31 Days of Health. Day 31: Give Yourself a Break!

Ahhhh! It’s the last day of 31 Days of Health!! Amazing. I’ve noticed some consistency with the folks liking these posts – thank you. I hope there have been some positive rewards for you as a result of following the thoughts I have to share. In a day or two I will get into a recap of these 31 days, and what to look forward to from Fabulous Nutrition. For now, let’s devour this last healthy action!!!

Today isn’t necessarily about, “Hey, put your feet up and relax!” Of course if you need a reason to do so, please, put your feet up and relax! Today is more about accepting imperfection. I’ve thrown a lot out there this month to help you move toward a healthy lifestyle from including certain healthy foods in your diet to practicing healthier habits. There are even more things you could do to carry out a healthy lifestyle. And you know what? It’s not all always going to be easy.

Life happens. Some days you’ll be a little short on time, short on patience, short on sleep, or short on all three together! Don’t stress it if you slept in even though you went to bed planning otherwise, or had good intentions to avoid added sugar but couldn’t resist a cupcake, or tried to start your day on a positive note but your children have truly tried your patience today.

What matters most is your persistence over time. Think: progress over perfection. In fact, all the good and bad, right and wrong, ups and downs…that is perfection! We can’t know and appreciate success without knowing and experiencing failure.

Be patient with yourself. Appreciate your successes. Appreciate your failures! Give yourself a break! And when you do fall, intend to get back up.

Happy Day 31! You made it!!!

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 30: Make Vitamin A Part of Your Day

I was interested to find that only about one third of Americans consume enough vitamin A Daily. I’m definitely biased about the vitamin because I adore the foods that it is rich in. Tomatoes, lettuces, hearty greens like kale and collards, and carrots are among my favorite foods. I am lost in the winter-time without deliciously ripe, juicy tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, truffle oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper!!

It’s pretty easy to know which foods are high in vitamin A. Carotenoids, a group of vitamin A nutrients, are orange in pigment, giving the vegetables and fruits they exist in their bright orange and red colors. Lettuces and hearty greens are also excellent sources of carotenoids. Here are several examples:

  • Sweet Potatoes (1 cup – 250% Daily Recommended Intake (DRI))
  • Carrots (1 cup cooked – 147% DRI)
  • Spinach (1 cup cooked – 105% DRO; 2 cups raw – 40% DRI)
  • Kale (1 cup cooked – 98% DRI)
  • Romaine Lettuce (2 cups – 45% DRI)
  • Bok Choy (1 cup – 40% DRI)
  • Cantaloupe (1 cup – 30%)
  • Red Bell Peppers (1 cup fresh – 25% DRI)
  • Broccoli (1 cup – 10% DRI)

Vitamin A is also present in some animal foods, such as shrimp, eggs, salmon, tuna, and chicken. These are retinoid, or active forms of the fat-soluble vitamin. Synthetic forms of vitamin A are fortified in cow’s milk, yogurt, and other processed foods. It isn’t necessary to consume animal products for the purpose of obtaining adequate vitamin A, as carotenoids are capable of being converted to the active form in your body.

Be sure to include plenty of the red and orange veggies along with the leafy greens to support your immune system, reduce inflammation, support beautiful skin, strong bones and sharp eyes! Also include some healthy fat and protein with vitamin A rich foods, as these nutrients will support its absorption.

Enjoy!!
Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 29: Infuse Positivity Into Your Day

Infuse positivity into your day. Ahhh, this life saver. Love this one!

There is so much power in this healthy action! Can you believe that it is possible to be spiraling in a whirl of horrible emotions at one minute, and the next you can be feeling the exact opposite? It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling depressed, angry, sad, hopeless, or annoyed. You do have the ability – I don’t care who you are; if you’re human, you have the ability – to change your brain chemistry in an instant with this tool!

Years ago, I was an angry individual. I still struggle with handling this shitty emotion, but certainly not in the magnitude I have in the past. Anger was my go-to emotion for just about anything. It was the emotion I wore on my face often to signify power. It is still so familiar to me, that even in times of jest I use it for fun.

I think there were two catalysts that set me towards freedom. One was that I noticed chronic anger in others, and I could see it was not an attractive trait. The other was the multiple times I had been innocently asked, “What’s wrong?” when truthfully, at that time, nothing (at the surface) was wrong. I remember walking past a man on the street one day who said, “You dropped your smile on the ground!” I was so pissed at him…BECAUSE IT WAS JUST MY FACE!!!

But I heard it so many times that it was kind of starting to hurt my ego. I felt weak. I began to notice: I look mad pretty often. I suck. And I knew deep down I craved more for myself, so I decided I would try to change my image. I don’t think, at the time, I expected that slight action to lead me to happier places.

I decided that I would try lifting the corners of my mouth more often. I’m sure it didn’t start out looking very pretty or natural. But you know what, that shit worked. I just did it as often as I thought about it. For years I told myself I was miserable and that I wasn’t worth anything. I was depressed… I believed that I was too stupid, weak and shy to do anything admirable. I believed I was fake and lazy. I believed that I had nothing valuable to share with the world. As a result, all of these feelings surfaced as anger. But as I molded my face into a smile more often, I was telling my brain something phenomenal – that I was happy.

It wasn’t just the faking it ‘til I made it that launched me into a happier state. No, that was the beginning! When I experienced pain, I started reading positive quotes. I came to create a private Pinterest board titled “Pick Me Up” and another called “Keep Building.” Some days I would wake up feeling awful, and it just became a habit for me to open up my brain-building Pinterest boards and read through all the quotes that resonated with me. Lo and behold, I was fueling my brain…strengthening my brain! I was blessed enough to cross paths with someone who introduced me to affirmations. I began habitually listening to these on YouTube. These led to discovering more, and more, and more uplifting content.

And one day, I realized: I am happy! Even in the midst of difficult times, I can confidently say I am the happiest I have ever been.

It doesn’t matter if your story is better or worse than mine, the power of positive words goes a long way. There is a science to it, though I don’t really know much about it. All I know is that you can transform any moment, day, week, and year by the words or feelings you choose feed your brain. Try it today.

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 28: Prep Fruits & Veggies

You know what I love and hate all at the same time? Being prepared.

Being prepared is SO fricken fabulous. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have felt nervous about not having this or that ready for when I need it, then to my surprise, I actually had exactly what I needed! I fascinate myself most often. And here’s why…

Being prepared is one of my biggest weaknesses. Seriously. If I’m on my way to your birthday party, I’m picking up your card and gift on the way. Sorry :-/

Wednesdays tend to be very busy for me. I don’t start my work day until about 1:00. I actually don’t eat breakfast until 8 or 9 AM, even though I’ve been up since 5:00 – going through a more relaxed morning routine. Depending on how early I did eat, I might eat a little snack around 10:30. So my belly is content at 11:00, around the time when I am leaving the house with my daughter. Food is not on my mind. Often, once 1:00 hits, I have no time and limited options to grab food until roughly 6 or 7:00. So, yeah… about nine hours without food. Not good!

You might ask, “Why not just get something ready that morning?” Please, do not ask. I haven’t even begun to try to understand why preparing for Wednesdays is so complicated. (Perhaps it would help if I explain that my schedule on the other four weekdays are way more flexible, and that this business on Wednesdays is new for me. It’s a transition?)

Hopefully by gaining a little insight into my crazy life, you can rest, assured, that perfection is unattainable. The blessing of being human!! 😃🙄

So today’s healthy challenge is totally a team effort!! Let’s take some time today to prepare some fruits and veggies for ourselves. I’ve got five simple suggestions:

  1. Wash fresh, whole fruit so it’s ready to bite or cut into.

  2. Wash fresh vegetables so they’re ready for slicing and dicing.

  3. Cut fresh fruit or vegetables to have ready for snacking, cooking, or slapping on a sandwich. Store in ready-to-go containers or baggies. *Cut only as much as you will consume within two days*

  4. Roast, broil, bake, steam, poach, braise, or sauté veggies. Then store to reheat later or throw cold onto a salad.

  5. If part of the issue is just getting the produce into your house and you can afford any one of these conveniences: try a grocery delivery service, like Instacart; meal kit service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh; or a trusted local store that offers *healthy* prepared foods. Here in Buffalo, Wegmans offers perfect vegetable and fruit options.

We got this!!!

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 8: Get Your Vitamin D

Get your vitamin D for Day 8!

This can be a tough one. Vitamin D is not present in many foods. You may have heard this micronutrient referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,” as exposure of our skin to the sunlight’s UVB rays stimulate the production of vitamin D!

Although it is not present in so many foods, here are a few you can depend on:

  • 4oz Salmon contains 128% of our daily recommended intake (DRI)
  • 3oz Sardines – 40% DRI
  • 4oz Tuna – 23% DRI
  • 1 Egg – 10% DRI
  • ½ cup Shiitake Mushrooms – 5%

Most milks and yogurt are also excellent sources of vitamin D, due to fortification. However, Day 8 is about vitamin D, and not about if milk and yogurt are good or bad. We can save that for another day 😊 If you eat milk and yogurt, then hooray! You’re getting vitamin D!

I will add onto that though, and point out that vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning your body will absorb it best when it is in the presence of fat. So, consider, if you DO drink or eat low-fat or fat free milk or yogurt, without any accompanying fats, there is a chance you will not absorb the vitamin so well. If your body isn’t absorbing vitamin D as well as it could, or your blood levels are deficient, you may not absorb calcium so well either. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium, and together, they contribute to bone strength.

Other benefits vitamin D provides is blood sugar control and increased immunity. Therefore, getting your vitamin D levels in check may encourage a reduced risk of diabetes and reduced frequency of getting sick!

Unfortunately, if you are vegan, or you just really hate fish, you are not getting enough vitamin D through your diet. Now, I recommend food over supplements. And if you remember from yesterday, food is closer to nature than a supplement is. However, if you do not eat fish, eggs, milk or yogurt, you may want to check with your doctor for a decent vitamin D dose. It also can’t hurt to get your vitamin D levels checked, then come up with a plan from there, if you find your levels are low.

Thank you for following these 31 Days of Health! Enjoy today.

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 6: Practice Gratitude

Today, I want you to practice gratitude. This is a special action to take during these 31 Days of Health because it is your secret weapon to arm you against struggles that are guaranteed to stand in your way. When you feel grateful for the things you have, you begin to recognize that you actually have quite a bit, and that can bring fulfillment. During a difficult time, it is difficult to feel hopeless when using this tool.

Try it now. Just think of a couple people, things, or experiences that you can thank for being part of your life. There is absolutely no wrong answer! Be grateful for everything, big or small: that you can hear, see, taste, touch or smell; that you have clean water, a loved one’s company, a spoon to eat soup with, or that really tough experience that made you stronger. You will find that with daily practice, you discover more and more that you can appreciate. And the more you practice appreciation, the more successful you will be in anything you do.

I like to practice gratitude first thing in the morning. I jot down just two things. It may not seem like a lot, but each day is something different, and it causes me to give a lot more thought to those two things than if I was trying to come up with a list of everything at one time. I have to give credit to Dean Graziosi for this method. In his Better Life Challenge, he suggests writing down just two things to be grateful for. I LOVED that he gave a number to this because it really tames the go-big-or-go-home mindset. It is easy to do, and it blossoms into something magical!

I’m grateful you’re here,
Alyssa

Well This Just Happened…Part 2

Has 2018 flown by, or what!? Time flies when you’re busy AF!

I just took a look back to date check my original post about spontaneously scraping the cracked plaster from my stairway walls and repairing the ugly and poorly plastered ceiling and walls in my closet; and I see that that was all the way back in March!! These projects have actually been done for months, but taking some halfway decent pictures took me up until now. Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is teaching me plenty about priorities. It is clear to me now this wasn’t anywhere near the top…

But I am excited and proud to display the before and afters – FINALLY!

Although it may be against code, I took down the horrendous black metal handrails screwed onto giant wood slabs attached to the lath with giant screws on May 18. One screw in particular was impossible to unscrew with a power drill or a screwdriver. After some contemplation, I decided to drill holes around the problem screw so I could pull the board off the wall. A wrench was the perfect tool for getting that little rascal out safely without causing more damage!

I went on to repair the small-ish holes left from the removal. It wasn’t until June 10 I was finally ready to paint over this dark and suffocating blue. That day, I had come SO close to having at least gotten a single coat over the walls. I was so desperate and optimistic and hopeful I could squeeze just enough paint out of the roller just to make the blue go away, but all the optimism and hope in the world couldn’t have made my dreams come true in that moment. I went back to Lowe’s ASAP for a new bucket of paint, which, by the way, is Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige (Showcase). 

This neutral color was one of several in the Liveable Luxe collection which is equipped with all the perfect colors for my small house. Although not pictured here, I painted the adjacent living room with Emerging Taupe. As the collection claims, the colors go together perfectly – and my home feels so much more open, and breathable! What I also found that I loved about Sherwin-Williams paint is that it was thick and had excellent coverage. I never understood the benefit of paying a little more for paint until now. And no, not getting paid to say this!

Gimme an “Amen!” if you like the Accessible Beige over the suffocating blue!
And some day the floors will get beautified…. And some day I’ll put up a light fixture. 🙂

Now, you’ll have to refer back to the original post about the start of the closet repairs to see the before photos. In retrospect, I guess I regret not taking a boring photo of the repaired ceiling. When I was taking these I thought: these pictures will not do this closet justice. However, I hope with the changed configuration, you can see it was a success! I used the Accessible Beige in here as well. It was actually the cause for running out of paint in the hallway!

So – are you thinking about fixing up some plaster walls? Here is my one word of advice: patience! While I have been done with this project for six months, it did take at least three from start to finish, bearing in mind I have a three-year-old, have started a business on top of a full-time job, handle a great deal of the home care, and jam in some fun whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Yay!! – for finishing projects you’ve never done before! 

Get adventurous, feel fabulous, and make some magic happen! Cheers, 2018!