as critical as most eating plans. Pairing intermittent fasting with a healthy balanced diet can result in not only weight loss, but many other really incredible health benefits as well.

There have proven to be many benefits to living the IF lifestyle. When it comes to weight loss or maintaining weight, IF works! Eating within specific time frames leads to lower calorie intake without the dreaded focus on food choices or food restrictions. During periods of fasting, human growth hormones increase quickly, leading to stored fat loss and muscle retention, and insulin levels appear to drop quickly, which makes fat loss easier. And, incredibly enough, “autophagy” occurs after a short period of fasting-this is when our cells begin to digest and get rid of old and dysfunctional cells, replacing them with new cells. There are also changes to hormone levels and genes during this process that affect longevity, aging, and help protect against disease.

While people using IF usually find that making the adjustment to this lifestyle a little challenging, they soon come to realize that it becomes a rather easy lifestyle change, and are pleased to see rapid, visible results that keep them motivated to continue on. They find that weight loss is quicker, easier, and more convenient, report a decrease in inflammation in the body, find better brain clarity and mood balance, and find that their metabolism increases, and their sleep is better. Many people even report that they feel as though they have cleansed or detoxed their entire body systems!

The WHAT and the HOW

There are several ways of doing IF, and it can easily be structured to fit your particular lifestyle and habits.

16/8 is the most popular method of this lifestyle, in which you fast for 16 hours, and eat within an 8 hour period 7 days a week. For many, this may mean stopping food intake at 8pm, and not eating another meal until noon the next day.

2/24 in another way of doing IF. With this method, fasting is done for a full 24 hours twice a week, and a regular schedule of eating exists for the remaining 5 days. Low calorie beverages are allowed during this type of fasting, and some people even incorporate drinking bone broth into their fasting phases for added gut health benefits.

5:2 is yet another way of doing IF, and this method has one eating less than 500 calories 2 days a week, and eating regularly on the remaining days. This method does have the added responsibility of counting and monitoring calories and/or marcos on the two days of restricted eating, so keep that in mind when making your plans. This form of IF only works if you are NOT using the other 5 days to eat very large amounts of food.

*All of these methods work with reducing caloric intake when a healthy, somewhat moderated approach is taken during “eating times”. Some healthy regard for fueling your body and monitoring your intake is necessary as with any healthy lifestyle choice.

In my own personal experience with intermittent fasting, I have found that it works wonderfully. I have done IF in many ways over the last several months, generally using a 17/7 schedule as a regular routine. On occasion, I fast for 2-4 days every few months to balance my gut and detox my body and soul. You can read about my longer fasts here if you are interested. My routine 17/7 eating pattern has proven to improve my sleep, and given me more mental clarity and focus. It has also helped remove my nightly cravings for carbs, which is a huge win! I have also noticed that when my fasting period is up, I am NOT as likely to want to eat large meals-my stomach seems to feel full much quicker, and I stay full for longer periods of time.

Many people doing IF use apps to track their fasts and inspire or challenge them. I have found that using an app to track my fasts does two things-inspires and motivates me to complete my fast, and, there’s something about hitting the “start fast” button each night that adds some form of “closure” to my day. It’s kind of like telling my brain and stomach “We are DONE!” It’s all about MINDSET!

Fast Habit is the first app I used, and it was a free version. It simply alerted me to start fasting each night at the time I had set, and alerted me the next day when my fast was over. Simple, basic, free. Highly recommended for the beginner.

Fastic is the app I currently use. I have the paid version for the bells and whistles. This app also sends me alerts-including one an hour before my fasting time starts in case I need to take advantage of getting in my last meal. The paid version also offers daily lessons on nutrition, mindset, diet biology, motivation, and other interesting facts. I’ve learned a lot using this app, and it’s also highly recommended. Apps, of course, are not needed, you can simply add your start and finish times to a reminder on your phone calendar.

The “WHO” in Intermittent Fasting

While many studies show that Intermittent Fasting is a safe form of eating for most adults, there are some people that should not follow this lifestyle. If you are underweight, pregnant, trying to conceive, breastfeeding, or suffer from any eating disorder, this lifestyle is not recommended.

One should seek guidance from a medical professional before attempting Intermittent Fasting if they have diabetes, low blood sugar, are on medications, have low blood pressure, or have a serious illness.

Side Effects Possibly Experienced During IF

For most healthy individuals, side effects are very mild and, as the body adjusts and adapts, temporary. Hunger pains, food cravings, low energy, disrupted sleep, irritability, bad breath, and dehydration can occur in the early stages of IF.

Many of these side effects can be due to dehydration; people tend to drink less fluids when not eating meals and snacks throughout the course of a day. To alleviate this issue, be sure to consume fluids regularly throughout the day. 64oz of water should be the goal, and tea and coffee are allowed. (keeping in mind that caffeine will dehydrate you, make sure the bulk of fluids is water!)

I hope that you’ve learned a few things about this “all the rage” healthy lifestyle choice and perhaps have decided to try this out for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, or are looking to make other healthy lifestyle changes to improve your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a free and fun conversation about finding the steps, information, and motivation to live your absolute BEST life!

Please visit my professional site BeeWell.com for more info, freebies and tips!

Super Fresh and Healthy Summer Eating: Starring Kale!

It’s summer time for many of us, and it’s a fantastic time to add some fresh, light, and healthy veggies to our diet! If you’re looking for a power packed but super low calorie vegetable to add to your summer meals, leafy greens like kale, is a great choice. Kale grows well year round and is easy to find at any grocery store. It is a superfood filled with health benefits like helping to reduce various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, boosting digestive health, and helping to manage blood pressure. Kale has antioxidants to help remove toxins from the body, as well as fiber, and a huge range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and A, as well as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale is a perfect staple for many diets, from clean eating to Paleo or Keto. At 33 nutrient packed calories a cup, kale is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

To get you started on your quest to add this amazing green to your diet, here is a personal summer favorite recipe of mine-chicken kale soup, as well as four different types of kale salads to try out this summer!

Chicken Kale Summer Soup

1 sweet Onion chopped

1 bunch scallions chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 carrots sliced

1 tbsp butter

½ bunch kale, washed and torn into small pieces

1 15oz can diced tomatoes rinsed

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped

6-8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the butter, onions, scallions, garlic and carrots until soft, add chicken broth and heat to a beginning boil. Add chicken and tomatoes, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add kale pieces, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on very low heat an additional 10 minutes.

This is a super tasty, very light summer soup that is less than 90 calories a serving.

Citrus Kale Salad with Dressing

2 ruby red grapefruit

2 oranges

6-8 oz kale washed and torn into smallish pieces

3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp honey

pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

small red onion sliced

4 oz feta or goat cheese

Peel and section oranges and grapefruits, removing pits. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together orange juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, sugar, salt, and olive oil-whisk until blended well. 

Toss kale, onion, and ½ of dressing together, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with citrus pieces, onion, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining dressing.

And, a few other super easy ideas for superfood kale salads:

Chopped Kale Superfoods Salad

This salad is great when you want a chopped salad and have some berries and quinoa you want to use as well. Adding quinoa, makes it a heartier salad that really fills you up. It’s an ideal meal if you follow a clean eating diet.

 Use chopped kale for this chopped salad, then add rinsed uncooked or cooked (cooled) quinoa for a nice crunch. You can add a variety of superfood toppings to this for a powerful summer meal.  Berries, like cranberries and pomegranate seeds work well with this. For more crunch and added healthy fats and proteins, add some crushed walnuts as well.

Kale and Veggies Salad

Another great option for kale salad is one that uses even more veggies. You can also add berries to this salad if you wish as well. Simply replace your lettuce with kale!This can be a good main course, but it works well as a light lunch or a side dish as well. This salad uses fresh kale, along with some brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, all of which are available throughout the summer season. If you want to add a little fat to the salad, you can add some bacon bits as well. Nuts taste great on the top. Leave it as-is or make a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and some lemon juice.

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale happens to taste great when combined with sweet fruits. This kale and apple salad is perfect when you want to combine fresh flavors for a brand new taste. Use your chopped kale, along with some sliced sweet apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or even sliced and pitted cherries, and add some chopped walnuts or almonds. To add more protein to this salad, add sprinkles of goat or feta cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice for a tasty light dressing.

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Eating Healthy

If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating, along with some enjoyable form of exercise is very important for maintaining good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.

A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy lifestyle is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a smart choice to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so you will not be tempted to snack during those times of day when you find yourself eating out of boredom or stress. If you’re worried about being hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping small portions of those foods for special occasions only. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you crave.

Another great step to healthy eating, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthy, we must begin by thinking healthy. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for them, but few people understand why. The key is learning about the nutrients the body needs to be at it’s optimal health. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes easier for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge, especially in this case, really is power! You body, after all, is a machine and machines run best when powered by the right fuel!

Preparation is a major key in starting a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you are probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal-that will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap or some lean meat, and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Try a little meal planning for your evening meals-having a planned, prepped and ready meal waiting for when you arrive home would be ideal, but in our fast paced lifestyle, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week before you do your weekly shopping. Focus your meal prep around 2 main foods each week. For example, in week 1, plan 3 meals using chicken breasts, and 3 meals using lean beef. Cooking those foods at the same time, then adding other ingredients to make several prepped meals will ensure that you have healthy, tasty foods available when you are too tired to plan or cook. Think: chicken breasts with a hearty salad one night, chicken and bean chili another night, and even a hearty chicken soup for another meal. Doubling up on these foods can also provide easy healthy lunches.

When planning your grocery shopping, always have a plan and a list ready. To eat as clean as possible, and to avoid the temptations of high calorie, nutrient low, packaged foods, focus your shopping trip on the perimeters of the store: produce, meats, dairy. Fill your cart with seasonal fruits and veggies for side dishes and snacks. Look for lean cuts of meat, and lower fat versions of your favorite daily products. Never shop when you are hungry! Have a small healthy meal or snack before leaving for your shopping trip so that you are not tempted into buying things just to satisfy your need to eat.

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.

If you are ready to take the next step but looking for guidance, knowledge, and motivation, consider setting up a time to discuss and set your goals, gain the nutritional knowledge that you need, learn meal planning and prep, stress relief, and more, and get started on a fantastic journey to finding yourself in the best health possible. Today can easily be a changing day in your life. Contact me now for a free 30 minute call.

www.beewell.com

Gaining the Mindset for Weightloss

Weight loss is one of the most challenging things you can do, but also one of the most rewarding. It not only changes your body composition and improves your physical health, but it can also improve your mental health at the same time. The problem is often not with your physical body, but how your mind reacts to changing certain lifestyles that will help you lose weight and keep it off.

Often, when we make the decision to create healthy changes in our lifestyle, it’s based on something negative that has happened; a doctor has said something to worry us, we don’t like the way we feel, our clothes don’t fit the way we want them to, or we don’t like what we see in the mirror. Those negative prompts get us thinking about making changes, and often times, the changes that need to be made are not exactly the things we want to do, and this just sets us up for a negative, and seemingly impossible, task that is just not sustainable in the long run. The answer to this endless cycle is mindset!

What is MINDSET?

Mindset, in the general sense, is the set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. Mindset influences your thought patterns, your feelings towards things, and how you will react to situations around you. There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

Fixed mindset is the belief that things are simply the “way they are”, and that those things cannot be changed.

Growth mindset is the belief that you have the power and ability to make the changes you need to reach the goals that you desire.

To achieve the needed mindset for weight loss-or any health changes you wish to make in your life-the mindset needed is, of course, GROWTH! You need to believe that you CAN! And, believe me-you CAN. To get you started on your journey to a healthier you, here’s a few things to think about. I encourage you to think about these carefully, reflect on them, and even journal or make a list to help you find the clarity you need to get started on the right track.

Find a Positive “WHY”

It’s important to put a positive spin on your “why”. Instead of thinking about losing weight to avoid needing a medication or lowing your blood pressure, try to find a positive reason, like feeling younger, or being able to play more with your grandchildren. Instead of thinking about losing weight because you clothes don’t fit the way you want them too, try switching your thoughts to how awesome you will feel when you simply don’t have to feel self conscious in anything you wear. Instead of thinking about what you “can’t eat, wear, do” in your life, think about the things you CAN or WILL do. Think about them often. Write them down. Talk about them. Plan for them. Replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and you will find that the entire process becomes less daunting; less restrictive, and less like a chore.

Why Are You Overweight, or Why Do You Struggle With Your Desired Weight?

In order to have a healthier mindset to help you lose weight, you first need to figure out what the main purpose for your weight gain is. This can be something from your childhood, unhealthy habits, food addiction or disordered eating, and medical conditions. Sometimes, your weight is determined by genetics or a medication you are taking, so weight loss and your mindset is going to be much different than if it is from your mental health or simple unhealthy choices you have been making. Knowing the clear reason behind any excess weight will help you get a plan in action to get it off.

Keep Weight Loss Simple

Once you have figured out your WHY, and pinpointed why you have gained weight, you are on the right path to developing a healthier mindset for weight loss. It is important to start by making it very SIMPLE. Don’t try to do a complicated, fad diet, a crash diet, or anything that might be hard on both your body and your mind. Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in a week or start your diet at the same time as a rigorous fitness routine. Start slow, keep it simple, and give yourself enough time to really understand the process. Remember, small steps add up to big changes, but big changes all at once are exhausting and often left far behind in our thoughts. One or two small changes in a week’s time are more than enough. Build on changes as you go, adding as you feel more empowered. It’s better to make four small changes consistently over 4 weeks, then it is to make 4 changes in one week that only make your life seem restrictive and difficult.

Choose Your Own Goals and Path

Your journey has to be your own! What works for your co-workers or best friend is likely not the best choice for you! If everyone is eating keto, but you don’t like the menu choices-it’s NOT going to work for you. If your best friend is dropping weight by running several miles a day, and you hate outdoor exercise-it’s NOT going to work for you. You absolutely NEED to find changes in your lifestyle that work for YOUR life. You need a movement program that you enjoy, not one that you dread. You need foods that you love to eat, not foods that make you feel restricted. Your plan needs to be focused on you. (If you need help with this-this is my specialty! Let’s chat!) You should find some excitement in the changes you are making, because in the end, those changes will be easy to sustain.

Get Educated

One of the best ways to stick to health lifestyle changes is to become educated! Spend a little time researching the foods you eat, read the ingredients on your packaged and processed foods, learn how foods work in your body, and how exercise affects your overall wellbeing. Working with a health coach or a nutritionist is a great place to start in understanding how the foods you eat work with your body, and how overall wellness-stress, sleep, exercise, mindset-affects how you feel and how you live.

Be Mindful

Recognizing emotions and feelings towards food, eating, and how we live our daily lives can really help you understand why and where changes need to be made for the better. For example, eating while stressed is a huge factor in weight gain. Recognizing the pattern can lead you to finding other ways of relieving stress. Rushing through meals, or eating on the go are other factors in our weight. Learning to be mindful of our meals, taking time to enjoy the foods we eat, noticing when we feel satisfied and full, are all important factors in weight loss and weigh control.

Gravitate to Positivity During Your Journey

Find your support! Gain a healthy tribe of like-minded people! Consider a health coach to guide you, motivate you, and keep you focused. Avoid people who are going to bring you down, encourage unhealthy eating habits, or who talk down to you along the way. This journey is life changing, and you will find that it’s a much easier and pleasant path if you surround yourself with people that believe in healthy living, and believe in YOU.

Learn to Focus on the Now

Instead of focusing on the scale, the mirror, or “the number” you wish to see, focus on each moment. Looking into the future at a point in which you will feel you have reached that ultimate goal will only make you exhausted. Focus on hourly and daily goals to keep your motivation positive and constant. Pat yourself on the back for your healthy breakfast, celebrate the fact that you stopped eating after 7pm, congratulate yourself for getting a power walk in! Do this ALL day, EVERY day and remember that it’s these small steps, these small victories that will get you to the BIG goals!

Ask for Guidance, Find a Cheerleader, Make it Happen!

Consider finding a health coach to help you find the right mindset and program that will work for YOU. Unlike other generic “diet” plans, a health coach will work with you personally to design a plan that will be all about YOU. This plan will be about your goals, your choices, and your needs, and fit perfectly into the lifestyle you have and crave. A coach will help you find and set small, but specific, measurable and celebrated, attainable, relevant, time focused goals in each session, and celebrate them with you as well. They will help you change negative thoughts and habits into positive actions, as well as educate and inform you when you may be feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that surrounds us daily on the internet and in society. It’s time to find what works for YOU, and make it all about YOU and your goals. If you’re ready to see what that might look like in your life, let’s chat! I’d love to put a plan together and get you where you want to be!

from my business site BeeWell.com

Walking into Summer!

Summer is a great time to focus on exercise; the weather is nice, the days are longer, and we tend to spend more time outdoors. For those looking to add some exercise to their summer schedule, but may be looking for something low impact and low cost, walking is definitely the answer!

Walking provides so many health benefits, and it’s literally a free activity, so it’s a win-win situation.  Walking increases the fitness of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, boosts your metabolism, burns calories at a steady rate, helps improve muscle strength and tone, reduces body fat, and helps strengthen our bones and improve our balance. In all, simply walking each day, helps our bodies more than any other exercise. It can be done almost anywhere, costs no money, and can also take us to some beautiful places! Who doesn’t want an exercise program like that??

If you’re already on a regular program of walking, this article can provide you with some summer reminders for safe and comfortable walking. If you’re brand new to a walking program, I hope this will inspire to you lace up and set out for some fun walking adventures!

For those just starting out, it’s recommended that you start your new walking plan slowly, adding time, distance, and a faster pace as you get comfortable with your new fitness plan. Try to start with 20-30 minutes a day, adding a few minutes as you gain confidence and strength in your plan. As you gain endurance, try adding intervals of faster pace, or perhaps some hills to your journey to get those calories burning and muscles toned.

Because summer brings us hotter weather and lots of sun, it’s important to be prepared and safe as we walk each day. Here is a list of helpful tips to keep you moving, healthy, and safe all summer long.

TIMING

Because summer brings us more heat and longer days of bright sunshine, it’s crucial to plan walks at a time in which you will not be greatly affected by those factors. Try planning your walks for early morning before the heat of the day sets in, and find that not only do you get a sense of accomplishment early in your day, but also benefit from an increase in your metabolism all day long! If early morning exercise is not your things, plan for a late evening walk around sunset as the day cools down. Walking in the evening will not only aid in digestion of your dinner, but help relieve stress and tension, and prepare you for more restful sleep.

INDOOR WALKING

For some, walking outside is not possible. Super hot weather, traffic, heat intolerance, or schedules can make getting an outdoor walk in difficult. Treadmills are a great option if you have access to one, and your entire workout can be done without thought of weather. This workout can even be done in front of the TV! Start at a slow pace, and a small incline, building upon both as you feel your endurance build. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, try 20 minutes of marching as you watch a favorite show, and build upon it as you go. For those thinking this is silly-I will admit-I have hit over 30,000 steps watching Sunday Football games-and never left my house!

DRESS FOR STEP SUCCESS

It’s important to have decent, sturdy, comfortable shoes no matter where you might be getting your steps in. Make sure you shoes fit well, and don’t cause any discomfort as you walk. Protect your feet! Tend to blisters as needed, and adjust laces and insoles to get the most comfortable fit.

Light colored clothing is a must when walking during summer months! Avoid dark colors that pull the heat into your body. Look for cool cotton clothing, or even an air wicking fabric to be sure you are dry and cool. Loose fitting clothes will help you feel cooler and drier as well. Avoid poly blend fabrics, as they tend to hold in both heat and moisture. Consider a hat to keep your face cool and dry as well. And don’t forget your sunscreen!

FIND A BUDDY OR A TRIBE

Having a walking partner keeps you motivated! Conversation helps pass the time, and you may feel safer as well. In many areas, there are walking groups or clubs that meet regularly in neighborhoods and parks, and you can find these on Facebook, Nextdoor, or Meetup. Walking with others helps motivate us to get moving, keeps us interested in the process, and allows up to build relationships in a healthy manner.

MAKE IT FUN

For those walking solo, add a little creative multitasking to the effort. Try a new playlist to keep your heart pumping and you feet moving. Listen to an audible book, learn a new language, or catch up on you favorite podcasts while enjoying you walk. These things will not only challenge your creativity and mind, but make the time fly by as you get your exercise in.

HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE

As a general health rule, I encourage my clients and friends to aim for half their body weight in ounces of water each day. (150 pound person should aim for 75 ounces of water) This is a normal, average goal for general daily purpose. During hot months, and times of exercise, water intake should be increased. Get a water bottle that is easy to carry, and fill it with cool water for the duration of your walk. Be sure you are well hydrated BEFORE heading out for a walk, and upon completing of your walk, drink even more fluid. Dehydration can hit us quickly on hot days, and can leave us feeling really horrible. To be sure you are properly hydrated, check your perspiration levels-if you are not perspiring, you need fluids. Most people can also check their hydration levels simply by checking the color of their urine. Very dark urine can be a sign of dehydration, and clearer urine can indicate a well hydrated body. (This does not work for people on medications or experiencing illness) It’s best to keep to a regular schedule of drinking cool water throughout the entire day. 

EXPLORE, EXPLORE, ENJOY

Look for new places to enjoy you daily walks-perhaps a new path or park, a new neighborhood, or even a new town.  Mix up your walking schedule by planning new places to walk, new friends to walk with, new things to listen to as you walk, and you will find this to be a new adventure! Be sure to check your surroundings, know your area, watch for traffic, and ensure that your walk will be safe. (THIS from someone that can easily wander upon an alligator or coyote on a daily walk!) Be safe, explore new things in your life, boost your health, and have a fabulous summer!

From my business site Beewell.com

Oh, That Sweet Liquid!

Soda and sweetened drinks are one of the biggest sources of hidden sugars in our diet. A single can of soda contains upwards of a staggering 33g of sugar. However, if you’re used to chugging soda, sweet tea, or other sweetened drinks every day, making the transition to drinking just water can be difficult. I live in the south, and sweet tea, Mountain Dew, and Cheerwine are considered cultural gold, so today I’m going to be sharing some healthy, low sugar alternatives to these drinks that you can enjoy in place of those super sweet, sugar packed indulgences.

Sugar is detrimental to so many facets of our overall health. It affects the insulin levels in our blood, which creates inflammation in our arties, and stresses the heart, possibly leading to heart disease. It greatly affects our blood pressure, creates inflammation throughout the entire body, destroys our skin, causes weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver. Sugar in the system induces sugar cravings, leads to sugar “crashes” which cause irritability, loss of energy, and mood swings, and can even increase hunger.  Cutting as much sugar from our diets as possible reduces the risk of so many illnesses and diseases-and it’s not incredibly hard to do! With ALL health goals, it’s best to start with small achievable steps that will lead you to a much bigger goal, so perhaps starting your no sugar journey begins with losing those sugary drinks. Here’s a few tasty and refreshing substitutes to get you started. Try replacing one of two of your sugary drinks each day with one of these alternatives, and soon you will find that you don’t miss that sugar after all! And the benefits will be SO rewarding-healthier heart, clearer skin, lower blood pressure, less aches and pains caused by inflammation, losing some extra weight, and a more even flow of mood and energy!

Fruit Juice Spritzers

Fruit juice spritzers are a great place to start when quitting soda. They contain around a third of the sugar that you’ll find in a can of soda (12g of sugar per cup), taste sweet and are carbonated. While fruit juice spritzers are probably not something you want to be drinking every day if you’re cutting back on sugar, they’re still a much better choice than soda. To prepare a fruit juice spritzer simply combine half a cup of your favorite fruit juice with half a cup of soda water and enjoy.

Green Smoothies

If you choose the right ingredients, you can easily create green smoothies that contain less than 10g of sugar and still have a subtle sweet taste. The great thing about green smoothies is that because they’re packed full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, any sugar they contain will be released into your bloodstream slowly, so you won’t experience any of the energy surges and crashes that usually come with sugar consumption. To find low sugar green smoothie recipes, simply do a search online and experiment with the recipes that come up until you find one that you like. For the sweetest taste, try carrots, raspberries, strawberries and cucumber in your smoothie!

Fruit Infused Water

Fruit infused water contains no sugar or calories, so is perfect if you’re on a sugar detox. It shares the same benefits of standard water and will keep you hydrated, brighten your skin and enhance your energy levels. However, the fruit infusion gives it a subtle and sweet flavor, so if you find standard water too bland, give fruit infused water a try.

To prepare fruit infused water, you’ll need a mason jar and a cup of 2-3 chopped fruits that you’d like to infuse into the water. Once you have the fruits ready, place them in the mason jar, fill it with water and then allow it to infuse in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Fruit Tea

Like fruit infused water, fruit tea contains zero calories and sugar, and is just as healthy as standard water. However, even without any sugar, it has a surprisingly strong, sweet and satisfying flavor.

There are lots of different fruit teas you can try and each one has a very distinctive flavor and offers differing health benefits. Your local store should sell a wide range of fruit teas, so try a few different teas until you find a favorite.

Coffee

Coffee isn’t sweet but it’s still tasty, hydrating and contains no sugar. If you drink it instead of soda, you’ll cut out 33g of sugar per day. To ensure that your coffee contains no sugar, avoid buying it in coffee shops and drink it black or with milk.

For an amazing tasting beverage, try this incredible infused water recipe! It will cure that thirst for something sweet and will keep you hydrated.

MANGO, RASPBERRY AND GINGER INFUSED WATER

5 cups water

1 cup ice cubes optional

1 mango peeled and cubed

1/2 pint raspberries

1 (2-inch) piece ginger peeled and thinly sliced

Mix together, and let infuse for at least 3 hours, longer for a stronger taste. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in going completely sugar free, and need help with a diet plan, setting goals, and finding motivation, please contact me for a free and fun personal consultation to see how we might best work together to reach ALL of your heath and wellness goals. It’s time to live your best life possible-I can’t wait to guide you!!

From my website www.Beewell.com

Healthy Hot Weather Hacks for Weight Loss

For many of us, the hot weather of summer is here! Summer can be such a fun time, with so many outdoor activities, and lots of fabulous foods at parties, cookouts, and picnics.  It can be super easy to find yourself straying from the healthy eating habits we may have built in recent months, or even the habits we may still be trying to build. There are lots of ways to enjoy the summer fun while still sticking to your healthy eating plans though! I wanted to pass along a few quick ideas to get you thinking-as I’m sweltering here in the super sunny, hot weather at the beach!

Fortunately, for many of us, summer brings MANY choices of fresh, delicious produce! Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, corn on the cob and more, are usually ripe, and ready for us at our local farmers market, produce stand or grocery store.  To keep your belly full of all the best vitamins while still focusing on eating super healthy, try adding a fruit of vegetable to every meal or snack! Get creative with your produce-mix it into salads, sauces, smoothies, or consider freezing it into a fabulous sweet sorbet! When hosting parties, or visiting friends, be sure to offer a dish that is cool, fresh, and filled with vitamin packed fruits or veggies: fruit or veggie trays with healthy dips, fruit salads, or veggies with delicious fruit salsas are a great choice. These foods. are not only nutrient packed, but also cool in temperature! Offering these choices ensures that you have a yummy, healthy, filling choice available to stick to your plan.

Be sure to get that water in! Drinking a tall glass of water before meals helps in so many ways. It cools us down, fills us up, and helps replenish the hydration our bodies need in hot weather. Our needs for hydration increase in warmer months, especially when we are active. Be sure to aim for at LEAST half your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay healthy and ready to do all the hot weather activities you want to do.  (example: a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water each day!) Start and end each day with a glass of water, have a glass before each meal and snack, and a glass before and after workouts of activities, and this goal can easily be reached.

Keep an eye on alcohol intake! Alcohol is super dehydrating to the body, and some of those wonderful summer drinks are full of added sugar, so plan your drinking carefully. Drink a glass of water between drinks to keep your body hydrated and flushed. Choose drinks that are lower in sugar. Daiquiris, margaritas, long island ice teas, and other sweeter drinks are made with syrups that are filled with sugar and tons of calories. To cut the sugar, choose a drink made with vodka, or gin, with low sugar soda or fresh squeezed fruit spritz. Be sure to drink that water along with your alcohol to avoid both dehydration and the hangover that can come with it.

Summer often offers up special times, with special treats involved-like ice cream! My beach town has at least 7 ice cream shops within a few blocks-so the temptation is always looming!! Make a plan for getting, and enjoying, those special treats. For me, ice cream is a reward for walking! I only allow myself ice cream when I WALK to the ice cream parlor to get it! A nice evening walk with friends or family on a warm evening is the perfect prelude to enjoying ice cream and conversation. This works with most of those summer treats; a hot pretzel after a game of mini golf, a cold frozen libation after a long walk on the beach or at the park, or an extra serving of my favorite cookout food after a game of volleyball or a swim in the pool or ocean.

Summer is a time to have fun, be outdoors, travel, and be with loved ones, often while enjoying foods that just scream “SUMMER”. It’s important to remember-everything in MODERATION is fine! Balance your foods and drinks with healthy activities, water, and rest, and you will continue to see results in your personal health journey!

*Looking for a few super fun, super cool, super easy summer treats to share on a hot day?  Check out a few of my favs here!

*Looking for someone to guide you on your health and wellness journey? Help you set achievable goals, motivate you, and help you find the answers to the things that are holding you back from your ultimate health goals? Contact me for a totally free and fun 30 minute consultation to see how we can work together to get you there!

From my business site www.beewell.com

Munch that Stress Away! A Stress Reducing Diet

As I’ve mentioned several times, stress seems to be the number one issue my clients currently deal with. They may contact me about meal planning or diet strategies, but after a few conversations, it becomes clear that the root of their desire for change is based in stress. Stress affects our ability to think clearly, focus on tasks, sleep well, and have energy to do the things we wish to do in our lives. Often, when we feel stressed, we find that we crave easy, fast, comfort foods: big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweets, and alcohol. I think we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, while we may feel better in the moment, this type of eating can lead to more stress, less energy due to lack of solid nutrition, and even putting on unwanted pounds.

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, (and hey, 2020 still looms in most of our lives) it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress nutritionally is to have a healthy, balanced diet that includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties that will help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix like most “comfort” foods and drinks do. Be sure to add some of these power foods to your diet as part of your stress reducing plan:

•       Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content that specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.

•       Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.

•       Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

•       Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.

•       Beef – Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vit-amins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.

•       Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.

•       Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option that will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.

•       Pistachios – another food that is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!

•       Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants that can help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.

•       Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria that are found in fermented foods like yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

Let’s Plan Your  Stress Reducing Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.

A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries

Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts

Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens

Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate

Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables

Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a great basic outline to follow! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

If you’d like to know more about creating a stress reducing lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to me for personal help. Diet, sleep, exercise, and self care are some of the pillars to reducing stress and living your best life! CONTACT ME NOW!

*from my business site BeeWell.com

Clean Eating the WHY, and How to do it on a Budget

You may have heard about the benefits of clean eating but perhaps don’t believe you have the time to think through the process, or, maybe you are concerned about the cost.  After all, we’ve all noticed that the cost of fresh foods compared to that of popular fast food options seems high. As a result, you may be finding it easier and cheaper to just keep your favorite takeout or delivery on speed dial and maybe your freezer is filled with packaged microwave meals.  There’s a chance you haven’t considered that by eating this way you are depriving your body of many essential nutrients and missing out on a number of important health benefits. AND, your future health care costs may reflect that due to illnesses or medications due to poor eating choices.

Clean eating can be done easily, tastes amazing, and doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, this may be the best time to embark on a journey of clean eating as spring and summer bring us farmers markets, and tons of amazing, tasty fresh foods to our local grocery store. I’d love to pass on some tips for getting the healthiest foods into your diet on a budget, but first, let’s look at the benefits of clean eating!

It Gives You Energy

One of the main reasons to eat healthy is because it gives you energy.  Healthy foods are filled with slow digesting carbohydrates.  These take longer to digest than unhealthy, rapidly digesting carbohydrates, so the energy they provide is released into your blood at a much slower and more stable rate.  This means that you have more consistent energy levels when powering up with healthy foods

In contrast, unhealthy foods generally contain high levels of rapidly digesting carbohydrates.  These get digested very quickly and the energy they provide is released into your blood stream at a much faster, less stable rate.  As a result, your energy levels generally peak and then crash when you eat unhealthy foods. For many people, this “crash” leads to craving more unhealthy foods, quicker hunger, and even mood swings.

It Ensures That Your Body Works Properly

Healthy foods are packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to operate properly.  They support almost every function you can think of.  For example, vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, chloride helps keep the fluid levels within your body balanced and potassium helps keep your blood pressure under control.

Eating unhealthy foods deprives your body of these nutrients and prevents it from functioning properly.  For example, failing to eat enough vitamin A can limit your vision and in the worst cases cause full blindness.  Not getting enough sulphur can prevent your nerves from functioning properly. Literally every body function is affected by the way you choice to fuel your body-choose to fuel it well!

It Reduces Your Chance Of Illness

Another key benefit of following a healthy diet is that the wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in these foods help keep your immune system strong.  Your immune system is what keeps you safe from disease, infection and foreign bodies.  If you have a strong immune system, then your chances of getting ill are much lower.

However, following a limited, unhealthy diet means that your body does not get given all these immune system boosting nutrients.  As a result, your immune system becomes weak and your body becomes much less effective at fighting disease, infection and foreign bodies.  This leaves you much more open to illness.

It Improves Your Physical Performance

Eating the right foods doesn’t just benefit you internally – it also greatly improves your physical performance.  For example, the clean protein in healthy foods ensures that your muscles have the fuel they need to repair after exercise and grow back stronger.  The vitamins and minerals in healthy foods keep your blood healthy and ensure that it can quickly transport oxygen to where it is needed when you exert yourself.

Following a poor diet has the opposite effect and can actually hinder your performance during exercise.  For example, eating poor quality, rapidly digesting carbohydrates will not give you the steady release of energy that is required to complete a grueling workout.  Failing to get enough protein, which is lacking in most processed and fast foods, will prevent your muscles from fully recovering after a workout. Fuel our body for success with the best foods possible!

Clean Eating is Healthy for the Gut and Hormone Balance

Healthy foods help reduce inflammation in the body. Fast foods and processed foods are a leading cause of unhealthy gut issues that can increase inflammation throughout the entire body. This can lead to hormone imbalances, skin issues, food intolerances, and immune issues. Healthy foods help to heal the gut, decreasing inflammation, and helping to balance the hormones while building the immune system.

Not Only FEEL Your Best, But LOOK Your Best

Eating clean and healthy not only helps you feel your best, but will also help you LOOK your best. Focusing on high nutrient, filling whole food will keep you full longer, provide you with more energy, and lead to a decrease in overall calories-which means weight loss! You will find yourself sleeping better, performing better, clearer headed, and even experience more balanced moods. Your skin will be clear and bright, your nails and hair will be stronger and healthier-this health plan is a true beauty boost!!!

How to Eat Clean on a Budget

Now that we’ve discussed the awesome benefits of clean and healthy eating, let’s explore some ways to do it without breaking the bank! Here are 10 tips you can use to start eating healthy on a budget.

Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Buying frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great money saving option. Frozen foods usually have a longer shelf life and this makes them cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Since good vendors pack their frozen fruits and vegetables right from the farms, many of the nutrients are locked in, thus ensuring that the frozen produce retains all its nutritional value. You can even save more by buying healthy frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk when they’re on offer, then store them in your freezer and not have to worry about the food going bad.

Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry-Shop the Perimeter!

You’re more likely to succumb to temptation and buy expensive foods and snacks when shopping on an empty stomach. Having a meal before you shop for food will actually help you to avoid impulsive spending and stick to healthy choices while you shop. If you don’t have time for a full meal, a filling healthy snack will still work to help you avoid overspending.

Also, to avoid buying tempting packaged and processed good, shop the perimeter of the store! Hit up the produce, meat, seafood, and dairy sections and fill your cart!

Check Out Local Farmer’s Markets, Produce Stands, and Food Co-ops

Spring and summer are a fabulous time to get great deals on many fresh items that are grown local to your area. Focus on foods that are fresh and in season, and consider buying in bulk and freezing them for future meals.

Fill Up on Fiber Rich Foods

Fiber provides a feeling of satiety since it metabolizes slowly in the digestive tract. This in turn curbs hunger cravings, allowing you to eat less and spend less. Fruits, leafy greens and whole grains are some of the best sources of fiber. These foods are also packed with nutrients and generally low on calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.

Freeze Your Leftovers

Studies have shown that the average family of four in the US throws away about 40% of the food that they purchase every year. However, these leftovers can easily be frozen and re-heated. By doing this, you’ll avoid wasting such large quantities of food that would otherwise end up in the garbage bin and therefore spend much less at the grocery store.

Go for Fresh, Lean Meats

While processed meats such as burgers and fried chicken are tempting, they’re neither healthy nor good value for money. If you purchase fresh, lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast or turkey breast, you’ll pay as little as $0.50 per serving. You’ll also supply your body with the essential nutrients it needs without filling up on harmful trans fats and chemical preservatives. The best part is with a few spices, you can crank up the flavor of these meats and make them taste even better than their processed counterparts.

Look For Special Offers

Before heading to the grocery store, take the time to look for discount deals. There are many sites online which provide great deals on local healthy foods which are constantly updated. Local daily newspapers are another excellent way to find discounted healthy groceries in your area. Also, make sure to keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the grocery store, as there are likely to be lots of promotions running while you shop.

Try Homemade Sauces

Making and canning your own homemade sauce can save you money. You can use many locally sourced fruits and vegetables for the ingredients and these will cost a fraction of what you’ll end up spending on 1 bottle of ketchup. The best part about making your own sauce is that they taste so much better than the processed sauces you’ll find in stores. Plus, there are many free recipes on the Internet that can help you get started making your own sauces instantly.

Prepare Your Healthy Meals In Advance

A sure way to overspend is by heading to the grocery store unprepared and tossing whatever looks good into your shopping cart. Instead of doing this, plan your healthy meals in advance and write a shopping list for the week ahead. This will allow you to control how much you spend on groceries and prevent you from going over your budget.

Take Advantage of The Grocery Store Clearance Rack

You can cut back on your grocery bill by checking for discounted foods at the clearance rack. Some stores mark down the price tag on perishable goods that are stacked on shelves when the expiry dates are nearing in order to encourage buying and reduce waste. By taking advantage of these deals, you can enjoy discounts of up to 75% on a range of tasty and healthy foods. Many of these foods on the clearance rack can be frozen, so even though you’re paying a fraction of the price, you don’t need to eat them right away.

Shop “the Seasons”

Plan your meals around the foods that are in season in your area to get the best deals. Over-abundance of freshly picked fruits and veggies lowers the price. You can do a quick search to find out what produce is heavily available, in each month, in your local area.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time consuming.  Grabbing a piece of fruit instead of a bar of chocolate, drinking a glass of water instead of a glass of soda or cooking up some chicken and vegetables instead of having a microwave meal are all quick and easy ways to eat more healthy.  Making smart choices such as these will do you a lot of good in the long run and help you live a much fuller, happier and healthier life. If you’re curious about changing your diet for the better, please check out my newest freebie on “Ditching the Diet and Embracing Clean Eating” Get your free copy here!