Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Go Green! Learning Why & How to Incorporate More Leafy Greens into Your Day

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There are many benefits of finding ways to sneak more green foods into your day. Nearly every process our bodies carry out rely on proper nutrient levels. These processes include water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling, digestion, and metabolism. As much as possible, I recommend getting these nutrients your body needs from whole foods, especially greens and here’s why:

  • Leafy greens boost our energy levels naturally. They add a little pep in your step, especially in the morning and also during those pesky afternoon slumps.
  • Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss and maintenance because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger.
  • Leafy greens support connective tissues (such as skin, tendons, ligaments and cartilage that aid in joint flexibility), may reduce your risk of arthritis, and keeps your skin and hair healthy and beautiful.
  • Leafy greens can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals. This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Leafy greens assists our natural melatonin production so that you fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly throughout the night.

Now that we know why to eat them, let’s talk about ways to easily incorporate leafy greens on the daily. There is a trick to get copious amounts of nutrients with little effort. Maybe you need a quick breakfast before sunrise yoga, or an energy-replenishing lunch you can eat on your way from the gym to a meeting.

The answer, green smoothies! They’re a quick and easy way to get large amounts of leafy greens (and fruits) into your daily diet and provide your body with all the plant-based nutrients it craves. It’s a pretty simple and tasty combo: leafy greens + fruit + liquid-base… and maybe some fancy super-food booster toppings for additional flavor and health enhancing benefits.

Essentially, it’s a meal in a glass- high-quality liquid nutrition that gives you the nutrient density you need in a convenient, portable, delicious package. You’ll still want to eat a variety of foods to get the wide range of nutrients your body needs, but the smoothie outline that follows will give you an excellent start.

Let the green adventures begin!

The beginner-friendly formula below is how GreenLid makes most of their delicious green smoothie recipes. Now all you need is a blender, an open mind, and a willingness to drink your veggies! It takes less than 5 minutes to make a green smoothie (including clean up!) and they’re super easy to take on the go especially when you prep ahead.

smoothie-ingredients-chart

  1. Blend liquid base, leafy greens, & fruit together first
  2. Add ice (~1 cup) & blend again
  3. Choose a super-food booster or topping (~pinch or sprinkle; a little goes a long way)

Green smoothie blending tips:

  • Put 2 cups of liquid base into a blender, add 2 cups of tightly packed leafy greens and blend until all leafy chunks are gone.
  • Add 1-3 cups of fruit and blend again until smooth. For best texture and consistency, be sure to include a binder such as a creamy fruit like a banana, avocado, or mango.
  • Add 1 cup of ice and blend again (more ice will create a thinner smoothie)
  • Pour into a mason jar (or cute cup of your choice).
  • Gulp or sip like a rawkstar! …um, could I be any cheesier?

Print this Superstar Smoothie Formula by GreenLid and put it to your fridge so you’ll remember to blend, sip, and be nourished.

Identifying nutrient deficiencies

I do numerous nutrition consultations with clients on a weekly basis and although every individual has a unique reason for wanting to spur a nutritional change (including eating more leafy greens), there are generally a few common signs and symptoms that indicate their current diet isn’t working like it should.

Even if you do eat well, other factors such as age, certain health conditions and medications can impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food. Nutrient deficiencies can be devious, too. Unless you are seriously deficient for some time, you may not notice any symptoms at all, leading you to falsely believe that your body is getting all the nutrition you need.

More often, however, such deficiencies do cause symptoms, which can range from minor to severe, like constant cravings, skin maladies, trouble focusing, coordination/balance difficulties, bloating and gas. Unless you know what to look for, you’re likely to mistake the signs for something else. If you suspect your health and digestion might not be functioning optimally, consider reaching out to a qualified professional. Our integrative nutrition coaching at Studiomix focuses on realistic, individualized eating strategies that will help you get results. Feel free to schedule an appointment today or email me directly at katy@studiomix.com.

By improving the function of the digestive system, all other body systems immediately begin to benefit. Here are just a few ways repairing the digestive system aids other body systems.

Resources:
http://mountainroseblog.com/33-herbal-boost-super-smoothie/
www.whfoods.com


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Pushing Past Plateaus & Building Self-Awareness

Pushing Past Plateaus

With so much emphasis on perfection, winning, and holding ourselves to high expectations, we often forget the process of what it takes to meet our goals. What happens when you don’t preform the way you would like? Learn how to set goals and intentions for that moment and grow from your performance instead of being self-critical. Be present, build self-awareness, positive self-dialogue, and develop consistency to push past plateaus.

Winning, meeting one’s goals, and exceeding expectations feels great. But what happens when all the effort, energy, and thought you put in does not change anything and everything feels or stays the same? Essentially, you’ve hit a plateau.

Plateau is a state of little to no change after some time investment and/or activity. To push past a plateau, a good start is to build self-awareness. Who we are, how we feel about ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we want to present ourselves are all based in our values, belief systems, and assumptions. Here are three simple techniques to take your values, belief systems, and assumptions beyond the plateau:

  • Intentionally be kind to yourself; the negative self-critique holds us down.
  • Fully accept your performance; always find something to learn or take away.
  • Appreciate yourself without any criticism, comparison, or doubt.

The mind cannot function without the body and the body does not function without the mind (sounds like something from the Matrix movie). How we feel about ourselves and the story we tell ourselves is how we interact or react to the external world. We are always reacting to every stimulus day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute.

If you always do what you have always done, you always will get what you have always gotten. We have to take a fresh approach when we plateau, it is not about training harder or smarter; it is neither and it is both. Building awareness allows us to slow-down, speed-up, stop, create space for creativity, be kind or tough when needed, change our negative dialogue to positive and productive, and be in the moment.

No one ever says give me more stress and negativity. People seldom flourish in that environment, so why do we do it to ourselves? Consistency in performance comes from creating an inner environment that is aware, rich with self worth, self-value, self-kindness, self motivation, and focused on learning and improving.

Here are two mental practices anyone can start to do immediately:

  1. When brushing your teeth, say one to three things that you appreciate about yourself.
  2. Before every practice, workout, or performance set intent (goal) and post-performance acknowledge (reflection) on what you learned that will help you to grow.

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