Setting Goals and Intentions for the New Year

 

I don’t necessarily believe in New Year’s Resolutions- at least not in the traditional sense. When someone talks about resolutions, I imagine full gyms and juice cleanses that last a few weeks or month at most. I DO believe in setting intentions and goals for the New Year that include actionable items that we can achieve over time. I especially like setting daily, weekly and monthly goals to achieve which is much less daunting than saying something you are going to do for an entire year. It is also a good idea to set goals in each category of life including work or school, friends and family, health and wellness, etc.

goals intentions resolutions

Here are my top tips for creating attainable goals and setting intentions for the new year:

Number one:

Do not set one large, vague and unattainable goal- no “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save more money” that is just a recipe for failure. Try to break it down however works for you. It takes motivation, planning and commitment to reach any goal including a New Year’s Resolution.

Try this instead:

Choose a few things you want to do more of and a few things you want to do less of

or

make a list of new habits

or

choose one word or phrase to act as a mantra for your year. For example, if you want to spend less time on your phone or social media (one of my goals) maybe you focus on being “present” as your word of the year.

or

take one or two large goals and break them down in to smaller, more manageable monthly goals. For example, instead of “I want to exercise more”, maybe you say- “I want to take 10 fitness class a month.” Or instead of “I want to eat healthy” you would say, “I want to make dinner at home 4 nights a week”. These are tangible items that you can do each day, week or month that will lead you toward your goals.

Number Two

Whatever you choose to do, make sure to write these intentions and goals down somewhere where you can track your progress or write down the steps you have taken to achieve your goals. I love this template from Thirty Handmade Days to help you keep track of your goals and resolutions. You can also write them in your planner or put them at your desk or on your refrigerator.

Number Three

Have someone hold you accountable and support you. This should be someone who you trust to have your best interest in mind and who will really question you if you start to move away from achieving your goals. Maybe you have a fit friend who loves to exercise- ask him or her to help hold you accountable for your fitness goals. Maybe you and your husband order take out during the week- it is important for him to know your goal of cooking at home so he can help support you.

Here are my 2017 health and wellness resolutions: 

Be More Mindful

  • practice mindfulness for at least 10 minutes each day
  • take mindful breaks at work or at home when I feel myself getting caught up or stressed
  • share mindfulness with friends, family or patients at work who I think will benefit
  • take at least one mindful class per month

Use My Phone Less

  • Continue to use Moment to track my phone use
  • Turn phone to airplane mode after 9pm when I am at home
  • Put my phone away when I am eating, in a group or out with friends

Apologize Less

  • Replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you”
  • Instead of: “I’m sorry I was late” say “Thank you for waiting for me”
  • Instead of: “Sorry I spilled in the kitchen again!” say “Thank you for always helping me clean up when I spill”
  • Instead of: “Sorry” for literally no reason at all, take a mindful moment.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2017 and remember that a year is a really long time so please be patient with yourself and do not give up on your goals even if you aren’t perfect in January! xo

Food to Heal: How Foods Can Help Us Decrease Inflammation

All your resolutions in one delicious delivery

If you follow me on Instagram you might know that I am working through the Well + Good's list of 2017 Wellness Trends that I can afford.  The first trend (and one that is certainly in my price range) is eating inflammation-fighting foods. One thing that many of us do already is substitute inflammation fighting ingredients for ones that we know to cause inflammation. For example, nut-based cheeses, zoodles, paleo pancakes all replace dairy, sugar or wheat which are known to cause inflammation. In additional to staying away from foods that cause inflammation, we can increase our consumption of foods that help decrease inflammation in our bodies. While we are bound to see "new" anti inflammatory research and products on the market, there are plenty of foods we already know about that can help to fight inflammation especially if they are enjoyed after a challenging work out.

I have learned that there are foods that cause inflammation and foods that fight against it. Food either makes you healthier or unhealthier but there is no such thing as a neutral food as everything we put in to our bodies or on our plats add to or take away from our overall health. That is not to say that we should always only eat food that makes us healthier because indulging is important too but as a whole, our goal should be to eat a diet that overall contributes to our health.

Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

Inflammation is one of many aspects of our health that can be greatly affected by food. I have seen such a change in my overall feeling of health since I started paying attention to the ingredients in the food that I choose to eat. Consequentially, I have added more inflammation fighting foods to my diet and I limit the foods I know to cause inflammation in my body.

About two years ago I was experiencing chronic pain with no real identifiable origin; my hips always hurt and my legs often ached. I was going to Physical Therapy and nothing was helping. I thought it was a combination of my boot camp style work outs with a lot of running, jumping and pavement pounding and bad genetics and I thought I would be in pain forever.

Changing my work outs from boot camps to lower impact workouts including spinning, barre and Pilates definitely helped my pain but that wasn't the whole picture. At the same time, I also started eating clean, unprocessed and nutrient rich foods more often. My chronic aches and pain almost disappeared after a few months. Now I know when I eat too much sugar or drink too much alcohol that my body will ache due to inflammation from these foods. I certainly still take an anti-inflammatory medication here and there for pain especially if I am trying to sleep or work but this change caused me to truly see the benefit of natural healing with food.

Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

Inflammation is a natural and necessary component of healing and protection for the body but too much inflammation can be painful and harmful to your overall health. Below is a list of ingredients you can include in your post work out snack or meal to fight inflammation. Of course, the foods you choose is dependent on each individual and the way you respond to certain foods. I recommend slowly adding some of these ingredients in to your diet especially post work out and see how your body feels.

Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

Foods to Fight Inflammation

  • almonds or almond butter
  • avocado
  • basil
  • bell pepper
  • brussels sprouts
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • cayenne pepper
  • coconut
  • cucumber
  • cilantro
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • dark leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, spinach
  • onions
  • beets
  • squash
  • sweet potato
  • turmeric
  • fish
  • olive oil
  • cherries



Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

 

Some recipe ideas:

 

Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

Take a look through your favorite recipes- I am sure you already have many of these ingredients in your meals or you might be able to easily add some to  up the benefits of your already healthy meals.

I am not about categorizing "good" and "bad" foods but just as important as the foods that reduce inflammation is to know what foods can increase inflammation.

Again, everyone is different but for most of us, these foods in high quantities can cause inflammation and lead to a higher likelihood of aches, pains and slower recovery times.

Food as Medicine: How to Naturally Decrease Inflammation in your Body

These inflammatory causing foods include wheat, dairy sugar, alcohol and fried foods. Of course, all of these foods can contribute to inflammation but some people are more sensitive to certain food groups. It would be difficult to cut out all of these food groups (although not impossible) so I recommend finding out which cause inflammation for you specifically and then reducing that food group as best as you can. There is no need for a complete diet overhaul here- just a few additions and a few subtractions to make a big difference in how you feel.

If you want to follow along as I move through the Wellness trends of 2017 (and maybe find some of my own) follow me on Instagram.

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole

This is so easy, so paleo, so gluten free, so Whole 30 and so good. Hubs decided that this was his “signature dish” back when we did the Whole 30 and he amazed himself with his cooking skills and with how something so healthy can be so good. We made it again recently and remembered just how much we love it.

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If you want this dish to be completely Whole 30 compliant, you will need to use your own homemade ranch but this time we aren’t doing Whole 30 so we used ranch from Trader Joe’s. I love this recipe for homemade ranch.

Another great thing about this dish is how easy it is to add extra veggies. We had some leftover bell pepper and celery that needed to be used so we just threw those in the mix. This also makes plenty so we had it for 3 meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, shredded (see below for how to cook)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • and other veggies you like, diced
  • 2 lbs cooked chicken breast cut in to pieces
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

 

Prep the squash- preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half short ways and then in to rings. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes.

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  •  Saute the onion and veggies  until soft (about 6 minutes)
  • Put the veggies in to a bowl with cooked chicken, hot sauce, Ranch, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • When the squash is cooked, take it out of the oven and shred with a fork. Add shredded squash to the bowl and stir.
  • Add the eggs to the bowl and stir.
  • Pour the mixture in to a 9×13 dish and bake for 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serve with green onions, avocado, ranch or more hot sauce on the side.

 

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Freezer Meal Prep

So I have been MIA for a looooong time. We moved, I took a big test for work and I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I decided to take a break from the blog and get back to it when I felt myself being pulled back. I have continued to post on Instagram and when I posted a photo of the freezer meal prep, I had so many people ask for the recipe that I knew it was time to come back for a post! Plus, today is the first day of another Fit Girls Guide challenge which always motivates me to share new healthy recipes. Learn more about FGG here.

My good friend recently had a baby who is absolutely adorable and it is so much fun to watch her as a first time mom. She is doing an amazing job but said that the one thing that is really hard is finding time to cook healthy meals. I wanted to help and figured that some freezer meals that she could throw in the crock pot would be a good place to start. I did some research and chose these 3 recipes. My friend is currently avoiding dairy so none of these meals include cheese or other dairy products, they are vegetarian, healthy and so easy to make. I made a bag for her and a bag for us!

Freezer Meals

Butternut Squash Chili

  • 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, cubed (I bought the pre cubed kind from Trader Joe’s and used a bag and a half)
  • 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup leftover broccoli (this is the best part about chili- you can add any veggies you might have)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  • Write the name of the dish and instructions for cooking on the bag
  • fill freezer bag
  • flatten and remove all the air and store in freezer
  • defrost in fridge overnight
  • place in slow cooker and add one cup of water, stir
  • cook on low for 8 hours

 

Coconut Chickpea Curry

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • two cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz tomato sauce
  • one can of coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Write the name of the dish and instructions for cooking on the bag
  • fill freezer bag
  • flatten and remove all the air and store in freezer
  • defrost in fridge overnight
  • cook on low for 6-8 hours
  • serve with bread, rice, cauliflower rice

 

Black Bean Fajitas

  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • one can black beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Write the name of the dish and instructions for cooking on the bag
  • fill freezer bag
  • flatten and remove all the air and store in freezer
  • defrost in fridge overnight
  • cook on low for 6-8 hours
  • serve with tortillas, rice and any toppings you like

 

Tips:

  • If you are doing a few different meals at one time, I recommend using the food processor for the onions. This saved me from chopping 6 onions and kept my eyes from watering.
  • I would consider mixing them in a bowl and then adding to a bag especially to incorporate the spices.
  • You could add meat to any of these by browning or searing it and adding to the mix.
  • You don’t actually have to freeze these if you are going to use them within a few days. I didn’t freeze the butternut squash chili so I could cook it the next day.

Pure Barre Platform: Classpass Review

Pure Barre Platform ClassPass Review

Pure Barre Platform: Classpass Review

 

I love Pure Barre so much that I had my birthday party there this year but sometimes I feel like I could use a little more cardio. Insert Pure Barre Platform- the same great moves from the traditional Pure Barre class with cardio bursts on the platform. 

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The Details

Location: I have taken Platform at Santa Monica and Brentwood. I believe all LA studios offer Platform but these are the classes that I have found are open most often on Classpass.

Amenities: Both PB Brentwood and Santa Monica have one bathroom and one changing room. There is deodorant, hair ties, etc but nothing too fancy and no showers. I can sometimes get away with some dry shampoo and deodorant after a regular Pure Barre class but Platform will definitely make you sweat… a lot. 

Class Size: Room for about 20 but each Platform class I have taken has had 12 people or less. 

Footwear: Must wear socks and you MUST bring a towel. 

The class

Most of this fast paced class is done on the platform or incorporating it in some way. For example, you use the platform during abs to anchor your feet so you can crunch up higher. The instructor starts out by explaining the moves on the platform and orienting the class to the moves, especially the jumps. The class follows a similar flow to a regular Pure Barre class working core, arms, legs, seat and core again with a cool down at the end. There is no stretchy tube or ball in platform- just the platform and weights.

The best part of class is the jumping where you really feel like you are flying slash also working out. I love the combination of cardio and muscle sculpting moves and really feel like I am getting a well rounded workout. BUT there is one thing about the new class that I do not care for. Each move starts with slow, tempo and then ends with really rapid movements in the “double time”. This double time not only looks absolutely ridiculous, but I feel like I might be injuring myself. There is no way that pulsing that fast can be good for me so I have chosen to modify by not doing the double time. One of the things I really love about barre classes in general is that I feel protected because the movements are so small and controlled and I think some of this is lost on this class trying to get more of a cardio workout in. 

Pure Barre Platform: Classpass Review

 

All in all, I think if you make the right modifications and listen to your body that this is an amazing class to add in to your schedule when you want a low impact high cardio workout. 

Mixed Berry Chia Seed Jam

Chia Seed Jam

Hubs loves jam, jelly, marmalade, really any fruit spread but I have never made it for him. So, when I saw that chia seed jam was a thing… I jumped right on it. This recipe is super easy to make and easy to customize to your preference. Even better, honey is the only sweetener!

 

Chia Seed Jam

 

We have been spreading it on muffins, adding it to our overnight oats and possibly also eating it out of the jar. I used blackberries, raspberries and strawberries for this one but I think it would work well with peaches or apricots too. You could even try it with frozen fruit if you dont have access to fresh.

Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of fruit (you can use any mix you like but make sure it adds up to 3 cups…ish)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of honey
  • juice of half lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Chia Seed Jam

 

Directions:

  • wash fruit and cut any large fruit in to smaller pieces
  • heat a medium saucepan and add fruit to bring out the flavor and make it easy to mash
  • using a spoon or potato masher, mash the fruit as it cooks (the amount you mash depends on how thick or thin you want the jam to be)
  • add the honey and lemon juice and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes
  • add chia seeds, stir and turn off the heat
  • pour in to a jar and let cool before you enjoy

*this should last about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator

 

Chia Seed Jam


 

Green Chef Meal Delivery Review

Green Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

I truly love the grocery store but sometimes I cheat on Trader Joe’s with meal delivery services. It is all the fun of cooking and none of the recipe searching, grocery shopping and in the case of Green Chef- no chopping!

The Specifics:

Green Chef uses organic and non-GMO ingredients in their baskets.

You can choose 3 recipes for 2, 4 or 6 people.

Meal Plan Options: Vegetarian, Omnivore, Vegan, Carnivore, Gluten-free and Paleo.

You can also choose “Rise and Shine” which is 2 quick breakfasts and one healthy dinner.

Cost:

  • Meals cost depends on which plan you choose:
    • Vegetarian: $10.49 per meal
    • Omnivore: $11.99 per meal
    • Vegan: $11.99 per meal
    • Carnivore: $13.49 per meal
    • Gluten-Free: $13.49 per meal
    • Paleo: $14.00 per meal
    • $9 shipping and handling

Pros:

  • several meal options that are sensitive to dietary restrictions
  • many ingredients are washed and CHOPPED for you
  • ingredients are common and would be easy to find to recreate the recipes
  • meals take about 30 minutes to make
  • ingredients are fresh, non GMO, hormone free and mostly organic
  • recipes are easy to follow
  • excellent customer service and response to concerns (see end of post)
  • able to choose to omit any proteins you do not like (beef, poultry, pork, lamb, shellfish, fish or game)
  • all ingredients are color coded (see photo)

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Cons:

  • earliest delivery is Wednesday
  • Green Chef is one of the pricier options
  • I did have one meal with missing ingredients and had to substitute some dried herbs for the fresh ones that were missing. Also, one squash was broken in half and ruined the zucchini that it shared a bag with. I emailed customer service and they gave me a credit in my account for 50% off my next delivery which I greatly appreciated.

 

Our Meals: 

We chose the Paleo Menu and our meals were:

 

Seared Salmon and Fritters

sweet pea fritters, roasted veggies and frisee

Green Chef Meal Delivery

 

 

 

Green Chef Meal Delivery  Green Chef Meal Delivery
Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery


Green Chef Meal Delivery
Green Chef Meal Delivery

 

This is my favorite meal for sure- I loved the fritters and the vegetables were so fresh, crisp and bright.

 

Greek Chicken Bowl

Cauliflower rice, spinach, baba ghanoush and olives

Green Chef Meal Delivery


Green Chef Meal Delivery
Green Chef Meal Delivery

 

Steak Tapenade

Olive tapenade, broccoli slaw, savory squash

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery

Green Chef Meal Delivery

 

I would highly recommend Green Chef and definitely do it again. Check out my other meal delivery reviews for Blue Apron and SunBasket!

 

Vie2 Cycling: ClassPass Review

Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review

Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review

I love my regular spin studios but wanted to try something new on a Friday afternoon. I had a very long week and was happy to have a class where I could sweat and have fun and that’s exactly what this class offered. This review is for the the studio and specifically the Club Night- Live DJ Immersion Cycle Class with Spase. 

Location: 1708  19th Street Santa Monica, CA 90404

Parking: There was plenty of free and metered street parking around the studio and not much else around it.

Amenities: Beautiful locker rooms with towels, beauty products, blow dryer and plenty of space

Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review

Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review

Shower: Two in each locker room

Class Size: Room for 30ish but our class was small with about 8 people. 

Footwear: Spin shoes are available for rent.

The class:

The ImmersionCycle class is designed to immerse you in music and music video. The Friday night class has an all in one live DJ/instructor named Spase. He is definitely more of a DJ than a spin instructor but he did a great job getting the class motivated and it was fun! If you really like the intensity of SoulCycle or Cycle House, this might not be the class for you. I definitely got a great work out but it was more about having fun and riding with the music than getting a really intense work out. 

About half way through the ride, Spase put our stats up on the board including our bike number, power, and RPMs. He would encourage the class to get to a certain RPM together rather than have us compete against each other. I am sure other classes use this board differently but it was great to be able to visualize how hard we are working. After class, they email you with all of your stats for the whole class. 

 Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review

 

I would be very interested to see what another class would be like at this studio as they have several different class styles- including a 90 minute class!

Vie2 Cycling ClassPass Review



SunBasket Meal Delivery Review

Sun Basket 3 Meals Free

SunBasket Meal Delivery Review




We are big fans of meal delivery services where we can spend time cooking together without having to always think of recipes, grocery shop and figure out to do with the extra ingredients we don't use before they go bad. As you might know, we did a lot of Blue Apron- see my review here. I was ready to try a new service and our friends sent a coupon code for us to try. Last week, we tried Sunbasket for the first time.

The Specifics:

Sunbasket uses organic and non-GMO ingredients in their baskets.

You can choose 3 recipes for 2, 4 or 6 people

Meal Plan Options: Chef's Choice, Vegetarian, Paleo or Gluten Free

You can also choose "Rise and Shine" which is 2 quick breakfasts and one healthy dinner

Cost:

  • Meals cost $11.49 per person.
  • 2–person plan: $68.94/week
    4–person plan: $137.88/week

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We went with Chef's Choice and these were our meals:

Braised salmon with Thai coconut curry and cabbage
Sunbasket Review
 

Seared pork with endive, plums, and caramelized onions

Sunbasket Review

Pros:

  • several meal options that are sensitive to dietary restrictions
  • all meals I could easily recreate again
  • ingredients would be easy to find
  • everything tasted great
  • ingredients are fresh, non GMO, hormone free and mostly organic
  • the meat/seafood packaging tells you how to store and when to cook it by

 

Cons:

  • as you can see, the meals aren't that pretty
  • no Monday delivery option
  • meals were pretty basic and I could likely create these recipes on my own
  • no step by step pictures on the recipe cards
  • used a lot of pots and pans

 

Overall, I liked the recipes and would make them again. The best thing about Sunbasket, is the access to delicious organic, non-GMO and hormone free ingredients. 

Sunbasket Review

What is your favorite meal delivery service? Share in the comments below!

 

Monday Motivation: My Feel Good Food Philosophy

I am not about “good” food and “bad” food. Food serves so many more purposes in our lives than calories and nutrition. Food is a part of culture, engaging with friends and family and sharing in traditions.

There are certainly foods that more positively contribute to your physical health and on a day to day basis, those should be the primary foods on your plate. But if you are going to eat something that does not positively contribute to your physical health, make sure it at least contributes to your mental and emotional health by really enjoying it and not spending any time beating yourself up about it.

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I believe we should:

eat real foods

whole, unprocessed, non-chemical foods

eat what makes your body feel good

listen to your body- not all “healthy” foods are healthy for everyone

eat to fuel yourself

eat food that helps you achieve your goals- physical or otherwise

eat mindfully and enjoy it

take the time to pay attention to what you are eating and savor it

So many people struggle with their relationship with food (myself included) but if we take the time to consider what we are eating and how it makes us feel rather than just how many calories we are eating in a day, I think we can improve our relationship with food and enjoy it even more.

 

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