Tag Archives: healthy

How to Go From Desk Jockey to Wellness Warrior in Five Simple Steps

14 Jul
Stack some shelves, a coffee table, or nail a few pieces of wood together and create your own standing workstation such as the one featured here from www.standupdesktops.com

Stack some shelves, a coffee table, or nail a few pieces of wood together and create your own standing workstation such as the one featured here from http://www.standupdesktops.com

We all know that sitting on your tuckus for 8+ hours per day will strip you of energy, health and a svelte body. Not cool. However, I’m not into using statistical scare tactics to help you reclaim your health–I dig positive action. Here are five simple steps you can implement for a health upgrade.

 

1. Ask For a Standing Workstation (or buy one yourself). If your company doesn’t value your health and productivity enough to invest in a standing workstation after you’ve asked, then step up to the plate. Buy it or build it–just know you are worth it.

2. Get Mobile. Talking on the phone? Put it on speaker or use a headset and walk around while you chat. Need to email/ call a co-worker or pick up a report? Walk to their office and talk in person. Elevator to the fourth floor? Of course not, silly. Stairs will do just fine.

3. Redefine Meetings. Whether you are meeting a co-worker or doing some networking, skip the boring office and coffee shop, grab your digital recorder and hit the trails. Walking meetings are far more productive and creative because you are getting more oxygen to your brain. If weather outdoors isn’t cooperating, then hit the gym, mall or museum.

4. Take a Weight Break. Stash weights in your office/ cubicle or simply use your body to build strength, stretch and move. Your office/ cubicle, stairwell, hallway or outdoor areas are great places to do this mini desk workout or other energy-building exercises such as jumping jacks and walking lunges. Fear feeling foolish with your co-workers? Ask Staring Stan and Chatty Cathy to join you. Will people talk about you, will you be different? Yes, probably, if “different” means you’ll be the person who is energetic, efficiently and effectively performing their job and dropping pant sizes. Then… yes, please!

5. Eat Real Food. When you care about something, you treat it well. Your body is no different, so treat it right by eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and high quality fats and proteins.  Greatly reduce or eliminate processed foods, caloric beverages and sugar, and you’ll feel vibrant, look healthy and perform like a rock star. Pinky swear.

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The Fit 5: How to Stay Healthy and Happy on Vacation

5 May
Rock climbing in Utah.

Rock climbing in Utah.

Part Two in a two-part series on staying active and healthy while on vacation. If you missed Part One, click here.

Turn off your cell phone, slip into something comfy and channel your inner Olivia Newton-John, ‘cause we’re about to get physical. Why return home tanned when you can return home toned, energized and more joyful than ever? Here are five simple tips to stay healthy while you relax and recharge.

  1. Savvy Sights. It is easy and fun to stay active at a resort or national park. Take advantage of hikes, water sports, cycling, rock climbing, yoga and skiing. Is an Urban holiday more your taste? No problem. Skip the taxi and walk as much as possible, visit plenty of museums, zoos or amusement parks and book a hotel with a gym, swimming pool or outdoor playground (Monkey bar pull ups and elevated single leg swing seat squats anyone? Yes, please!) Always have fun with creative play and movement—whether you are enjoying the beaches of Carmel or the grassy patch in your backyard.
  2. Snack Smart. Planes, trains and automobiles—whatever your mode of transportation, pack healthy treats to keep energy high and blood sugar levels stable. Before your trip, purchase raw nuts or seeds, fruit (apples and pears are durable) and individual nut butter packets. If you have a cooler, you can also add hummus, cut vegetables, plain greek yogurt and pre-made wraps for meals.
  3. Keep Cool. Booking a hotel with a kitchen or even a mini-fridge is a great way to save money and your waistline. Once you reach your destination, go to the grocery store and stock up on staples for breakfast, snacks and even lunch. Possibilities are endless with a kitchen, but with a mini-fridge you can still fix delectable delights like yogurt parfaits (greek yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts), make portable wraps by purchasing plain cooked meats at the deli (chicken, salmon, etc.), cut veggies, hummus, guacamole or cheese and buy plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated.
  4. Divide and Conquer. Resorts have buffets, cities have fancy-pants restaurants and you always have a choice to enjoy delicious and nutritious food without depriving yourself. Ensure every meal has vegetables (bearer of bad tidings: corn is not a vegetable and potatoes are starches) and protein with a small portion of “oh my gosh, I must have this!” side item or split a dessert four-ways. Not trying to be a fun-hater, but avoid battered and/or fried foods and make sure your vegetables and protein are not drenched in cheese, gravy or creamy sauces.
  5. Drink Water. I’m talking bowel movements, people. Ya know how traveling can disrupt your normal routine? Who wants to be bloated and dehydrated on vacation? Not I! Plane rides, warmer climate, activities—they can all dehydrate us, even cold weather activities like skiing. Pack water bottles, opt for water over soda or alcohol at meals and sip herbal tea instead of dehydrating coffee or fruit juice in the morning. Your bowels will thank you.

Rise Up!

13 Apr

IMG_1902As a wellness writer, I feel like I should be giving you stellar recipe ideas for Passover and Easter. Alas, I am not. *sigh* Wipe those hungry tears away, because I am going to rock your world–personal progress? Yes please!–and I’m sharing this amazing Raw Brownie recipe with you from My New Roots. Soooo…. healthy Passover and Easter dessert recipe too? I got nothing but love for you, baby!

 

Before I rock your world, we need to climb into our Tardis and revisit the meaning of these holidays. (Total Squirrel Moment: time traveling tends to use phone booths a la Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Dr. Who. Interesting.) So here are my Religious Cliff Notes…

Christian: Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus.

Jewish: Passover is about the Israelites liberation from slavery.

 

See the theme? Regardless of what you believe, this time of year is about rising up. So, ya know that story you’ve been holding on to? That one about your mean ex which leads you to believe you are unloveable and that every relationship you do begin will end in lonely failure. Or that story about why you can’t be healthy, because your metabolism is slow and you just don’t have the time to exercise or cook. Or how about that story that begins with “I’m not [good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough…].” Think of what your story (or stories) is and write it down on a square of toilet paper (use a separate square for each story).

 

Now flush that crap down the toilet, because you are not your story! You are so much more. Rise up, take your power back and move forward!

 

What is one simple action you can do today to reclaim your power? Please share your comments below, because your simple action step may just be the inspiration someone else needs.

Mexican Spaghetti (grain-free)

31 Mar
My half-eaten plate of Mexican Spaghetti served with roasted broccoli.

My half-eaten plate of Mexican Spaghetti served with roasted broccoli.

If you love Mexican and Italian food (or food in general) as much as I do, you will devour this healthy dish that marries the flavors of both. Mangia!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb grass-fed beef

1/4 tsp sea salt

10 turns black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp oregano

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 lb bag frozen or fresh sliced bell peppers

1 bag Explore Asia Organic Black Bean Spaghetti (or use spaghetti squash)

1 cup salsa

Garnish: avocado, black olives, fresh cilantro

 

Directions:

1. Brown beef, drain grease and add salt, black pepper, garlic, oregano, chili powder and bell peppers. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2. While taco meat is simmering, cook spaghetti according to box. Drain and place in large serving bowl.

3. Add taco meat, and remaining ingredients to bowl, mix and eat!

 

Serves 4

Butternut Squash Stuffed Bell Peppers

18 Mar
My de-constructed bell pepper served with steamed asparagus and kalamata olives.

My de-constructed bell pepper served with steamed asparagus and kalamata olives.

Sometimes I feel sassy and I like to replace tomato-based sauces with a simple butternut squash puree. Tonight was a fancy-sassy-saucy night…

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers

1 lb grass-fed ground beef or bison, or ground turkey

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

15 turns black pepper

2 tsp oregano, dried

2 tsp basil, dried

1 tsp fennel seeds

pinch of ground cloves

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 lbs butternut squash, cubed

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Place cubed butternut squash on a baking pan and lightly coat with coconut oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

2. While squash is cooking, brown meat and drain fat. Add onion, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, fennel seed, apple cider vinegar and cloves to meat and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. While meat mixture is simmering, pre-heat oven to 325° and chop the tops off of the bell peppers. (Save tops to make into strips for dipping into hummus or guacamole or chop them up to use in omelets, frittatas or egg scrambles.) Steam bell peppers for 10-15 minutes. Remove and place upside down on towel to drain any liquid.

4. Place meat mixture in a glass mixing bowl and set aside. Place roasted squash, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder in a food processor and blend until smooth.

5. Place the pureed squash in the bowl with the meat and combine. Spoon meat-squash mixture into bell peppers and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bell peppers are tender.

 

Serves 4

 

Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Bell

Organic or Bust?

17 Feb
Farmer's Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Farmer’s Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Eating organically grown fresh vegetables and fruits is the bee’s knees, no question. But does your produce always have to be organic? Eating conventional broccoli always beats eating a brownie any day of the week. If eating organic produce doesn’t fit your budget or isn’t available to you, here is a handy-dandy list for what fruits and vegetables are the cleanest (least amount of pesticide residue) and which are the dirtiest (most contaminated produce) and worth the extra organic cost.

 

Clean:

asparagus

avocados

cabbage

cantaloupe

eggplant

grapefruit

kiwi

mangos

onions

papayas

pineapples

sweet peas

sweet potatoes

 

Dirty:

apples

celery

cherry tomatoes

cucumbers

grapes

hot peppers

nectarines

peaches

potatoes

spinach

strawberries

sweet bell peppers

kale/collard greens

summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)

 

Information adapted from EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

Spring Garden Guide

3 Feb
Go forth and spread your seeds! Your vegetables seeds in case there was any confusion.

Go forth and spread your seeds! Your vegetables seeds… in case there was any confusion.

Let the gardening season begin! Yippee! I know it is hard to think about your garden plot when the ground is covered with snow and the temps are sub-zero, but the thought of a freshly picked juicy ripe tomato on a BLT puts a smile on anyone’s face and a song in my heart. *sigh* While it is far too early to start planting outdoors in Nebraska, it is never too early to order seeds and create your gardening guide for rows of tasty (and might I add super inexpensive and healthy) produce come spring and summer. I can smell the bacon cooking…

 

February

Preparation: Now is the time to start ordering/purchasing seeds or attend seed swaps in your community. Seeds are good for 3-4 years, so share the good lovin’ if you have plenty left over. This is also the time to consider your gardening space (community, backyard, raised beds, containers, etc) and your chemical-free means for controlling pesky pests while keeping your produce–and all of the big and little people who eat it–safe.

 

March

Preparation: Time to play in the dirt and by dirt, I mean manure that will add nutrients to your soil for the best possible growing conditions. That poo is the holy grail for hearty, healthy produce. Also, plant seeds for transplant plants such as cabbage, celery, eggplant, leeks, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Depending on the variety, you will want to start the process 6-8 weeks before they are to be transplanted outdoors in the garden. If you plan on buying the plants, then no worries darling.

Outdoor Planting: Plant asparagus crowns, collard green seeds, onions, pea seeds, radish seeds, spinach seeds and turnip seeds.

 

April

Outdoor Planting: Plant leek plants, swiss chard seeds, broccoli plants, cabbage plants, cauliflower plants, lettuce seeds, kale seeds and beet seeds.

 

May

Outdoor Planting: Plant carrot seeds, potato plants, cucumber seeds, pumpkin seeds, eggplant plants, pepper plants, tomato plants and summer squash seeds.

 

Truth be told, I am not a master gardener by any means. My experience comes from trial and error through my own garden and through gardening advice from my parents who have organically gardened for over 30 years. Yes… they are the cat’s meow.

 

For more regional gardening information, check out the UNL Extension program, your local nursery and community garden, and organizations such as City Sprouts, North Omaha Tool Library and Common Soil Seed Library at the Benson Public Library.