The Metabolism Boosting Elixir That Is Matcha Tea: Featuring Matcha.Now

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I’ve never been one to believe in gimmicks when it comes to diet.

I believe that we can find the majority of our answers to enhance our everyday health from nature, however, it is obvious that some plants have stronger effects on the human body than others.

Matcha Tea is one of nature’s wonders that does leaps and bounds for the human body.

 

For starters, Matcha Tea is known to naturally enhance weight loss without the negative side effects of dangerous weight loss medication. Specifically, boosts metabolism and burns fat. One recent study even suggested that matcha may help burn calories by four times. At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It doesn’t raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.

This does not mean that if we consume an unhealthy diet and drink Matcha Tea, that our bodies will not reap the negative effects of eating poorly. However, Matcha Tea is an excellent complement to any healthy diet.

 

If you are looking for specific facts and statistics in terms of what Matcha Tea can do for the body, a study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expediture.

In addition to helping the body boost metabolism, Matcha Tea also has an incredible amount of antioxidants that help the body to prevent aging and to guard the body against diseases. When comparing the amount of antioxidants in matcha tea to green tea, you would need to drink at least ten cups of brewed green tea.

Overall, the benefits of this special tea are endless and can best be described through the list created by Matcha Source:

Matcha tea is an easy and simple way to add powerful health benefits to your everyday diet.

 

When it comes to making tea, sometimes the reason that we don’t consume it as much as it would like is because although the brewing process can be short, our hectic lives need  a brewing process that it instant.

Therefore, if you are a fan of iced tea, I would highly recommend drinking Matcha Tea from the brand Matcha.Now, as their packaging makes drinking tea super convenient.

The water bottle provided by the brand hosts the tea at the top of the water bottle, and when you are ready to drink the tea, you can twist the top of it so it releases into the water. This allows you to make your tea at your own convenience and it preserves the natural healing elements of the tea.

There are two flavors that you can choose from the Matcha.Now brand. The first one being the 100% Pure matcha tea, and the other being the Lightly Sweet Tea that has 1.6 grams of organic sugar.

When you make your choice in flavor, keep in mind that matcha naturally has a very strong taste and if you are not used to the flavor, the natural sugar is a great way to adjust to the taste. In addition, at home you could use your own natural stevia sugar, if you prefer to drink the 100% Pure Tea, which is my choice.

Their website currently says that you can receive an addition 5% of of your purchase through using the code “TODAY” at checkout.

 

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How I Finally Learned To Love Working Out

 

14232021_337849189881144_1552326325535517094_oAuthor Bio: I’m a 25 years old Italian girl with a Master Degree in Environmental Law. I love to travel, discover new places and cultures from all over the world. Now I’m on my journey to improve my life on this planet by eating healthy, exercising, practicing yoga and sharing positivity through my Instagram Gallery @giuliatheitaliangirl. I feel constantly inspired by nature, and blessed to be able to live in our beautiful planet.I love to spend as much time as I can outside in the nature. My motto is “Healthy Life Happy Life”, and sharing my ideas is what brought me to open my Instagram gallery called Giuliatheitaliangirl. Sharing my efforts to live a healthy and respectful life make me improve myself everyday, and hopefully it will inspire other people to do the same. You can also follow me on Facebook at Giulia theitaliangirl and Youtube at Giulia theitaliangirl.


My Personal Fitness Journey And Some Tricks To Start You Own Workout Routine

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First of all, I’d like to share with you my personal journey to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

I used to be a very active girl while a I was little. I practiced swimming for ten years and then swipe up to dance for other 6 years. At the age of 19 I felt tired about sports and stop practicing. I felt like I had a beautiful body and I didn’t need to do anything to keep it in shape.

Some years passed by and at the age of 22/23 I started looking at myself in the mirror and feeling unease with my body. I wasn’t overweight but I had lost muscular tone, my skin was lax and I suffered a lot from water retention.

I reached the point I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and wouldn’t go to the seaside because I didn’t feel comfortable at all with myself.

That summer I decided I wouldn’t let myself feel that way anymore.

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I forced myself to join the gym and I started training constantly with the help of a personal trainer.

That was the most beautiful thing I did to my body and mind.

Having someone beside you that keep telling you that you are great and that you can do it, despite you wanting to give up because of the pain and endeavors, is amazing. It makes you understand how powerful our body is; it can do such wonderful things we don’t know only because we tell ourselveswe are not strong enough: but that it is only a wrong state of mind. And the best part is that you need only few moments to realize your real power.

Then your mind will be your best ally.

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Now I can train with no help and every time I feel like I want to give up I repeat myself I can do it and at the end of my training session I feel so powerful and happy with the goals I achieved!

The first months are the most strenuous and at the same time the ones in which you can see the biggest changes. Afterward your body starts to get used to work out, which is amazing, but at the same time you’ll need to adapt your routine and be more patient to see the transformation.

By now almost two years passed by and I keep training my body almost every day switching between more endeavoring classes, yoga and the weight room.

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In the first year I focused my attention mostly on the parts of my body I was unhappier with, such as legs hips and gluteus; after a full year I started working out more the upper part of my body, always keeping in mind to fully train my body to keep balance and stability.

Currently I can’t live without going to the gym, it makes my body and mind feel so healthy and free that It really distresses me not to be able to go for a while. I couldn’t be happier about the decision I made to go through this journey and there are still many goals I want to achieve.

Because of my personal experience I am really conscious on how a healthy and proper lifestyle can change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. I used to suffer from anxiety and hypochondria in the past, every time I felt some kind of pain I used to tell myself not to train and that made things worse. Actually since I started working out every issue disappeared.

Now I am so mindful and aware about it: Working-out make our bodies and minds so vital and healthy!

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I actually feel very emotional about this topic and I really want to share with you some tricks that really made the difference in the beginning of my journey wishing they’ll help you setting a positive state of mind in the begin of yourpersonal journey:

– Invest in some sports outfit you feel really comfortable and beautiful wearing

– Don’t start “kicking into high gear”, constancy is better than a high but short commitment

– “Better a little rather than nothing”, we say that in Italy: it is better to workout even only 10 minutes rather than procrastinate to the next day

– Diversify to avoid getting bored and used to the same routine

 

– Find a gym in which you feel comfortable and at ease (some people go to the gym only to show off and talk behind others, don’t let yourself get miserable because of strangers opinions..!)

– Love your body for what it is, it is the first step to be proud of what you are (..Amazing!)

– Never compare yourself to other people, only look at the positive goals you achieved and how your body improved since you started working- out!

– Do not use a scale! One Kg of fat is a lot larger than one Kg of muscles… if you look at yourself in the mirror and feel great you don’t need the scale to tell you how much you weight!

– Organize a weekly plan and do your best to respect it

– Don’t stop working-out for long periods, the harder part is to begin: don’t let yourself go back to that point;

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– Last but not least: support your body with a healthy and abundant diet, your body needs a lot of energy to work-out never forget it!

Hope you enjoyed this article as I enjoyed sharing with you my story!

I would be really happy to hear your journey into a healthier lifestyle.

Have a good time and don’t forget to take a look at my Instagram

giuliatheitaliangirl to stay connected and share ideas!

See you next time!

Until then, Live Healthy Live Happy!

Giulia

3 Reasons Why Yoga Helps Reduce Stress

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetAuthor Bio: Hiya, my name is Ines. I am a sport and exercise science university student and personal trainer. I am very passionate about all things wellness, health and fitness related. I am always on the hunt for a good coffee shop and sunshine! My blog is my happy place where I share all my thoughts and passions, where I get freaky and inspired! Join me @ines_castro88 for vegan and lifestyle inspo.


It is not a secret that exercise influences our mood and state of being. By moving the body we release endorphins such as dopamine which is related to pleasure. Basically the more often we exercise the happier and better we feel.

Yoga is particularly well known for promoting feelings of calm, happiness, well-being and positivity therefore reducing the feeling of stress and anxiety.

Today we are exploring why that is.

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1. Connecting to your breath

Yoga is an exercise that involves observing your breath and moving your body according to your breath. This awareness is very grounding, it helps us feel supported by the earth and calm, but at the same time it can also be very energizing and up-lifting.

Some practices can also include breathing exercises that further connect us to our being and present state which helps reduce stress and ‘mind-clutter’.

2. Moving your body with ease

Nowadays most of us are rushing from one task to another, leaving us stressed, anxious and restless. On the mat we move with intention, following the breath with ease and paying attention to how the body feels.

We rarely do that on our daily life, therefore taking the time to be aware of our movements and move with grace is a beautiful way to feel grateful for the body we have and all it does for us. It helps us to take care of those little pains and aches we develop over time. A good back stretch, heart opener or perhaps being upside down for a bit can make us feel so much lighter and uplifted.

3. Strong Poses

I am a strong believer in ‘strong poses’, empowering poses that open the heart, clear the mind and brings us to the present moment with intention and clarity.

It can be as simple as a standing mountain pose. Stand tall, mind over heart, heart over pelvis, palms facing forward, shoulders back and down…and feel grounded, supported and empowered by the matt beneath you. Adding movement can increase this uplifting sensation. In your mountain pose, deep inhale and reach the arms up. Arms straight, you can take a slight back bend here, open up the chest, smile and exhale bringing the arms back down.

These are very simple poses (and a very simple flow) that can help alleviate stress and anxiety if done for a couple of minutes. Other heart opening poses such as camel pose, cow pose (flow cat and cow), upward facing down, wild thing pose (Camatkarasana), etc, will also help uplift you specially if incorporated in a flow.


I hope you found this post helpful. Thank you so much for reading. Namaste x

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Top 5 Detoxing Drinks: My Daily Routine

14232021_337849189881144_1552326325535517094_oAuthor Bio: I’m a 25 years old Italian girl with a Master Degree in Environmental Law. I love to travel, discover new places and cultures from all over the world. Now I’m on my journey to improve my life on this planet by eating healthy, exercising, practicing yoga and sharing positivity through my Instagram Gallery @giuliatheitaliangirlI feel constantly inspired by nature, and blessed to be able to live in our beautiful planet.I love to spend as much time as I can outside in the nature. My motto is “Healthy Life Happy Life”, and sharing my ideas is what brought me to open my Instagram gallery called Giuliatheitaliangirl. Sharing my efforts to live a healthy and respectful life make me improve myself everyday, and hopefully it will inspire other people to do the same. You can also follow me on Facebook at Giulia theitaliangirl and Youtube at Giulia theitaliangirl.



Did you ever wake up feeling bloat and unease?

I suffer pretty often of bloating and water retention, but since I started following this routine, together with an active life, my body changed extraordinarily!

Remember to stay hydrated

A glass of juice

Our body is actually made of water!

No matter where you are or what you are doing never stop drinking. It might feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning, but in a few days your body will get use to it. You’ll reach the point you won’t go anywhere without carrying with you some tasty drink.

Here’s my average detoxing day from waking up to sleep time!

 

  • Hot Water with Ginger and Lemon 

 

Lemon Water

Every morning, as soon as I get up from bed, I go in the kitchen and put the kettle on, slice some organic ginger and squeeze some lemon in a mug adding hot, but not boiling, water. I drink it every day before consuming breakfast and it really makes the difference.

Here few beneficial effects: ginger reactivate metabolism helping to burn fats faster; lemon detoxes the body and promotes diuresis.

To obtain the maximum benefits always drink it before breakfast and wait 20 minutes before consuming your first meal.

 

  • Berries Juice

 

Berry Juice

Cranberry is the most known berry juice. Native American considered it a symbol of joy and friendship, and we should too. You can choose to squeeze it from fresh fruits when in season, or to buy it already juiced. Choose what’s the best for you, but always prefer sugar free products and organic, if possible. Berries might taste a little bit sour, if so, add some water.

There are many different berries and juices; everyone with beneficial properties for our body. Dealing with cranberry, here are some benefits: first of all, it provides a good amount of Vitamin C and, if you suffer from anemia, this is one of the fruits with the biggest amount of iron in it.  it is also recommended to prevent urinary tract infections as well as stomach ulcers.

I prefer to drink it during breakfast or in the mid-morning in fact, as all fruits, it should not be eaten after 3/4 in the afternoon.

 

  • Orange Juice

 

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During winter period this is my absolute favorite juice. I drink it every morning from November to April (here in Italy this is oranges season), and in this case I avoid buying already squeezed products. Vitamin C evaporates very fast after you pressed oranges, and to drink it fresh is the only way to actually take the vitamins.

・ Earth provides us with what our body

needs the most during every season.

So let’s trust Mother Nature and follow

a seasonal diet if possible ・  

 

  • Green Tea 

 

Green Tea

Once a day, usually in the afternoon, I treat myself with a cup of green tea.

I used to suffer from water retention, and for this particular condition, Matcha really makes the difference. It is the most purifying and detoxing drink I consume every day, and my body seems to appreciate it.

Here are some beneficial properties: Matcha is full of antioxidants, which help cells reparation that keep our skin young and healthy. Moreover, it encourages concentration increasing memory and calm; it improves energy level and stamina; and, last but not least, it detoxes our body through eliminating toxins, increasing our immune system and by fighting cholesterol.

Some precaution: Green tea contains caffeine, so avoid drinking it in the evening if you suffer particular conditions. As general tip, always consult a specialist prior to start with new practices, even if they are natural, each one of us is different, never forget.

  • Hot water with cardamom seeds 

This is a bonus beverage for me, I don’t always drink it, but when I do, it really makes me feel better.

Sometimes in the evening I feel nausea and have to deals with digestions issues. Cardamom seeds are fantastic to treat these conditions. Put some in hot water and drink it. They have a sort of balsamic flavor, also perfect to fight cold and flu.

・Drink water throughout the all day・

As I said before, our body is mainly made of water and we should facilitate its natural functions by providing the right amount of liquids to sustain our system.

I don’t want to say how much you should drink, because it depends on various factors. When we exercise, for example, we should double the amount of liquids we drink, and as general tip, the more we drink the more our kidneys will work correctly eliminating toxins from our system.

Always change a bit your drinks

adding different flavors to avoid your

body to get used and bored

If you are like me, that get bored very fast and don’t get thirsty during the day, here’s some tricks:

  • Find a container you really like
  • Choose one not too big (less than one-liter bottle)
  • Pure the water there, and always brings it with you
  • Try to flavor water with some lemon or lime, something fresh that stimulate your taste
  • Do not drink iced water, it is not healthy for digestion

Try them out and let me know, with these tricks I found myself drinking at least a double amount of water compared with before.

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Last but not least, avoid drinking alcohol as much as you can.

If you do (we are not perfect machines 😉 ), never go too far and remember to drink at least a double amount of water of the alcohol you drunk before going to bed, it will save you from hangover.

Hope you enjoyed this piece and you found it useful!

Until next time , check my Instagram gallery at giuliatheitaliangirl for more tips like these!

Giulia

[ I would like to remember that I’m not an expert and here I’m simply sharing with you what works for me and my body; if you suffer particular conditions please talk to a specialist]

Fitness Goals and How To Stick With Them

Author Bio:

aibeiaiaaabdcnvhkfs0zp2cacildmnhcmrfcghvdg8qkde4mtllmty1zju0yje1odk5n2q0zge5mzqxmzflzdnkmmmyyzvjzjawaq0y5lshri8rqmtttpypefiqdgg4Amber is a mother of three children, devoted fitness-addict, vegan lifestyle blogger, and published academic who is currently completing a PhD in Mathematics Education.With expertise and experience in the field of education, Amber’s skills of facilitating learning and growth for individuals stands her in solid grounds for making contributions to the realm of personal growth and fitness – two fields she has long  been a passionate devotee and student of. Amber is a life-long learner, and hopes to bring this enthusiasm to the world of holistic health, fitness, and wellbeing, in hopes of sharing some of her knowledge and skills with others along a similar journey. Follow her on Instagram @Woah_Mumma.


Staying motivated in your fitness regime is a dynamic process, this has to be recognized first and foremost, as failing to recognize it only leads to unrealistic expectations and disappointment.

While we can enviously look at the physiques of the most astute athletes, body-builders and fitness models, and assume that the motivation behind such achievements must be at a perpetual high – this is a fallacy. As even the best of the best will have their ‘off’ days, where the intention to carry out their goals just isn’t met with the energy/focus/determination/drive required.

That being said, there are some tips and skills that I have learned along my OWN fitness journey, which have helped me to live a very active, highly motivated lifestyle for all of my adult life and much of my young adult/adolescence.

I am by no means a professional athlete, a title-holding body builder, or a Sports Illustrated cover model; but I am, however, a very active and healthy mum who has managed to stay lean, motivated and fit for all of my life.

My body has not changed much in the last 16 years, even with the addition of my three beautiful children and all of the ups and downs of life in between.

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OK…. That is not entirely true. Sometimes I think that after 100 sit ups and rolls ups, my stomach will never ‘quite’ return to its pre-baby state (i.e. no stretch marks and taut, firm skin), but hey…. Whatcha gonna do? Maybe I’ll stumble across some miraculous remedy for that, and when I do, I’ll be sure to post it on here!

So without going into my whole life history, my relationship with being ‘active’ probably began as a small child when I was always involved in extra-curricula activities, like dance and swimming, which kept me fairly active and fit. But my mindful activeness – the point where I started to consciously ‘decide’ to be active almost every day, probably began around age 15, when I would get up at 6am every morning to go on a morning ‘power walk’ before studies and school.

I remember finding this time liberating and peaceful, as I was just being ‘myself’, and using those moments to reflect on things that were happening in my life, and to talk myself into being ‘ready’ for the challenges I was then facing (think HSC/end of school exams and all the pressures associated with that early stage of becoming an adult). This same feeling is probably what keeps me going to the gym/power-walking/swimming/running now as a grown woman with three children. The sense of peace, calm, and control I get to feel each and every time I take the time to move my body…

It really is quite addictive.

But what I would like most to share with you here, right now, are a couple of basic strategies I have developed myself along this journey, (and I am sure which others have found to be useful – I don’t assume to be the ‘pioneer’ of fitness motivation as at least a-billion have taken that status), which I feel keep me focused and ‘on track’ with my fitness goals, most of the time.

Perhaps neither of these will be relative to you and your particular circumstances, and in that case you can dismiss this work as drivel from another self-proclaimed legend on the blogosphere. But even if one of these strategies speaks to you and motivates you to embed it into your own lifestyle, then this article has served us both well (and I might retain some semblance of legendary status).

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Setting Clear Goals:

This means, being CLEAR about what you want to achieve, both in the long-term, and the short-term. I like to think of these as ‘the big picture’ (e.g. I want to improve my cardio-vascular fitness in the next 8 weeks), and the smaller, ‘stepping stones’ (e.g. this week I will run for 60 minutes, at least three times).

I write these down in my diary/active journal at the start of each month so that I can break them down into four-weekly blocks. My overall ‘big picture’ sets the tone for the month forward, while the ‘stepping stones’ are reflected in my weekly goals that I usually set each Sunday night when prepping for the week ahead.

Note: I have found that keeping a separate fitness journal/diary is great for this, as that way you don’t get all of your other ‘life’ stuff muddled up with your fitness plan and goal setting, giving you greater focus, clarity, and vision to stay MOTIVATED!

Once you are clear about what you want to work on, then devising a strategy to get you there becomes so much more tangible.

I have found myself in the past, and from observing/discussions with others, that if you are just ‘exercising’ for the sake of ‘staying/getting in shape’ (two indeterminate terms which really give no indication as to what you are setting out to achieve, but are used more generally as a “this will do” type of approach), then staying motivated to stick to your fitness regime or schedule will become more difficult. Why? Because you have no objective to be working toward, and no clear markers of success for when you ‘do’ get to your goal. With these kinds of cloudy visions, how will you know exactly if you are making progress?

By being more specific about what you would like to achieve in your fitness and health, you can start to visualize, anticipate, and get precise about markers of success. For example, “I would like to improve my cardio-vascular fitness” could extend to: “in 8 weeks from now, I will be able to swim for 600m without any breaks”. Get the idea?

It is also crucial to be REALISTIC in your goal-setting. There is no point in setting goals that you simply cannot achieve in the designated time period. Failure to meet these objectives will just have you feeling disappointed, perhaps slightly inadequate and envisaging the tub of ice cream you have sitting in the freezer at home waiting to be eaten… Because after all, what the heck is the point resisting, right?

Na-ah! Be realistic, set achievable goals, and give yourself the opportunity to succeed! This way, when you DO accomplish those goals, with each and every instance you will gain more strength, more determination, and more ‘grit’ to begin working toward the next! (this applies to all aspects of life, not just fitness, FYI).

Goals = Actions

Setting goals also determines the kinds of activities you will be doing to get there, and can completely change the structure of your workout plan.

To give you a personal example, I can tell you right now that for the past four months my fitness goals have been more centered on building strength and muscle mass/shape, as opposed to cardio-vascular fitness. I came to my own conclusion (and through reading various articles in women’s’ fitness magazines) that by over-doing the cardio side of things, I wasn’t making progress toward my goal of building strength and shape, particularly in my legs and butt!

So in order to do so, I had to back off the cardio from what were daily sessions, to tri-weekly cardio sessions, while simultaneously upping the amount of weights training I was doing each week accordingly.

This change in focus has meant a drastic change in my fitness regime, with results showing fairly quickly just what such a change can bring about with persistence (insert before and after shot – emphasis on building strength, rather than just staying ‘skinny’ #transformationtuesday).

I have found it useful to do a bit of reading of fitness-related materials about my specific area of focus in order to make positive changes to my fitness plan.By being informed of the latest approaches/advice/research in the areas you are targeting, you are giving yourself the best chance of making progress.

While we cannot all give up our jobs and become full-time fitness junkies, reading all of the latest scholarly materials on physiology and exercise science, I recommend finding a good read, such as ‘Women’s Health and Fitness’ (Aus), which generally features some pretty well-researched and informed articles about cutting edge approaches and expert advice to fitness. I have taken to carrying this read around with me for those ‘moments’ I get to sit and wait somewhere for five minutes. It is quite amazing what you can learn just from a few minutes of reading!

There is so much more I could, and would love to go on with… but I think for now focusing on setting those clear, attainable goals is a great place to begin, and working out some tangible ways of assessing whether or not you have, or are in the process of achieving them. If you have already engaged in this process in some way, perhaps take some time to reflect on the goals you have set, and ask yourself “have I accomplished this goal x?”; “how much further do I need to go before I have reached the goal?”; “how much progress have I already made?”

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If this is the first time you have really consciously thought about setting fitness goals, then ask yourself these two questions:

~“What is my Big Picture goal?”…. so, what do you want to achieve in the next 4-8 weeks? Which part of your fitness are you going to specifically focus on?

~And, “What is my Stepping Stone goal?”…. this means breaking your larger goal down into smaller chunks, and being realistic with what you can manage to achieve in just one week. At the end of each week, take some time to reflect on your stepping stone, and where you will be driving toward in the week to follow. This might mean you need to re-adjust your goals because you have found the ones you set to be too mild/overly-optimistic…. And at any time if you need to re-adjust them, always remember that THIS IS OK! Setting goals and adjusting them as you go is all a part of the process, and is NOT to be mistaken as a weakness or slight of focus….

This is where it is also important, before you take any of these steps, to be honest and frank about where you are currently, in terms of your Big Picture fitness goal. By having some baseline, or ‘starting point’, then noticing and capturing your progress along the way will be more clear-cut. This is where I have found that the good ol’ ‘gelfie’ does have a place, albeit a rather self-absorbed one. But to be honest, by looking at yourself 3 months ago and comparing that image to what you now see in the mirror, then you can more than likely ‘see’ those changes you are after, and this, my friends, is as good a motivation tactic as any!

In following weeks I will be building on this base of goal setting and staying focused through the following points:

  1. Making a weekly plan
  2. Being accountable
  3. Being spontaneous

I am very much looking forward to hearing any feedback you have about this advice, and to hearing of some of the own tips and insights you have learned along your own fitness journey! Together, the more we can share our progress and triumphs, the more we can individually and collectively accomplish!

Until next time, STAY MOTIVATED, STAY FOCUSED, and SET THOSE GOALS!

What you should eat for breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight

With just a few months left until summer, there couldn’t be a better time to kick your health and fitness routine into high gear.

The traditional way of transforming your body (eating healthy accompanied by an exercise routine) is the best “no fail” way to see real results.

In order to leave the frustrations of these failing “fad” diets behind, healthy eating needs to become a part of your lifestyle, and this routine should start first thing in the morning by choosing a metabolism-boosting breakfast.

By definition, your metabolism is “the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.”

Therefore, our metabolism is what converts our food into fuel.

For that reason, if you choose to skip breakfast, your body stays in “sleep mode” and doesn’t take advantage of the time that you have awake to burn calories.

In fact, when you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body “throws the brakes on your metabolism.”

The best way to wake up your system after having had spent hours at rest is to drink hot water with lemon.

In a 2003 study published in “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,” researches found the metabolic rate of healthy men and women increased by 30 percent after drinking 2 cups of water.

In addition, lemons have the power to flush out the toxins that we ingest after eating processed foods. These toxins cause unnecessary bloating and can slow down our metabolism.

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This is where eating organic is key.

Moreover, lemons are high in pectin fiber, which can help ward off hunger cravings. Another drink you can pair with your breakfast that has metabolism-boosting effects would be green tea.

People who drink green tea on a daily basis naturally burn up to an extra 100 calories per day because of the the antioxidants called catechins in the tea.

Moving on from drinks to foods, your breakfast should be consumed approximately one hour after eating in order to kick your digestive system into gear.

According to Men’s Health Magazine, the best type of breakfast consists of protein and healthy fats. While purposely eating “fat” is frightening to some, there is a significant difference between saturated and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats raise the levels of cholesterol in your blood, which clogs your arteries over time, increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Foods that contain saturated fat are dairy products, processed meats and pre-packaged snacks.

Therefore, ingredients such as butter and milk, which are often found in breakfast foods such as pancakes and waffles, are not only slowing down your metabolism, but they do pose as a danger to your health if you choose to consume them on a daily basis.

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In my opinion, the best breakfast option is a smoothie because you are able to consume all of the aspects of the ideal nutrition profile that would help you stay healthy and to loose weight, combined with exercise.

For example, smoothies can contain an abundance of protein if you so choose. In terms of creating a great-tasting smoothie, the base of your smoothie is key. Including bananas for your base will make for a creamy taste.

In addition, yogurts can also be added with healthy fats, such as coconut oil, almond butter and raw chocolate (known as cocoa). Next, all you would have to do is throw your favorite fruits into the blender for a quick and healthy breakfast.

Greens can be including as well, as they are masked by the tastes of the fruits and healthy fats. Last but not least, the breakfast that has taken over Instagram, the acai bowl, is also an excellent choice for a metabolism-boosting breakfast. In close relation to the smoothie, the acai bowl contains a fruit that is similar to a cross between a blueberry and a grape.

This breakfast is a nutrient-dense powerhouse, as it contains a high level of antioxidants that are not just great for your body, but are also great for your skin. You can put your favorite toppings over your acai bowl, in a similar fashion to frozen yogurt.

Not only will this breakfast option boost your metabolism, but due to its nutrient-dense properties, the fruit is also known to have positive effects on ailments associated with oxidative stress, heart disease and cancer.

Overall, when planning your health and fitness routine for this summer, it is important to take your breakfast choices into consideration, as they are key in boosting your metabolism.

Nutrient-dense foods and drinks tend to nourish your body, while also preparing it to loose fat after a session at the gym. The food choices that you make every day should become a part of your everyday lifestyle, and with hard work, these decisions will lead to your desired health and fitness goals.

10 “No Fail” Ways to Reach Your Health/Fitness Goals this New Year

The New Year is quickly coming upon us and the idea of a “new year” alone can make us a bit apprehensive. We begin to recollect our hopes, dreams, and goals from the year prior and think, “Did I actually accomplish what I set out to accomplish this year, or did I sell myself short?”

 

The first week of the New Year is always easiest to stick to your goals. We place our new intentions at the forefront of our lives. We basically divide and conquer. However, too often, once we see physical evidence of our success, we tend to have “cheat days” for our goals: especially when it comes to our health and fitness goals. This is when our honest intention of incorporating health and fitness into our daily lives slip from beneath our fingertips and we blame this hiatus of “cheat days” on life’s daily challenges.

 

Making clear health and fitness goals for the new year is more than just hoping for your “beach body” to reappear; its about making sure that you have your health for your own benefit. Too many of us take our health for granted. When we are healthy, we assume that our current condition is how life will always be for us. Again, this is why we rationalize those “cheat days”. In order to value our health, we must first recognize that we are not invincible.

When you make the decision to put yourself first, you are giving the most beloved gift to your spouse, family, and friends, so if you’re up for the challenge: here are 10 “no fail” ways to attain your health and fitness goals for the New Year.

10.) Make a health/fitness schedule every Sunday: Every Sunday, take just one hour out of your day to ensure that your upcoming week sets you up for success when it comes to your health and fitness goals. Optimal weight loss occurs when you can work out for six days a week for 50-60 minutes each. While this may seem overwhelming to some, it is actually quite manageable. Get creative. Maybe one day you decide to take a late night walk with your spouse after work and maybe the next day you engage in 50 minutes of dance exercise at the comfort of your own home with the Youtube sensation, the “Fitness Marshall”. While we all have work and family obligations that we need to attend to, it is essential that we are able to include time for ourselves into our workweek in order to ensure that we stay balanced.

In addition, on Sundays it is beneficial to consider the meals that will be needed for the following week and to make sure that you have the necessary ingredients. It is often when we are not sure what to eat or we are hungry after a long day’s work that we grab whatever food is available. These foods are often microwaved dinner, chips, and candybars and these foods are also the same foods that prevent us from losing weight due to their sugar, salt, and fat content.

9.) Let go of dairy: I know, the thought that is currently racing through your head is “no ice cream, cheese, and milk ???”. However, dairy products are filled with hormones, anti-biotics, and saturated fats, which leave us feeling frustrated when we can’t loose weight on our diets. We often mistakes foods, such as yogurt, for health foods, when it reality they are just packing on the pounds. If dairy products are a part of your daily life, then don’t worry: there are tons of amazing dairy-free substitutes for cheese, ice-cream, and yogurt. Check out the brands Daiya Foods, Follow Your Heart, and So Delicious for your favorite dairy-based foods in a guilt-free fashion.

8.) Make it fun: In order for working out to be a part of your life the form of exercise that you choose needs to interest you to ensure that your workout does not feel like a task. Nowadays, just about any hobby can be made into an exercise. Enjoy a walk outdoors while talking to your best friend on the telephone, enjoy a Yogalates (combination of Yoga and Pilates) class at your local gym, a beginner hip-hop class at your local dance studio, or if you’re like me, you’ll often find yourself letting off some steam at the gym.

7.) Practice portion control: Can you relate to this situation? You are watching TV with a bag of pretzels and all of a sudden you look down after your television show is over and the whole bag of pretzels is gone?! This is because too often we eat as a hobby or as a form of stress relief. We eat on dates, we eat during holiday parties, and we tend to snack after work just because we can. As human beings who thrive on a sense of community, we tend to associate food with a sense of community, instead of food as a way to nourish our bodies. The next time you find yourself “bindge eating”, I encourage you to pause for a minute and ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are eating as a form of stress relief?

The best way to encourage portion control is to place the amount of food that you would like to eat on your plate and to put the rest of the food away in the pantry or in the refrigerator. This prevents that situation where you are watching your favorite TV show and due to mindless eating, after one episode the entire bag is gone. In addition, if you are the type of person who enjoys eating “seconds” and “thirds”, you can use a smaller plate to make your plate seem visually packed with food or you can separate your food in half onto two different plates to mimic eating a second portion.

6.) Incorporate stress management: Believe it or not the stress that builds up in your body after your work week can build up and retain fat within your core. Chris Kresser, a national leader in the field of Ancestral Health, or the Paleo diet, states that stress has the ability to raise your blood sugar, makes you crave sugar, “makes your cells less sensitive to insulin”, and “increases the rate at which you store fat”. Therefore, when we take the stress from work home, which we are all guilty for at some point or another, we are putting extra weight on our bones without even consuming food. Make sure you surround yourself with positive people, separate your work life from your home-life, and have effective ways to relieve your stress such as yoga, taking a healthy walk to unwind, or even the latest stress-relieving trend: meditative coloring.

5.) Avoid saturated fats: Food companies that mass-produce foods, such as fast foods companies, pack our foods with what is called, saturated fats. Saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. This means that we should be cutting beef, butter, whole milk, and cream out of our diets.

However, it is important to realize that “good fats” not only exist, but are pertinent to our weight-loss. These fats actually help to reduce heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Foods in the unsaturated fat category are almonds, avocados, nut butters, vegetable oil, and fish. Katherine Zerastky, RD at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota states, “Have a small amount of fat at every meal”. She continues to add, “It digests slowly, so you’ll feel satisfied for a longer period of time, and you’ll eat less overall.” Therefore, don’t forget to include your daily dose of unsaturated fats into your diet.

4.) Incorporate the smoothie: Of course, we’ve all had a smoothie before, but the smoothies that are sold in the food court of your favorite mall are packed with sugar, saturated fats, and fruit covered in syrup. Smoothies are the ultimate breakfast food because zero (yes, you heard me right) foods that are incorporated into a smoothie will promote weight-gain. In actuality, they promote weight-loss. Therefore, unlike meals such as waffles and pancakes that contain gluten and are topped with sugary syrup, the proper smoothie is packed with so many nutrients that your body needs to sustain energy, prevent illness, lose weight, and even have glowing skin. For some healthy smoothie recipes, check out The No Meat Athlete.

3.) Make it a lifestyle, not a diet: Let’s be honest. Nobody likes a diet. I don’t like to diet, but it’s something that we all consider when we are frustrated by not seeing evidence of our efforts towards weight-loss. Diets continually fail because we feel restricted. Diets are also unrealistic because when you go out to eat, it is difficulty to ask your waiter how many “points” your meal is, or how much the meat that they put onto your plate weighed. The best weight loss results occur when you decide to make health a lifestyle. Cutting out fatty meats, diary, and saturated fats all around will promote a healthier lifestyle. Incorporating short, but daily, workouts into your lifestyle will promote weight-loss and leave you feeling healthier, energized, and more confident than ever.

2.) Ask for support: Making a healthy lifestyle change is quite difficult when your friends and family don’t outwardly support it. Of course your loved ones won’t come out and say they think your new healthy lifestyle is ridiculous, however, continually leaving cookies around the house basically has the same effect. In order for you to achieve weight-loss success, you need to live the healthy lifestyle that has been discussed. Therefore, your best friend who loves going out to eat at the local steakhouse should reconsider your Friday night tradition for you, and maybe your significant other can jump on the health bandwagon as well to make date-nights a healthier habit.

1.) Let go of soda and soft drinks: Soda and soft drinks are “silent but deadly” contributors to weight-gain. In our minds, they are just drinks, so they can’t be causes us to gain weight in the same way that consuming fast-food does, when it reality, your soft drink can be just as many calories, if not more than your meal. For example, one Peppermint Hot Chocolate drink at Starbucks is 390 calories. Instead of consuming a hot chocolate you could instead indulge in these 14 Filling dinners for 400 Calories or Less.

Whether you are a fitness fanatic or brand new to the health scene, it is scientifically proven that incorporating these ten fitness tips into your lifestyle will bring upon some serious weight-loss results. You will be filled with energy and will have more confidence than ever, but most importantly, you will be your best “you”, because after-all, that’s what we all deserve, right?

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Could you go a year without processed food?

By: Cristina Nika Kask/ Editor at HighStyleLife

Recent years have brought a total health and fitness craze upon us and now more than ever we are worried about what we eat and how we look. And it’s not just the appearance thing; the fact that the food we eat is potentially doing incredible damage to our overall health has posed a grand necessity of changing our collective mind frame in terms of how we live and what we eat, with most of us are turning to strictly organic and non-processed food. It’s not easy, that’s true. It’s not cheap either. And, asking yourself if you’d be able to go a year without processed food is not really a fair question in itself – because, you can’t know unless you try it, right?

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With the GMO overtaking majority of produce we get to buy in the stores and with the crazy hectic lives we lead, it almost seems virtually impossible to stay un-processed. Still, with the right sort of planning, dedication and wise choices, nothing is out of reach. To know what not to eat, you first need to know what counts as processed and unhealthy, and what foods are actually doing you good.

We’ve put together a tutorial that will surely put a different spin on your daily meal choices. So, shall we?

What counts as processed food? 

While the first images that pop in our head when someone says “processed” are microwave meals, canned goods, fast food and anything and everything that comes in a bag, it’s not just that. Go figure. Processed foods are virtually anything that has been altered from its natural state in some way. It doesn’t really matter whether the food’s been processed for safety reasons or convenience, it’s still processed so it’s a big no-no.

Furthermore, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that most shop-bought foods fall into the “processed” category, one way or the other.

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Here are some examples of common processed foods: bread, breakfast cereals, tinned veggies, cheese, meat products (i.e. bacon), drinks (i.e. milk or soft drinks), savory snacks (i.e. crisps), “convenience foods” (i.e. ready meals or microwave meals).

As for food processing techniques, they include canning, freezing, baking, pasteurizing and drying products.

Is processed food necessarily unhealthy? 

The foods that have been processed typically contain added sugar, salt and fat, which is what gives them their unhealthy reputation.

This is why, to avoid falling into the processed trap, the best solution is to prepare your meals at home. That way, you know exactly what is going into it, you are in charge of all the ingredients, including the amount of added salt or sugar. Bear in mind that even homemade food sometimes uses processed ingredients, depending on what you’ve previously picked out. However, you absolutely can stay on a healthy diet by including processed food in it, as most processed food is necessary for everyday cooking. By simply paying attention to nutrition labels, you’ll already be ahead of the game. That way you are picking out the least processed of products and keeping the amount of processed foods you’re eating in check.

What do nutritionists and dietitians say?

They all pretty much agree on the way we should approach food. Naturally, they’ll all recommend organic food from reliable sources (preferably the foods we’ve grown ourselves) but with most of us not having the conditions to endure with such a fashion, they’ll agree that staying healthy food-wise is a part of wise meal planning.

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“Not all processed food is a bad choice. Some foods need processing to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurised to remove harmful bacteria. Other foods need processing to make them suitable for use, such as pressing seeds to make oil,” explains dietitian Sian Porter and adds “Freezing fruit and veg preserves most vitamins, while tinned produce (choose those without added sugar and salt) can mean convenient storage, cooking and choice to eat all year round, with less waste and cost than fresh.”

Ok, so what do I stay away from?

Avoid cans, boxes and bags – read on what we’ve discussed above. Stay away from anything white – white bread, white rice, white flour, etc. Shop on the outside edge of the store – this is where all the healthy, minimally processed foods are stored at, like eggs, seafood, dairy and meat. Avoid produce where the first three ingredients end in “ose” – “ose” stands for sugar.

*All health philosophies stated are the opinions of the contributing author. This article has been approved by Illuminating Inspirations. Overall, Illuminating Inspirations Magazine supports a vegan and holistic lifestyle.

Interesting in contributing to Illuminating Inspirations Magazine? Check out our “Submit an Article” page to learn more.

 

5 Ways Women Can Educate Themselves On Early Breast Cancer Detection


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a beautiful thing.

It’s a month where people of all backgrounds and interests come together to spread awareness of the implications of breast cancer.

However, over time, the month seems to become more of an excuse to wear pink.

Companies advertise themselves as “cancer friendly” by promoting a pink ribbon product.

But at the same time, the company produces, manufactures and sells products linked to the disease.

You probably see pink-washing on a daily basis, and don’t even realize it.

Take the NFL cheerleaders, for example. How are the NFL cheerleaders (who wear tiny pink spandex shorts with a hot pink bralette) advocating for women who have undergone chemotherapy and now have scars left for breasts?

I recently underwent the early detection process for breast cancer, and the knowledge I’ve gained could be potentially life-saving. I now feel this overwhelming responsibility to share this information with all the other young women out there.

1. Learn your family history.

I can’t express enough how just finding out your family history alone can reduce your risk of breast cancer.

If any women in your family (even your great aunt or great great grandmother) had breast cancer, it is important to get tested for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

According to the national cancer institute, BRCA1 and BRCA2 “are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins.” Therefore, these gene mutations put you at a larger risk for not only breast cancer, but ovarian cancer as well.

The national cancer institute states:

According to the most recent estimates, 55 to 65 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation, and around 45 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by 70 years old.

It has also been proven if you’re of Ashkenazi Jewish decent (a sector of Judaism), you are genetically at a higher risk for breast cancer.

In addition, NorwegianIcelandic and Dutch people are also at higher risks for breast cancer.

If you have now just realized you may be at a higher risk for breast cancer due to your family history, you might feel quite hesitant to get tested for BRCA.

However, I want you to know this simple blood test could end up saving your life, even if the results may be hard to swallow.

You should know the gene alone will not give you cancer.

However, having the knowledge of this gene mutation is probably the most powerful information a 20-something can have, in terms of breast cancer prevention.

If anything, I feel lucky I have this information.

I can guarantee, if you were to ask any woman with breast cancer if she would go back in time and take the necessary precautions in her 20s if given the chance, she would say yes in a heartbeat.


2. So I have BRCA. Now what?

I know this news isn’t easy to hear.

But now that you have this piece of information, you have all the medical options in the world open to you.

According to the doctors, we have a “gene mutation.”

But if you take a look at our gene pool, I’d say we’re pretty awesome.

For example, Angelina Jolie found out she had BRCA1 and took the necessary precautions that were best for her. I’d be damned if someone told me she doesn’t look absolutely amazing.

Choosing whether or not to have prophylactic surgery (which usually consists of removing the breast tissue and replacing it with an implant) is a personal decision no one else can make for you.

However, if you are interested in learning more about the different types of preventative surgeries for breast cancer, you can visit this fact sheet.


3. But what if I don’t want to have surgery?

This is completely normal.

If surgery is not the route for you, or if surgery is the route for you but you want to take preventative precautions right now, I highly recommend you start with your diet.

The best part about breast cancer prevention is the prevention techniques include the most clear-cut ways to stay healthy. Low-fat diets are great for breast health.

You can do this by eating whole foods and organic foods (lots of fruits, veggies, pure grains, etc).

If you’re curious to see how you can eliminate some of your fatty food cravings (burgers, fries and your late-night Domino’s Pizza) from your weekly menu, reference my previous Elite Daily articles, “44 Get Fit Tips” and “Vegan Power.”

Eating more vegetarian or vegan-based foods also allows you to get more fiber into your diet, which can help your immune system fight against cancer.

In addition, it is also essential to stop eating foods with added hormones.

So instead of picking up a carton of milk, try swapping it for a nice glass of almond milk.


4. Is it true having high levels of stress can actually lower your immune system?

While stress does not cause cancer, stressful events can alter the levels of hormones in the body and affect the immune system.

Regardless of whether you have the BRCA gene or not, stress affects our health.

Therefore, if you are overly stressed, you are not giving your body the strength it needs to fight off illnesses.

Make sure you are getting plenty of rest and have a family member or friend to vent to when necessary.

Maybe even pick up a hobby like yoga or hitting the gym, for a great sense of stress relief.


5. Swap toxic products for clean ones.

As women, many of us wake up in the morning and put on some moisturizer, a face-full of makeup and maybe a touch of hairspray to finish our look.

Boy, have I started to regret this lately.

I’m a “girly-girl” at heart, so no one is going to take away my love of cosmetics.

But after having done my research, I’ve certainly swapped out my brands.

According to The Huffington Post, common chemicals are embedded into commercialized makeup brands, such as parabens (cancer causing chemicals)synthetic colors (derived from petroleum or coal tar sources) and phthalates (endocrine disrupters).

These can significantly increase a woman’s chance of having cancer.

In a one-year time period, the average women absorbs five pounds of chemicals from cosmetic use.

To avoid this toxic exposure, I recommend using natural and organic cosmetic brands, such as Gabriel Cosmetics, and aluminum-free deodorants.

Switching to natural cosmetic brands is an imperative choice for our health.

To all my fellow women, please use the month of October to actually offer life-saving information to young women about early detection, instead of using it as an excuse to wear pink and “save our boobies” pins.

After all, it’s not about saving “boobies” anyway.

It’s about saving women.