I’m on a cleanse, and it’s not horrible.

Juice Cleanse

I’ve done quite a few cleanses in my day. You know that wacky Master Cleanse that Beyoncé did that one time? Where you’re supposed to survive off of an elixir made from lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper? Did it. In case you didn’t know–it’s horrible for you. I lost 5 pounds in 5 days, but gained it all back and then some in the following weeks. I’ve also tried other juice cleanses like the ones from Liquiteria and Blueprint. To be honest, they’re incredibly difficult to get through and the juices more often than not were full of sugar. Some contained twice as much sugar as a can of soda. Keep in mind: Just because something is green or natural doesn’t mean it’s automatically good for you or without health consequences.

Currently I’m on my second day of the Urban Remedy Metabolism kit. This cleanse is different from the others because it involves real food that you can chew. Hooray for chewing! You really miss chomping your teeth on those juice-only cleanses. This particular program is only three days and consists of pre-packaged organic whole foods and juices.

Photo Credit: Urban Remedy

Photo Credit: Urban Remedy

I’ve got to say, the food has pleasantly surprised me. You never know what you’re going to get with these types of programs. I’ve been drinking diet tea and green juice in the mornings and eating salads and zucchini pasta for lunch and dinner. The afternoon snacks are an acai lemonade and the BEST KALE CHIPS I’VE EVER HAD. Really though, the sour cream and chive kale chips were a game changer for me. I’m feeling inspired to start experimenting with homemade batches, but I’ll save that for another time.

So far I’ve been a little hungry, but not starving. I only strayed away from the plan on the first night because I needed a little more sustenance before bed and added a few spoonfuls of chia seeds to my evening green juice.

I also didn’t weigh myself before starting this cleanse because I didn’t want the focus to be on weight loss, but rather on rebooting. I’ve been going overboard with the sweets lately and eating really clean like this for a few days usually helps get rid of bad cravings and pushes me back on track.

The kit is a bit pricey, but so far it’s the best cleanse I’ve been on.

One more day to go!

 

Change your mind and you’ll change your body.

Brunette wearing a fedora by an old car

The longer I work in the industry of wellness (in editorial and previously as a fitness instructor), and the more I experiment with my own practices, I’ve come to know just how dire your psyche is to your wellbeing and how closely it’s linked to your weight.

So many outside factors–some controllable, some not–contribute to your mindset. From sleepless nights, to stressful careers and tough relationships, it’s hard to keep your head up sometimes. When your mental state suffers it’s often reflected in your physical appearance. Our emotions manifest themselves a little differently on all of us, but at least for me stress = weight gain every single time.

Now, among my group of friends and acquaintances I’m known as “the fit one”, “the healthy one” or “the girl who doesn’t drink at da club” (which I have to tell you, does not bother me one bit). However, what most people don’t know is how much I struggle on a regular basis to maintain my health and positivity. We all have different body shapes and genetics. Some of us are naturally more slender than others. The fact remains though that living a truly healthy lifestyle comes easy for no one. 

Walking in New York City

Currently I’m adapting to a new lifestyle. I have more free, unstructured time on my hands and easier access to processed foods. Every single day I fight the urge to veg out and eat my favorite childhood snacks mindlessly. Yes, I’m talking about you Oreos and Goldfish. I can’t even begin to express how hard it is to maintain the same self-control I used to have over eating these kinds of things, and I know that temptation in one form or another exists like this for many of you.

The big problem here is not that I’ve lost my focus or commitment to healthy eating, it’s that I’m not paying attention to the root of my stress and am TOO focused on the consequences of it–a.k.a overeating. Rather than getting caught up in my indulgences, I’ve began to shift my focus to what is causing me to feel the way that I do. Why am I feeling anxious? What steps can I take to change that?

The solution here is to RE-FOCUS and to RELAX.

Walking in New York City

I’ve found a few things that help me, and may help you when you can’t shake your stress and fall into unhealthy territory.

Take a walk. A loooooong walk. 

Drink hot water with lemon. 

Turn the lights off, put some music on and take yourself through a few yoga poses (whichever ones you can remember or even look up online).

Drink green juice (if I’m really struggling to avoid junk, this helps reset my taste buds and often gets rid of terrible cravings. Who wants to post up with a bag of chocolate chips when you just gulped down the best stuff your body can have?).

Call one of your best friends (laughter is the best medicine time and time again). 

I also found this article on MindBodyGreen to be particularly helpful and inspiring on this matter.

It’s easier said than done–always. However, just being aware of the root of your anxiety or stress is the most important part. You have to take care of your mind if you want to take care of your body.

 

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin-Banana “Ice Cream”

Homemade Healthy Ice Cream

Never heard of banana “ice cream”? Well, it’s time we change that. You may have guessed from the quotes that this is not real ice cream–there’s no cream in it– and if I’m being honest, nothing will replace the heaven that is Ben & Jerry’s. However, blended frozen bananas create an incredibly creamy texture that resembles ice cream, and as a result can be used to make healthy, delicious desserts. I’m not kidding when I say this is one of the best banana ice cream’s I’ve ever had. I mean it–IT’S SO GOOD.

Skeptical? Try it out for yourself.

Healthy Pumpkin Recipe

Blend

2 frozen bananas

2 tbsp organic pumpkin puree

1 tbsp Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice skyr

4 drops liquid french vanilla stevia extract (can substitute 1-2 tsp honey for this if you don’t have it)

2-3 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

A few shakes of cinnamon

**Pulse the blender slowly when starting. Since the mixture is meant to be thick you may have to shake the container a few times while blending. You also may have to add more almond milk, but do so a little at a time. If you add too much liquid you’ll end up with a smoothie.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Once the ingredients have formed a thick, creamy texture, scoop the mixture into a bowl or your favorite mug and top with your favorite healthy goodies. I sprinkled some homemade toasted coconut granola on top of mine, but experiment and make it your own! Fresh fruit, melted peanut butter, shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips are all great toppings.

Pumpkin banana ice cream

Enjoy!

 

It’s time to start making better resolutions.

New Years Resolutions

Vowing to lose weight, get in shape or to just be better this year than you were the last are resolutions we all make, and are resolutions that most likely fail. We fail not because we are incapable of change or have no self-control. We can’t keep our resolutions because we’re (or at least I’m) setting horrible goals.

Of course I want to be a better version of myself this year than last, but what does that even mean? Yes, I want to finally lose the infamous ‘last ten pounds’…but how? Or why? Is that indicative of something I want more?

I’ve got to start making better resolutions, and I think a lot of people can benefit from doing the same.

I’m not going to wait until January to do it either.

Dancing

In this moment I want to…

Move my body in some way every single day–my body was created to move, and one day I won’t be able to  in the same capacity

Stretch for at least 30 minutes every day because I hate feeling so stiff and achy all the time 

Not hate myself for indulging, but rather just enjoy it so that it IS worth it

Get a consistent 7-8 hours of sleep at LEAST Monday through Friday

Eat something green at 2 out of my 3 meals every day

Better new years resolutions

These kinds of goals aren’t as intimidating as “LOSE MORE WEIGHT”. They’re small and easy to check off. In the end they’ll add up to something bigger. The real goal is to just feel better in your skin, in my skin. I know that if I incorporate things like this into my everyday I’m going to feel better and look better.

Creating a balance in your life is probably one of the hardest things to do. We’re all sleep deprived, overworked, and pressed for time when it comes to sourcing and making real, nutritious foods for our bodies. Don’t vow to completely overhaul your lifestyle, just take small steps and you’ll get there.

What’s that saying? “We are what we repeatedly do.” Can you see yourself eating a plain salad for lunch every single day? No. Do you think you can really get to the gym 6 days a week for an hour each time? Eh, after a few weeks that momentum fades. Pick goals that aren’t overwhelming and that you can see lasting beyond a measurable amount of time–a month, a year–and can become a part of your lifestyle.

:)

 

Chocolate-Cherry Kale Smoothie

Kale Smoothie Recipe

Today’s lazy lunch is packed with anti-aging & anti-inflammatory  superfoods and….CHOCOLATE! I’ve never made this combination before, and to my surprise it was even better than I expected. I HIGHLY recommend the vegan protein and superfood powder I use here–Philosophie brand. Their powders pack in so many delicious and healthy superfoods, cutting back on the cost of buying them all separately and also cutting down on the time it takes to add them into my shakes and meals. Definitely one of my favorite healthy food discoveries as of late.

Blend

1 frozen banana

1/3 cup frozen dark sweet cherries (pitted)

1 large handful organic lacinato kale (stems removed)

1 tbsp chocolate vegan protein powder (I used Philosophie Cacao Magic)

1/2-3/4 cup vanilla almond milk

Top with a sprinkle of chia seeds, and voila!

Enjoy.

 

xo

Natural Avo-Honey Face Mask

Avocado Honey Face MaskI have VERY sensitive, dry, acne-prone skin. I’ve learned through trial and error that the less ingredients (read: less chemicals) my cosmetics contain, the better my skin looks and feels.

Once a week I like to make this homemade avocado-honey face mask. The avocado is incredibly hydrating for skin due to its vitamin E content and healthy fats, and the honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which cleanse the skin and fight breakouts. Honey is also a humectant, meaning it creates a kind of barrier on the skin, attracting and trapping moisture inside. Together the two ingredients soften and brighten your complexion. I’ve found that my skin actually glows immediately after I rinse the mask off. Test it out for yourself!

Avocado face mask

Mash and Mix

1/3 avocado

2 tsp raw honey

Apply the mixture to your face, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

DIY face mask

XO

 

DIY Superfood Cereal

DIYCereal

I’m a cereal fiend. It’s become a bit of a problem over the years. My guilty pleasures: Kix, Lucky Charms and Reese’s Puffs (I cringe even writing the names). In college I’d keep boxes of those in my dorm, and no one box would last more than two days. Even today I can’t really keep them in my kitchen because I have trouble sticking to appropriate portion sizes.

In my bio I talk about approaching food as fuel and medicine. This cereal is the perfect example. It’s packed with antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, fiber and countless other vitamins and minerals. The kicker here is that while every ingredient in this recipe is a real, whole food, it is still higher in calories so you should attempt to stick to about a 1/2 cup to  3/4 cup serving. That said, it’s delicious!  I’ve been sprinkling the mix over yogurt, and some days I’ll eat it with unsweetened vanilla coconut milk.

Mix

1/2 cup roughly chopped organic almonds and cashews

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat (I cheated and used Emmy’s Organics super cereal..it’s good!!)

1-2 cups Toasted Coconut granola mixture (mix 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup coconut flakes, 1 tbsp honey, and heat in the oven until golden brown [about 7-10 minutes] on 375 degrees)

1 cup brown rice crisps (I used OneDegree brand)

…and enjoy!

Superfood Cereal

Experiment with this recipe. You can substitute bran flakes or corn flakes for the brown rice crisps…maybe add chia seeds or flax seeds. You can add walnuts or pecans. A DIY cereal has no limitations or rules. Throw together what you like and enjoy all the goodness it brings your body.

 

XO

 

 

Giving up cheese ain’t easy, but this alternative is kind of amazing.

NutrYeastOk so most of you have either never heard of this questionable substance or are just flat-out repulsed by its name. I get it. It sounds weird…yeassst. I was put off by it too in the beginning, but as I’m sure you’ve guessed–I had a change of heart.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast (active yeasts are used to make bread) made from sugar cane and beet molasses.  It has a delicious cheesy, nutty flavor profile and is dairy free, salt-free, gluten-free and packed with B vitamins and protein. A teensy 3 tbsp serving has a whopping 9 grams of protein..say what?! That’s right.

We really have Vegans to thank for making it so popular, but dairy-lovers can benefit from it too. Though, if you ARE trying to kick dairy, this can be used in almost any recipe that calls for cheese. Most use it as a substitute for parmesan cheese (It is similar, really!). While nothing will ever, ever replace cheese–the real thing is too damn good–this stuff is pretty tasty. I use nutritional yeast as often as I can and now look at regular cheese as a more indulgent treat. If I’m breaking out the 5-year Gouda, you know it’s a special occasion :)

I’m honestly hooked. I douse stove-popped popcorn in it, mix it into steamed veggies and sprinkle it on avocado toast.

You can find it at most health food stores. I buy mine in bulk from Whole Foods (it’s surprisingly cheap).

I say try it once. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

Why you should strive to be a positive force.

laughh

There are a few things I’m hoping to accomplish with this blog, but overall my goal here is to inspire healthy and balanced living. Eating the right foods and moving your body are a huge piece of the puzzle, but I think many people overlook the mental aspect of a wholesome lifestyle.

Someone who I’ve grown close to over the past year said to me, “You’re a positive force. You really are such a positive force, Tiffany.” It took me a moment to gather the meaning from those words, especially because they were so unexpected. Ultimately, I think he was telling me that I have impacted him and potentially others in a really positive way, whether that be big or small.

Wracking my brain for specific examples, I came to the conclusion that I just like to laugh. Seriously, I laugh a lot. Laughter is contagious. Is it not?

On any given day I’ll love my body, hate my body, stress out over nothing or obsess over whether or not I’m getting ahead or falling behind in life or in my career (I believe that’s called being human). Regardless of what I’m dealing with personally, I always find myself smiling or laughing when I’m around others.

No one breezes through a single day completely unscathed, and the best thing you can do at the end of the day is just laugh. Release some endorphins, let go. A smile or a laugh–forced or not–is mirrored in whoever you’re talking to (so are frowns or scowls).

My friend told me I was a positive force. I smiled, and as a result he smiled. IT’S SO SIMPLE!!!

smile2

Smile and laugh to bring peace to yourself, but also to bring a little joy to others (we’re all having a bad day in some way). Misery may love company, but happy people attract a bigger crowd. You’ve got to work at it just like everything else.

Troubles and problems will persist throughout your entire life. My philosophy is that if you attempt to be happy day-to-day it will all add up to something pretty great.

I never knew I was a positive force, but now it’s my goal to continue to be one. Isn’t this how we change the world? One person at a time? Think about it…

:)