We all have those days where it seems impossible to focus. Here are some simple foods to add to your daily diet to improve your focus, mood and get you ready to conquer.
- Brilliant Blueberries. Blueberries contain specific antioxidants that have been shown to increase oxygen to the brain. Blueberries are also packed with Vitamin-C, Vitamin-E and have incredible cancer fighting benefits. Have a cup of blueberries for a mid-morning snack or throw them in your oatmeal.
- Sassy Salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been directly shown to improve your mood, increase your memory and concentration levels. These healthy fats also will reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Not to mention great for your heart health. Have a couple of cut salmon rolls with brown rice for lunch, or go for a delicious steamed salmon entrée.
- Wonderful Walnuts. Walnuts have protein, essential fats and B6 – a vitamin that has been shown to increase energy levels. Walnuts also have been shown to increase Serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which helps you react to stress better. Don’t go too crazy with these nuts; ¼ of a cup is a perfect snack size. They can be a great addition to a salad, or sprinkle some on Greek yogurt for a crunchy munch.
- Delicious Dark Chocolate. Indulge in Dark Chocolate for a 3pm pick me up. A great snack size is ¼ of a bar (2-3 small squares.) Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, and stimulates the release of ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain. The caffeine in dark chocolate will keep you alert without the crash later on.
- Cha-Cha Chia it up. Chia seeds are tiny, powerful and nutrient dense. Add a scoop to your AM shake or make a delicious chia seed drink in the afternoon with some almond milk and stevia.
Be selfish and make yourself a priority. Nourish your brain. Once you start fueling your body with the proper nutrition, your focus, concentration and overall productivity will change. Pick one food, incorporate it continuously for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Most people know how to make the right choices, but have trouble implementing that change. What is holding you back from being the best version of yourself? Habits are a comfort. It is very easy to get stuck in a routine and pattern – especially if you have been doing it over and over again for years. If you are ready to change here are some steps to help:
- Write down your bad habits, how they make you feel, why you want to change and then put it on your mirror or fridge.
- If you give into your habit, write down how it makes you feel afterwards. The next time you are tempted to give into your unproductive pattern force yourself to read the note first.
- Be realistic and do not try to do everything all at once. Change is very hard, especially when patterns are deeply engrained. Choose one small goal to focus on that seems manageable.
- Be consistent and slowly you will see that everything will get easier the more you stick to your goal. Whether it’s having a goal to go to the market on Sunday so you have healthy food for the week, or having three cups of coffee instead of four. All change is positive – be proud of your work! Everything counts.
- It’s okay to stumble and frankly you should at first. No one is perfect, and perfection is not realistic. It is important to not give up every time you make a mistake or give into an old habit. At least you are being proactive and trying to make a change. That should be your focus. You are human, not a robot who can automatically change with the hit of a switch.
We all have bad habits. We all have an urge to give into quick fix solutions to satisfy immediate needs. This is human nature. Recognize your bad habits, why they are holding you back and replace them with positive ones. From over doing it on coffee, to ordering takeout every day at lunch and hitting snooze instead of waking up thirty minutes early to get a sweat session in. Taking care of your health is the best tool for success. The more you practice healthy habits, the easier they will get. Soon planning a healthy lunch will be like brushing your teeth, exercise will be something you look forward to, and ignoring the donut for a healthier snack will be something that you love
You can find more of my simple tips in the Huffington Post here. Everything boils down to daily patterns, habits and small, consistent changes over time.
Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.
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The day of love is fast approaching – here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate in a heart healthy way.
Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Do not deprive yourself but instead of name brand milk chocolate opt for some pure dark chocolate. Dark chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain; the same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love. Dark chocolate also controls your blood sugar levels and is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body against certain types of cancer, infection and slow down the signs of aging.
Go for Heart Healthy Salmon. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids; a healthy fat that our bodies do not produce on it’s own. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. These healthy fats also increase your ability to focus and improve your mood.
Instead of going out to a fancy dinner with your significant other or group of friends plan to cook a meal at home. Home cooked meals are much healthier than eating out and getting comfortable in the kitchen is a great bonding activity. Cooking may seem draining or daunting at first – but just like using a muscle that you have not used, it will get stronger and easier with time. If you are eating out the best way to order salmon is steamed or poached.
Mind. Valentine’s day is a day of love; show yourself and your loved ones how much you truly care by taking a step to make health a priority. Even if it’s a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day treat yourself to a delicious healthy home cooked meal, massage or activity that YOU enjoy. Indulge and invest in yourself. Once you start focusing on your own hhealth– mentally and physically, the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.
Stay tuned for my latest nutrition video on cravings coming out this weekend. Try and make a small positive change in your life this week, everything counts.
Game Day is here! Don’t go crazy and fall off the wagon. Here are some tips so you can actually enjoy Super Bowl Sunday while being healthy. Yes – it is possible!
Mental Preparation: Do not starve yourself until the Super Bowl party and plan on pigging out. When you are hungry your brain is instantly looking for a quick fix to give you energy and you automatically will be attracted to the worst possible food choices.
Food Choices: Get your protein before you start munching. Usually there is always a platter of sliced meats or shrimp cocktail. Having protein before you start snacking will actually reduce your craving for junk food.
Chips: Healthier options are whole-wheat pita chips, pop chips or air-popped popcorn. Baked chips are better than classic potato chips. Here are some healthy brands without compromising taste: Pop Chips, Beanitos and Corazonas. You can find these at any local grocery store – they are much more nutritious and delicious than your classic potato chips. When selecting baked chip brands look for chips with the least amount of processed ingredients.
Dips: Salsa and hummus are great, delicious, healthy options! Go for these instead of the artichoke dip, ranch or crazy cheese dips. Load up on veggies! Some people just feel like munching; let yourself munch on unlimited amounts of veggies before you go for the chips and dip. Carrot sticks with salsa is one of my favorite combinations.
Beer: Men’s Health did a study on the best tasting light beers, here are the top five picks: Adams Light, Heineken Premium Light, Amstel Light, Kirin Ichiban Light and Bud Light.
Be mindful of your portions. It’s easy to get lost in the game and mindlessly munch on what is directly in front of you. Take a plate and put a reasonable amount on your plate. Remember what you are doing – watching the game and hanging with family or friends, not just consuming crazy amounts of food. Live your life while being healthy!
* Stay tuned for my next nutrition video coming out in a few weeks on how to be a planner, eat more frequently and reduce late cravings!
The New Year is here. NYE is a time for friends, family and celebrating with people you love. If you went slightly crazy on the bubbles, here are some simple tools to get your body back in check so you can have a beautiful January 1, 2013.
- Eggs – with the yolk. Egg yolk contains cysteine. Cysteine breaks down the toxin acetaldehyde in your liver, causing your hangover.
- Coconut Water. Coconut water is a great source of potassium, calcium and chloride. The electrolytes in coconut water will help your body rehydrate and boost energy levels. Coconut water has more natural electrolytes than any sports drink and is a better option.
- Bananas. Alcohol drains your body of potassium. Bananas are packed with potassium, which will assist your body in a faster recovery from the night before.
For everyone with NYE resolutions, do not try and do everything all at once! Strive for progress, not perfection. Have goals but make them realistic and manageable.