Are you taking care of yourself?
Have you checked in lately regarding how much time you set aside for self care? When I was studying to become a Holistic Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, self care was one of the first topics we discussed. Yes, even before we went into the nitty gritty details of nutrition, fitness and more.
What’s self care, you ask? To me, it means taking the time to do “me” things that are good for your body, mind and spirit. Because, as I’ve said over and over again if you’re not happy & healthy on the inside, you are definitely not going to be happy & healthy on the outside. It’s just how it works!
Lately, I’ve noticed I’ve been putting my self care somewhat on the back burner. Between the change in seasons, a new job, starting my own business, and meeting with clients life can get pretty hectic at times (which I know you can all relate). While it’s easy to put yourself last during these crazy phases, it’s actually during these times more that ever that you need to recognize what you are doing, and take care of yourself first.
Some of My Favorite Ways to Incorporate Self Care:
- Extra-long hot showers
- Self-massage with all-natural body oil (like jajoba mixed with an essential oil of your choice!)
- Deep breathing & meditation (I have Gabby Bernstein to thank for this!)
- Snuggling up with a good book before bed & lighting a candle
- SLEEP, SLEEP and more SLEEP
- Making a yummy, feel-good clean meal for yourself (get some great ideas from The Clean Plates Cookbook)
- Taping a nap when you need one
- Skipping the gym when your body is telling you “no”
- Going to the gym or a long run or ____ (insert exercise of choice) when your body is telling you “yes”
- Making a hot pot of yogi tea
- Listening to relaxing music & zoning out (see my Relaxation Mix below)
My Relaxation Mix on Spotify
I’ve recently discovered Spotify, and I’m already 100% hooked. I love that you can make different playlists for different occasions and feelings, or as they say “music for every moment.” Below is the mix I put on whenever I need to relax and give myself a little extra love & care. If you can’t tell, I’ve got a little girl crush on Regina Spektor lately.
You’d be surprised by how much self care impacts our overall health & wellness, and can prevent you from reaching your goals if it’s not in check! If you’re struggling with treating yourself and your body with love, I’d be happy to set up a FREE 15-minute healthy lifestyle info session or tell you more about my coaching programs. Email me with any questions or to schedule your session today. What do YOU do to incorporate self care?
Good afternoon ladies, and Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope you all have a magical evening celebrating life, and everything positive that happened for you this past year, while also celebrating the year to come. If you haven’t already done so, you can read my newsletter on setting intentions for yourself in 2013 over here.
Clean Plates Cookbook: Background
I was particularly excited to read this book, as Jared Koch is not only a fellow graduate of IIN but he’s also someone whom I admire greatly for his success as an entrepreneur in the wellness field.
One of the main concepts that shines throughout the book is something we learned at Institute for Integrative Nutrition: bio-individuality, or that one way of eating doesn’t work for everyone. While vegan dining may suit your best friend, you may thrive on high-quality, organic meats. Simply put, we choose what to put inside our bodies to make us feel our ultimate best. Jared explains this process further in Chapter 2.
Clean Plates Cookbook offers meals for literally anyone (no matter what their food preference), but there’s one catch: they are all clean, meaning they’re made using high quality, wholesome, natural ingredients. And I mean, who doesn’t want that?
Real, Quality Food
I adore that all the recipes utilize REAL, quality food. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how I’m a real-food fanatic. What does real food mean? It means your great-grandmother would recognize it at the grocery store. It means you know where it came from. It means it wasn’t artificially or chemically “enhanced” in a factory. Real food is pure. Then comes quality, meaning choosing fresh, organic and local food when you can for optimal nourishment.
In the first half of the book, the authors cover a number of healthy eating principles, including following a plant-based diet, everything you need to know about grains, nuts and seeds, and the basics of eating meat in moderation. However, even with all the wonderful nutritional information throughout the book, they still get that we can’t be perfect all the time. That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in. Make healthy, good-for-your-body choices 80% of the time, and leave 20% for those gotta-have-it “splurges.” If you can train your body to crave healthy foods that you know are going to make you feel incredible, the 80/20 rule is easy to pick up on.
Variety of Scrumptious Recipes
Now comes the good part, the part you’ve all been waiting for: the recipes! The book is laid out into easy-to-follow sections, with recipes for Beverages, Eggs, Breakfasts & Breads, Snacks & Apps, Soups, Salads & Sides, Entrees, Desserts and Basics.
I for one have my eye on a number of the recipes, and can’t wait to get my hands on the Potato, Leek & Spinach Frittata, Garlic Mashed Butternut Squash, Gluten-Free Chicken Meatballs and Cacao Cherry Brownies to name a few.
I love how all the recipes are clearly labeled as Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Naturally Sweetened, Raw, and Omnivore Friendly, making it easy to choose recipes that are right for your diet.
I would definitely recommend Clean Plates Cookbook to anyone looking to healthy-up their diet, or those who would like to break out of their comfort level in the kitchen and expand their recipe palates. Purchase your copy here, or learn more about Jared Koch’s Clean Plates initiative here.
This week, I received a special package in the mail: my certificate from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners that states that I’ve met the requirements to be a Certified Health Practitioner. Yes, I am finally officially official, and boy does it feel good. It seems like just yesterday that I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to begin my journey to become a health coach, and now I’m finally there.
Here are some highlights from the year:
September 2011: I began my classes at IIN, and became amazed by the weekly lectures. I also attended IIN’s Fall conference, where I met a group of like-minded students and inspiring speakers like Deepak Chopra and founder Joshua Rosenthal himself. I also shared my first “I love you” with The Boy, something neither of us had ever said to anyone before.
October 2011: I completed my second half marathon in Newport, RI, which I will also be taking part in this year. I felt strong, powerful and inspired, and also broke my PR by five minutes!
November 2011: I celebrated one year with The Boy in the lovely Waterville Valley, NH. Everything was perfect, and I couldn’t be more happy.
December 2011: I fell more deeply in love with core fusion classes at Exhale Spa, and celebrated the holidays surrounded by friends, family and loved ones.
January 2012: I took a mini trip to Fisher’s Island to visit the grandparents, relax and “unplug.” It was pure bliss.
February 2012: I signed on my first client. My dreams are starting to become a reality!
March 2012: I signed on two new clients in two weeks. Things are really picking up.
May 2012: My article written for Milkshake, LLC on the Green PolkaDot Box was published in the Huffington Post. This was a huge accomplishment for me, as I went to college for journalism and have always taken great pride in my writing. I was also accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador, an outlet for me to continue to share my passion for healthy living. Seriously, what a month!
June 2012: I quit my part time job at the spa to focus more on growing my business, freelance writing and networking. It was a bold risk, but I knew it’d be worth it. I also hosted my very first wellness workshop, “Get Real (About Food).”
July 2012: I turned 25, a quarter century that is. This was a big year for me, as I have many goals for myself at 25, including becoming financially stable and growing my business.
August 2012: I received my certificate as a Certified Health Practitioner in the mail, and could not be more proud of myself. I think it’s safe to say I’ve finally found my calling!
And there you have it. A year in the life of a health coach in training. I can honestly say that this had been the best year in my life including my relationship, career and personal life. If you’re interested in learning more about my education at IIN, feel free to email me at any time, comment or head on over to their website to learn more.
Yesterday afternoon I met with some fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition graduates to talk about our business goals, achievements, concerns and inspirations. On my way to the meeting, a little old man stopped me in my path. He said, “Hey! You’re going to make it.” I replied back with a confused look and a “huh?” Then he said, “Wherever you’re going, you are going to make it.”
That right there gave me the chills, as I took it as he meant that I’d make it in life, in love, in my business. I couldn’t help but think he was sent to tell me that, like an angel of sorts.
When I brought up my story at the meeting, all of the ladies agreed that an angel was sent to deliver that message, that I am going to make it, that in fact I already am making it and may not even realize that now.
After a couple hours of chatting, snacking and discussing our dreams and goals, we ended the meeting with some Law of Attraction cards and my favorite part: a meditation. Anne, the woman who guided the meditation, had us breathe out all of those doubts/fears/setbacks and breathe in new, clean fresh air and positive thinking. She also stressed that at the end of the night while going to bed, be thankful for all the little things that transpired throughout the day. Then in the morning, attempt to set the day with gratitude, open eyes and a fresh start.
After all, you never know what will happen when you set the intention in having a meaningful/powerful/spectacular/successful/____ (fill in the blank) day. So be sure to keep an eye out for all those little “angels” sent to you, be it a phone call you’ve been waiting for or a much-needed dinner date with a good friend. There’s beauty everywhere if you keep an eye out for it.
What good news do you have to share this week? What are some little things that you’re thankful for, that you may not even realize at the time?
Last night, I was lucky enough to listen to an extremely empowering lecture by Joshua Rosenthal, the Founder and Director of Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I will graduate from in a couple short months!)
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like every time I am going through a certain internal battle or issue, the perfect lecture comes along like it’s speaking specifically to me. This particular discussion was on fear. Fear of change. Fear of growing. Fear of trying something new. Fear of the future. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being in that “transition phase,” as Joshua calls that place of uncertainty.
If any of you have ever ended a relationship or a friendship you knew deep down in your heart wasn’t working, or left a career you weren’t fulfilled in/ that you weren’t passionate about, or even took a risk to go after something you truly believed in, you know how scary that in-between phase can be. “Will I ever be successful?” “Am I ever going to find love again?” “How am I going to make enough money to support myself?”
And 9 times out of 10, everything sorts itself out. You find a better job that suits your personality, you fall in love again (even if it’s just with yourself), and you move on. These times are the moments we learn the most about ourselves; they’re moments of growth.
My favorite part of the poem is this line: “And so transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.” This to me says it all.
Read below for the full piece, which I’m sure you’ll find quite inspiring.
The Flying Trapeze
Sometimes, I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging
along or, for a few moments, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars.
Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain
steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some
of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me
into the distance, and what do I see?
I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar
has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know
that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar to move to the new one.
Each time it happens, I hope—no, I pray—that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I
know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across
space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I do this I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my
previous hurdles I have always made it.
Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the
But I do it anyway. I must.
Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it
anyway because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so, for what seems to be an eternity but
actually lasts a microsecond. I soar across the dark void called “the past is over, the future is not yet here.” It’s
called a transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are the illusions we
dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear that can accompany transitions, they are still the most
vibrant, growth-filled, passionate moments in our lives.
And so transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves
permission to “hang out” in the transition zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the
only place where change really happens.
It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening.
Hurdling through the void, we just may learn to fly.
Do you ever feel like your life is like a series of trapeze swings? How do you get through those periods of “transition”?
[Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food Lover]
It’s no secret that I enjoy writing and blogging, but just as much as I’m a sucker for pen & paper (and the keyboard), I’m just as much as a sucker for reading.
And I’m not talking about reading blogs or the latest celebrity fashion advice found in InStyle.com. While I do appreciate my fair share of those kinds or reads, I’ve always been more of a flip-through-the-pages, fresh-from-the-press kind of girl.
I love snuggling up with a cup of soothing chamomile tea with raw honey and a good book in those last minutes before bed. It puts your mind and body at ease, letting you escape to a different place for a little while, a place that doesn’t include worries, thoughts, text messages or tweets. A place of calm.
Lately, I’ve been purchasing a plethora of wellness related books, mostly do to my studies at Institute for Integrative Nutrition and recent launch of my health coaching business Zesty Living. While learning new information every day about health, wellness and nutrition, I also like to keep up-to-date on the latest finds by reading books, studies, and lengthy articles.
Here’s what’s my book shelf right now:
1. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe (This raw foods guru takes you on a journey through powerful superfoods like gogi berries and cacao.)
2. The Ultra Mind Solution by Mark Hyman (Packed with information regarding the incredible healing powers of food, specifically ways to overcome anxiety and depression while boosting your brain power)
3. Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams & Kristina Andrew (More so a recipe book than an actual book, but brilliant nonetheless! I can’t put this book down; it includes beautiful pictures and recipes for the active soul from Curry Lentil Chicken Soup to Fruity Cashew Quinoa.)
4. Food Energetics by Steve Gagne (An in depth look at the way food effects our emotions and energy. I especially love this book as I’ve come to really enjoy my lectures on food and mood, and hope to continue my knowledge in this area/ continue to incorporate my findings into my health coaching sessions)
5. 3-Season Diet by John Douillard (A great take on seasonal eating, understanding your personal dosha, and reaching your ideal weight by Ayurveda expert John Douillard)
More healthy reads to come! Have a wonderful evening, and do yourself a favor: pour yourself a cup of herbal tea and head toward your bedroom. You know you want to…
The other day, I was sitting in a gourmet coffee shop with the boy sipping a hazelnut cream feeling awfully zen.
As we sat on the couch sipping our javas, I leaned over to him and said softly, “Let’s make vision boards!”
“Vision what?” he said.
“VISION BOARDS…you know like draw what we want to achieve in life within the next few years. Then we think it and believe it and it’ll most likely happen.”
“Nah, not now. I can’t draw,” he said with a smirk.
“C’monnnnn…you can draw stick figures! I did one a few years ago and everything I jotted down came true. So we’re doing it whether you like it or not. I’ll go first!”
I got him on that one and vision boards we made.
My “5 year plan” included being happy, healthy and in love (with The Boy if all goes as planned!), being published in a well-known health magazine, leading a women’s health seminar in front a group of people, traveling ( a lot) and being in a comfortable financial situation where I’m proud of my success.
The Boy’s included things like growing a garden, owning his first home, continuing to educate people about health and wellness, and eating a plethora of healthy, organic foods with the help from The Green Polkadot Box, the newest online buying club he’s become a part of. (You should check it out…it’s actually pretty cool, especially when he shares it all with me!)
While those are our five year goals, I also have some things I’d like to work on now, you know in 2012. But I’d rather not call them goals….they are more like current aspirations.
- Learning to LET. IT. GO. I need not get so anxious over itsy bitsy things as 99% of the time things work themselves out and all it takes it a deep breath, a big hug or a new perspective to reframe your thoughts. This will be a challenge for me, but I’m willing to work on it for my sanity
- Adding more yoga into my lifestyle, preferably at least two times a week. Sometimes I get on the running/core fusion/ sweat-my-ass-off kick and need to have a balance of mental clarity. Yoga will give me this. Plus, I learned through taking my Ayurveda personality/lifestyle test for an IIN assignment that I am almost a pure Pitta, with Vatta emotions, and therefore I tend to get stressed out easily when unbalanced. Practicing yoga will help me create that balance. To learn more about the ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, I highly recommend John Douillard’s book The 3-Season Diet. It’s super interesting!
- Continue to take on freelance writing gigs & stay busy If you know me, you know that I like to keep busy. I’m always go-go-go and can’t stand having nothing to do. Currently, I’m working part time at Exhale Spa, attending school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, doing some copywriting for a large parenting company in Boston, and am a contributing writer for Milkshake. I’d love to continue with my freelance writing ventures as writing is both exciting and therapeutic for me. This will also help me achieve my vision (see above) of being published in a women’s health magazine.
So, there you have it. Have you ever created a vision board? What are some of your current aspirations?
[the boy & I on Christmas]
So as I was looking over former posts the other day, I realized I haven’t really given an update on my life (you know, the important stuff) in quite some time now (since JUNE!?!) Of course you hear about my new juicer, love for Core Fusion, must-see movies and all of my crazy adventures in the kitchen, but that’s not really all that’s going on behind the scene.
In fact, there are probably many things about me that my readers are unaware of, like the fact that I’m color blind with shades of brown, green and red (and my boyfriend was afraid to buy me roses because he thought I’d think they were poop brown), or that I work at Exhale Spa, or that I’m 24 years old and finally in my first relationship, and a great relationship at that.
I’m highly emotional and sensitive, HATE olives and am obsessed with peanut butter, cheese, and tequila.
OK, those aren’t really the important things of life, but as you can see there’s much more to me than what meets the eye (or my blog).
Like the fact that I’m going to be a certified health counselor in less than 8 months. Yup, I may not talk about it all the time on my blog because a blog is just a blog after all, but I am currently studying holistic health at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. When I’m not blogging, freelance writing, working out or working, I’m studying my butt off or listening to lectures so that I can follow my number one passion: helping others lead a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle.
I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions like most of my friends and family, so here are some of the answers.
Holistic health? What the heck is that?
Integrative Nutrition teaches us ways to incorporate a holistic lifestyle when coaching our clients. That means scratching the whole “calories in, calories out,” “a protein is just a protein,” and “exercise more, eat less” approach, and focusing more on the individual. My health counseling will entail more than just nutrition; I will focus on exercise, lifestyle, cravings, career, spirituality, relationships and mood. Everything contributes to health and well being!
Did you think of any names for your company?
Yes, I’ve nailed it down to Zesty Living. Fun, fresh and unique.
Who is your target client?
My company is catered to those who have ever felt lost, and are looking to get that “Zest” back into their lives. From new moms who are struggling to make time for themselves to young, busy professionals who are feeling burnt out by the corporate world, I’ll be here to help you reach your health & lifestyle goals.
I also want to experiment with corporate wellness (helping business get their employees on track), group counseling, and seminars. And of course I will continue with freelance health writing (with a secret goal of being published in a health-related magazine within the next two years!)
When can you accept clients?
I can begin accepting clients in March of 2012, and can’t wait to begin!
What are your qualifications?
I am enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I will be trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and study a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.
Why are you so passionate about helping others?
I have been passionate about helping others make healthy choices in and outside the kitchen for as long as I can remember. When I was in college, I struggled with body image issues, high-stress, dieting, and low self-esteem as many young women do.
It frustrated me to see the scale stay the same (or go up) and my jeans get tighter no matter how many crash diets I went on, the number of salads I ate, or the endless hours I tracked at the gym. I was not healthy, and more importantly definitely not happy.
It wasn’t until I graduated college and starting really focusing on myself that I realized happiness and health go hand in hand. As I began to embrace life and follow my dreams, the pounds starting coming off – and staying off! At this time, I also found a love for home cooking (using REAL, natural ingredients), running and yoga.
After a few months, I reached my “happy weight,” a place I had been trying to find for a long time. I am now happy, healthy and more energized than ever, and can finally say “I love myself” (inside and out) with confidence. But my journey does not end there, as I want to share my love and knowledge with you!
Will you still keep Healthy Chicks?
As of now, I plan to keep updating Healthy Chicks as my personal blog, similarly to what I am doing now. But I will have a new, more professional site for Zesty Living/ all my health coaching services as well.
Got questions? Feel free to email me and I’d love to chitchat about my experience thus far!
This morning I was beyond delighted to wake up to an email from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution team, informing me that Healthy Chicks has been chosen as one of their blogs of the month. Not only do I get to be featured on their website for the month of December, but I get to “wear” this Food Revolution badge on my blog loud and proud.
I’d be lying to say I’m not absolutely ecstatic to be chosen as a featured blogger, as it is a huge honor. But it means more to me than a “title.” I’m a huge supporter of the Food Revolution and all Jamie has done to get the world eating healthier, and start promoting a more respectable food industry. His mission in teaching people how to spend more time in the kitchen (and less time at the drive-through), cleaning up school lunches, and helping people fuel the bodies and soul with proper nutrients is absolutely phenomenal.
I believe Jamie is creating a real revolution, something that can ultimately change hundreds, thousands, even millions of lives and that all starts with just ONE person spreading the word. To be honest, that’s why I’m currently enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach. I want to help people to help themselves. I want to teach busy mom’s that they do have time to make a healthy lunch for their kids that doesn’t entail of mac ‘n’ cheese or PB & J. I want to help people enjoy cooking in their own kitchens with their spouses/children/families using REAL, fresh ingredients. I want to support anyone who has ever battled body image issues, weight problems, or health concerns, and show them that it’s NEVER too late to make a change.
Seeing Jamie Oliver take on the world one person at a time shows me that big things are possible, and that people out there are dying for help. It’s time for America to make some big changes, and start fueling our bodies & minds properly. Can we do it? I think so. It’s just going to take a little effort and a lot of determination!
This weekend I was lucky enough to attend Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Live Fall IINto Action Event in NYC. The event was absolutely amazing, with inspiring speakers like founder Joshua Rosenthal and mind-body expert Deepak Chopra. Throughout the weekend, we discussed everything from leadership and marketing to raw food, going vegan and the obesity epidemic in America.
One of the discussions on spirituality and faith really stood out to me, and I’d like to share one of the quotes with you that really struck a chord.