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Earlier today I did something I have never done before. I instagrammed a picture of a bubble bath. Yes I have mold in the corner of the grout.

Why did I do this?

Because I was thinking about this all day. How do you de-stress? Yes, You?? Comment on this post and tell me how. Most people – I think – de stress in the following ways:

  • Going Out With Friends and Drinking
  • Watching Their Favorite Show while Eating Oreos or Chips and Dip and Drinking Wine
  • Going to the Gym and Lifting Small Children Large Weights for 3 hours Straight
  • Running on Concrete/Pavement For 3 hours Straight
  • Smoking Something and Listening to Bob Marley

I went to college, I know what you people do.

But the problem with this is – that these activities might actually be stressing out your body more and you don’t even realize it. Especially considering most of these activities could interfere with you getting a good nights rest.

Going Out With Friends and Drinking

You go out with friends and binge drink. This is fun for a couple hours, but you are leaving your body dehydrated, mal-nutritioned (Is that not a word?), and begging for relief.

Watching a Favorite Show While Eating Oreos or Chips and Dip and Drinking Wine

You watch your favorite show and binge eat, and now you’re full, hyped up on sugar, your immune system is being depleted, and in 3 days your skin will begin breaking out and you’ll wonder why. Not to mention, your brain is now over stimulated and you likely won’t get an adequate sleep. And if you do, you might wake up with indigestion. It had to be said.

Doing an Intense Work Out For an Elongated Amount of Time

You work out too hard – you stress your muscles and your body goes into overdrive trying to repair them, which can result in you getting sick, or feeling more tired than you need to. You run on concrete, which causes your joints to slowly deteriorate leading you to a knee surgery in 10 years. (Side note here: 10 minutes on a rebounder *mini trampoline* is equal to 30 minutes jogging. It’s GOOD for your joints, therapeutic, efficient, endorsed by NASA, and costs $29.99 on amazon)

And if you’re smoking and listening to Bob Marley, I don’t even have a comment for you. You do you.

Regardless, take a step back and think about if your “de-stressing” mechanism is doing you more harm than good. Ways to really de stress your body should include giving it all the nutrients and hydration it needs, while providing it the essential rest and relaxation it deserves after a long day.

People ask me what “I do” when I say I don’t like to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. What do I like to do? I’ll tell you right now. I like to Treat Myself and Recharge after a long, stressful week. Here are ways you, too, can de-stress the proper way:

  • Take a Bubble Bath
  • Cook a Nutritious Dinner and Serve with Fresh Pressed Juice
  • Read an Inspirational Book While Cuddled Up in Your Favorite Blanket Drinking Tea
  • Do a Craft, Relax your brain while working parts of it you don’t work during the day
  • Write in a Journal or a Blog and Reflect on your Life
  • Read the Bible
  • Pray to God
  • Get a Massage
  • Rebound on a Mini Trampoline (Google this; you’ll be surprised how much comes up!)
  • Go Tanning for 5 minutes maximum to get some Vitamin D in the winter
  • Sit in Nature and Listen to Music
  • Take a Walk around the Block and Meet New Neighbors
  • Go To the Dog Park and Maybe Someone Will Let you Play With Their Dog (I do this in the summer. Side note: Do not swap “Dog Park” with “Children’s Park” – not the same – you’ll get reported)
  • Go To a Museum
  • Talk to a Friend, Really Talk, Not Just “Drink Together” talk
  • Learn to Play an Instrument
  • Practice that Instrument
  • Learn a New Language
  • Research Your Ancestry

There are numerous things you can do to de-stress that don’t involve a) Putting toxins in your body or b) Putting your body under Physical Stress.

And that’s all I have to say about that :)

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There is a World Beyond My Phone Screen

I wake up in the morning, and I check my phone. I get on the bus to work, and spend the entire bus ride – on my phone. I get to work, and stare at the computer screen with intermittent breaks – on my phone. When 6 o clock comes around, I’m exhausted. My eyes are tired, and my head hurts. So I get on the bus, and go on my phone. I get home, cook dinner, and sit on the couch to watch TV and browse things on my phone. I take a shower, get into bed, and spend another hour or two – yes –on my phone.

DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I AM ON MY PHONE? What am I even doing? If I had to take a quiz solely based on what material I was scrolling through on twitter, facebook, Instagram, snap chat, or abc news, I don’t think I would pass. I am honestly just mindlessly scrolling, and it needs to stop. So for 2016 – I am deleting all of the mindless apps from my phone. I’m deleting facebook, Instagram, twitter, and snap chat. I’m going to start enjoying the world around me.

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Life is Too Short to Feel Sick

Growing up my family always cooked from scratch. Even as a baby, my mother made baby food home made because she said I refused to eat from a baby food can. When I went to college, things changed. I started eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, and having coffee every morning, and some afternoons and nights.

By senior year, I was so sick, I couldn’t take it. I was getting three to five sinus infections a year, and my skin was breaking out all over. The end of senior year, and the first two years on my own after school, I completely cut out processed foods (not including the occasional peanut butter pretzel or noodles meal of course). The result? My skin cleared instantly. Weeks I would eat processed foods more than others, my skin became bad again. Direct correlation? Yes I think so.

Recently I went to an ENT about my sinuses as well. He told me that along with yogurt and cream, alcohol and coffee also make your mucus thicker, and can cause sinus issues.

It’s the end of 2015, and at this point, I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t care if we are at a bar and I order a salad and you order a burger. I don’t care if I choose to drink lemon water when we go out and you choose a bud lite or vodka cranberry. Life is too short to feel sick, and in 2016 I am not making myself sick anymore.

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I Need Sleep

Some people can spend Monday – Friday waking up at 6am and going to bed at 11pm, and then on the weekend stay up until 2 or 3am and wake up at 10am. I am not one of those people. I have one schedule – and as hard as I have tried to break that schedule – it cannot be broken. I am happier, sharper, and much more productive when I have gotten a good nights sleep. (Did I mention I’m also prettier?)

I’ve been made fun of COUNTLESS times for leaving events at 9pm vs. 2am. And after being out of school for a couple years now, this again, is more important to me than what others think.

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Worship the Bedtime Routine

The older I get, the more I value taking care of myself (If that wasn’t obvious). Nothing has become more important to me than my night time skin care and oral health routine! It is SO important to use the proper skin care items and to brush AND floss your teeth. It’s vital to have a big jug of water by your bed, a humidifier, and take your medicine/probiotics. Not only do I sleep better when I follow a routine, but I wake up feeling fresh and properly rested as well.

All in all, if there is anything I have learned from 2015, it’s that I come first. I care too much about myself, my body, and my happiness to deplete it by staying out late at night, drinking, and eating junk food. The last two years I have successfully cut out processed foods, and now I am ready to see how good my body is capable of feeling by cutting out the 3 things that are the most negative to me right now: mobile social media, coffee, and alcohol.

Here’s to 2016, an even healthier && happier year ahead!

 

 

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Step 1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 2) Rinse chicken and remove any insides that exist (you can buy the chicken with the gIblets removed… Just check the label)

Step 3) Place on a roasting rack or on top of some carrots/celery/onion on a regular pan. Brush some olive oil all over the bird

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Step 4) Season with salt and pepper and a little lemon or other spices you like

Step 5) Place the bird in the oven. Turn oven down to 400 degrees. Let it cook for about an hour.

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Step 6) Check the temperature of the breast and the largest leg. When both are 180 degrees and the juices run clear, the bird is done.

Step 7) Take the bird out, cover it, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. During this time, I like to put several bunches of greens in the oven tossed with olive oil and seasonings. I also sautéed some tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic and mix those veggie juices with the drippings to drizzle over the chicken when it is complete.

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To carve the chicken, just cut off the legs, and then cut the middle of the bird in slices. Top with the sautéed veggies and greens on the side.

If you begin carving and the meat on the inside is pink. Do not fret. Continue carving and then place the pieces that are pink back in the pan, and put it back in the oven for a couple minutes until all the meat is white.

Much of the bird will be done, so by only placing the pinkish pieces back in you don’t run the risk of overlooking the rest of the bird.

Other tips:

  • Completely defrost the bird. Then before cooking, bring as close to room temperature as possible.
  • If the bird is large, you may need to cook at a lower heat for longer
  • mix some flour and broth in the drippings in the pan after cooking for a delicious gravy
  • always wash hands after handling chicken and never let the uncooked chicken come in contact with any other dishes. Never touch the chicken and then touch something else without washing first. (Use your forearm to turn on the water and pump the soap)
  • save the bones and scraps to make homemade broth the next day

 

A lot of people ask me how I stay on track eating clean. I like to live by the 90% 10% rule. 90% of my diet is raw, whole, foods. And the other 10% is for times on that Friday or Saturday when you are out with friends having a cookie or having some chips or ordering food. There’s always going to be a time at work when you eat that candy bar or in my case, peanut butter pretzels. And it’s important to know that that’s OK. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am allergic to an ingredient or in something that occurs when they process foods. I get a rash and a sick stomach when eating out more than twice a week, or when drinking alcohol. SO, my body constantly forces me to keep on track. There are however, days where I don’t want to cook my food for the week. And that causes me to eat out more during the week which breaks my monthly budget and usually makes me sick. So, when I feel myself beginning to fall off the wagon, I sit down, and refer to the following resources. This reminds me why I cook my meals ahead of time in the first place, and keeps me on track. I hope they help you, educate you, and motivate you as well.

Netflix Documentaries

  • Fed Up
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Food, Inc.
  • Hungry for Change

Lectures on YouTube

Recipe Vlogs on YouTube

Books

  • Eating on the Wild Side
  • The China Study
  • Eat to Live
  • In Defense of Food
  • Cooked

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Let’s start with the “Why?” I made a post earlier about canned beans where I discussed how much sodium they pack in those cans of supermarket beans. It is so easy to just buy regular beans and soak them over night but for some reason it is so hard for people to wrap their mind around cooking real beans vs. just buying the canned.

Other popular canned foods include canned vegetables. Canned corn, canned peas, canned tomatoes, etc. Here are some great articles to educate you on canned veggies. As one of them states, always try to choose fresh and/or frozen over canned. Frozen is a great alternative, because it lasts longer, and contains all the nutrients that existed at the time the vegetable was picked. I’m not saying not to eat canned foods, because I do on occasion. But, you should be sure to rinse them thoroughly and be very mindful when choosing which canned foods you want. Check the labels, check for a canned food that has LOW sodium and still thoroughly rinse them before consuming. Don’t add more salt when cooking canned veggies as they already contain so much. And of course, only eat on occasion. Make fresh and frozen your habit.

Must Watch YouTube on Canned Foods

3 Reasons to Avoid Canned Vegetables

 

Every year I go to the local farmers market and buy bushels and pecks of tomatoes to can for the winter. Not just the winter, but the spring and summer and fall as well! You can also can apples from your local apple orchard, or squash, or anything! Some non acidic items such as squash and apples you need to FREEZE. Not just can. So do your research before canning ANYTHING to make sure you are doing it correctly.

This post will be about tomatoes only because the process is easy, you don’t need to freeze them, and you can use these year round in salads, soups, sauces, etc.

Step 1)  Sterilize your Mason Jars

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2) Blanch Your Tomatoes

This means, put them in boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (until skin starts to peel off) and then put them in ice water.

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Step 3) Peel and de-seed your tomatoes

Just Peel the skin off which is already practically falling off, and then cut the tomato and use your fingers to scoop out the seeds and place the cut pieces of tomato in a fresh bowl.

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Step 4) Fill your mason jars with the de-seeded cut tomatoes

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Step 5) Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each can and a pinch of salt.

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Step 6) Use a spoon to trace around the edges of the tomato and can. This is to cut out any air pockets. Press the tomatoes into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top.

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Step 7) Place a towel in boiling water, and place the mason jars (sealed) on top of the towel. Top them with another towel, and boil for about 40 minutes.

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You’re done! After 40 minutes take them out of the boiling water and let cool. Now you have fresh organic tomatoes all year!