My List of Thank You's!

Thanksgiving is hands down my absolute favorite holiday of the year!  This is a day that does not revolve around material gifts, does not focus on how much candy you can get in record time, or does not make you feel obligated to buy highly over-priced flowers for your sweetie!  Thanksgiving focuses on exactly what the name says, it is the time of year that reminds us all to reflect on what we are thankful for.  This special day is just about the gift of love, quality time with family and friends, good food, and hopefully, a lot of laughs and journeys down memory lane!

Thanksgiving can also be a time of year when you are feeling more stressed.  Throwing the holiday season into our already extremely busy lives can fog the real meaning of what this season is all about.  But, please remember this is a day to be thankful and we all have something to be thankful for!

In nutrition school, one of my teachers did an entire presentation on the healthy benefits of making a list of ‘thanks yous’ every single morning or night, whatever time of the day works best!  Take a few moments and jot down what is good about that day, week or year.  Research has shown that gratitude is a major contributor to a positive attitude!  Half-glass full people live longer healthier lives! 

This Thanksgiving, please remember to take the time to remind a loved one how much you care about them or thank them for something they did for you this past year.  I promise it will make you both feel good!


Why your Brain Loves the Gym!

When the topic of strength training comes up, benefiting your brain is not typically the first thought that comes to mind.  Most often the term strength training is associated with how it will affect your appearance.  Yes, strength training is absolutely a critical ingredient in the recipe to improve your physique, but you must know, exercise and your brain are good friends!  I am not talking about becoming a body builder(unless that is your goal of course), just about toning and strengthening!   Below I explain why!  

Mental Benefits of Exercise

Confidence builder – While releasing tension you are also taking care of your body, so truly you can’t help but be proud of your accomplishments.  You feel like a brand new you and you know you are looking better and better every day!  When you are confident, you are beautiful.  When you are confident & beautiful, you can do anything you put your mind to!

Teaches your body to have a high pain tolerance – Exercise can make you sore.  At first, you may not like this feeling, but I assure you that you will come to recognize this feeling as a reminder of your accomplishments and your hard work.  It is also important for our bodies to feel a little bit of pain, makes us tough!

Boosts brain power – Exercise triggers your body to create more brain cells!  This equals a more powerful brain, which creates a greater capacity for learning.

Self-discipline – Following a daily exercise routine aids in developing skills of dedication and determination!  These skills will have positive effects in all aspects of your life!

Fights depression – Exercise triggers the “happy chemical” in your brain to be released!  Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain – bring on the endorphins and smile for the rest of the day!

Decreases anxiety – Exert energy, release those endorphins and your stress levels will feel in control.

 Enjoy ‘Runner’s High!” – Those amazing endorphins again!  Remember, I have never met anyone that regrets a workout!

Increases ability to concentrate – Scientific proof! Exercise improves concentration and general awareness!  Increasing your ability to focus will benefit you in the office and many other aspects of your life.

So don't delay, head to the gym or workout with hand weights in the comforts of your own home!  

Here's to strong bod's and strong brains!






“Dress” For Success


Those who know me, know I have a saying for almost every occasion. One of my favorites, “Veggies all day, everyday!”   Vegetables are one of the main staples in a healthy lifestyle. Packed with vitamins & minerals, these delicious foods nourish your cells and gut. When you are healthy at a cellular level your body is stronger and more effective at fighting off anything that comes your way!

I am not here to promote being a vegetarian. I am actually a fan of lean protein, as long as you pick quality meats. “If the animal is eating crap, so are you” (there I go again, sorry once I start, it’s difficult to stop!) Bottom line, buy organic or grass-fed meats as often as possible.

Ok, back to the veggies!  I am a huge fan of salads, but not a fan of most salad dressings the American people are consuming. There is nothing that kills the delicious flavors of a salad or says “I was born in a factory” quite like xanthan gum, a common ingredient in many salad dressings. Now, while this is actually not even close to one of the worst ingredients used in salads, it is one of the many that will kill the natural flavor and goodness of fresh veggies.

My advice: read labels (not the last time you will hear this) or ask your waiter for the list of ingredients. When it comes to labels and ingredients “Less is best” and “If you don’t’ recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either”.

Below are just a few ingredients to steer clear of:

Xantham Gum or Food Starch: Added as a thickener,which tends to have a gummy taste & texture.  Try this –Shake or whisk your dressing and it will thicken naturally!

MSG: Used as a flavor enhancer, but is so powerful that it makes everything it touches taste fake.  Also known to cause headaches for many.  FYI – this is one of those ingredients that can come under many different names.  MSG, aka: Yeast Extract, Soy Protein Isolates and many more!

Polysorbate 60: An emulsifier that holds the ingredients together.  Again, a good shake will do the trick!

Potasium Sorbate: A preservative.  Homemade dressing will keep for months in the fridge, but will not keep as long on the shelves in a warehouse!

Natural & Artificial Flavors: If flavors of any kind are listed, carefully put the item back on the shelf and walk away!  This means the taste you’re savoring is not natural in anyway, but rather created in a lab.

Artificial Sweeteners: Typically found in “sugar-free” or “low-calorie dressings.  Stay away!  If you are looking for less calories, use less of your homemade dressing!

EDTA: This chemical is used to neutralize bits of metal that comes from the metal pipes and machines in the factories where salad dressing is produced.  Wait what?  Let me get this straight, we are using a chemical to break down another chemical!  Just wrong!

Caramel Color:  Found in many dressings and marinades.  Guess what— its’ toxic!  It contains 4-methylimidazole that is know to cause cancer!

Making your own salad dressing is as easy as it gets!  Just have the right ingredients on hand, mix or shake and Voila! Also, you might want to purchase a salad shaker, inexpensive and hopefully will get a ton of use!  “Keep it simple.  Eat Clean!”

My Favorite Homemade Salad Dressing

¼ cup organic olive oil
¾ white wine vinegar
1tablespoon grainy mustard
Any of my favorite spices (don’t forget about turmeric!)
Dash a salt

Whisk or shake, and dress for success!