Tips, Tricks, and Good Livin’

Lessons in Tree Pose

Lessons in Tree Pose

Something I learned in Tree Pose this week: if you take the time you need getting there, ya might stay longer. Applicable, no?

Speaking of taking our time, please expect a new post on how my dietetic internship ended up with my School Nutrition Management rotation, and take a peak into the uncertainty and excitement that comes with the life of an internship grad as I job hunt and study for my RD exam! Hope you lovely readers are having a beautiful day. Stay grounded ;-).

❤ Samantha

The Husky Holidayer: Avoid the Bulge on Your Next Vacation (GUEST BLOG)

New surroundings, hotel rooms cleaned daily, free mini toiletries, and late evenings rolling into late mornings–vacations have the power to decrease cortisol levels, and leave us feeling relaxed; they really can have a positive impact on our health! Yet the unfortunate truth is that these holidays are not always so kind on our waistlines, as it becomes harder to stick to a balanced diet and get regular exercise. Check out my first GUEST BLOG from Cole at Cole’s Mill with his tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle while on vacation…

Tips for Eating Right While on Holiday by Cole at Cole’s Mill

Eating right and staying in shape is challenging enough in daily life and becomes even more so while on vacation. A holiday in a far away locale often brings high-calorie temptations, and relaxation can cause a person to forgo a fitness routine. Some tips for eating healthy while traveling are outlined below.

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Air Travel

Having a healthy meal before departing for the airport is a great way to avoid temptation. Nuts and dried fruits are good snacks for lengthy flights, and fruit cups, baked chicken and salads make for low-fat eating during layovers. Those wanting a little exercise can explore the airport while carrying luggage as opposed to using elevators and escalators. The San Francisco airport offers travelers a Zen Room, which is a quiet space to unwind and do yoga between flights.

Hotels

When staying fit and eating right is a priority for a traveler, booking a health-centered hotel can make the process easier. Many hotels offer a service that provides a treadmill, dumbbells, a stretch cord and a mat for those who wish to exercise. Shopping around online and looking at review sites can provide more information regarding health-based establishments. I personally use Gogobot because it breaks down reviews based on a number of different aspects. On my latest trip I was searching through a list of cheap hotels in Las Vegas and was able to read reviews regarding the amenities, the restaurants nearby, even things to do. Information like this helps you plan your trip every step of the way. In general, avoiding the minibar will eliminate high-calorie snacks and alcohol, and selecting foods such as low-fat yogurt and oatmeal will keep continental breakfast time healthy. Some travelers elect to bring along a small crockpot to easily prepare foods like chicken, rice and vegetables.

Food and Restaurants

Restaurants that feature salad bars and fish-based entrees are a good choice for low-fat meals. Eating a small portion of fruit prior to going out can prevent overeating or snacking on bread before the meal arrives. When ordering, the focus should be on finding foods that are presented as light, low-fat, grilled, roasted and steamed. Lean meats without skin are a good choice for protein. Using vegetables as a side dish instead of carbohydrates will keep the calorie count down and prevent bloating after the meal, and are a great way to get an extra servings of veggies into your day. Travelers should avoid “all you can eat” type restaurants or any establishment that features food that is battered, fried or stuffed.

*(Quick tip from The Nourished Soul: Going meatless from time to time is a great choice for many, but watch the vegetarian options at restaurants, as sometimes they’ll deliver some serious calories, dwarfing their meaty competitors. Keep it lean!)*

Other Considerations

If a health-based hotel cannot be found, booking one with an extensive exercise room or that is located near a gym can keep a traveler on a fitness schedule. Looking online for local restaurants that feature vegetarian or low-fat fare and also thoroughly checking the menus before going out will save guesswork on arrival. A daily multi-vitamin will replace nutrients and provide an extra boost of energy to help the body deal with the stress of travel.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, those concerned about exercise and eating well while on the road can follow the tips above to stay on track.

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Thanks, Cole! ALSO: don’t forget to use your FEET! Take advantage of your time in a new city/state/country/continent, and go see some sites. The beauty of most urban areas is that things are walkable. Think of hoofin’ it rather than taking a car. And if you prefer to vacation in more rural locales, utilize those open country roads. Grab an iPod, or ditch it and listen to the sounds of the Earth–whatever makes you happy!

Don’t forget to check back to see how my rotations in Kidney Disease and Labor/Delivery went. Now get out there and enjoy the weekend!

If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger on The Nourished Soul, contact at thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

Build a Better Burger: National Cheeseburger Day!

WHAT? Today is NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY?! Sweet. Well, I think in honor of this grand event, I’ll talk a little bit about how to eat a SMARTER BURGER. Below, a few tips.

1.Enjoy yourself!

I am here, as a soon-to-be dietitian, advocating that it is not only OK to eat a burger from time to time—I’m in fact letting you know that there are actually BENEFITS to red meat. It is true that you can get the iron, vitamin B12, and protein for which red meat is so famed from other sources. So if you do not prefer red meat, you CAN save yourself from deficiency. Keep an eye on my Nutrient Spotlight page for updates on that. However, if you are a fan of beef, it is an extremely bioavailable source of iron—meaning your body absorbs it more easily than it does from other sources (e.g. leafy greens). And iron-deficiency anemia happens to be the most common and widespread nutrient deficiency worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. So don’t pour on the guilt—congratulate yourself for making a good choice that will provide your body with a ton of nutrients

2. Go Grass-Fed and Local

There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the meat industry, and it’s often difficult to decipher what to avoid, and what is mainly hype. A safe bet is to choose local meats as much as possible, and look for organic grass-fed beef. This will ensure that the cows destined to be your burger were fed a diet that their gut could understand and break down properly, and that the animals weren’t treated with hormones or anything not naturally occurring in the animal already.

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Happy cows come from….

3. Dress It Up Right

Many foods become demonized, thwarting high levels of not-so-good-for-us nutrients, and are forced to wear the diet-version of a “Scarlet Letter.” However, sometimes it’s not the food itself that has so many adverse effects as much as what goes with the food. Moderate amounts of ketchup and mustard (think: 1 Tablespoon) are great additions to a burger. But to get more nutrient bang for you calorie buck, try taking out high saturated fat condiments like mayonnaise to be replaced with avocado. It will introduce an interesting new texture to your burger, as well as some serious creamy goodness! And avocados provide healthy fats that are required for every day bodily functions, and can help prevent heart disease and inflammation, in addition to cancer-fighting antioxidants. Avos can also have a fab effect on hair, skin, and nails. It should be mentioned, however, that due to this super food’s high fat content (although it’s the GOOD KIND), avocados are high in calories, and should still be consumed in moderation.

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Those are some delicious looking antioxidants.

ALSO—pile on as many veggies as you can! No reason to stop at the standard lettuce-onion-tomato. Through some peppers on your grill, and stack them on your burger. The hot ones have major metabolic benefits. Any non-starchy veg would probably go great on a burger—experiment! And let me know what works and what doesn’t!

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One more note (as it is nat’l CHEESEburger day)… Cheese is a great source of calcium, and provides protein as well. I will admit to being an absolute cheese lover. But it’s a food to moderate, as it typically contains high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Some cheeses are available in part-skim versions–go for those whenever possible. Or just enjoy a smaller amount of a full fat version. Either way–ENJOYMENT is very important!

4. Choose Your Bun Wisely

Not only can you pack an extra serving of veggies into your burger, but you can even utilize this meal as a chance to squeeze in an extra serving of whole grains. When at the store, all the choices we’re given in which to wrap our patties can certainly overwhelm a person. The simplest rule for choosing whole grains is this: the VERY FIRST INGREDIENT should read: WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR. If it doesn’t, it’s not a true whole grain.

Examples:

images-3^Whole Grain

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^Not a whole grain (the first ingredient is ENRICHED FLOUR)*

*I know this is a confusing topic. Please feel free to email me (samfink14@gmail.com) or comment with any questions.

If you’re not a bread lover, you can even wrap your burger in a lettuce wrap. I’d recommend choosing darker romaine leaves over iceberg—the darker your veggie leaves, the more nutrients they contain. But don’t be afraid of a few carbs—they can provide much-needed fiber, as most of us don’t get what we need from our diets.

If you’re trying to avoid red meat, or prefer a more plant-based diet, you can always go for a veggie burger! Just make sure you’re not replacing a beef burger with something that’s highly processed, because health-wise you are doing yourself no favors with that choice. Your best bet may be to make one at home using whole ingredients. Here’s a recipe for one that uses LENTILS (a great plant source of protein)! You may also see beans used, and any other starchy protein. I actually was recently at a restaurant that served a veggie burger made of quinoa and beets! If you prefer to purchase a packaged version, check the ingredients list, and choose one with a short list of ingredients, and words you can pronounce. Watch the sodium level on these items as well.

And remember–as with all things–moderation is key. A burger every once in a while can provide you with major benefits. But one every day may result in lethargy, fluid retention, high cholesterol, and weight gain. So have a happy National Cheeseburger Day! And enjoy yourself!!

Nice Melons!

…Thanks, they’re local.

 

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Just picked up a mini watermelon from my local produce market. Upon arriving home, I found this sticker on it:

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Melon Up! allows you to enter your fruit’s assigned serial number, and see where exactly your snack was grown, thereby being able to gauge how far it traveled to get to you.

And according to this map taken directly from the website, these services are available in a number of locations across the United States, Mexico, and Central America! Hooray!

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Thank you, Melon Up! for making eating local even more feasible.

Enjoy your weekend!

Coffee Drinking Associated with Lower Suicide Rates in Some

Coffee Drinking Associated with Lower Suicide Rates in Some

I now feel absolutely NO reason to defend my coffee drinking to anyone! Drink up, coffee fiends. Happy Saturday!

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Challenge Yourself: Eating Mindfully

Challenge yourself today! If you do not already practice mindful or intuitive eating, set an attainable goal for yourself to start. My suggestion is to set a goal to eat one meal today with mindfulness. This means no distractions: turn off the TV, put down the phone, close the book/magazine. Pay attention! If you can recognize the signal, stop when you’re satisfied–BEFORE you’re full. And enjoy every bite.

It’s not easy, but I know you all can do it. Check back for a more elaborate post on mindful/intuitive eating–the philosophy that truly changed my life, and that of many others.

Happy Thursday (it’s almost Friday)!

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YogaGlo — NO MORE EXCUSES!

I know, it’s easy to find excuses not to exercise. Especially when the type of exercise you’re working toward is an activity you don’t particularly care for. That’s why I firmly believe in picking an activity that you LOVE. I heard some great advice once. Paraphrased, it was: choose a work out that you love so much, you would do it EVEN if it wasn’t GOOD FOR YOU! And for me, that work out is YOGA. I can honestly say it is in my top 5 list of ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THINGS (including non-exercise activities) TO DO, and I choose it as my mode of exercise as frequently as possible.

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See? 😉

But, being a busy person on a strict budget, I often run into 2 significant hurdles — insufficient funds to maintain membership at a yoga studio and, even if my income permitted, I have a schedule that doesn’t often allow me to get to the classes that are offered. I’m sure many of you run into similar problems.

 

Well, fear not fellow… busy poor people! There’s an app for that! Well, a website. Yogaglo.com brings the studio to your personal computer screen. They have a seriously vast selection, and are breaking it down for you by teacher, yoga style, level of difficulty, and duration of the class. And when I say vast, I am NOT messin’ around (and neither are the wonderful people at YogaGLO). The site offers nearly 2000 videos at this time, and styles range from Ashtanga to Kundalini to Vinyasa (and then some). They even have Meditation classes available ranging from 5 to 60 minutes. 

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There are a number of really useful tools on the site, as well, that will help you commit to your yoga practice, even if you can’t commit to a studio. You are able to set goals for number of classes per week, and it will track how many you’ve completed (I just signed up, and am already 2/3 of the way to my goal for the week!). You can also add items to your “queue” to take the classes later, and have the option to note which time of day you’d like to use that particular video.

 

I know there is more, and I’m still discovering! The site is also incredibly user-friendly, and offers some great tutorials on how to use different tools. It should be noted that IF YOU ARE NEW TO YOGA, you should take extra caution in your practice. Take it slow, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t push it (this is true at any level of yoga practice). Taking classes in-person with a certified instructor is always great, but if that’s not an option, YogaGlo supports the idea that it’s no excuse to discontinue your practice. And if you are new to yoga, check out the site’s Beginner Center under the Yoga for You tab–lots of great videos to get you started!

OH, BEST OF ALL: Membership cost for YogaGlo is only $18 per month–some studios charge nearly this much for a drop-in class! They currently have a 15 day free trial that you can sign up for. DO IT!

I will miss the personalized adjustments from certified yogis that so often make ALL the difference — but there’s no harm in popping into a studio every so often for a tune up :).

 

Enjoy this beautiful evening, and check out YogaGlo! And most importantly, do something that nourishes you tonight :). Feed your soul!

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Ommm