Eating Disorders Hate the Word “Healthy,” So It’s Time for a New Definition

weight is not worth

“You look so healthy!”

It’s a well-intentioned phrase that friends or family members use to express their approval and relief when someone they love begins to heal from an eating disorder.

There’s just one problem though. To those in recovery, “health” is not a compliment. What is meant as sincere affirmation of the positive strides being taken, the eating disordered mentality interprets and internalizes as proof of a changing body that no longer fits the ideal.

From this perspective, “healthy” equals “overweight.” And “overweight” equals “failure.” Eating disorders thrive off a need for control and rigidity. The illness requires an excessive degree of time, effort and self-restraint. It’s demanding, uncompromising, all-consuming work.

For those caught within its grasp, the eating disorder is an identity, the area they excel in, a “superhuman” strength. Their concept of health has become so distorted, they associate it with mediocrity—a direct violation of the uniqueness they crave.

Reframing the context of healthy:

In the beginning stages of my own recovery process, I encountered the “h-word” constantly which reinforced all the fears and suspicions that my “perfect body” was gone. I had grown accustomed to measuring success based on thinness and didn’t understand the reality of this new message other people were sending me.

I heard, “You’re fat.”

They meant, “Your skin isn’t rough. Your eyes aren’t hollow. Your cheeks aren’t sunken. Your hair isn’t brittle. Your posture isn’t hunched. Your arms aren’t wiry. Your smile isn’t forced. You look more alive.”

So when I reached a state of awareness and receptiveness to the truth behind that word, I began to realize our weight-obsessed culture is in desperate need of a new definition.

First of all…

Health is not a euphemism for “guess what…that ‘thing’ you used to be awesome at—well, you’re not anymore.” 

Health is not a result of losing control over yourself or the behaviors which took you such a long time to cultivate.  

And here’s what else it’s not… 

Health is not spending hours on the treadmill or in the weight-room.

Health is not eating meals that consist of just quinoa, kale and chia seeds.

Health is not allowing a number on the scale to dictate your happiness.

Health is not indulging in dessert then inflicting punishment afterward.

Health is not using exercise for the sole purpose of burning calories.

Health is a holistic fusion of the mind, body and spirit. Health is finding balance. Health is moving because the body is designed to—not because it should conform to an external standard. Health is eating nutritious foods but not being afraid to share Chinese take-out with your friends. Health is not determined by weight or appearance.

Health is wholeness.

Health is vitality.

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Everyday Advice for the Working Millennial {Guest Post}

The professional lifestyles of today are more different and unconventional than ever before. Especially among millennials, career paths often involve non-traditional working environments and responsibilities, compared to the older, more established generations.

But while most millennials understand the importance of a work-life balance, that temptation to become consumed with our careers often takes priority over well-being. We tend to stick our own health on the backburner—not realizing the immense value of staying both physically and mentally fit in the long-term.

If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are numerous strategies for balancing work and wellness, so here are some easy-to-implement solutions to keep that mind and body going strong!

work-and-wellness

Exercise Your Way to Happiness.

After a tiring workday, the first instinct is often to turn on Netflix rather than hitting the gym, but making time for exercise is a habit anyone can develop with conscious effort and persistence—even with a hectic schedule. If you’re not sure how to begin a workout regimen, just aim for completing 10,000 steps on a daily basis which promotes cardio strength and stamina. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise releases endorphins that alleviate stress or burnout too.

Meditate for Inner Peace.

Engaging in a mindfulness practice is among the most effective tools for stabilizing your emotions. Ancient forms of meditation, like pranayama or SuperBrain yoga (Thoppukaranam), keep the mind both alert and active. Not to mention, this deep conscious breathing ritual promotes balanced hormone levels and gives you an outlet for much-needed “me time.”

Eat Well and Eat Often.

Long work hours often lead to grabbing a quick bite at random intervals, choosing the convenient “fast food” option or skipping meals altogether. While a nutritious lunch might require more time and effort, consuming small portions of healthy foods on a frequent basis keeps the body satiated and the mind focused—without hunger pangs distracting you or processed ingredients draining your energy.

Don’t Be Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish.

Poor money management is a leading cause of stress, so it’s vital to maintain “financial health.” Spend at least 5 minutes each day tracking your expenses to make sure the bills are paid on time, the savings account is secure, the budget is still intact, and there’s enough cashflow remaining for an emergency fund too. When you aren’t worried about living paycheck to paycheck, that sense of freedom translates into a less anxious, more productive mind.

Do What Your Love.

Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate if your chosen career path brings happiness. You’ll spend about three-fourths of each day working, so you might as well pursue a job that gives you satisfaction. While it’s unrealistic to assume that professional success can guarantee 100% contentment, make sure you’re self-aware enough to recognize when a job starts compromising your quality of life. Offset this “occupational hazard” by dedicating time each week to non-work related passions and hobbies that create a sense of purpose you just won’t find in punching a clock.

Implementing these habits into your routine can dramatically enhance that work-life balance we should all be striving for. It’s a common pitfall to focus just on career ambitions—especially if you’re new to the workforce—but don’t allow this to become a long-term trend. Give yourself the time, space and permission to manage other aspects of life too. Your physical, mental and emotional wellness depends on it, after all.


Akshata Mehta has a passion for traveling and exploring the world. She loves to write, and is especially interested in sustainability for everyday life. Being a foodie, she also enjoys cooking up healthy concoctions in her kitchen, recording these recipes and more on her blog With Love From Akshata.

 

 

Fall for Pumpkin Protein Balls this Season (See What I Did There?)

I look forward to October every year for one simple reason: it’s Pumpkin Everything Season! And despite living in Southwest Florida where the temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees, once autumn shows up on the calendar, I morph into that girl.

pumpkin-everything-season

Yep, I’m basic apparently. So sue me. Fall is a glorious time. And pumpkins are a direct result of that gloriousness.

These seasonal superfoods are rich in Vitamin A to promote vision health, Fiber to increase digestive regularity, Antioxidants to support immune function, Potassium to stimulate post-workout energy and Carotenoids to reduce skin aging effects.

Plus, they get all the Instagram likes, so…

But I digress. If you wanna experience those nutritional benefits for yourself, not just during autumn but year-round too (Why isn’t the PSL Summer Edition a thing? Looking at you, Starbucks!), might I suggest these no-bake Pumpkin Quinoa Protein Balls.

They’re perfect for a healthy plant-based breakfast or afternoon snack. And, all basicness aside, they taste like fall is supposed to taste. *insert brown leaf emoji*

I rest my case.

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls

yields 2 dozen protein balls

Ingredients:

1 can Pumpkin Purée (organic)

1 tbsp. Sunflower Butter (organic)

1/3 c. Rolled Oats (whole grain)

1/4 c. Quinoa (organic)

1 Apple (peeled & diced)

1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Spice

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Ginger

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-ingredients

 Preparation:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to its package instructions, then set aside.
  2. Combine the pumpkin purée, rolled oatssunflower buttercinnamon, ginger and pumpkin spice in a mixing bowl.
  3. Slice the apple into small chunks, then stir into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa to the pumpkin mixture, then stir these ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide the batter into bite-sized balls and place in the freezer for 1 hour before serving.

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-batter

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-before-photo

pumpkin-quinoa-protein-balls-after-photo

So. Much. Yes.

5 Tips for Drinking More Water On the Reg {Guest Post}

During those teenage years, my mom (a certified yoga instructor) nagged me constantly to hydrate more often. But in my oh-so-mature, kinda rebellious state, I’d hear the advice, but not really listen.

Despite her knowledge of pranic healing and ayurvedic technique, she was still my mother—and hanging on her every word didn’t rank high on the priority list. Besides, I didn’t even like drinking water. It was plain and boring, with no real taste or texture. I much preferred a more flavorful thirst-quencher.

Only after studying nutrition and biology in college, have I realized that my mom was right all along—water is life. Therefore, consuming the required amount of 2-3 liters per day (as confirmed by most experts) does wonders. In fact, now I make a conscious effort to drink more water, using the pointers my mother tried teaching her stubborn teenage daughter.

Since then, I’ve definitely noticed a change in my well-being—from a healthier weight to a clearer complexion. So, now I’m passing along those tips which helped me include more water in my routine…without feeling like a chore!

how-to-drink-more-water

  • Down those Shots.

Ever played that drinking game with your friends during a movie where you all take a shot whenever a character says one particular phrase on-screen? Well, not only is that game effective for imbibing copious amounts of alcohol, it’s also a simple strategy for upping your H2O intake.

Next time you’re watching TV, reading a book, scrolling through social media or even attending a work seminar, play this game with yourself. Sip a couple ounces of water each time you come across a certain word, either in print or spoken aloud. This can help to supplement your hydration in manageable chunks throughout the day.

  • Go Au Naturel. 

As a devoted yogi, my mother was against zero-calorie vitamin water. And now I understand why—this flavored alternative claims to be healthy, but contains an absurd amount of chemicals or artificial sweeteners. In fact, a recent study found that most flavored waters exceed your recommended sugar allowance, as stated by the World Health Organization.

If you can’t handle the taste of plain water and use flavored water as your go-to substitute, this habit is derailing your own health. But fear not—there’s another solution.

Consider infusing that H2O with mint leaves, lemon slices or fresh berries. Adding these ingredients enhances the enjoyment factor with natural sweetness (or tartness), while providing nutritional benefits too.

  • Find an App for That.

Mobile apps exist for literally everything imaginable, and there’s no shortage of options to keep you on-track for meeting that daily hydration quota. If you’re tech-savvy, download these apps for extra accountability.

Most feature goal setting functions to input your desired intake, periodic alarms reminding you it’s time for a swig, and tracking technology to record your consumption for the entire week. They even come equipped with a database of statistics and “pro-tips” for boosting overall health.

  • Practice Interval Drinking.

Make a habit of drinking one large glass of water before each meal and after each bathroom break. Assuming you eat three meals per day, that’s three glasses down.

Couple that with another glass after every bathroom break, and you’ll consume at least eight servings total (most people urinate about 6-8 times in a 24 hour period). Also, drinking water before eating will curb your appetite, promoting healthy weight management.

  • Finally, Treat Yo’self. 

You know that feeling of a brand new coffee mug, when just you gotta use it ASAP? Well, the same goes for H2O. Splurge on a fancy-schmancy water bottle to keep on your desk or bedside. Whenever you glance at this new purchase, you’ll be motivated to take a gulp!

We’re naturally drawn to appreciate colors, patterns and designs, so adding this visual incentive can psychologically enhance your water drinking experience.

However you choose to fuel up, remember that 60% of the human body is comprised of water, so ensuring adequate hydration is vital. Take it from this H2O convert—the wellness benefits are hard to ignore!

glass-of-water

image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons


Akshata Mehta has a passion for traveling and exploring the world. She loves to write, and is especially interested in sustainability for everyday life. Being a foodie, she also enjoys cooking up healthy concoctions in her kitchen, recording these recipes and more on her blog With Love From Akshata.

Yes Please to Cheese-less Mac & Cheese!

For the past couple months, I’ve been switching over to a dairy-free lifestyle. Which actually hasn’t been that hard of a transition. Well…except for one detail.

Guys, I love cheese.

And it’s not until I stopped eating cheese that I began realizing just how many recipes include the stuff. Craving some comfort food? Good luck sans the cheddar. In a Mexican mood? Not without that pepper jack. How about a Greek salad? Umm…don’t forget the feta.

Sure. I could simply omit cheese from these dishes, but where’s the pleasure in that? There’s gotta be another solution. At which point you’re probably thinking: Yeah, genius. It’s called vegan cheese. Touché. But I’m new at this dairy-free business!

Besides, I’m not about scouring Whole Foods for nutritional yeast. Or soaking cashews in water for three hours. Or you know…whatever.

The point is I’m lazy and need that cheese fix like yesterday.

Which is the inspiration behind my own formula: Minimum Patience + Maximum Desire = Liquid Gold Sauce in Under 5 Minutes.

vegan-cheese-sauce

In keeping with a minimalist theme, I opted for the pre-sliced variety. So, after comparing ingredients in multiple brands, Chao made the final cut. It’s tofu and coconut-based without any preservatives or GMOs. To sum up, I’m fangirling.

Yep. Over tofu and coconuts. I mean…we’ve all been there.

Something else I’m fangirling over: mac & cheese. And quinoa. Because I’m a wellness blogger. And. We. Eat. Quinoa. So, that combination is how Cheese-less Broccoli Quinoa Mac & Cheese became a thing.

And my taste buds lived happily ever after!

broccoli-quinoa-mac-and-cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 Broccoli Head (chopped into florets)

1 cup Dairy-Free Milk (Unsweetened)

2 Vegan Cheese Slices (of Preference)

1/2 cup Quinoa (Organic)

1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp. Spelt Flour*

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

*spelt contains gluten, so if you need a GF alternative, check out these options.

quinoa-mac-and-cheese-ingredients

Preparation:

  1. Cook the quinoa on your stovetop, following the package instructions.
  2. Pre-heat a saucepan on another stovetop burner, bring to medium, then add the milkflourolive oilgarlic and sea salt.
  3. Stir until the consistency thickens, then add your preferred vegan cheese and stir again until melted.
  4. Pre-heat a smaller saucepan on yet another stovetop burner, pour in about 1 inch of water, bring to boil, then add the broccoli.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, then cover your saucepan and steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.
  6. Combine the broccoli and quinoa, then pour the vegan cheese sauce on top, and stir to distribute the flavors evenly.

quinoa-mac-and-cheese-collage

Yeaaaaah. I know what you’re making for dinner tonight. Don’t even pretend otherwise. But like…it’s healthy mac & cheese. Why wouldn’t you make it for dinner tonight?

shrugging

Exactly. *drops wooden spoon*

The Kick-Off to Your Labor Day Cookout Is Here…

Remember snow cones? That brain-freezing sugar rush the kid version of you craved? Uh huh. Nostalgia at its yummiest. Buuuut not exactly known for its track-record in the health department.

Until now. Because when you replace that refined sugar and artificial syrup with naturally sweetened fruit, you get tons of flavor—but zero guilt. Which brings me to this newest concoction a la yours truly…

watermelon snow cones

Blend up a batch (or you know, ten) for those Labor Day shenanigans as either a pre-gamer or dessert. You could even add some vodka to go the more adultish route—of course, the health factor might be called into question at this point.

But I digress. If you’re gonna make ’em this weekend (which you definitely should), lemme show you how it’s done.

So, Here’s What You Need:

  1/2 cup Watermelon (diced)

   •   2 cups Ice (crushed or cubed)

watermelon snow cone before

watermelon snow cone after

Now, Time to Make It:

1.   Place the ice cubes in a blender, then add the watermelon on top.

2.   Pulse the blender until both ingredients form a slushy texture.

3.   Transfer into festive glasses and slurp to your taste buds’ content.

P.S. going back for seconds = totally acceptable.

watermelon snow cone after pic 2

sister approved

and she’s a tough critic, so winning!

Yup. These bad boys deserve an invite to your Labor Day cookout. Because summertime has spoken, and every season needs one last “hurrah.” So move aside, Pumpkin Spice Latte…

your time is coming!

 

Vigor + Vitality = Nutri Testo for the Win!

The following post is a collaboration with Nutri Lifescience™ to promote active lifestyles, fueled by natural nutrition. All views and opinions are my own. 

Nutri Testo Capsule

For anyone who’s ever casually perused my social media accounts, it’s no shocker that I have a slight obsession with Nutri Testo™ supplements.

Fine. Maybe not-so-slight. I admit…the love affair is real. But for good reason, capiche? That’s because just 1 Nutri Testo capsule, taken about 5–10 minutes before exercising, keeps me nourished, energized and focused throughout my workout—even when it’s been one of those days where motivation’s in short supply.

So, what’s the formula behind this fitness fuel? Turns out, Nutri Testo supplements contain a natural extract from the Tongkat Ali root—otherwise known as Malaysian Ginseng—recognized in Southeast Asia for both its anti-aging potential and balanced hormone support.

When the body’s hormonal health is out-of-whack, you could experience symptoms like fatigue, decreased libido, muscle atrophy, depression or even weight gain. Yeesh. That’s why keeping your hormones regulated is uber important. And Nutri Testo is up for the job!

Now, time for some stats. Here’s a nutritional breakdown* of the wellness benefits promoted by this supplement extraordinaire:

  • Anabolic Increase & Catabolic Decrease
  • Athletic Performance Enhancement
  • Lean Muscle Development
  • Anxiety & Stress Alleviation
  • Testosterone & Cortisol Health
  • Energy Support & Fatigue Reduction
  • Sleep Quality Improvement

Plus, with its plant-based nutritional goodness, Nutri Testo gives me the vigor and vitality to crank my workout motivation into high-gear. Which means I can almost do a headstand.

Power to the Workout

Ehh…practice makes progress. At least my body’s fueled though! And now yours can be too because I’ve teamed up with Nutri Lifescience (a.k.a. the Nutri Testo masterminds) to give fitness aficionados everywhere a chance to experience this supplement for themselves.

Just repost the corresponding giveaway photo on my Instagram feed, tag @nutrimaqui2015 and @its_the_healthy_hippie, include the hashtag #NutriTestoGiveaway and make sure to follow both accounts. Yup. That’s the drill. Not exactly rocket science, huh?

Nutri Testo Giveaway.jpg

A winner will be selected at midnight on Friday, September 9. One entry per person. Must follow all contest rules for consideration. And check out this limited time discount for a 3-month supply of Nutri Testo (buy 2, get 1 free + additional 20% off).

So…everyone’s a winner now. Holla!

 

 

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.