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.. daily dose of health and happiness


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Monday Mantra 4

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. This whole time change thing really effects us, doesn’t it? I didn’t want any veggies at lunch yesterday because my body still thought it was in the morning hours. I read somewhere that it takes a week to adjust to the 1 hour change – do you agree? Who knew 1 hour made such a difference! Anyway, here we are. This week’s quote is a bit of a zinger, but I really love it. We all have our moments, perhaps judging someone else’s choices, actions, or doings. Maybe we’ve even talked about it with a friend. I’m all for venting. I’m just not for judging – there’s a big difference! I think most people are extra sensitive on Mondays, so this quote is a great eye-opener for the week.

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CHEERS to a mindful Monday!

  • Do you have any Monday rituals? How do you cope with the Monday blues? I always set my coffee pot so a nice warm mug awaits 🙂
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How Much MSG Are You Eating?

Happy hump day! I can’t believe we’re at the halfway hump. The weekend is near! As well as “spring ahead,” longer days, and warmer weather. I already feel like I have more energy.. Spring is a season of awakening, for sure! I’ve shared before how what you eat relates to your daily thoughts and feelings. Have you ever felt sluggish, slept terribly, had a bad dream and just couldn’t figure out why? I’ve had a family member feel the effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) after dinner, but didn’t eat at a Chinese restaurant so it couldn’t have been MSG, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, MSG is hiding in many of the foods you eat daily. The USDA is hiding the ingredient under various names.

Totally unfair, I know. Completely frustrating? Definitely. It’s so tough to navigate the grocery store today, always on the lookout for chemicals and unnecessary preservatives that show up in your favorite cereal. I’m pretty fed up! The best way to deal is to spread the news. I know a majority of people want to avoid MSG at all costs, so I hope you find this post helpful!

Just the other day, I informed my mom that MSG is in the vegetable bouillon jar that she occasionally uses to add more broth to soup. She was shocked, not to mention disappointed. It may be found in your soy sauce or even your “healthy” snack that has “natural flavoring” on the ingredient list. Concentrated protein and protein isolates are also common to contain MSG chemicals, so be sure to do your research before consuming a particular protein powder.

Here are the most common names for MSG in everyday food sources:

  • Yeast Extract (you’ll be horrified by how often you see this ingredient)
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Textured Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Soy or Whey Protein Isolate and/or Concentrate

For more info, head here. What can we do to avoid MSG? We can eat as close to whole foods as we possibly can. Choose foods that are less processed. Say no to chemicals! Make healthy food swaps. Nothing beats simply being aware! And with little changes day by day, we’re able to easily manage a healthier lifestyle.

CHEERS to spreading the word!

  • What ingredients are you on the lookout for when checking labels?
  • What’s your favorite healthy snack?!


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Monday Mantra 3

Monday has struck again! I hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend. Yesterday I went to an arm balance and inversion yoga class. I was in awe of the instructor, her back muscles, and the way she balanced with such grace. Yoga sure does take a lot of practice. I love headstands, but arm balances are a whole new world to me. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the class, but I left with sore arms and new challenges to tackle. I usually practice yoga at home, so I was really out of my comfort zone. Speaking of which..

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This quote is so true. Think about the last time you were really proud of yourself or felt really accomplished.. Now before that sense of pride, you maybe were a nervous reck, anxious, uncomfortable? SEE! It’s amazing what can happen when we give ourselves opportunities to be courageous, daring, and adventurous.

CHEERS to trying new things!

  • When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? .. meeting a new friend for coffee, trying a  fitness class, interviewing for a job, going somewhere new by yourself..


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How to Make Chia Pudding

Happy hump day! Making it halfway through a week without snow is a huge accomplishment for New England right now, yippee! Needless to say, it’s been quite chilly. In the mornings after my workout, I always feel a cold sweat and crave a warm bowl of oatmeal with a hot coffee. While oatmeal is very versatile, I’ve been bored! I miss the tropical, fresh flavors of summer. So what did I do? I threw on an extra sweatshirt and whipped up vegan coconut chia pudding to take myself to paradise. Are you in? I’ll show you how to make it below!

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Here are the only ingredients you need – and then some! Chia seeds create a gel-like texture after absorbing liquid, this is how you get a “pudding” consistency. It’s reminiscent of tapioca, which I understand some people aren’t a fan of! I happen to love it. If you don’t, feel free to blend all ingredients together to break up the texture. While this tastes indulgent, it’s filled with nutrients.

Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, protein and calcium (5 times the amount of calcium in milk)! Talk about a nutritional powerhouse – and you only need a small serving.

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I like to use light coconut milk. I’ve seen many people use almond milk, soy milk, and other alternatives. For some reason, almond milk in chia pudding just doesn’t do it for me! I love the flavor of coconut and I also love the creaminess. Note: we’re having breakfast in paradise where coconuts are abundant, remember.

At least 2 hours or the night prior to eating, pour 2/3 of a cup light coconut milk into a jar, bowl, wine glass? Why not! Then add in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I also added 1 tablespoon of superfood goji berries for extra antioxidants. Feel free to add raisins instead, or chopped dates. Or wait until the morning and add your toppings then!

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Give your seeds a good stir. You can see above that they really start to gel from the get-go. You can see below the aftermath after a night in the fridge – no more liquid left!

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Throw on some berries, toasted coconut, slivered almonds, banana.. your tropical oasis awaits!

imagePossibilities are endless with toppings and add-ins. You just wait, I’ll have a decadent chocolately chia pudding recipe coming at ya in the coming weeks. Because, chocolate.

CHEERS to a tropical morning!

  • What summer flavors are you missing most? Ice cream counts 😉

 


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Monday Mantra 2

Welcome to Monday! Did you enjoy your mantra last week? Daily affirmations can be hard, especially if you don’t believe in them quite yet. If you go at it with a distracted mind, you may not swallow it as much as you would if you were relaxed. This article from Mind Body Green gives 4 tips and 6 steps to get the most out of it! I also enjoy quotes of the day, that always helps me focus on positivity first thing in the morning. I share those all the times on instagram and I also have a pinterest board devoted to inspiring quotes! With that said, here’s my inspiration for today:

 

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CHEERS to a fabulous week!


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5 Steps to Create a Healthy Menu

Hello! The snow has continued here in New England. I just checked the parking lot of my apartment and some cars are actually completely buried – all I can see is a side mirror! I’m sure glad mine doesn’t look like that. Once my boyfriend and I venture out later we’ll have quite the workout shoveling. Part of me likes the snowed in, snuggling, sweatpants, fleece blankets, hot coffee joy of of it all! Sometimes staying in beats going out. What did you do for Valentine’s Day? I hope you celebrated with your special girlfriends, special someone, special mom, special cat – you name it 🙂 We stayed in and made quite a feast! While we were eating we decided that we prefer menu planning, cooking up a storm together, music playing, drink pouring, happiness in our little home. That’s not to say we don’t like to go out, but cooking together is fun, dancing in the kitchen is even more fun and the meal is cheaper while guaranteed delicious because we know what went into each plate! Below I’ll break down into what we had and share the recipes I found or created, so you can give it a try yourself some night.

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My boyfriend loooooves to eat a potpourri of food. I mean, who doesn’t like the occasional break from a traditional meal and instead grazing on a little bit of all the yummies. My only problem, I’m pretty matchy-patchy from my clothes to decor to my plate. If I’m going to feast on a spread, I’d like to have the flavors flow together deliciously. May take a little more time to plan, but my tastebuds are for sure happy. Since this is a spread of different foods, you’ll most definitely have leftovers to enjoy the next day, too! If you plan to do this, I suggest coming up with a theme – mexican, mediterranean, spicy, asian, thai, italian.. you name it! My theme was mediterranean – my favorite.

1 – Pick your protein, plant-based or meat. We decided on these mediterranean meatballs. Here’s what we changed:

  • I can’t eat Mary’s little lamb, so I picked ground turkey
  • Zest of a whole lemon, not half
  • For spices: 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and 2-3 teaspoons of dried dill
  • We did not make the tzatziki, but it sounds delicious

2 – Pick your veggies. We chopped carrots and celery to dip into no-bean parsnip “hummus.”

  • I didn’t have coriander, but didn’t miss the flavor either
  • 4 tablespoons of tahini instead of 6 was the perfect amount for a creamy consistency
  • I did add a 1/4 cup of water to the food processor at the end because I found the hummus to be too sticky without it
  • I made this mid-afteroon and put it in the fridge to cool and let the flavors mingle
  • I don’t recommend the coconut oil on top as it hardens when it touches your out-of-the-fridge hummus – drizzle a bit of olive oil with a dash of garlic powder and red pepper flakes instead

3 – Pick a grain if you’d like. Yes, right now I’m calling a whole-grain naan flatbread pizza a grain (haha).

  • Place a store-bought whole grain naan flatbread in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes until it starts to get crispy
  • Take it out of the oven and spread Stonewall Kitchen’s onion and garlic jam all over, leaving the outer edges bare for a crust
  • Crumble goat cheese on top and place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes
  • Next step for the pizza is in step 4..

4 – Pick a green! I added arugula to the pizza – you won’t regret this.

5 – Pick a few fun “mini sides”

  • Kalamata olives
  • Red grapes
  • Whole wheat pretzles
  • Rosemary spiced nuts
    • Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to a skillet over medium heat
    • Once melted, add 1/2 cup of raw almonds, 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds, and a 1/2 cup of raw cashews and stir until covered in the oil
    • Add 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar, 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper and reduce heat to medium-low
    • Don’t take your eyes off the skillet or it will burn! Continue to stir until fragrant and remove from heat once the nuts start to golden
    • Spread out on a cookie sheet to crisp up

Then, take that glass of champagne to CHEERS!

  • Do you ever prefer staying in over going out, too?

 


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Monday Mantra 1

Monday has snuck up on us again! How do you feel on Monday morning – tired, sad, overwhelmed, rushed or excited, happy, relaxed? I can look at this 2 ways. I’ve already experienced the Sunday afternoon bellyache in anticipation of the impending Monday doom. Sound like you? I’ll try my best to help you change that! While we would all love to live in a world full of Saturdays, we wouldn’t have anything to look forward to. I don’t expect anyone to look forward to Monday with great excitement, but it helps to change the negative perspective. Every Monday I’m going to share a new mantra or daily affirmation with you. You can carry it through the whole week if you’d like, or read the blog and be done with it. I believe affirmations help change our mental state. Positive thoughts promote positivity, after-all. Maybe you should give it a try and we can get through Mondays together! So leave that Monday stress behind, take a deep breath and read:

 


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CHEERS to a fabulous week!

  • What helps you get through Monday?