How to Kick-Off Your Health Goals For 2014

When saying goodbye to an old year and jumping into a new one, many of us will set new year’s resolutions. And it isn’t any surprise that the majority of us want to lose weight, start exercising or eating clean. Getting active and cleaning up your diet can have a tremendously positive effect on your health. Here are a few tips to help you stick with your New Year’s Resolutions.

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1) Set “SuPeR Smart” GoalsSSelf Controllable (Your goal must be something that you can control), P – Public (Reinforce your goal by telling another person, or possibly posting it somewhere for others to see), R – Reward (Allow yourself a reward for when you reach your goal), SSpecific (Make sure your goal is clear-cut and not too general), MMeasurable (For example, losing a specific number of pounds or setting a specific number of push-ups you would like to do), AAdjustable (It’s okay to change your goal to accommodate your lifestyle), RRealistic (The goal needs to be achievable), TTime Based (Set a timeline for your goal, or a date for when you would like to achieve your goal)

2) Find an online community or app to keep you motivated during your progress. Bodybuilding.com is a great website with lots of articles on nutrition and exercise. MindBodyGreen shares articles on holistic wellness, including nutrition, yoga and other health based topics.

3) Do your research with any nutrition or fitness plan. What works for others may not work for you. There are so many opinions on the internet on which “diets” and exercises are best for your health. Become aware of what works for your body and don’t compare yourself to others.

4) Keep your stress at bay. Have fun with your workouts, don’t stress over what you eat. Remember, one healthy meal won’t make you healthy, one unhealthy meal does not make you unhealthy. Get your recommended amount of sleep at night. Remember to breath. Try taking up yoga or meditation. Reducing your stress levels will not only make you feel good but look good as well.

5) Do not give in to the negative images that take up your social networking sites. As if the media did not do  a good enough job portraying it’s idea of “beautiful”, but now “fitspiration” is all over social media. Keep your health goals about your health rather than your appearance. Focus on how healthy choices makes you feel great rather than how it makes you look.

Cinnamon Spice Protein Waffles

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I finally got a waffle iron to provide a little change up from my regular protein pancakes. Although is has been “interesting” to say the least, I have finally come up with the perfect batter technique. This cinnamon spice batter is perfect for chilly fall mornings or even lunch, snack & dinner.
I blended all my dry ingredients together: 1/2 cup of oats with 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of All Spice, 1 tbsp of coconut palm sugar and 1 tsp of Stevia powder and 1/2 a scoop of protein powder (I use plain, but if you chose to use a sweetened powder make sure to add lea stevia/sugar)
After the dry ingredients I added half of 1 egg (including the yolk) and a little pure vanilla extract. This morning I had to add water to my batter because I didn’t have any coconut milk left! But you can substitute whatever liquid you prefer. I added just enough water so my batter wasn’t too thin or thick.
These waffles turned out perfect, the cinnamon/spice flavour with the sweetness was so delicious.
Enjoy

Tomorrow Is the First Day of Autumn

Each season in the year is extremely important, beautiful and amazing in it’s own way but my heart has always been with Autumn. Fall or Autumn, whatever you like to call it is most definitely my favourite season of the year. After adjusting to this new school semester I am ready to fully “fall” into Autumn and enjoy every moment. Reading this article on MindBodyGreen really helped me decipher why I am so in love with this season.

Though it is  most often associated with death – the trees are shedding it’s leaves -we are losing minutes of sunlight everyday and the temperature is dropping, somehow Autumn makes us feel so good. Whether it is the clothes we are bundling up in or the delicious comfort foods we are enjoying there is something very cozy, restful and warm-spirited about fall. Here are some of my favourite things I associate with Autumn and why you should enjoy them as well.

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1) Chai Tea. I don’t drink this tea at any time of the year other than Fall/Winter. The warm, spicy taste brings me peace of mind and tastes amazing, whether it is plain or made into a latte. Ingredients such as black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger. These are great for digestion, filled with antioxidants not to mention the other billion benefits of cinnamon. Right now my favourite Chai would have to be the Organic Tazo Chai Tea.

2) Apples, Pears and the other many in-season produce. Autumn is the time of year when apples are in full abundance. Pears, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Squash. Some of the best seasonal dishes are made in Autumn, like apple pie.

3) Knitting. As the nights are getting longer I am absolutely not ashamed to come home from a long day of books, put my sweatpants on and knit. This is my time to relax, and maybe even make something. Knitting is my moment of peace and creativity. (Occasionally frustration) Not only do I love to knit but wearing knits in general, Autumn is all about bundling up in scarves, long socks, toques and comfy sweaters.

Salad in a Jar

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I had about 15 minutes this morning eat breakfast and make lunch before I had to rush out the door for school. I figured it would be easy to toss a bunch of ingredients into a jar and call it a salad – so I did.

This is 1/2 cup of brown rice, along with some chopped spinach and all the fresh vegetables I could find in my fridge – tomatoes, green onion, green peppers, cucumbers and even some corn. This salad was not only extremely delicious but also very filling. Hopefully I didn’t get too many weird looks while trying to eat out of a mason jar.

Minimize Stress, Maximize Health and Energy this Fall

Next week many of us will be back to school. Everybody is familiar with the “Freshman 15”, however you don’t need to be in your freshman year to succumb to unhealthy habits during your school semester! Poor nutrition, stress, and lack of activity not only work against your health but can also affect your work ethic. Check out these 5 suggestions to minimize your stress levels and maximize your health and energy throughout the semester.

1) Don’t forgo your fitness routine

I understand you have 3 essays to get started on and a mid-term to prepare for but keeping up an exercise routine, whether that’s yoga, weight lifting or running, will help decrease your stress levels. If you get your body moving you will increase your circulation. As the oxygen is delivered throughout your body you will feel as though you are more energetic, not to mention the release of endorphins (the feel-good hormone).

2) Prepare your own food to bring on campus

Take control of your nutrition and pack wholesome and filling meals to school with you. Not only are you likely to save money but you will know exactly what you are putting into your body. Take the time the night before, or wake-up earlier than you normally would to prepare your food/snacks/lunch. “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

3) Use a natural sweetener in your daily coffee fix

Stevia is a great all-natural sweetener that you can buy in little packs. Store a few of these in your backpack or purse. Putting process sugar in your daily coffee spikes your blood sugar, which can leave you feeling sluggish, and contribute to empty calories. Also avoid artificial sweeteners which can be toxic to the body.

4) Try breathing techniques to quickly reduce unneeded stress

Why do people feel so great after they have finished a yoga class? A lot of that has to do with focusing on the breath. If you feel stress approaching tune into your breath. Even if it is for a minute, breathing has a tremendous impact on our nervous systems and can help us to relax.

5) Keep your workspace organized and separate

I am extremely guilty of using my bed as my workspace. But experts say if we reserve our sleeping areas strictly for sleeping, we will get a better night’s sleep. Keeping an organized space, intended for working can increase work production.