“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  -Hippocrates

When it comes to my diet, I choose to eat as 'close to nature' as possible! From the nourishing bowl of oats for breakfast, to my mid-afternoon snack of crunchy carrots... from the protein-packed fried eggs for lunch to the sweet red grapes for dessert... I just adore whole, healthy foods. They nourish my body and give me the energy I need to tackle the day. That being said, it only makes sense that I'd choose the highest quality drinks, as well. But finding that perfect drink can be challenging with all the supposedly "healthy" ones out there these days. I am so excited to introduce you to one of my newest, most favorite healthy products on the market! 

It seems like everywhere you look, coconut water is popping up as the new superfood! ...and rightfully so! Coconut is naturally delicious, sweet, refreshing and hydrating. But not all coconut water is created equal. Recent studies are finding that coconut water harvested from green coconuts doesn't quite live up to the hype it's been getting. The problem is that the naturally occurring nutrients in young green coconuts are found in the meat. The water that's left is mostly just sugar at this point. So what's a nutrition-loving girl to do?! Cue King Coconut Water.


King Coconut Water is a totally different form of coconut water. That's because they use orange coconuts instead of green coconuts. (That's totally different than all the other coconut water companies out there.) The difference is that orange coconuts are higher in electrolytes and completely sterile. Orange coconuts are primarily used for drinking and not processed for their meat or oil. They never actually hit the ground as each one is handpicked. They  only grow in Sir Lanka and King Coconut works with the local farmers to create a better life for these hard workers and their families. (You guys know I love give-back companies!)

King Coconut is not only ethically responsible, they're also enviromentally friendly. The remaining coconuts shells are ground up to make a mulch that nourishes the soil. The water is bottled within 24 hours of coming off the tree and it is sealed in a glass bottle (which is reusable... and so cute!) Each sealed bottle lasts 90 days.

This coconut water helps with muscle cramps and promotes healthy digestion. The only ingredients are: coconut water, <1% organic cane sugar (to balance the sweetness) and vitamin C- which naturally creates a longer shelf life. NO weird preservatives, pasteurizing, or odd additives here! It tastes great straight-up, but I really enjoy the way it improves the flavor and nutrition of a smoothie, changing it from good to great! It's the secret to all my favorite smoothie recipes.

Can you tell that I am pretty impressed with this wonderful water? I've actually decided to partner with this company. If you'd like to purchase some of this quality product, simply go to http://kingcocos.com/ (or check out the button on the sidebar of my blog!)

This coconut water is a bit pricier than some, but you get what you pay for... and quality is of utmost importance in maintaining a healthy, balanced life! 

Sweet Elisha, V.P. over at King Cocos, has agreed to give a 10% off discount when you use the promo code HELLO10. 

So what are you waiting for?! Nourish your body with some of the best nutrition you've ever sipped!
 
 
"Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine." ~Slovakian Proverb

I LOVE water! Water is hydrating, nourishing, and life-giving. Water quenches my thirst and gives me energy to tackle the day! Drinking more water is something we’re often told to do… but how many of us are actually drinking enough? According to the Mayo Clinic, women should consume 9 cups a day, and men, even more. I don't go anywhere without my own travel cup- filled with ice cold refreshing H2O! There have been a number of reports lately telling us that we really don't need to force ourselves to drink so much water. Well, I certainly hope that no one is "forcing" it! In fact, you can get plenty of hydration in your fruits, veggies, coffee and tea, but there's something cool and wonderful about this inexpensive, natural, God-given beverage!

Here are just a few benefits of staying hydrated!

1. Weight loss- Looking to drop a few?! Switch your usual soda or juice to water and you’ll nix calories in no time!


2. Energy- Increased water consumption is actually closely related to increased energy. Many of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it! So grab you Camelback and drink up!


3. Better exercise- Water hydrates your cells, giving you energy and sustainability when it comes to that tough workout.


4. Better skin- Are you looking to clear up your skin?! Try water! It’s so hydrating and detoxifying! That often results in clear skin, naturally!


5. Brain function- studies have shown that any level of dehydration can limit your brain function. To keep your brain performing at its best… stay hydrated!


6. Healthy digestion- what better way to keep everything moving than staying hydrated?! Need I say more?

So what are you waiting for?! Take a dive into a cool, refreshing glass of H2O! Drink up!

 
 
"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." -Henry David Thoreau

Ok, I realize that if you are reading this post, you are most likely sitting down. Well, let me interrupt this comfortable moment in your day and encourage you to get up, get out, and take a quick walk! We all know how important it is to get those bones and muscles moving, but it's also easy to sit back and think to yourself, "Ehhh, I'll do it later!"

Let me give you FIVE FUN REASONS TO GO FOR A WALK:

1.  Walking protects your heart - ...and your blood pressure, joints, muscles, bones and balance. Walking reduces your risk of diabetes, stroke, and even some cancers. Of course, exercise can't cure everything, but if walking may help, I'm in!

2.  Walking reduces stress - It calms your mind, enhances your mood, and improves your self-esteem. Walking outside is particularly helpful because you can connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of creation.

3.  Walking boosts your immune system - It helps your immune system combat germs. It provides your body with 'feel good chemicals' which help you sleep better and help fight infection. More walks = less colds!

4.  Walking lowers your blood sugar - Getting up and walking after a meal actually prevents a rise in blood sugar as much as medicines designed to do the same thing. I don't know about you, but I'd choose walking over medications any day!

5.  Walking improves your looks - It helps you lose weight by increasing muscle mass and tone. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – so the more calories you burn, even at rest. It strengthens and shapes your legs and if you pay attention to your posture while you're walking, you can even tone your abs and whittle your waist. Win-win-win!

So, lace up those sneakers, throw on some comfy sandals, or go barefoot on the beach... Whatever you do, WALK!

 
 
I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE thrift shopping!! Sure, some of the clothes you find at some of the places that sell used clothing CAN be a little 'out of style', worn, or simply not your size... but let me tell you, the thrill of finding that ONE special piece is definitely worth the time and effort of sifting through 'the rough stuff.' It's a needle-in-a-haystack sort of experience, and that's what I love about it! You never know what treasures await you. I've written about my love for 'thrifty shops' before, so today I want to tell you about one of my all-time FAVE buys-- Men's Flannels.
I'm OBSESSED with flannels! They're the perfect go-to ANY time of year. Whether it's lounging around the dorm, grabbing coffee with a friend, or running errands around town, flannels go perfectly with leggings and a loose tee, or tossed over my cami and sleep shorts on a lazy morning. Flannels are fun! Pair them with with skinnies, booties, and LOTS of bracelets. Flannels are comfy, cozy, cute and carefree. Try one on and you won't want to take it off!
The reason I always go for MEN'S flannels and not women's, is because men's are just more comfortable and fun! They're cheap and stylish! So today I want to encourage you to hit-up your local thrift shop, browse around, and be sure to spend a few minutes in the men's section. Beware-- you might just find the perfect flannel! 

What about you? Do you have a favorite flannel?

 
 
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy local and that's kind of the same thing." 
-Anonymous

Who doesn't love a good farmers market?! There's something wonderful about bringing locally sourced, fresh produce from different farms and selling it in one place-- no middle man, no advertising costs, no extra additives, fancy packaging or marketing schemes... it's all about bringing community together! Food and fellowship are two of my favorite things, so today for 'Saturday's Superfoods' I want to share some of the health benefits of fresh fruits and veggies, all which can be purchased at your local farmers market!

Tomatoes- These gems are definitely one of my favorite foods! I just adore their 'subtly sweet' taste. A friend of mine always laughs when I refer to them as "natures candy." Okay, they're not as sweet as your typical candy shop treats, but they sure do treat your body well! Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene which helps prevent skin cancer, promote bone health and even reduce asthma. Tomatoes are high in water and fiber content while being low in fat and calories, making them a weight loss power food!
Corn- Nothing screams summer quite like local sweet corn-on-the-cob. Is it just me, or do the 'cobs' make it taste 100 times better than regular old corn in a can? There's something fun about hearing the crunch and feeling the corn between your teeth as you nibble it off the cob like a chipmunk... it just feels organic! Corn is believed to improve vision health because of its high vitamin A content. It's also a high fiber food, promoting healthy digestion and boosting satiety.
Plums- I'm a plum lover-- I cannot lie. Plums are juicy, sweet and oh-so filling! They're low in calories which makes them the perfect snack between meals. Plums may taste sweet, but their high-fiber content means your blood sugars levels will stay relatively stable. They're loaded with potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of stroke. The antioxidants help prevent against cancer and they're great for healthy digestion.
Cucumbers- Nothing is quite as detoxifying as a fresh cucumber. Did you know that a cucumber is 95% water? No wonder they're so hydrating! Cucumbers are loaded with B Vitamins making them a 'good-mood-food'. These vitamins help reduce stress and anxiety. Cucumbers even give you good breath! What's not to love about these superfoods?! 
Romain Lettuce- Lettuce is actually rated one of the healthiest foods in the world. It's naturally low in calories which helps to create lasting weight loss. It's loaded with Vitamin K and A. It's great for heart health, clear skin and weight loss. Believe it or not, a head of lettuce has over 7 grams of protein! That's more than a serving of peanut butter. ...and it's a great source of plants-based calcium, omega 3s and iron! And just think about all the amazing veggies you can add to create your next big masterpiece of a salad! 

So, don't let this summer 'sail on by' before you hit up your local farmers market! Invest in your health and acknowledge all those hardworking farmers in your community. Hello Healthy Eating!

What about you?! What are some of your favorite Farmers Market Finds?

 
 
Can you believe it’s already August?! Didn't summer just get here? Weren't we just complaining about the long snowy winter? Wow! Time flies!

I like to think of the beginning of each new month as a fresh start, a clean slate, a brand new opportunity for growth. August is one of my favorites. There are so many ways to get your daily dose of exercise and there are tons of delicious fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy. You get plenty of vitamin D from all the sunshine and you reap the stress-reducing benefits of spending time outside in nature.

August is MY month… for those of you know don’t know, AUGUST is my last name! So, I’d like to ‘carpe diem’ and make the most of it.

My theme for this month is: Adventurous August.

Do you think that you could possibly use a little more adventure in your life? I bet we all could. The benefits of a more adventurous life are seemingly endless-- from less stress to more energy, boosted self-esteem, creative thinking and increased motivation. Outdoor adventure results in increased physical activity and promotes healthy weight maintenance.

So what’s holding you back?! Make August adventurous! 

Here are a few fun ideas to add some adventure to your summer:
  • Hiking with a group of friends
  • Kayaking on a scenic lake
  • Exploring new parts of your city
  • A guided river walk in your local park
  • Yoga on the beach
  • A long walk with your dog
  • A road trip with your bestie

Adventure doesn't have to be crazy, dangerous, or expensive to be rewarding! So get up and get out! Make the most of this month… Let ‘Adventurous August’ be YOUR month to shine!

How about you? Have you enjoyed any adventures lately?

 
 
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~John Wooden

I guess you could say I’m an optimist. I always try to look on the bright side of things. I suppose that’s why on most “Weight Loss Wednesdays” I try to see weight loss as a wonderful process of transformation, which of course, I believe it is! I focus on the fact that garden fresh salads are nourishing, ripe raspberries and blueberries are more delicious than a bowl of jelly beans, walking 10,000 steps for exercise is energizing and enjoyable! 

And while all these things are true for me NOW, that was NOT the way things used to be.  Weight maintenance has become a 'lifestyle' for me. Eating healthy and enjoying it seems like a 'piece of (gluten free!) cake' for me these days, but that was NOT always the case.

So for today’s Weight Loss Wednesday, I want to “keep it real” and talk about the tough side of weight loss.

The media will tell you that weight loss is easy, that it can be done in a few days, that it’s as simple as eating more of this and less of that. Try this new plan or that easy new program! They tell you that if you cut out grains, nix sugar or simply ‘go vegan’ you’ll drop pounds and you'll never have to worry about your weight again. Sounds nice, right?

I’m here to tell you, that healthy weight loss does NOT happen overnight. It happens 'slowly but surely' in the daily walks and the simple choices of skipping some dessert, ordering a salad with dinner and limiting some of those delicious (but calorie dense) snacks. Losing 35lbs took me a year and a half… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. To quote Mireille Guiliano, author of French Woman Don’t Get Fat (my favorite health/ nutrition book EVER) "There’s no lasting glory in rapid weight loss.”

Going from 'cinnamon buns to salads' does NOT happen over night. You don’t automatically wake up craving fresh fruit and veggies, but over time with baby steps, hard work, commitment, effort and motivation, eventually you’ve created a lifestyle! 

So for today, get up and go for a little walk! Do some yoga in the living room, drink more H2O from your favorite fancy cup, stop by the local farmer's market for a few colorful veggies, and be sure to skip the soda. Make the hard daily choices and don't get discouraged while you wait for results. Remember that the effort will soon be worth it!

To read my Top 3 Tips on transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, checkout http://pattyj.com

What about you? Have you been on a weight loss journey of your own? Care to share some tips?


 
 
"A life without love is like a year without summer." ~Swedish Proverb

Hey there! Just wanted to post a quick list of SUMMERTIME REMINDERS for all my happy healthy friends. We work hard all year to eat right and stay in shape. We're careful to make healthy choices during the summer months, too, but let's be real...vacation season is a time to 'indulge' and 'break some rules'. Right? Wrong! Be sure to take care of yourself and to keep that 'healthy balance mindset' going right through the summer! Here are some tips:

1. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses at the beach. 
2. Drink lots of water (and coconut water!!) to stay hydrated.
3. Eat fresh veggies with both lunch and dinner.
4. Enjoy cool refreshing smoothies for breakfast.
5. Indulge in sweet ripe fruits at their peak of freshness (I literally eat a cantaloupe every.single.day!)
6. Pack healthy snacks for those long road trips when temptation strikes.
7. Get outside and walk, swim, ride bikes, and enjoy the warm weather we've been craving!

How about you...what's your favorite summertime suggestion?

 
 
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." -Genesis 1:1

In our busy hectic lives, it is easy to overlook the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. It's easy to get trapped behind the desk or stuck inside the house. Days can go by without even noticing the color of the clouds at sunset or the scent of the flowers near the mailbox. Did you even see that adorable squirrel scurry up the tree or the way the raindrops pounded onto the deck? Today I want to focus on God's creation and I want to remind myself to appreciate the gift of nature that we've been given.

Did you know that doctors these days are actually giving their patients "nature prescriptions" to help with all kinds of health problems? Apparently, Mum was right when she told you to go outside and play when you were little. She knew that getting outside was a great way to distract you from your problems and help ward off depression. She knew you would 'work up a healthy appetite' and get some fresh air to help fight germs. You would play with friends and learn to get along with people. You'd have more energy during the day and you'd sleep better at night. You would get the vitamin D you need to protect your bones and the amount of exercise you need to fight obesity. You would see the beauty in nature and you'd recognize that you are just one small part of this amazing world we share. Mums are really smart!

So, don't let another day go by without getting outside and appreciating the world around you. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smells. Sit back for a few minutes and let the sun shine down on you. Take a brisk walk in the warm rain. Feel the wind on your face and smell the sweet flowers in the yard. You'll feel better, calmer, more inspired and energized. Remember to appreciate the beauty of creation and BE THANKFUL.

What is a favorite part of nature that YOU are thankful for this week?

 
 
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 
-George Bernard Shaw

When was the last time you enjoyed a really fun playdate? Just the other day I went to the beach with my baby cousin, Grayson! This cutie is 5 months old! We played around together and had a blast! And guess what... playing is good for you! Here are 5 benefits of 'play time' regardless of your age!

  1. Playing keeps you feeling young- Interacting with a child boosts your energy levels, burns calories, and helps you feel your best!
  2. Playing boosts your creativity- It stimulates your imagination and helps you solve problems!
  3. Playing improves brain function- It helps to balance your emotions, ward off sadness, and helps to fight against depression.
  4. Playing relieves stress- Playing results in the release of endorphins that help you feel calm and relaxed. It takes your mind off your problems.
  5. Playing improves relationships- Laughing and having fun helps cultivate social skills. Who doesn't love to spend time with a light-hearted happy friend? 



So go ahead! Volunteer in your church nursery, help a young mom by babysitting her little angels, go visit your younger cousins, nieces and nephews. Take a walk to your local playground this week and meet some new friends!


How about you?! Don't you think it's about time for a playdate?