Manage Stress Without Pulling Your Hair Out

Stress is unavoidable, but also manageable. If you feel like your stress levels have been up lately, it’s time to be mindful of ways to lower these levels before you begin feeling worse and noticing the ramifications in other areas of your life. Stress management is a crucial part of overall health, and finding what works for you is just as important. Here are my favorite ways to lower stress naturally…

Practice deep breathing. This is my go-to quick fix. When you feel stress building up, take a deep breath. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this two or three times, and you will feel incredible afterward. Insider tip: this breathing exercise also helps you sleep like a baby!

Healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy, whole foods and regularly exercising helps lower your stress levels immensely. Focusing on healthy foods and exercise will also boost your energy levels and overall feeling of well-being. Exercise doesn’t have to be anything extreme — a simple walk around your neighborhood will help!

Don’t forget your social life. When you’re drowning in work, it’s tempting to forsake your social life and spend all your time working to get rid of the stress, but this will only have the opposite effect. Spending time with loved ones is a great stress reducer, so find more ways to be social in your busy schedule.

Prioritize your sleep. When you’re not sleeping enough, your cortisol levels will start to rise, which means that this feeling of constant stress will only get worse. On top of this, poor sleep will make you crave caffeine and sugar, which also increases your stress levels. So, to solve both these issues, work on hitting the sheets and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

When you start to implement these ways of reducing stress in your life you’ll be sure to feel a lot better in a short amount of time. Some are only minor changes, while others take a little more effort. What can you start implementing this week to help manage your stress in a healthy way?

Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Coffee Without Sugar

I so often hear that the hardest part about kicking a sugar habit is the morning cup of joe. Most coffee drinkers enjoy sweetening their coffee with a flavored creamer, sugar, or another artificial sweetener that proves difficult to ditch. There are actually many ways you can sweeten your cup naturally and without guilt — and today, I’m going to share a few options with you.

Cinnamon. A spice we all probably have in our cupboards, cinnamon is an excellent way to flavor your coffee without sugar. Cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also beneficial for helping sustain healthy blood sugar, so give it a shot!

Vanilla extract. Probably the most popular flavor choice for dairy creamer is french vanilla. Skip the sugary, dairy version and add a
few drops of pure vanilla extract to your coffee instead.

Cardamom. So, this spice won’t necessarily make your coffee taste a lot sweeter, it gives a more aromatic flavor to the coffee, and it also adds some health benefits. Add some cinnamon and cardamom to my coffee for a sweet and aromatic combination of flavors.

Cacao. Sprinkle some cacao powder to add a bit of a sweet, rich, chocolaty taste. Cacao is also loaded with antioxidants and is the perfect superfood to toss into your coffee. Yum!

Coconut cream. If you usually add creamer to your coffee, try using coconut cream. It’s not incredibly sweet, but it sweetens your coffee up a bit, also adding a light coconut flavor. You can even add a little cinnamon to this mix when you want to make it a little sweeter.

So, here you have quite a few options to make your coffee a little sweeter without turning to processed sugar on a daily basis. All options have a different flavor, so there must be at least one option here that appeals to you. Just try a few different combinations and you are sure to find a flavor that you like and that can replace the artificial sugar for you. What are you excited about trying?

3 Ways to Make Sure You Reach Your Health Goals

The path to health differs from person to person, as we all have different personalities, different motivations, and different circumstances.  Something that may sabotage my goals may not be a worry for you. Finding this unique balance that’s so individual for each of us is an incredibly crucial piece of our health journey. But one thing is sure — there are universal ways to reach your goals that work for everyone. That’s what we’re talking about today!

Here are a few that keep me on track and motivated…

Baby steps, not leaps. Take a deep breath. You don’t have to do it all at once. What a relief, right? Trying to change every part of your life at once is unrealistic, and it simply doesn’t work. Make a list of baby steps that will get you to your destination, and start one by one.

Don’t make it all about appearance. Working on a healthy lifestyle needs to be about much more than appearance. The mindset shift that comes when you start making it about health and longevity is astounding. By all means, be concerned with your appearance! I don’t at all think that’s wrong. But make your health journey about the longevity and quality of your life.

Give yourself leeway. Don’t expect perfection. This is a tip that you should put into practice from the beginning of your health journey and beyond. Do yourself a favor, a huge favor, and don’t expect perfection from yourself. It’s simply unattainable and unrealistic, and you’re setting yourself up for failure from the beginning using this method.  When you expect perfection, you’re much more likely to throw the towel in completely when you make one small “mistake.” But when you realize these slip-ups are most certainly in the forecast, you can set up a game plan of how to attack them head on and continue moving forward full force.

So, have you found yours yet? Have you found the perfect steps, unique to you, to make your health goals a reality? If this sounds exactly like what you need  email me and I’ll be in touch!

Why Autumn is Great for Resolutions

What feelings come up when you think of summer ending and autumn creeping in? Is it one of refreshment and excitement for the new season to begin? Or perhaps you’re disappointed for the summer fun in the sun to come to an end? Which side of the road are you on? Autumn is my favorite season.  I love the cooler weather and seeing the leaves change when I visit my cabin in GA.  The fall colors are my favorite <3

If summer’s half as busy for you as it is for most, the impending fall season may feel like an incredibly necessary wind-down time. As the weather begins to cool down and we gear up for a change, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your goals that may have slacked off after New Years, and use this time as a second resolution season.  What in your life needs a fresh start? Think about 1 or 2 things that would improve your life for the better, that you’ve been meaning to get around to doing. Does this mean going to bed earlier on a regular basis? Making sure you eat fruits and veggies daily? Choose just a few things so you can stick with it!

What goals are you striving to achieve that need a tweaking? Anything you’ve been working on that’s taking longer than expected? That could mean you just need to slightly tweak your plan to make it more actionable, less daunting and more easily accessible. What could that be?  What projects around the house didn’t get checked off during Spring Cleaning? Is the closet still overflowing and the basement a mess? What project can you tackle that you’ve been putting off?

Aside from the beautiful colors, delicious seasonal foods and crisp air that autumn brings, it brings a new chance for achieving your goals by the end of the year as well. Don’t feel guilty if your new year resolutions fell to the side — pick them back up and reach your goals.

So, what will it be for you?  I’ll be training for a half marathon at Lighthouse Loop on October 29 and a full marathon at Tomoka in March of 2018.  I’m also working on decluttering my home and a few other health coaching programs.

Healthy Fats and Why They’re Good For You

You’ve probably heard countless times that fat is bad for you. After the fat-free craze that instilled a fear of fat in the population, it’s still been difficult to re-wire our brains on this topic. This topic has re-emerged in recent years, and we’re finally widely understanding that not all fat is bad for you — and in fact, there are many good fats that we desperately need.

So what are these good fats and why are they good? Fat is an essential building block our body uses, and it’s also used as fuel for our cells. Unsaturated fats have been shown to lower bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol and higher the good cholesterol HDL. Some types of unsaturated fats contain omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your brain function, strengthens your immune system and can even improve your mood. So what are some of these foods that are packed with the good fats we need? Here are a few common ones…

Avocados are a great source. One avocado contains about 21g of fat. That may sound like a lot of fat, but luckily for us, it is mostly made of the good fat we are seeking. Other than the cholesterol lowering benefits, avocados are also an excellent source of potassium.

Walnuts are known as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a handful a day can help tremendously, and they act as the perfect snack — portable, healthy and delicious. Go for an organic cashew or almond butter to reap the health benefits of eating healthy fats. Nut butters are perfect for dipping different fruits or veggies into to create a simple and healthy snack.

Dark Chocolate. You may have heard about all the health benefits dark chocolate has, and it being high in healthy fats is one of these advantages. I don’t have to tell you twice to eat chocolate, do I?!

What are your favorite healthy fats to consume?  I love eating nuts for a snack.  My favorites are almonds and walnuts.  I also add coconut oil to my morning smoothies 🙂

Start Your Day Right This Fall

There’s just something magical about the autumn breeze that ignites a desire to enjoy life a little deeper — do you agree? It’s a perfect time to make some changes you’ve meant to make, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite morning habits to implement as fall begins — ones that I may have been a bit lackluster with during the summer months.

Starting off the day with movement. A morning jog or walk in the cool air is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and fill up your energy reserves for the day. There’s a short window of time to enjoy this before the weather gets too cold, so don’t miss out! You can work-out indoors if it’s too cold already, but doing so outdoors has quite a magical tone this time of year.

A warm breakfast. When you come back in from your morning run or walk, nothing is more soothing that preparing yourself a hot, healthy breakfast to enjoy. This can warm you back up from being outside and allows yourself a healthy breakfast to keep you satisfied until lunch.

Sleep in just a little longer. Hopefully, you’re getting enough sleep at night already, which is incredibly important for your well-being. But as the temperature drops and the sun rises a little later in the mornings, get a few extra minutes of sleep as well, if possible.

Drink your water. Begin your day with a big glass of warm water and some lemon to give your metabolism a boost and feel energized instantly. Doing so also starts the habit of drinking water, so you’ll continue to drink throughout the day.

What are your current morning habits, if any? I start my day feeding and walking my Boxers, then I read a few devotionals.  I really love the First 5 app.  A few days a week I go for a run with a friend.  I also like doing Yoga at home in the morning – Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials is my favorite.  I cannot wait for the temperatures to get a bit cooler and enjoy more time time outside in the morning. Florida summers are brutal.

Give your morning routine a refresh this fall, and kick-start your new healthy habits to gear you up for an incredible rest of your year. Being intentional with your time is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Could You Use An Energy Boost?

People often combat exhaustion throughout the day with energy drinks or caffeine pills while there are much healthier and more natural alternatives that effectively boost energy.

Increasing daily energy begins with diet and lifestyle choices, and making small changes that both helps to eliminate fatigue and cut down on unhealthy energy boosters.

Incorporate a variety of “rainbow” foods into your diet, such as broccoli, raspberries, tomatoes and carrots, to significantly boost energy.  These foods protect the powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria, from metabolic by-products.

Fast with a juice cleanse to detoxify and reduce inflammation.  By fasting once a month and only drinking freshly juiced organic fruits and vegetables, the body is able to rid itself of toxins which will substantially increase energy after the fast is over.

Eat foods with a lower glycemic load to even out blood sugar.  According to Reader’s Digest, consuming beans, whole grains and nuts results in steadier blood sugar, eliminating the spike and steady decline of energy.  Foods such as white rice, potatoes and cornflakes often lead to lightheadedness and the “shakes.”

Reduce stress by keeping a stress log.  Stress triggers thousands of chemical reactions in the sympathetic nervous system and uses massive amounts of energy that could be used for different things.  A stress log helps to pinpoint the stressors in life so they can be avoided or better managed, saving energy in the process.

Sleep regularly and use an alarm clock that sounds during light sleep.  Going to bed and waking up at the same time promotes more restful and deep sleep.  Also, using an alarm clock that goes off during light sleep rather than REM sleep, helps you to feel like you are waking up naturally, resulting in significantly more energy in the morning.

Conventional energy boosters such as Red Bull and Monster may dramatically increase energy, but they are packed with sugar and can be dangerous if used too often.  Natural ways of increasing energy are not only healthier, they are more reliable and can be used on a more consistent basis.

What are you going to do today to increase your energy?  Comment below or email me and let me know!

Kale, Glorious Kale!

I think we can all agree that kale is a step ahead most vegetables in terms of nutritional content.  From the immune support to visual benefits, kale has been keeping people healthy for centuries.  In this list, I will give you my top five reasons you should incorporate kale into your diet and a few different ways to prepare it!

Reasons to Eat Kale:

  • Kale Fights Cancer: It is so rich in antioxidants that it has the ability to fight against the growth of cancer and Alzheimer’s.  It is also packed with vitamin K, another contributing factor to stopping the development of deadly diseases.
  • Kale Lowers Cholesterol: It has been proven to lower high cholesterol levels and support healthy cholesterol levels, an intricate component to cardiovascular health.
  • Kale is a Detoxifier: It is laden with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system and detoxifies your body of different toxic, harmful chemicals.
  • Kale and Calories: Eat as much as you want!  In one cup there are only 33 calories, .6 grams of fat, 329 grams of fat, and over 130% of your daily value of vitamins A and C.
  • Kale Helps Visually: Because it contains coratenoids, it can help protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.

How to Prepare Kale:

  1. Smoothie: Put one bunch of kale in any smoothie to give yourself that extra boost. But be aware if you suffer from thyroid dysfunction, as kale contains goitrogens that inhibit thyroid function.  Before adding to your smoothie, make sure you blanch your greens to deactivate the goitrogens and still get all the nutritional punch.
  2. Soup: Use kale in  soup to increase the nutritional value of the broth and add a different texture and taste.
  3. Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza?  Put kale on any your pizza to give your pizza some color.




The Health Benefits of Berries

Berries are known as one of the best natural sources of antioxidants that help with everything from memory loss to heart health.

Eating berries just a few times a week can help you mentally as you age.  According to research in Annals of Neurology, it has been proven that women over 70 who eat two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experience less mental decline than those who don’t.  Compounds in berries have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the part of the brain with learning and memory centers.

Blueberries go a step further in age prevention and help delay all eye related aging.   From disease prevention to helping with loss of vision, blueberries are the most effective berries for anti-aging.

Berries are also helpful in combating high blood pressure and heart disease.  Working berries into your diet will help promote healthy blood flow.  Compounds found in berries get rid of bad cholesterol in your system, as well as strengthen cardiac muscles.  All of these benefits stem from the overwhelming amount of anti oxidants found in berries.

Consuming berries can help contribute to weight loss.  With fewer than 100 calories in a full cup, blueberries are especially helpful.  They are so low in calories because they are mainly made of up liquid.  Eating berries as a snack or with a meal leads to feeling more satisfied and satiated after eating, which is enormously helpful when trying to lose weight according to dietitian Nancy Coperman.  Rich with fiber and vitamin C, berries can make up dietary deficiencies that would otherwise be missed.

Certain berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, have been linked to cancer prevention.  The berries’ compounds are attributed to the death of cancer cells in the colon cancer and ovarian cancer.

What’s your favorite berry?



Healthy Habits Challenge 1

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This FREE 7-Day Challenge Will Help You Kick-Start Your Weight Loss Goals and Feel Your Best… No Matter How Busy You Are or How Many Times You’ve Failed in the Past! 

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Date: September 4, 2017—September 10, 2017
Event: FREE 7 Day Healthy Habits Challenge
Topic: Healthy Habits Challenge
Sponsor: Kim zajan, CHC
Venue: private Facebook group
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