Archive | Health + Wellness RSS feed for this section

Eat Like Me: Inspired eats of the week

25 Jul

quick and healthy meals

Chatting about food and restaurants and occasionally exchanging recipes is a given when together with friends, but after spending last weekend on the Cape with some girlfriends, conversation turned to the go-to meals we make after a long workday or when we’re less than inspired. Listening to everyone share their favorites reminded me of a discontinued online series by Self magazine called “Eat Like Me.” Have you heard of it?

The series followed the food travels of registered dietitian (and fellow-Bostonian!), Cristin Dillon-Jones; what she cooked at home and what she ordered at restaurants for every meal and snack, along with photos and brief, but much-appreciated, posts ranging from balancing nutrition to using up whatever was in her fridge before a vacation. It was a simple, practical, source of inspiration I looked to regularly and I miss it. So I had an idea. Although I’m hardly qualified to dish out dietary advice professionally, I do think I can help inspire.

Each week or so, I’ll post some of my favorite eats from the week as a series. A little bit down the road, I can even imagine featuring those of my friends, fellow bloggers, and Instagram buddies for even more inspired eats.

(L-R, top-down)

– Almond butter and jelly on whole wheat, honeydew, carrots and hummus, and an apple. I can’t tell you how often my dinner looks like this in summer!
– Yogurt and blueberries with slivered almonds and coconut
– Spring mix with BBQ chicken, grill-roasted tomatoes, and sunflower seeds
– Tomato soup made with 1% milk
– BBQ chick, grilled peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, and zucchini
– Baked pork chop with steamed broccoli and a cinnamon sweet potato
– Shake Shack burger for a little mid-week lunch splurge
– Giant salad of spring mix, chopped chicken, chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, and sunflower seeds; blueberries and strawberries
– Two eggs scrambled with parsley and chives and two pieces whole grain toast spread with avocado

Advertisements

4 Reasons You Should Try Pilates

11 Jun

I was lucky to have my first experience with Pilates as a college undergrad. I fell hard and fast, taking classes weekly at the “Spo-co,” the Sports Complex at Stonehill College. After graduation I was fortunate to join a gym that happened to offer Pilates mat classes (for free — which seems crazy today) with an incredible Stott-trained instructor named Lisa whom I adored. Largely because she incorporated a Pilates accessory called a “magic circle” into our routines to target thighs and abs, but more honestly, because she told me I should consider teaching.

What an ego-boost, right? It’s what gets me through barre class at Boston Body Pilates (love) when my knees are shaking and I think I’m going to die. I’ve had it on my to-do list to get certified to teach for the last 7 years now, but it’s so expensive and so time-intensive, I haven’t prioritized it. So instead, I’ll try to convince YOU that you should try it, whether it’s a DVD, a matt class, a private session at a studio, or you just try a few moves on your own at home. Here are my 4 reasons why you should try Pilates:

1. Develop often neglected muscle groups.
Some of your muscles, like those that dominate your daily movements, are stronger than others, and a big part of Pilates is focusing on those muscles that don’t typically get a lot of attention.

2.Improve Flexibility
In general, the more muscle mass you have, the less flexible you are. But Pilates’ focus on stretching helps prevent injuries and muscle strains, and increases range of motion.

3. Build Core Strength
Every Pilates exercise focuses on using your core to power movement in your limbs. Pilates also hits your transverse abdominals, the base ab muscle under your six-pack.

4. Live more consciously
Pilates forces you to pay attention-you’ve got to focus on your breath while working through each movement and concentrating on proper form. This is one similarity with yoga that tends to confuse a lot of people. After a Pilates session, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed, which can even carry over into the next day.

Although I love, yoga, Zumba, and spinning, I think Pilates is my favorite workout because of it’s combined elements of strength and flexibility. Many of my favorite moves require intense concentration, breath control, and balance which makes for an incredibly stimulating workout that feels much more zen than say, doing some burprees or intervals on a treadmill. So I hope you’ll consider giving it a try!


What is your favorite workout? Why do you love it? Have you tried anything new lately and loved it?

Interested in checking out Boston Body Barre? Visit the site here

Trying new things is good

31 Jan

yoga

What a whirlwind week it has been! I’ve heard that shaking up your routine can be a major mood booster and after kicking the weekend off with friends over dinner (and delightful, whole-fruit margaritas), followed by brunch and exploring the Bunker Hill monument over in Charlestown with my siblings, well… the week that followed can only be described as one that was wholly, wonderfully, “shaken.”

From trying out a new yoga teacher’s class in the the middle of the day,  to taking advantage of half-price ticket night at a local theater, to finally see “Dallas Buyers Club,” to meeting for mid-week tacos with friends (followed by ice cream at a local spot), I can vouch for its truth. I feel energized and so blissfully happy.

2012-08-04 19.34.49

So why is trying new things so good for us? I did a little digging and thought I’d share:

  • We feel happier.
    Psychologist Rich Walker of Winston-Salem State University found that “…people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.” (time.com)

 

  • Our perception of time is slowed.
    When familiar information is processed, it doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated. Neuroscientist David Eagleman, who has extensively studied the effects of our brain’s perception of time, believes this effect makes time fly by faster as we age. (lifehacker.com)

 

  • We avoid boredom and gain new perspective.
    At yoga this week, I learned that a particular pose called “Padahastasana,” which I’ve done hundreds of times and have always found  uncomfortable, can be wonderfully relaxing if you let your toes massage the inside of your wrists. Mind Blown! All because one teacher includes this suggestion in his teaching, my perception has totally changed. (psychologytoday.com)

 

  • We can improve our memory and learning capacity.
    Neurobiologists Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Düzel found that novelty, demonstrated via images, increases our motivation to seek out reward. In other words, the brain’s ability to create new connections between neurons “was increased by the influence of novelty—both during the process of exploring a novel environment or stimuli and for 15–30 minutes afterwards.” Honestly, without ever having read this study, I could have probably guessed at this based on the massive dopamine-release I experience every time I log onto Pinterest for a hit of daily inspiration. In case you’re not up to speed on your neurotransmitters, dopamine is released in high amounts during gratifying activities such as eating, sex, exercise, dancing and other enjoyable experiences. (Of which Pinterest probably ranks highest if I’m being honest. And my exposure to completely new imagery is endless.) Are you listening, Pinterest? There is something to this and I think you should jump on it. Call me. I want to be involved. (sciencedaily.com) (lifehacker.com)

Anyways, hope you enjoyed my nerdy foray into neurology.  In case you were wondering, yes. As a kid I went to science camp and built rockets and shit. I got microscopes for Christmas. I also had a massive crush on my science teacher.

This is definitely a side of myself that I’ve  previously devoted to learning and writing about the science of beauty and beauty products over here, but as I’m becoming more and more interested in things like the connection between diet and preventing Alzheimer’s, my focus is definitely shifting.

Here’s to shaking up “the usual” more often! Have a great weekend!