Thank YOU! And 2017’s Best Of List.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for being part of A Better Way Wellness. Thank you for helping me share real, truthful, and action-oriented health information. Thank you for making living a happier and healthier life a priority.

It’s been a year for the books and I wouldn’t be doing what I  am truly passionate about without you.

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So THANK YOU!

And as a small token of my appreciation, I am giving you a list of my most popular posts this last year.

It’s A Better Way Wellness’ Best Of 2017 List. It’s short, sweet, and full of health boosting tidbits. So have at it!

1. How to Use Supplements to Boost Happiness

If you want to be happier and want supplements to give you a boost, this is the post of you.

2. Healthy Happy Hour Part I and Healthy Happy Hour Part II

Do you love happy hour? And love feeling great? If so, click the links above to find out how.

3. How to Burn Fat in 15 Minutes

Who doesn’t want to burn fat fast? I know I do . . . if you do, too, check out this one.

4. How to be Happier at Work

Do you want to feel better and happier in the workplace? If this is you, I have actionable tips to help.

5. The Smoothie that Tastes Like Dessert, But Feels Like Medicine

Yes, please! Recipes that taste rich and luxe, but make you “feel like a million bucks” are my favorite. This one is easy-peasy. Give it a try!

6. My Fall Beverage Secret: The Sunshine Latte (Recipe Included)

I know it’s not technically fall anymore, but the Sunshine Latte will still please your mouth, mind, and body.

7. The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is GOOD for you and I show you the best ways to have it in this post.

8. 5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Consider a New Year's resolution around this one. Swap out one (or all!) of these products to protect yourself from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

Are You Making THESE Smoothie Mistakes?

The Case for Smoothies

Are you looking for something that tastes delicious, is easy to digest, and packed full of nutrients? If so, smoothies may be just what you are looking for.

Last week we uncovered the truth about juice. Read more about it here.  

Smoothies are an excellent alternative to juice. This is because they have the pros of juice (easy to drink and digest) with few of the cons.

When you juice, you remove much of the fiber from the fruit and vegetable ingredients. Remember, fiber helps keep your digestive system moving and stabilizes blood sugar.

When you make a smoothie, you retain the beneficial fiber. You also keep your portions in check.

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Not All Smoothies are Created Equally

Smoothies, like most food, can vary dramatically based on how they are prepared.

I commonly work with people who think they are making wonderfully nutritious smoothies. But when we get down to the details, we discover their smoothies are full of sugar and keeping them from their health goals.

I don’t want this to happen to you! So I compiled the top 5 smoothie mistakes I see people making.

Keep reading to make sure you aren’t making one of these very common mistakes.

Smoothie Mistake #1: Using dodgy protein powders.

This is the MOST common smoothie mistake my client’s make.

Most protein powders do NOT do you any favors.

Basically, the vast majority of protein powders are over priced and ultimately underperform. They are filled with strange protein sources and even stranger additives. Plus, most taste gross. Or the gross taste is masked with tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners (both wellness sabotagers).

There are a few exceptions, but you have to really be purposeful in your purchase.

Still looking to add protein to your smoothies? No problem. Try these whole food protein options:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Silken tofu

Smoothie Mistake #2: Adding fruit juice instead of whole fruit.

It’s tempting to add sweet fruit juice to your smoothies. However, fruit juice adds a whole lot of sugar to your smoothies without the help of blood sugar stabilizing fiber.

Instead of adding fruit juice, add whole fruit! That way you get the great taste and the beneficial qualities of eating the whole food.

Smoothie Mistake #3: Forgetting the green vegetables.

Does the idea of adding spinach or kale to your smoothie gross you out?

It shouldn’t.

A handful or two of green leafy vegetables adds serious nutrition without taking away from the taste.

Does the idea of drinking a green colored smoothie make you cringe? If so, add some dark colored fruit (like blueberries) to mask the color. This is also a great trick for sneaking vegetables into children smoothies.

Smoothie Mistake #4: Using yogurt as the base.

Many smoothie recipes use yogurt as its base.

Why’s this a mistake? There’s so many reasons I could devote an entire post to answering this. Bottomline: most yogurts are full of sugar and odd preservatives that don’t do you any health favors.

If you crave a creamy smoothies, use alternatives to yogurt to get the consistency you desire. Nut milks (like almond or cashew), hemp milk, or flaxseed milk are all great options. Also adding a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter can up the creamy factor.

Smoothie Mistake #5: Buying expensive premade smoothies.

Store or restaurant smoothies, while tasty, can cost $7 or more per serving. If you’re drinking one day, that’s $49 a week or nearly $2500 a year.

You can easily make homemade and nutritious smoothies for a fraction of the price. And to save time, you can blend up a few at a time and drink them over the next few days.

Good for You Smoothie Recipes?

Looking for mistake-free smoothie recipes? Check out my smoothie recipes.

Glow Getter Smoothie

Skye’s Detox Smoothie

A Better Way Breakfast Smoothie (from The ABC’s of Wellness)

Sending you health, light, and love,

Skye

3 Recipes to Get Your Detox On

Now that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your (well deserved) Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to get back to business! If you feel like your belly could use a little detox to get back on track, you are not alone. Feeling a little bloated? Or like your clothes are a smidgen tighter than they ought to be? If so, I’ve got you! I’m giving you three recipes that will leave you feeling healthy, happy, and detoxed. Did I mention they taste great, too? I call this a win-win-win!


1. Skye’s Detox Smoothie

This smoothie is packed full of nutrients, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3s! And the best part is it tastes naturally sweet and can be a breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Also, I’m loving my new Glass Dharma reusable glass straws (a gift from my husband). These beauties can be used for hot or cold beverages and are dishwasher safe (a necessity in my household).


2. The Oh She Glows Eat Your Greens Detox Soup

I LOVE this soup recipe! It takes 20 minutes to make, tastes amazing, and is full of vitamins, greens, and anti-inflammatory spices. It’s included in the original Oh She Glows cook book. If you don’t have it, head over to Vegan Miam’s blog for the full recipe.



3. Quinoa Collard Wraps from The Sprouted Kitchen

This is the perfect recipe for lunch or dinner. Fresh collards filled with quinoa, tahini, carrots, and more deliciousness. They transport well and are a snap to make. The recipe is from The Sprouted Kitchen (an amazing cook book). However, Golubka Kitchen’s blog has the recipe posted here. You can thank me later for this one!


This week I encourage you to try one (or all three!) of these quick, delicious, nourishing, and detoxing recipes. Your body will thank you.

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Try This, Not That: Healthy Swaps for a Better Breakfast

Welcome to part 2 of Try This, Not That, the series devoted to simple, wellness boosting, swaps for your favorite foods. This series has me excited (and based on the positive response from last week, it has my readers excited, too)! Last week was all about drinks and now we are moving on to breakfast.

Here are seven simple and healthy swaps for breakfast. Easy ways to infuse a little more wellness into your life, while still satisfying your taste buds. Read on for ways to make your breakfast better!

Full Transparency: I do NOT have financial affiliations with any of the brands mentioned below. They are products that I personally buy and give a thumb’s up — free of conflict of interest.

Instead of a Bagel with strawberry cream cheese . . . Try Ezekiel's or Dave’s Killer Bread with Nut Butter and Fruit

Bagels. You either love them or feel ambivalent towards them. Me? I used to love the taste, but loathed how I felt an hour later (bloated, tired, hungry).

Instead of the extreme refined grain hit a bagel gives you, opt for something better. Simpler, really. Whole grain bread (I love Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekiel's for this), nut butter (sunflower works if you have an allergy), with fresh sliced fruit. If you are craving a shot of sweet, a thin drizzle of raw honey is the perfect topping. This breakfast will leave you satisfied and ready to take on the day!

Instead of Quaker Oat Packets . . . Try Steel Cut Oats

These unassuming packets are like eating White Bread with a cinnamon and sugar sprinkle. Instead, have the real deal. Steel cut oats with real fruit, nuts, flaxseed, and a drizzle of natural sweetener (if you please).

Want some inspiration? Read The Breakfast Mistake Most People Make. It also includes a recipe for homemade steel cut coats.

Instead of Aunt Jemima Syrup . . . Try Real Grade B Maple Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is bad news bears. It’s linked to attention deficit disorder in children and is WAY too sweet. If you desire something sweet, I much prefer you go the natural route. Grade B maple syrup has a rich and distinct flavor, while maintaining a small amounts of nutrients. Keep it real.

I’m crushing on this maple syrup from my local market. It’s flavor is rich, color is amber, and taste is unrivaled.

Instead of Conventional Cereal . . . Try Natural Cereal

When I first met my husband, he was a time-crunched and overworked intern. And he ate sugary cereal for dinner many nights. He figured since he purchased it from Trader Joe’s, it was okay. Newsflash: any cereal with chocolate and frosted in the name is a far cry from wellness. Skye to the rescue!

If you love cereal (and personally, it’s not really for me), there are better options. Go for something simple: an unsweetened, whole grain choice. Think Trader Joe’s Organic Corn Flakes, Kashi, or the British favorite, Weetabix.


Instead of Coffee . . . Try a Breakfast Smoothie + Cup of Herbal Tea

Okay. I understand a breakfast smoothie is not the same as a coffee. But hear me out.

Most of the time, coffee is used as a morning pick me up. Instead of using caffeine (and often cream and sugar), try a nutrient packed smoothie. The natural energy boosters (vitamins and minerals) in a homemade fruit and vegetable smoothie can work wonders for you. Want some ideas? Try the smoothie included in The ABCs of Wellness: 3 Foundations for a Happier & Healthier Life NOW. Or my Glow Getter Smoothie recipe.

Sometimes it’s the morning ritual of preparing your coffee and enjoying a warm drink that gets you hooked. If this is you, welcome herbal tea to your life. Tea can satisfy your morning ritual and leave you feeling better.

My favorite herbal teas? Tazo Refresh, Yogi Relaxed Mind, Savrika Sound of Om, Remedy Teas Mind Body Soul, and basically anything from TeaZaanti (loving the coconut chai rooibos tea right now).  

Instead of Eggo Waffles . . . Try Nature’s Path Waffles

Leggo your Eggo. Immediately if not sooner.

Have a homemade waffle. And if that takes too much time from your precious morning minutes, give Nature’s Path Gluten Free waffles a chance. Nature’s Path waffles are whole grain, preservative-free, and cook in just a few minutes.

Instead of an Egg White Omelette . . . Try Whole Eggs

Sometime in the 90s, eggs became the villain. Because eggs contain cholesterol, it was determined that consuming them would increase your cholesterol. Except that is NOT how it works in our bodies.

Eggs have since been vindicated, but many do not realize it.

In fact, it kills me that McDonald’s recently added an egg yolk-free breakfast sandwich. It’s as if they took the last whole food served at McDonald’s and altered it for the worse.

So if you like eggs, then eat them. Simple, whole, and real. And take care in their preparation. Lovingly and consciously cook scrambled eggs (at low heat with supervision and a dusting of salt and pepper) taste incredible.

Take the Try This, Not That Challenge

Pick one of these switches and trial it for the week. Give it three tries before you make a final decision. If your palate is used to Strawberries and Cream oatmeal packets, it may take time to accustomed yourself to the authentic texture and flavor of steel cut oats with fresh berries. And if you are used to the high fructose corn syrup of Aunt Jemima, you may need to try maple syrup a handful of times until it pleases your palate. Rest assured, this is perfectly natural. And progress, really. Because you are resetting your palate to enjoy natural, healthy options that enrich your wellness.

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Sending you light,

Skye

Banishing Post-Lunch Bloat & Regret (+ 6 Tips for a Better Lunch)

Lunch Regret

Have you ever eaten lunch and immediately regretted it? Maybe you felt bloated, lethargic, or just plain bad afterward. Or your pants felt too tight or your skin a little greasy? If so, you are not alone. I call sufferers of this phenomenon victims of Lunch Regret Syndrome (LRS).

Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on how you want tofeel after lunch. In a perfect world, you would feel nourished, invigorated, and refreshed. Ready for action and mentally clear.

And it’s possible. There are filling lunches that also leave you flourishing.

You can have your lunch and eat it too.

To help you, I’m sharing tricks to help you have a better lunch. If this is right up your alley, you have one of my oldest friends to thank. This post was her special request. And because she has two adorable kiddos, a special bonus section on lunches for little ones follows.

A Word to the Wise

Do yourself a favor and just pack lunch the night before. It’s tempting to think you’ll have time in the morning, but if you are like me, it won’t happen. Trust me on this one. And use those extra minutes in the morning to meditate.

Adult Lunch Tricks

1. Pack leftovers from the night before.

Obvi, but this is what I do 90% of the time. I cook something delicious and nutritious for dinner (tonight is mushroom fajitas) and immediately pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Add a side salad and a piece of fruit, and you’re set!

2. Make a smoothie.

If I know I’ll be on the go during lunch hours or seeing patients without a break, smoothies are my go to. Fill them with spinach, fruit, flaxseed, and nuts and you’ll be satisfied for hours.

3. Wrap it.

With collard greens, that is. Instead of a sandwich on white bread, fix a sandwich in a raw collard green. Collards (the new kale) are mild in flavor and high in nutrients. My current fave is hummus, spinach, Greek olives, and red peppers wrapped in collards.

4. Be a salad chef.

I’m not talking about wilted iceberg lettuce and some weird dressing from a bottle. Picture colorful greens, black beans, ripe avocado slices, diced fresh tomatoes and cucumber, homemade tortilla chip crumbles, cilantro garnish, all topped with a creamy and delicious dressing. This salad should be satisfying, filling, and packed with flavor. Add a side of fruit and a sparkling water, and you’re set up for lunchtime success. TRICK: bring your dressing in a separate container (a small mason jar works great) or place on the bottom on your container to prevent the dreaded mushy salad.

5. Add dark chocolate.

Okay, this should not be your entire lunch so hear me out. If you like to finish off with something sweet (and I know many people do), consider a square of natural dark chocolate. The less sugar, the better. My personal pick is Theo dark chocolate, which is made in Seattle, but can be found at retailers across the country. Whole Foods and REI carry Theo chocolate from coast to coast. You can always order online from Theo direct or from third-parties such as Vitacost (on sale right now and save an extra $10 off your purchase using this link).

6. Finish with a tisane or tea.

Mint is a natural stomach soother and has other wonderful health benefits. This is why many restaurants offer after dinner mints. Finish your lunch with a refreshing warm drink. When I can, I infuse hot water with fresh mint leaves from my garden. In a pinch or when I’m on the go, I use herbal mint tea (Tazo Refresh is my usual).

BONUS: IDEAS FOR KIDDOS

Personally, I’m excited to dive into leftovers for lunch. But as a child (and really until I started cooking for myself), I detested leftovers. The good ol’ packing leftovers trick may not work for the kiddos so I’m giving you a few ideas to help make their lunches better.

Drinks

Water, water, water. If your kids beg for juice, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. I shudder remembering the Sunny D I used to drink during soccer game half-time (corn syrup is the second ingredient and I’m still not sure why canola oil would need to be added to “juice”).

Fruits and Veggies

Make fruit and vegetables approachable. Would you ever send your kiddo to school with a raw chicken breast in their lunchbox? Probably not. So why would you send them with unprepped fruits and veggies?

Cut and core apples and add a side (nut butter with a little honey is a good option or make it dessert with a chocolate dip). Try kale chips. Serve chopped veggies with hummus or another tasty dip. Use a vegetable peeler and make carrot peels. Dust your spiralizer off and make veggie curls. Have fun and be creative here.

Sandwich Hacks

If your little eaters are sandwich lovers, there are still ways to improve the quality of their lunches.

  • Try bread alternatives (see collard idea above).
  • Use whole grain bread exclusively. This is an area where food marketing really tries to trick you. Look at the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” precedes the grain in each ingredient. Remember, multi-grain does not necessarily mean whole grain.
  • Switch up the type of bread you use. It can be easy to buy the same bread each week, but there are a plethora of options out there. Experiment with brown rice bread, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, and raisin bread.
  • Try a nut butter and fresh fruit sandwich. Think peanut butter and banana, almond butter and strawberry, or cashew butter and blueberry. If your little ones really want sweet, drizzle a little sweetener (like Grade B maple syrup or honey) on top.
  • Sneak veggies into other sandwiches. Lettuce, tomato, raw spinach, sprouts, avocado, and red peppers can often complement sandwich ingredients.

Sweet Tooth

If something sweet is desired, think outside the (store bought cookie) box. Most kids love a good smoothie — try packing one full of fruit or try a chocolate smoothie. Be a cookie chef and try an uber healthy recipe. I’m a bonafide cookie lover and have a cadre of wellness supporting recipes in rotation.

Get Ready to Feel Better in the Afternoon

Now that you have a few tricks up your sleeve, pick one or two and give it a try tomorrow. Or the next time you need to pack a lunch. Don’t stress if every trick doesn’t work for you. See what works and stick with it, and discard what doesn’t.

Here’s to a better way to lunch. Do you have a great lunch hack that I missed? I’d love to hear about it.

 

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A Better Way to a Healthy Glow from the Inside Out + Glow Getter Smoothie Recipe

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting my friend (who is a talented esthetician). Our conversations always veer toward wellness and she told me the question most of her clients ask is, “How do I get my skin to glow?”

I was amazed because many of my patients and friends ask me the SAME thing.

Even though her work focuses on esthetics and my work focuses on wellness, we both had the same answer. A healthy glow starts from the INSIDE.

The reality is glowing skin is a sign of wellness. Of good health. And to get it, you need to invest in your wellness and health.

So here are four tips to glow, from the inside to the outside. Be sure to check out Tip 4, which includes my Glow Getter smoothie recipe. And my bonus tip includes my favorite products to help you glow from the outside.

1. Sweat. Every day.

A major component to glowing skin is circulation. Increasing blood flow nourishes skin cells and carries away waste products. It’s like cleaning your skin from the inside out.

The best way to increase your circulation is to sweat. Move your body. Run, walk, bike, hike. You can go to a class or do yoga. Do whatever it is you enjoy that makes you break a sweat.

Another great way to amp up your circulation is by using a sauna. Dry, wet, hot, or infrared. Any will do for this purpose. Plus saunas decrease stress (see Tip 3).

2. Sleep well.

You may be thinking, “Duh. Tell me something I don’t know.”

Except take a moment to evaluate your sleep. How much are you sleeping? What is the quality of your sleep? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?

If you answered not enough, poor, or tired, you are not sleeping well.

Why does sleep matter? Collagen and hyaluronic acid are two natural skin glowing compounds in your body. Too little quality sleep leads to inflammation, which diminishes your natural collagen and hyaluronic acid.

If you are not sleeping well, try to get better sleep starting tonight. This could be as simple as forgoing your evening Netflix and going to bed an hour earlier. Or doing a bedtime meditation to help you better ease into restful sleep.

3. Stress less.

NEWS FLASH: How you feel inside impacts how you look outside.

In fact, there is an emerging field called psychodermatology that addresses the impact of emotions (including stress) as it relates to the skin.

When you experience stress, your body responds by releasing stress hormones (like cortisol). Cortisol negatively impacts circulation to the skin. And remember from Tip 1, we need circulation to nourish our skin cells and remove waste products.

How do you decrease stress? You either minimize the source of your stress or you minimize your RESPONSE to the stress.

Start with minimizing the source of your stress. Once you’ve minimized the source (or realized you cannot), try to improve your response to stress.

Scientifically proved methods to decrease your stress response include:

  • Exercise (are you seeing a theme here?)
  • Meditation
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Laughing


4. Support your body with nourishing and glow enhancing foods.

What you nourish your body with plays a crucial role in glowing from the inside out. Foods that make you retain fluid make you dull inside and out (think overly salted and processed foods). Foods full of natural color and nutrients will make you glow (think fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes).

Top glow enhancing foods include:

  • Berries (lots of antioxidants and nutrients)
  • Dark, leafy, greens (antioxidants, vitamin K, and iron)
  • Carrots (vitamins A and C)
  • Walnuts (vitamin B)
  • Pomegranates (antioxidants)

Because I want you to glow from the inside out, I am sharing my Glow Getter Smoothie recipe. It includes ALL of the top glow enhancing foods and is perfect for breakfast or a snack. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

Glow Getter Smoothie (gf, sf, vegan)

Serves 2
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced
1 banana
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup raw walnuts, shelled
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend for at least 60 seconds, perhaps longer depending on your blender. Add water if needed to reach desired consistency.

 

BONUS TIP: Self care to enhance your natural glow.

Once you get your glow from the inside (sweat, sleep, stress less, and supportive foods), you can enhance your glow with some tricks from the outside.

My favorite product for skin hydration is squalane oil (derived from olives). It is natural, simple, inexpensive, and feels heavenly on your skin. A true hydrator that leaves your skin immediately glowing (and not in a gross way). My favorite is from Indie Lee and I use it every day. I was first introduced to this gem from the lovely gals at Credo in San Francisco. 

A little strategically applied highlighter can also help enhance your glow. Be sure to use a natural highlighter that will support your health. So many highlighters being sold are full of harmful ingredients that can leave your skin congested and inflamed.

My absolute favorite highlighter is from Danish makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. Her highlighter (aptly named Radiance) is made from natural and skin soothing ingredients. A little popped on your cheek and brow bones leaves you with the perfect glow. I always stock up on Kjaer Weis from Citrine Natural Beauty Bar.

So there you have it. A better way to glow from the inside and out.

What are your tips to glowing from the inside out? Feel welcome to share in the comments section.

Sending you light until next time.

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