It is finally here! Spring...
Spring is a time of renewal – a time that the world around us blooms and sprouts in bounty – and there’s an innate desire within us to do the same. The heaviness of Winter is still lingering, but when the sun starts shining a little warmer, we desire to go into major spring cleaning mode.
This could mean our homes, closets, eating habits, relationships, and maybe even a social media detox -- who can’t use that every once in awhile!? Needless to say, we are thirsting to feel a little lighter, in more ways than one, when Spring finds us.
Here are a few ways you can feel lighter this Spring…
1. Simplify. Simplify your meals and you’ll feel like a brand new person. Meal planning, grocery shopping, having to think of what’s for dinner each night… it’s exhausting. Try eating very simply for the next week and see how things shift for you. Eat whole foods, with few ingredients and low prep time. Think mason jar salads or roasted broccoli and a small piece of grilled salmon. Simplicity.
2. When life gives you lemons. It may sound incredibly simple, but that’s what we’re doing here! Simple, beneficial changes that don’t overwhelm. Add a squeeze of lemon into your water in the morning (and throughout the day, if you wish) and enjoy the alkalizing, naturally detoxification benefits. Your digestive system will thank you and you’ll enjoy a nice boost of natural energy.
3. Start small. Make a list of what you’d like to declutter in your home. Start small, and make a list of which tasks have priority. Can you not even remember the last time you’ve worn one whole half of your closet? Start there. Start with whatever is the biggest burden on you. The state of your surroundings has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.
4. Improvements. What have you been hoping to add to your life to give it more value? Have you been meaning to start painting again? Have you been promising yourself for months that you were finally going to start working out, or reading more? What instantly pops in your head when you read this? Start by adding one thing in the next week that will improve the quality of your life. Perhaps that’s a new, relaxing evening ritual or a commitment to get bi-weekly massages for stress relief. Pick one thing, and go for it!
Baby steps coupled with consistent, daily action will get you there in no time, without overwhelm. I’d love to hear what you pick. Hit reply and let me know what new thing you’re going to start next week to add more quality to your days, and I’ll let you know what I picked!
A few weeks ago I started to put some intention in my eating as well as focusing on the content of my food choices and the timing that I was eating them. I am happy to report that as of today I am down a pant size and my energy is really through the roof all thanks to switching from eating to fueling and supporting my body's natural bioelimination and biotransformation processes!
If you're like most people, you might believe that eating healthy requires a lot of work. From planning out meals to grocery shopping to buying quality ingredients – it can seem like a mass effort sometimes. That’s not to say the effort’s not worth it -- but a big effort that sometimes seems easier to simply avoid, right?
We all know that eating the right foods, especially vegetables, is essential to better health. But what if you're not a huge fan of shopping, chopping, and prepping? As it usually goes, the things that are the best at keeping us healthy and nourished aren't always the easiest path to take. It takes some practice and trial and error to find your sweet spot for infusing health into your day on a daily basis – and one great place to start is finding some simple ways to add more veggies into your day.
Here are my 4 favorite ways that you can add veggies into your day...
1. Use Veggies to Kick Off Your Day
Vegetables are not just for lunch and dinner. Kick off every morning with veggies on your plate. Throw a handful of kale into your morning smoothie or use last night's leftover veggies to whip up an omelet. There are numerous ways to add veggies to your morning meal, and getting them in early means you’re well on your way to eating your daily servings of veggies by dinner time. I include at least 1 cup of greens at every meal, breakfast included. Get creative on how you start to use them!
2. Go for Frozen
Fresh veggies are typically the better option, but chopping and preparing vegetables from scratch isn't always practical for many of us. So, stock up on frozen veggies on your next supermarket run. Freezing vegetables is considered minimal processing, as many of the veggies will still retain a lot of their nutritional value. Having frozen vegetables on hand at all times leaves you no room for excuses when you’re in a time pinch. My favorite frozens? Chopped onions, finely diced celery, carrot and onion mix, and roasted peppers with onions. I use tehse to whip up quick and easy fajitas, sausage and peppers, and and toppings on pizzas,
3. Double Up
When you're preparing salads, soups, pasta sauce, or a healthy casserole, double the amount of vegetables that the recipe calls for. Stir extra veggies into your soups or put an extra portion into your sauce. You’ll only enhance the flavor and nutritional value, so it’s a win-win! Choose veggies that you ENJOY, do not try to force yourself to eat something you cannot stand, it will only result in wasted food. With that said, do not be afraid to be a little adventurous is what veggies you add to foods. Making homemade mac and cheese? Add in pureed butternut squash or pumpkin. Making chili? Add in peppers, onions, carrots and some greens. Making soup? It just calls for veggies!
4. Join the Meatless Monday Movement
If you’re a meat eater, have you started going meatless on Mondays yet? This is an excellent way to get more veggies onto your plate every week, and it's simple. Just cut out meat on Mondays and dedicate your plate to more fruits and vegetables. If Monday is not convenient, pick another day that works for you. Not only will you be lowering your grocery bill and getting more nutrients by eating more veggies, but you're also trying something new, and variety is the spice of life! Be careful of meat like substitutes. These may be not-meat based, but often are also not plant based, packed with preservatives, sodium, and lacking in nutrients.
Vegetables are a fabulous source of many beneficial nutrients for your body. When you cut back on processed foods and "sneak" more vegetables into your day - you're making better choices that set you up for a lifetime of healthy habits.
So, what are a few ideas that have sparked? What’s on the plate next week for Meatless Monday? I’d love to hear your ideas, so hit reply and let me know what you plan on cooking up!
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This week in the March Whole Detox by Deana Minnich, PhD, we are in the Love system, the system tied to heart health, blood, upper lung and back function, and of course our self and outward ability to love.
Exercise is key to heart health, this is known, however is there a type of exercise that maybe providing us more bang for the buck time wise? Research indicates that yes, possibly so.
Our blood pressure is measured in terms of Systolic blood pressure over Diastolic blood pressure. The heart beats in 2 parts, the systolic part - where blood is moved from the ventricle to the artery, and the diastolic - where blood is allowed to enter the ventricle, refilling it for the next beat.
In people with heart failure, high blood pressure, and other health concerns need to strengthen the heart and increase it's functioning. Exercise is typically included in a treatment for heart and overall health conditions, and is always recommended to the healthy population for keeping their hearts healthy and functioning at optimal levels for not only health but for our true ability to thrive.
Clinical trials have been done to see the effects of HIIT training (such as Tabata training, interval training, on/off max rep training, etc.) vs. moderate constant-state exercise (such as jogging, swimming, etc.) and the results indicate that HIIT improves peak oxygen uptake and left ventricle diastolic dysfunction better than the moderate constant state exercise.
So how do we put this into practice for ourselves?
1. Mix it up!
If you are a constant state exerciser, such as runner, cyclist, swimmer, elliptical fanatic - mix it up! Add in faster and slower intervals into your workouts. In the middle of a long steady paced run, add in a few wind sprints to wake the mind and keep the body on it's toes.
Increasing your Vo2 Max also helps with overall sports performance, so if you are trying to get faster or go longer in your preferred activity, HIIT are key to doing so.
2. There's an app for that
Download a Tabata or Interval app for your phone so that you can throw in a HIIT session at any time! Click here for a listing of some top recommended apps for your interval needs.
3. Know your zones
Even if you are not interested in adding in HIIT specifically, knowing your HR zones can mean that you are at least spending the time in the right zone for your goals. Endurance, fat burn, cardio fitness all happen in different zones. If you are working out constantly and are not seeing results - you may be in the wrong zone.
A very basic and easy way to calculate your HR zones is using the following process.
Max HR: Subtract your age from 220. The result is an age-predicted maximum beats per minute.
Resting HR: Take your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning. Do this for several days in a row to get consistent readings.
Heart Rate Reserve: Subtract your heart's resting rate from your maximum rate. This heart-rate reserve represents the cushion heartbeats available for exercise.
Using the guide above, then calculate out based on the heart rate reserve what your different zones are.
If you are 40 years old with a resting HR of 80, your numbers would be as follows:
Max HR: 180
Resting HR: 80
Heart Rate Reserve: 100
60% of 100 (HRR)= 60, and 70% of 100 = 70
Z1 range = 60 (60% of HRR) / 80 (resting HR) = lower 70 (70% of HRR) / 80 (resting HR) = upper Z1 limit.
lower range = 130, upper range = 155.
Do this for every zone based on the %'s in the chart above.
You will want to find a training resource or plan on how to train with HR for your sport. There are many books on Amazon for Heart Rate Training, and a good investment would be a HR monitor - Garmin, Polar and Fitbit all have wearables that monitor your HR while you workout so that you do not have to stop and measure with your fingers.
4. 15 minutes is all you need - here is my 7 minutes in heaven workout!
If you are short on time, travel a lot, or are lacking the motivation for hou rlong workouts, do not let that be an excuse. HIIT workouts can be 10-15 minutes long and provide more benefits than a steady state workout 4 times as long. If you only have a few minutes, you can do my 7 minutes in heaven workout to keep you active when time is a premium. Rest for 30-60 seconds between each 1 minute set.
1 - Knee ups (1 minute) Video here
2 - Inch Worms (1 minute) Video here
3 - Push Ups (1 minute) can modify if needed
4 - Front Lunges (clock lunges if you are advanced) ( 1 minute) Video here
5 - Jump squats (1 minute) Video here alternatively you can do normal squats, Video Here
6 - Burpees (1 minute) Video Here please modify if needed!
7 - Plank (1 minute) feel free to mix up your planks to engage other areas of your core!
Total time: 10 - 15 minutes depending on rest intervals
5. Join a Group
If you are interested in upping your health game and do not want to spend tons of time on it - then join in a local bootcamp or outdoor fitness group (such as Pursuit Detroit that will be launching this summer!)
To be kept up to date on the Launch of Pursuit, as well as to see what I am offering in the vitrual training space, please visit Pursuit Detroit and sign up to be kept in the loop!
In (heart) health,
High-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous exercise training in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: a pilot study
Siddhartha S. Angadi, Farouk Mookadam, Chong D. Lee, Wesley J.Tucker, Mark J. Haykowsky, Glenn A. Gaesser
Journal of Applied Physiology Sep 2015, 119 (6) 753-758; DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.00518.2014
functional nutritionist, health coach, and lighter of paths.