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Posts from the ‘Wellness’ category

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By: Casey Anderson

When I first began my fitness journey, I felt like everyone at the gym knew exactly what he or she was doing and I was the only one there who didn’t. I was self-conscious and comparing myself to every single person there. But that’s not what I should have been doing. If you’re thinking about beginning your fitness journey, the first thing you need to know is that everyone starts somewhere.  The people you see at the gym who appear to know exactly what they are doing were once in your very shoes, walking into a gym with little to no idea what they were doing. They probably felt self-conscious and nervous about people watching them, critiquing their form.  You shouldn’t let your fear of not having the perfect form, or being able to run a mile, stop you from beginning your journey.

Which leads me to my next point, you should be doing this journey for yourself. I first began exercising because I was in a relationship that made me feel very poorly about my body, and thought that if I “got skinny” I would feel better. However, I quickly learned that this journey was for me and that I felt best about it, and saw the most results, when I focused on how it made me feel.  I ultimately realized that obtaining a certain body was not, and should not, be my goal. My goal should be learning to love myself, at every stage of my fitness journey, and taking pride in all my body is able to do and accomplish.

No body is the same and everyone’s body responds differently to exercising. Your focus should not be on obtaining a certain “look” that you may see on Instagram. The focus should be on becoming the best version of you, no matter what that version may look like. About three years ago, I became obsessed with obtaining a certain body type; a body type I used to think was “perfect.” I worked tirelessly for four months to achieve this body and by the end of that time, I noticed little to no progress. When I finally stopped caring about what I looked like, I started to see progress. I started to enjoy my workouts more and to love myself, no matter what I looked like. I learned that the most rewarding journey was the one that wasn’t entirely focused on how I looked, but was focused on how I felt.

Just how no one body is the same, no one journey is the same. Your fitness journey will be entirely different than mine, but hopefully just as rewarding. Try different things in the gym to see what you like, and to see what your body responds to. Don’t be afraid to grab some weights or jump on the stair master. Check out an exercise class and see how you like it. Ultimately, this should be a fun journey. One you look forward to and doesn’t feel like a chore. I look forward to going to the gym everyday but it’s because I’m doing things that I like while I’m there, not things I think I need to do to get an “ideal” body. Doing exercises and activities that make you feel good are an important part of this new adventure.

This isn’t a race. It isn’t a competition. You’re embarking on a journey to be the best version of yourself. A version of yourself that you are proud of, that you love wholeheartedly. It may seem daunting at first, but it’s a worthwhile journey full of self-love, growing confidence, and learning your worth.

Photo creds: Google
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For those who don’t know, HelloFresh is a meal delivery service that promises to deliver fresh ingredients for meal preparation straight to your front door once a week. One of the things I really like about this company is that you have the option to pause your service for as long as you want, and pick up right where you left off. I signed up for HelloFresh back in November when they were offering a sale for Cyber Monday. I’ve always been interested in signing up for a meal delivery service plan just to see whether or not it was actually as cost and time efficient as people say.

HelloFresh offers their customers the flexibility of picking a plan depending on one’s dietary preferences, household size, and schedule. Whether you are a vegetarian or a carnivore, HelloFresh vows to deliver ingredients that best suit your needs. HelloFresh pairs professional chefs with dietitians to create 15 new recipes each week. You don’t need to be home to receive your delivery, and the great thing is that all of the ingredients arrive in an insulated box with icepacks to ensure freshness. HelloFresh also offers a super easy-to-use interactive app that is compatible with all smartphones so you can pick your meals, pause your delivery service, track your order, view recipes, save past recipes, and more!

Here is a breakdown of the different plans they offer:

  1. Veggie Plan for Vegetarian recipes with plant-based proteins, grains, and seasonal produce. You can choose a delivery for two to four people starting at $9.99 per serving with free shipping and three different recipes a week.
  2. Classic Plan for carnivores which offers a wide variety of meat, fish, and seasonal produce. You can choose a delivery for two to four people starting at $9.99 per serving with free shipping and three to four different recipes a week.
  3. Family Plan for carnivores with ingredients the whole family will love. With this plan you will get enough food for four people and two to three recipes a week starting at $8.74 per serving with free shipping.

I selected the Classic Plan which came with four meals for two people for $79.92 but with the CyberMonday discount, I got my first box for $39.92 which was not bad at all. A couple of things I kept in mind when I signed up for HelloFresh was that my usual bi-weekly grocery bill ranges anywhere between $200-$250 which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, meats, dietary supplements, breakfast foods, snacks, and cleaning supplies. So IF I were to regularly purchase from HelloFresh I’d be spending around $320  a month on the service ALONE which is where I started to get a little turned off because they’re really only providing one dinner for four out of the seven days of the week. That left me still having to go to the grocery store to purchase things like eggs, fruits, veggies, and other things I’d require for my other two meals of the day and three meals for the 3 days I didn’t have a HelloFresh meal, so I’d still be going to the grocery store and I would still be spending about $120-$150 for the extra groceries. In the grand scheme of things I wouldn’t be saving much time in regards to going to the store which was one of the things I was really looking forward to.

The Unboxing- I placed my order on November 27th, and I received it on December 2nd so the shipping was pretty fast. Everything came in one big box which was nicely lined with icepacks and all of the ingredients were packed in different brown paper bags in accordance to the meal they were to be used for. I loved how organized everything was and I loved how I didn’t have to dig through and separate everything myself.

The first meal I unpacked was the Fig and Rosemary NY Strip Steak. This meal came with two 6 oz pieces of steak, 8 ounces of asparagus, 1/4 ounce of rosemary, 12 ounces of fingerling potatoes, 1 unit of chicken stock concentrate, 1 ounce of fig jam, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic glaze. I opened the app and pulled up the recipe for this dish which was really quite easy and self explanatory, and it took about 35 minutes to prep. I wasn’t crazy about the fig sauce for the steak but I used it on the potatoes and the asparagus. It was pretty tasty and I give it a 4/5 star rating.

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The second meal I cooked up was the Sweet-As-Honey Chicken. This meal included 2 garlic cloves, 1 lime, 1 thumb of ginger, 1/2 cup of jasmine rice, two 6 ounce chicken breasts, 1.5 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 unit of chicken stock concentrate, 1 ounce of honey, and 6 ounces of green beans. Once again I pulled the recipe up on the app and started cooking! The total meal prep time was about 30 minutes. This was my favorite meal out of the four that I received. I give this recipe a solid 4.5/5 star rating, I would have given it 5/5 stars but the portions were way too small for me.

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The third meal I received was the Lemon Grass Chicken Legs. This meal included 2 cloves of garlic, 1 unit of lemongrass, 2 limes, 2 units of bok choy, two 8 ounce chicken legs, 3/4 cups of jasmine rice, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 ounce of honey, 1 teaspoon of sriracha, and 1/4 ounce of cilantro. The total meal prep time was about 40 minutes. I give this meal 4/5 stars.

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The fourth meal I received was the Roasted Pork Tenderloin. I want to point out that I do not eat pork because I don’t like the way it tastes so I actually did not cook this meal. I still have the tenderloin in my freezer but I did use the other ingredients it came with for a different dish. I accidentally selected the pork tenderloin when I was picking my meals and it was too late for me to swap it for something else once I realized it. This meal came with 12 ounces of yukon potatoes, 1 red onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lemon, 1 zucchini, 1/4 ounce of cilantro, and a 12 ounce pork tenderloin.

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Conclusion- The meals that I tried were pretty delicious and I have the recipes saved in the app so I can refer back to them anytime I want to remake the meals. I think this meal plan is suitable for people who aren’t really familiar with cooking and are just starting to dip their toes in the kitchen, and need inspiration for meals to cook. I also think it’s suitable for a single person because the portion sizes just seemed a little too small to be divided by two people, but that’s just a personal opinion because everyone eats different portion sizes. I did not save any money, in fact I ended up spending way more than I expected to because I had to buy additional groceries at the grocery store. The meals were pretty time efficient considering they were ready to go in under 40 minutes so that was definitely a plus for me! Now I hate to sound like a food snob, but I really only eat organic and locally grown foods and none of the ingredients I received were organic which is the number one reason I will not order from HelloFresh again.

I do think that everyone should try it at least once in order to form their own opinions on the food delivery service.

If you’re interested in ordering your first HelloFresh box you can use my code MAYORTIZ at checkout for $40.00 off your first order. 

 

 

Images are a courtesy of HelloFresh.com
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It is no secret that green tea has been around for thousands of years. Originating in Eastern Asia around the 8th century, green tea quickly spread around the world due to its’ known health benefits. It is believed that before the common brewing method of tea leaves, people would chew on the leaves much like Ethiopians chewed on coffee beans before brewing became popular. For hundreds of years all tea was considered green tea. Green tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant which originated in China and is commonly known as the “tea plant,” because its’ leaves can produce black tea, yellow tea, white tea, oolong, puerh, and of course green tea but they are all processed differently to maintain different levels of oxidation. Green tea is the Camellia Sinensis plant in its’ purest form due to the fact that it undergoes very little to no oxidation at all.

When green tea was first introduced as a beverage, it was very uncommon for those who were not considered royalty to drink it. It wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty around the 17th century that green tea became a fundamental part of Chinese society. By the end of the 17th century, Western traders began taking the tea back to Europe and its’ popularity spread like wildfire which is why it is a commonly known drink in the Western world today.

Below I will list 10 science-backed facts of the health benefits that green tea provides which is I personally refer to it as “magical tea.”

  1. Oral health- Because of its’ anti-inflammatory properties green tea can help control or prevent periodontal disease which is a common gum disease that causes swelling of the gums, redness, and tenderness. Although periodontal disease is caused by poor oral hygiene those who suffer from it can find alleviation in a cup of green tea.
  2. Weight loss- Green tea is a commonly known drink for weight loss due to the catechins found in the tea leaves. There are many studies that link catechins not only to losing weight but to keeping the weight off.
  3. High blood pressure- Green tea contains high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients found in almost all fruits and vegetables and helps regulate heart health and it can decrease high blood pressure by 50% if consumed on a daily basis.
  4. Inflamed joints- As previously mentioned, green tea is full of anti-inflammatory properties so it is perfect to soothe the pain brought on by swollen joints.
  5. Bowels- Irritable Bowel Syndrome also known as IBS is an intestinal disorder which causes stomachaches, constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Green tea can help soothe the stomach pains due to its’ anti-inflammatory components and has been shown to significantly improve gut microbiota.
  6. Antibacterial- Green tea has been proven to have high levels of antibacterial properties in its’ leaves and therefore can aid in ridding the human body of bacteria when consumed.
  7. Cancer- The Epigallocatechin gallate otherwise known as EGCG is a type of catechin  which is a compound found in green tea that has shown in some cases to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Green tea also triggers proteins that kill cancer cells.
  8. Skin care- Green tea is packed with skin-rejuvenating and skin-healiong vitamins and minerals which help maintain a beautiful complexion. Loaded with manganese, vitamin B, caffeine, folate, potassium, amino acids, and phytochemicals  you’re bound to clear and tone your skin in no time. You don’t need to just consume the tea internally, but you can brew a cup or two and pour it in an empty spray bottle and spritz in on your skin throughout the day to draw out impurities.
  9. Cholesterol- An analysis of published studies found that consuming green tea, was linked to significant but modest reductions in total and LDL which is known as the bad cholesterol.
  10. Chronic Fatigue- Green tea contains theanine which is an amino acid believed to boost energy, increase dopamine, and protect brain cells.

Personal Statement

I usually enjoy a cup of green tea first thing in the morning. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I find that I am far more energized and alert after a nice and warm cup of tea.  I’ve also noticed a significant difference in the overall appearance of my skin after introducing green tea as a regular part of my diet. However, I would not recommend drinking the tea at night due to the fact that it does contain caffeine and it will keep you wide awake if consumed before bed.

Here are a few of my favorite green tea brands that I highly recommend. Each brand recommends a different brewing time and measurement, but they all list specific instructions for preparation.

  1. Prince of Peace Organic Green Tea
  2. Organic India Tulsi Green Tea
  3. Tavern’s Green Tea Sampler

 

DISCLAIMER: Please refer to your general physician before changing your diet, or using green tea in replacement of pharmaceuticals.

 

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Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, sunny side up eggs, hard boiled eggs, the possibilities are endless. Eggs have been a staple food for mankind since the beginning of time. Lets face it, eggs are d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! Personally, I eat two to three eggs at least once a day which made me wonder, am I eating way too many eggs? Am I putting myself at risk for high cholesterol? My mom would always tell me that you shouldn’t have more than three eggs a week. Although I believed her, I just stopped caring up until recently. After all, eggs are among the most nutrition packed foods in the world so how bad could they really be?

I decided to do a little bit of research to see if I could go ahead and debunk this three eggs a week rule. After a bit of web surfing and reading, I learned that a single egg yolk contains 187 milligrams of cholesterol which is a little over 62% of the daily recommended cholesterol intake for a healthy adult. For someone who suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart related diseases, the recommended daily cholesterol intake is 200 milligrams. So again, to egg or not to egg?

Before I go any further on how many eggs are too many eggs, I needed to understand cholesterol and how it works. First things first, cholesterol is necessary. Humans can not live without it. Cholesterol is naturally produced by our liver, but when we eat foods that are high in cholesterol our liver actually starts to produce less of it naturally. Although cholesterol is measured through your bloodstream, it’s important to remember that it is found in every single body cell and it’s a necessary building block in the cell membranes. Keep in mind that a healthy liver makes up about 75% of the cholesterol that our bodies need to keep us in tip top shape and only about 25% of it comes from the foods that we eat.  Lets say you only eat around 250 mg of cholesterol a day (remember that one egg yolk contains about 187 mg), your liver would produce an additional 750 mg from proteins, sugars, and fats.

Because cholesterol is a fat it is unable to travel alone in the body. Can you imagine little particles of fat just floating around our bloodstream? I can, and the thought alone makes me feel pretty queasy. In order for fats to flow through our bodies naturally, our bodies pack them in microscopic protein covered particles for easy flow through our bloodstream. At this point it almost seems like I’m blabbing on and drifting away from my original point. I found some studies done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  and below I will list the results along with a hyperlink to redirect you to each study.

This study was done on two separate groups.

Group A would consume 1-3 whole eggs per day

Group B would consume an egg substitute

These were the results after researchers followed up with the participants weeks later:

  • In almost all cases, HDL (the “good cholesterol”) went up (678).
  • Blood levels of carotenoid antioxidants like Zeaxanthin and Lutein increased significantly (151617).
  • Total and LDL cholesterol levels usually don’t change, but sometimes they will increase slightly (9101112).
  • Eating Omega-3 enriched eggs can lower blood triglycerides, another important risk factor (1314).

In conclusion, a healthy person can consume up to three eggs a day give or take. So yes, the answer to my question is absolutely TO EGG!

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a physician or in the medical field, I’m just a curious girl who really loves eggs. Please do not take this advice unless you’ve spoken to your general physician.

 

 

 

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