Delicious YET Healthy Meals

Getting into the habit of eating healthy is hard for two reasons. One, it’s probably something you are not used to. Two, you have no idea what foods to prepare. These were the two major reasons why my journey to healthy eating was and sometimes is still difficult. Everyone has personal, distinct reasons why they want to start eating healthy or healthier. For me personally, I just felt like I was not doing my body and good by consuming grams of sugar and fat. Not that I was going to forbid myself from eating these things, I just did not want to eat them as often (only on my “cheat days” … but not every cheat day). Continue reading Delicious YET Healthy Meals

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How To Stay Fit Through The Holidays!

We all love the holidays. The weather, seeing all of your distant relatives, and the food. We all looove the food. But what we don’t love is the weight we gain from eating all that delicious holiday food. Losing weight or trying to stay the same size is tremendously hard during the holiday season. On average holiday weight gain is 1 pound. Although, it’s just 1 pound studies found that the extra pound doesn’t go away. No worries though here are 5 helpful tips that will keep you staying slim while stuffing your face.

1. Walk More: Walk a little further than you normally do in your routine. Walking is one of the easiest ways to burn extra weight. 20 minutes of walking can burn over 100-150 calories, equal to a cookie or soda in calories. Walking in the mall is also a great way to lose those extra pounds. So get out there and Black Friday shop! You’ll thank yourself later!

2. Drink water: Water is naturally going to help you avoid eating as much because it fills you up. Try drinking a large glass of water 20-30 minutes prior to having a big plate of food. Most people confuse hunger with dehydration but, if you drink a glass of water that will often take care of the food hunger. Drinking more water is NOT skipping a meal! Just a good way to work through temptation.

3. Dance to your favorite holiday music: Dancing can burn more than 200 calories in just 30 minutes! For a more energetic dance workout find some holiday songs that make you us your arms. Even get you family involved with dancing, you’ll lose those pounds in no time.

4. Watching What You Eat: Fill your plate with lean meats (turkey, ham, lamb, etc.) and freshly cooked vegetables (green beans instead of green bean casserole). Pick two of your “cheat foods” and put half that on your plate. Vow NOT to go back for seconds! Save the best for last. Keeping fit doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in holiday goodies. Eat the salads, veggies and fruits first, you will less likely want to stuff your face sweets.

5. Be Consistent: Be Consistent! Don’t give up! You got this!

6. Stay Active: Some days you won’t be able to watch what you eat, or be able to exercise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk the long way home instead of taking the shortcut. Go for a walk with friends if it’s nice out. Every little bit adds up to keep fit and keep the holiday pounds off.

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The goal is to maintain you current weight and consider yourself a success if you make it to January without any extra pounds. Whatever your holiday tradition is make this years the year you don’t gain that extra weight. Make it a priority to stay active, eat smart but, still have fun with your family. You got this! Have faith in yourself! Happy Holidays.

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3 Apps To Keep You Healthy

At only 22, I have had a myriad of jobs that have left me with a lot of stories to tell. I have been a Nurse’s Aide, a cashier, a community organizer, an Arts and Crafts teacher, a camp counselor, and many more. The world of work all started for me when I was 13 and I got a job working on an inner city farm. Yes, I said a farm. My mom signed me up for a program called DIG, Durham Inner City Gardeners, which turned into my first part time job. We planted everything from squash to basil and snapdragons, which we would harvest and sell at our local farmers market. DIG gave me more than my first paycheck, but also a vast amount of knowledge about caring for fruits, herbs, and vegetables, and where our food comes from. Nine years later, I’m probably still the best at cutting basil, but I’m also a food justice advocate. I now know the importance of food justice and knowing where your food comes from. Since than I try to make an effort to eat “clean” and buy local. The process of transitioning form relaxed to natural also made me more aware of things I was putting on and in my hair and body. I figured if processed things weren’t good enough to put in my body, they weren’t good enough to put on my hair and skin either.

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This focus on living a clean lifestyle has led me to seek out many resources to help guide me along the way. Technology has played a big part in keeping me educated on healthy food and natural body products. In the age of Google, you can find a webpage offering just about anything you want to know, but there are also cell phone and web apps that have been incredibly helpful for me. Its important to know the ingredients in our food and body products, so here are a few websites and apps that have been helping me out.

 

Fooducate
Fooducate

Fooducate is a website and cell phone app that provides you with information about the ingredients and macronutrients in just about any food you can think of. You can type in anything from Nutella to fresh vegetables. It even provides information for most store brands. You can also scan product barcodes. It rates products on an A-F scale and than provides a justification for each score, including reasons why you should incorporate it into your diet or not.

Skin Deep
Skin Deep

 Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is an awesome app and website developed by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Similar to Fooducate, you can scan or type in most cosmetic products and it provides information about its ingredients. Skin Deep rates products on a scale of 1-10 and lets you know if any of the ingredients have been linked to cancer, allergies, or developmental problems. It’s very useful when I’m in a store trying to decide between shampoos or body washes and I’m unsure of any of the ingredients listed on the back.

Dirty Dozen
Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen is EWG’s app that helps guide shoppers through pesticides. It provides a handy list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, as well as a general guide to buying produce. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that generally have the highest pesticide content, that professionals recommend buying organic. The Clean Fifteen is a list of the most pesticide sparse fruits and veggies that are safe to purchase because they are minimally processed. EWG consistently updates and adds to the list as they continue to do research about pesticides and where our food comes from.

Are there any websites, apps, or other forms of technology that help you live a healthy lifestyle?

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A Lush Life

I spend way too much time in Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and online searching for and purchasing all-natural hair and body products. The price tags aren’t the best, but I genuinely appreciate organic and mostly natural products because of their benefits. This is mostly because with a degree in Public Health, I know way too much about carcinogens to knowingly continue to put them in my body. So thus, I have dedicated myself to clean eating and using predominately all natural products. Not doing so hot on the clean eating front (because I live in North Carolina where Bojanles and Cook Out are easy and abundant), but killing it on the natural product front. A few years ago I discovered LUSH, a company that produces cruelty free vegan beauty and bath products. Although LUSH is very pricey, I love supporting their business not only because they are all natural, but also because they are dedicated to providing a productive work environment for their employees and creating economic growth in the US.

For some odd reason I didn’t know that LUSH had a location in North Carolina, and I had only been hitting up their stores when I was in DC or New York. When my best friend told me there was one in Raleigh, I ran over, almost literally, and treated myself to a few things.

 

Rub Rub Rub ($21.95)

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Rub Rub Rub (Buy Now) is an in shower sea salt body scrub that can be used to exfoliate and prep the skin for shaving. It’s an electric blue color, which I love, and has an invigorating patchouli and lemon scent. Although it contains sea salt, the granules are small and softened so the scrub isn’t too abrasive on the skin. I like the fact that it goes on smoothly and produces slight suds. After using Rub Rub Rub, my skin is very soft and smooth post shower. Because I have dry skin, I would prefer a bit of a harsher exfoliator, but overall I have been enjoying using it. I’ve read a few reviews on Rub Rub Rub that state that it works really well for lightening darkened skin, most notably the underarm area because of the amount lemon and citrus juices it contains. I’ve been using it under my arms for the last few days and will give an update if it does help lighten over time.

 

Vanilla Puff Powder ($6.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
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This Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder (Purchase) almost didn’t make it into my bag, but I’m glad I purchased it. It’s an absorbent fragrant powder that has a myriad of uses. So far I have used it in many ways, including as an eye-lid primer and to reduce shine on the T-Zone of my face. The sales associate recommended that I use it to reduce sweating in my bra and to prevent “chub rub.” Anyone who has experienced chub rub knows that it is of the devil and can be terribly uncomfortable. The powder works OK on these fronts, but you have to use quite a bit to make sure the inner thighs are coated adequately. I like the fact that it reduces friction and provides fragrance, but I’d still prefer Shield Guard for anti-chub rub. A little goes a long way with this little bottle of powder, and I would definitely purchase it again.

 

Tea Tree Toner Water ($9.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
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The Tea Tree Toner Water (Buy) is the one item I knew I’d be walking out of LUSH with. My best friend recommended it to me a while ago, but I had never had the chance to buy it. Just like many combination skinned girls across the world, my mother has told me to use Sea Breeze astringent on my face for a little over a decade. Recently I had been trying to find a natural alternative to this and the toner water came right on time. It comes in a spray bottle, so I can spray it directly on to your face or onto a cotton ball, which I really enjoy. Most non-alcoholic astringents haven’t worked well for me (i.e Witch Hazel), but so far the toner water does a great job at reducing oiliness, removing build-up, and minimizing any bumps I may have. I’m currently monitoring it to be sure it doesn’t dry out my skin in anyway, but overall I would recommend it.

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