Healthy Habits to Keep the Odds (of Cancer) Ever in Your Favor

February is National Cancer Prevention Month—a cause which has deeply resonated with me over these last 10 years. And that’s due to one remarkable girl who, during the short time I knew her, impacted my life more than some people twice her age ever could.

February 25, 2006  will forever be etched into my memory. On this date, heaven gained an angel in the form of my childhood friend and role model, Kalyn Elizabeth High. I avoid using the expression “lost her battle” to describe Kalyn’s final moments here on earth—because that girl was the toughest fighter I have ever met, and osteosarcoma couldn’t crush her spirit or shake her faith.

But this disease did take an incredibly gifted 16-year-old away from a world who just didn’t want to say goodbye. So, throughout the past decade, I’ve become passionate about cancer awareness, research and prevention. Kalyn is the inspiration for this post, but anyone can benefit from the information.

After all…cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity or background. Cancer is ruthless. But we can stack the odds of survival—and even avoidance—in our favor. Check out these statistics from the American Center for Cancer Research:

Approximately 1/3 cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active and staying lean. That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.

For practical and effective pointers on limiting your exposure to physical, chemical and environmental stressors that could put you at risk, I’ve teamed up with the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center, an online resource that warns against asbestos usage. This substance  is a leading cause of the rare but aggressive Mesothelioma and other lung cancers. 

As illustrated by the following infographics, cultivating simple habits throughout everyday life can make a positive, long-term impact on your overall wellness…

cancer prevention

healthy home checklist

Finally, remember—February might be Cancer Prevention Month, but these tips should be utilized year-round.

Kalyn…this one’s for you!

How to “Dress” Up Your Daily Fruit & Veggie Quota {Guest Post}

According to research backed by the American Heart Association, people who habitually consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables experience a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. In fact, this study revealed that, of the 2500 test subjects monitored, women who ate about 9 daily servings and men who ate about 7 were 26% less prone to develop clogged arteries in older age.

In addition to supporting cardiovascular wellness, fresh produce contains essential nutrients like protein, antioxidants, fiber, and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals. So, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can yield balanced wellness and physical longevity.

The simplest, most straightforward way to boost your fruit and veggie intake is to replace that typical lunchtime sandwich with a crisp, colorful salad. Then, top it with this healthy homemade dressing which features the antioxidant-loaded nutritional supplement, Nutri Maqui. Your heart, immune system and other vital organs will thank you for giving them the nourishment they crave!


Nutri Maqui Superfruit Salad Dressing

Nutri Maqui salad dressing ingredients

Ingredients

 ½ cup Grapeseed Oil

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Superfruit Juice

1 tsp. Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard

½ tsp. Lemon Juice

Nutri Maqui salad dressing preparation

Preparation

  1. Pour all ingredients into a small decanter, then whisk until they are thoroughly combined.
  1. Chop a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and raw nuts (e.g. carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, raspberries, avocadoes, almonds, cashews), then arrange them over a bed of leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale, arugula).
  1. Drizzle the dressing on top, then toss the salad to evenly distribute all ingredients before serving.

So. Many. Colors. Amiright?!

Nutri Maqui salad dressing before   Nutri Maqui salad dressing after


Huge thanks to Nutri Lifescience, LLC, for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

 

The Mindfulness Model: Why Listening to Your Body Trumps any Diet

Ever collapse on the couch with that “emergency” Doritos stash after a chaotic week, then proceed to finish every single crumb without noticing?

Yeaaaah…We’ve all been there. Once or twice.

In fact, the average person spends approximately 38,003 hours eating over the course of their lifetime. Talk about a feeding frenzy! So, give your choppers a break and practice the art of mindful eating instead. 

Because, let’s be honest, our “instant gratification” culture has reduced this to a lost art.

By deliberately pacing yourself and savoring each bite throughout a meal, you’ll become more aware of your body’s internal cues which send the brain “hunger” and “fullness” messages. If you tune into these signals, they’ll take the guesswork out of knowing when to drop that fork.

Anyone can cultivate mindfulness — just slow down and listen. After all, the human body is constantly communicating, even when we’re too hurried or preoccupied to get the memo.

The infographic below explains how replacing those absent-minded munchies with mindful eating habits will help you make permanent strides toward a healthier, balanced and physically empowered lifestyle.

How to Master Mindful Eating


Shout-out to Health Perch for providing the featured research and  infographic.

Balancing the Crucial Connection Between Fitness & Nutrition

Due to the gradual development of poor lifestyle choices, such as unhealthy diet and irregular exercise, numerous Americans have begun exhibiting risk factors for high blood glucose, metabolic syndrome, cellular oxidative stress and other conditions associated with inadequate nutrition intake and fitness levels.

While the average person knows that consistent physical exertion must be sustained by wholesome eating habits, and vise versa, this balancing act is often difficult to maintain.

In a culture that values pre-packaged convenience over freshly prepared quality, many people consume an overabundance of artificial preservatives, toxic chemicals, saturated fats and refined sugars. These heavily processed ingredients cause unwelcome weight gain and can result in various medical concerns.

In addition, many people also lack the motivation to incorporate vigorous activity into their daily routines, so when combined with nutrient deficiency, a sedentary lifestyle could trigger the premature onset of serious cardiovascular issues.

To protect your body from these health hazards, practice eating whole foods and exercising every day until doing so becomes a ritual that no longer requires conscious effort.

Healthy eating woman holding a salad and smiling - isolated over white

A well-rounded diet includes plant-based proteins (e.g. beans, lentils, raw nuts, non-dairy milk); lean meats – unless you’re a vegetarian, of course! – (e.g. chicken, turkey, fish); whole grains (e.g. oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt); low-sugar fruits (e.g. berries, avocados, papayas, oranges, melons); and leafy green vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, lettuce).

These powerhouses contain essential nutrients, naturally-occurring chemicals, antioxidants and beneficial fats, rather than those harmful ingredients found in a typical fast food meal.

The other “puzzle piece” – habitual movement – combines aerobic (e.g. running, cycling, swimming, dancing, kickboxing) and anaerobic (e.g. weight lifting, push-ups, squats, crunches, resistance yoga) training.

Together, both disciplines promote muscle tone, cardiovascular strength, skeletal resilience, flexibility, endurance and physical energy. Your body needs these wellness properties to function optimally, experience longevity, and build defenses against illness or injury.

Becoming committed to proper fitness and nutrition can mean the difference between healthy aging and chronic disease development. However, the ultimate decision is yours: would you rather feel vibrant, active and nourished at the cellular level?

Or, are you content to keep avoiding exercise, frequenting the drive-through window and, potentially, suffering from metabolic syndrome or other weight-related complications?


Huge thanks to Nutri Lifescience, LLC, for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

#LoveBulu ‘Cause Bulu Loves You Back!

Confession: health and wellness goodies are my weakness.

Yeah, alright…I recognize the irony. In the broader scope of every possible obsession a person might succumb to, I could do much worse!

But, while my body appreciates the benefits of a wholesome diet, sometimes my wallet wishes I wasn’t so selective. There’s no denying that health often comes with dollar signs attached, resulting in everyone’s favorite “Cost vs. Quality” debate.

Why can’t they just get along? Why can’t we nourish ourselves properly without breaking our budgets? Well…turns out, we can!

Say “hello” to Bulu Box — where nutritious eating meets bargain hunting. Each month, Bulu Box subscribers receive 4-5 snack, vitamin and supplement samples from top-rated wellness brands.

BuluBox

A little orange box of happiness…Who can resist those motivational mantras?!

This customized package is conveniently shipped straight to your doorstep, and Bulu Box offers several subscription plans for every price range. Choose from Month-to-Month ($10 per box), 3 Months ($30 fee),     6 Months ($60 fee) and 12 Months ($110 fee). Free shipping comes standard, and Rewards Points make saving money even easier.

Now, for the fun part — what’s inside a Bulu Box? Pure yumminess, that’s what! Guilt-free food finds galore. Take a peek:

BuluBox contents 1

Protein powder, energy bars, performance supplements…OH MY!!!

Quest Protein Powder

Quest Protein Powder

  • The Breakdown: 23 grams of protein per serving; less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, 110 calories per serving (high protein-to-calories ratio); soy- and gluten-free; essential nutrients including Potassium, Fiber, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Iron
  • The Taste Test: I’ve never uttered a negative word about peanut butter flavored anything, and this protein powder is no exception.
  • The Verdict: When blended into liquid form, Quest adds a creamy quality that smoothie fans will love. Moreover, the protein content is ideal for both pre-workout energy and recovery fuel.

Mediterra Nutritional Bar

Mediterra Savory Bar

  • The Breakdown: 6 grams of protein per serving; 6 grams of fiber per serving; 4 grams of sugar per serving; 160 calories per serving; non-GMO verified; gluten-free, all-natural ingredients; essential nutrients including Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron
  • The Taste Test: With a crisp, crunchy texture and just the right amount of saltiness, this rich and tangy snack condenses an entire Margherita pizza into one bite-sized bar.
  • The Verdict: The tomato and basil combo takes “satisfying pick-me-up” to another level. Mediterranean Diet devotees will appreciate this savory grain and veggie pairing, packaged for on-the-go ease.

Movit Energy Gummies

MoveIt Energy Gummies

  • The Breakdown: 60 calories per serving; scientifically formulated Coenzyme Q10 supplement; Guarana caffeine; essential nutrients including Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12
  • The Taste Test: Although I have trouble stomaching gummies, these little guys defied my initial skepticism. The citrus aftertaste is sweet but not cloying, and the consistency is chewy but not gelatinous.
  • The Verdict: These smiling gummies are hard to resist, and their compact size makes smart snacking effortless. Plus, Movit’s natural energy supports a variety of athletic activities.

Yerba Prima Fiber Plus Powder

Yerba Prima

  • The Breakdown: 9 grams of fiber per serving; 0 grams of sugar per serving; 15 calories per serving; bentonite detoxification; herbal cleansing; milk thistle extract (liver health); Ginko leaf extract (mental function); essential nutrients including Potassium and Calcium
  • The Taste Test: Mix this apple spice infused formula with water, and you’re basically drinking cider. Fall in a glass. Enough said.
  • The Verdict: Yerba Prima offers digestive regularity without skimping on flavor. The purifying herb complex will gently detox your system for fast-acting gastrointestinal relief — a win-win in my book.

So, there you go, folks. That’s why I #LoveBulu. Wanna feel the love as well? Order your own box and use the promo code SWEATPINK at check-out to score 50% off a 3-month subscription!

Special thanks to Fit Approach and Bulu Box for giving me the opportunity to sample these products. 

Quinoa Quesadillas (now, that’s fun to say!)

It’s Saturday night. Yours truly isn’t exactly in the mood for anything that doesn’t involve Netflix. Thus, I’m gearing up for a low-key evening in the comfort of my own humble abode [read: bed].

But…then hunger strikes. What’s a girl to do?

Crank up the stove and start experimenting, of course!

So, tonight’s creation features a mash-up of flavors a la Mexico and South America. I submit for your culinary seal of approval, my friends:

…drumroll, please

Quinoa Quesadillas!!!

Yup. These vegetarian delights are overloaded with protein, whole grains, and essential plant-based nutrients for a meal that will satisfy both your appetite and taste buds.

To utilize my limited command of the Spanish language (because, you know, just keeping with our theme), they’re fantastico.

Legitimate Spanish-speakers: is that actually a word?

Well, regardless…enjoy this delicious and nutritious recipe from my kitchen to yours!

Ingredients:

quinoa quesadillas ingredients

  1. 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  2. 1/4 cup Quinoa
  3. 1/4 cup Mushrooms (chopped)
  4. 1/4 cup Red Onions (sliced)
  5. 1/4 cup Tomatoes (chopped)
  6. 1/4 cup Cotija Cheese (crumbled)*

Make this recipe vegan by substituting the cheese for Silken Tofu.

Preparation:

quinoa quesadillas preparation 1

quinoa quesadillas preparation 2

quinoa quesadillas preparation 3

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  2. While the quinoa is simmering, prep the vegetables and cotija cheese (or vegan substitute).
  3. Pre-heat a small skillet over a medium stove top setting and coat with olive oil cooking spray.
  4. Remove the quinoa pan from heat and drain any remaining water, then set aside temporarily.
  5. Combine the mushrooms, red onions and tomatoes in the skillet, then saute them until softened.
  6. Remove the vegetables from heat after approximately 3-5 minutes and set aside temporarily.
  7. Re-coat the skillet with cooking spray and turn the stove top burner back to a medium setting.
  8. Place 1 tortilla in the skillet and spread the quinoa evenly over it, leaving 1/2″ space along the edge.
  9. Add both the cotija cheese and sauteed vegetables, then place the second tortilla on top.
  10. Cook the bottom tortilla for approximately 2 minutes, or until it sizzles, then flip to the other side.
  11. Allow the second tortilla to cook for the same amount of time before removing from heat.
  12. Once the quesadilla has cooled slightly, cut it into 8 equal-sized wedges and ENJOY, of course!

quinoa quesadillas finished product

TA DA!!!

But wait…there’s more:

Serving Suggestion:

Cored avocado halves — mashed with a fork, drizzled in lime juice, then dusted with just a hint of chili powderstevia and leftover cotija cheese — make a fabulously bold side for this Latin-inspired dish.

New Year. New Moi.

2015

image courtesy of specialevents.com

On the off-chance that anyone will bother reading this (or, find it remotely interesting, for that matter)…behold, my Resolutions for 2015:

  1. I will integrate a 30-minute yoga practice into my regular routine, starting with once per week, then gradually increasing to every day.
  2. I will divorce my tendency to restrict calories and, instead, eat balanced portions of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
  3. I will put a small sum of money aside each month in order to afford an adventure abroad by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
  4. I will learn how to play a musical instrument or explore a potential new hobby that I’ve wanted to try but have never made time for.
  5. I will curb my sarcastic tongue, compulsive need for control, superiority complex and judgmental attitude in my dealings with others.
  6. I will root excessive anxiety, stress or fear of the future out of my life, and focus on counting my blessings instead of uncertainties.
  7. I will make a conscious effort to form new friendships in my area, as well as reconnect with old friends, with whom I’ve lost touch.
  8. I will pursue professional writing opportunities, learn how to become marketable in this industry and, of course, network my ass off.
  9. I will participate in the Whole-30 nutrition program at least once, which will be an extraordinary feat, considering my love for wine.
  10. I will get back into the habit of regularly posting on this [sniff…sniff…all-too-often neglected] blog, at a minimum of twice per week.
  11. I will become more sensitive and respectful toward my significant other’s needs, and flex my “romantic muscles” more frequently.
  12. I will practice open communication with loved ones, demonstrate vulnerability and accept help, instead of  relying solely on myself.
  13. I will read 5-10 classic novels from Time Magazine’s 100 All-Time Best Literary Works list, even if this makes me sound pretentious.
  14. I will continue my current exercise regimen of 5 days per week–1 hour per day, focusing on a balance of cardio and strength training.
  15. I will regularly attend a local Bible study and set aside between 10-15 minutes on a daily basis for spiritual “quiet time” and meditation.

Got any Resolutions of your own? Discuss…