My 33 Truths About Wellness (And a Special Receipe Treat with Truth #33)

August is a month of celebration in my family. In fact, in a three week span we have six birthdays (including mine). You know what that calls for? Celebration!

I’m a big fan of celebration. Many of us should celebrate more. The small wins, the big wins, and the wins in between.

As part of my celebration, I want to share two precious gifts with you.

The first is a collection of the 33 truths I’ve learned about wellness. Included are my key wellness practices and philosophies.

The second is a special celebration recipe (that is associated with truth #33). I’ll give you a hint . . . perfect and chocolate are both included.

So without further ado, I present:

My 33 Truths About Wellness (And a Special Recipe Treat with Truth #33)

Nourishment

  1. The “calories in/calories out” theory isn’t scientifically sound. This is a common misconception I myth bust with patients. In actuality, our body composition is a result of a much more complicated equilibrium. Our bodies have hormonal responses to what we eat and when we eat it. The facile adage calories in = calories out mindset is not accurate.
  2. There is no one eating slip up that is too bad to overcome. We all make subpar wellness choices at times. The good news is, you can overcome the slip. And you can get started at your very next meal.
  3. Food impacts mood. More and more research supports this truth. When you eat foods that are energizing and nurturing, you feel energized and nurtured. When you eat junk, you feel . . . like junk.
  4. Truly and wholly enjoy what you eat. Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so don’t deny yourself.
  5. Food that supports your wellness can taste amazing. You may need to experiment and test some of your preconceived notions to find things you love. Especially if you are someone that thinks they don’t like vegetables (as an entire food group).
  6. Simple foods are often the best. While a fancy schmancy meal with lots of spices and ingredients can be a fun treat, foods that are easily digested often make you feel the best. When you start with excellent ingredients, you can keep the rest simple and it will still taste delicious.
  7. Cooking can be fun AND easy. And isn’t intimidating. You can be the master of your kitchen and create amazing cuisine. And it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Nor do you need lots of kitchen equipment. Just a few staples will do.
  8. If done correctly, your diet can provide that vast majority of nutrients your body needs. Vegetables and fruit, in particular, contain vast quantities of valuable nutrients. In many cases, expensive nutritional supplements are not necessary.
  9. Plants should make up the vast majority of your diet. The only two components of diet that consistently support wellness in clinical trials and studies are vegetables and fruit. Make vegetables and fruit the largest part of your diet.
  10. You are what you eat. And you are what you eat eats. The quality of the food you eat is paramount to your wellness. And if you include animal products in your diet, it is crucial to make sure what you are eating had a balanced diet.
  11. Water should be the first and last thing you drink each day. Hydration is important inside and out. Personally, I start and end each day with a big glass or water.
  12. Drink and enjoy tisanes. Tisane is a fancy word for a beverage infusion. While the English take pride in their teas, the French stake their claim on tisanes. One of my favorite tisanes is mint infused water. Water infused with fresh mint leaves does wonders — it’s refreshing and great for your complexion. I aim for 1 liter of mint water each day.
  13. Drink more water than anything else in a day. Even though I enjoy tisanes, tea, and the occasional matcha, I make sure water is my numero uno hydration staple.
  14. Move your body every single day, multiple times. Some days it means interval training or resistance training. Other days it means soccer, yoga, biking, skiing, and/or long walks.
  15. Resistance training is extremely important. Resistance training is an incredibly important foundation of any activity regimen. Especially for women, who need weight bearing activity to prevent osteoporosis.
  16. Resistance training will not make you bulk up. Unless you want it to. Then you can design programs that bulk you up. But if you shy from resistance training because you think it will make you bulky, fear not. You can train in a way that makes you long and lean.
  17. Flexibility is tres important. Yoga is an excellent way to get flexibility and resistance training.
  18. Nothing can negate the impact of sitting all day. You need to move your body throughout the day, everyday. Maybe this means walking to the store instead of driving. Or setting a timer at your desk to get up and move every 45 minutes. Find ways to infuse movement into your life. Ladies, do not let footwear be a barrier to this! There are many stylish shoe options that still allow you to walk and move. My warm weather favorites include: Josef Seibel flats and Joie, Matt Bernson, and Ugg sandals. Cold weather favorites include: Stuart Weitzman 5050 boots and Isabel Marant booties.
  19. Body composition is infinitely more important than weight. Your scale can only tell you so much. What your body is made of is more important than its mass.
  20. Stress = bad. Stress is the new smoking. Seriously, chronic stress can wreck havoc on your life, body, and appearance. And more likely than not, you are the only one that can control your exposure to sources of stress and/or your reaction to stress.
  21. Mindfulness matters. This often overlooked portion of wellness is HUGE. Your mind and body are intimately intertwined. One cannot be well when the other is ailing.
  22. Meditation is one of the best time investments you can make in your wellness. There is a plethora of scientific evidence to support the practice of meditation. Everything from improved sleep, lower blood pressure, to decreased pain. Just do it. If you need some instruction, check out my guide to meditation.
  23. There is always time to meditate. Studies show as little as 10 minutes a day can have huge beneficial positive effects. Again, just do it. My ebook, The ABCs of Wellness, includes a complimentary guided meditation,
  24. Your health is one of your greatest assets. Honor it, harness it, nurture it. You only have one body so respect and treat it well. With your actions, your thoughts, and your motivations. Everyday.
  25. Guilt is garbage. Unless you truly should feel guilty about something, get over it. If you should be guilty, do something about it. Guilt can be a destructive emotion that keeps you from realizing your full potential.
  26. Being kind is the answer 99% of the time. Kindness conquers a lot. It makes you, and those around you, feel better. It doesn’t cost you, so why not?
  27. Forgive. Forgive others. And yourself. Sounds simple, but this single paradigm shift can be a game changer. Don’t let unforgiveness be a block to living your happiest and healthiest life.
  28. Community is necessary. Your support system is beaucoup important to your overall health and happiness. Studies and personal experience attest to the value of community.
  29. Surround yourself with good people. Someone wise once said you are a reflection of your 5 closest friends. Make sure those people embody the qualities you want. For me? It’s high vibration, kind, compassionate, trustworthy, bright, and loving.
  30. Be the type of person you look in the mirror and like. Not physical appearance, silly! A wise friend gave me this advice during a particularly tumultuous personal time. Look into your eyes and make sure you are being the kind of person you like. And if not, make some changes immediately if not sooner.
  31. Love yourself. Not in a cheesy self-help way. In a real way. Speak to yourself the way you speak to someone you love, with kindness and compassion. Feed yourself the way you would feed someone you love, with nourishing and delicious food. Encourage yourself to be your best self, meet your goals, and take big leaps of faith.
  32. Love is infinite. The amount of love you can give is infinite. So love! Love your significant other, family, friends, co-workers, community, pets, acquaintances, strangers. Everything you give out will come back to you amplified.
  33. The pie is not finite. Another wise friend summed this up for me. The universe has more than enough for everyone to have what they need and more. There is enough for us all to succeed. And we should help and support others to reach their goals and achieve their dreams. A rising tide raises all boats.

In the spirit of Wellness Truth #33, I am delighted to share my what my husband calls Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie. Unfortunately, unlike Tip #33, this pie is finite.

Peanut butter + dark chocolate = deliciousness. Enough said!

This no-bake, sugar-free, gluten-free pie is a decadent dessert that will make your taste buds come alive while keeping your belly happy.

PERFECT PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE PIE (sf, gf, df, vegan)

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust
2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free
2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup walnuts
4 dates, pitted

For the Filling
1 1/4 cups almond or hemp milk
4 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp cocoa powder (my favorites are this Fair Trade version and this raw version)
16 dates, pitted

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Crust

  1. Combine oats, coconut, and walnuts into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend or process until walnuts begin to release oil.

  2. Add dates and pulse until combined.

  3. Transfer contents into a pie dish. Use hands or parchment paper to press contents into a crust on the bottom of the dish.

In process -- the crust is made and the filing transferred.

In process -- the crust is made and the filing transferred.

For the Filling

  1. Combine all filling ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend until completely smooth. On my Vitamix, I run the ice cream preset and then the smoothie setting. If necessary, add more almond or hemp milk. The consistency should be like pudding.

  2. Transfer contents into pie dish with crust. Spread with a spatula until evenly distributed and smooth on the top.

  3. Cover and chill for an hour or two (if you can wait that long).

The final product -- Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

The final product -- Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Did I miss one of your top wellness truths? Share in the comments section below!

If you make Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, take a picture and tag @a.betterway.wellness on Instagram. I'd love to see!

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A Better Way to Independece Day (Plus My Recipe for Refreshing Limeade)

For all my American readers, Independence Day is just around the corner. This is a special day of historical and emotional importance — the birth of United States independence and freedom. A day marked with American pride and celebration in the form of parades, barbecues, and fireworks.

In the spirit of Independence Day, I offer you the opportunity to consider this:

What do you want independence from?

Is it from feeling chronically stressed? From feeling generally unhealthy? Sluggish? Or perhaps it is something else entirely.

Whatever you want freedom from, I offer you the opportunity to take action starting today.

If you are feeling stressed, consider meditating for 10 minutes today. If you are feeling unhealthy, think of adding a serving of fresh vegetables to your next meal. If feeling sluggish is weighing on you, switch out your sweet coffee drink for an herbal tea or go for a brisk walk or jog.

Decide whatever it is you want independence from and take one action to free you from it. It doesn’t have to be a huge life-transforming action (but if that’s what you want, go for it!). Just one step in the right direction.

Because we are going for progress, not perfection.

And because I want to help you feel the happiest and healthiest possible this Independence Day, I am sharing my recipe for naturally sweetened limeade.

This time of year I find myself craving refreshing and cooling drinks; something more than water, but nothing that sabotages my wellness plan. This recipe is the perfect solution and would be great to share at Independence Day barbecues and gatherings. It contains no sugar or artificial sweeteners. Just freshly squeezed limes, water, and a touch of stevia for sweetness. It’s a summertime staple in my household.

Refreshing Limeade (sf, gf, vegan)

1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 7 limes)
7 cups of water (preferably filtered)
2 tsp of liquid lemon stevia (do not substitute with powdered stevia)
Optional: 1/8 tsp natural salt (I always add this for extra depth of flavor)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir until combined. Chill for several hours or serve over ice.

Notes: If you prefer a stronger limeade, decrease the amount of water to 4 cups. Feel welcome to add more stevia to your desired sweetness.

So there you are! A better way to Independence Day.

What are you claiming independence from? Feel welcome to share in the comments section.

Sending you light until next time.

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Traveling Well Part II: 5 Ways to Feel Amazing Once You've Reached Your Destination

I have a confession. I used to feel anxious about traveling. Don’t get me wrong; I adore experiencing different cultures and making new friends.

What made me anxious was feeling like travel derailed my wellness progress. Like it set me backward, upset my belly, caused me to breakout, and made me gain a few unwanted pounds. Travel left me with mixed emotions — excitement for new adventures and remorse for feeling “unhealthy.”

After incorporating all I’ve learned about wellness into my life, I no longer feel apprehension about travel. I love it. Because I’ve found a better way to travel. A way that reinforces my wellness, keeps my belly happy, calms my body, and leaves me lighter and brighter.

Today is part II of Traveling Well (check out Part I here) and I’m sharing my secrets to feel fantastic once you’ve reached your travel destination.

1. Be a Breakfast Genius.

This means being smart about what you choose to nourish yourself with. Breakfast sets your tone for the day. If you have a greasy and heavy breakfast, you’re going to feel greasy and heavy the rest of the day. If you eat something supportive and energizing, you will feel supported and energized throughout the day.

WARNING: to be a breakfast genius you need to be prepared. Know what makes you feel great in the morning, and find a way to make sure you get it. This requires preplanning.

Green smoothies, to me, are the greatest breakfast — nutrient dense, easily digested, and filling. How do I make sure I get green smoothies when I travel? If traveling by car and I have access to a refrigerator, I pack a few homemade smoothies stored in Mason jars for the trip. If not, I google “smoothies” and my destination. Most times, I can find somewhere within walking distance that serves smoothies.

If you can’t find a smoothie joint or are already committed to other eating establishments, you can get creative. Most restaurants have whole grain toast (and often gluten free) and avocados. Ask for whole grain toast with avocado! It’s delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

2. Green Up.

Back in my dark ages, I used to just order an entree (sans salad) when eating out during travel. I used to think a salad wouldn’t fill me up and felt guilty spending an extra few bucks on greens. I’ve since learned my lesson.

Eating vegetables makes you feel better. They are full of vitamins and minerals that energize you and fiber that fills you up and helps keep your digestive system regular. They are a travel win-win.

Try ordering fresh vegetables with every meal. Or better yet, replace one of your meals with a larger salad. Trust me, your belly with thank you. It’s like suiting up, but with vegetables.

3. Move It.

As mentioned in last week’s bonus, moving your body and exercising will make you feel better. Period. So find a way to do it wherever you are.

This may mean packing special shoes and clothes or borrowing them. Some hotels make this easy by allowing you to borrow exercise clothes and shoes. Westin hotels partnered with New Balance and for $5 you can have clothes and shoes delivered to your room in 15 minutes or less.

Do whatever movement suits you best. If you like gyms, find one to use. Are classes your thing? You can easily find a studio and buy a single class pass (try the Zenrez app for last minute class deals in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and the Bay Area). Personally, I like to walk, bike, and run when I travel. I find it an excellent way to see the sights and often find some great hole in the wall places to check out in the process.

4. Be Mindful.

My mindfulness practice comes with me wherever I go. Just because I’m away from home does not mean I forgo one of my wellness foundations: meditation. The beauty of meditation is you can practically do it anywhere.

On a plane, train, or automobile (just not while you are actually driving). In a tent, hotel room, or airbnb. On the beach, mountain top, or valley. It doesn’t matter.

Wherever and whenever, you can seat yourself comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe.

5. Dress for Success.

This means traveling with clothing that makes you feel your best. Clothes that are comfortable, but don’t limit your activities.

This means different things for different people. For me this usually means:

  • Packing pajamas I love. Ones that are soft, warm, but still cute.
  • Bringing one pair of athletic shoes that I can walk, run, or bike in. My favorites right now are Brooks.
  • Toting athletic clothes that are comfortable and stylish (that can take me from running to casual breakfasts and coffee shops). Zella leggings are my holy grail (and go on sale soon during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale). Other brands I love are Patagonia, Saucony, Brooks, and Lululemon.
  • Taking my trusty Oakley sunglasses that look great when I am glammed up, but function when I’m running or biking.
  • Wearing fashionable, yet comfortable shoes (I don’t want sore feet to keep me from exploring by foot). For sandals I go for Uggs and Sperry. Chloe and Josef Seibel flats are versatile and functional. Isabel Marant booties are my obsession (I can’t believe shoes with a heel can actually be this comfortable for walking all day). During winter, my Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots go everywhere I do.
  • Slipping into a great pair of skinny jeans. I’ve tried them all and Rag and Bone are my winners.
  •  Bringing a flowing dress that compliments my shoe choices.


There you have it! A better way to travel. Follow these tips and you will feel fantastic when you travel.

Do you have any healthy travel tips to add? If so, please share!

Sending you light until next time.

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Traveling Well: 5 Ways to be Healthy While Traveling by Plane

Two weeks ago I was on a plane to Seattle en route to a speaking engagement. In the past, flying left me tired, puffy, and feeling less than well. That day, I realized I was on my seventeenth flight of 2016 and that I had finally figured out the secrets to traveling that kept me feeling and looking my best. A better way to travel, really.

With the official start of summer approaching, you may be departing for a well deserved vacation or two. I’m excited for you and because I want you to have happy and healthy trips, I am sharing my top tips for staying healthy while traveling.

This week I will focus on travel by air (something this airline MVP member has plenty of experience with). Airports and airplanes can be wellness vampires leaving you feeling tired, bloated, and irritated. That’s not how I want my vacations to start. I want to feel rested, relaxed, and ready for fun. So fret not! Follow these simple tips to stay healthy while traveling by plane.

Buckle your safety belts, make sure your tray is in the upright and locked position, and get ready to travel in A Better Way Wellness Style.


1. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle for Water)

Whether you are traveling by foot, car, or plane, you will feel your best when you are appropriately hydrated. What’s the easiest way to stay hydrated?

Bring your own water bottle.

Did you know you can bring empty water bottles through airport security? This is my personal practice because I love my water, but don’t love drinking it out of expensive plastic bottles sold at airport shops for outrageous prices. In fact, many airports now have filtered water bottle filling stations (SFO, SEA, SLC, GEG, JFK, and LAX, to name a few). So you can take care of yourself, your wallet, and the environment. This is a win-win-win.

My favorite water bottles are made of glass. One reason is I’m not keen on plastics leaching into my water. Another is everything just tastes better out of glass. Trust me.

Right now I’m loving my 1-liter bkr bottle. bkr bottles are my go to — glass, protected with silicon, durable, and cute. Bonus: these bottles are dishwasher safe.

2. Pack Your Own Meals

When I travel, I want to feel rested and ready for action when I arrive at my destination. Airport and airplane food is notoriously subpar, expensive, over salted, and makes you feel blah. The fix?

Pack your own meals for the plane! You can bring food through security, just like an empty water bottle. Insider tip: make sure your food is not considered a liquid (such as soup, yogurt, or a smoothie). Liquids will get confiscated through security. Salads, wraps, and even leftovers can be taken through security without a problem.

For my last trip, I packed red pepper, arugula, and mushroom pitas. They tasted amazing, left me feeling great, and may have been the cause of more than one jealous stare.

3. Stash Some Sanitizer

Let’s be real here. Do you know how often airplane seats and trays are cleaned? Neither do I. But my guess is not often because when I wipe my tray down, my white wipes always turn brown. Yuck!

Keep yourself healthy and clean by stashing some hand sanitizer. My current favorite spray is Dr. Bronner’s lavender. If you, like me, are concerned with too many liquids at security, try the EO wipes.

To keep yourself healthy, sanitize your tray and seat belt as soon as you board. Then clean your hands before you eat or drink.

4. Say “No, thank you” to Salty Snack Foods

Have you ever had a free airplane snack that was so delicious you couldn’t stop thinking about it? I didn’t think so.

Most of the complimentary foods are barely palatable, at best, and include more questionable ingredients than a Twinkie. These snacks are often chock full of preservatives and salt, which will leave you dehydrated and puffy. That’s the opposite of how I want to feel when I land.

Instead of the pretzels/snack mix/weird cookies, just say no thanks. If you have it in front of you, the chances are you will open the little packet and nibble. Plus, since you brought your own food, you won’t need the free snacks to fill you up.  

5. Meditate in the Sky

As soon as I board a plane, I stash my bag, sanitize my space, and put in my Bose noise cancelling headphones (the greatest Christmas gift from my husband). Next, I close my eyes and do some deep breathing and meditation.

Mindfulness is an incredibly important part of wellness and can be done anywhere (even at 10,000 feet). Air travel can be stressful and anxiety provoking. I find that simple meditation — merely counting my breaths in and out — can make me feel relaxed in the moment and better when I land.


BONUS TIP: Take the Stairs and Avoid Moving Walkways

Moving your body and exercising will make you feel better. Period. So do it even while traveling by air.

While I LOVE that the San Francisco airport has yoga and mediation rooms (which I highly recommend), that trend has not swept the nation. Instead, move your body. Take the stairs. Avoid moving walkways. Instead of sitting in the boarding area, go for a stroll. It’s amazing how many steps you can actually accumulate while traveling.

I find walking and moving while traveling is much easier when I wear comfortable shoes. This doesn’t mean you need to wear athletic shoes (but if you want to, more power to you). There are many stylish and comfortable options. My favorites? Josef Siebel and Isabel Marant (the Dicker boots are amazing).

There you have it! A better way to travel by plane. I challenge you to try all five tips (plus the bonus) on your next trip.

Do you have any healthy travel tips to add? If so, please share!

Sending you light until next time.

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