Stress is a normal part of every day life, whether caused by work, family or events completely out of our control. It can have both positive and negative effects. The effects become negative on our mind and body when it accumulates and isn't dealt with properly. Here are 20 Stress Busters to help you better deal with everyday stress.
1. Stop Rushing. Start giving yourself more time to get things done.
2. Get enough sleep. If you are operating on less than sufficient sleep, even the small annoyances can become major crises - not to mention the effects on your hormone levels.
3. Let out a big sigh. This will help you naturally begin to breathe more deeply. Try to free up your abdomen so it can expand as you inhale. Let the breath linger for a moment, then gently draw your belly button in as your exhale.
4. Indulge in some calorie free treats. Enjoy a massage, hot bath, pedicure, or a good book.
5. Use creative visualization. Imagine a relaxing or happy setting to take you away from the stressful situation.
6. Disconnect from the electronic world. Turn off your cell phone, shut down your computer, drive with the radio off and stay clear of the TV for just one night. Give room to simply be.
7. Try single tasking. Often times when we are multi-tasking it takes us much longer to actually finish the task. Instead pick one task to do and you will be able to quickly cross it off your to-do list.
8. Make time to cuddle. This could be with your significant other, kids or pets.
9. Schedule automatic down time. This may be as little as 5 minutes a day where you empty your mind and reconnect to yourself.
10. Cut yourself some slack. Stop demanding perfectionism. No one is perfect!
11. Take a moment of gratitude. Even in the most difficult of times, look for something to be thankful for. Gratitude is often a huge source of happiness.
12. Learn to meditate. By taking just a few minutes to simply be and breathe, you’ll begin to develop a state of calm presence and focused awareness that pays its dividends throughout the day.
13. Prioritize. Figure out the difference between urgent, important and nonessential tasks and focus your energy appropriately.
14. Do the cobra. According to yoga, this pose tones your adrenal glands (to help prevent exhaustion) and stimulates your heart. Try this: lie on your stomach, placing your hands flat on the floor next to your ribcage. Slowly straighten your arms, lift your chest and press your shoulders away from your ears. Hold the pose for a few slow deep breaths.
15. Write things down. This will help dispel any anxiety and free up mental energy to you can participate and enjoy the now.
16. Ask for help. Believe it or not, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Most people want to feel needed, so here’s your chance to make them happy.
17. Go for a walk outside. Getting fresh air is a known tool for reducing stress.
18. Let the sun shine in. Sunlight is not only a good source of Vitamin D, it's also necessary for the production of serotonin, one of the “feel good” hormones.
19. Get creative. Expressing yourself can be an emotional release. Try cooking, drawing, planting, dancing. Do whatever it is you need to bring yourself relief.
20. Eat stress reducing foods
a. B vitamins –asparagus, almonds, almond butter, spinach, broccoli, lentils, red peppers, snapper, salmon, halibut, scallops, shrimp. If you feel like you are really stressed, you may consider taking a B complex supplement.
b. Magnesium- raw cacao, leafy greens, seaweeds
c. Adaptagenic herbs –Maca or Ashwaganda
d. Omega 3’s - salmon, flax seed, walnuts, chia and hemp
e. Zinc- grass fed beef, leafy greens, miso, pumpkin seeds
Coconut is one of the many foods that has gotten a bad wrap over the years, so hopefully I can help to clarify any confusion you might have about including this fat in your regular dietary intake.
So what makes coconut oil so great? Well coconut oil has been used in Ayruveda for thousands of years. Ayruveda is used in India and is known as "the science of life."
Unlike other fats, coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids which can help us to lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve diabetic conditions and reduce the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil has a completely different effect on our body than long chain fatty acids found in meat and vegetable oils. Medium chain fatty acids, once consumed, are broken down and used as immediate energy rather than being stored as fat or converted into triglycerides. Coconut oil is therefore a great Superfood for athletes because once glycogen stores have been used up during exercise, coconut oil is then used as the second source of energy.
1. Coconut oil speeds up metabolism allowing the body to drop excess weight and toxins.
2. Coconut oil is high in lauric and capryllic acid which is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, so they are beneficial for the immune system. Try putting it in tea to help them fight colds! The components of coconut oil target harmful bacteria, but leave friendly bacteria alone, which help balance the flora in the digestive system (similar to probiotics). It has also been shown to fight Candida or yeast overgrowth.
3. Coconut oil keeps skin looking young and radiant. As a topical application, it can be useful for restoring luster to your hair, making it an ideal conditioner and moisturizer.
4. Coconut oil also an excellent choice for cooking, because the oil is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Oils such as olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil are actually the worst type of fat for cooking. They oxidize at high temperatures, which means they become toxic.
5. Coconut oil potentiates omega 3 fatty acids making them more absorbable and readily available for the body.
Coconut oil has a fantastic flavor. Try as a replacement in any recipe that calls for a form of fat. It's a great substitute for everything from butter and margarine, to olive and vegetable oils.
What Kind to Buy:
Be sure NOT to buy coconut oil that has been hydrogenated. This destroys the beneficial attributes of coconut oil and makes it high in dangerous trans-fatty acids. The best kind of coconut oil is organic virgin coconut oil, which is closest to its natural state and will provide the most health benefits. You can use it as you would olive oil.
The fragrant spice cinnamon is an intriguing compound as it has demonstrated powerful antioxidative, anti-microbial and cancer- protective properties. It is also a good choice
for those with type 2 diabetes as its use has been shown to lower fasting blood glucose while improving insulin resistance.
Source: Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis.
Start your day with this in mind:
"Health must be a priority. Without your health, nothing else matters. When you take care of yourself, you take care of those who love you and who depend on you. It is all too common for you to make everyone else's needs the priority and to leave the leftovers for yourself. This will only work temporarily. When the break comes - and it will - the consequences will wipe out any advantages you may have gained by sacrificing your physical needs. Today, be resolved to make your health a priority; be a good steward of the physical body you were given so you can fulfill the spiritual reasons for your existence."
It may not sound like the best combination, but take it from me, it tastes great and is full of nutrients!
Top your shake with hemp seeds and you've now got a drink that is a superfood powerhouse!
Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, sulfur (also known as the beauty mineral), iron and vitamin E!
8 oz of unsweetened almond, coconut or GMO-free soy milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 an avocado
2 Tbsp unsweetened raw cacao
2 Tbsp all-natural almond butter or peanut butter
2 Pieces seedless dates
1 tbsp. hemp or chia seeds (for topping)
Blend all but hemp seeds together. Top off with hemp or chia seeds and enjoy!
I'm sure you have heard that we should all include fiber in our dietary intake on a daily basis. Do you ever wonder why?
Including fiber in your meals helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time. It also slows down the digestion process, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels, lower levels of insulin release and fewer cravings. What is the significance of this? Not only will this help with weight control, but it also aids in the prevention of heart disease and colon cancer. It is recommended to gett at least 30g of fiber a day. Studies show that most Americans are consuming less than half that amount!
So how can you increase your fiber content each day? Below is a simple example of a day's worth of food including more than 30g of fiber:
1 small banana, sliced
1/3 cup Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Hemp Granola (my favorite)
So Delicious unsweetend Almond milk or Greek yogurt
Total Breakfast: 7g of fiber
Brussels sprouts salad (2 cups)
1 oz chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
lemon, olive oil + parmesan cheese (optional)
Total Lunch: 10g of fiber
2 cups of mixed veggies (broccoli, onion, bok choy, carrots)
Tamari, ginger + garlic
Total Dinner: 18g of fiber
Apple with 1 tbsp all-natural almond butter or peanut butter
Total Dessert/Snack: 6g fiber
Total Fiber for Day: 41g fiber
Monounsaturated fats are a healthy form of fat that we should strive to include in our diets on a regular basis. Below are a list of foods that are nutritional superstars when it comes to their health benefits. Challenge yourself to include them more frequently in your diet today!
Provides a healthy dose of manganese, a mineral necessary for proper metabolism and building strong bones. Use in place of peanut butter on toast or in any recipe that calls for peanut butter. It also adds richness to smoothies.
Abundant in vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and bone health. Toss into salads, blend into dips, mash and use as a spread instead of mayonnaise, or dice and add to tacos. Also use buttery avocado oil in salad dressings and dips.
Delivers magnesium, which may slash type 2 diabetes risk. Adds crunch to chicken stir-fries, cooked whole-grain rice or pasta. Try blending cashew butter with some water until smooth and using in place of heavy cream in soups and chocolate sauce recipes.
Extra-virgin olive oil is high in oleocanthal, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties. Drizzle over roasted vegetables, use in savory baked goods, and blend with herbs for a fish topping.
A source of dietary fiber to help you feel more full. Use as a nutritious topping for salads, in oatmeal, or sprinkled in your Greek yogurt.
Loaded with B6, a vitamin that may improve brain functioning. Sprinkle over roasted beets, toss into pasta dishes and blend into pesto.
Try this heart healthy recipe:
Chicken Spinach Wraps with Tahini Avocado Spread
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3-3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne (may leave out if prefer non-spicy version)
4 La Tortilla Factory Tortilla wraps (Try Rosemary flavor!)
1 large carrot, shredded
2 cups baby spinach
1. Place chicken breasts in a pan large enough that they fit flat in one layer. Add broth, making sure to completely cover the chicken by at least 1 inch. Over medium heat, bring to a slight simmer. Partially cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until meat registers 160 degrees. Adjust heat as needed during cooking to maintain a slight simmer.
2. While chicken cooks, prepare spread. Place avocado, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl and blend with a fork. Mixture should be spreadable, but slightly chunky.
3. When chicken is cooked through, remove from broth, allowing excess liquid to drip off. Save any remaining broth for another use or discard. Slice chicken into strips about 1/4 inch thick.
4. Spread an equal amount of avocado mixture on the center of each tortilla and top with equal amounts of chicken slices, carrots and spinach. Fold the bottom and top 2 inches of the wrap over the filling, then roll wraps tightly. Slice in half and serve.
Nutrition Info (per wrap):
380 Calories, 33g Carbohydrate, 23g Protein, 17g Fat (2.5g Saturated), 60mg Cholesterol, 470mg Sodium, 7g Fiber
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
This dip can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Lightly press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole - not on top of the bowl. This will help keep the bright green color by avoiding oxygen getting to the avocado. Refrigerate until serving time.
3 ripe avocados
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 (15 oz) can of Organic Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 (9.5 oz) bag of Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
1. Cut avocados in half and remove the pits. In each half, slice the flesh up to the skin into thin slices lengthwise and widthwise to creat a dice held together by the skin. Scoop the cut avocado flesh into a medium bowl. Scoop any remaining flesh into the bowl, scraping the skin clean. Pour lemon juice over the avocado and mix well.
2. Add Tabasco, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.
3. Pat the drained black beans dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a food processor and pulse two or three times until coarsely chopped. If no food processor, mash coarsely with a fork or a potato masher. Add to the avocados with the diced tomatoes and stir to mix. Press down slightly so some of the avocado is mashed, but maintain the chopped texture.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with blue corn chips on the side.
Nutritional Value per serving:
11g fat (1.5 saturated)
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? Our skin can tell us a lot about our health, as it reflects all that is going on inside.
Take a look at your skin. What could your skin be telling you? Wrinkles, dry or oily skin, acne, and inflammation are all signs of poor internal health, often brought on by consuming unhealthful foods and avoiding skin-healthy nutrients. Most people turn to all sorts of cosmetics, lotions, chemicals and pills to treat skin problems. This tactic does little to address the root cause of the problem. Most skin problems can be attributed to the following: poor diet, stress, toxicity, inflammation and hormonal and gut imbalances. While cosmetics certainly have their place in the beauty routine, it is wise to take a more preventative, proactive approach as good skin comes from the inside out, not the outside in. Creating radiant, glowing, youthful-looking skin can best be accomplished by focusing on diet and lifestyle.
Top 15 Skin Saving Tips
1. Increase omega-3 fatty acids in the diet (in the form of chia seeds, hemp seeds, salmon or fish oil supplements)
2. Eat low glycemic meals to balance hormones
3. Reduce animal protein
4. Add in probiotics or fermented foods to balance gut health
5. Increase alkalizing foods like leafy greens
6. Reduce foods that cause inflammation (dairy, sugar, wheat) and possible allergens (soy, eggs)
7. Eliminate toxins
8. Do a gentle cleanse with the changing of the seasons
10. Drink more water
11. Increase SUPER antioxidants
12. Increase vitamin, A,C,E
13. Increase zinc, silicia, sulfur, selenium
The Dairy Research Institute recently summarized significant research on protein consumption and associated health effects in a Scientific Status Report.
It has been found that increased protein consumption can help stimulate fat loss and preserve lean body mass. Increased protein consumption may aid in body weight regulation through its ability to increase satiety, increase thermogenesis, and improve body composition.What can you do with this information?
Focus on both quantity and quality:- Be sure to get enough protein during the day.
While the RDA for protein is the amount needed to prevent deficiency, consumption of high-quality protein in excess of the RDA may aid in body weight regulation, as well as help combat weight regain in obese patients. Choose protein sources from lean meats (buffalo, sirloin, filet, flank), poultry (chicken and turkey breast), eggs, fish/shellfish, beans, low and non-fat organic dairy and dairy alternatives (Greek yogurts, low-fat cheese, low or non-fat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, non-GMO soy milk, 1% cottage cheese), tofu, lentils, veggie burgers, seitan, tempeh, edamame, unsalted nuts and seeds, etc.
- Spread protein consumption throughout the day.
Consuming approximately 25-30 grams of high-quality protein at each meal and snack may be associated with less abdominal fat and may help preserve lean body tissue. Strive to eat within 1 hour of waking and every 3 hours throughout the day. Avoid consuming more than this per sitting as our bodies can only utilize so much protein at one time. Any excess is likely to be stored as body fat, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid.