The Rungry Health Coach

Six Tips to Help You Enjoy Holiday Meals Without the Guilt

The holidays are notorious for one big reason: the food.

Everyone makes plans to overeat and overly indulge in plates of turkey, ham, potatoes of several varieties, buttery vegetables, fluffy rolls and multiple slices of pie. Everything is delightful but at the end of the day, you feel uncomfortable. It's tradition! (Right?)

I'm not going to tell you to not eat those once-a-year foods. Nor am I going to tell you that you need to workout before the meal to "earn" your holiday feast.

What I will give you a few tricks to help you not only enjoy all of the holiday foods, but also leave those parties feeling satisfied, not stuffed.

Decorative Pumpkins


Go for Satisfied, Not Stuffed
When you're filling your plate, get a taste of everything! These are once-a-year foods, so this is an incredibly special occasion. As you sit down to enjoy, take your time on the plate. Chew thoroughly and savor each morsel. When your fullness cues start kicking in, stop eating. 

When we stop eating before we're overly stuffed, we will not walk away from the table uncomfortable or full of guilt. We're acknowledging our bodies' natural signals and processes. Enjoy each bite, but stop before you're too stuffed. If you discover you're still hungry, go back and get yourself a little bit more.

Mind the Dessert Table
There will probably be several different kinds of pie, cookies galore, fudge, puddings...and so many other desserts. Find a dessert that speaks to you--one that looks absolutely delicious--and get yourself a serving. Sit down, without distractions, and enjoy it. Savor every bite and enjoy the complexities of the flavor. When you've had enough of the dessert, stop eating. Sometimes a few bites of a dessert will be enough to satisfy, other times, you may want to eat the entire piece. But, above all, enjoy it. 

And when you're finding the dessert that's calling you, bypass the store-bought treats. Sure they may be tasty, but foods made with love are so much better. You know?

Drink Water and Be Mindful of Alcohol
Alcohol packs calories, and I think we're all in agreement that we would rather eat our calories than drink them. If you do want to imbibe, have yourself one drink, but make sure to pair it with plenty of water.

Throughout your feast, drink lots and lots of water to keep you hydrated and to keep the digestive process moving. 

Eat Yo Veggies
Veggies slathered in butter are better than no veggies at all. Seek out the salads, green beans, sprouts and other naturally-green foods that may be on the table spread. Eat those first. Vegetables are loaded with beneficial fiber, which takes up room in our stomachs. You'll get a little fuller faster, and you'll feel good in knowing you finished your veggies first.

Move Your Body Because You Love it
Before big holiday meals, there's a lot of "fit-spo" saying you need to "earn your meal." That's false. You don't need to earn your meal. That's the diet mentality coming out. 

If you're going to enjoy a workout before the holiday meal, then do it out of a place of love, not from a place of self-hatred. Go for a run, practice yoga, lift weights--however you move your body, do it as a form of self-respect and self-care. Don't focus on how many calories you burned and equate that to the calories in a slice of pumpkin pie. 

Give Yourself Permission & Own Your Choices
When you sit down at that table, give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want, and thoroughly enjoy your meal. Regardless of if you eat two slices of pumpkin pie, three plates of turkey or drink the entire gravy boat, own your choices. Make the decision to eat, drink or move whatever and however you want, but own those choices. Take responsibility and accountability.

Combined, these two acts help us avoid the guilt and shame often associated with an overly-indulgent meal. These days were meant to be celebrated, so enjoy them thoroughly. 

And remember, one day of tasty foods will not derail your diet, or cause you to gain 10 pounds overnight. One indulgent meal will not tip the scales. 

Need more tips? Have questions? Let's set up a FREE health discovery call!

The Rungry Health Coach

How to Make Your Favorite Desserts Healthier

Despite what you say...it's the holiday season. And you probably have 17 holiday parties between now and the start of 2018.

While I'm a firm believer in the power of a luscious homemade brownie or a decadent slice of pumpkin pie, all those desserts at all of those parties adds up. Not to mention, the quality of ingredients often used aren't the best. (I'm looking at you, inflammatory oils and GMO wheat.)

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

Wouldn't it be great to munch on a dessert you can feel good about eating? A dessert that's loaded with natural ingredients that serve your body, and won't give you gas, bloat or guilt?

You can easily enjoy the holiday parties without the associated guilt. With some simple tweaks and swaps, you can recreate your favorite baked goods in more healthful and nourishing ways. 

Oils
Certain oils (canola, vegetable) are inflammatory as they are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-6 fatty acids are prone to oxidation while in the cell members. This causes free-radical chain reactions and can cause damage. Try these substitutions: 
  • Oils like avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil can be swapped in at a cup-for-cup ratio
  • Swap half the oil out for applesauce or banana 
  • The same amount of mashed avocado is great for brownies or chocolate cookies
RV Energy Balls
Sugars
White sugar is processed and offers very, very little nutritionally. It spikes the blood sugar and often leaves you feeling sluggish a short time later. Sugar may also be addictive. When baking, see if you can decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe. And, try these substitutions:
  • Agave syrup
  • Honey or pure maple syrup (Replace with about 3/4 cup of liquid sweetener)
  • Coconut sugar (dried coconut palm sap)
  • Banana
  • Applesauce
  • Sweet potato puree
Chocolate
Put down that generic chocolate bar. When it comes to chocolate, it's about quality. For powder, look for either organic cocoa powder or organic cacao powder. What's the difference aside from spelling? Cacao powder is pressed at very low temperatures to keep the nutritional benefits intact. When buying chocolate, look for organic and fair trade.

For chocolate bars, you may notice a percentage on the wrapper. The higher the number the purer the chocolate and more caffeine. You want a higher number. Look for bars with at least 72 percent or higher, and be wary of other added ingredients like sugars and milks. Look for bars made with  higher-quality ingredients and mix-ins. 

Flour
White flour is synonymous with baking because it's good for just about anything. But white flour is missing the germ and the bran of the wheat. It's stripped of its nutrition, often enriched with synthetic additives and sometimes bleached. Wheat is often GMO, meaning it's been tinkered with in a lab. 

Organic wheat flour is a good option because it is grown without pesticides and is non-GMO, but it still offers little nutritionally. Some fun flour substitutions include:
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat flour/Rolled oats
  • Brown rice flour
  • Gluten-free AP flour
  • Almond meal/flour
  • Chickpea flour
***When changing the flours, you will be changing the composition of the baked good. AP flour is rich in natural gluten--the protein that gives desserts their elasticity and oomph. Start by swapping in small amounts of these substitutes. A combination of low-gluten or gluten-free flours will help with overall consistency. 

Have more questions on what else you can add or subtract from recipes to boost their nutrition? Let me know your questions! And be sure to check out my tasty recipes

The Rungry Health Coach

Six Natural Remedies to Fight Colds and Flus

Firstly, don't be that person who shows up to work sick.

Don't be that guy!
Ginger Lemon

Secondly, we're all kind of on edge this season: We work extra hard to wash our hands, avoid crowded situations and pump our immune systems up with vitamin C because we don't want to get sick.

Nobody wants to get sick, but it does happen, even to the healthiest of people. Germs are just unavoidable. 

As winter looms on the horizon, now is the time to boost your immune system--not with synthetic pills, powders or liquids, but with real food. Simple ingredients and foods, many of which can be found in your own pantry can make great cold remedies and immune system boosters. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are a variety of natural remedies you can use to help ease your symptoms. 

  1. Ginger--Ginger can do it all. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and can ease discomfort associated with bloat, gas, vomiting and diarrhea. 
  2. Citrus Fruits--While vitamin C may not be a cure for the common cold, it can help shorten the length or severity of the cold and cold-like symptoms.
  3. Garlic--Garlic is a popular remedy for both colds and viruses because of its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. 
  4. Onions--These bulbs contain quercetin, an unpronounceable flavonoid (healthy phytochemical compound) that may help fight off colds.
  5. Green Tea--Not just low in caffeine, green tea may contain certain properties that can help ward off certain colds and viruses.
  6. Honey--Bears know what's up; honey is incredibly healthy. The golden liquid can help soothe sore throats and coughs. Mix a little with warm water. 

Need some more cold-crushing tips? Try these!
  • Make a homemade tonic
  • Double-down on turmeric and ginger
  • Lather on essential oils
  • Eat a nutritious diet free of inflammatory foods like processed white sugars or white flours
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Stick to a sleep schedule and ensure you're getting at least seven hours of shuteye
  • Don't get hog wild on alcohol
  • Keep eating--Your body actually needs extra calories to fight illness and eating fewer calories inhibits the body's ability to heal
My best tip? Switch to a diet rich in real, unprocessed foods and exercise frequently. When you take care of your body in this loving manner, you're giving your system a loving boost all year. Eat a combination of these foods and practice these tips all year long and you'll help reduce your chances at getting sick!

Need some more natural remedies and other ideas? Send me a message!

The Rungry Health Coach

How to Meal Prep Like a Boss

Meal prep is a polarizing topic. Some people live by it and for it. Others tend to shy away from it.

For anyone striving toward a healthier lifestyle, meal prep can go a long way to help people reach their goals and retain sanity on busy week nights. Meal prep is the action of setting aside time (typically on a weekend) to plan and prepare meals and snacks for the week ahead. This saves time in the long run, and makes life easier when juggling work responsibilities, family duties, workouts and other stressors. (Plus, it stops us from grabbing take-out menus from the kitchen drawer.)

Some people live for meal prep. These are the people that probably make all of their week’s meals ahead of time and portion them out into cute bento containers. They probably spend hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday prepping their meals and snacks to ensure they have a successful and stress-free week ahead. There’s probably some array of hard-boiled eggs, chicken and broccoli and pesto. As great as this plan sounds, it can be easy to get sick of eating the same thing week after week, and it’s easy get burnt out.

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Then, there’s the camp of people who get stressed out about the idea. Although they understand meal prep is an important part of the healthy lifestyle equation, they just don’t know where to begin.

Meal prep doesn’t have to cause anxiety and it doesn’t have to take upwards of four hours. With just a little bit of time and a plan of action, meal prep can be easy.

What’s the secret? Batch cooking!

Batch cooking is simple in principle: By preparing some staple ingredients—proteins, vegetables, grains/starches, snacks—come busy evenings all you need to do is reach into the fridge to prepare a meal. This also enables a bit of creativity so not all meals are the same.

Your meal prep session can happen on any day during any time—it doesn’t always have to happen on a Sunday. Do what works best for you and your family. Before cooking, take stock of what’s in your pantry and refrigerator. Think about what’s in season, what your week looks like and start formulating an idea of what the week’s meals may look like. (There are hundreds of great food blogs and cookbooks out there to give you a little inspiration!)

Healthy Snack Ideas

You may need to run to the grocery store.

Now, the trick to a successful meal prep session—regardless of what track you take—is to work efficiently. Go in with a plan of attack and only spend time on what needs to get done.

For the batch cookers, start with these considerations:
  • Prep a protein or two—Whether it be cooking chicken breasts in the slow cooker, simmering beans, marinating steak or hard-boiling eggs, create at least two proteins.
  • Remember you don’t need to prep for all meals—Consider what you time have for throughout the week. If you know your mornings are very busy, it may not be a bad idea to prep breakfasts ahead of time. (Have you tried overnight oats or baking egg cups?) If you make extra dinner servings, those can easily be translated into packed lunches for the next day.
  • Turn on really good tunes—This step seems silly, but mood music can go a long way to making this session as stress-free as possible. Don’t be afraid to sing.
  • When in doubt roast—Roasting gives you the gift of time. You can easily stick a few things in the oven, set it and move on with the next part of your plan. It’s easy to prick a few sweet potatoes and push them into a hot oven to roast. Or, you can prepare a sheet pan of roasted veggies that can be reheated later in the week.  Plus, who doesn’t love roasted veggies?
  • Prepare a few vegetable options—Vegetable prep does not need to be fancy. You can simply wash and chop lettuce for salads, cut carrots into sticks, floret broccoli so it can be steamed when ready to serve, or roasting a pan of vegetables.
  • Simmer a grain or prepare some other starch—Quinoa, rice, roasted sweet potatoes are all great examples of complex carbohydrates but they do take time to prepare. By making them ahead of time, you can easily save time during a busy week. And they last a few days in the fridge until ready to eat. (Cutting back on carbs? Cauliflower rice can easily be prepped ahead of time, too!)
  • Read recipes and prepare anything time-consuming ahead of time—If there is a recipe you plan on eating sometime during the week, prepare some of its components ahead of time, especially those that take a lot of time. This may mean blending the sauce, simmering the grain or cooking the chicken ahead of time. These tiny steps will make weeknight prep that much easier! Nobody wants to spend a long time in the kitchen after a hard day’s work.
  • Don’t forget a snack—Everyone needs a snack or two. Homemade energy balls or bars are easily customizable and can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes. They take pantry staples like oats, protein powders, nuts and/or dried fruit. (Need some inspiration? Check out these chocolate hippie cookies, banana protein balls or red velvet cake balls!) 
  • It doesn’t need to be perfect—Your meal prep session doesn’t need to be perfect nor does it need to take up a whole day. Give yourself some grace. If you only have time to shred lettuce, that’s fine. If you’re able to prepare a batch of quinoa, chop carrot sticks and make a healthy salad dressing, then do that. Do whatever you can and whatever you have time for. And understand that as you continue meal prep each week, it will get easier.
Need some recipe inspiration? Check out these four recipes made with an athlete’s needs in mind! They’re plant-based and loaded with ingredients to sustain your busy lifestyle. (Plus, there’s a recipe for healthy cookie dough!)

The Rungry Health Coach

Four Ways to Squash Half- or Full-Marathon Training Hunger

Let's be honest: I named my business "rungry" for a reason.

I'll never forget the hunger associated with half Ironman training (or really training for any endurance race). I felt like an insatiable beast. I was downing yogurt bowls, protein muffins, hard boiled eggs...anything to stave off the constant hunger. I was pounding water to stay hydrated. Because I was typically doing two workouts per day, I was eating two breakfasts and often eating huge night time snacks. (Then waking up at 4:30 am the next day to do it all over again.)

70.3 Chuck Norris

I was "eating clean" and foods that served my body. I was expecting to become a lean racing machine, and maybe lose a few pounds. Then...I gained about 10 pounds. While this may not seem like a huge weight gain, racing with an extra 10 pounds is tough. I felt foreign in my body and constantly bloated. 

What I hadn't realized is that I wasn't fueling properly. When my first marathon rolled around about a year later, I vowed to not make the same mistakes. I really paid attention to my hunger cues and listened to exactly what my body wanted. It was a fine balance between being satiated and satisfied with my meals, and fueling for performance. (Yes, there were a lot of extra protein bars and yogurt bowls, but I was smart.)

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When I ran that marathon, I felt more "me" and confident in my fueling. (I also wasn't carrying around an extra 10 pounds.)

What changed during that training cycle? I smartened up with my mindset on food. I looked to food more as fuel than as a reward. Yes, it's tempting to reward a long run with a hamburger and fries, but that reward system gets us into trouble in the first place. (Food shouldn't be used as a reward...but more on that later.)

The post-run hunger beast is a real thing, but here are four tips to help you tame the beast that may pop up during endurance training. 
  1. Really, really listen to your hunger. I know I've preached this a bazillion times before, but when you start feeling hungry, listen to where that hunger is coming from. Is it emotional hunger? Are you thirsty? Are you bored, happy, sad or just emotional? Did you eat enough protein and fat at your last meal? If you are truly hungry, grab a snack rich in protein and fat.
  2. When in doubt, reach for protein and fat. Protein is needed to help our muscles recover. Fat keeps us satisfied. Together they are a nutrition super duo. Hard-boiled eggs, hummus and veggies, nuts and an apple--are all great power snacks for runners. And make sure you eat something within 30 to 60 minutes after your workout. (And keep this in mind when you're building meals. About a quarter of your plate should be protein, a quarter should be dedicated to a starch/whole grain, and about half should be loaded with veggies. Finish it with a dollop of fat--nut butter, avocado, olive oil, nuts/seeds, etc.)
  3. Reframe your idea of eating and hunger. The customary craving after a long run is typically burgers, French fries, fluffy pancakes or piles of bacon. While all these "fun foods" are just fine, reach for the real food first. Load up your plate (or bowl) with fruits + veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and protein first. That first post-run meal should be rich in complex carbs and protein to help replenish energy stores and repair muscles. (Remember, not all calories are created equal. 1,000 calories in cheeseburger looks a lot different than 1,000 calories of eggs or 1,000 calories of apples.)
  4. Ensure you're hydrating. Our body sends the same cue when it's both hungry and thirsty. That gets confusing really quickly. If you're hungry at a time when you're typically not hungry, have a little water first. See how your body is feeling. Because you exhausted a lot of energy during your last workout, it may not be a bad idea to enhance your water with a little high-quality salt to help replenish missing minerals. 
Need some runner-approved recipe ideas? Make sure to check out my recipe page that has hundreds of FREE recipes all geared with an athlete's needs in mind. Have more questions on fueling? Shoot me a note!

The Rungry Health Coach

Why it's time to breakup with the calorie counter

Calorie counters are sexy in principle.

The idea of being able to see the numbers of what goes into food can be incredibly appealing. For someone looking to lose weight, many rely on counting calories. Because weight loss starts with a caloric deficit, it can be helpful for some to track their daily consumption to see if they're creating the desired deficit.

For someone looking to change body composition--gain muscle  lean out--a tracker is appealing in that will enable the counting of macronutrients, protein, carbs and fats. This is when they follow calculated percentages of the macros, and eat within these parameters. Often, these plans look at nutrient density of a food, and not just its calorie count. 

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As helpful as these tools seem to be, they can do more harm than good. I've tracked both--calories and macronutrients--in two very different contexts. When I tracked calories, it was because I wanted to lose weight. When I wanted to "lean out," I followed a specific macronutrient plan. Now, I don't do it and wean my clients off of their trackers. 

But why? If these tools are so helpful, what's the problem? Food is no fun when you're constantly obsessed over the numbers. 

It's not reliable 
There is a margin of error on any nutrition label. The numbers represented in that sleek box are not always an accurate measure of the exact nutrition within a food. So, for one, there's that.

Secondly, when following a generic tracker,  these plans often are not tailored to your own individual needs. Some people naturally need more fuel--it's because we're all different. Every body needs something a little different and these blanketed plans don't work for all. So, when a calorie tracker spits out its suggestions as to what calories, proteins, carbs and fats you need, know that they were not created with your unique needs. Activity levels, heredity, hormones (or lack thereof), stress levels, and more all contribute to a person's unique dietary needs. 

When dieters started believer that we need 1,200 calories to lose weight, that number was created without  thought to a person's individual needs. (It is now known that we need far more calories than that.)

Pumpkin Pancakes 1

It removes the fun from food
When you're constantly uploaded numbers, recipes and every little thing into a calorie counter, food just becomes less fun. Being spontaneous and going out for ice cream isn't as fun when you're tied down to a little phone app that tells you the fat and calories will put you over your total for the day. 

Say goodbye to eating out at a restaurant. Most restaurants don't have nutritional information for your app, let alone nutrimental information for their menus. Because of this lack of information, it leaves the user in a feeling of limbo. They're more likely to eat "what they should eat" instead of eating something they truly want because they're too concerned with the numbers. 

Food becomes more about the numbers and less about the enjoyment and memories made. 

It's not intuitive
Continually tracking the numbers is not intuitive. When a person is continually tracking, they begin to lose track of their hunger and fullness cues, and their body's natural cravings. When their body is craving a veggie burger with sweet potato fries, but they don't have room for a small bowl of yogurt and carrot sticks, they suppress that craving and eat "within the plan." (And this subsequently removes the fun from food.)

And sometimes, when someone may not hit their desired numbers, they eat when they're not hungry to avoid a deficit. 

Unfortunately, you can't forget the calorie count of an egg, the amount of fat in a tablespoon of peanut butter or how many calories are burnt after running one mile. When we continually focus on the numbers, it creates a disordered way of thinking.

Easy Cheez Sauce

It takes time
In order for the counter to work, you need to input all of those foods. Think of everything you eat and drink within a day--that's a lot--and then image having to upload that information into some kind of app. That takes time! (Time better spent practicing self care or making memories with friends and loved ones.)

You have to type in what you're eating, find it within the app and repeat. Sometimes, you have to upload the entire recipe. Other times, you have to upload the specific brand that you use if you can't find what you're looking for. 

That's both time consuming and maddening!

While some people have found "success" uploading their foods at the beginning of the day, this then creates a plan of what should be eaten throughout the day. Although it's not set in stone, it leaves very little wiggle room. (And you guys know I hate the word should.)

It's stressful and not sustainable
It takes time, patience and effort to continually upload foods. Overtime, that constant uploading of foods into the counter becomes far too much. It can easily lead to burnout. 

And when you go over your desired numbers for the day, there's lingering stress, guilt and anxiety. Going over desired numbers elicits a feeling of "being bad." Getting burnt out or frustrated is common with these practices. 

Because of the time commitment, the emotional investment and how it changes a life, tracking nutrition information is not a sustainable practice. It's simply not something that someone can maintain for the rest of their lives. 

(There are some situations where counting macros or calories may be necessary. Talk to a dietitian, health coach or doctor if you have questions or are concerned.)

Ready to break up with your calorie counter? Let's chat!

The Rungry Health Coach

Two Factors You Need to Be Truly Healthy

A healthy diet consists of two components, and one is often forgotten about.

Yes, eating lots of kale, quinoa, grass-fed beef, chia seeds and other hippy foods are imperative to a healthy diet. But, all these nourishing foods are just one small piece to a complex puzzle. 

What's missing is a healthy relationship with food. You can eat all the kale salads you want, but if you're terrified of doughnuts, binge eat when everyone is asleep or restrict fats, you'll never get to be your healthiest self. (Even those who eat a healthy diet may suffer from an eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa. It's an unhealthy obsession with eating "healthy" foods.)

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Often times, our relationship with food is damaged from the beginning from constant dieting. Bouncing from one diet to next greatly damages how we see food. It no longer becomes about fuel--it becomes something we need to control.

A healthy relationship with food is imperative to overall happiness. When we have food freedom we're able to enjoy all that we eat, our bodies can lose weight naturally, we finally break up with our diets, and food no longer becomes an obsession. 

What are some of the warning signs you have a poor relationship with food?
  • The idea of eating outside of your own home causes you anxiety
  • Counting calories and macronutrients obsessively 
  • Food has become an emotional crutch
  • Pushing food onto others instead of eating it yourself
  • Eating past enjoyment
  • Restricting foods at mealtimes despite being hungry
  • Ignoring your body's signals and cravings to eat
  • Obsessively measuring out foods
  • Expecting perfectionism and feeling guilty when you " fall off the wagon"
A healthy relationship looks different for a lot of people, but it genuinely has the same principles. 
  • Honor your hunger cues
  • Eat until satisfied, not stuffed
  • Put all foods on the table and allow yourself to eat any of them in any quantities you want
  • Don't restrict, don't worry about calories and don't 
  • Listen to the voices within and really heed what they are saying
  • Acknowledge where your current relationship with food is, and where you'd like it to go
  • Get rid of all attempts at perfection
  • Understand that eating one doughnut or almond croissant does not make you a terrible person, nor will you balloon up and gain five pounds instantly
Healing an already suffering relationship with food is hard, and it's harder to do it alone. Does any of this sound familiar? These thoughts are both scary and damaging, but health coaching can help. Let's schedule a time to chat about where you would like your relationship with food to be. 

The Rungry Health Coach

5 Ways to Naturally Boost Energy Levels

We all know what's it's like to roll out of bed and not feel rested.

We also all know what it's like to fall into the famous 3 PM slump, and need a cup of coffee (or three) to make it to 5 PM. 

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As helpful as that cup of coffee can be, the caffeine stays in our system for hours after consumption and could very well keep you up at night. Plus, it's not healthy to continually rely on caffeine.

Think of that cup of coffee as a Band Aid. It covers the problem, but doesn't necessarily fix the issue. To address chronic fatigue and a poor night's sleep, try getting to bed earlier. (And keep a consistent sleep schedule!) You can also limit technology use, as the blue light emitted from phones, computers, etc. actually disrupts our body's natural ability to deliver melatonin. Get to the source of the problem first.

But sometimes even after a good night's sleep, you don't feel rested. On those days, there are ways to combat fatigue and give yourself a much-needed boost.

  1. Try a cold shower. Whether it be first-thing in the morning, or when you feel like you need a pick-me-up, try cranking that faucet handle to cold. As our body tries to handle the shock of cold water, we begin to breath deeper, which increases our oxygen consumption
  2. Drink lots of water. When we don't drink enough water, our body starts to lose energy. To know how much water you need, divide your bodyweight in half, and that number in ounces is how much water you should be drinking.
  3. Supplement with B12. While not a long-term solution, a high-quality, whole-food B12 supplement will keep your cells happy. B12 helps regulate thyroid function, but is water-soluble. That means your body cannot store extra B12, and relies instead on the foods you eat everyday to get enough B12, and other B vitamins. If you're deficient in B12, your energy levels will be lacking.
  4. Get some daily movement. A tough workout can give the body a much-needed boost, but if you're at work and unable to get the gym, get away from the desk and go for a walk. Try incorporating a little bit of movement into certain times of day. Movement helps send oxygen to the body's cells and helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently.
  5. Reach for complex carbs. Carbohydrates are broken into two camps--simple and complex. Simple carbs (fruit, white bread, sugar, white rice) are quickly digested in the body and used for quick energy. Once our body uses up that energy, it's typically for energy levels to dip. Familiar with the sugar crash after eating candy? That's what I'm talking about. Complex carbohydrates, however, take longer to digest and provide longer-lasting energy. Bonus points when combined with a healthy fat and/or protein. If you're crashing in the middle of the afternoon and need a snack, bypass the blueberry muffin and instead reach for some whole-grain cracker and avocado.
Do you struggle with fluctuating energy levels? Send me a message!

The Rungry Health Coach

10 Tips to Have a Healthy and Awesome Vacation

So often, vacations become calorie-laden bombs. Individuals think that like them, their goals and habits are also on vacation. Soon, this becomes a justification to drink every night and eat heavy foods until the point of extreme fullness. And upon return, your body feels greasy, groggy, bloated, uncomfortable. Ever feel like you need a vacation "detox?"

I used to travel like this all the time. I would take that vacation time as an excuse to stuff myself with all the foods I deprived myself of during my regular life. I also stopped exercising. There was also a time that I was so afraid of other foods and calories, that I would eat very particular things and make sure to bring all of my own snacks. The latter mindset would not let me fully enjoy the experience. 

I traveled at one of two extremes...I had no middle ground. No balance. 

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Now, I allow myself to indulge in treats, but only as they sound good. I only eat something I truly want...and I eat until I'm satisfied. (That may mean just a few bites.) I do something active everyday--a morning run, a bodyweight workout, walking, bike tour. I drink alcohol sparingly and instead drink plenty of water. I put emphasis on vegetables but still seek out local delicacies. I also still bring snacks--especially for the airplane. And as a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally, I don't let my preferences stop me from enjoying the local foods. If I want something with meat, then I'll eat something with meat.

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My mindset on travel has drastically changed. It's because I allow myself to enjoy the vacation, but I also keep my long-term goals in the back of my mind. I don't like the idea of coming home bloated and uncomfortable. I don't like the idea of needing a "detox." I put emphasis on daily movement, I eat until satisfied and I know that all foods are on the table. I put memories over calories...but I do it within reason. And when I'm home in my normal life, I allow myself to have a few treats so stop me from feeling deprived. 

You can truly enjoy your vacation without guilt and without extreme restriction. Here are my top 10 tips to have a vacation you love without sacrificing the experience. 
  1. Pack plenty of snacks. Depending on where you're traveling, you may not have immediate access to something to eat--especially when the hunger beast comes. And for long plane rides, having snacks at the ready not only decreases cost, but stops you from eating poor-quality airline food. Apples, oranges, avocados and veggie sticks travel well. Protein bars, jerky and hard-boiled eggs are great protein options. You can even pack a whole meal salad!
  2. Put emphasis on daily movement. You don't have to continue your strict exercise regimen while on vacation, but some kind of daily movement can go a long way. It can also help ease jet lag. And daily movement, doesn't have to be structured exercise. You could go for a long walking tour or rent a bike. Of course, you can still carve out some time to do a sweat session. There are many pieces of equipment like resistance loops or bands that can travel well. 
  3. Seek out vegetables. Often during vacation, we put sweets and other delacies over veggies. If possible, aim for a vegetable at every meal. You can also challenge yourself to eat a salad every day.
  4. Eat until satisfied, not full. It can be really, really easy to eat an entire piece of chocolate cake for example, well past the point of feeling satisfied. There comes a point where eating that cake no longer becomes enjoyable. Sometimes eating until satisfied does not mean finishing the entire piece of cake, plate of food or ice cream cone. Eat until you're satisfied. 
  5. Put memories over calories. Put down your calorie counter and don't fret about all that you're eating. Enjoy yourself, but again, listen to the cues your body is sending and don't eat until you're overly uncomfortable.
  6. Lay off alcohol. I know...I know. Alcohol always seems an integral part of vacations, but it does inhibit our functioning. And as we get older, our bodies just can't bounce back quite as fast as they did. Enjoy a glass of wine at dinner every now and then, but try not to go overboard.
  7. Do something educational. While you're in a new place, do everything that you can to learn about the local culture and customs. Immerse yourself in the goings-on. Visit a museum, take a tour or talk to the locals. Feed your soul with information.
  8. Disconnect from your phone. Do you really need me to expand on this?
  9. Prioritize sleep. You may be in a new place, but that doesn't mean you can't get a good night's sleep. Stick to a reasonable bed time and wake up time. If you're struggling from jet lag, do your best to get yourself on the country's time table. This will make it easier for you to adjust.
  10. Choose local eats over creature comforts. You're in a new region, state or country--I hope you're sampling the local cuisine! But, I do understand how a few days away from your own routine and favorite foods can be overwhelming. As tempting as it may be to indulge in something form your home, remind yourself this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That burger, peanut butter blob or fried chicken will still be there when you get home. 
Beth Sandwich
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The Rungry Health Coach

Five Awesome Foods for Runners

Runners are a unique breed of human: They believe that all of life’s problems can be solved with a long run, and get excited about a $125 pair of sneakers. (They won’t blister your feet!)

With this uniqueness comes a unique set of needs, especially when it comes to fueling. Runners need a good mix of nourishing fuel to help them continue doing the sport they love. Similarly, like filling up your car, not all fuels are created equal—some nourish, heal and energize our bodies better than others.

To help boost performance, heal quicker and ease pain and inflammation, there are five foods that stand out to help a runner.

Fruits and Nuts

Probiotics

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of probiotics because new research is constantly coming out about them. But what are those little buggers? They’re these microscopic bacteria that live in your gut and boost health. They keep you healthy by being the gateway to your immune system. When we eat more probiotics, we’re setting our bodies up for success.

Probiotics can help athletes by supporting proper immune function, and by increasing antioxidant absorption. These little guys also improve digestion and the absorption of protein and fats, which is good news because athletes have the highest nutrient needs than anyone.

Probiotics come in many forms. Many organic grocery stores carry probiotic capsules. Do read labels to learn what strands you’re getting. But probiotics from food may be best. Naturally-occurring probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut and kimchi.

Also, make sure you’re eating fibrous foods like banana, onions and garlic, which are considered pre-biotics. These act as the food source for the bacteria.

Beets

Beets have a very distinct taste—you either love them or hate them. But, beets are incredibly beneficial for athletes and runners.

Beets have naturally-occurring nitrates. It’s converted in the body into a compound that helps dilate the blood vessels. With the vessels dilated, a runner’s blood-flow capacity is increased and it lowers the amount of oxygen needed. This is good because it helps a runner use oxygen more efficiently and ultimately move more efficiently.

These vegetables can be spiced and roasted, turned into soup, blended into smoothies and even grated into salads. Beets can be eaten cooked or raw. If you’re on the fence with these red-hued powerhouses, try golden beets! Their flavor isn’t as earthy as their red counterparts.

Avocado

Fats are friends, not foes! (Please tell me you’re imagining a shark…)

Yes, fats got a bad rap in the 1990s, but they’re incredibly beneficial to runners. Fat provides energy. Although our body’s main source of energy is carbohydrates, when those stores run low, our bodies run on fats instead. There are certain vitamins as well, that need fat to be metabolized and properly absorbed. Fat is also loaded with beneficial fiber, and fiber helps keep the tubes running properly and smoothly.

Avocado Toast

Whether you pile on the guacamole to your toast, add avocado to your dinner, hide avocado in a batch of brownies or simply add some into your smoothie, avocados

Ginger/Turmeric

Both ginger and turmeric, either ground or fresh, have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is a warming spice and it has antiseptic properties. It can also promote circulation throughout the body. Turmeric can be used as a medicinal herb and it can drastically increase the anti-oxidant capacity of the body.

Sprinkle liberally in spices or stews, add a fresh chunk into your morning smoothie or add a thin slice to tea as it steeps. 

When it comes to turmeric, also add some black pepper (Yes…even in smoothies!) to help with the absorption of the turmeric.

Coconut Water

During a long run, a runner’s electrolyte stores run dry, and they need replenished. Electrolytes are minerals that help stimulate the muscles and nerves. They also help regulate the body’s fluids which can affect blood pressure, blood volume and cell function.

Most runners and athletes reach for an over-sugared sports drink. They’re often handed out at races, too. In addition to having a sugary punch and artificial colors, they are nutritionally void.  Coconut water is nature’s sports drink.

Coconut water, the clear liquid inside a coconut, is higher in naturally-occurring electrolytes than sports drinks, and is also lower in sugar. It’s incredibly hydrating and very versatile.

Add it to smoothies, fill up your hand-held waterbottle, or make your own sports drink!

Next time you run to the grocery store to grab these foods, read up on some of my favorite grocery store tips! Download my FREE guide.

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