30 Day Challenge – Health, Wellness and Me time

It’s time for a new series here on The Ahimsa Life!

Welcome to my new 30 day challenge series!

It has been a crazy year for me. After a year of relocating and realigning, I have been wanting to shake things up a bit and focus on living a healthier and happier life this year.

#goals

The inspiration I needed was found on my own bookshelf. While I was looking for something to read I was surprised at how many 30 days to a new life, 21 one day yoga challenge, and other types challenge books I had on my shelf. Had I EVER completed one? Sad to say the answer is no.

#procrastination

Ok, enough with the hashtags.

Today that all ends!

For the next 30 days I am committing to –

  • Meditate every morning before starting my day
  • Actually hitting my water goal every day, no matter what!
  • Work out 6 days per week
  • And once a week make time for some self care and ME time.

Today is day one. Knowing I was going to start this challenge I did a little prepping to make it easier to actually complete it this time.

Meditation

I downloaded The Calm App, and checked out the free meditations on my Audible App and Youtube. My favorite local yoga studio has a few meditation classes I have been to as well. While I am not a newbie to meditation, it is something that I have never successfully incorporated into my daily life. I want this 30 day challenge to change that.

Water

I have a few 1 liter water bottles which I am keeping filled and in the refrigerator all times. I am also making it a point to always have a bottle with me, and if someone offers water when I am out and about I am always going to say yes. You can’t have too much right? I read somewhere that keeping a water bottle with you at all times sometimes actually does not work. You end up taking small little sips and never really get the entire amount required down. Instead, every time you pick up your bottle take 3 big gulps. Just the act of thinking about the amount you are drinking each time helps increase your water intake.

Work Out

Gym membership – check, yoga studio membership check. I even found a few workouts on Pinterest and youtube for days when I can’t make it to the gym or the studio. Also helping me at home is my Peloton bike, home elliptical and my two Jack Russel terriers who are always ready for a hike.

Me Time and Self Care

I didn’t have to prep much, I literally have everything I need at home already to create a spa like atmosphere to chill out in. I have relaxing spaces inside and outside to read a good book with a hot cup of tea and all that. Bubble baths, bath fizzies, and sheet masks galore. What I had to focus on was actually scheduling in the time. I took out my planner and once a week set aside a small chunk of time for me to do whatever I want. For me sometimes it wasn’t the same day of the week, some times it was morning and sometimes it was the afternoon, but I blocked out the time and I am already looking forward to it.

So there you have it. I will be checking in on the blog and social media sites with my updates.

How about you have you ever completed a 30 day challenge?

What is Intermittent Fasting? And how you can try it

 

As a Health Coach we study a LOT of diets. Intermittent fasting has gotten a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason. Intermittent fasting for weight loss has proven to be helpful for a majority of people who try it, while also improving other health factors.

Here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting and how you can give it a try, without starving.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

When most people hear the word fasting, they think of starvation. The whole idea between intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t feel like a starvation diet, but more of a shift in the times or patterns of your eating. Essentially, intermittent fasting just changes when you eat, not how much or what.

When you eat food, your body spends hours digesting and absorbing the nutrients to power your body. It makes it hard for your body to burn fat during this time because your insulin levels are so high and it will use insulin for power instead of burning fat. Twelve hours after your last meal, your body will enter into a fasting state–the state where you can burn fat easier.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

When you do intermittent fasting, you don’t have to count calories or watch what you eat, you just need to eat only within your allotted time frame. This takes the burden out of dieting. It is not so much a diet as a lifestyle.

When you restrict the time that you can eat, this also naturally leads to eating fewer calories. You simply can’t eat as much as you normally could if you spread your meals out over the whole day and evening. This can help accelerate weight loss and can maybe even help extend your life. There have been numerous studies done on people who restrict their calories and how your body adapts to extend your life. The benefit of intermittent fasting is you don’t have to starve to get these benefits.

While the jury is still out, there has also been some research done regarding intermittent fasting and reducing cancer risk and cardiovascular disease. While more research obviously needs to be done, the idea is still promising.

How to Try Intermittent Fasting Yourself

While you can choose between daily, weekly and alternative day intermittent fasting, daily is the most widely used, and I think the easiest. With daily intermittent fasting, you allot yourself an 8 hour window to eat and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. The recommended eating window is 8:00am-2:00pm, however this is hard for many people to stick to. Socially, most people want to eat dinner with their friends and family and don’t want to be left sitting at the table with a glass of lemon water. If you work, lunches out are also a big part of your work week that you will also not want to skip. For that reason, it is much easier to move your first meal later in the day. A window of 10:00/10:30am-6:00/6:30pm is a much more sustainable option that won’t require much sacrifice.

In the end you’ll want to experiment with what times work the best for you. For some people a longer eating time makes things easier and they end up feeling better. For others, a much shorter time span is best. Try out different time frames and meals to make it work for you.

You can find a lot of resources online and numerous books on the subject to give your even more detail and insights, but in the end it really is just as easy as it sounds.

Let me know if you’ve tried it and how it worked out.

 

How to maintain a Vegan Diet while traveling

 

How to maintain a Vegan diet while traveling

If you’re traveling on a plane, in a car or even  just down the block it does not always seem like it will be easy to maintain a Vegan diet. I traveled extensivly for work, from one coast to the other, and some times it can be a challenge. But I am here to tell you Eating healthy food while traveling from location to location can be easy peasy with a little planning. Whether you are a road warrior as I was or just taking a family trip, it can be done! Here some of my tips to maintain a Vegan diet while on the road.

1. Eat the Sides

The side dishes are often the most flavorful and best part of the menu, and that’s where you will find the complex carbs and vegetables will power you through your day. Vegetables, sweet potatoes and beans are often available separately, but together they make a powerful, healthy meal. During the time I spent out n the road for work I had to attend numerous team meetings at Steakhouses, some where I wouldn’t normally choose to go. But now I love putting together a great meal from the sides at a steakhouse. Seriously, Some of my healthiest dinners have been at a steakhouse, believe it or not, they normally put the most thought into the sides and have some of the freshest vegetables. It was pretty normal for me to hear “what are you having over there, or can I have some of that? from my Carnivorous co workers.

2. Start with a healthy choice.

It’s easier to find something healthy at an Asian restaurant or a Middle Eastern Restaurant than a dedicated burger stand or a hoagie shop. Set yourself up for success by choosing a diner that has at least a few good options on the menu, so you aren’t required to make your waitress write a short story in order to take your order. Indian Restaurants are my favorite on the road, you can easily find a few with buffets in every city, and the options are endless.

3. Make the Best Choice.

Choose wine and peanuts on the plane instead of a diet Coke and cookies. Grab a veggie burger at Burger King or veggie sub from Subway, if these are your only options work with what you have. My best suggestion is find a Whole foods. You can get tons of ready made meals, fruits vegetables  and snacks that you can eat in the dining area or take with you on the go.

Eating Out

Choose the right foods at these restaurants:

Asian: Miso soup: soy reduces risk of certain cancers and is linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Choose brown rice and vegetables in a spicy brown sauce will not only fill you up, but is a low-inflammatory food.

Italian: Whole grain pasta and marinara sauce with a generous side salad topped with a little olive oil-based Italian dressing. I mean even your meat eating friends would love this meal.

Steakhouse: Top a baked potato with mushrooms and veggies and enjoy a side of asparagus or carrots. Usually the wine lists are amazing at steak houses, so don’t miss your chance to indulge!

Breakfast: Eat oatmeal with non-dairy milk or water, dried fruit (excellent for bone health) and nuts (protect against heart disease and some cancers). Just a little brown sugar on top makes it perfectly delicious. Choose whole grain bread with peanut butter and jam if the oatmeal isn’t available.

Coffee House: Endless varieties of teas and coffee with non-dairy milk are available. Many coffee houses have oatmeal too.

Gas Stations: Choose nuts and fruit.

 

Cheat the System: Bring a favorite shake to enjoy when you’re on the go, so that food choices don’t take up too much of your time. Traveling with a blender or bullet makes fruit smoothies easy to prepare anywhere there’s a grocery store and a electrical outlet.

What Tea to drink for any ailment

It’s no secret I love a good cup of tea. I love buying little tea cups and cuddling up with a good book. My tea cabinet is overflowing with tons of little delicious bags and loose tea. But more recently I have been using tea for more then just a little relaxing.

Peppermint Tea is one of my favorite teas to drink, not only is it delicious, but it really helps the bloating and uneasy feeling I get in my stomach so often from IBD. Peppermint tea also promotes healthy digestion.

On that note, Ginger Teas are excellent when you are feeling nauseous, or any tummy upset. Also great for motion sickness!

Feeling that yearly cold coming on? Sip Elder Flower Tea. It can reduce nasal congestion especially when taken before bed. It can cut the duration of a cold when taken at first symptoms. Drink hot, 3-4 times a day.

Trying to get healthy or loose weight? Green Tea with help rev up that metabolism and is loaded with antioxidants! Green Tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet, it has even been proven to boost brain function.

Camomile Tea is another winner – sip before bed to fight off those sleepless nights. Other benefits include reducing muscle spasms, period pain, and stress reduction. Camomile tea also gives you a powerful boost with its anti aging properties.

Do you have any favorite Teas?

 

Why you need a Hot Water Bottle

Once you start using a hot water bottle you won’t believe how you ever got along with out it!

A hot water bottle is one of the most useful, all purpose health care products you will ever use. It is designed to apply comfortable soothing heat therapy easily and conveniently to any part of the body.

Fill with hot water from the sink, a hot water bottle will stay warm for about 2 hours.

Uses –

  • Relax muscles
  • Or use for the entire body
  • Gives comfort
  • Delivers a deep state of relaxation
  •  Try using it on
  • Feet for warmth
  • Back for any kind of strain
  • Lower abdomen for cramps
  • Abdomen for any kind of digestion and relaxation

Note- I have gone through Diverticulitis and now an IBD with my Hot water bottle, it has gotten me through many flares.

 

Additional uses –

  •  Combats illnesses by being a warm and soothing companion through the flu, colds, chills, and aches.
  • Eases menstrual cramps
  • As a bed warmer on cold winter nights
  • To ease arthritic pain, moist heat is amazing for those aches and pains, especially for hands
  • To calm children, the warm cuddly hot water bottle gives them a secure feeling
  • As a traveling companion – take it with you on trips and hotel rooms will feel like home
  • To calm your pet – place under a blanket for a new puppy, it helps them feel warm and secure in new surroundings

Note – not intended for use on full grown Jack Russel Terriers, they love it and you will be getting your self a new Hot Water bottle 🙂

  • To encourage restful sleep – after a high stress day lie down with a hot water bottle on your stomach, close your eyes and breath deeply. Feel the bottle rise and fall. Its like a mediation and very relaxing!

Water – how much should you be drinking?

Your body is made up of between 60-75% water. It’s no surprise that how much water you drink effects your health. Too little water could cause dehydration, headaches and fatigue.

But how much should you drink?

On average Men should drink about 3 liters (13 cups) and Woman should drink 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day.

Lifestyle and other factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the hydration in fruits and vegetables will increase your intake, while a regular jog outside in the heat will decrease your hydration making you need to increase your water intake.

When should you increase your water?

  • Hot humid temperatures
  • High altitude – specifically when flying
  • High exercise levels
  • When your sick especially when you are running a fever have diarrhea and are vomiting
  • infections of the urinary tract or bladder
  • When you are pregnant or are breast feeding
  • and when you are drinking alcohol

 

What is the best type of water?

There are so many water options! Right now in my very own kitchen I can get water through multiple sources. Let me go over a few

Tap water – the most available source, but not always the best choice. While some cities have great water purification systems other do  not. Research your cities Consumer Confidence Report to see if you need an at home filtration system.

Water Filters – can help remove contaminants from regular tap water. Easily available to purchase at most stores. Its important that you have looked into what is in your tap water so you can choose the best filter to remove it.

Distillation – Basically boiling water to remove impurities. Cheap and easy.

Bottled water – again widely available, however there are concerns about chemicals from the plastic bottles leaching into the water its holding as well as the effects of the increasing amount of plastic on the environment

Water Ionizers – raise the PH of water, if you are drinking this water make sure you are testing your PH for best results.

 

10 Things I do first thing in the morning

If you are familiar with The Ahimsa Life you know I am all about keeping Healthy, keeping productive and keeping things fun!

What you may not know is none of this comes natural to me. I can sit with my coffee way too long in the morning, spend much to much time playing with my dogs, scrolling through Instagram or reading. Over the years I have developed routines that work to keep me on track and on top of every thing, which is very important if your goal like me, is to be a work at home entrepreneur. Today I thought I would bring you in to my morning routine.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

1.Start with a purpose Before I even get out of bed I try and Set and intention and or goal for the day. I find that just taking a few minutes to cuddle in with my puppies and think about what I want the day to look like helps me get going first thing.

2. Yoga and Meditation It’s no secret that I am a true believer in the magic yoga and meditation can bring to you life. My daily practice has completely changed my life. I have more clarity, I am a nicer person and my body is finally getting to a place where I might not be too embarrassed to put back on a bikini this summer. Yoga is everything.

3. Drink WATER. On my list of first things first in the morning, water is a must.  Water should be the first thing you drink in the morning, then you can drink your much-needed cup of coffee. Water first thing in the morning helps wake your digestive system up and get everything going softly, not in the kick the door open way coffee does. I usually get up and turn the kettle on while I let my little pooches outside. I make a cup of warm lemon water and join them outside. It is one of the my favorite times of the day. Sipping on my warm lemon water watching my puppies run around is the best way to get centered and start my day in a happy way.

1. Start one load of laundry. But have a plan to get it into the dryer, set a timer in your kitchen or make a routine of changing it after your shower, whatever you need to do. Just get it done.

3. Empty the dishwasher. It’s like a clean slate. I start my dishwasher and take out my garbage every night before I go to bed. Every night. When I first started working for myself I was surprised how much of my day I spent doing cleaning around the house. Now I make sure I do these things on schedule to free up more time during the day to create. By emptying the dish washer first thing in the morning you will be able to put anything you dirty all day directly in, bypassing the sink and keeping your home tidy and you on track. For me it’s easy to get distracted by a messy house. Keeping it neat helps me stay in my office working.

4. Take a peak at your planner for the week. knowing what you have going on all week makes it easier to stay on track. I use my planner religiously. Love writing things down and crossing them off my list. Some times by looking over my planner I am able to squeeze a few things that were planned later in the week and group them together, my goal is always to have a free Friday, it does not always work, but if I can I try and get everything done M-Th, leaving my Friday for spending time with my family, a much needed writing day, or getting some of the projects done that I have not been able to knock off my list.

5. Know what you are having for dinner. Meal planning is very important to me. If you follow this blog you know I have an IBD, and food really is the best medicine. Planning ahead is also important to stick to your budget and maintaining a lower stress level at home. When you know what you’re having for dinner in the morning, you can prep the ingredients early in the day and won’t be standing in front of the pantry and fridge while your family is begging for food.

6.Get dressed. This sounds silly, I know.  But remember I work from home, it would be pretty easy to write all day in my pajamas. It’s amazing the difference in what I get done when I am dressed and ready to tackle the day as opposed to the days when the opposite is true. If I am going to the gym or the yoga studio I get dressed for that. Just being dressed and ready for the day makes me feel so much  more motivated.

7. Brain dump. I had never heard of a brain dump before a few years ago. One of my friends gave me a planner that had these cute little areas specifically for brain dumps and they have changed my life. Here is how you do it. Take out a piece of paper (or find a space in your planner or that adorable notebook you have been dying to use) and write a list, write everything that you know you need to get done, future events, things that you want to do, every thought that comes to mind, write it down. You don’t have to write it in any kind of order, just write down everything. It’s amazing how much brain capacity we take up just trying to remember everything. Once it’s written down, you can visualize what needs to happen and make your to-do list.

8. After your brain dump, write your to-do list for the day. After you write it down, prioritize those items. What absolutely has to happen? What could be done tomorrow if things happen and toss you off course? I take those items and distribute them on different days in my planner. In my planner I also have an ongoing list of things I can tackle in any free time that I have been able to make happen that week.

And that’s it! What are the things you do first thing in the morning to start your day off right?

Juice of the Week – Green Energy Drink

 

Everyone needs a boost of energy sometimes, and this little nutrition packed baby will give you all the boost you need to handle any thing life throws your way.

Spinach and Honeydew are full of vitamin C which helps you absorb all the good iron from the Spinach. This juice is easy to make and tastes amazing, I guarantee it will become one of your favorites you make time and time again.

 

Green Energy Drink

4 cups Spinach

2 Kiwis

2 cups Honeydew cubed

1 cup green grapes

 

Blend or run through your juicer, that’s it! SO easy!!

 

Juice of the Week – Ginger tummy tamer

This recipe is easy to whip up on those days when you are not feeling your best.

Pineapple is loaded with amazing enzymes that help with inflammation, they also help boost digestion.

Vitamins A, C, E and K as some of the nutrients found in papaya. The fruit is also a rich source of folate, potassium, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and dietary fiber.

Ginger- we are all familiar with mom bringing us a ginger ale when we were sick, but whole Ginger is much better for you. Ginger reduces inflammation in a similar way to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It also can help with motion sickness and morning sickness.

Over the years of battling my IBD I have tried many things. Here is my favorite safe nutritious way to clam any upset stomach.

Ginger Tummy Tamer

3 cups pineapple cut into cubes

2 cups Papaya cut into cubes

2 inch piece of Ginger

 

Make sure you wash all your ingredients prior to prepping them for this recipe. Toss them in your blender till smooth and enjoy!

Tip – I like to freeze a baggie full of the ingredients so its easy to pull out and blend when I need it, you can thaw it out as much or as little as you like, blending frozen make a great slushy texture.

 

Juice of the week! Beets for Energy!

I love Beets and am always looking for another way to get them in my diet, juice is a great way.

Beets have a wide range of health benefits. They are loaded with dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus! They are very low in calories and have no cholesterol. The nitrates in beets can help improve athletic performance.

 

 

Beet fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). The fiber in beets also works to strip excess LDL cholesterol from the walls and help to eliminate it from the body quickly.

Now that you have read all about how great beets are for you here is an easy way to add them to your diet, my Juice of the week, Beets for Energy!

Ingredients –

1 beet

3 leaves Swiss Chard

1  seeded red chili

2 plum tomatoes

 

Wash all produce thoroughly. Add to your juicer and enjoy!