In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month I decided to share my battle with Anxiety. In the past few years, I r been dealing with some tough personal stuff(divorce & cancer) that’s been a big journey for me and I really want to share it with you.Im still very much working through everything, but I’m excited to be stepping in a positive direction.
When I think about it, it’s hard for me to imagine a life without anxiety. It’s hard to explain that it doesn’t feel like anxiety all the time- sometimes it feels like a nagging sense that I’m behind, and if I just worked a little harder I could catch up. Sometimes it feels like opening night before the curtain rises and the butterflies are strong in my stomach. Sometimes it feels like not knowing where to put my hands when I’m talking like I’m self-conscious or am about to say the wrong thing. Sometimes it feels like I’m sea sick and the world is sliding out from under me, and sometimes it feels like barely anything at all- just like there’s the slightest weight on my chest. But it’s hard to imagine my life without it, as lovely and strange as it would be.
I just thought that everyone was like that, until a year ago.
In the year things have been fabulous on paper- friends and family are beautiful, my health is improving, I have great boyfriend, I’ve been traveling and reconnecting with friends, and digging into the wonderful messiness of life, but day to day it hasn’t felt like that. Slowly things have been getting hard- I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve gone from my normal (being slightly anxious most the time, but it was manageable) to being extremely anxious, having trouble concentrating and with my memory, and being easily tired out. Things that have always been mild quirks of mine started to amplify to the point of making life less comfortable, and then it started to get exponentially worse.
It was a level of stress I can only describe as similar to a moment when you realize someone is breaking into your home, only it was like that from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I was agitated and exhausted, stressed and confused. I had negative thoughts that I didn’t want but had a really hard time keeping quiet. I had no idea what was happening and fewer words to describe d. I kept it to myself and tried to manage it on my own, but in the end, there was nothing to say other than“Something is wrong, and I need help!”
I made an appointment to see my doctor. It was so profoundly confusing, I knew intellectually that nothing was really wrong, but I felt like my body was on the verge of deciding between flight or fight all the time, and I couldn’t calm down. When I met with my doctor I was so relieved to see her I could have hugged her. We went through a symptom checklist and after answering “yes” to every question she asked, she said a word that made everything snap into focus:
That word was exactly the one I’d been trying so hard to find myself. It was a perfect fit, and more than that it was a diagnosis.
Anxiety Disorder is a psychological disorder much like depression, where you experience some level of anxiety at almost all times. It’s not normal anxiety- like being worried about a test or a performance- but an underlying constant, like a hum in the background of every day that might feel different from time to time, but is always there. The flare up I had in a year ago was hard, but it was a huge opportunity to see that my level of anxiety has been high for many years, but I so was used to always feeling on edge that it didn’t seem strange to me, and there was always a logical explanation for my stress level. I felt like things were legitimately causing it, and often times they were real stresses in my life (I do live in the real world!) but when those stresses were removed, the feelings wouldn’t go away, they would calm down for a time or shift, and I would think that something else was causing them. Until they became too big for me to ignore.
I was diagnosed last April and I’m still very much at the beginning of my journey with this. Because I was in such an extreme state I’ve started on a medication to help calm my symptoms down, and the clarity and peace that I’ve gained from it has been exceptional- I feel like I’m myself about 70% of the time again, and while I have good days and bad days it’s lovely to be able to live more effortlessly than I have for a while. I’m also still in the process of looking back and seeing how this has affected me, and how long it’s been a burden to me that I didn’t have the ability to see.
Because the symptoms are such a mix of psychological and physical, people with anxiety often wait for over ten years to seek help, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this diagnosis when I was 15 before it was so severe rather than when I was 33. But knowing what I do now, more than anything I feel excited. I’m excited to explore my treatment options, and to find a way to live with this that is comfortable and manageable. I’m excited to know that I don’t feel like this because something in my life is causing it, because knowing that means I don’t have to solve anything, I just have to wait for the feelings to pass. I’m so excited to be having fun day to day, to find writing easy again, and to have the words to explain what’s been too confusing for me to talk about until now.
If I can ask one thing from you, at the end of a very long post, it would be that if you have anxiety that is interfering with your life please talk to someone you can trust about it.A friend, parent, teacher, guidance counselor, pastor, doctor – anyone, just reach out. They might not understand what you’re feeling, but they can help you work out what a good next step is for you. There are lots of treatment and therapy options, and you don’t have to deal with it alone.
And just as an aside, thank you so much for reading my corner of the internet – I can’t express how much it means to me. Thank you so much. <3
Hi Friends! I figured I would share my favorite go-to green smoothie recipe for wellness Wednesday! Cooking and getting creative in the kitchen is something I’ve really grown to love over the last few years. This green smoothie recipe isn’t one I’ve ever written down, but it really just came together after a lot of trial and error. Today I’m sharing my absolute favorite green smoothie recipe that I promise you’ll love!
I don’t know why, but I feel like perfecting a smoothie recipe takes a few tries. You want them to be smooth, but not watery. You want them to be tasty, but not full of sugar. You want them to be full of veggies, but not taste like lawn clippings. I could go on and on (clearly I’m kind of picky when it comes to food!). But I love today’s recipe because it is literally fool proof and tastes amazing every time! Since this job keeps me super busy, sometimes I don’t have time to put together a real lunch, so I’ll just whip up this smoothie. It’s pretty filling and loaded with lots of good stuff, and I’m telling you the flavor is perfect! The maca powder is a great superfood and it adds the yummiest slightly nutty flavor. It isn’t overwhelming at all and it blends really well. If you’re looking to have more protein, I suggest adding in some of your favorite protein powder (Orgain is amazing!). But between the greek yogurt and the PB powder, you end up having a good amount of protein in this smoothie.
a handful of blueberries or grapes (whatever I have in the fridge at the time, both work well!)
two cups of spinach
1/4 cup of greek yogurt (I love the Fage 0% fat, but you can use whatever you want!)
1/2 teaspoon of mace powder
2 tbsp PB powder
1 tbsp ground flax seed
splash of almond milk
3-5 ice cubes (yes, that’s insanely specific lol trust me)
I put everything into my mixer and start blending it at about a 3 speed, then gradually increasing to an 8 or 9. I only blend for about a minute total (I think), but the Vitamix is super intense! You can always taste it to see if it’s well blended or if you want to add any more berries or honey for additional sweetness.
Thanks so much for reading! Sorry I couldn’t get better photos for y’all. I was working on this post at night before getting ready for our trip to Dallas for the rewardStyle conference, so it was little difficult to get pictures. But anyway, I hope y’all enjoy this green smoothie as much as I do. I’d love to hear some of your favorite smoothie recipes in the comments! Or if you have any other ideas/requests for Wellness Wednesday, we always want to hear those too. Happy Wednesday!
Provide Your Office With Healthy Snacks: We’re all guilty of snacking on unhealthy food to keep us going throughout the day. But snacks like chocolate, sweets and crisps can actually make you feel sluggish and could be the reason your employees aren’t working to their fullest capacity. Healthy snacks aid weight control, improve mood and boost energy. So dedicate your Wellness Wednesday’s to providing lots of healthy snacks and treats for your employees.
Organize A Running Club: Keep your employees moving with a post-work running club. Sitting down in an office all day can make you feel a little un-energised at times, so what better way to stretch your legs, blow off steam, and get some fresh air, than a quick runabout after work? Set yourself and your employees a challenge and see how far you can run each week – this will also help encourage employee relationships and teamwork.Alternatively, walking meetings are a great excuse to get out of the office whilst still being productive.
Healthy Cooking Contest: Have your employees cook their favorite healthy recipes and bring it into work the following day for a cooking competition, voted on by the rest of the office.
Hire a Masseuse For A Day:Find a local masseuse who’s willing to come into your office for the day and create a sign-up sheet.
Establish A Designated Coffee Time: Setup a time in the day – morning or afternoon – for employees to walk together to the local coffee shop or onsite cafe for a quick pick-me-up. It will give your employees the chance to catch up about both work and non-work related things, and offers a change of scenery so that employees feel refreshed going back into the office.
Major changes to your lifestyle take effort, time and discipline. I’ve been on my wellness journey for 13 years and I am still learning new things. I have to constantly remind myself that undoing over thirty years of eating habits, cultural norms, and group think is a continuous process. So if you’ve faltered on your 2019 health resolutions/goals don’t beat yourself up.
The basics of healthy living are just that basic. Don’t get sucked into waist training, teas and fancy supplements. I am sharing five easy lifestyle changes you can make right now. Guess, what most of them won’t cost you a thing.
This is probably the easiest, cheapest and most effective changes you can make. All the cool kids on IG and FB say you should be drinking a gallon a day. I myself have done it in the past and it was no easy feat. Do your research and figure out what is best for you. Don’t worry about keeping up with the cool kids. Check out of the benefits of drinking water on this post.
Get Some Sleep
I wake up at 8:00 am most days a week so I can workout. Staying dedicated to my early morning workouts requires that I get my rest at night. I use to be a night owl staying up way too late watching bad TV. Getting those extra Zs will have you energetic, thinking clearer and in a better mood. I try to get at least five hours of sleep and I keep up with my sleep patterns using my Polar Loop.
Eat Whole Foods
I’m not talking about food from Whole Food grocery store. I mean food that has been minimally processed. This was and is the most difficult lifestyle change I made. Packaged/fast food is plentiful and to be honest it tastes pretty good! I gradually “weaned” myself away from McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Checkers seasoned fries and Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme’s. Honestly, that stuff upset my stomach each time I ate it so I didn’t miss it too much when I gave it up. However, transitioning from packaged foods to cooking fresh meals was a struggle. I was a die-hard HotPocket, Eggo waffle, canned soup for lunch type of person. The convenience of throwing something in the oven or microwave was everything to me. However, I was committed to eating better and that meant limiting package food for organic meat and vegetables. Eating cleaner has been the best thing I have done for myself and the benefits have been and are continuous: my adult acne cleared up, no more crazy PMS, shorter and lighter menstrual cycles, no daily bloating and I “go” regularly.
Prior to getting sick I spent most of my day behind a desk staring at a computer and most evenings I’m on my laptop. My life was pretty sedentary because of my job and my hobby. However, that’s even more of a reason to make sure I get my workouts in. Now-a-days I’m a bit more active in the day, however; I still make it a priority to get my daily workout video done. I wake up and the first thing I do is my Beachbody workout. Our bodies are amazing and can do amazing things as long our minds allow it. Set aside that time to get moving.
Hey there! I just wanted to stop by and give you some of my most useful and simple wellness tips so you can hit the ground running today and everyday. We are flooded with so much information on the internet, TV, from our friends and family and all over the place it is hard to know where to focus and what to believe. I personally take the simple approach to health and fitness and I think it’s a great place for everyone to start or to reset. Stress is a big contributor to weight gain and poor health outcomes so stressing about how to lose weight or how to feel better can make matters worse, not cool!
Life is not about what diet you are on or what challenge you opt in to is next, instead it is about living your life to the fullest at your optimum health. Wouldn’t you agree?
1. Chew Your Food. Sounds pretty basic and should go without saying BUT we all forget, and I am right there with you. We are so used to chewing feverishly or not chewing at all because we are so busy and want to get to either the next bite or our next task. Chewing is one of the first steps of digestion (thinking, smelling and salivating are the ones that come before that) and is a crucial step most of us miss. Have you ever eaten so fast you have a stomach ache? Could be because you swallowed too much air but could also be due to the fact that you did not give your body a chance to digest the food and it’s working overtime to do so. Slowing down and chewing will help you realize sooner when you are full. Start counting how many times you chew per bite today to see if you chew at all! Slow down, enjoy your food and heck even put your utensils down between bites, make my day!
2. Sit Down to Eat. Another one that should go without saying, but how many of us eat in the car, standing up, at our desk but on our computer, in front of the TV with a plate on our lap? I could go on, but you get the point. We are so out of touch with food and meal times that we eat out of habit, mindlessly and in a hurry. I urge you to sit down to eat and not in front of a TV or computer but at a table or surface and really enjoy your food. You will most likely feel more satisfied after the meal and won’t be as tempted to go grab something else to keep you company on the couch. Leave the couch cuddles for pets and humans, not chips and ice cream.
3. Drink water and enough of it. How many times do you reach the end of the day only to realize you never drank a sip of water? Many of us get by with coffee, food and sugar sweetened beverages when our bodies really need WATER. Grab a water bottle and keep it with you. Rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces but if that is too big of a jump, add 1 cup extra (that’s a total of 8 ounces) today and see how you feel. (Note: if you up your intake drastically you will need to run to the bathroom more, which will in turn help you with tip #4).
4. Move throughout the day. This one is especially for all you 1-hour fitness couch potatoes. You know, those of us who work out really hard 1 hour a day but spend the rest of the day sitting in a chair? This is not great for your health. Find ways to get moving. Maybe it’s a short walk on your lunch break. Maybe it’s petitioning to have a stand up work station. Maybe it’s being creative and making your own stand up desk. Maybe it’s challenging the office to a 50 air squats/day challenge. You get the point. Whatever it is, get moving DURING the whole entire day! Use an app or reminder on your computer or phone every hour or so to remind you to get up, move, stretch and look away from the screen! Heck maybe get a fitness tracker to see how many steps you are really getting each day, you might be shocked.
5. Get to Bed. Seriously. We are walking zombies and sometimes we need to go to bed. You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to be at your optimal health, yowza! Sleep can help with everything including athletic performance, memory, behavior, anxiety, weight loss, sex drive and oh so much more. We could all use a wee bit more beauty rest, so if you are reading this in the dark, in bed, on your phone, shut it down right now and go to bed, NOW!
If these 5 tips are overwhelming to you, that’s okay, start with oneand you will be better today than you were yesterday. Once you’ve put one into place, start with the next and so on. Small steps can lead to a long term lifestyle change. If we try to change everything at once we can get discouraged, and that is no fun at all.
So I’m sitting here drinking some water after a hectic day of running around.?We’re overwhelmed, but sitting here and writing this post has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while so it’s putting me in a wonderful mood.
Lately when I’ve gone onto social media — Instagram in particular — I’ve found myself consumed with this obsession with being healthy, living healthy and eating all things healthy. What do I mean? Well, from the bowls of avocados, and pasture raised eggs to the beautiful and inspirational yoga poses; I find myself wanting to emulate this picture perfect vision of health, not just for all of you but for myself as well. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing a good enough job when it comes to your health. Am I right?
And in 2019, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There’s endless information, ways to access it, people who tell you what to eat or how to eat, when to eat and how to live your best life.
First of all, let’s take a step back and recognize that health is different for everyone and anyone.Being healthy to some means eating paleo, for gym junkies it all begins and ends in the gym, and for others emotional and mental health brings all the clarity one needs. Rarely will you find someone who has all three down to a perfect science.
It’s difficult not to feel worthy enough when you see your favorite blogger exercising and you haven’t drank your morning cup of joe. Or when you see someone post the most beautiful buddha bowl you’ve ever seen full of six different veggies, and then realize you’ve only had brown food all day. And while often all of these pictures and posts can be inspiring to eat better or to get to the gym,I want you to know that you have permission to live your own life, to be inspired but not overwhelmed — because I fear that the overwhelming feeling with not ‘being healthy enough’ leads to eating disorders and mdysfunctional relationship with your beautiful soul and body.
Sometimes I feel like I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to eating and exercising, but the truth is I’m just living my life (like you!), seeking an everyday balance that makes me feel good on both the inside and out. Trying my best to fit in veggies (admittedly I love them, but don’t eat quite enough), enjoying peanut butter by the spoonful, eating pizza and burgers every so often (cause they’re so good). What I’ve learned through blogging, finding my own unique perspective in the blogging world is that I’m not like anyone else, nor do I strive to be.
And when it comes to your own personal health and wellness, I want you to know that social media is not the idealist or the expectation.What does this mean? It means that social media cannot define what your health looks like or feels like to you personally. Take all the healthy tips and inspiration when you want them, butunderstand that you create your own personal wellness.Everyone needs something different.
How to find what kind of healthy is right for you:
FEEL INSPIRED.What makes you feel inspired? I’m taking let your soul on fire kind of inspired. Ask yourself this. Write a list of things you LOVE and that makes you feel like a genuinely better human being. Talk a walk. Listen to music and jam out. FEEL GOOD.
CREATE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.Take my little wellness exercise below. Find something that feels good for you on your own terms. Commit to exercising, eating healthy and taking care of your mind, but do it on your own terms. Find an exercise that you don’t dread doing, meals that taste delicious and are nourishing for your lifestyle, and always strive to keep your mind active and engaged.
KNOW YOUR FEELINGS.The better you understand how you feel and which emotions you are experiencing, the more we can treat ourselves better. More people have trouble with this than you think.
IDENTIFY YOUR PASSIONS.Do you want to start a blog? Do you want to be a nutritionist? Do you want to help other people in medicine? Do you like talking to people and giving advice? Then what’s stopping you? There’s always going to be an excuse for you to stop living your best life. If you can’t identify what you want, ask people what three qualities they think of when they hear your name. How can you build off those qualities? Take a new class? Try out a new hobby?
ALWAYS BE YOURSELF.THIS IS EVERYTHING. Be yourself! No one is like you in the entire world so just be who you are and strive to be better than you were yesterday (that’s how you grow!).
Now, here’s a little wellness exercise for you:
1.) Sit quietly and connect with yourself.Write down all the things in your weekly routine that genuinely make you feel like a better person and/or in general, happy. It can be anything: taking a bath, reading a book, going to a workout class, meeting up with friends, etc.
2.) Look at what you’ve written and identify the two or three things that you enjoyed doing the most.Write down how you felt before and after doing those three things. Were you relaxed? Energized? Relieved? Try to be specific.
What you’ve written is usually a good at indicator of the wellness you need in your life. So for example, if you wrote down that you enjoyed going out with your girlfriends for dinner and meeting up with your mom for a walk, you can identify that being social and spending time with others is what your soul is craving (and in general what makes you happy!).
It’s a simple task, but one that I find really effective in identifying what I’m needing for my own personal wellness (outside of social media influences). It varies each week, so try and do this 1x per week to see what you need.
Last week taking a coconut oil and salt bath and doing yoga was something that felt completely nourishing to me (as if I missed it so much). To me, this meant that I really needed some time to myself, for myself, by myself.
The week before that, I really really loved roasting veggies and meal prepping. It felt like such an accomplishment. Meaning that I knew I needed a little bit of nourishing food in my life (and that I needed to make a point to meal prep more often!).
Hopefully you find this exercise interesting and something different. If you have any other ways you identify what kind of wellness you’re needing in your life, let me know!
I hope you loved this little dose of inspiration — as always, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me everything you’re feeling below and any questions you’re dying to ask. I’m here
Happy Wellness Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week so far. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Not only do I find it less expensive than most grocery stores here in New Jersey, but I love their fun, new products and bopping around in those cute little red carts. Of course, it’s essential to avoid the Trader Joe traffic so I find that early morning shopping is best.
Give me an empty cart at TJ’s and I can go wild… SO we rounded up 46 of our favorite finds at Trader Joe’s for you to check out. Ready?
LITERALLY ALL OF THE PRODUCE. Trader Joe’ has incredible deals on seasonal produce and plenty of organic options, like their spinach, kale and apples.
Here are my favs this time around…
1) Butternut Squash Zig-Zags. Love this fun shape and definitely going to make fries out of them!
2) Bag of Avocados. if you go through your avos pretty quickly – this inexpensive bag has a bunch of them ready for you.
3) Green Beans. A staple in my fridge and so delicious in the summer. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for an amazing recipe I made with these babies!Cereals + Breakfast
4) Organic Toasted Coconut Granola. I recently tried out this new granola flavor and it is AMAZING. I love it over yogurt and with some fresh berries, or even as a little topper to my morning smoothie. Seriously best granola out there.
5) Vanilla Almond Clusters. Super crunchy with a yummy vanilla flavor – another great cereal to add to your yogurt!
6) Joe’s Dark Coffee. Because coffee = life in my household, this dark roast blend is the best bang for our buck. The smooth flavor makes it easy to drink without tons of added sweeteners, creamers, etc
7) Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. PB flavor in cereal is my absolute FAVORITE and these crunchy little puffs are perfect for snacking. Plus, they’re gluten-free and have no artificial preservatives…win!
8) Greek Nonfat Yogurt – Coconut Cream. My fav yogurt flavor at TJ’s! This creamy goodness has an amazing coconut flavor and goes well with all the cereal + granola + berries your heart desires.
9) Rolled Oats. I love using oats in my baking recipes, so if you’ve been looking for the perfect gluten-free option this bag is it! Also great for overnight oats and getting your daily fiber in.
10) Coconut Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. I just tried this out (about a 1/2 cup mixed with 1 cup almond coconut milk) and it was amazing! Rich flavors without the acidity – a great afternoon pick-me-up
Great for baking
11) Organic Flaxseed Meal. This stuff is awesome for baking vegan
12) Organic Coconut Cream. This stuff is amazing for making your own paleo, dairy-free whipped cream! Who can’t resist a little whip on top of their favorite dessert?
13) Organic Reduced Fat Coconut Milk. I love using coconut milk in my recipes – from desserts to flavorful curry dishes .
14) Organic Coconut Sugar. I love using coconut sugar because it adds these wonderful caramel-y notes to my sweet treats.
15) 100% Pure Maple Syrup. One of my favorite natural sweeteners to use while baking (if you’re gonna pour it up on those pancakes, you may as well use the real deal!).
16) Almond Flour. Baking grain-free is easy with a go-to almond flour.
17) Coconut Flour. Another awesome flour if you’re baking grain-free.
18) Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk. You guys know by now that this stuff goes in everything! My absolute favorite non-dairy milk I use in my coffee, for baking, to lighten up sauces – the options are endless. TJ’s carries these non-refrigerated packages so you can store ’em in the pantry until you’re ready to use them!
19) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. You will pretty much always find these in my pantry. Perfect for baking (or adding a few to my on-the-go trail mix!)
20) Triple Cream Brie w/ Wild Mushrooms. Okay this stuff is oh-so decadent. Creamy, super flavorful, and great for spreading on crackers that have a mild flavor (this cheese packs a little punch!).
21) Shaved Cheese Blend. A sprinkle-worthy little tub of firmer cheeses! This one’s great for pastas and even a little dash over your fav salads.
22) Crumbled Feta with Mediterranean Herbs. A new take on your traditional feta crumbles! The herbs in here add a unique flavor that tastes amazing in scrambles, mixed into a quinoa salad, or anywhere that needs a little flavor boost
23) Jalapeño and Honey Chevre. Goat cheese with a kick? Sign me UP. This sweet & spicy combo mixed with creamy goat cheese is a little adventure to bring to your next gathering.
24) Farmhouse English Cheddar w/ Italian Truffles. Gotta get a little fancy and throw some TRUFFLES in your traditional cheddar. The flavor punch here is YUM x1000. This would be AMAZING in mac and cheese.
25) Pesto Gouda Cheese. Another TJ’s classic – the hint of pesto in this tasty cheese is so unique and great for slicing over your favorite crackers. Perhaps a green grilled cheese is in order?
When I dip, you dip
26) Three Layer Hummus. Because 1 layer just isn’t enough – this is my go-to TJ’s hummus. The combo has traditional, cilantro jalapeño (aka my two favorite flavors) and spicy, and I dip pretty much everything in it.
27) Reduced-Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. Like your favorite spinach & artichoke dip, this creamy combo is perfect for chip and veggie dipping but is lightened up with Greek yogurt. Win-win!
26) Three Layer Hummus. Because 1 layer just isn’t enough – this is my go-to TJ’s hummus. The combo has traditional, cilantro jalapeño (aka my two favorite flavors) and spicy, and I dip pretty much everything in it.
27) Reduced-Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. Like your favorite spinach & artichoke dip, this creamy combo is perfect for chip and veggie dipping but is lightened up with Greek yogurt. Win-win!
28) Hummus with Freshly Ground Horseradish. For all my horseradish fans out there – this fun hummus is for you! Unique dip that packs a punch? Sign me up. Also that “horse-radish” animal is hilarious.
29) Corn & Wheat Tortillas. I love using corn tortillas in my enchilada + taco recipes because they give them an amazing texture and taste. Heck yes to 14g of whole grains!
30) Spinach Flour Tortillas. You guys know Abra, aka #abrassalad, is the salad queen – when she’s not mixing one up in her Tupperware she’s wrapping up those salad ingredients in these babies!
31) Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. Don’t feel like DIY-ing the dough for your pizza party? Grab one of these ready-to-bake doughs that are super easy to roll out, top, and bake!
32) Garlic & Herb Pizza Dough. Another ready-to-bake pizza dough option with tasty garlic and herbs already inside!
33) Organic Black Bean Rotini. This gluten-free pasta is made with…you guessed it…black beans! I’m excited to try these and add some colorful veggies for a pop.
34) Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta. Another fabulous, gluten-free pasta option packed with extra heartiness from the quinoaand brown rice.
35) Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. An Italian classic! This frozen gnocchi option is perfect for a quick, delicious dinner, especially if you’re feeding a few at the table.
36) Sweet Potato Frites. Head the frozen section and grab these babies to pop in the oven!
37) Sweet Corn Tamales with Mild Green Chiles and Cheese. Just discovered these cute little tamales and I can’t wait to try them. Love green chiles, and these would be the perfect don’t-feel-like-cooking meal!
Seasonings + Condiments
38) Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. This seasoning is exactly what it sounds like…it’s EVERYTHING! Whoever invented it is pure genius and I want to make it rain all over the world (but mostly on my avocado toast).
39) Nutritional Yeast. This stuff is the perfect vegan sprinkle-cheese replacement for pastas (and life, really). Add it to anything that needs a little cheesy goodness!
40) Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. What is life without peanut butter? This kind has no added sugars and tastes fabulous. Spread over toast, fruit, ALL of the things. I also love how salty it is. #addictedtoPB
41) Organic Tahini. I love love baking with tahini and making creamy, homemade salad dressings with it. It’s mild in flavor so it’s perfect for adding your favorite spices to dress it up!
42) Organic Ketchup. The label says “favorite condiment” and it absolutely is. Top your burgers, hotdogs, fries (sweet potato and non) with this organic ketchup and feel a little better about it being the good stuff! I’LL PUT KETCHUP ON ANYTHING. #merica
43) Organic Coconut Aminos. This seasoning sauce is the perfect gluten-free substitute for soy sauce! It’s packed with flavor (a little goes a long way) and great for marinades, dressings, and cooking with Asian flavors.
44) Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa. Winning combo right here – the sweetness & spiciness paired with your favorite salty tortilla chip or a warm taco would be ah-mazing.
45) Spicy Pickled Vegetables. Who else loves pickled veggies? This is an awesome grab-and-go option if you don’t feel like doing the pickling yourself! Tons of flavor and great for your gut.
46) Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles. Love. Me. Some. Green. CHILES. In sauces, salsas, and anything that needs a little kick to it!
Hi Beauties! For todays Wellness Wednesday post I am sharing some of my favorite Natural Skincare products.
MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Night Cream: Love this retinal night cream and honestly I notice a visible difference when I use it. To be honest I’m a HUGE fan of MyChelle products because they’re developed by a dermatologist. All MyChelle products are Vegetarian, Cruelty-free, and Free of Phthalates, Parabens, Sulfates, Ureas, Artificial Fragrances and Colors, Petroleum, GMOs, and Gluten.
Beautycounter Purifying Charcoal Mask: I love to use when I’m breaking out. I put it on my zits and sleep with it on or leave it on for an hour while I bop around the house. Tony thinks I’m crazy but whatever.
Rosehip Seed Oil: If you aren’t using Rosehip oil, you should be. It’s wonderful for hydrating, but it’s a dry skin so normally it doesn’t cause problems for acne-prone skin. I’ve used this particular brand for YEARS. It’s cold-pressed and organic so I really trust it. I use this after I put on a serum and before I put on a moisturizer. Sometimes I mix it in with my moisturizer too if my skin feels extra dry.
Trilogy Make Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm: I LOVE this for taking off my makeup. It’s thicker than coconut oil (which I use sometimes) and doesn’t make your skin feel greasy. It’s also incredibly nourishing thanks to shea butter. And it will last you FOREVER because you only need about 1 teaspoon. Highly recommend!
6.. Andalou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask: One of my favorite masks of all time. I use this 1x per week and end up with glowy skin. Avalon Organics was the first certified organic personal care line and the company founders successfully lobbied California to legislate organic standards for personal care products.
There are few things in life as soothing and relaxing as the warm glow of a campfire, and a Himalayan salt lamp offers a similar ambiance at home.
Salt lamps have exploded in popularity over the last few years, along with some explosive claims about their benefits. In this article, I’ll break down the well-studied benefits, the anecdotal ones, and why everyone seems to love these lamps!
TIP: If you’re just looking for a high quality salt lamp for your home (and don’t care about the science), I have this one in my bedroom and love it.
WHAT IS A SALT LAMP
Salt lamps or HPS (Himalayan Pink Salt) lamps are large pieces of pure Himalayan Salt with a small bulb inside. They can be solid pieces of salt (like this one) or decorative baskets filled with large crystals of salt (like these). They offer a nice warm glow when lit and may be beneficial for indoor air quality.
Himalayan salt lamps are made from pure, food grade, Himalayan salt crystals. True Himalayan Salt comes from the western side of the Himalayan Mountains in the Punjab region of Pakistan. Once mined, this salt is hand carved into lamps or powdered to use as salt in recipes.
WHY HIMALAYAN SALT PINK?
Regular table salt is primarily just sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is still about 98% sodium chloride, but also contains trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Trace minerals give salt lamps their hue, which can range from light pink to a dark orange/pink.
These beautiful lamps gained massive popularity recently and there are many benefits attributed to them.
But are these benefits actually backed by science?
Let’s find out…
HOW DOES A HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP WORK?
Good question! We know the body needs salt for things like hydration, electrolyte balance, proper blood pressure regulation and for the nervous system. But all of these benefits come from consuming the salt internally..
Most of us aren’t eating our salt lamps so the benefits come from another property of salt. Salt is naturally hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules to itself. The theory goes that salt lamps attract water molecules in the air.
Since water in the air can also hold allergens, pollutants and even bacteria, these substances get attracted to the lamp too. The heated salt lamp supposedly dries out the water vapor, leaving the particles attached to the salt. For this reason, many sources recommend wiping down the salt lamp with a cloth a few times a week to clean it.
Other sources claim that Himalayan salt lamp benefits are due to the creation of negative ions.
THE BENEFITS OF SALT LAMPS
Great Nigh Light and Low-light Lamp
Research has shown that different colors of light affect the body in different ways. Unfortunately, many modern light sources like cell phones, tablets, computers, and TVs emit a lot of blue light and many of us spend a good majority of time staring at these screens, especially in the evening.
Salt lamps, on the other hand, offer a warm orange glow, similar to the orange hues found in a campfire or by candlelight. For this reason, they are a great light source for the evening and can even be used as a night light without negatively affecting sleep.I
May Improve Air Quality
As mentioned, salt lamps are not a spectacular source of negative ions. However, due to their hygroscopic properties, they may improve the air in other ways. Besides offering a soothing glow, they can attract pollutants in the air and even help neutralize the effects of electronics.
Light Color Therapy Benefits
These soothing lamps may also help boost mood and energy levels, especially for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD. The soft orange hues are one of the soothing colors often used to calm mood and increase focus. The small amounts of negative ions may also be helpful in boosting mood as well. But, if you’re looking for the benefits of the negative ions, spend some time outside instead!
Soothing For Allergies
Many people notice a difference from having salt lamps in their homes or offices. I haven’t found any studies that have looked into why, but the anecdotal evidence is strong from allergy sufferers.
Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I got my dark, thick, hair and giant deep set eyes from my 100% Italian father’s side.I’ve got the same build as many of the women in my father’s family, as well as some of the characteristics of my 100% Italian maternal grandmother. One half of my DNA is Italian, and I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at me or notice my absolute inability to talk without my hands flying around.
But then there’s my skin color. That’s where my 50% Irish side comes in. I have light skin with freckles. I’m not the lightest of the foundation shades, but no one is calling my skintone “medium.” I can (and have) tanned to a solid Medium before, but my time fighting cancer over the last four years made me put an end to my beach days without sunscreen and a huge umbrella and hat. (I also know that sun damage is the number one way to speed visible signs of aging on the skin, so vanity plays a part in my decision.)
The problem is that I love the look of a tan on me. I feel like with my very dark brown hair, almost-black eyebrows and brown eyes, I should have darker skin. I think I was meant to have a darker skintone, but there was a glitch. With my hair, brow and eye coloring and the fact that people who look like me often have medium skintones, it only seems right that my skintone is bumped up a few levels.
And oh, how I have tried to get there. I’ve used self tanning lotions, sprays, gels, mousses, gradual tanners and towelettes. I’ve done spray tans, both the airbrush and machine kinds. I’ve been orange, I’ve been streaky, I’ve been patchy and I’ve smelled like I bathed in DHA. I’ve gotten good results from airbrush spray tans, but I hate the way they look when they start wearing off. Until recently, I’ve relied on St Tropez Tanning Mousse (one for the body, one for the face). Anyway, I recently realized that St. Tropez was starting to turn me an orange color. I am not sure if they changed the ingredients but I am not the same color I use to be when I use it.
I checked online at Sephora.com, and saw Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops were the top rating tanning lotion. You add these drops into your regular face and/or body moisturizers and they tan you up. They come in Light, Medium and Dark shades. I went with Medium, because that’s the skintone I was meant to have, remember? I immediately did a small patch test.
While I was patching, I read through Sephora reviews of these self tanning drops in Medium. Still, I waited 24 hours after patching to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. and I liked the color. I didn’t, so on Night 1, I added one drop of the product to my Tula Day and Night Moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck and ears. I noticed a slight smell, but it wasn’t horrible and didn’t linger. It did feel sticky on my skin, but not too bad. I didn’t notice any color of my pillowcase the next morning either.
When I woke up the next morning, I was tan. Not orange and not streaky, and a good shade for my skin. I didn’t put face makeup on that day, because I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to inspect it and see if the color developed more (and I think it did, a little).
On Night 2, I was ready to conquer my body. For my body, I first dispensed enough of my moisturizer to cover one arm. Then I add six drops of the product to my moisturizer, mix it together and apply. I match the amount for my other arm. Then do the same amount of moisturizer and five drops of the product to apply to my stomach and back. For my legs, I dispense the amount of moisturizer I would normally use for one leg and foot and add six drops of product. Then I repeat on the other leg.
The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops instructions say to add between 1 – 12 drops to your moisturizer. That’s a huge range! My suggestion is to start with one drop, see how it develops, then add two the next time, three after, and so on until you find your perfect mix. I am currently using four drops to every pump and a half of face moisturizer (which is the normal amount of moisturizer I apply to my face, neck and ears.
As far as packaging goes, A+. I like the design, the top stays on securely and the dropper works. No complaints there.
A few suggestions I have for you after you patch test:
Exfoliate First. If exfoliation is not contraindicated with any skincare you are using, a good exfoliation before you apply the self tanner will help it look more even as it develops, as it won’t catch on any dry patches or dead skin.
Start Small. Again, start with the minimum amount of drops and add more each day until you achieve the color you want. It’s important to start with the minimum, as the few bad reviews I read seemed to be because the reviewers jumped right in with five or six drops and it sounds like they also didn’t use enough moisturizer.
Keep It Up. To maintain the color, I would alternate days of your moisturizer alone with the same amount of drops and moisturizer you used to get the tan. The moisturizer alone with help keep the skin hydrated so the tan doesn’t get patchy as you shed dead skin cells, and the every-other-day application of the self tanner and moisturizer will keep your shade of tan as is so it won’t fade.
Mix It Up. You need to realllyyyyy mix the self tanner drops into your moisturizer. If you don’t do that, you will get an uneven tan. After the moisturizer and drops are in the palm of your hand, stir them together with your other hand or rub your hands together for about 15 seconds to ensure they’ve melded into one product.
Don’t Be Stingy. Once you have your self tanner moisturizer cocktail ready, make sure you apply a generous amount everywhere. The best way to get streaky is to use only the little that’s left on your hands to apply to an area. When you can feel it dragging as you apply, you are making the streaks happen. I know better, and I still did that one night while using these drops. I dispensed a little less moisturizer then I meant to, so although I evenly covered my face, I didn’t get enough on my neck (and my neck is notoriously bad with self tanner to begin with). I woke up to some patchy areas on my neck where I hadn’t applied enough moisturizer. Did the same thing on one arm too. I think with any type of self tanning lotion, it’s best to use a little more than you think you need to ensure that it gets everywhere.
Take Your Time. Spend some time rubbing the cocktail in. I haven’t noticed any transfer on my sheets, even though I usually tan right before bed, and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time rubbing in the product so it really absorbs into my skin. I massage it in until I can’t feel anything on my skin, which usually takes several minutes. But I think it is a key factor in getting an even self tan.
The Easiest Part. Wash your hands after applying. This stuff will stain your palms if you don’t.
As far as color, the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops give me the same type of color I have when I used to get real tans. Not orange, not olive, not red. Just 33 Year Old Megan tan. I don’t know if the drops react with your body chemistry and give you the type of tan you normally get, or if the color they give happens to be the same color I tan, but they work perfectly on me. If you are concerned about the color, you could try a bigger swatch of color on your stomach or somewhere that isn’t visible when you have on your everyday clothes to see how the color develops on you. My point is, I can only give you my experience with this color, and that may be impacted by my undertone and the way my skin looks when it really tans. But judged off the many reviews I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, the Medium shade in particular seems to work on a lot of people.
The Medium drops have a green tint, which they claim is color correcting, as green cancels out redness. I don’t typically have any redness in my skin and I’m not convinced you can get color correction from a self tanner, but I can’t say for sure since I didn’t have any redness to start with. So jury is out on the color correction.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this product! As long as I apply it correctly, it gives me exactly the type of tan I want. I am loving the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops!