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Exciting News for the Healthy + Happy Blog!

Well, it’s Monday, August 31st (side note…where the heck did the month of August go?!) and I am writing to share with you guys that on September 9th- just NINE days away-I am releasing a super exciting new project that I’ve been working on for the past 3 months as I move onto the next stage of my life as a holistic health coach.

It’s been a lot of work and I can’t wait for you guys to see it. I don’t want to tell you toooo many details because I want it to be a surprise BUT I can say that the Lettuce blog is being rerouted to a new location and is just a small part of something bigger! (hint, hint…new website!).

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For updates between now and September 9th, join the Lettuce mailing list (on the right hand side), follow me on instagram, or follow the Facebook page.

So stay tuned, mark your calendars, and let the countdown begin!

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Do You Know What the Labels on Your Food Packaging Mean?

Hey friends! This week at my school at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition, we learned about food label claims, especially ones on meat, poultry and dairy products, and how making healthy choices starts with knowing what labels to look out for on food packages.

I truly believe that in order to make healthy choices, we must be knowledgable about what is healthy vs. what’s just a food company trying to lure in the consumer!

Words like “organic”, “free range” and “natural” can often get confusing, so knowing what all of them mean will help you support your decision of what is the healthiest food for you and your family to buy!

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photo by Katerina Miras

Here is a list of the top food label claims and what they translate to!

Cage free- This means the birds were raised without cages. What this DOESN’T explain is whether the birds were raised outdoors on a pasture or raised indoors in overcrowded conditions.

Free range- The USDA allows this term to be used when the birds have access to the outdoors so that they can engage in natural behaviors. It does not necessarily mean that the products are antibiotic free or hormone free or that the animals spent the majority of time outdoors.

Pasture raised- This indicates that the animal was raised on a pasture where it was able to eat grasses and other plants, rather than being fattened on grain in a feedlot or barn.

Fair trade- This means that farmers and workers have received a fair wage and worked in acceptable conditions while growing the product.

Non GMO- Plants or animals can be labeled as non GMO if they have not been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, virus, or other plants and animals.

Grass fed- This means animals were fed grass, their natural diet, rather than grains. This is more humane and more lean and lower in fat and calories than grain-fed meat. Grass fed animals or not given animal by-products, synthetic hormones, or antibiotics to promote growth.

Natural- No standard exist for this label except for when used on meat a poultry products. This means they went under minimal processing and cannot contain any artificial ingredients. This DOESN’T mean they are organic, free of hormones, or free of antibiotics.

Organic- Prohibits use of GMO or radiation, provides outdoor access and pasture for livestock, no antibiotics or hormones used, no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, animals on 100% organic feed.

RBGH-free- RBGH is a genetically engineered growth hormone that is injected into dairy cows to artificially increase their milk production. Milk labeled rBGH free means the cow never received the hormone injections.

 

What are your top food labels you look out for when trying to shop healthy and humane food? Are any of these new to you? 

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How To Use Matcha for Morning Energy Boost

Disclaimer: This post is dedicated to all my peeps out there who are extra sluggish in the morning and are in constant need of a little energy boost. Commonly known as those who just “can’t function until they’ve had their morning coffee”

…If this is you, read on….

Alarm goes off, you roll out of bed, and before you can even think about getting dressed for work or for that matter, forming any kind of sentence, you need your cup of coffee. Once you got that caffeine running through your bod you’re good to go! Until around 11 a.m that is, when you suddenly feel that grogginess coming on again and you know its time for another cup of joe.

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“So what’s the deal with coffee? Are you trying to tell me it’s bad?!”

In our minds, we tend to categorize things as good or bad. Healthy or unhealthy. And the problem with this is that the only time something can be truly”bad” is if you abuse it or your body becomes addicted to it.

Coffee has amazing benefits. It boosts your metabolism, keeps you alert, and its filled with antioxidants. The PROBLEM comes in when our bodies become dependent on it. When we are constantly tired, and waking up sluggish and we use coffee as a drug to lift us up.

I’ve recognized this problem for a long time, with myself, my friends and people in my family, and today I want to share with you all an energy boosting supplement I’ve been drinking every morning for the past week:

MATCHA!

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Matcha is a green tea from Japan and is 10x stronger than regular green tea. It’s jam packed with antioxidants, beta carotene, theanine (heightens mental clarity and reduces stress), catechins for healthy skin, and drum roll please….caffeine!

The difference between the caffeine in matcha tea and caffeine in coffee is that you don’t have that energy level roller coster where you crash a few hours later and need another cup. It also has tons of vitamins and minerals that nourish your body on a cellular level and help repair your adrenals to actually reduce your fatigue in the long run!

How to use it:

Since it’s been super hot lately, I’ve been drinking my tea cold. All you have to do is add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to a 8oz glass of water, stir it up,  and you’re good to go! I mean, how simple is that?! You could also use it in your smoothie, juices, or brew in hot tea if you’d like!

Consider maybe swapping out your morning coffee twice a week with matcha and increase the days each week! Little by little, your body will become less dependent on coffee and you won’t “need” it, but can enjoy it at our own will!

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The goal is to wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle your day! So, any thoughts about matcha? Thoughts about coffee? Who can relate to the morning sluggish feel? 

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5 Things I’ve Learned From My 3 Week Intensive Yoga Teacher Training(so far…)

It’s Monday. I’m putting up my first post in what feels like forever. And its inspired by what’s currently going on in my life right now!

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been in an intensive yoga teacher training. And when I say intensive, I promise I’m not exaggerating… Its 200 hours jam packed into 5 days a week, 10 hours a day, for 3 weeks straight!

Even though its long days though, learning a lot of in depth material physically and mentally, it has been an amazing experience so far. Today I am starting week 3 and I can tell you for certain that I have learned SO much about  my physical yoga practice along with the importance of “living your yoga” off the matt as well. Today I picked my top 5 things from my training to share with you guys…..ya ready?!

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1. Most of us when we go to a yoga class practice Asana (the physical practice of yoga). What many people don’t realize is that yoga has 8 limbs and physical is only just 1. The first 3 limbs encompass non violence, truthfulness, non stealing, self control, non hoarding, cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self study, and faith, and asana, followed by breath control, deep inner focus, deep concentration, meditation and the 8th limb being enlightenment. The purpose of asana is to move the body to clear the mind to take you into the higher limbs.

2. The first element of the first limb is ahimsa, or non violence. This means non violence to yourself, and to all other living creatures. It is impossible to go any further with your yoga practice unless you can remove all harm of your words, actions, and thoughts. Reaffirming that love is at the base of everything.

3. Physically speaking, each one of us is so anatomically different. So when we look at someone and think their pose looks so “perfect”, and say “why can’t my body look like that?”, in some cases it may just be a matter of stretching deeper over time but in other instances your joint make up might just not allow it! And that’s okay!

4. 7 chakras run up along the central energy column of the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. For total health, all with be balanced. There is the base chakra, navel chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra, and crown chakra. For example, if the throat chakra is blocked, one might have trouble expressing their feelings and that person might be prone to more throat sicknesses.

5. Yes it is important that we physically practice yoga on the regular, but yoga can also be so beneficial for special populations like children,  pregnancy, elderly people, and people with injuries. We always look to modern day medicine for things like ADHD or arthritis or back pain instead of using our bodies to heal ourselves!

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There is so much depth to all these different points and they all could have there own blog post in themselves! Do any of them interest you? Which one would you like to see an individual post on later this week?

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3 Health Tips from Superfood Expert David Wolfe

Hey guys!! Happy Wednesday! So this past weekend I went on a yoga/meditation/holistic health retreat to the Omega Institute in upstate New York….it was AMAZING and I recommend it to anyone looking for a peaceful get away weekend in nature! The retreat that I went to had yoga and meditation guided classes but the main part was workshops led by the first person who ever got me interested in holistic health- David Wolfe.

Four years ago I read one of his books, Eating For Beauty ,and it got me so into super foods and how to nourish your body with fresh natural foods. This weekend in the workshops we learned so much but I decided to pick 3 points he stressed to share on the blog today!

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1. Plants first, animal products second.

The problem today is that we eat mainly a diet of animals and animal products and add in fruits and vegetables when really we should be eating a diet of fruits and vegetables and adding in animal foods sparingly. We’ve lost touch with eating from the earth and buying farm fresh local foods and then we wonder why there is so much disease and sickness occurring.

2. The cure is in the colors!

Eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables and know which ones have what benefits! Here’s a little cheat info graphic to help you remember! Also, a good tip to remember is that the darker, the better. For example, choose brown or black rice over white rice. Choose purple potato over white potato, choose black chia seeds over white chia seeds.

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3. 3 Superfoods to add to your lifestyle today for super immunity

1. Mushroom powder (chaga or reishi)

2. Spirulina

3. Chlorella

Mushrooms and algae are among the most powerful sources of immunity building. Don’t wait until your sick to start taking medicine, use food as medicine right now!

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After this weekend of eating all locally grown vegan food and learning so much from David, I am feeling so great! If you want to take your health to the next step I defiantly recommend getting some of David’s books! Have you ever heard of David before this post? What are your favorite super foods to incorporate into your day?