WELLNESS

May is for Mental Health!

The month of May is now a nationally recognized awareness month for Mental Health! Our minds are so important and key to our health! Our mental health influences how we think,feel and behave in our daily life it also effects out ability to handle stress. To keep ourselves in balanced and in tune with how we think and feel,let's take some time and apply these tips to boost our mental well being!



1.Make social connections! Especially face to face! We are all human with emotions,making time to connect and spend time with people is important. The excitement of making a connection with a new friend or venting/laughing with a trusted friend keeps our minds in tune with what we're feeling.

2.Staying Active! Keeping active is not just beneficial for our bodies but necessary for keeping our minds health and sharp.

3. Keep Stress Levels in Check! Take up a relaxation practice or zone in on your senses,aromatherapy is always a great way to relax. Or cue up your favorite song! Make time for fun and leisure,call up that friend and check out a comedy show!

4.Eat a Brain Healthy Diet! By avoiding foods like caffeine,alcohol,fried foods,sugary snack ans refined carbs like white rice and opt for foods that boost better moods such as avocados,black beans,leafy greens and fresh fruits!!

5.Sleep Sleep Sleep! Getting at least 7-9 hrs of sleep sounds impossible to us sometimes but it is a must!! Skipping a few hours here and there can really take a toll on our moods,mind and bodies! If anxiety or worries cloud your thoughts when its time to go to bed,try looking up ways or seek help/classes that deal with worrying.


There are truly so many ways we can improve our lives daily that are simple and not costly! Self care is the cheapest form of health care we have,let's stay focused on the positive and pay attention to when we need to help. There should never be a stigma attached to wanting to better our mental health!

Healthy,Easy and Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes!

At work or just on the go,eating healthy sometimes can seem time consuming,after looking up ways to cut the cooking time in half or healthy meals on the go,I kept seeing a reoccurring solution...a crock pot/slow cooker! I used to think it was only for family recipe meatloaf and meatballs,turns out the possibilities are endless!! Check out this amazing and healthy recipe made while I was out running errands for the day!


                                                                 Slow Cooker Chili!
Ingredients:

                  
1 tablespoonolive oil (or oil from sundried tomatoes or
roasted peppers)
1 tablespoon
90gonion, diced3/4 cup
3 clovesgarlic, finely chopped3 cloves
1 teaspooncumin seeds, toasted & lightly crushed*1 teaspoon
1 teaspoonmild paprika1 teaspoon
1 teaspoonsugar1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoonoregano3/4 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoonsalt, or to taste3/4 teaspoon
1/2 teaspooncoarsely ground peppercorns1/2 teaspoon
1/8 teaspooncayenne, or to taste1/8 teaspoon
400g tinchopped tomatoes14 oz can
400g tinkidney beans, drained & rinsed14 oz can
(or 1-1/2 cups of cooked kidney beans)
90groasted red pepper, diced3/4 cup
45gdry TVP granules,meat or meat substitute   1/2 cup
2 tablespoonslentils2 tablespoons
375mlwater1-1/2 cups
Toppings of choice: sour cream, spring onions,
shredded  cheese, fresh cilantro,
chopped fresh tomato, etc


Instructions:
1. Saute onion in oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute.
2. Add toasted & crushed cumin seeds, paprika, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne and mix well. Turn off heat.
3. In slow cooker, combine tomatoes, drained & rinsed kidney beans, roasted red pepper, TVP, lentils, water and sauteed onion mixture.
4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Makes four servings.

Life Hacks to Improve Our Health!

We all can agree life as we know it,can be crazy and stressful,we sometimes wish things were a little easier at times. Why not apply a few of these life hacks to improve our health! The things we can help and improve in our daily routine will help us make big changes in our lives!



1. Early Riser (well by just a few minutes) Setting the alarm clock 5 to 10 minutes earlier does a world of wonder for the rest of your day,not feeling rushed starts our day off on a calm foot. Rather than jumping head first into the day,take a deep breathe to mentally prepare!

2. Keep Moving! Staying on our feet will keep the circulation going throughout our body and keeps the oxygen flowing to our brain making us less sleepy throughout the day! Walking might not seem like a big deal but the results add up and make a significant difference in our day,if possible get a standing desk to work from!

3.Take Vitamins and Honey! Vitamin B,B12,B6 and Vitamin C really help with staying healthy and if allergies are getting you down during the spring time,eat some local honey! Honey soothes the allergies and in time helps to become less sensitive to the allergens around us!

4.Breakfast IS the most important meal of the Day! Planning a healthy breakfast usually helps keep us on track throughout the rest of the day. When we start our day off with nothing or something not so healthy we tend to give into instant cravings,aka sugar!

5.Getting Those Greens In! Eating greens will improve skin,health and mood! Keeps energy levels up and keeps our acidic levels down! Pile them on!

6.Be Mindful! Even our thoughts have an impact on our day,if we adopt a way of thinking that is uplifting to ourselves,it can be a pep talk or a few throughout the day or just a positive image of future self can really keep us focused on the present goals and tasks at hand! Also taking quiet time to reflect and filter out the positive and negative thoughts is a must!

7. Power Nap! Whenever possible take 15 to 20 min naps,most times we wont fall into a deep sleep but just stopping,closing our eyes can help us have more clarity!

8.Meal Planning! Being prepared to take on the day really alleviate the daily decision making of "do I eat out or eat healthy."

9. Sleeeeep!! Make sleep a priority! Keeping a clear mind will have us sharp when we need to make quick decisions in our day!

10. Hydrate! Let's keep our skin glowing,our organs moving,our appetites down and mind functioning with WATER!! Adding an extra glass of water to our 8 glasses will really keep us going in the warm days!!

Let's keep the want for better health at the front focus and continue improving ourselves!!

Hydrating Food that Tastes Good!

With the hot and sunny days ahead,hydration will be key to get us on track and keep us motivated with our health! Instead of the idea of depriving,let's eat our way to health! haha adding plenty of water/hydrating foods that are also filling will keep our energy up and appetites satisfied and most importantly healthy!! Check out this amazing and inexpensive Avocado,Jicama and Cucumber salad that looks very gourmet!

Ingredients

  • 2 C Cucumber about two medium
  • 2 C Jicama about 1/4 of a small jicama
  • Fist-full of Cilantro chopped
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Smoky Paprika 
  • 1/8 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Avocados





Instructions

  1. To prep the cucumber, leave the skin on if using an organic cucumber, otherwise peel the skin and discard. Slice the cucumber lengthwise, down the middle and scrape out the seeds (save these seeds and juice for a smoothie). Peel the cucumber with a vegetable peeler. Cut into short strips and place in a large mixing bowl. Peel the jicama with a large knife and julienne the Jicama. Alternatively, cut the cucumber and jicama into small cubes. Place into the bowl with the cucumbers.
  2. Mix the cucumber, jicama, cilantro(optional), lime juice, salt, paprika and chili powder together. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Just prior to serving, slice one avocado into bite size pieces and gently toss in the salad. Use the second avocado for garnish, slicing the avocado into long thin pieces or add more bite size pieces, if desired. Garnish with more cilantro.
  3. Store for up to two days in a covered container in the refrigerator.
                                                Serve and Enjoy!! 



Feeling Blue?

Lately i've heard many of my friends are dealing with depression and anxiety,maybe it's everything going on in the world,or the constant need to keep up with social media "status" whatever the case maybe,there are so many things in life we cannot control. If there's one thing we can control it's how much time we spend in the real world,meaning away from all electronic devices and what we eat! Here are a list of a few delicious and amazing foods to help fight the blues away and keep us feeling great and clear minded!



1. Dark Leafy Greens

If you were to choose the healthiest food of all, the most nutrient-dense item available to us to eat, it would be dark, leafy greens, no contest. Spinach. Kale. Swiss chard. Greens are the first of the G-BOMBS (Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds) Severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation. Leafy greens are especially important because they contain oodles of vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals and phytochemicals.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms.

3. Avocado

I eat a whole one every day in my salad for lunch. Avocados are power foods because, again, they contain healthy fat that your brain needs in order to run smoothly. Three-fourths of the calories of an avocado are from fat, mostly monosaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. An average avocado also contains 4 grams of protein, higher than other fruits, and is filled with vitamin K, different kinds of vitamin B (B-9, B-6, and B-5), vitamin C, and vitamin E-12. Finally, they are low in sugar and high in dietary fiber, containing about 11 grams each.

4. Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. I try to have a variety for breakfast in the morning.  They are like DNA repairmen. They go around fixing your cells and preventing them from getting cancer and other illnesses.

5. Mushrooms

Here are two good reasons mushrooms are good for your mental health. First, their chemical properties oppose insulin, which helps lower blood sugar levels, evening out your mood. They also are like a probiotic in that they promote healthy gut bacteria. And since the nerve cells in our gut manufacture 80 percent to 90 percent of our body’s serotonin — the critical neurotransmitter that keeps us sane — we can’t afford to not pay attention to our intestinal health.

6. Onions

You won’t find this item on most lists of mood foods. However, it’s included in Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS because onions and all allium vegetables (garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, and spring onions) have been associated with a decreased risk of several cancers and decreased anxiety.
7. Tomatoes
I try to eat at least six baby tomatoes in my salad each day for lunch because tomatoes contain lots of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression. Folic acid can prevent an excess of homocysteine — which restricts the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — from forming in the body. Alpha-lipoic acid keeps coming up as I read more about nutrition and the brain.

8. Beans

“Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you … smile.” They make the G-BOMB list because they can act as anti-diabetes and weight-loss foods. They are good for my mood because my body (and every body) digests them slowly, which stabilizes blood sugar levels. Any food that assists me in evening out my blood sugar levels is my friend. They are the one starch that I allow myself, so on top of a salad, they help mitigate my craving for bread and other processed grains.

9. Seeds

When I’m close to reaching for potato chips — or anything else that is yelling “I will take away your pain!” — I allow myself a few handfuls of sunflower seeds or any other kind of seed I can find in our kitchen. Seeds are the last food on Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS list.
Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are especially good for your mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
10. Apples
An apple a day could — if eaten with the rest of these foods — keep the psychiatrist away, at least for stretches of time. Like berries, apples are high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent and repair oxidation damage and inflammation on the cellular level. They are also full of soluble fiber, which balances blood sugar swings. A snack I have grown to love is almond butter on apple slices. I get my omega-3 fatty acid along with some fiber.

Keeping these amazing foods in stock at home,soon enough our brains will be rewired to think positive thoughts as well as creating healthy habits with our eating! 

Homemade Hummus!

Chickpeas have been a life saver lately,not only are they filling but so versatile,it's most popular use is for hummus! Although the hummus found at the local Farmers Market is amazing,it's fun and easy to make your own! Also I get to customize my own hummus when made at home!


Ingredients:

1(15 oz can of no salt added chickpeas)

1/4 cup of tahini

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt



Instructions:

Drain chickpeas, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Transfer the chickpeas and the reserved liquid to a food processor. Add tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt. Puree until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Keep cool and serve! 


Spring Time Chickpea Salad!

With all the social activities around the corner,it only makes sense to post an easy go to salad that's healthy and satisfying with fresh spring time ingredients! You'll be preparing this amazing salad to take with you on the road when on the go,or a pot luck,weekly meal prep and even the kids will love this! 


MEDITERRANEAN CHICKPEA SALAD
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 can (250 mL) no salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Large handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½-1 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • ½ cup light feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add onion and red pepper and cook, stirring over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Stir in chickpeas. Squeeze lemon juice and add parsley, and salt and pepper to taste (optional).
  2. Warm the chickpeas through, and then pour into a large bowl and allow to sit for a few minutes. Add feta cheese and toss lightly.
  3. Can be enjoyed on a bed of spinach to make it even more healthier!