Living in Texas has many benefits: Lots of sun light, great economy and being close to the water. One of my favorite quick get aways when visiting family in Houston is to take a day trip to Galveston Island, about 45 minutes drive from Houston. As you approach Galveston Island, a warm salty breeze greets you, and you know you have arrived. During the week day, the long boardwalk is quiet and there is a sense of serenity. Time slows down and relaxation sets in as you take in the sights of the island: The gentle waves washing into the sand, the sea gulls gliding majestically through the air, and little sand pipers running across the beach.
I am always grateful for quiet moments of solitude to reflect on the joy and abundance I have in my life. So often we are caught up in this fast paced world, but being at the Galveston Island on the beach, I am reminded of the simple pleasures of life: Basking in sunlight, listening to the waves, watching a child play in the water, and seeing the joy in my dogs eyes as they wrestle in the sand. Being in Galveston has a magical transformational effect, if you take a moment and allow yourself to let go and just enjoy the laid back pace of life.
The day trip to Galveston Island reminds me of a time in my lives when I slowed down and appreciated the simple things in life. When you think about it, when was the last real conversation you had with your neighbors? With your family? With your friends? Being here makes me think of afternoons in my earlier years where making time for the people closest to me mattered the most and I vow to make more time for my friends and family this year
As the day comes to a close, I head to East Beach on the far end of Galveston Island and watch one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. Happy and rested, I head back to the city of Houston, refresh and relaxed.
Is it possible to eat healthy while you are traveling? There is always a new restaurant to try, tasty appetizers to share, fun conversations followed by a drink or two (or three!). It’s almost impossible to resist taking an extra bite of that tasty meal, event though your stomach is about to explode. And when the waiter brings out the dessert tray, you think, #yolo. Well, after a few months of trial and error, the answer is yes, you can eat healthy while you travel, but it will require you to make a few changes and rethink what a typical “meal” should look like.
I will confess, there was a time when I first started traveling where I was eating breakfast tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner (I know, absolutely tragic). It turns out that finding “the green” stuff has become even more challenging. There’s not a lot of really great selections at airports, and even less selections at gas stations. After about 2 months of traveling, I noticed that I gained a little bit of weight around my stomach. Part of the reason was because my exercise level also dropped down significantly during this time. Before when I worked from home, I was working out 4 to 5 days a week. In my typical travel day now, I am lucky to even walk a mile or two because of my new lifestyle. What’s even more scary is that I’m probably sitting 95% of the time in my day. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, “Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Yikes.
Since 80% of physical health starts with the types of foods consumed, I started tweeking my eating habits. I had to how figure out how to find healthy meals without having to cook or meal plan. Since I’m eating about 90% of my meals each week while travelling, looking for healthy options was an active challenge. I knew I was missing many nutrients which I use to get when I cooked, such as Omega-3’s, which I use to get from consuming seafoods like salmon and mackerel. While I am not a huge fan of relying on supplemental vitamins, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to, especially when your only options are fried chicken or gas station pizza. Clearly, the best form of nutrition is through the whole food itself, but if you don’t have time or do not have the selection of food readily available, I recommend using supplements.
I started adding an omega 3 supplement, algae (which you can also get from seaweed), collagen (which has a plethora of benefits including cardiovascular health AND healthier nails and hair) and royal jelly (boosting immune system and a helps with ton of other chronic ailments). If you look at my travel bag, you would laugh. I look like a pill lady. I carry this zip lock bag of pills. I am waiting from the day TSA pulls me aside to ask me about my “drug problem”.
Looking at my old eating habits, I used to eat only 15 to 20% of my total calories as carbohydrates. My new diet while travelling consisted of breakfast tacos and sandwiches, closer to 40% carbohydrates. And most of the carbs were refined carbs and bread. Obviously the tacos had to go. Instead of a breakfast taco or sandwich in the morning, I now have a salad for breakfast. Now, it may seem weird eating a salad first thing in the morning, especially when it is 5:30-6 o’clock in the morning and everyone else is having a breakfast taco at the airport. However, when you look at the components of a Cobb salad you’ll notice it has is the same types of foods you would normally get from breakfast: Hard boiled eggs, bacon, avocado (healthy fats essential to our overall well-being), and healthy green vegetables. This is a wonderful low-carbohydrate breakfast option. On days where I need a little extra substance, I will have a banana or apple as well. The morning cup of coffee, which is absolutely critical to my well-being, is part of my morning meal.
For lunch, I started off by swapping the wrap or sandwich for foods with more fiber and healthy fats. On days where I can find salmon or some kind of seafood with a lot of omega 3’s, I’ll skip the omega 3 supplements. If I’m really craving carbs, I’ll have a very small serving of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or black beans usually two or three tablespoons. If they have avocados, it is definitely on my plate. The rest of the plate consists of steamed vegetables or a salad.
I stopped snacking because I really didn’t need the extra calories, since my activity levels have decreased substantially. If I’m really craving something sweet, I’ll dig in to my bag and grab an an organic apple, or an orange, which travels quite well. As much as I like bananas, I quickly realized they do not travel well (hello banana scented iPad case!)
Dinner is probably one of the easiest meals for me. Almost every place will have a seafood or chicken option. The easiest thing to do is to substitute out any carbohydrates with a double serving of steamed vegetables. Get dressing on the side with salads and have the sauce from any entree on the side as well. This gives you the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want. I often find restaurants tend to drown the salad in dressing. A hardy salad with steak or salmon on top is a favorite of mine. Avoid temptation by having the bread bowl removed from the table. A squeeze of lime or lemon gives an extra flavor boost as well as add in some antioxidants and vitamin C. I try to eat dinner earlier, around 5:30-6:30 if possible, because if you eat too late, it’s harder for you to digest.
Instead of carbs, I now add in more healthy fats, such as coconut oil, avocado, and even bacon. The healthy fats keep me energized. Since I’ve been on this new regiment, I have lost inches off my waist line with no exercise and very limited activity. People have noticed that I am visibly slimmer and it has given me a lot of energy.
Funny thing is now, the other day, I had a cake ball in my moment of weakness and immediately I could feel the sugar crash. I also felt sick to my stomach after about 10 minutes because my body is not used to all of this heavy, refined, processed foods anymore. Bad foods definitely affects how you feel. Despite having only 2-4 hours of sleep on a week day, I still have lots of energy and am in good shape. Obviously, sleep is important and it is something I’m going to start incorporating more it into my day to day routine, but I wanted to share this just to give you an idea of what a healthy day while traveling can look like. If you have any questions or if you are looking to know how you can get some ideas for healthy meals on the road that you can easily purchased, feel free to drop me a line and a comment.
Why checking email hurts creativity… a true story. Yesterday, a tragedy happened. My smart phone’s microphone went out. I couldn’t talk to anyone, and had to revert to using my not so smart phone. I was worried because my work email was not set up on it. What if someone needs to get a hold of me? What if it is urgent? Will my work life fall apart if I didn’t check my email on the hour?
Yes, I am an email addict.
In fact, I am guilty of checking my phone for emails first thing in the morning.
Even before I put on my contacts, when I am still groggy and disoriented, I will squint and reach for my cell phone to check email and make sure the world did not fall apart while I slept.
Apparently I am not alone.
According to IDC Research, 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.
“49% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone. By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68%.Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. 80% of those say it’s the first thing they do in the morning.”
I guess I can take comfort in knowing I am makes me extra ambitious, since I check emails the moment I wake up. Yea… I’m that girl. The problem with checking email first thing in the morning is it clutters your brain with things that may appear urgent, but are not truly important. Checking emails hurts creativity because it puts you in a state of stress. Taking time in the morning to reflect, clear your thoughts and set your intentions for the day, not only makes your more creative, but it allows you to be more productive as well. In order for creativity to thrive, you have to have mental space.
Here is another way to look at it. Imagine if you had closet and you filled it with all kinds of junk. Boxes, clothes, hangers, shoes … you name it. Now imagine trying to find something. Just like you need space to get to all of your things easily in your closet, your brain works the same way. Creativity needs space to breath, to develop, to grow and come to life. If you clutter your brain with urgent but no important information or the ever growing “to do” list, you leave no space to create.
Since I have not been able to check my emails first thing in the morning on my phone (or Facebook, for that matter), I’ve felt more at peace. The process of waking up feels more tranquil. Upon waking up, I take a few moments to appreciate the new day, put my contacts on and get ready, grab a cup of coffee, and think about what I would like to accomplish today. I feel lighter, less stressed, and ready to face my day instead of being anxious by things I need to add to my to-do list. Yes, I still check email, but now, I only check it 3-4 times a day, not every 15 minutes.
I feel like I have room to breath again and the creative juices are flowing. I have started writing again, and am inspired to tackle new projects as well. Having downtime in our over stimulated world allows us to focus on channeling our creativity and expressing yourself in other ways, other posting an update on Facebook. And much to my surprise, my world/ work/ life did not fall apart.
Although I am about to order a new smart phone, my goal is to develop a healthy relationship with it. This time around, I will not be controlled by my email. I’ve decided the mornings are to be an “email free zone”. For the first several hours of the day, I will refocus on the important but perhaps “not so urgent” things. Creativity comes from having the mental capacity to allow for ideas to flow in and I am excited about this new journey. After all, we survived for thousands of years without emails and did just fine. A few hours “sin” email will be okay. Oh, and Facebook … you are next.
For those of you who feel the same way, try taking a “break” from email for the first few hours of the day & see how you feel. You can thank me later. =)
Each morning we wake up and we are faced with a new day. In order to make the most of each day, you have to stop holding on to the issues that are holding us back. It could be hurt feelings, or anger at a friend or family member. Perhaps you are still mad at yourself for last night’s binge eating. Maybe you are feeling guilty from skipping a workout. Whatever it is, let it go. Decide to be positive and take a happier outlook on life. It’s a new day and anything is possible. Just like you pick your clothes each day, pick your attitude for the day. Decide what you want to achieve and make it happen. Make a commitment to live each day to the fullest and enjoy the moment.
Make the most of each day
No matter what you are going through or problems you have that’s weighing you down, you can decide how you are going to face them. Deciding to be positive and looking on the bright side is the best way to make the most of each day and find inspiration in our lives. It allows us to find happiness and face our challenges with humor and grace.
Summer is around the corner and it is time for bikini season. It’s time to shed the winter fat and get back in to swimsuits, bikinis, and tank tops. If you are wanting to lose weight fast without making a lot of dramatic changes, I’ve got the perfect easy weightloss tips and tricks for you. Here is 30 ways to burn 300 calories, without having to diet, exercise, or make any extreme changes to your lifestyle.
Remember: One pound of fat is 3500 calories.
The goal is to lose fat and keep lean muscles.
Burning calories is an essential part of losing weight and being in shape. As long as you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. It’s as easy as that. Getting in shape isn’t about making huge changes to your daily life; it’s about making a series of smaller changes.
30 Ways to Burn 300 Calories
1. Sit Up Straight
When you sit up straight, you engage your core, strengthening your abdominal and back muscles. You will also look taller and leaner as well.
2. Eat Breakfast
Studies show making breakfast a daily habit can help you lose weight – and keep it off. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and it triggers your body to start burning fat. “People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved,” says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. “Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, binge-ing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.” Read more at about the benefits of breakfast here.
3. Don’t Peel Your Fruits And Vegetables
The peel of the fruit and vegetables are often also the most nutritious part. Plus you will also get more fiber, which will keep you full longer.
4. Chew Your Food
Chewing your food helps you truly taste the food, causes you to eat slower, and also helping you feel fuller. It take your brain about 20 minutes before it is able to register from your stomach that you are full. Secondly, it uses bits of energy, so you’re burning as you eat. Try to aim to chew 20 times and set your fork down in between bites.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking the right amount of water can easily save you 300 calories. Water boosts metabolism, so your body burns calories continuously. Most of us have trouble knowing the difference between being thirsty and hunger. Often times, we mistaken thirst for hunger. Instead, drink a cup of water when you think you’re hungry and see if the “hunger” goes away. When you are dehydrated, your metabolism also decreases. Drinking water throughout the day caused metabolic rates to increase by about 30 percent in a German study. You should drink half your body weight in oz. This is usually around 8-10 cups a day.
6. Get More Sleep
Getting fewer than four hours of sleep over an extended period of time slows the metabolism. There have been several researches showing how lack of sleep triggers and increases production of Ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Most experts recommend aiming for between seven and nine. To find out what your body needs, go to bed one weekend and don’t set the alarm. Wake up naturally. The hours you slept is how many hours you need to sleep each day.
7. Eat 4-5 Small Meals
Smaller meals are easier for the body to digest and helps increases your metabolism.
Relaxing feels so good, but it’s also good for your waistline. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, which causes more calories to be stored as fat, especially in your abdomen. Research also shows chronic stress is tied to an increase in appetite. Finding an effective way to reduce stress not only makes you happier, but it also makes your waistline smaller too.
Download your FREE “30 Ways to Burn 300 Calorie” Report. Just tell me where you want me to email your free report.
It seems like everyone around me is either sick, getting sick, or recovering from being sick. Short of staying home and being a hermit, how do you prevent catching cold or flu? In this video, I’ll go over my Cold & Flu Prevention Kit. I use these items to help strengthen my immune system and it works great! I take these with me every where I go, and they are airplane friendly as well.
Prevent Catching Cold & Flu Video
1- Olive Extract
Olive extract is a powerful supplement that’s fantastic for enhancing the immune system. The olive plant is a rich source of such beneficial plant compounds as tocopherols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, sterols and polyphenols. Research shows olive leaves have enhanced the functioning of the immune system and help fight viral infections, especially when fever is present. Because of polyphenols in olive leaves, it has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects against a variety of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and fungi. You can take Olive Extract with water, but I prefer to just take it straight. Although it is certainly not tasty (think of a combination of Everclear Liquor and Olive), it has proven time and time again to keep me from being sick, even when I am stuck in with a plane full of coughing people. Make sure to take it before you get sick or if you feel like you are about to catch something.
Propolis is shown to boost immune functions and has antimicrobial properties. Propolis comes from the resin of trees. It is made by bees and they gather the resin from trees, then transforming it into a very sticky and antimicrobial mixture they use as glue for their hive. Propolis works in two ways. First, it suppresses harmful infection and bacteria. Second, it stimulates the immune system and increases your body’s nature resistance. Take it with water or you can do what I do: Take is straight. Again, not the tastiest (think honey scented Everclear) but it works like a charm!
3- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also called Melaleuca, has antiseptic properties and is known to fight germs. It comes form a tree native to Australia. It has been used to treat skin infections, minor burns, athlete’s foot, insect bites, acne, eczema, colds, flu and more. Tea tree oil is used topically and should never be taken internally. For colds and other respiratory problems, add the oil into a vaporizer and inhale the mist. I like to get the tea tree oil in a roller bottle and put it under my nose to help me breath. It’s great if you are congested. It also helps you relax. Because tea tree oil has so many other uses, it is quite versatile. I use it if I am breaking out and it helps clear my complexion. You can also add a few drops of the oil to bath water too.
4- Green Tea
Green tea is an amazing source of antioxidants as well as polyphenols, boosting your immune system. Polyphenols in tea has been linked to killing the flu virus. I’ve been drinking plain green tea for as long as I can remember (thanks Mom!). I am a bit partial to green tea and oolong tea. Oolong tea has also been know to reduce the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and high cholesterol levels, while being high in antioxidants. Don’t add milk though, because milk proteins bind to the polyphenols and make them ineffective. If you need to sweeten it, try adding a touch of honey or Stevia.
Sleep is an essential part of being healthy and having a healthy immune system. When you are sleeping, you give your body a chance to repair itself. In studies, scientist found that sleep plays a critical role in healthy immune function, metabolism, memory, as well as learning. Not getting enough sleep can lead to reduced immune function and even increased cancer risk. How much sleep do you need? For most people, it is any where from 6-9 hours. Try waking up naturally without an alarm clock and see how many hours you slept for. This will give you a good idea of how much sleep you need. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try cutting back your caffeine intake by early afternoon and see how you feel.
6- 1 Hour Break
Kava, which is the primary ingredient in 1 Hour Break, is a plant native to the South Pacific which helps you relax. Sometimes when I am trying to get some sleep but my mind is racing, I take this supplement and it helps me relax. Unlike melatonin which makes you drowsy, this will relax you, but you can take it during the day as well. The effects last about an hour and it helps calm anxiety, relief stress, and helps with insomnia. I keep a bottle of it when I am traveling and it helps me sleep better. . The root is used for medicine. Kava is used to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, and treat sleep problems (insomnia). I’ve tried the Cinnamon flavor (taste like Big Red), Mint, Honey (a bit too herb-y for me) as well as the Original (It reminds me of my mom’s Asian Herbal Medicine). My personal favorites are Cinnamon and Mint. =)
If you are sick, try your best to not cough. Once you start coughing, you irritate the delicate lining of your esophagus, which causes you to cough even more and leading to a sore throat. At night, you can try to gargle with warm salty water, which can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less. During the day, I turn to cough drops. I like Ricola because they are natural and made with herbs. They also use orgainc farming practices and no chemical pesticides.
To help prevent picking up germs and virus, wash your hands for 30 seconds. You have to wash wash your hands for about 30 seconds with soap in order to kill the bacteria and virus. One trick I learned when I was in the medical field was to sing the “Birthday Song”. It’s about 30 seconds long. Just don’t sing it out loud or people will look at you funny…
9- Cover Your Cough
Lastly, if you are sick, make sure you cover your cough it doesn’t spread. Try coughing into the crook of your elbow instead of your hands. When you cough on your hands, you’re spreading germs when you touch other things. Yes, it looks a little funny, but it works.
And of course, eating healthy foods and maintaining an active lifestyle also helps boost a healthy immune system. I’d love to hear your favorite cough and cold remedies. Feel free to leave comments! =)