Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

Turkey Time Tools by Carina Sohaili

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and memories to be made – not a time for feeling guilty about food choices or depriving yourself of certain foods. Below are my Turkey Time Tools so you can be healthy and enjoy yourself. My tips were also featured in Fox News Magazine.

Preparation before the meal:

  • A huge mistake my clients tend to make is eating very little until the big meal. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have a solid breakfast and lunch filled with a good combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates. When you starve yourself during the day in preparation for a huge meal your body has a much harder time acknowledging when you are actually full. You also will get much more intense cravings for sugary and carbohydrate heavy sweets.
  • Ditch the all or nothing diet mentality. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they “let themselves go.” I always hear “I am starting my diet tomorrow.” You should erase the term diet from your vocabulary. Indulge in a balanced way; if you are craving a serving of stuffing have a portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around.
  • Remember why you are at the Thanksgiving table in the first place. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be grateful for the people you are surrounded by. Focus on friends, family and conversation. The dinner is only one part of the equation.
  • Whether it is a morning jog, a brisk family hike or a football game do something to get your sweat on. Make time for physical activity even if it is a twenty minute fast walk around the block before dinner. Everything counts and something is better than nothing. Make it a friend and family event. Everything is better with a buddy.

What to eat:

  • Fill up on protein! Go for the light meat instead of the dark meat and skip the skin. Light meat has less saturated fat (unhealthy fat) than the dark meat. Filling up on protein increases your feelings of satisfaction, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and will keep you more full for a longer amount of time. If you are vegetarian make sure there is a healthy protein option at your dinner so you do not just overeat stuffing or marshmallow yams. (Check out my Meal Makeover Spaghetti Squash video tutorial here for a healthy vegetarian option.)
  • Get creative! So many people are closed-minded when it comes to healthy alternatives and ignore the idea before they even try it. I always teach my clients to find some healthy swaps that they can enjoy. Instead of marshmallows add Greek yogurt (with stevia) to the Yams. Spice up your dishes with cinnamon, garlic and nutmeg instead of extra butter and excessive oils. Spices are incredible; they are huge metabolism boosters, help curb cravings and increase post meal satisfaction levels. Not to mention transform the taste of dishes.
  • Get your greens on! There is always a healthy basic side dish at Thanksgiving whether it is steamed green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts. Just make sure it is not soaked in extra butter or excessive oils.
  • What about dessert? Easy breezy! If you are unable to bring a healthy dessert like my warm pumpkin cranberry parfait then simply indulge in a balanced way. Guess what? If you did fill up on protein you will 100% not crave the same amount of dessert you do normally. Take time to visit, play card games or watch a movie with the family. Always have an activity besides just eating dessert. If you have a love affair with pumpkin pie, have a slice, enjoy it and move on. I also am a huge dark chocolate fan! Check out two of my favorite “no brainer” Eat Yourself Gorgeous dark chocolate healthy desserts here.

Have a plan for the day: what you are going to indulge in, what you are going to pass on and how you are going to get your sweat on. Everyone is different so it is important to understand what your weakness is and be aware of it.

Regardless, remember to have compassion for yourself. Simply keep yourself in check and focus on the bigger picture of why you are together in the first place. 

Small consistent steps overtime is how lasting change occurs.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

XX,

Carina

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The Change Challenge: Sweet Swaps by Carina Sohaili

The time has come to take my change challenge! See if you can transform your taste buds with my SWEET and SIMPLE swaps…

Craving French Fries? Instead of classic French fries make Jicama French fries. Jicama is a root vegetable from the bean family in Mexico and a fantastic skin clearing healthy carbohydrate. Jicama is a great source of magnesium. Magnesium has a calming effect on the body, helps increase energy levels and is great for your skin. The mineral magnesium slows down the aging process, which will give your skin an overall smoother tone. Jicama also has plant protein, which will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings; you will find that you are full for a longer amount of time and have lasting energy. Classic French fries are loaded with simple sugars, which will make you hungrier twenty minutes later as well as make you crave more processed junk foods. That is why it is so hard to only have a couple of French fries. Peel the jicama, slice up and bake in the oven with a dash of cooking spray and spices of your choice for twenty minutes! That is it. Check out my simple video tutorial on how to make them here.

Craving Pasta? Make a squash pasta instead! Simply use a vegetable grater or spiralizer to create noodles from zucchini or yellow squash. Check out my simple video tutorial here. Why am I a huge fan of zucchini? Zucchini is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A two of my favorite skin clearing vitamins. Vitamin A is great for removing dark circles and bags under your eyes. Vitamin C is fantastic for fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention a great source of potassium. This energizing healthy carbohydrate will help curb unhealthy cravings and just make you glow. Top off the dish with my simple stress reducing avocado sauce. Take three tablespoons of avocado and mix with freshly squeezed lemon. Lemon is a great detox food due to the balancing effect it has on the body. Avocado is a great source of potassium (it has more potassium than a banana) and vitamin E. Vitamin E does wonders for fine lines and those pesky crows feet around your eyes. As you may already know, I am a huge fan of healthy fats, especially amazing avocado. For more of my simple Eat Yourself Gorgeous recipes with healthy fat try my zesty lemon mash or my avocado chocolate mint shake.

Craving Ice Cream? Go for a blended frozen banana with Stevia (an all natural sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar levels). Do not judge this swap before you try it. Bananas are one of my favorite de-bloating foods due to the potassium content. Potassium flushes the body of excessive toxins and waste. Bananas also are loaded with fiber, which will keep you more full for a longer amount of time and contain a variety of B-vitamins. B-vitamins are great for stress relief and energy levels. Not to mention, bananas help stimulate the production of serotonin (the feel good hormone in the brain). They also improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is great for bone health. Check out my video tutorial on how to make this healthy soft serve ice cream alternative here. I have included techniques on how to create different flavors based on your mood.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

Need more tools? Check out my Simple Steps to Change

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Remember to focus on progress, not perfection…

& do YOU.

Love always,

Carina

Fuel up with Foods to Focus by Carina Sohaili

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Start Spring with Simple Steps to Change by Carina Sohaili

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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:

  1. Write down your bad habits, how they make you feel, why you want to change and then put it on your mirror or fridge.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 hereEverything boils down to daily patterns, habits and small, consistent changes over time.

Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here.

Love,

Carina

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day By Carina Sohaili

The day of love is fast approaching – here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate in a heart healthy way.

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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.

Super Bowl Sunday Solutions! By Carina Sohaili

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!

super-bowl-sunday-solutions-by-carina-sohaili

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!

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