Ohhh... breakfast!  Ready to get motivated this Monday?  Start your day with a healthy, nourishing breakfast and you'll be on the right path!

You know what they say, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"  Well, I'm here to tell ya, they're right!  I enjoy breakfast, I do... and I know from experience that skipping breakfast is NOT the way to lose/ maintain a healthy weight.  I'm not saying you need to stuff yourself with eggs at 7am... I'm not even saying you need to have eggs for breakfast!  I'm just saying... when you start your day off right, everything feels better!

Here are 3 reasons why you should eat a healthy breakfast:

  1. It Gets Your Metabolism Going- Think about your body as a car.  You wouldn't drive your car without gas, so why would you let your body 'run-on-empty'?  Filling your rumbly tummy with some nourishing grub in the AM is a sure-fire way to boost your metabolism so that you're energized and ready to take on the day!

  2. It Promotes Healthy Eating- This is so true for me.  I remember a commercial I once saw for a healthy granola bar. During the ad they explained how, "One healthy decision leads to the next."  Isn't that so true!  The more I eat 'healthy', the more I WANT to eat healthy!  When I start my day with a bowl of gluten free cereal with fresh milk and fruit, by lunch time I'm ready for a healthy, balanced meal!!


  3. It Prevents Late Night Snacking- This may not make all that much sense... but it sure is true.  When you start your day off with a balanced breakfast, follow through with a healthy lunch and dinner, and allow for some nourishing snacks/ treats, you'll find that your desire to snack on junk food late at night is gone... or at least, greatly reduced!  This is because your body is fueled up from 'day-time' eating.  Your BODY can use and burn those healthy calories throughout the day and your MIND knows that you're doing the right thing!


I don't know about you... but these are reasons enough for me to make time to enjoy a healthy breakfast everyday.  If I'm in too much of a rush to sit down to a real meal, that's okay!  I grab something easy (but healthy) and eat it when I get to class.  My favorite breakfasts are, an apple with filling oatmeal, eggs and fresh fruit, nutritious cereal with milk and fruit, a protein bar or fresh yogurt with local honey and berries!  I make sure to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast everyday so that I can feel my best!

How about you?  Do you eat breakfast?  What is your all time fave way to start the day?!

 
 
"There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God."  (Ecclesiastes 2:24)

Eating healthy at home is one thing... you get to choose simple, wholesome ingredients and prepare all sorts of nutritious meals.  But it can be much more challenging to eat properly at a restaurant.  Sure, they have options that sound healthy... but closer inspection usually proves that those sautéed veggies are swimming in oil, that turkey burger has more fat than a Big Mac, and the 'seemingly-innocent' salad is actually drowning in fatty dressing and covered with greasy croutons and shaved artificial cheese.  The point is: restaurant menus can be misleading!  But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a special meal without fear of weight gain.

While I'm the kinda girl who prefers to stay in, watch a movie with my family and friends, and make my own dinner... I DO enjoy eating at restaurants on occasion.  If you know anything about me, you know I'm NOT a fan of chain restaurants and I always prefer to go to a local cafe or a favorite 'hole in the wall'!  I feel like they have SO much more local flavor and are generally more charming and exciting than most chain restaurants.

I love to go out to lunch with a friend or enjoy dinner out with my parents.  When I'm home on college break, I make sure to go out for breakfast with my friends.  We've been doing it since high school and we love to try out fun cafes!  Along the way, I've learned the importance of eating a balanced diet, regardless of where I am.  Here are my 3 tips to 'eating healthy' at a restaurant:

1. Order 'a la carte'- When you're eating at a resturant it's often tempting to order the pasta with homemade sauce or the fresh cooked lasagna... while that's fine to do on occasion, those foods are often PACKED with unnecessary fat, carbs and calories.  BUT, if you order 'a la carte' you can get just what you want!  My suggestion?  Try 2 plain eggs with a carb for a breakfast... a salad with grilled chicken or salmon for lunch or dinner!

2. Buy the whole meal but eat half the portion- Let's be real, sometimes you go out and the last thing you want is another grilled chicken salad, I get it.  That's why it's totally fine to splurge every once in a while!  I'm ALL about that balanced life!  So go ahead, get the burger and fries or steak and potatoes!  Just remember that restaurant portions are usually WAAAY bigger than an actual 'serving' so instead of packing on all those calories, order a side salad and eat half your entree!  Take the other half home and enjoy it the next day!  That way you get TWO tasty meals!  Half the price... half the calories!  Good for your wallet... good for your health!

3. Eat healthy all day- So you know your going to a fancy dinner with friends or family at night and you're tempted to 'bank' all your calories for dinner, well... DON'T!  Seriously, not eating all day in hopes of 'saving' calories WILL backfire.  You'll end up STARVING by dinnertime, and the thought of 'saving half your entree?'...well it's NOT going to happen.  Trust me, eat a healthy breakfast and a balanced lunch and you'll be ready to enjoy a reasonable dinner.  You'll be a lot less tempted to stuff yourself!

4. 'Portion control' your dessert- My favorite part of any meal is... dessert!  I love dessert!  And 'special occasion' dessert is quite possibly the best thing ever.  My whole family loves dessert and we'd all be willing to eat a lighter dinner in order to 'save room' for dessert!  So do just that when you're out! If you love dessert like me, plan on having some!  Maybe it's a small scoop of gelato (my fave!!) or a sliver of chocolate cake (YUM!)  Whatever your treat,  make sure that it's small and 'portion controlled' and then, savor every bite!

5. Enjoy...and move on!-  So you just went to a lovely dinner... did you enjoy it?  Did you have fun?!  Then don't feel guilty about it!  Be happy with your food choices and simply move on.  If you ate more than you had planned on, don't dwell on it.  Eat a light, balanced breakfast the next day and go right back to your healthy eating routine!

Eating out is supposed to be enjoyable!  With all the 'diet obsession' these days, it's all too easy to feel guilty about enjoying rich food... but don't do that!!  Eat like a 'French woman' and enjoy your dinner out!  Eat slowly but happily, enthusiastically but consciously.  When it's time to go, leave the restaurant feeling  satisfied!  Hello Healthy Eating is ALL about moderation, balance, and happy, healthy food choices!

How about you?!  Do you like to eat out?  How do you eat healthy at a restaurant?

 
 
I've been meaning to do this sort of a post for a while, but I wanted to make sure I was actually following my own advice.  Eating healthy in college is not exactly the easiest thing in the world.  Early classes, late nights, off-campus excursions and lots of naps can make for a 'unique' eating schedule... but that doesn't mean you can't eat properly just because you're at school.  When I first started college I found myself stress eating, skipping meals to do homework, and basically unable to establish and maintain any sort of routine.  Thankfully, I learned a lot since I first started college.

My advice to eat healthy while in college:

1. Get into a routine- This is my absolute biggest tip!  The problem with college (and life in general) is that it can be really hard to get into a regular eating schedule.  For me, I would stay up late and end up snacking.  The next morning I wouldn't be hungry so I'd skip breakfast and then come night time I'd eat a bunch again!  My advice?  Get into a regular routine.  Start with a healthy breakfast EVERY morning, then have a balanced lunch, a nourishing dinner and a satisfying little dessert.  If you're hungry at night opt for something light and healthy, like some crackers and peanut butter to fill your tummy and help you sleep well.

2. Eat breakfast- I know... you're tired.  But trust me, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  Starting the day off right will help you to eat balanced all day long.  Breakfast will help you concentrate in the classroom, focus during the day, and even maintain a healthy weight.  Try to have breakfast every morning... even if it's something simple like a nutrition bar and a piece of fruit in your first period class.  You'll be glad you did!

3. Eat protein with every meal- This is a big tip too.  I'm a firm believe in the importance of balanced meals.  When I was a vegan I used to be 'fine' eating just veggies and fruit... but that never lasted very long for me!  I'd end up pigging out later because my body was so hungry.  Nowadays, I focus on balanced meals.  I make sure that protein is a part of each meal, like milk in my cereal at breakfast, a bit of chicken or tofu at lunch, or a ham, egg and cheese wrap at dinner.  Protein fills me up and keeps me satisfied!

4. Exercise!!-  Seriously, walk everywhere!  I recently bought a Fitbit pedometer and now I walk all the time!!  I walk to clear my head or while I talk on the phone to my friends and family.  I actually find myself "taking the long way" just to get in some extra steps and because I know it is so good for me!  Park your car further away from the entrance.  Find a friend and go exploring.  Do a couple of laps around that pretty little pond you've passed a million times before.  It's amazing how much better you'll feel when you get up and get going!

5. Limit late-night snacking-  I touched on this in the earlier tips, but I need to mention it again!  Stop over-snacking!  This was a huge issue for me freshman year, and too much snacking led to skipping meals.  I got all 'out of whack' and had trouble sleeping because I wasn't eating right.  My advice?  Cut out the extra snacks.  Sure, there will be days when we're tired, or just really craving some extra energy and we'll end up snacking a bit more than we planned, but try not to make that a regular habit. (portion controlled, healthy snacks are, of course, OK!)

How about you?  Do you have any tips to prevent college weight gain?  Any tips in general?!

 
 
Ahhh... the iconic 'French woman'.  She's trim, fit, fashionable, and... eating a croissant?!  Wait... what?!  

In America we think that in order to maintain a slim figure and a healthy life style, we need to restrict our favorite foods and live off lettuce, celery, carrots, and other 'rabbit foods'... Well, I'm NOT about that life!  And if you want to be healthy AND happy, you shouldn't be either.  You see, these French woman, they're on to something!

After reading the book, "French Woman Don't Get Fat" (more than once I might add), I figured I HAD to do a post about what we can learn from the French diet. The French have mastered the art of balancing nutrition and their favorite treats with an over-all, holistic approach to food.  One saying I absolutely HATE is, "A minute on the lips, forever on the hips."  While it's true in regards to major over-eating, it should never be applied to small indulgences.  That's because if I eat a few squares of high quality, dark chocolate (and thoroughly enjoy them), then I'm much more satisfied than if I had skipped the chocolate.  It is this 'satisfaction' that prevents over-indulging.

So here are just a few lessons I've learned from the French!

1. Focus on balanced meals.  When I used to eat in an unhealthy way, I often found myself snacking (which often lead to OVER-snacking) because I never really felt satisfied.  But these days I focus on filling up on healthy- balanced meals, which naturally leads to less snacking.  Sure, I may grab a snack if I'm hungry... but now it's something Mireille Guiliano (author of 'French Woman Don't Get Fat') refers to as an 'en cas' -basically just a little something to keep me going, like gluten-free crackers or fruit... for me I have a bit of a "system" that seems to be working.  I aim to eat balanced meals and listen to my body if it needs a snack.  I aim to fill approximately half my plate with a garden salad, a fourth of my plate with a healthy source of protein (like chicken) and the other fourth with a source of carbohydrates (like a sweet potato).  And don't forget a piece of fruit on the side (like an apple).  This usually fills one plate and I very rarely take seconds.
2. Eat fresh, local, quality foods. We may not be able to shop at a local french market every morning... but that doesn't mean we can't eat fresh!  I make sure to eat a fresh garden salad with eat lunch and dinner.  I always eat a piece of fresh fruit at every meal and try to make sure that my food is good quality!  If it's nutrient packed AND delicious, then you'll find that you need less to be satisfied!
3. Eat slowly and at the table. This is a huge tip!  It's all too easy to waste tons of calories on snack-y foods while watching TV, browsing the computer or even doing school work.  But if you prioritize food and make sure to eat 3 balanced meals every day, you'll end up eating way less and feeling way more satisfied!  Make yourself a healthy plate, take a good 30 minutes to eat your food and enjoy some company while sitting at a table. I guarantee you'll feel better than if you scarfed down the same about of calories in the form of chips or cookies.
4. Watch your portions. Just because you're sitting at the table longer doesn't mean your meals have to be loaded with unnecessary fat and calories... Try filling up one healthy, 'balanced plate' and enjoying that slowly.  Often times when you go to a restaurant you end up eating WAY more than a portion... but if you follow my 'system' and fill half of your plate with fresh veggies you won't have much room for the typical 'trouble' foods (like pasta) because they'll only take up a fourth of your plate!  This allows you to eat anything (in moderation)... which I'm ALL about!  You'll soon find that you're so satisfied with your 'balanced plate' that you don't even want seconds!
5. Treat yourself! This is my favorite part of "eating like a french woman".  I always remember to 'treat myself!'  I'll grab a piece (or two) of dark chocolate (or another special little treat) after lunch and/or dinner.  Since my meals are so balanced and I'm 'listening to my body', I don't feel guilty enjoying my treats!  I love to "have my cake and eat it too!"

Bon Appetite!

 
 
One of my favorite hobbies is journaling.  I've kept a 'diary' ever since I was in the 6th grade.  It's a great way to reflect on the day, jot down ideas, record memories, set goals, and 'dream' dreams.  But even more than I like to WRITE in my journal, I LOVE to go back and READ the old entries from various stages in my life.

A few years ago when I was losing weight, I decided to keep a food journal.  My intention was to use it as a way to meticulously count calories and to make sure that I was losing weight... but when I got 'healthy' I began to use a food journal in a whole new way.  It became more consistent, less obsessive and a whole lot more enjoyable!

I still keep a food journal and I write down what I eat almost every day.  It's not like I HAVE to, but I want to.  Keeping a food journal keeps me consistent and accountable for what I'm eating.  And I love scrapbooking- fancy stickers, colorful gel pens, and pretty little journals.  Here are just 5 benefits of keeping a food log:

1. Accountability-  Let's be real, sometimes we try to lose a few pounds and we think we're doing a good job... until we hop on the scale a month later and discover that we've lost nothing... or even gained a pound or two!  While that can be super frustrating, it's important to ask ourselves "why?"  We like to blame our 'genes' or 'metabolism' or 'hormones' or 'thyroid' or 'bloating'.  And while all these factors impact the numbers we see on the scale, a food journal can prove that excess calories are very often the true cause of weight gain.

2. Awareness-  I'm ALL about portion control!  While I appreciate healthy foods for the nutrients they provide, 'balance' is far more important in my mind.  You can eat a totally plants-based vegan diet and still be far from healthy.  When I was restricting food groups, I'd end up 'pigging out' on the foods I could eat.  IT IS possible to eat too many fruits and veggies.  Keeping a food journal and tracking your portion sizes helps to keep you aware of WHAT and HOW MUCH you're eating.

3. Avoiding Mindless Eating
-  Another benefit of keeping a food journal is that it can actually prevent you from overeating (or at least make you think twice about going for that extra piece of chocolate cake or handful of chips.) I remember trying to help one of my friends who wanted to lose weight.  I would regularly ask her what she had eaten that day.  She'd start by mentioning a few things... and then a few more... and then I would remind her of the snack we just had finished!  She would always 'forget' what she'd eaten that day!  That's a guaranteed way to gain weight!  Believe me, if you commit to writing down every little thing you put in your mouth, you'll probably 'opt out' of a few extra snacks!  (Less snacks = less calories!)

4. Evidence
-  About a year and a half ago I was sick.  I was fatigued, always cold, I had a rash all around my ears and I just wasn't 'myself'.  My mom dragged me to several different doctors.  I  had plenty of viles of blood taken, but no one could tell me what was wrong.  While doctors suggested medicine that could possibly help solve my problems, I decided to do some of my own research.  I took a look at my diet... Long story short, I discovered that my problems stemmed from a gluten intolerance.  With the help of a food diary, I was able to solve major health issues... pill free!

5. Motivation-  Okay, let's be real, sometimes we just don't 'feel' like eating right.  We forget the successes we've experienced and we go back to our old habits.  I find that the best way to GET motivated is to STAY motivated.  Keeping a food journal helps you look back and see what you've eaten and how good it made you feel!  You're more likely to 'eat well' if you 'feel well' and if you can see that the way you ate really DID make a difference!  And when you look back on a week's worth of healthy eating, you will see that ..."eating healthy (really does) make you happy!"


So what are you waiting for?!  Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or simply eat better... keeping a food journal is a great way to help you reach your health and nutrition goals!  So in honor of 'Start Fresh September' pick up a cute little journal and get started!
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I love to decorate the first few pages of my food journals with bright and colorful cut-outs from healthy magazines! These are just a couple of pages from one of my journals to keep me motivated!
 
 
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

I LOVE new beginnings!  There's just something about a fresh start that gets me excited!  Growing up, I specifically remember my dad telling me how gracious God is to let each day be a new start!  HE has arranged our lives so that everyday we have a chance to get up and do something we didn't think we could do the day before.  We can 'move on' and make a change.  Just like everyday is a 'fresh start', so is every month!

September represents a lot of things for me.  It represents new beginnings and new routines.  Growing up, September meant early mornings, noisy bus rides, cute 'back to school' outfits and a new backpack filled with colorful new school supplies.  The new month meant happy reunions with old friends and opportunities to make new ones.  It meant new teachers and new expectations, healthy homemade lunches and smart afternoon snacks.  September means following a new schedule set out specifically for the year in front of me.

Wouldn't it be great for all of us to think of September as an amazing opportunity for growth and development of healthy habits?  You may not be taking the school bus and packing your lunch for high school anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't plan ahead and 'brown bag it' for work or look forward to a totally nourishing snack and a brisk walk 'after school'.

I know for me, last year was NOT my healthiest.  I went to college thinking that gluten, dairy and sugar were 'poison'.  I had an unhealthy, unstable relationship with food that left me feeling sad and anxious.  Now, my eating philosophy is far more balanced and nutritious.  I focus on eating healthy balanced meals that fill me up and keep me satisfied.  I always allow myself to have little treats (like dark chocolate!!) and I no longer restrict my fave foods.  I feel so much better!

This September, remember that it's a 'New Beginning', a 'Fresh Start'!!  Learn to find balance and harmony in your diet.  Eat in a way that nourishes your mind, body, soul and spirit.  We are holistic beings and that's why our approach to eating should be intuitive and holistic as well!

So whether you're a self proclaimed 'health guru' (like myself!) or simply someone seeking a more nourishing and balanced life, make this your 'Start Fresh September!'  Focus on realistic goals that are achievable and maintainable!  Maybe it's learning to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, skipping that muffin in the morning, drinking H20 instead of sugary soda, or simply walking more... whatever your goal, NOW is your time to set it and achieve it!  START FRESH!

How about you?!  Do you have any goals this September?  Don't you just LOVE a good 'fresh start'?!

 
 
When I think of a 'superfood' (a food that loves you back) I instantly think of fresh fruits and veggies.  While it's true that these 'garden goodies' are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, if you are anything like me, you'll be happy to know that dark chocolate is a superfood!  Yep, that's right!  The "food of the gods" as it used to be called, is actually packed with nutrients and sweet, satisfying plant-based fat.

I always think of ripe red cherry tomatoes and sweet Maine blueberries as "Nature's candy"...but so is dark chocolate!  Dark chocolate is actually packed with heart-healthy antioxidants!  Dark chocolate helps to promote healthy blood flow and lower blood pressure.  Dark chocolate actually helps to curb sugar cravings.  It even slows digestion to help you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.  It naturally helps you eat less.  Whoa!  Who would've thought?!!  Chocolate can easily be part of ANY balanced diet!  (Yay!)

It takes 400 cocoa beans to make just one pound of chocolate!!  The thing about HEALTHY chocolate is that it HAS to be dark.  Sure, everyone loves 'chocolate', but the majority of what is sold in supermarkets today is actually mostly just sugar and cream!  When looking for a chocolate bar, be sure to look for at least 70% cocoa content!

Recently, I wandered into our local Lindt Chocolate Store.  It always smells so awesome in there and it's nice and cool on a really hot day.  The woman was kind enough to let me try all of the higher cocoa content bars!  I tasted 85%, 90% and 99%!  I have to say that I prefer 85-90% cocoa... It's actually so satisfying without being TOO bitter!  Yum!


Maybe chocolate really IS a girl's best friend!  How about you?!  What's YOUR favorite kind of chocolate?!

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Why can't you have both?! Hello moderation!
 
 
Ahhh summer!  Who doesn't love summer?  Sadly... it's almost over!  Here is an example of what I ate one day, a lovely day, a lovely day at the end of the summer.  I love savoring seasonal summer flavors... and as excited as I am to welcome spaghetti squash, cranberries, and pumpkin back into my diet, it's sad to say goodbye to fresh watermelon, sweet corn, and ripe red strawberries!  I hope you've enjoyed these treats as much as I have. Here's my 'menu' for the day!
I LOVE savory breakfasts... I'm not a fan of sweets for 'brekkie' and you'll rarely find me eating a plain bowl of cereal.  Instead, I prefer fresh fruit for my AM 'sweet'.  This morning I had a bit of fresh watermelon to quench my thirst, alongside a piece of a leftover gluten free crepe that I got the day before at a local cafe with some friends!  I added a fresh scrambled egg, a bit more spinach, tomatoes and a sprinkle of feta cheese!  I ate this with some fresh carrots/baby tomatoes and hummus! YUM!
I made lunch for my dad and I around 1:30pm and opted for a fresh garden salad with lemon juice and a drizzle of balsamic reduction!  I also boiled up some sweet corn from the local farmers market with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.  I ate a small baked potato with some light chicken salad (just canned chicken mixed with Greek yogurt... simple, healthy and delicious!)  I also enjoyed a fresh apple!
After lunch, I indulged in two squares of 85% dark chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth while I watched some reruns of Downton Abbey with my dad!  It's dark, decadent, delicious, and I love it SO much! YUM!  Later in the afternoon I snacked on an apple to keep me going 'til dinner... which I ate with my cousin and my grandparents in their lovely garden!  So pretty!
For dinner, I had a small piece of rotisserie chicken, a side of ripe green peas, and a small side of basmati rice.  I also had a little scoop of cranberry sauce... but I added that to my plate after I took the picture... Oops!
For dessert, we had fresh watermelon and pineapple with a bit of whipped cream!  So yummy!  I actually went back for a second helping of fruit because it was just so fresh and sweet! Gotta love fruit in the summer time!!  #naturescandy !!

How about you?!  What have you been eating as the summer comes to a close?  What's your favorite summer fruit?!
 
 



Eating healthy is important!  Eating healthy is inspiring!  Eating healthy is so good for you!  But sometimes eating healthy can be... hard!  It's actually pretty easy to find an excuse to NOT treat our bodies the way they want to be treated.  So that's why I'm instituting a new segment on my blog, inspired by http://rabbitfoodformybunnyteeth.com/banana-roll-ups/

My new segment is called "Monday's Motivation" because, let's be real... sometimes Mondays STINK!  Sometimes we just don't have the motivation to prioritize our 'health' on top of our already hectic life.  The weekend is over, it's back to work, Friday is 5 whole days away.  Sometimes we need a little motivation to keep healthy, happy, and fit!

My first tip for this Monday is:

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH OTHERS WHO HOLD A HEALTHY MINDSET!


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds me that, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"

One of my favorite ways to 'stay on track' is with the help and support of others!  Whether it's having dinner at school with a like-minded 'health-nut' or simply eating at home with my gluten free sister-in-law (Allie), I love the companionship and encouragement.  My parents are also very supportive of a healthy lifestyle and are always sure to buy my favorite foods when I come home on breaks (LOTS of fresh fruit, dark leafy greens, healthy hummus, awesome avocado, and even pricey salmon!)

We recently went on a family vacation to Montreal and I was able to enjoy lots of healthy gluten free treats with Allie!  From homemade GF muffins to tasty smoothies, it's amazing how many options are out there... and with someone else who has the same dietary needs as I do, it made choices much easier!  And even if you don't have anyone around you who is really concerned with healthy foods, there are so many online communities that promote healthy living!  Like 'Spark People' and 'My Fitness Pal'.  Check 'em out"!

Let's be real, it's hard to resist tempting treats when everyone else around you is enjoying them.  Warm chewy chocolate chip cookies look, smell, and taste amazing!  And the smile on the face of the person who is about to enjoy them makes the whole experience even more tempting!  But if you hang out with people who love to nourish their bodies and eat well, it'll be easier to choose a healthier option!

So today for 'Monday's Motivation' I recommend you make friends with someone who cares about 'health' as much as you care about you do!  Whether it's a workout buddy, a smart shopper, or a cooking partner.... connect with someone passionate about health and you'll be BOTH be inspired!

How about you?  Do your friends keep you on track?  Do you keep them on track?
 
 
Smoothies!!!  What a wonderful summertime treat.  As you guys know, I'm a HUGE green smoothie fan!  They are just so nourishing, refreshing and oh-so delicious!!  I love 'em!  I recently whipped up a delicious 4 ingredient smoothie that will blow your mind!  (I exaggerate... but trust me, it's one of my new fave recipes!)  So simple!

Just toss in a handful of frozen mango, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, a bunch of fresh spinach and a splash of purified water.

Blend and...Bam!  You have a fresh 'meal-in-a-mug'.

A big bag of frozen mango is something you can keep on hand in your freezer, so it's an easy addition to any meal.  Mango has vitamin C which protects against free radical damage and reduces cancer risk.  It has vitamin A and E which are both good for your skin.  And A is great for your eyes, too.  Mango has folic acid which is an essential B vitamin with many health benefits.  It's a 'sweet' deal all around!

The Greek yogurt provides your body with lasting protein to keep you going 'til lunch time!  It contains probiotics which help promote a healthy gut.  It also provides you with important nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium which helps build strong, healthy bones.  And it is lower in lactose than other dairy foods (only 4 grams of lactose in a 6-ounce serving), so it's a great option for almost everyone!

And do I have to go over all the amazing qualities of spinach again??  Here are just a few of the benefits of this lovely leafy veggie... it promotes bone health, improves skin and hair, and provides protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. It is known to help manage diabetes, lower blood pressure, promote regularity, and may even help prevent asthma and cancer!!  Spinach is believed to provide more nutrients per calorie than any other food on earth!  

So, what are you waiting for?   Enjoy the last few days of summer... and what better way to enjoy them than with a fresh green smoothie?!!