3 Apps to Support Your Emotional and Mental Health

Does running away from my problems count as cardio? Sigh. If only that was the way things worked. Anxiety and stress are no joke. No matter what changes you make to your diet and your fitness routine, your mind can always find a way to convince you to be miserable. Now that self care is an actual trending topic, we can finally openly talk about the struggles we’re facing in our quest for emotional and mental well being. What’s even better is that there’s always an app for that.

Meditation Studio

This app goes beyond just general relaxation meditations. Meditation studio offers a wide variety of guided meditations that focus on specific areas like anxiety, sleep, and gratitude. There’s even an ‘unguided’ feature that allows you to create custom meditations.

Talkspace

This app is like having the magical ability to get your therapist to make a house call. For $32/ week, you can chat with a professional as much as you need to. You can even do couples therapy! This is unlimited, on-demand counseling, y’all.

Happify

This app is like a one stop shop for emotional and mental support. Happify describes its mission best: “How you feel matters. Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, or you’re dealing with constant negative thoughts, Happify brings you effective tools and programs to take control of your emotional well-being.” Set your goals and let the app do the rest.

***Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Go here for the low down on more Health & Wellness Apps available on ios and android.

Wellness Trends to Look For in 2018

I had a major crush on this boy that was way into Tai Chi and who (spoiler alert) turned out to be a totally self important tool bag. Considering he was so wrong about so many things, I started to firmly believe that Tai Chi is ridiculous because, ya know, there’s no “I” in denial. But with the new year comes the opportunity to restart, rejuvenate, and reinvent yourself. Even though I’ve come to see the practice of Tai Chi as a reliable red flag as any, this new year is already telling me otherwise. Tai Chi classes have already started making their way into a gym or park near you. Alas, this low impact exercise is perfect for reducing stress and creating calm in both mind and body. Still bitter. I probably need to work on that. Wellness is all about mind, body, and soul, right? So, what else is 2018 bringing into the world of wellness? Here are just a few things that we’ll be seeing more of this year.

Indoor Air Purification

As world leaders continue to compare missile sizes, and pretty severe weather patterns are devastating entire regions, we can’t help but notice environmental effects on our overall sense of wellness. Clean water has been a concern for decades, but this year, expect to see more talk about indoor air purification.

After you painstakingly planned your diet and really got yourself into a successful workout routine, breathing in the comfort of your own home should be a no-brainer. Sadly, dust, mold, and other pollutants have been putting a strain on that otherwise quiet existence for some time now. Searches for air purifiers and air purifying household plants have already increased by nearly 300% and we’ve only just begun.

Fortunately, there are some pretty awesome air purifiers available on amazon. For larger spaces in your home, this tower-style HEPA air purifier with a charcoal filter is a workhorse, clearing the air of allergens and odor from pets and smoke. For smaller spaces, like your bedroom nightstand, this cute purifier will filter out 99% of the allergens in the air. Best part, they’re extremely affordable.

The Importance of Self Care

Mindfulness in meditation has been trending for a while now. The idea is to be present in the moment and gradually let go of the thoughts that produce anxiety and adversely affect our mental well being. This trend is going to have some company this year as self-care becomes more and more important. Whether the emphasis is on caring for your body through restorative post workout stretches or snacks (Huel and Althletic Greens have been my saving grace), getting enough sleep, or slipping away into a spa-like bath, the principle of self care is no longer a luxury. This year, it’s a necessity.

 Well + Good predicts…

From athletic gear, to women’s health, to brain-boosting supplements, to craft Kombucha elixirs, to gut health, and beyond. Those trailblazing folks over at Well+Good have rounded up their Top 18 Trends of 2018. It’s so worth the read. I don’t know about you, but bio-hacking and high-tech sleep sound uh-mazing!

I Tried Huel, the Future of Food, and You Should Too

My fight against low energy rages on. I’m pretty sure the key to feeling energized isn’t in the massive amount of coffee I drink (what a wonderful world that would be). The key to getting your groove back is in a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising. We’ve all gotten that memo. When I’m eating right, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly, my body just feels better, ya know? I am absolutely determined to find that fountain of youth, y’all. As always, ambition gets the best of me, and I go totally extreme in my efforts. So this happened. I spent a long 5 days on a liquid diet, and maybe after you read this you will too. Hear me out.

I should tell you again that I’m not one of those people that lives to eat. I’m more like one of those people that eats to live. The idea of meal replacement shakes doesn’t send me running for the hills, though I tend to avoid them because of all the toxic additives that many of them contain. Then I discovered Huel. Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, proteins, essential fats, carbs, fiber, and phytonutrients without all the chemical additives. I mean, they bill themselves as the future of food. Lofty claim, right? But hey, it’s vegan, it’s sustainable, it’s cost effective, it’s time saving, and you get a free t-shirt with your first order. So I thought, why not give this stuff a try.

I’m an all or nothing kind of lady. I figured if I was gonna try Huel, I was gonna try Huel, straight up, no chaser. I mixed the powder with nothing but water for the first 3 days and ate nothing else. Seeing is how I’m one of those people that eats to live I figured I wouldn’t miss food all that much. I was wrong. I’m gonna be bluntly honest here. Huel tastes like…well, imagine this: you take food, then you subtract flavor, texture, and go ahead and get rid of all that makes food indulgent or delicious in any way until you’re left with nothing but science. Then you’ve got Huel.

Ok, so I’m totally exaggerating, but if you’re expecting the future of food, think again. I will admit, however, that the taste isn’t offensive at all (it actually has a kind of oat taste to it) and the texture isn’t so bad either, but I did find myself missing food. As for my energy level, to be honest, I felt really good. I haven’t felt hungry at all and I was able to keep up with my daily yoga without feeling overly tired or strained. Full disclosure: I abandoned the whole just water thing after the first 3 days, and opted for breakfast smoothies with Huel. Best decision ever. These smoothies have been down right tasty. You can even cook with Huel, baking it into a healthy cookie recipe, or even a savory stove top dish. The website offers a variety of recipes that include Huel, so there’s that. Anyway, Huel is definitely worth a try. If you’re looking to improve your diet, increase your energy level, maintain a healthy weight, or even drop a few pounds you should give Huel a go.

Check out the video below for a look at a fabulous kitchen, a beautiful man, and some tips on using Huel.

Your Beauty Diet: The Very Best Skin-Nourishing Foods

You guys!!! I’ve been so busy since I got back from Europe. The new school year is starting, so I’ve been helping my sister set up her classroom down in Philadelphia. I’m always amazed at how much work teachers have to do and how many classroom resources they have to pay for themselves. Shout out to all the educators out there! Side bar: if you want to donate to her classroom, please don’t hesitate! You can donate here and if you’d like to know a little more about her classroom check out this link.

Anyway, I’m just getting back into the swing of things since the trip. I came down with a horrible cold as soon as I got back, and that really took the wind out of my sails. If you’ve been following for a while you know that I rarely, and I do mean rarely, get sick. I’m totally married to taking preventative measures against cold and flu season, and on the rare occasion that I do get sick, I’m all about those quick, natural remedies. All this travel had my immune system in a tailspin though, and what’s worse is that all that sick and tired started to surface on my skin. You know that weary-eyed, dull look you get when you’re sick? Well let’s just say that cold added about 20 years to my Gesicht. Not cool.

Beauty is only skin deep, right? Meh. Not always. The foods we eat definitely impact our beauty from the inside out. We are what we eat for real! So when trying to bring your sexy back, diet is a key component. Here is a list of the best beauty foods to incorporate into your lifestyle.

THE BEST BEAUTY FOODS

  1. Lacto-fermented foods are excellent for improving digestion as they are predigested by bacteria so nutrients are more available for the body to use. The process also creates natural probiotics, key for good gut health. Studies also show that lack of certain acids such as hydrochloric acid in the gut contributes to skin problems from rosacea to acne.Lactic acid bacteria can help increase these acids. Other important beauty foods to eat are prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichoke, bananas, green veggies, asparagus, onions and garlic that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Foods rich in digestive enzymes such as papaya and pineapple can also help nourish gut and skin health.
  2. Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation contributes to a host of skin problems including dryness, pimples and loss of skin tone, as it breaks down essential collagen. Anti-inflammatory foods include lacto-fermented foods and those rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. Grain-fed meats contain inflammatory fats whereas grass-fed meats are rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega -3s. For beauty and health, avoid highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, pasteurized dairy and gluten that can all contribute to inflammation.
  3. Alkalising foods. Many naturopaths believe that too much acid in the body may lead to skin and health issues from arthritis to eczema. The modern diet is full of acidic foods such as red meat, alcohol, refined grains and sugar. To see and feel the benefits, reduce these and eat lots of alkalising foods: lemons, green leafy veg, fruit, herbs, spices, herbal teas.
  4. Antioxidant-rich foods have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the skin from free radical damage that ages it prematurely. Free radicals are unstable molecules that naturally roam our bodies looking to partner up with healthy cells, which they then damage. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits, veggies, spices, green tea and legumes. While oxidation is a normal part of our body’s processes, it is exacerbated by exposure to toxins and pollution, eating processed foods, stress, cigarettes and alcohol so try to cut down on these for your health, and your complexion.
  5. Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C helps support collagen production and boost the skin’s immunity. Lemons, camu camu (a cherry-like fruit), acerola cherry, green leafy veggies, berries, papaya, kiwi fruit, broccoli and cabbage should all be on your shopping list if you want a beautiful complexion.
  6. Vitamin A. Beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cell turnover, improving dry flaky skin. Carrots, sweet potato, leafy greens and seaweeds are rich in vitamin A. Cod liver oil is another great source and also contains skin-loving vitamin D.
  7. Spark up your skin. Minerals are key catalysts for many biochemical reactions, helping to make enzymes, antioxidants and hormones. They are essential for skin’s hydration, resilience and overall texture and health. Oats, buckwheat and chickpeas contain silica, for example, which can help to promote skin elasticity. Zinc in pepitas is another anti-inflammatory helpful in repairing and building the skin, particularly if you are prone to acne or oily skin. Soak grains, seeds and legumes to reduce anti-nutrients, aid their digestibility and unleash their goodness.
  8. Support the liver. Foods that support the liver are very important to wellness and beauty because this organ is involved in every metabolic process. Max sulphur-rich foods, including those from the brassica family – cabbage, broccoli, kale – in your diet and enjoy nourishing, slow-cooked bone broths.
  9. Eat liver-supporting herbs such as milk thistle, rosemary, fennel, dandelion and burdock root.
  10. Eat fat. Eat essential fatty acids. The ideal ratio is 1:1 – 5:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but in the Western world it looks more like 20:1 – 50:1. While omega-6s are essential, their dominance causes inflammation in the body, so avoid processed packaged foods and refined vegetable, seed and nut oils.Eat fresh seeds and nuts for omega-6s and dose up on omega-3s by eating fresh fish (especially cold-water fish), flaxseeds and chia seeds. Be sure to eat freshly ground flaxseeds and chia seeds as they oxidise very easily. Krill oil is also a great omega-3-rich supplement. Other skin-boosting unsaturated fats are olive oil – avoid heating it as it oxidises – and the fats in avocado.Cook with saturated fats such as red palm oil and coconut oil: these are stable and rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are great for digestion, brain and skin health.
  11. Eat protein. Insufficient protein in the diet can lead to sallow-looking skin and lack of muscle tone. Protein is vital for collagen synthesis, tissue growth and repair. It’s important for balancing blood-sugar levels and it builds muscle, increasing basal metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn fat. Good protein sources are fish, grass-fed meats, fresh nuts and seeds and cultured dairy.

Your body will thank you for introducing all of these cleansing foods into your diet. I’ve been really good about changing the way I think about and choose the foods I eat. The payoff is immediate. More energy, a total relief from abdominal discomfort, and now that I think of it, I’ve also been less stressed out and anxious than I’ve been in years. Cherry on top? A youthful glow to my skin. What more could a lady ask for?!

Source: The Beauty Chef

5 Simple Habits That Will Totally Change Your Life

So it’s the beginning of a brand new year! As you know, I absolutely try to avoid making New Year’s resolutions. I feel like I set myself up for failure when I set goals that are too specific to withstand the changing demands of life. I do try to form a basis for my year by setting flexible goals that I hope become part of my daily life. The idea is to cultivate healthy habits so that they just become routine. My mantra is this: Start small if you have to, but make sure, at the very least, that you start! Here are 5 simple habits that I’ve found totally changed my outlook on life. Fa realz. Little things can have a huge impact on your day to day. Cheers to new beginnings!

1. Make Your Bed Every Morning

When you start your day by making your bed, you’re essentially setting a productive tone for the rest of your day. Since it’s probably the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom, making your bed every morning also gives the overall appearance of your space a tidy, put together look.

2. Stay Hydrated

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle… and Zoolander. This should totally go without saying: Wetness is the essence of beauty. You should make it a habit to drink at least 8oz of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Seriously, keep your water bottle on the nightstand and then carry it with you throughout your day. Water is key to a healthy lifestyle.

3. Get Moving

2 Yogis You Need to Follow on Instagram

Even the busiest person in the world can spare 5-15 minutes a day. Out of the 1,440 minutes in a day, there’s ample time for you to get into a fitness routine. Just find an exercise that you love (biking, swimming, walking, yoga, whatever) and no matter what, do it!

4. Pamper Yourself

Soothing Honey Lavender Face Wash

It’s no secret that I love spa days at home. As important as diet and exercise are to a healthy lifestyle, so is taking the time to relax. Make sure to take a relaxing  Ginger Detox Bath, or give yourself a soothing Honey Lavender Facial, or try any of these DIY beauty recipes.

5. Plan Your Meals

It’s always tough to break unhealthy eating habits. We all prefer the quick fix and more often than not, the quick fix is loaded with empty calories and over-processed yuck. Planning and prepping meals ahead of time allows us to really think about nutrition and what our bodies need. Meal planning can also drastically reduce the amount of money we spend on grocery impulse buys. Take a look at some of these infographics to plan your course of attack. Remember, you can always start small. Just plan one healthy meal at first, and then build from there!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What are some of your lifestyle goals for this year?