Archives For Health & Fitness

Bring your brain up to speed, because I’m finally getting around to the third part of my health series. Previously, I brought you The Conscious Health Decision and For Your Health: Why You Want More Fruits & Veggies.

Let’s pick back up where we left off and bring the health journey full circle: The Complete Journey.

A little over a year ago I met my friend Lorna, who has not only become an amazing friend, but an avid supporter of me, my health, and my life. When I first joined her and the Dublin Lunch Time Runners, I was a bit lost having no real friends in my new city & life in Ireland. I had signed up for the Dublin Half Marathon and hadn’t run in months. I was terrified! I met Lorna & Lauren (another American!) on a rather warm July day and the three of us started my half marathon training journey. The two of them kept me talking (and more notably, running) 30 whole minutes. I met these wonderful ladies every Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday for a quick 30 minute run and our group slowly built as we incorporated more runners into the mix. After a few of our runs, the three of us would go for coffee and a chat at one of the nearby shops.

Lorna & Lauren had been connected upon Lauren’s move to Dublin as both were distributors for Juice Plus. At the time, I had no idea what Juice Plus was and neither of them really pushed the envelope with it, but they did answer my questions when I asked. Eventually (and by eventually I mean about 8 months later) I attended an informational event Lorna hosted. I had been extra cautious of my health decisions leading up to the event as I was not happy with my over-indulgences during the Christmas holiday the previous month. Lorna’s passion for her health and her life was undeniable during that presentation and I realized quickly that I was striving to have the health she was discussing. The few things I remember vividly and hear in my head constantly are this:

  • Our bodies are one of the most expensive things on the planet and yet we were given one for FREE. Why is it that most of us wait until it’s too late to appreciate it?
  • Health is a way of life. Diets don’t work. If they did, we’d all be thin and rocking tiny bikinis at the beach.

It’s true that more often than not we take a reactive approach to our health rather than a proactive approach.  You know I’m not saying don’t eat the chocolate cake because life’s too short to not eat the cake! What I am saying, is maybe we could think twice about hitting that McDonald’s drive thru 4x a week. It might be cheap NOW, what about later in life when the high cholesterol and/or heart disease could settle in.  If you are reading this right now, it’s not too late to change your approach and you too can bring your health full circle.

After Lorna’s presentation I was more focused on my health & fitness than ever before and after my failed attempt at a fad diet juice cleanse, she and I discussed incorporating Juice Plus into my own life to bridge the nutrition gap. She and I discussed the importance of not only balance but of whole nutrition from REAL food. We talked about the multivitamins I was taking as well as me walking her through a food log (from memory) of what I’d consumed for the last three days — and I mean every little thing from the milk in my three cups of coffee to that Caramello I really didn’t want to admit.

After our discussion, I began on the Garden Capsules and also ordered the Complete Shakes. After 30 days I was noticing I was shredding pounds, had double the energy, slept better, and all around felt better. Perhaps the biggest difference though was that I no longer needed my daily multivitamin, because my body was absorbing the nutrition of whole, natural foods, from the capsules. At the time, Lorna had loaned me a month’s supply of capsules, so I actually noticed even more of a difference once I received my own shipment as I had ordered the Premium Blend Capsules, which incorporated the berries as well as the fruit & veg.

Juice Plus Capsules - Premium Blend

I don’t own a scale – I didn’t then and I don’t now. Honestly? I probably weigh more now than I did in February when I started my Complete journey, but that’s because muscle weighs more than fat. I assure you I’ve lost inches because my clothes are falling off of me – even ones that I bought in April, and that was a mere three months ago. My friends have noticed; My family has noticed; And everyone wants to know my secret.

Juice Plus Complete Chocolate

Juice Plus Complete Chocolate shake with banana, peach, blueberry, & unsweetened almond milk.

 

Juice Plus Complete Vanilla

Mean Green: Juice Plus Complete Vanilla Shake with honeydew, coconut water, banana, flax seed, wheatgrass, spirulina, & unsweetened almond milk.

 

Gang, I don’t have a secret, because HEALTH is not a secret and ANYONE can do it! All you need are the right tools to help you get started, the right motivators (the Lorna’s of the world), a little bit of dedication, and YOU. And trust me, as long as there is you, the rest of it is a battle worth fighting!

I’ve come full circle on this health journey and now that I’m armed with the right tools, my own motivation, & a lot of dedication I don’t see that changing any time soon. There is too much out there worth living for to stand back and take a reactive approach to life – at least for me! What do you think? Isn’t it time to start living?

XOXO – K

 

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about any of the products in this post, please do not hesitate to get in contact via twitter or facebook.  I’m sharing my story so maybe some day you’ll have one of your own to share back!

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The old saying goes, “if it tastes good, it must be bad for you”. (Or some variation of said saying, anyway).

This saying no doubt referred to sweets and savory foods, loaded with sugars, refined who-knows-what, & sodium. Does it really have to be so?!

You don’t have to sacrifice taste for health, you just don’t. And here are a few ways I’ve managed to bring together healthy & delicious:

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

 

Here’s a REALLY simple meal that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and serve (yes, I really mean 30 minutes from fridge to table!) and is perfect for on-the-go. busy weeknights as it is packed with Omega-3’s & loaded with veggie goodness.

Recipe:

2 Salmon Fillets
2 lemons, squeezed
Fresh black pepper
Fresh green beans
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Salmon: Marinate in lemon juice for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with fresh pepper to taste, and pop into the oven (200C) for 10 minutes or until the salmon easily flakes with a fork.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Green Beans: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee beans about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

 

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

 

I honestly wish I could take credit for preparing this, but, I was actually at 37 Dawson for brunch and they made this amazing concoction. I’m still attempting to replicate the sauce at home, but it’s really simple to scramble some eggs and serve over spinach!

 

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Here’s another REALLY simple meal. Again, depending on how you like your asparagus, you can have this meal on the table in about 30 minutes. Protein, healthy carbs, and veggie yumminess.

 Recipe:

2 Jamie Oliver, Italian Style chicken breasts
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Fresh asparagus
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Chicken: Jamie Oliver makes a MEAN chicken and it is easy to snag from the stores here in Ireland. All you need to do is buy the package, pop in a few extra cherry tomatoes, and bake according to the tin’s instructions. (approx. 15 mins @ 200C). The chicken is all natural, with fresh tomato sauce and a few italian seasonings. EASY.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Asparagus: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

BOOM!  As the mythbusters team would say, this myth is BUSTED. Hungry Yet?

And if you are interested, I’ve recently joined a new revolution in the healthy movement, called the Healthy Living Rules, that should help me focus on healthy options no matter where I am in the world with a few easy, and absolutely 100% simple guidelines and a whole community of support.

Bring on the healthy!

XOXO – K

Remember my Conscious Health Decision post? Welcome to the second installment focused on health and I can’t think of a better rhyme or reason to get this post up today than my return from a trip to Italy, which was filled with a host of delicious meats, beverages, and so many carbs!

Let’s start with a question: What is the recommended daily servings of fruit in vegetables in the country you live in?

Fruit & Veg

Did you know your recommended fruit and veg intake is 7-13 servings in the US, which is in stark contrast to the mere 5 that are recommended in the UK/Ireland. Do you find it interesting that in one country in the EU the recommended intake is 11 servings?

Now, do me a quick favour and ponder through your daily food routine. Do you get your recommended fruit and veg intake? Now, don’t be quick to answer. Do you know what a full serving is? Does that deep fried potato REALLY count? Is that smoothie from Smoothie King REAL fruit?

Really think about it. You can EASILY say yes, but I would challenge you to write everything down you’ve eaten today and take a closer look. Can you really say yes? And if you say yes, are you heavy on the fruits or the vegetables? Is your assortment a rainbow of colours throughout the day?

Do you really understand what fruit and veg do for you and why, even if you can answer yes most days, why eating a colourful selection of produce is so important? Let’s have a quick run down, refresher course on the rainbow:

RED

Red Fruits & Vegtomatoes, watermelon, red grapes, cranberries, apples, red peppers, strawberries

• Loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins
• Contain lycopene which helps rid the body of free radicals
• Resveratrol (red wine) helps treat lung disease & asthma & decreases risk of heart disease
• Protects against prostate cancer as well as heart & lung disease
• Aids memory
• Urinary tract health

ORANGE

Orange Fruits & Vegcarrots, apricots, mangoes, oranges, pumpkin, cantaloupe, peach, sweet potato

• Contain alpha-carotene which protects against cancer
• Helps support a healthy immune system
• Beta-carotene shown to improve/keep healthy eye-sight
• Help lower cholesterol and keep bad cholesterol (LDL) from sticking to artery walls
• Potassium in citrus fruits helps ward off heart disease

YELLOW

Yellow Fruits & Vegpineapple, lemons, squash, grapefruit, yellow peppers, pears, coconut, banana

• Limonoids (found in citrus fruits) help fight cancer of skin, lung, breast, stomach & colon
• Loaded with Vitamin C which strengthens immune system

GREEN

Green Fruits & Vegbroccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, avocado, cabbage, green apple, lettuces

• Contain sulforaphane which prevents cancer by inhibiting carcinogens
• Vision health – prevents macular degeneration
• Contain lutein and indoles which are powerful antioxidants
• Cruciferous vegetables are all “super foods”

BLUE/PURPLE

Blue & Purple Fruits & Vegplums, blackberries, eggplant, grapes, prunes, blueberries, raisins

• Contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins; natural anti-inflammatory properties
• Lower the risk of many cancers (ellagic acid in purple foods)
• Urinary tract health
• May help keep your memory sharp; improve coordination/balance
• Powerful anti-aging properties
• Protects against heart disease by preventing blood clots

Some days may be easy to say yes and some really close to yes, but ultimately that lands you at a no. It really is a simple yes or no question every single day. I assure you it’s not always a yes for me. Remember that pesky time factor? He wins on most of the no days and that little thing that creeps into the back of your head and says you want that pizza instead of that carrot soup wins on the remaining no days. I’m human. It happens. And life goes on….

But did you ever think to yourself two or three days after a weekend out with the girls how your skin is feeling the effects? (My skin never fails to alert the world when I’ve had an overly fun weekend!) That’s the delayed gratification of toxins. Toxins are not your friend! Unfortunately, they simply can’t be avoided because a night out is far from the only danger out there. The environment itself is a toxin (e.g. sun, pollution, stress) and can wreak as much havoc on your system as a night out (albeit WAY less fun, right?). And what do you think the easiest way to protect yourself against these toxins is?

If you guessed “move into a bubble”, I wish I could ring the bell and call you a winner, but the next best guess is to eat MORE COLOURFUL fruits & vegetables! So, make your freezer smoothie packs while your produce is in season — almost all produce freezes easily– chop those peppers, carrots, celery, and whatever else to make snack bags for those pesky afternoon cravings (try pairing it with a good quality nut butter), and above all, make sure you do like you momma always said and eat your vegetables!

We certainly shouldn’t underestimate the power of mother earth. Do your skin, mind, body, and soul a favour, and grab a (healthy) colourful snack now!

Until next time, XOXO – K

**DISCLAIMER: Let’s just go ahead and let it be known I am neither a doctor, nor a nutritionist, but I simply have an opinion to share.**

In this fast paced world we live in, it is increasingly difficult to eat like we should. It requires careful planning, serious consideration, and that pesky thing that a lot of us just never have enough of: time. It’s so much easier to stop off somewhere and leave the cooking to someone else. But the problem I have with that is I’m never really sure what I’m eating! What additives aren’t disclosed on that menu? What is hiding underneath the fine print? What’s REALLY in my beef?

In the US, I had the little luxuries of drive thru’s and fast paced restaurants. For less than $15 (€12), hubby and I could have a full meal at a non-fast food joint. For $25-30 (€20-€25) we could have a sit down meal, which would probably include leftovers for lunch the next day. It was just easier to eat out than in most nights, especially when I was working 80+ hours a week!

 Moe's Logo     Panera Logo       Chick-Fil-A Logo

Sure, it might’ve been easier, but what was I doing to my body? Even the healthy options in most places are packed full of preservatives and sodium and who knows what else in terms of unpronounceable ingredients. Your body is the one thing you were given in life for free, and it’s the one thing we take for granted the most!

That whole saying, “you are what you eat” isn’t far off! A year and a half ago I made a conscious health decision. I stopped eating out so much, stopped shopping inside the grocery store aisles, and started eating more whole and plant-based foods.

Fruit & Veg

It was quite possibly one of the biggest challenges and yet single-most greatest things I’ve done for myself. The first grocery shop I went on I spent over $100 for less than a week of food for two. I quickly realised how much meal planning was needed to change my lifestyle without breaking the bank! My grocery shop focused only on the outer perimeter of the store, where the un-processed foods reside, focusing mostly on fruits, vegetables and healthy meat/fish combos. I attempted to cut out “bad carbs” (i.e. white bread) and tried to balance my diet.

Three days in to my reduced carb intake and low glycemic fruit/veg change, I was a vicious, unbearable witch with a capital B. I was constantly hungry–a reaction my body was having to adjusting its insulin levels rather than actual hunger; I was moody due to the hormone changes associated with the sugar/sodium detox.

Powder Puff Girls - Fight Mode

Finally, after about ten days I felt great! The constant hunger was gone, and the sugar cravings subsiding. My body had adjusted to reduced glycemic foods, my blood sugar levels actually improving because of it and the energy levels rising because my body was forced to focus utilising energy from fat cells rather than over producing insulin from the carbs.  It really is true, the less sugar you eat, the less you crave it. It’s a very difficult choice to make if you have said sweet tooth, but I’m so much happier all around!

Happy!

I had my system down in the US, then we uprooted our lives and moved abroad. In Ireland those little luxuries of a cheap, quick, and easy meal prepared by someone else are gone. For a sit down restaurant it would cost about $80 (€50) with an hour and a half gone and the thought of eating at a chipper (fast food equivalent) while sober makes my stomach turn upside down even now! Even the takeaways (delivery service) are quite pricey, but I must admit they are quite handy!

All that said, It’s actually easier to keep in line with my health here than I expected because stores are smaller. Therefore, I have to carry EVERYTHING I BUY and foods are less processed in general (less selection for the record–the cereal aisle is a quarter of the size of one in the US!)

I spent a better part of my Sundays clipping coupons, meal planning for the week, grocery shopping, and advance prepping as much as possible in the beginning. It eventually takes less time and energy once you get into your rhythms–and I promise you finding that rhythm is tough. The first Sunday (in Ireland) I spent seven hours in my kitchen after an hour and a half long stent planning and grocery shopping and thought to myself NEVER again. But I figured it out after about two weeks and it’s gotten a lot easier. And my body thanks me!

I’m sharing all of this with you because I want you to know it CAN be done; Done well; and done in your budget, whatever that may be. You might think, “I don’t have time for that!” But wouldn’t it be nice to make time now to have more time later? I can promise you that you are already making time for the things that matter to you (weekend trips, kids soccer matches, whatever it is!) so why would you not make time for the you that matters most? Do you really want to look back in twenty years and think “what if”, or “if only”?

Never Think Never

Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Will you want to throw your hands up? Probably. But are YOU WORTH IT? Absofuckinglutely. You only get one chance at life, and if your bucket list is as long as mine, isn’t it worth it to give your body what it deserves to seize those opportunities?

This is a three-part series, so stay tuned for the second part of this installment next week.

Until next time, XOXO – K

Maybe there is something to be said for fads–they are catchy, gimmicky, & well, EVERYONE seems to be doing it (at the moment). But then again, maybe there simply isn’t. Maybe we are best left to our own devices, devoid of what others attempt to push onto us for the sake of ABC.

As an adult, I’ve never been one to buy into the notion of a fad–not in fashion, my lifestyle, or otherwise. Why on earth would I need to have/to participate in something that would be short-lived and abandoned for “the next big thing”? Are you now thinking to yourself, “But you signed on for this 5 day juice cleanse?” Right, thought you might be, and that was my point. Somehow I convinced myself this juice reboot wasn’t a fad and I needed to do it for my health. I fell into the trap! Here is my story, and I assure you it is not wrapped in shiny paper with a perfectly neat little bow. The title of this post says it all: challenged, tortured, & failed.

Before I post my journal here, let’s recap a few things & make sure you have all the facts:

  • A 5-day juice reboot meant that for five straight days I would consume nothing other than water, herbal tea, and juiced fruit/vegetables in order to jumpstart healthier habits.
  • In addition to healthier habits, a juice reboot is supposed to ease digestion and promote healthier, more radiant skin (from the Vitamin influx)
  • On my Sunday shop, I purchased enough produce to complete all five days of my juice reboot and my total landed somewhere in the ballpark of 65 Euro. (Most people can’t eat 5x a day for that, so, I considered it a win.)
    Grocery Shop

Now that we’ve sorted the details of the reboot, let’s actually talk through it. Here is my journal — pasted word for word, moment by moment:

Day 1:

  • I’ve decided I prefer carrot juice to tomato juice.  Probably why I always liked V8 Splash best.
  • I should probably wear gloves while peeling beets, otherwise it’ll look like I murdered Joe in my sleep… and I should definitely lay off the ginger root on the next round!
  • I’m 9 hours in and I’m STARVING. My stomach is growling from lack of food to digest and my head is starting to hurt from lack of caffeine. But I suppose I’m hydrated? Why am I doing this again?
  • After a trip to/from the grocery store, I’ve learned what true self-control is because I only bought the items on the list and somehow manage to pick-up and put-down that donut three times! WINNING. I might’ve even felt slightly lighter on my walk home—but it’s entirely possible it was all in my head.

Day 2:

  • Struggled to get out of bed today – feeling really sluggish. Even after breakfast & coconut water still feeling BLEH.
  • 2PM – made lunch & afternoon snack and stomach will NOT stop GROWLING. Feeling off my game and drained.
  • Gave in and ate a vegetarian dinner; feeling immediately better and full of energy. Decided to modify the reboot to juice until dinner then eat a meal.
  • Still off caffeine and still have a headache, but it is mild & tolerable

Day 3:

  • Slept in, but had trouble getting out of bed again. Still not feeling energized
  • Headache finally gone but now stuck in the bathroom
  • Stomach growling again by lunch and feeling completely drained.
  • Got off my bum and cleaned the house & did a 20 minute workout. Used what little energy I had doing that.
  • Seeing no noticeable positive results! I kinda feel like I’m having nothing but the OPPOSITE impact. Maybe I ate healthier than I thought so this isn’t doing anything for me?
  • By dinner time I’m delirious, grumpy, and over everything. SCREW THIS.

CALLING IT QUITS ON THIS JUICE CHALLENGE.

Lesson learned: Juicing is NOT for me and I have no idea why anyone would choose to torture themselves in this way, “for the sake of their health”. I’m going back to my normal routine & going to focus on health in the ways that work for ME.

keep-calm-and-forget-fad-diets

If any of you are contemplating a juice reboot, I challenge you to seriously consider your motives as well as your goals. I ate three solid meals Thursday and I instantly felt 120% better. A week later, I’m feeling normal again finally. [Side note: I’m doing great with the 30-day shred and have only missed two days!] I still have produce leftover, but I’ve been finding productive ways to incorporate it — be it into dinners, snacks, or fresh juice for breakfast. I’m not a fan of wasting what I spend money on! I won’t be embracing any more fads, and that’s a promise.

 Have any of you done a juice reboot in the past? If you have, I would love to talk to you about it! 

XOXO – K