Health & Fitness

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Clean Eating Series: The Best Healthy Carbs to Fuel Your Lifestyle

Supplement powders, pills, and juices are overflowing on supermarket shelves, and they’re casting a shadow on a food first approach to nourishing your soul and health. Even though trendy nutrition products are in the limelight, fresh, natural, whole foods have the real star power when it comes to providing your body with all the nutrients it needs. Choosing to eat food that is both pleasurable and nourishing will help you achieve your body goals while advancing towards optimal health. Over time, you’ll develop increased awareness about how specific foods impact your body, and you’ll be able to make better choices about the food you eat and buy.

The food label, which includes the nutrition facts panel, makes it pretty simple to scope out targets. It’s easy to zoom in on the total calories, and on food groups like carbs and fats. However, it is important to look at this information with a critical lens.

Carbohydrates are not bad for you, and eliminating them from your diet or severely restricting them isn’t the key to weight loss. In fact, carbohydrates nourish us more than any other macronutrient, and we need to get most of our calories from them. When carbs are digested and broken down they are transformed into molecules of glucose, which is the body’s primary source of fuel for active cells. Whenever your body is awake and moving, it needs carbohydrates to power through the day.

Balance and moderation are the major themes in all areas of nutrition. Carbohydrates come in many different forms, and understanding which type to consume more — and less — of is what’s important.

Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, milk, grains and legumes (beans). Whole grains and dietary fiber from foods help protect against nutrition-related diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.

Foods high in fiber and those with resistant starch (cooked pasta) are lower on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a way to help compare sugar content in different foods, because not all carbohydrates have the same digestibility rate. The lower a food’s glycemic index or glycemic load, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods made with refined grains, instead of whole grains, or with added sugars are usually higher. These include cakes, breakfast cereals, white rice, waffles, bagels, doughnuts, and sweetened beverages.

Foods that are more slowly absorbed have metabolic benefits in relation to diabetes and CVD risk. Replace high glycemic index foods with high fiber foods like whole-wheat products, quinoa, brown rice, farro, barley, and unflavored oatmeal. I know unflavored oatmeal may sound alarming, but you can hook it up on your own with fresh fruit, raw honey, almond butter, and a little reduced-fat milk.  If you’re going to buy a carbohydrate at the grocery store, look for options that have three or more grams of fiber.

As you begin to explore new ways of eating, you’ll learn the best way to fuel your body. Slow down when eating a meal to tune into hunger, fullness, and the flavors you experience. Moderation and mindful eating are the key to developing a healthy relationship with food that allows you to revel in the pleasure principle.

1024 683 Malia

Mascarpone & Spinach Stuffed Salmon… Yum!

This dish is like all of my favorite things beautifully assembled onto one plate.

If you are a Pescatarian, or if you love salmon, this is the perfect recipe for you.  Check it out below!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 cup of mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 pinch of nutmeg

3 6-8 ounce salmon fillets

1 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Fresh lemon to garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg until everything is well mixed.

3. Pat the salmon fillets dry and cut a slit in the middle (lengthwise) to form a pocket. Stuff as much of the creamed spinach mixture as you’d like into each salmon fillet.

Read More of the Recipe HERE

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Brandy is a Changed Woman! (Find Out Why Inside)

 

Brandy has a “Brand Nu” attitude and we are all here for it!

The Chicago Musical star has ditched the unhealthy treats and state of mind  for a more positive and productive life, with a new diet and work out plan.

In a recent interview with People Magazine B-Rocka, opened up about how she woke up one day and decided to change her life for the better!

Before, “I didn’t exercise or take care of myself and my body the way I needed to,” Brandy, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I just woke up one day and decided to live my best life, so what you see is the new me!”

Brandy complements a clean diet with regular workouts. “Some days are tough, but with the right focus and dedication I refuse to hit my snooze button,” she says. She combines boxing or sparring with her trainer with cardio and weight training for up to an hour and a half a day. “I know good things are happening because of this healthy release of energy with my mind, body and soul!”

It may seem too good to be true, but eating, exercising  and actively trying to lead a better life really helps to boost your spirit and outlook on life!

Check out what Brandy eats in a day to stay fit and positive.

Breakfast
Egg white omelet with spinach, tomatoes and onion
32 oz. water with lemon, cucumbers, apples and blackberries

Lunch
4 oz. mahi mahi
Small spinach salad with roma tomatoes, cucumbers and olives
16 oz. water with lemon

Dinner
Grilled salmon
1 cup of steamed vegetables with her favorite kale salad from Houston’s restaurant (fine shredded baby kale, herbs and dry-roasted, unsalted cashews, topped with shavings of Parmesan cheese and peanut vinaigrette)

Snack
Kind Bar (Cranberry and Almond + Antioxidants)

Total Calories
1,847

How do you stay healthy? Talk to Me

Xoxo

Malia

318 159 Zakyree Wallace

4 Free Apps to Use for Meditation Practice

We could all take more time in our lives to simply sit and be still. Thanks to modern technology this opportunity is more accessible than ever.

Do you ever feel overworked? Burnt out? Or like you lack motivation?Meditation can help you.

To meditate is to purposefully center and create space for oneself to simply exist without considering any outside pressures or obligations.

I don’t know about you, but meditation is definitely something I need, constantly, in my life. Here are some of the apps I’ve used when I started incorporating meditation into my busy lifestyle:

  1. Calm

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2. Headspace

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3. Breathe2Relax

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4.Stop, Breathe, & Think

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I hope you find your fit with one of these apps! Which one was your favorite? Do you have any apps not mentioned here that you use? Comment below!

 

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Running tips for beginners

I love running, but sometimes it sucks. I once took a few months off my normal running routine, and when I picked it back up again I was left wondering how the hell I ever made it more than two miles. Although it’s my preferred workout method, I know it can be a tough routine to stick with and improve upon. So, here are a few tips if you’re new to running or looking to increase your mileage.

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For Beginners:

Start slow if you’re brand new to running. Use a walk/run approach where you alternate running and walking for a few minutes. How many minutes you start off jogging will depend on your personal fitness, but gradually increase the amount you’re jogging each week. Start with ten to 20 minutes of alternating between walking and running. And work up to 30 minutes of continuous jogging three times a week.

How to Run Longer Distances:

Run the distance you normally run three times a week, and twice a week add one more mile to your run. So if you normally run 3 miles, do a 4-mile run twice that week. The following week, run 4 miles three days a week and add in two 5-mile runs. This is the method I use to build my mileage, but it may differ person to person. You could spend two weeks, maybe even three, building up to an extra mile. Just find what works the best for your body and schedule.

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Additional Tips:

1.) Eat right – high protein foods are beneficial for longer runs

2.) Stretch and strengthen your core, as this will improve running technique

3.) Having the right shoes is REALLY important. Make sure you have a good, supportive pair of running shoes

4.) A 10- or 15-minute run is better than no exercise at all. So if you’re short on time one day, still run a mile!

5.) Finding a running buddy is a good way to make sure you stick to your routine and stay motivated

What are some things that you do to increase your mileage?

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Starbucks to serve smoothies and kale

Watch out world. Starbucks announced that it will start selling smoothies this year.

After abandoning the first phase of its Race Together campaign, Starbucks is now edging its way into the health food market with the introduction of smoothies.

According to Huffington Post, Starbucks struck a deal with Dannon and Evolution Fresh to create a line of smoothies that come in Strawberry, Mango Carrot, and Sweet Green flavors.

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The smoothies will be made from fruit, vegetable juices, Greek-nonfat yogurt, nutmeg, and ice. There were be no added color or preservatives and customers will have the option to add fresh kale and protein powder to their drink. The smoothies are estimated to cost $5.95.

It may be a while before the smoothies are offered nationwide though. According to Reuters, they will only be offered at shops in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Alaska, and Idaho.

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Starbucks also announced in a press release that it will serve two new wraps starting March 31. The Thai-Style Chicken Peanut Wrap and The Edamame Hummus Wrap will both be under 500 calories, stated the press release.

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Five Ways to Get Fit With Bae

You don’t have to be #swolemates to stay active with your significant other. Even if you two aren’t a part of the #couplesthatlift trend, there are plenty of fun activities to keep off the rumored relationship weight.

Here are a few ideas to get you two lovebirds started.

Biking

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Buy a tandem bicycle, if you don’t already have one, and get those legs moving! Everyone will be jealous of how adorable you and your S.O. look, and nothing says “dream team” better than sharing a bike. Bonus points if you add some decoration: a basket, streamers, customized mini license plate, etc. Plus cycling is a great cardio workout, and a fantastic way to enjoy the warmer weather. It has also been proven to decrease high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Yoga

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Practicing yoga with your boyfriend or girlfriend can help you deal with the extra stresses that come with a relationship, like compromising on what movie to watch Friday night (ugh). Yoga relaxes your mind, stretches your muscles and works your core – helping you both get leaner, fitter bods. It’s also been said that yoga leads to a better sex life, partly due to increased flexibility. This Fox News article discusses how yoga can benefit you in bed.

Running

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Going for a jog with your boyfriend is an easy way to ease yourself into a running routine since you’ll have a buddy to keep you motivated. This will come in handy when your heart feels like its going to stop beating at any moment and the sweat won’t stop pouring down your face. Or if you’re already a runner, this activity could help you prove what a superior athlete you are. Just leave ‘em in the dust. Your boyfriend will get the message that he needs to improve his cardiovascular fitness.

Zumba

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Zumba is another fun and upbeat fit-couple activity. You can live out your “Dirty Dancing” fantasies while improving your grooving skills. It’s also an entertaining way to watch your guy or girl flaunt their dance moves. “I used to drag guys to zumba and it was so funny,” said Oby Grace. “I would tell them I was going to the bathroom and then take pictures of them dancing.” Taking a zumba class can help you two get toned and maybe meet some more couple friends. Cue the tandem bike double dates.

Rock Climbing

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You’ve heard the popular saying – couples that climb together stay together.  You know it’s true love when someone doesn’t shove you off a cliff when they have the chance. Fortunately, many gyms have rock climbing walls available to the public. Aside from the relationship benefits, climbing also has numerous health benefits. Harvard Health Publications reported that a 155-pound person burns about 818 calories hourly during a rock-climbing ascent. It also reduces the risk for heart disease and helps lower body fat percentages. If your relationship is rocky, rock climbing may be the only way to save it.

1024 771 Zakyree Wallace

On Women’s Health: are we overmedicated or over-regulated?

Are women overmedicated?

In her recent NY Times article, Julie Holland discusses whether women in America are overmedicated and losing their emotional sensitivity via unnecessary use of antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Sadness, anxiety, depression, and other environmentally caused stressors are natural emotions that are a part of life and need to be felt, Holland says. She doesn’t think that women should be peer pressured into medicating these natural feelings away.

We’re obviously both not impressed with society’s attempt to regulate women’s lives and bodies.

But unlike Holland, I think it’s hard, some would say impossible, to have a conversation on the so-called “emotional nature of women” without involving some feminist ideology.

The increase in marketing and prescription of antidepressants and antipsychotics to women is definitely less about actually treating women and more about suppression of emotion and of course profit.

This probably isn’t surprising to most, considering the society (*cough world*) we live in where men reign: confuddled and intimidated by anything different than them. But I digress.

The point is that I don’t think the “bite the bullet” mentality Holland endorses is the proper approach to the overmedication of women.

Also, supporting emotionality to enable women to “accommodate to others needs and demands” isn’t how to empower women to tend to and take pride in their emotions. Doing things for the sake of others usually has that effect.

Too often we look at a marginalized group in society, see that they are hurting, and try to “liberate” them using the incorrect means. It’s time to do some rethinking.

Perhaps we should start suggesting a different way of responding to stress instead of just saying, no women, it’s just your biological predisposition to suffer, so, suffer and don’t ask for help.

I think the modern woman, and all women that ever were, deserves better than to be told to “just deal with it.”

Conversations on emotional stress and mental health should give power to women.

They should offer women a chance to express how they’ve reacted to trauma and how to move forward with healing. For some, this will look like using medication, for others it won’t.

When discussing anything that has to do with women’s health, the narrative should come from women and serve to support and retain the uniqueness of all women.

So yes, I agree with Holland, emotional sensitivity can be a source of power for women.

But not at the expense of their health.

With this being said, in response to the question “are women overmedicated?”

All I have to say is:

maybe we should let them decide for themselves.

 

 

photo credit: Getty Images

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How to Prioritize Mental Hygiene with Hey Fran Hey

“I had so much mental and emotional buildup of people’s old energies, of old trauma’s, childhood issues, my fears of the future….You almost think that life is supposed to feel this heavy and that suffering and waking up and feeling bad is just you. ”

– Hey Fran Hey

Natural living Youtuber Hey Fran Hey is taking the natural hair community by storm with her “going natural from the inside out” mission.

Her videos offer a fresh, honest, and open personal guide to natural living while she covers topics on natural beauty, natural products and remedies, mental health, and fitness.

In her video “The importance of Mental & Emotional Hygiene, ” Hey Fran Hey covers the disconnect between our lives in and outside of the Internet, and tendency to use social media as a veil to escape from the mental health problems we face in our everyday lives.

Check out the video below to learn how to feel happy with yourself when you’re alone without social media.

 

Do you need to practice better self care? Do you ever feel like you use social media as a way to escape?

Share in the comments below which parts of the video resonated with you!

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Workout of the Week: Yoga for Stress Relief

Becoming a human pretzel for a few minutes a day is a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety levels. As you may already know, yoga has many fantastic physical and emotional benefits. It reduces stress levels, clears the mind, increases energy and strengthens the core. Taking an hour-long yoga class isn’t always necessary when it comes to reaping these benefits (although I strongly encourage it). The following four poses can be done anytime, anywhere to help handle soaring stress levels.

 So when the work starts to pile up this week, or you can’t seem to catch a break, dedicate 5 to 10 minutes to these poses. You’ll feel more centered afterwards – I promise! Focusing on your breath is also key in reaching a calm, relaxed state. When holding these poses really pay attention to your inhale and exhale; trying to deepen the breath.

 

Eagle Pose

The eagle pose helps relieve stress and improve concentration. It also improves balance and works abdominal muscles.

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For eagle pose, or Garudasana, start standing tall. Put your weight in your left foot and begin wrapping your right leg over and around your left leg. Your right foot may hook behind your left calf or it may hang out in the air; depending on your body and flexibility. Next, stretch your arms straight out and sweep your right arm under your left. Try to have your palms meet, but you can also rest your hands on opposite shoulders. Make sure you have a straight spine and hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

 

Tree Pose

 The tree pose is another great balancing pose. I personally like it a little more than eagle; tree pose makes me feel more centered and at peace. It is said that this pose can aid in building confidence and help you achieve balance in all aspects of life.

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 Start standing and place your left leg on either your ankle, calf, or inner thigh. Avoid the knee at all costs. Place your hands in prayer position at your hearts center or, if your balance permits, reach your arms up to the sky. Stay here for 15-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

 

Child’s Pose

 Out of the poses listed here, child’s pose, or Balasana, is probably the most calming and relaxing. It makes you feel more grounded helps you focus on the breath. Aside from releasing stress and anxiety, child’s pose also releases back and shoulder tension.

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Start kneeling on the floor. Bring your knees hips distance apart, or further. Then slowly lower your torso and head over your knees, to the ground, while pressing your tailbone to your heels. Your forehead should rest on the ground while your arms are reaching forward, actively pressing the palms to the ground. Make sure your spin is lengthened as well and focus on taking deep, cleansing breaths. Since this is a resting pose you can stay here for a few minutes.

 

Bridge Pose

 Bridge pose opens your heart to people and possibilities. And it reduces anxiety, fatigue and insomnia. In this pose, your chest and hips are stretched while your back and butt are strengthened.

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Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Bring your feet as close to your butt as (comfortably) possible. Then lift your hips and pelvis off the floor while pressing your feet and palms firmly in the ground. To deepen the stretch you can try rolling your shoulder blades under and clasping your hands beneath your back. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

Practicing yoga teaches you flexibility on the yoga mat and in life. It physically and mentally strengthens you while helping you learn balance in your life. If you don’t already practice yoga these four moves are a great place to start.