Juices and Smoothies: Health or Hype?

are smoothies healthy photo

Hey guys!

I’ve been hearing about green juices and smoothies constantly, and since I finally have a blender to call my own (yipee!), it’s time to talk about them. The way that some articles tout the benefits of juicing, you’d think it was the fountain of youth, the giver of energy, and saver of puppies. But do the veggie, fruit, and protein packed drinks really stack up?

 

 

 Let’s look into the science and the psychology of juices and smoothies, so you can integrate them with your diet in the most optimal way. And, I’ll share some of my favorite smoothie recipes!

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The surprising ways your surroundings can help you be healthier in 2015

calm space photo

Making our way into the new year, many of us are creating resolutions full of actions: the things we want do or not do to have a better year than the one before. These very “me” centered resolutions put a lot of pressure on us to automate, plan, and perfect our daily routines.

 

But healthy living is not just about you. A critical aspect of living a healthier life is cultivating conditions around you to make it easier to living healthy.

There is a saying that humans are a product of our environment. So why don’t we bring some focus to cultivating an environment that sets us up for success in our health goals?

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Do I have to eat tofu to be healthy?

healthy soy photo
Photo by Alexandra C. Bertin

When the topic of vegetarianism comes up, the most common complaint I hear is “does that mean I’ll have to eat tofu all day long?” Unfortunately, the idea that vegetarians and vegans live a 90% soy-filled lifestyle is a pretty outdated view of plant-based eating. But even if you do have a meat-friendly diet, should you incorporate soy into your diet for health reasons?

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Turn Distress into Eustress

 

turn distress into eustress photo
Photo by Wellington Sanipe via unsplash.com

Yes, yes, yes, stress is important, nay, necessary for survival. Despite being a biological system critical for our health and wellbeing, however, the human stress response is a rather blunt instrument. We have the same surge of adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine each time we encounter a stresser, whether it be an injury, a verbal attack, exercise, or anxiety about a future event. Even though these very different situations require different responses, our body’s chemistry treats them essentially equally.
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Quick ways to choose a healthier snack

choose a healthier snack photo
Snack choices at a restaurant I visited in Bogota, Colombia last summer

 

Do you often find yourself staring at a product display, trying to find the healthy choice among 10 or 20 foods that seem exactly the same? It can be tough to figure out which product best aligns with your needs and health routine, especially since every product proudly displays why they are the best choice.

When you find yourself faced with too many product choices, but no leads on which one best aligns with your healthy habits and goals, here are some quick and easy ways to choose a healthier snack.

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Grocery Store Shopping Series: Happy Healthy Tip #6

healthy grocery store shopping bulk bin thumbnail
Image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com

Welcome back to another post in our healthy grocery store shopping series! This series is designed to help you be a more efficient, healthier, happier shopper. In previous posts, I’ve talked about your mood, shopping at the right time, making a grocery list, shopping the perimeter, and checking ingredient labels. Today’s healthy grocery store shopping tip concerns a powerful and oft-underutilized section of the grocery store: the bulk bins.

Tip #6: I’m discussing why bulk bins can be an integral part of your grocery store routine, how to use them most effectively, and some warning signs that shopping at the bulk bins is not for you.

 
Ever since my Union Square Whole Foods introduced bulk bins, I have been obsessed. Nuts, grains, beans, spices, even cooking oils and cleaning supplies!! Bulk bins are popular among retailers because they save space and save costs. Customers love shopping from bulk bins because it can save money and reduces the use of disposable packaging. But there are good and not-so-good ways to utilize the bulk bins at your local grocery store!
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Getting healthy with friends

Friends on paddleboard
My sisters and I clowning around on the paddleboard at Lake Erie

Food brings people together. It is used celebrate and share in cultures around the world, and the social aspects of food are a major reason why I got into the nutrition field. However, when I first embarked on my journey of eating and living healthier, I came up against a problem: the only thing I did with my friends was eat.

Building relationships around food is universal – we meet first dates over coffee or a drink. We have friends we regularly meet for ice cream, a glass of wine, or dinner. We are creatures of habit, and it is apparent in where and when we meet with our friends and family.

Having habits or activities you always do with certain friends is not a bad thing! But for me, these habits became an issue once I wanted to stop my weekly ice cream habit, or consume just a little less wine. I realized that if I wanted to keep up my relationships with friends, while still transforming my health routines, I needed to find other activities to do with my friends! Wanting to improve my health was the nudge I needed to get out of my old habits and explore some different options.

So I did! I went to dance and yoga classes, formed a book club, and started making dinner for friends, rather than eating out. A weekly walk with a friend through the neighborhoods of my town became a great way to connect more deeply and to get moving on lazy Sunday mornings. And what did I find?

Making these changes actually improved my relationships with those around me. It seems surprising at first, but by getting out of our comfort zones and doing new things, me and my friends talked about different things, shared new experiences, and laughed quite a lot (particularly in our hip-hop dance class…).

It can be scary to shake up our routines or try something new. But the benefits can be huge. Particularly because you don’t have to choose between meeting your health goals and meeting with your friends. For me, my relationships and health began to support each other, bringing more ease and enjoyment to my daily life. It is really cool.

But what activities do you choose? Here are some ideas of ways you can get some quality time in with your friends without worrying about straying from your health goals.

Activities with Friends:

  • Go to an exercise class together.

    Who else is better to sweat it out with you in yoga, spin, or dance class than your friends? Having a friend in class will make it more fun, and you’ll have lots to talk about afterwards. Find a class that either you or your friend have been wanting to try, or something totally new for both of you!

  • Windowshop.

    Are you a city dweller? How about setting up a date to window shop down the nearest stretch of stores? Browsing, rather than having a dedicated shopping trip, allows you to spend more time together and to keep moving.

  • Join a team.

    Kickball, soccer, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee…adult leagues are popping up all over the country, and is a great activity that can keep you and your good friend seeing each other on the regular. Plus, you get to meet lots of other fun people who like to exercise! (Just watch out for too many post-win beers!)

  • Hit the trails.

    There are bound to be beautiful woods, trails, and parks nearby that you have yet to explore. Get your dose of nature on a beautiful day with a friend.

The key to changing up your routines, as is always the case, is flexibility. It is about expanding your horizons and getting to experience new things with your friends, so you don’t have to choose between following your health plan and spending time with those you love. Of course you are going to still get an iced cream or a beer, or have a date for burgers, and that is great! But by adding in some different activities, it keeps your relationships fresh, and keeps you both healthier.

What are your favorite ways to get active with friends?