31 Days of Health Recap

The month of January was quite the adventure for me! How about you??

I got the idea to do 31 Days of Health around the beginning of December. I love the New Year. I love reflecting on the past year in regards to what accomplishments I’ve made – seeing just what I am capable of doing, and understanding I am capable of so much more. It is a time to look ahead and implement new standards and new goals. Instead of keeping that all to myself, I wanted to share it with the world!

Little did I know, I was all in for a project that was way bigger than I perceived. You see, I had every intention to see this through. It didn’t matter to me if I had a huge response rate, or zero response rate; it didn’t matter if the response was good or bad. These are fears that would have completely held me back in previous years. And now, I have a different view on fear – I crave it! So 31 Days of Health was happening whether I ended up liking it or not (and whether you ended up liking it or not).

I was not prepared for this project. What I have learned about a project like this is that it is ideal to create it entirely, and then share it! But that is NOT what happened, having gotten the idea in December, and not beginning any of the writing – or creation of images! – pretty much until December 30. What I am about to explain to you what happened to me is something I have felt very guilty for, and I apologize if any details gross you out -you’ll know what I mean by number one 😉 :

  1. I missed my period. Started to get it! But it was just playing tricks on me (aka I was spotting). This has never, in my entire history of “menstruating-hood”, happened to me. And haha! No. No there was not any chance of pregnancy, if you know what I mean. Stress was to blame. I felt so guilty for sharing tips to reduce stress, meanwhile I was stressed out to the point I confused my hormones.
  2. I got sick. Like, almost went to the hospital sick. I again felt guilty for sharing healthy food suggestions that pump up your immune system and reduce your risks for getting sick. I also couldn’t shake the thought that I was putting myself through a lot of stress as I had preached reducing stress, meanwhile I place stress at the heart of my developing a croupy cough, which apparently is rare in adults.
  3. I threw my entire sleep schedule off, and definitely was not getting enough sleep. Guilty again! For sharing the suggestion to go to bed early and wake up early. I could have accomplished this, had I chosen to continue posting each day early in the morning. Instead, I found I preferred to post by midnight. Yes, I used the schedule feature for the blog so that it would automatically post at a designated time, but that isn’t possible for Instagram. Out of all the features Instagram has, can they make this?? Either that, or I will totally pay someone to manage my social media, because I truly dislike social media. And after this adventure, I have developed a stronger belief in a world without social media. Call me old-fashioned! Call me what you will – I want nothing to do with it!
  4. With the stress, the sick, the lack of sleep and changed schedule, I was completely off my exercise routine. Shame! Day 2 was all about exercising! I am just now getting back on my game.

I wanted to keep all this a secret and make you believe that I am this magnificent role model. I was afraid that you might not trust me if you found out all this craziness happened. But I am taking a chance. Because this wasn’t about me. This was 100% about you!!

It is possible to implement all of these healthy actions into every day usual routines. Hence, why I believed it was so important to end on “Give Yourself a Break.” Life does happen. There was nothing usual about my January, so I encourage you not to compare. While it is possible to practice all of these healthy actions, it is necessary to leave room for mishaps. That is the beauty, and perfection, of life. Appreciate the struggles just as much as you do the blessings. Would you be who you are today, where you are today, or as strong as you are today, without having gone through some struggle?

Here is something I need from you: Hoping you still have faith in me, and that you have followed and practiced some – or all! – of these healthy action suggestions, can you share with the world and me which one(s) really spoke to you? And if these did create something positive in your life and you want more from me, what would you really love to see me produce? This will allow me to create more efficiently, so pleeeease don’t feel like that would be selfish of you, or that you would be asking me to go through another bout of stress. Look, I will pursue another project whether you ask me or not, so I think it’s worth it for you to get something you want!! Comment below, or if you feel more comfortable chatting privately, send me an email.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for trusting me.

alyssa

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 27: Be B-Vitamin Smart

Today’s healthy action is about understanding the B-vitamins. B-vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins, meaning they must be in the presence of water for your body to absorb them. Altogether, there are eight different B-vitamins. You may recognize the term, “B-complex” which collectively refers to these eight micronutrients:

  1. Thiamin (B1)
  2. Riboflavin (B2)
  3. Niacin (B3)
  4. Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  5. Pyridoxine (B6)
  6. Biotin (B7)
  7. Folate (B9)
  8. Cobalamin; or more commonly known as “vitamin B12”

Without any one of these vitamins in your diet, essential functions and processes within your body would not take place. The B-vitamins are involved greatly in the metabolism of the macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each vitamin certainly has a role of its own. Some additional functions this class of vitamins provide aside from metabolism include antioxidant protection, cardiovascular support, production of red blood cells, prevention of birth defects, blood sugar control, skin health, nervous system support, DNA production, and liver detoxification.

What is unique about water-soluble vitamins, is that whatever the body does not need, it will excrete out through the urine or feces (with the exception of B12 which can be stored in your liver). Have you ever noticed that when taking a B-complex supplement your urine is bright yellow?? There’s all your riboflavin! This does, however, demonstrate the importance of getting enough each day…

I think the simplest message to take away in regards to getting enough B-vitamins is to eat a varietal diet. These vitamins are widely distributed in most foods. Some are found predominantly in plants, whereas others are found more in animal foods. For example, folate is found in great quantities in green leafy vegetables, whereas vitamin B12 is not present in most plant foods (only fungi and fermented vegetables as the exceptions), but is high in animal foods including fish, poultry, beef, yogurt and cow’s milk.

So, while the headline reads “Be B-vitamin Smart,” what I truly suggest is to include an assortment of foods in your daily eating patterns. Refer back to Day 17 – Get Adventurous! If you are used to eating the same things every day, be courageous and try something new. I even recommend re-visiting Day 12 – Meditate. I feel that I run into many people who are concerned they are not getting enough nutrition, and so they supplement with pills. Supplementation has its place, but I definitely recommend that if you are concerned you’re not getting enough, first give yourself a few deep breaths and reconnect with your body. Sometimes that little reminder that you are alive and well is all you need. Then, talk it over with a dietitian-nutritionist, or other healthcare professional you trust (I’m trying not to be biased).

Send me a message if you’ve got any questions. It’s my mission to help you feel less-confused and confidently healthy!

Have the most fabulous Sunday ever!!!

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 26: Forgive

For today’s healthy action, I absolutely recommend you set aside anywhere from ten to thirty minutes of time for you to peacefully explore this exercise. I will give you a heads up: this has the potential to bring up some pretty sour feelings, hence why you need to give yourself some undistracted time alone. If at any time it becomes too intense, take a look at yourself in the mirror and affirm: “I am safe.” Feel the breath you take in and know that you are alive, and that, my friend, is all you need to give yourself a boost of strength when the thoughts you are bringing to the forefront of your mind are making you feel as though they are your current reality. Take as much time as you need, and feel free to give it up if it’s too much to take on at this time.
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Step one: Close your eyes and visualize the life you desire. Imagine every detail: the home you live in, the relationships you have, what types of clothes you wear, what your fitness level is, what type of person you aspire to be, what car you drive, your financial state, the career you lead, what hobbies you partake in…Go on and allow yourself to have some fun fantasizing!!
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Forgiveness can bring you closer to that life. What, or whom, can you forgive? Consider that everything, and naturally everyone, you come into contact with, you hold some type of relationship with. If something doesn’t work out in your favor, what or whom are you likely to blame? Your mother, or father? Brother, or sister? A friend, a spouse, an ex? Your children? God, the world, or life? Your finances? Your boss, or your coworkers? Yourself – your past choices, your level of intelligence, weaknesses or failures, your body??

Step two: Explore whom, or what, you are harboring resentment towards. This should be relatively easy. Often the things that bother us most, especially when asked, can pop into our head in an instant. What part of your dream life is not yet a reality? Why isn’t that a reality? Don’t stress it if nothing comes too quickly. Maybe that’s a good sign you’re not harboring much resentment. Give yourself as much time as you need to think through.
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Step 3: Choose just one thing to forgive. If you don’t know what that means, or how to do it, that is perfectly alright. You can simply choose to be open to forgiveness. Say the words: “I am willing to forgive (insert who or what you are forgiving).” You may not feel anything as a result of saying this just once, but over time as you practice being open to forgiving that person or experience or thing, then is when you will begin to feel something.

The best way I can describe that feeling is freedom. The negative thoughts you once had no longer keep you stuck in your not-ideal life. You feel love, appreciation, and acceptance for all that has been and is in your life – yes, the good, the bad and the down-right disgusting. You are meant to love and enjoy life. You can grow from those awful things; it is 1000% your choice.
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Step 4: Take a deep breath, and let this exercise go. Take another look at yourself in the mirror, if you need to, and give yourself a smile. Say the words, “I’m Okay.”

Sending you all the love, strength, and energy you need today to make today fabulous, regardless of how good or bad it is.

alyssa