Super Sweet Potatoes

When it comes to sweet potatoes, I think most people instantly think of Thanksgiving dinner-but this amazing superfood definitely deserves to show up on your menu more often! Sweet potatoes are super filling, packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, and can be prepared in a variety of ways to please even the pickiest eater. You may be thinking that sweet potatoes are a cold weather food, but I’ve added a yummy, cold, summer salad recipe starring sweet potatoes at the end of this article!!

Sweet potatoes are a root veggie that can be found in bright colors like orange and purple, as well as white. One cup of sweet potato is only 180 calories, and offers incredible amounts of vitamin A, C, and B6, as well as potassium, manganese, copper, and niacin. Along with this power punch of vitamins comes 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber with only the slightest trace of fat. These amazing potatoes are absolute superfoods with so many benefits-they contain high levels of antioxidants that can protect our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals in our bodies cause inflammation and lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and even aging. The fiber in sweet potatoes helps with digestion and aids in gut health and healthy gut bacteria-leading to better immunity. Sweet potatoes are also packed with beta carotene to keep our eyes and eyesight healthy!

When buying sweet potatoes, look for potatoes that are smaller in size for a sweeter taste and creamier texture. The thicker the skin of the potato-the sweeter and moister the potato will be! Choose potatoes with firm, smooth, unblemished skin for the highest quality. Make your dishes more colorful and festive by choosing potatoes in different colors!

Get sweet potatoes into your diet in a myriad of ways: serve up sweet potato chips or fries, mash into super sweet potatoes, bake and add your favorite toppings, or even puree them and add them to baked goods for an extra punch of both flavor and vitamins. You can also add sweet potatoes to salads for a sweet and healthy boost-check out the recipe below!

Summer Sweet Potato Salad

5 cups sweet potatoes  chopped into small pieces

½ tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

3 oz baby spinach chopped

¼ cup red onion diced

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ avocado chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400F

Toss sweet potato pieces with olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt. Bake 30 minutes-flipping halfway through-until done.  Cool potatoes.

Mix spinach, onion, dried cranberries, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in a large bowl, stir in potatoes, and add avocado. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Store in fridge and serve cold.

Serves 4

Eat Your Way to Better Sleep

Without a doubt, one of the biggest health concerns I hear about from friends, family, and clients is that they are just not getting proper sleep. Either they can’t fall asleep or, once they are asleep, they cannot seem to stay asleep. I, personally, am a lifelong insomniac who knows the struggle first hand. I’ve spent years trying to find what works for me-and that fix usually only lasts a few weeks or months before I’m looking for the next solution. Many turn to over the counter sleep meds which are not to be used regularly, or to herbal remedies which can have odd side effects. There are many different things you can try to get a better night’s sleep including certain foods that can help us drift off a little faster and stay asleep a little longer. These foods, along with some other great heath hacks can help you find that restful night’s sleep that you need and desire.

First-let’s address WHY good sleep is so important in our lives!

The Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Whether you are a “bad” sleeper, or perhaps just someone who’s life just doesn’t allow for much time for sleep, sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects. Unfortunately, the disadvantages of not getting enough sleep are beyond daytime drowsiness and can’t be fixed with a daily dose of caffeine. Lack of sleep can jeopardize your safety and that of others around you or lead to serious health consequences. The following is a list of some surprising negative effects of inadequate sleep.

Faster Aging

Sleep deprivation can affect the way you look and accelerate the aging process. After just a few days of sleepless nights, many people start to develop wrinkles, dull skin and dark circles under the eyes. Much of this is caused by higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body which become elevated when you don’t get enough rest. When in excess, cortisol breaks down collagen – a protein that keeps the skin smooth, elastic and looking young.

Health Problems

A few nights of missed sleep can be fixed easily with more rest during subsequent days and is unlikely to have long lasting effects on your health. However, when you don’t sleep well for weeks, months, or even years, this will start to take a serious toll on your health and put you at a much higher risk of developing a range of health problems including depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Increased Risk of Causing Accidents

Lack of sleep causes drowsiness that can increase the risk of accidents when driving, operating machines, and performing various other tasks. Drowsiness slows down your reaction times and this makes it much more difficult to respond when you need to. Therefore fatigue is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents on the roads today.

Poor Mental Performance

If you’re sleep deprived, many of your cognitive responses will not function at peak levels. Your attention span, reasoning, sense of judgment and problem-solving skills will be impaired when the body is not well rested. Lack of sleep also affects the way your brain processes and stores information and you’ll tend to forget things more often. All these factors make performing effectively and productively during the day very difficult.

Weight Gain

It may be hard to believe that not sleeping enough can cause you to pack on some extra pounds. However, recent studies have found that shortened sleep time decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) in your body while also elevating levels of ghrelin (a hormone that induces hunger).  A lack of sleep also reduces your human growth hormone (a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning) levels that limit the rate at which your body burns fat. The overall result is that if you don’t sleep enough, you’ll be more likely to overeat, and your body will burn off these excess calories at a slower rate.

As you can see, sleep holds a major key to our over health and wellbeing. That said, different people need different amounts of sleep. Some people cannot function on less than 8 hours, while others do just fine with 6. It’s important to be mindful of how you feel during the day. Do you need several cups of caffeine to make it through? Do you find yourself dozing off at your desk mid-day? Do you lack physical and mental energy regularly? If you experience these things, and know you are probably not getting enough sleep, it’s time to make an effort to make some changes.

And Now…The Positive Effects of Sleep

After an uninterrupted sleep session, you should feel refreshed, full of energy and ready to take on the day. The importance of sleep goes beyond boosting your mood and energy levels. In recent years, scientists have gone to great lengths to understand the health benefits that sleep brings. Here are a few awesome benefits of getting decent sleep:

Better Memory

Numerous studies have shown that sleep has a positive effect on your memory and allows the brain to become much better at remembering things. Researchers believe this is the result of a process known as memory consolidation whereby the brain recalls skills learned while you are awake.

Enhanced Concentration

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you get enough of it, the chances of losing concentration during the day are much less. This makes you much more alert while you complete your daily tasks and has a direct positive impact on your effectiveness, productivity, and performance.

Faster Muscle Growth

The body releases growth hormone and builds new muscle cells while you are sleeping. Not only does it renew and revitalize your cells, but it also repairs any tissue damage. This is particularly beneficial if you perform weightlifting workouts, as the intense exercises that make up these workouts tear your muscles slightly so that they can grow back bigger and stronger. Sleep provides your body with the platform it needs to fully repair these torn muscles and maximize your muscle size and strength.

Increased Fat Loss

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep can help you eat less and even accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat. Sleeping helps regulate the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body – 2 hormones that control hunger and appetite. It also stimulates the production of human growth hormone – the hormone that supports and speeds up your body’s fat burning processes.

Improved Physical Performance

If you’re an athlete who wants to improve your performance, getting good quality sleep every day can help you achieve this goal. Researchers at Stanford University ran a study on college football players who slept for at least 10 hours daily over several weeks. They found that not only did the well-rested athletes increase their average sprint times but also felt less tired and had more stamina during the day.

Reduced Stress Levels

When your body is sleep deprived, it goes into stress mode. Its functions remain on high alert, this causes a spike in blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke, while being stressed has a negative impact on your mood and increases your risk of falling into depression. By ensuring that you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you can keep your body out of stress mode and stay in a calm, relaxed state.

As you can see, sleep is crucial to our overall well-being! To get you started on your “better sleep” journey, try adding some of the following foods to your diet, and then, read on to see how you can make some others changes to set yourself up for a better night’s sleep.

Chamomile

Chamomile is commonly known as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. It has calming effects that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.  Some chamomile tea can be a great idea before heading to bed to unwind, relax and de-stress.

Pistachios

Pistachios are not only tasty, but they are a jackpot for sleep. They are jampacked with magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6, which have a major role in inducing sleep. You can eat them raw or add them to a glass of warm milk.  However, more than one ounce of pistachios will have a reverse effect on your body; eat in moderation to avoid exacerbating your sleep issues.

Kiwi

Kiwis contain serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Many people take serotonin supplements to help with sleep, but wouldn’t you rather eat something that tastes delicious to get the same effect? Not only do kiwis contain serotonin, but they also may boost your sleep abilities due to their levels of vitamin C and carotenoids which reduce inflammation.

Tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice contains high levels of melatonin that regulate your internal clock and send signals for your body to get ready to sleep. A study conducted by Louisiana State University found that insomniacs who drank tart cherry juice increased their sleep time by 90 minutes!

Bananas

This fruit is a powerhouse of magnesium and potassium, which serve as natural sleep aids for your body. If you are feeling wide awake late into the night, try a banana to get yourself to sleep. You can even whip yourself up a thick sugar-free banana shake before you go to bed. Bananas are high-glycemic fruits, so try adding in some protein or good fat with that shake-like coconut oil or almond butter-so sugar levels don’t skyrocket into the night.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain tryptophan, which helps produce melatonin and serotonin in the body and improve the quality of our sleep by regulating the sleep cycles. University of Texas even found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster. 

Pumpkin seeds

A cup of roasted pumpkin seeds contains around 649 mg of magnesium, which is nearly double the daily recommendation of the National Health Institute. Magnesium supports deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep). Magnesium deficiencies are associated with heightened stress and anxiety, which of course lead to less sleep, so these pumpkin seeds have many benefits.

Adding some or all these foods to your diet can help you finally find that great night’s sleep you’ve been looking for! To help you even more in getting that rest you need so badly, be sure to try the following tips to ensure the right routine and atmosphere for proper and restful sleep:

Sleep in a Cool, Dark & Quiet Room

Sleeping with the lights on is one of the major causes of sleep deprivation. When your eyes are exposed to light, neurons are aroused, and this disrupts your sleep. Research has also shown that light exposure before sleep suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. A reduction in this hormone at night normally leads to varying levels of sleeplessness. To avoid sleep disruption due to night time exposure to light, always sleep with all the lights off. This includes the light emitted from electronic devices, so make sure your computer, phone, tablet, and other light producing equipment are either turned off or stored outside the bedroom.

Too much heat can also disrupt your sleep quality. To keep cool while you sleep, make sure you keep the window open and ensure the room is well ventilated. If you still find that you’re too warm after doing this, go to bed wearing lighter clothing and consider less blankets.

Noise is yet another thing that can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your sleep. To minimize the amount of noise in your room, make sure there’s nothing in the bedroom that could potentially make noises while you sleep. If it’s noisy outside your bedroom, try sleeping with a fan running (my entire family travels with box fans!) or even earplugs.

Avoid Caffeine After 3pm

As you probably know, coffee is a rich source of caffeine. These chemicals change the brain’s chemistry by binding with sleeping inducing receptors known as adenosine to keep you awake. The stimulating effects of caffeine can wreak havoc on your sleep because they take hours to wear off. Therefore, if you are an avid coffee drinker, (or other forms of caffeine) consider stopping consumption at 3pm. If that doesn’t help, consider stopping it even earlier.

Get Comfortable Before You Sleep

There are many ways to get comfortable before going to bed and these can improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, taking a hot shower raises your core body temperature and this helps to improve sleep. Alternatively, having a hot bath can relax your muscles and help you to have a soothing night of sleep.

Try Essential Oils or Scent Therapy

Essential oils and natural scents such as cedar wood, roman chamomile, sandalwood, valerian, or lavender are all-natural relaxants and can help you have an amazing night’s sleep. There are lots of ways you can use these scents to enhance your sleep quality. If you’re having a bath before bed, try putting a few drops of your favorite sleep-inducing scents into the bath and then allow the aromas to work their magic. Using these scents in the bedroom can also help calm the body and bring about sleep.

Unwind Before Bed

One final way to maximize your sleep quality is to start unwinding and getting ready for bed a few hours before you sleep. Disconnecting from the Internet, switching off the TV and your other electronic devices, and spending the last few hours of the day doing a relaxing activity can change your quality of sleep. For the last 30 minutes of the day, try to stop everything, empty your mind, and focus fully on getting ready for sleep. In my personal life, I discovered that 15 minutes of restorative yoga, followed by a calming period of meditative breathing was my ticket to sounder, and deeper sleep.

Sleep is just one of the pillars of great health, and it’s in balancing all the pillars that leads to ultimate wellness. If you are interested in finding the balance in your life, and becoming the healthiest and happiest you can be, let’s connect and chat! I’d love to hear from you and get you started on your own personal wellness journey.

 Be Blessed and BeeWell

Looking for Some Fresh Inspiration?

We are one month into 2022 and spring weather is hopefully right around the corner! It’s been a long, cold, dark winter here on my island in the southeast-we even had snow! I’ve stuck to my winter workout plans consistently, but I am SO ready to get back outside to bike, hike, beachcomb, kayak and paddleboard under the warm sun! I hope that your winter weather has not been too horrible, and that you’ve managed to stay active in recent months.

Sticking to those health and wellness plans that we tend to make at certain parts of the year can be hard! We start out excited and motivated, but for many, after a bit of time, we tend to feel tired, burned out, or lacking in motivation. When that happens, we need something to get us excited and motivated again-and that’s where this blog post comes in!! If you are feeling slightly less than motivated this winter, let’s try to shake it up and get refocused and excited again with some new ideas!!

Try Some New Recipes

Adding some healthy new recipes to your life is always a great way to mix up your goals and get excited about those meals. Try adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each week or preparing old favorites in a new way. Switch out your proteins in your favorite recipes to get a new taste-instead of beef chili, try chicken, or even tofu, and see what you think. Adding new recipes to our weekly rotation is a great way to change things up. If you’re looking for a whole new set of healthy superfood recipes, check out my free cookbook with 19 awesome recipes made with only FIVE ingredients each!

Try New Movement

Our exercise routines can get monotonous fast, so mix it up a bit. The BEST decision I ever made was to try a reformer Pilates class last spring! I was feeling bored with my usual strength workouts and while I love yoga, it wasn’t giving me the burn I was looking for. I tried Pilates reformer, and I was hooked. I then added group Pilates mat classes several times a week to my routine and I have never been more excited to exercise! Look for new ways to add movement to your routine and see what you truly enjoy. The BEST workout is one that brings you joy, and a workout that you WILL get done!!

Buy Some New Workout Clothes or Gear

This was my latest “go to”. The long, dark, cold days here at the beach had me feeling lazy and wanting to do little but cozy up under a blanket and binge watch Netflix until spring. As I dressed for my 7am Pilates class in the pitch black dark one morning, I realized-my winter workout clothes were an uninspiring multitude of many shades of gray. I spent the afternoon online ordering new workout gear with pops of bright colors, and the following week I was feeling joy as I put on my bright pink gear to head to class on a freezing, gray day.

Try a New Playlist or Two

Music can be very inspiring to most people and has been proven to change our mood. Whenever I’m in a funk, I put on music to lighten my mood, and it ALWAYS works. I often blast music when I am cooking or cleaning, and it lifts my spirits and gives me energy. Choosing the right music for your workouts can be a game changer. My original game changing song was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. It’s impossible for me to hear it and NOT feel like moving my body. If you have playlists for your workout, consider creating a few new lists. Add some songs from your younger days or find a genre that gets your heart pumping. Having a variety of playlists ready to choose from will make your exercise time more enjoyable for sure!

Find Support

If you need a real push to get your health and wellness plans in gear, consider finding some support through friends or groups-online or in person. Having a friend or two to encourage you to workout/set goals/plan meals can really inspire you to get it done. Sharing ideas, recipes, and workout space will only add to your motivation, provide accountability,  and help push you to succeed. I have found that when I am with a supportive friend, my walks and bike rides get longer, my workouts go by faster, and I am more inclined to “show up”. Find those friends and get the support you need!

Try a Challenge

Being challenged always gets me moving. I like a little competition-whether it’s with a group or just within myself. Challenges can be anything you want them to be! Challenge yourself to hit a certain number of steps each month, or to find and add several new recipes to your meals each month. Set up challenges with your friends to see who walks the most miles or completes the most workouts. Join an online group or program that holds challenges each week or month. (Openfit app challenges are the BEST and keep me inspired month after month!)

Change Your Routine

If you’re feeling as though you’re truly in a rut and need to shake things up to get your mojo back, consider changing your routine. Maybe evening workout would work better for you, maybe your current eating plan needs a change-whatever it is that is not leaving you feeling motivated or inspired-CHANGE IT!  Give some changes a try and see how it goes-you can always change it back if it doesn’t fit your life.

Hire a Health Coach or Trainer

This is where people like me enter the picture! If you’re truly in need of support, motivation, new ideas, and knowledgeable guidance, consider hiring a health coach or a trainer. These people are educated and trained to help you find what works best for you, help you outline the small steps you need to reach ultimate success, and offer the motivation and support that you need to reach your goals. Personalized guidance and done for you plans can make all the difference in finding the absolute BEST in health and wellness for you. If you’d like to chat about how a health and wellness coach can help you reach those goals, reach out to me: Sami@beewell.com and let’s chat-no pressure!

Forget Those Resolutions! (It’s About Routines)

Hello dear readers, and blessings of the New Year ahead of us! Despite my best intentions, I found the end of 2021 quite exhausting, and though I spent a wonderful holiday with my family, I felt great need to take a step back from my business duties and practice a bit of self-care. I hope the holidays treated you with joy, and you were surrounded by much love and peace.

As we head into this new year, I am feeling very aware of the emotional impact the last few years has brought us during pandemic, and I take that into consideration as I write my New Years post. In the past, my excitement for a fresh new beginning was very evident in my writings, and I wrote of setting goals and making changes with nothing but inspiration and motivation in hopes that most would be feeling the same way. I realize, after speaking with friends, family, and clients, that for many, excitement for the new year has diminished to simple hopes, a sense of uncertainty, and a bit of exhaustion.

Usually, at this time of year, I encourage people to find a word to be their defining start to the new year. In recent years I have focused on yearly words like “boundaries”, “balance”, and “mindfulness”. I would choose a word to set my intention for the year, and work towards that one word as needed in all aspects of my life. (My word, when heading into 2020 was “balance”, it may have saved me, or perhaps, just simply been an impossible word!)

Although I absolutely believe in my “word of the year” philosophy, and I encourage you to give it a try, I decided to encourage another line of thought as we head into this new year. That thought is-take charge of the things you CAN control, and secondly, simply focus on finding some joy!

In this time of constant change and uncertainty, we absolutely hold the capacity to control some of the most important aspects of our being. We have the power to control how we nourish our bodies, how we tend to our physical well-being, how we manage the stress.that is placed upon us daily, and the control of our spirit-creatively, passionately, and mindfully. In the general busyness of life, it is easy to lose sight of the ability to control these things, and in turn, we ultimately pay the price with feeling and being unwell, feeling fatigued, and losing interest in the things that can bring us joy and contentment.

I encourage you to put routines ahead of resolutions this year. Creating routines in life builds habits and allows us to ease into making time for the things that bring us joy. Take a moment and consider these questions:

~What routines could you create in your daily or weekly life that would help you achieve the life you desire?

~What routines can you create that will lead you to find the health and wellness you desire? ~When approaching this new year, who do you want to surround yourself with to ensure feelings of happiness and love?

~And, lastly, what things do you want to add to your life to bring yourself joy, and how can you create a routine that brings those things into your life enough to FEEL that joy?

Taking some time to consider these questions, instead of making some huge, blanket, lofty resolution of change, can help provide some clarity, and clarity is what helps us see where/who we are, and where/who we wish to be. Once we have clarity, it’s only a matter of planning and taking the SMALL steps that can ultimately lead us to making BIG changes in our lives over time.

When exploring the prospect of finding the life you desire, consider journaling your ideas, plans and thoughts as we start this new year. In 2018, I began journaling regularly in hopes of discovering who I was going to “be” after 22 years of devoting myself to homeschooling four children. Journaling led to sketching, which led to painting, and I began to tap into the artistic and creative side of myself that had been completely focused towards educating my family for so many years. It brought me a sense of renewed joy that I had long forgotten.

If health and wellness is a focus of your upcoming year, be sure to set SMART goals for yourself. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. These are small goals with reasonable objectives that can be reached without frustration or pressure, which makes them easier to achieve with many small successes along the way. Instead of making a resolution to say, lose 20 pounds or eat a cleaner diet, a SMART goal would focus on cutting out sodas or sweets, or perhaps planning your meals out for better nutrition. Adding to these small goals as you move with success will lead you to your bigger goals. It’s the small steps, one by one, that provide us with the motivation and inspiration to continue our journey towards the big changes! As you plan your small steps, create a routine to ensure that they become a part of your daily life-a HABIT! Building upon these small routines (habits) as you go will create a pathway to success.

When planning out your goals, be sure to know your ultimate WHY. Knowing your WHY will always bring you back to the inspiration you need when things seem tough. The WHY is the thing that keeps us focused as we complete the small steps along the way and is the main purpose of achieving our ultimate goals. Deciding to run a 5K is a great goal-but WHY do you want to accomplish it? How will it make you feel? How will it lead to positive changes in your life? Losing 25 pounds can better your health, get you into clothes that you love, and make you happier with the scale-but the WHY may be more important; perhaps you want more energy, perhaps it’s needed for better health, or maybe it’s because you want to feel more confident about doing activities you enjoy. Every goal has a true WHY. Be sure to find yours, write it down, keep it visible, make it a part of each day. Use that WHY to plan the SMART steps and routines you need to hit those small goals, and each small success will bring you closer to your ultimate goals.

If nutrition plays a part in your goals, be sure to start small. Cutting out ALL the foods you love only sets you up for failure. Some examples of small steps that can lead you to success would be cleaning processed snack foods out of your pantry, buying and preparing more fresh vegetables, replacing sugar drinks with water, learning more about basic nutrition, setting up a pattern of meal prep and planning or removing sugar from your diet. Pick one goal to work on each week, creating a routine, and adding another goal and routine as you find your success each week. A routine could be adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each time your grocery shop or making sure you start each day with a glass of water. Add to these as you go.

If adding more movement to your life is a goal, follow the same idea. First, find something you enjoy! If you hate to run, don’t pick running. If you have no access to a pool, don’t pick swimming. (seems crazy-but I’ve literally had clients do this!) If you enjoy dancing, try a dancing workout. If you haven’t worked out in forever, and have no idea where to start, try a little yoga to get you moving, stretched, and limber. Plan your choice of exercise, make sure you have the equipment needed, and physically schedule your workout times on your daily calendar. Start small-2 days a week for 20 minutes and build on days and times as you hit each goal. And, if you can’t seem to find an exercise you are comfortable with, just WALK. Add distance each day, explore new areas and routes, and just get out and move. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine, and it will be a habit that is easy to build upon.

If general wellness is your goal for the year, consider the 8 pillars of wellness and decide which one will bring you the most satisfaction first. The pillars are nutrition, movement, emotional well-being, hobbies/creativity, intellectual growth, sleep, spiritual health, and relationships. When these pillars are balanced, we find overall wellness. Which pillar feels most unbalanced in your current life? How can you grow within it? How does the unbalance affect the other pillars of wellness in your life? Discover this, and that is where you need to start. If you are lacking in sleep, you are likely too tired to get proper exercise, or maybe being tired affects how you plan (or don’t plan) your meals. Focus on your sleep routine, create a healthy sleep routine, and see how that affects your overall life. Building healthy habits in one of these areas is likely to have a positive effect on other aspects.

Find time for a little joy in your life this year. Times have been challenging and we all need a bit more joy in our lives! If you are not sure where to find joy, take some time to think about a time in your life when you had more joy. Perhaps a hobby or favorite pastime that has been forgotten over the years is waiting to be rediscovered! Spend a little time and thought and explore what it was that brought you happiness at a more joyful time of life, and bring it back-add it to your routine, and build on it!

I’m wishing you happiness and great health and wellness in this new year! If you are considering acquiring assistance with your goals, I hope that you will reach out to me to chat about how health and wellness coaching can greatly change your life. I do not sell products, and I am not salesy/pushy in my approach. My only goal is to reach, motivate, educate, and inspire others to find and live their best, healthiest, most joy filled life possible. My education, experience, training and knowledge, mixed with personal motivation and inspiration focused on YOU and YOUR life provide a path to success and great health! Please feel free to contact me to see how I can help you reach your goals.

Be sure to check out my newest freebie, The Not So Sweet Ultimate Guide to Sugar Addiction

Beewell.com

Getting Over an Overdone Holiday

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m going to be the first to say-I may have overdone it! It’s not that I ate too much, drank too much, or dropped out of my regular daily exercise, but I DID eat and drink some things that left me feeling less than great! I followed my own advice when sampling the foods, being social instead of food focused, drinking plenty of water, and getting out for some long walks each day, but I enjoyed some foods that don’t always agree with me, and had some wine (the sugar in wine gives me more of a hangover than the alcohol!) So, by Sunday morning, I just felt so ICK! My body was sluggish, I was fatigued, my brain seemed fuzzy, and my joints yelled out that they were definitely dealing with inflammation. UGH! I know I’m not the only one, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to get over the holiday that was overdone. As I write this, I am on day 2 of a detoxing fast of sorts to rid myself of the holiday funk and do a little “tune up” healing for my gut and feeling better already. It was a GREAT holiday-I hope it was for you as well!

If you’re feeling like you overdid it, whether it be eating too much, eating foods you don’t generally eat, indulging in alcohol, or leaving your self-care or exercise in the dust, you CAN get yourself back to feeling more like yourself quickly by just following a few great tips. Give yourself a few days to try these out, and I’m sure you’ll be feeling great!

Get Rid of Holiday Treats

This is the first step in the process! And, by “get rid”, I don’t mean eat them!! Give them away, throw them out, freeze them for the next holiday, but remove them from your house! Grandma’s leftover pie, Aunt Jane’s mashed potatoes, leftover summer sausage and crackers-whatever it is, get rid of it! It will no longer be a temptation, and you will be so much happier with it GONE!

Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Foods

That’s right-more grocery shopping! Stock up on the healthy food that you enjoy: fresh veggies, fruit, lean meats, and whole grain foods. Do a little meal planning and prep so that you have easy, ready-made, healthy choices available at all times. Be sure to pick up some healthy snacks as well like nuts, hummus, hardboiled eggs and yogurt. Keeping healthy food available will make mealtime so much easier during this busy time of year.

Eat Small Balanced Meals

Don’t try to “fix” your holiday overindulgence by cutting out meals; this will only set you up for cravings and possible binging. Instead, focus on small, balanced meals scheduled throughout the day. Focus on lean proteins like chicken, healthy fats like nut butters, high fiber foods like whole grains, and plenty of fresh veggies and fruit. If you need a little help figuring out the best choices, check out this article on basic nutrition.

Flush it All Out

Water is your best friend when it comes to getting over any period of overindulgence! It literally flushes the body clean, helps with digestion, removes bloating, and rehydrates the body. Alcohol and foods heavy in salt can dehydrate the body and make us feel sluggish, heavy, tired and even brain fogged. This dehydration can also show up in our skin, causing dryness, wrinkles, and an uneven complexion. Aim for 6-8 glass of water each day. To make this easier, try drinking a glass upon waking, before each meal, after any exercise, and a short time before retiring for the night. Getting the water in can be the quickest way to feel better!

Try Soups!

Get your balanced nutrition AND your water in at the same time with delicious broth based soups! Throw some broth into a pot, add your leftover turkey or another lean protein, and throw in some veggies and seasonings and let it simmer for an hour or so for a tasty, light, healthy, quick meal choice. For a great soup recipe with a big vitamin pack, try this Kale recipe that can easily be made with turkey instead of chicken.

Cut the Alcohol

Whether or not you indulged in too much alcohol this holiday season, try to cut it from your diet for a few days. Alcohol wreaks havoc on our body systems and makes every part of our body work harder. It dehydrates us, causes fatigue, slows the metabolism, and causes all kinds of unpleasant reactions.

Show Yourself Some Love

Going a little easy on yourself is always crucial to your health and well-being, but especially after overdoing it. Get a little extra rest, spend a little time being quiet and still, and see how it affects your stress levels. You may want to spend a little time in simple meditation, or just sitting in silence to regain your peace of mind and re-energize. The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time, so be sure to schedule time to just rest. If journaling is your thing-or you’d like to try it, consider thinking into the New Year and coming up with a “word” to define your future.  

Consider a Sugar Detox

If you truly want to feel and see a huge change in your health rather quickly, consider doing a sugar detox. Sugar is in SO many foods, and we eat so much of it without even realizing. Sugar intake has a massive effect on the body, our hormones, our skin, our brain, our weight, and our emotions. Many people are addicted to sugar! To learn more about sugar addiction and see if sugar might be an issue in your diet, check out my latest freebie! It’s an eye opener on all things sugar related, and even includes a sugar addiction checklist. Giving up added sugar was the BEST thing I ever did for my health!

Find Support

If you are struggling to get back on track after the holiday, and worried about the holidays ahead, consider finding someone to support you. A friend, a relative, an online group, whomever it might be. Sharing support and encouragement while holding each other accountable and offering motivation can make all the difference. If you need a strong support system and personal guidance, inspiration and tools, consider speaking to a health coach. This can be a life changing decision! Setting up goals and plans that are JUST FOR YOU can make all the difference! If you’d like to chat about how this might work for you, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation-no hard sales, no pushing, no pestering-just conversation about YOU and what you need to feel and be your best!

I hope this holiday season brings you many blessings, an abundance of joy, and great health and wellness! Happy Holidays from Sami Bee at BeeWell!

Gift Yourself a Healthy Holiday

It’s that time of the year again! In keeping with my current holiday theme, I’d like to address some of the habits that seem to fall by the wayside for many of us each year during this time. For many, it’s the comfort food, sedentary behavior, extended darkness, and cold weather that tend to affect our health goals just as much as parties and social events. My goal, as a health coach, is to make people aware of the habits and hidden traps that can lead people into the land of temptation and help them create tactics and plans to avoid those added pounds and that sense of exhaustion we often feel around this time of year.

Many factors play into us losing sight of our healthy plan during this busy, and usually stressful, time of year. Aside from the parties, dinners, and social events that fill our schedule, we also may find that our time for movement is cut short. Cold weather and long dark nights may keep us indoors, therefore limiting our time spent getting exercise outdoors, and keep us from getting the fresh air and sunshine that keeps our bodies happy and healthy. Daily walks are cancelled due to inclement weather, and most outdoor physical activities like gardening, tennis, and running are impossible in most areas. It’s important to take some time to evaluate how you used the outdoors in your exercise plan and come up with a replacement that can be easily done indoors. Yoga, treadmills, dancing, and streamed workouts are a fantastic way to bring your movement into warmer settings. It is important to continue to get some fresh air each day, and a bit of sunshine to boost our vitamin D and prevent depression and seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder, or “winter blues”, leads to symptoms of depression in healthy people due to a reduction of daily sunlight. Symptoms include depression, lack of energy, loss of interest in things that bring us joy, issues with concentration, and sleep disorders. Spending a small amount of time each day in the sunshine can alleviate these issues, even if you spend it sitting inside a window basked in sunshine.

Holiday parties and dinners often include decadent foods, adult beverages, and lots of treats we wouldn’t otherwise have in our health plans. The important thing to remember is to ENJOY without OVER-INDULGING! It’s absolutely fine to enjoy a few “only baked once a year” cookies, just remember-it’s about TASTING them and ENJOYING them! It’s not about eating the entire plate of them!! Enjoy your favorite foods and treats in small amounts and move on to the main focus of the holidays-making memories with family and friends, enjoying those around us, and appreciating the time we have together.

When planning your meals during the busy holiday season, be sure to focus on quality over quantity; Eat foods with BALANCE in mind. Consider eating a small healthy snack before heading to parties or big dinners to calm your hunger. Fill your plate with healthy filling foods to begin your meal, and then have small bites of more decadent fare. If you are asked to bring a dish, consider a dish that is veggie based so that you know for sure that you will be getting those healthy bites in. ALL foods are fine in MODERATION! Take small bites, be mindful in enjoying the taste, and enjoy!

Most families have what I call a “food pusher”. It could be your mom, your aunt, or a friend that simply gets her holiday joy from watching people eat ALL her treats. You know who these people are, and you need to have a plan to deal with them in advance-they generally do NOT take “no” for an answer. There’s lots of ways to say no politely, after trying a small sample, of course, but these people usually don’t settle for a simple “No thank you!” Have a plan of action going into this situation and be strong about it. Some people think they must announce their health goals, diet plans…But that often leads to too much attention and discomfort from the food pusher. Always remember, “NO.” Is a complete sentence, and that food pusher will likely move on to a new hungry victim quickly! 

I’ve put together a pretty little resource for surviving the holidays, and it’s free to you HERE. You’ll find great tips for self-care, healthy holiday travel, getting exercise during busy holiday weeks, optional food choices for meals, and a few tracker templates to print out to help get you organized and motivated. I hope you will grab yourself a copy and make your holiday season a little healthier and happier.

New Years is coming up super soon, and with it comes the blessing and promise of a brand new year! If you’re looking for a great way to start your year off with health goals in mind, consider booking free chat with me to discuss putting together the perfect, personalized plan focused on YOU and YOUR goals. Whether it’s getting your nutrition in order, finding time in your schedule for building healthier habits, dropping a few pounds, or finding ways to relieve stress, focus more on self-care, and gaining the energy you crave in life-I can guide you to your goals and keep you motivated for success. Learn more about health and wellness coaching HERE. Find out more about me and my passion for great health, and feel free to drop me a message here to start a conversation about YOU!

Speaking of Stress ~A Holiday Story~

As the holidays approach each year, I find myself watching friends and family post their pics of big meals, decorations, and crafts, as well as several posts about being stressed. It seems we all love to go BIG on the holidays, but it’s also an incredibly stressful time for most. Hosting family, baking cookies, shopping, and social events fill our schedule quickly, but the aftermath of all that activity and fun is often exhaustion. I’m no stranger to going BIG on holidays-I’ve had up to 7 decorated trees in my house, huge, haunted yards, and dinners with more guests than house space. Pandemic gave me a chance to scale back in a huge way, to avoid the expectation of bigger and more, and take a step back into simply enjoying the holidays with less stress for a bit. Stress, is without a doubt, the biggest issue I hear about during the holidays. Whether it be schedules, finances, food, or simply finding time to rest and enjoy, it all comes down to being stressed.

In 2008 I was a single, homeschooling, working mom to four kids. Stress was simply a way of waking, living, and existing for me as I navigated through each day of lessons, projects, work, chores, and child raising. Being a somewhat “over the top” kind of gal, I refused to allow my rather new single mom status hold me back, and I plowed right into my holiday plans full force. Homemade chicken potpie, guests for dinner, decorated gingerbread house, china and crystal on the table, a freshly cut tree, presents wrapped perfectly, and not a dent in my other life responsibilities. That was the plan…I never considered the amount of stress I was placing upon myself.

As Christmas grew closer, my carefully written out schedule was working out well. We wrapped up our fall homeschool classes, got our decorating done, and brought home a fresh cut tree. The kids were getting excited, and I was completely on my “type A” schedule, just marching forward into a perfectly done holiday…or so I thought.

At 7pm on Christmas Eve, I bought pizza for the kids, and settled them with a holiday movie while I began to make my famous chicken pot pie-our holiday dinner. The tree was lit, beautifully decorated, and the outside lights were glistening. Everything was perfect. I began mixing my pot pie sauce (condensed milk based, which means it burns quickly) and chopping my veggies while listen to Christmas music play from the living room. 2 of my children (I never say WHO, because no one admits to this!) were rough housing. As I opened my mouth to tell them to knock it off, the smaller child catapulted from the back of the older child-right into the Christmas tree! The tree swayed, and I ran from the kitchen attempting to grab it-but it crashed to the ground. The kids stood in horror. I was stunned. Then I smelled the burning milk…. 

I ran back to the kitchen to pull my pot from the stove as my youngest stood in tears above the fallen Christmas tree. My favorite pot was filled with stinky burnt creamed mixture. The smoke alarms were blaring.  I opened the windows to get the smoke out and returned to the living room to upright the tree. At this point, all four kids were upset and yelling. I had no idea what to do next….Being a single mom on a very tight budget, I had no extra ingredients to start over, and there was not much else in the house to serve to guests the next day. I packed up the kids and headed towards the only store open at 7:45 on Christmas Eve-a Walgreens-to see what I could piece together to save my dinner. I was happy to see cans of condensed milk and cream of chicken soup on the shelves, and I grabbed them thinking I could now pull this off! I ran to the restaurant I worked in and asked for a few chicken breasts and potatoes to complete my re-do recipe. Feeling quite accomplished, I returned home, had a glass of wine, and started all over again-in a new pot-the other pot was destroyed. It was after 9pm, and I still had presents to wrap and kids to put to bed, but my potpie was ready to be crusted and baked. I gave the filling a taste…..WOW….Did you know that condensed milk also comes in a sweetened version for desserts????

My chicken pot pie tasted like custard! I tried to add pepper and seasonings to mask the sweetness. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t absolutely disgusting. But there it was, my entire Christmas dinner, smelling like vanilla pudding with chicken and peas in it. I had another glass of wine. Let’s be honest-I had a bottle of wine! I looked at my tree with the ornaments now hung in a crazy fashion, the lights drooping to the ground on one side. I looked at my disaster of a kitchen with my favorite expensive pot sitting burnt in the trashcan. I thought about the pile of gifts hidden in my bedroom closet that remained unwrapped. I took another taste of my Christmas dinner and tried to convince myself that no one would notice the insane sweetness. I had more wine.

Looking back now, I absolutely can find the comedy in the situation-which is well documented in hysterical Facebook posts and comments. At the time, however, it was nothing but defeat and stress, and way too much wine. I never took a real moment to take a breath and realize that in all reality, none of the things I was trying to accomplish held any importance. I never stopped to think that simply asking and accepting help would have made a difference. I never took a moment to realize that while “my” version of a great Christmas involved pulling out all the stops, no one else expected to be wowed. Had I known THEN what I know NOW, things would have been very different. I would have realized my limits as a single mom of four on a major holiday. I would have taken more than a few moments to practice some mindfulness and rethink my plan with a much simpler meal. I would have realized that I took on too much, and simply taken the kids to visit family for Christmas dinner. I would not have let such a stressful situation happen-and if it HAD happened, I would have dealt with it much better: deep breaths, mindful thinking, asking for help, and not ending up with a rather bad hangover from the wine.

THIS is the point of my story dear readers! The grandiose ideas that some of us may envision as we approach the holiday season are often the reason for exhaustion, burnout, and even ending up feeling our worst. Saying “yes” to every event, volunteering too much, entertaining too much, expecting too much from ourselves are all just ways to end up not being able to enjoy the real reasons for the holidays we love. We tend to get focused on the decorating, the baking, the wrapping-and we lose sight of the JOY that the season simply presents when we are with family and friends. It’s never the dinner that is remembered, or the way the decorations were so perfectly placed, but the laughter, the conversations, and the relationships that we cherish.

As we head into these 2 months of nonstop holiday whirlwind, be sure to remain mindful of your time and energy. Practice a little (or a LOT!) of self-care and self-love. Give yourself a break, save yourself a little sanity, and present yourself to your loved ones the way they most love to see you-relaxed, well, and happy.

Just to wrap this little story up….

In the end, one of my dinner guests offered to bring a small turkey breast that “cooks in 45 minutes” …”It says so right on the label!”.

She showed up from out of state at noon on Christmas Day, and it in fact, needed to thaw for 45 minutes and cook for 3 ½ hours.

We ended up ordering Chinese Food for Christmas dinner and my kids thought it was the greatest thing EVER because that’s what they ate in The Christmas Story movie:)! THAT is the ending memory-JOY!

Learn ALL the tips and tricks to help make your holiday season more enjoyable and focused on WELLNESS with my beautiful 22 page Guide to Holiday Survival! It’s FREE and ready to download HERE!

If you’re ready to take your health and wellness goals to the next level, treat yourself to some wellness coaching! I’m here when you need me for tips, plans, and motivation to reach all your wellness goals this holiday season! Email me and let’s chat! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for great tips and inspiration!

Here Come the Holidays!!

And just like that…What seemed more like an endless 2020 than a new 2021 is suddenly drawing to a close. I personally have no idea where the last 11 months went; They seriously flew right on by in a blur. But now, with Halloween happening this weekend, we are headed into the frenzy of holidays bringing us to the end of another year. With that comes the endless amount of busy schedules, family occasions, parties, and food. It can be a tough time for anyone that tries to eat well, exercise, and stay with a wellness routine.

While many people have been told that the average person gains 5-15 pounds during the holidays, that is simply not statistically true. The average weight gain is 1 pound!! However, studies have also shown that that one pound is often not lost, and over a period of years, adds to unwanted weight. What I find most generally with my friends and clients is the end feeling of overdoing it too often, whether it be with food or alcohol, or the feeling of simply not feeling our best due to too many indulgences during the holiday season. It’s easy to get off schedule with movement, to eat or drink too much, or to allow ourselves to be stressed out for too long. So, I’d like to touch on some important ways to avoid some of the holiday health traps and give some tips on staying on track with your goals this season.

Because it’s Halloween, I’ll start with the obvious first obstacle-candy! If you have children in your life or enjoy treating the neighborhood kids to some trick or treating fun, it’s likely that you will face a large amount of candy at some point this week. It can be HARD having all that candy around and not overindulging. To avoid this, try planning to treat yourself to a small amount of your favorite treats, and find a time to absolutely enjoy them! Eat mindfully, focus on the taste and texture, do nothing else but enjoy. Give into a small amount of deliciousness, enjoy, and move on. If you find that you are simply weak when it comes to sugar (it’s ok, there are many!!) Try to put off buying your Halloween candy until the last minute and give it ALL away-even if this means dumpling all of it into the bags of your last few trick or treaters. Another way to deal successfully with Halloween candy is to only buy candy you do NOT enjoy. Until 2 years ago, my family home was a Halloween destination with a huge, haunted yard. We went very big and had hundreds of people show up. We handed out over 30 pounds of candy in a few hours with none left at the end of the night. My husband, however, would order the candy weeks ahead of time, and I quickly learned to remind him to leave the candy at his office, or hide it in our garage in unopened boxes. It was just too much temptation!

Halloween is just the kickoff to the holiday season, which, honestly, in my family, goes all the way to Super Bowl Sunday. Thanksgiving can present a whole new set of issues for people because it’s literally a holiday focused on eating! One of the biggest concerns I hear from clients is about “food pushers”. It seems that everyone has a friend or family member that takes a “No thank you” to food personally. Generally, this person seems to be a grandma or aunt, and they simply will not accept a “no” to their meatballs/cake/pie/cookies/casserole, nor will they accept that a small taste is “enough”. In my family, it was an aunt that would pout if you wouldn’t take a second or third helping. I can remember leaving Thanksgiving feeling sick because she’d sit next to me as a child and make sure I shoveled every bite in. I like to remind people that “NO” is a complete sentence, and a small taste IS enough to enjoy and give praise to our food pushers. Accept a small amount, enjoy it mindfully, say “no” to seconds, and change the subject or move away from the situation. It’s important to remember that holidays are about family and friends-focus on the social aspect of the holiday, and the food aspect will be much easier to navigate.

Alcohol consumption is another holiday concern for many. These drinks are often full of empty calories, they dehydrate our body, and as we drink, we lose touch with our mindset and goals, and often end up not feeling so great in the days that follow. Alcohol often leads to unplanned eating, tired days, and missed exercise. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that the sugar content of my drinks literally gives me a hangover. I call it the sugar overload hangover. If I do indulge, I find that sticking to vodka with a sugar free mixer saves me from the terrible, exhausting, headachy days that often follow just drinking a glass or two of wine. To avoid feeling crummy after having a few drinks, be sure to cut down on the sugary mixes, drink a glass of water to match each libation, and don’t drink on an empty stomach. If wine is your choice this holiday season, consider mixing it with a sugar free flavored seltzer water for tasty, less alcoholic alternative. Again, focus on the social aspect of your events, and you will find that you not only have more fun, but you will be feeling more like yourself on the days that follow.

The holiday season can be very stressful, so be sure to schedule some time for self-care to avoid burn out and exhaustion. Find some time to sneak in some quiet time to refresh your mind and find ways to stay active as the days get shorter, darker, and colder. Take a long walk and enjoy the decorations in your neighborhood or plan some recreation time with family and friends to get everyone moving. If you find that stress is creeping into your daily life, try a little meditation, or simply sit in silence for a few moments to regain your clarity and energy. Focus on basic clean nutrition to feel your best, and on days in which you plan to indulge in holiday treats, eat small, balanced meals to keep your belly full and your energy level balanced.

As our year comes to a quick, busy end, be sure to take some time to focus on YOU. Give yourself a break, acknowledge all that you’ve accomplished this year, and give yourself some praise. As we look towards 2022, start thinking about how you want to embrace that new beginning. I always like to find a word that I want to focus on as each new year begins to get my mindset in order and truly start the year with a clear sense of where I am, and where I want to be,

Have a great Halloween, go easy on the sugar, and get some self-love into your life! If you’re looking for a great FREEBIE to guide you through the holiday season, be sure to grab my 22 page Healthy Holiday Survival Guide! This beautiful guide is chockfull of tips and hacks to get you through just about any holiday wellness situations and concerns. And, if you DO find yourself indulging in too much sugar this Halloween, be sure to watch my blog, and IG, for my new 10 Day Sugar Detox program.

If you’re looking for personal guidance and accountability to motivate you through this season, consider a free chat with me to discuss your goals and needs, and see how wellness coaching might work for you. Be sure-I’ve got your back this holiday season!

Embrace the Silence

Sometimes life moves by so quickly, and we get so involved and busy with things, we don’t take a moment just to live in the moment, or even just sit in silence. Being present for quiet moments is extremely important to our overall well-being especially if your lifestyle and schedule is very active or hectic. Sometimes we think we are tired when we are just overstimulated. Taking a few moments to just let the mind be still, to just enjoy doing, or thinking about, absolutely nothing, is an incredibly healthy thing to do.

This was not a part of my life, ever, until very recently. My childhood was chaotic and loud, my twenties were a blur of work, school, and navigating adulthood, and my thirties and forties were packed with raising four children, homeschooling, community involvement, and a lot of work. As my children grew to young adulthood and started to go into their own journeys, I filled my life with throwing parties and events, returning to school, and lots of time in my gym. I found that I stayed as busy as ever, and because that had always been the norm, I just went with it. I was used to the house full of kids and friends, the dogs barking, the constant chatter, the packed calendar, and the endless conversations about the things my family was passionate about, and I made sure to fill my life with equal “noise” as I approached my fifties.  Silence was not a factor in my life, in fact, it was the exact opposite of my life. Silence made me uncomfortable and anxious, often made my brain go to less than happy places, and pretty much drove me mad. My brain was used to being overstimulated constantly, and I didn’t know what to do with silence.

I sat outside on my deck Sunday, on a way too dark and way too chilly for me October evening, and just sat. Alone. Quiet. I could hear the ocean waves crashing on the shore 4 blocks away, and nothing else. I looked at the stars, and realized, this is what “peace” feels like. I didn’t stop myself from enjoying it, didn’t immediately decide that I had better things to occupy my mind and remove myself, and didn’t feel anxious or uncomfortable. I didn’t reach for my phone or come inside to make myself dinner. I just SAT. In silence. And did nothing. And after a bit-a long bit-I went back into my life and realized-I am so REFRESHED.

When we decided to buy a place at the beach in 2019, I envisioned a place with constant family and friends visiting. There would be drinks on the patio and cornhole in the driveway. We set up guestrooms and bought tons of towels and sheets to host a huge crew and made sure everything was set up for relaxing and great times. I was ready for my calendar to be full and lots of beach fun and activity. But…2020 had different plans for us, and I soon found myself in isolation, alone in our vacation home, for “6 weeks”. I kept myself busy, painting the walls, then canvases, I journaled, I talked on the phone to old friends, I meditated, I started doing more yoga. I stayed REALLY busy. 6 weeks turned into several months, and while family carefully joined me from time to time, I was usually alone with just my dog. Projects were completed, courses were finished, and I started to spend more time just relaxing in the quiet on one of my decks. At first, the silence was too much. It made my mind wander to unpleasant thoughts from the past, thoughts I had neatly tucked away without emotion because I was, of course, just keeping too busy. As I began to study meditation, I learned how to sit with those thoughts, recognize them, and let them go. The silence became easier, it became my welcomed friend.

Sitting in silence is different than meditation. While meditation focuses on intention or focusing on breathing, sitting in silence is just as it is.

Sitting. In. Silence.

I sat today, also in silence, but deep in thought as to how these silent moments can benefit our life and bring a wholeness to our overall wellness.

Sitting with stillness gives you a moment to remove yourself from everything, and just view the world as it exists around you. It opens your mind to things we normally may not observe, or notice. It makes you feel that the vast greatness of the earth and connects you to a sense of being just you.

Being in silence rests your brain and your body. It will refresh you and bring clarity to your life. Our minds can get jumbled with the overstimulation from our daily lives; Silence allows for those thoughts to clear, and our mind starts fresh and anew.

Practicing moments of silence can help you tap into your wisdom. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas that don’t have time to develop in the constant busyness of our daily lives have time to make themselves known, and by recognizing these new ideas, we expand our minds.

For me, sitting in silence is a way to connect with my own self. To listen to my mind and body, and ONLY my mind and body. It is the ultimate in practicing self-care and self-love. In silence, we put ourselves first, completely and unselfishly. We honor our own silence, our own peace, and our own journey. In doing this, we inevitably are more able to honor everything around us with a clear, fresh mind.

I hope you will take a small amount of time to sit in silence this week. Sit under the stars, or cuddle in a blanket in front of a firepit, sit in nature, or simply turn off the tv, put down the phone, shut the door, and embrace a few minutes of silence. If you’re curious about more ways to find total wellness in your life, please check out my 24 page guide to wellness, 7 Days to Wellness. It’s completely free and packed with info and tips, trackers and guidance, to get you started on a wellness journey. If you’ve discovered that you truly want to focus on your total health and wellness goals, drop me a message and let’s chat about setting up the perfect personalized plan for you.

Take a Bite into Great Health with Apples!

For many of us, it’s fall, which means apple season! As I packed my pantry bag this week to travel to Monday Night Football in Baltimore (GO RAVENS!) I was sure to throw in a few apples. Apples are truly one of the healthiest and easiest foods to keep on hand-no matter where you are or what you are doing! We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and there is some real science behind the saying!

No matter what type of apple you eat (there are over 7500 varieties, 2500 different types of apples are found in the US alone!!) you will get some excellent nutritional benefits along with a sweet, juicy, crunchy, treat. There are SO many different types of apples you could eat one a day for 20 years and never eat the same kind twice! Because they are so portable, and don’t require refrigeration or preparation, they are perfect for traveling and busy lifestyles.

As I did a little research on this popular fall fruit, I learned some interesting facts. Did you know????

~The apple is a member of the rose family

~it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~apples range in size from as small as a cherry to the size of a grapefruit

~the largest apple ever produced was over 3 pounds

~in Chinese culture the word for apple is “ping” which also stands for peace.

~the average apple has 10 seeds

~top producers of apples are China, US, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

~Apples were planted by Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

~apple juice is one of the most popular juices in the US

Apples are truly a nutritional marvel, with so many benefits for the body. Here’s just a few facts to get you thinking about grabbing an apple as you go about your awesome busy life!

Packed with nutrition!

The average apple is about 100 calories, and is full of great vitamins like C, K, A, E B1, B2, and B6. Eaten with the skin on, the apple gives us a great amount of fiber as well. Because apples are small, fresh, and portable, this makes it the perfect healthy snack!

Good for elimination and bowel health

One apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber – the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like clockwork. Fiber helps with constipation, and an ingredient found in apples called pectin has a congealing effect to also help with diarrhea. Pectin is considered a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are a healthy gut food.

Keep your body young.

Apples contain polyphenois, which has an antioxidant effect on the body. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding – the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apples also contain magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it’s the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Apples are also linked to better brain health and mental clarity.

Excellent For Weight Loss Efforts

Because apples are high in both fiber and water content, they are very filling. In studies, people that snacked on apple slices before meals ate fewer calories and felt fuller for longer periods of time!

Protects your Bones and Joints.

Eating fruit is a great way to maintain bone density and decrease the risk of arthritis. The high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in apples promote bone health, and the trace mineral boron found in apples aids in joint health.

Be sure to buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator – loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions. If you have an opportunity to visit an orchard and go apple picking, I highly recommend doing so-there is nothing like the taste of an apple pulled directly from the tree!

For a special treat, try baking apples for a healthy and incredible smelling dessert or snack. Just core your apples and place them in a greased baking dish. Add a bit of apple cider or juice to the dish, and sprinkle the apples with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice. You can also fill the hole of the apples with oats, nuts, or raisins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking with a fork for softness. Top with a dash of yogurt or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

If you are looking for more easy superfood recipes, be sure to check out my 5 Ingredient Superfood Cookbook! It contains power food recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. Get yours free here!

I’d love to help you with your health and wellness journey! If you are interested in a 30 minute conversation about your goals, please reach out!