Starting the Day with Intension (and Love!)

Hello friends!

I know it’s been awhile, but it’s good to be back!

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Today I wanted to share a few things that I have been adding to my wellness routine. My favorite thing lately has been adding in a morning routine that I follow/try to follow at least Monday-Friday. This routine is just incorporating a few things that I love that help me to ground myself in the day, and set intensions so I can better complete the things I need to complete that day. If mornings aren’t your thing, no worries! You can always include an evening/afternoon/break routine in your day if that works better for you! I just find if I start my day with gratitude, movement, and intension it sets me up to feel a whole lot better throughout the whole day. So, maybe just give it a shot for a week or two and see how you feel.

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To start, I like to cleanse my body by drinking water first thing. Just drinking a glass of water within the first 30 minutes of waking up can be awesome. I love to warm up some water on the stove, and then add some lemon to it to fire up my digestive system. It’s just a simple way to re-hydrate after the night, and awaken your body in a pleasant way.

 

Next, I love to get my body moving! This movement can be anything you want it to be. It can be some light stretching right when you get out of bed, yoga, it can be a walk or run around your neighborhood, it can be going to the gym first thing, or it can be just doing some crunches and push-ups before getting in the shower. Just starting with whatever movement feels best for you. This really helps me to fully wake up every part of my body, and feel more energized and productive throughout my day.

After I move, I love to nourish my body with good fuel. Since I like to prep my food ahead of time, I am a big fan of overnight oats or chia seed pudding. That way I can just have it with me and be able to dive right in for some quick, but nourishing fuel. If you have more time, making a smoothie is also super awesome! Check out this blueberry smoothie or this spirulina smoothie by Deliciously Ella if you want some inspiration (P.S. check out her instagram if you want some real great food inspiration, it’s fabulous!).

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Sometimes, I also like to dry brush before jumping in the shower. Dry brushing is just taking a dry brush and brushing over your body in a circular motion, starting from your legs and moving upwards, and then extending from your chest outward. Dry brushing can help with circulation, as well as make your skin glow by removing dead skin cells from your body. You can read more about dry brushing here. My only problem with dry brushing is that it tends to kind of dry out my skin (and my skin is already pretty dry), so to counter that I like to moisturize Almond or Sesame oil after the shower. I usually just take some oil in my hand, and apply it to make skin right after I turn off my shower (while the water is off but I’m still standing there). Just be careful if you use a lot, as it may be slippery. This might not be for everyone, but I find it incredibly nourishing to my skin.

I also love to start off my days with intension, and meditation. If you are new to meditation, I HIGHLY suggest checking out Heather Waxman’s Soul Sessions (you can check out a free one here).

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Sometimes I like to set intensions for the day ahead by doodling and making a “how I want to feel” list. I list how I want to feel during the day ahead, and then I write out some of the things I might incorporate during my day so that I can feel that way. Action items that can empower me to make those feelings happen. I was inspired to start doing this through Katie Dalebout from The Wellness Wonderland, and you can read more about it in her post here.

And here’s an example of my morning inspiration doodles:

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If you want more ideas on what to incorporate into your morning routine you can check out this post from The Wellness Wonderland.

And finally, here’s a great smoothie bowl recipe to start your day 🙂

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Spirulina Cherry Cinnamon Smoothie Bowl

1 frozen banana

1 cup almond/coconut/milk of choice or water

1/2 cup frozen cherries

1 handful spinach, kale, or greens of choice

1 tsp spirulina (optional)

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

1/2-2 Tbs sunflower seed butter (or nut butter of choice), optional

optional toppings:

1 Tbs raw sunflower seeds

1-2 Tbs hemp seeds

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend and enjoy 🙂

What are your favorite ways to start the day?

Foodie Scenes and Nutritious November

Happy Wednesday! Can you believe we’re already almost a whole week into November? Man, this semester is just flying by.

To celebrate this month, the Nutrition Team is rolling out Nutritious November. A month full of educational movies, talks, discussions, and of course potlucks to fuel your body, as well as educate you on how to navigate healthy eating even when it starts to get difficult as these colder months approach. Stay up-to-date on what’s going on by following our Facebook page, and be on the lookout for various talks and movie nights.

To start things off, I just wanted to share a few foodie pictures of the week.It’s amazing how much more satisfying meals can be if you just take a few moments to appreciate the appearance of your meals before diving in.

Some food highlights from me:

Making homemade Twix bars, from Healthful Pursuit

Stage One

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Stage Two

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Complete!

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Salad and Quinoa Bowls are always great

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As are roasted pumpkin seeds mmhmmmm

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And my newest fav:

Cinnamon Coated Jicama

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Jicama is a root vegetable, that is crisp and refreshing. You can learn more about it here. It makes a really great base if you just cut it up into chunks, you can sprinkle it with your favorite spice. I went with cinnamon for a sweeter snack, but you can also coat it in cayenne pepper, chili powder, or something else if you’re more in the mood for spice.

To cut jicama (definitely be sure to wash it first), slice off the top and bottom. Then remove the stiff outer peel. Cut it in half, and place the half face down on your cutting board. Slice longways first, then dice horizontally for bite-sized pieces (or just cut in the whatever way is most appealing to you!)

After dicing, place desired amount of jicama slices into a little baggie, or tupperware, and add cinnamon (or spice of choice). I just do a few shakes, but maybe start with 1/2 tsp and work up to your desired about. Once you’ve added your spice, shake it up to coat all the jicama pieces. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

I love this because it makes a really simple, portable snack to carry throughout the day. Just grab your baggie of cinnamon coated jicama from the fridge, and you’re good to go!

Reconnecting

Before we even dive into this post together, let’s take a moment, close your eyes and connect with where you are at today. We probably get asked the question “how are you” about a million and a half times a day, but how often do you  respond honestly? Or think about the question? Or, even more so, do you take the time to check in with yourself and truly notice how you are feeling? How can you be honest and aware of what’s going on inside? I know I have a lot of trouble with this. It seems so obvious that we should be aware of what we’re feeling, yet sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in life that you forget to “tune-in,” or “take-stock” of what’s happening.

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So, as a means of reconnecting, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself to recognize what’s going on inside. Our culture is so attached to the idea that more is better, but there is so much beauty in stillness.

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As another means of reconnecting, I’ve been trying to become more aware of what I’m putting in my body. I heard a quote the other day that really hit home with me, “Our body’s are the only thing we truly have.”

Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in wanting to look a certain way, that you loose sight of the amazing vessel you are within. Our bodies are so freaking amazing. They are capable of so many wonderful things. There is so much happening inside: cells, tissues, muscles, organs, all working and functioning in a beautiful symphony to carry you each day. When you start to think about how you can better help all these internal functions, and not worry so much about external appearance, suddenly making healthy food choices doesn’t seem so difficult. When we think about “dieting” as a means of loosing weight, eating healthy can sometimes start to feel like a bit of a chore, something you are doing because you have to, not because you want to.

If you start to think about food as something that is becoming part of you, the fuel which is going to energize and carry you, eating healthy just sort of makes sense. When you eat to support yourself, to support your body’s natural functions and to sustain you, then you can connect with your food and yourself on a deeper level. Then eating healthy isn’t a chore, it isn’t about looking like someone from a movie or a cover of a magazine, or impressing the people around it. Then it is about allowing yourself to become the very best version of yourself. It is about allowing yourself to feel sustained, alive, and beautiful. And every single one of us deserves that.

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Creamy Berry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1 cup almond milk (you can add more or less depending on your desired thickness, I tend to like really think smoothies)

2 cups mixed frozen berries of choice (I used a mixture of strawberries , blackberries, and blueberries; but feel free to use whatever fruit you enjoy most)

1 avocado

1-2 tablespoons almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

(optional, but really fabulous) 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

(also optional) a few shakes of cinnamon

Add ingredients to blending (start first with the almond milk), blend until creamy. The cool thing about adding the avocado is that they add a really creamy texture as they blend, but if this idea kind of freaks you out, you can replace the avocado with 1-2 frozen bananas. Another cool thing to try to add in place of the almond milk is coconut yogurt, which makes the smoothie feel really indulgent.

Before you dive in to this smoothie (or your next meal) take a deep breath and think about what you are about to put into your body, and have gratitude that what you are about to eat will be fueling your actions and activities.

Enjoy! Let us know what you think! Hope your week is going beautifully.

Embracing Fall

Now I think we can say the semester is truly in full swing.

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Everyone is becoming quite a bit busier, classes are becoming just a bit more demanding, and exams are becoming just a bit more frequent.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Well, that’s the beautiful thing about fall! I love the changing seasons because they remind me to reconnect. By reconnecting with the seasons, we can take little hints that nudge us to mimic some of the very things we are seeing in the environment around us. In the fall, the environment seems to tell us to slow down a little bit, turn the the lights off a little earlier, and not to be afraid to shed things off our life that are no longer serving us. The same way we will begin to see the trees shed their leaves, we can use this new season to let go of thoughts, actions, habits, and maybe even people who are no longer contributing to our own personal growth.

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As we prepare to dive into Fall, don’t be afraid to listen to what your body is truly calling for. This is a wonderful time to offer nourishment, rest, and warmth to all aspects of our lives. Even though the school year starts to get pretty crazy, still try to make time for yourself.

Time for yourself can include going to bed a little earlier instead of going out, reading a book instead of watching a movie, getting a fulfilling workout in, spending time in silence, dancing to your favorite song (this is an especially great way to start your morning!),or making some nourishing food with some wonderful Fall flavors!

Here’s some great Fall recipes to try from some of our favorite blogs:

Leanne from Healthful Pursuit‘s Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Breakfast Cake

Angela from Oh She Glow’s Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos and her Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for Two

Chocolate Covered Katie‘s Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Is healthy eating overwhelming?

Sometimes the thought of switching over to a healthier lifestyle can seem… overwhelming to say the least.

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There is so much conflicting information out there, it can get easy to get lost in the midst of it all.

Let’s try to take a step back for a moment, and get back to the heart of things.

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Maybe healthy eating doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.

I feel like our society tends to promote this idea that, especially in the case of food, the more things you don’t eat, the better. I hear it all the time when people are talking about dieting or trying to loose weight.

“I can’t eat this… I’m on a diet.” or “I can’t eat that, my diet won’t allow it.” All the while longingly staring at the very thing they are denying themselves.  Why do we like to torture ourselves so much? If we really want to be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle let’s first and foremost undo all this “I can’t” business.

When you tell yourself you can’t have something, you are setting the stage to feel deprived. If you are anything like me, I can only deprive myself of something for so long until I finally give in. Usually whenever this “giving in” occurs, I feel the need to make up for any amount of deprivation by over-eating whatever it is that I had been trying to cut out. This over-eating often causes me to feel really guilty, so I start all over again with trying to deprive myself.

So, let’s try and change this language here. What if, rather than setting these deprivation-based cycles with an “I can’t” mindset, we start our healthier lifestyle by recognizing that we are in control, deciding in each moment what we eat. Once we have a basic understanding of what is good for us, and what is not so good, we can begin to look at things and say, “I care about myself so much that I CHOOSE not to eat that.” Or, even better, “I care about myself, my body, and how I feel so much that rather than eating this thing that tends to make me feel bad and has no health benefits, I will eat this super nutritious thing that will both fuel and nourish my body and allow me to feel amazing.” I think we all deserve to feel amazing!

While there are certainly things in the Standard American Diet (SAD) that are not necessary, and may even be disease and inflammation promoting, we forget to talk about the myriad of amazing foods that are incredibly beneficial and that we actually SHOULD be eating!

So, what should we eat?

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Let’s start with eating REAL, whole foods. Buying foods that look similar to how they would have if that had just been picked from the ground.

Adding in more vegetables into your diet.

Switching your meals to more plant-based.  You can visit the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine for more information. Your plate should look something like this:

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Keeping a variety of color on your plate.

Drinking lots and lots of water.

Emphasizing greens.

Allowing yourself to eat STARCH. See this video from Dr. McDougall for more information on starch. Starch can be simply based on whole foods, as in potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, vegetables, rice, oats. Go for unprocessed forms when possible.

And, above all, ALLOW yourself to eat without feeling guilty or deprived. Being healthy is about recognizing that you are a beautiful and amazing individual who deserves to feel your absolute best. You don’t deserve to feel deprived and constantly in a state of lack, you should instead feel nourished, and in control of the choices you are making.

Obviously, there is plenty more to be said on how to start a healthier lifestyle. Some additional insight:

The book: Keep it Simple, Keep it Whole by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD

The film: Forks Over Knifes

Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

This salad looks amazing

This website has great recipes as well.

Let’s keep this conversation going. How do you make healthier lifestyle changes?

Welcome to the SSU Campus Rec Nutrition Food Blog

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We want to give you guys a chance to not only learn to be healthy, but have a chance to make healthy food on your own! Here’s your chance to make something not only healthy but fun. Instead of going out or indulging in that extra dessert, check out the Campus Rec Nutrition blog and make something you can be proud of.

Enjoy!