Love Pains

This is more of a mental health kind of post.

Sometimes love hurts. But even when it hurts we stay. Why is that?

Why do we stay in something that clearly makes us unhappy?

Why do we keep putting up with issues that you would tell your friend “girl, you deserve better?” I wish I knew the answer to that. Often, I feel like I’m just in this same space where nothing changes. And often times it’s my fault.

I can’t even fully express how I feel over fear of what I might write. Or what it could mean. I just know what’s in my heart. And I know that at this instance, at this very moment, my heart hurts. In my mind, I know what I need to do. I know what I should do. Or what I think I should. But it pains me.

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Oatmeal for Breakfast

It’s not always good, I’ll admit.

But it gets the job done. Fills you up, keeps your satisfied and gives you nutrients. I actually made really salty oatmeal today and was pretty upset about it. I used way too much salt. I really should’ve just tasted it to be on the safe side but it’s cool. I simply just put some bananas and almond butter and mostly ate the parts with bananas. It gave it a bit of a sweet and salty taste.

I digress.

This post is about the oat. Why is it good for you? I’d like to think because of the insoluble fiber meaning: you get to go to the bathroom more often. And that’s a good thing. Great

Porridge with berries (1)

Credit: Health.com, visit for oatmeal recipes.

thing, actually. But really it’s so much more.

There are three main things that makes oats the superfood that it is:

  • Soluble/Insoluble Fiber
  • Heart Healthy 
  • Naturally Gluten-Free

Not to mention, it can also be quite taste when you do it right – don’t follow my saltiness ha!

The fibers in oatmeal are actually so good for you they help form a gel to help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood glucose levels. Nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix also says, it helps create a “moving” experience for your intestinal health.

In terms of heart healthy, the nutrients in oatmeal is pretty set on. According to Whole Foods, oats can lower cholesterol levels because of the natural fibers. Not only that, but experts note: eating high fiber foods like oats can prevent heart disease. That’s what I’m talking about.

And if you have Celiac Disease, Oatmeal is perfect for that. Most brands are naturally gluten-free but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I would make sure the packaging for the oats says certified gluten free.

Overall, oats are pretty tasty when they’re done right. There’s so many different types, like steal cut oats, instant oatmeal or rolled oats (which are my fav). The only thing I would note is to be careful with instant oatmeal only because sometimes the flavored ones may have too much sugars. Instead, get a good cup of rolled oats – boil some water, drop in your oats and after, add your own spices; you can also add your own frozen fruits! The hot oatmeal will just make it creamy.

Spice it up and eat something good for your body. Just be careful on the salt!

More Avocado, Please

As a Caribbean gal, I love me some Avocado. It goes great on the side of any meal like: rice and beans with some pollo guisado; or platanos con salami; and of course, guacamole (duh!) The latter two are a few staples that I grew up eating being Dominican and all, and honestly, that’s probably why I love Avocado. All you need is a little bit of salt and your pretty much Gucci (good to go).

In fact, I just had half of an Avocado like 40 minutes ago with a little bit of salt. Oh man, was that good. But you know what’s even better? The fact that it’s a healthy. Lord Jesus, I’m about to teach y’all a little something because you if you didn’t know about how

good this was for you — your about to find out.

healthy-tuna-stuffed-avocado

Credit: LifeHack.Org

First of all let’s get into texture. It is so smooth and creamy, with a rich texture and it also taste kind of like “cool”. Like it gives you a cool feeling.

Most avocados look pear-shaped, like the picture in the article and if the outer shell is bright green normally means they haven’t ripened which is good – they last a bit longer in your home; but once they start turning brown they’re at a perfect spot for cutting and eating. If you try cutting it while it’s still bright green, it’ll be hard and the taste will definitely not be as smooth. Trust me you got to be patient with this bad boy.

The most popular type of avocado is the Hass Avocado. Check out the stats:

According to Authority Nutrition:

  • it only has 160 calories
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of healthy fat
  • 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so technically there are only 2 “net” carbs. That makes it a low carb friendly plant food.

Did I forget to mention the taste is amazing.  Aside from its quick stats, Avocados are overall good for several health issues as well.

Credit: Seattle Times

Credit: Seattle Times

I checked a few sites, including LiveScience, and most included these facts –

The fruit is good for your heart (because Avocados are high in mono and polyunsaturated fats – experts say that could help reduce blood levels and decrease risk of heart disease).

It can also regulate blood pressure because of its high levels of potassium; prevent birth defects if your pregnant (because of its folic acid) and even help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Overall, Avocados are the real deal people. I love the fruit (that looks like a vegetable).

Try putting some in a shake. I like putting about a quarter of an avocado with some kale, spinach, pineapple, half a banana and about a cup of water. Voila. It tastes amazing and imagine all the nutrients you’re getting because of all the green. 😉

Need some more super easy Avocado inspiration?                                                                                 Check out BuzzFeeds 29 Super-Easy Avocado Recipes.

Put a little Kale on it

Kale smoothies, Kale salads, Kale chips, Kale in your sandwich, or even in your panini; if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, I’m about to change your mind.

To be honest, I thought Kale was straight up nasty rabbit food, just nasty. However, once I saw just how many nutrients it packed, I thought maybe it’s time to implement it into some of my meals.

Let me give you little brief on the benefits of the leafiest of greens, ever. (Seriously, Kale sometimes smells like grass.) kale2

For starters, Kale is known as a super food.  What the heck does that even mean? In a nutshell, it means if you eat enough of this daily you won’t have to see the doctor as often. It’s kind of like the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and the funny thing about that is an apple is a superfood too!

Kale is like a veggie superstar in it’s own way, according to Mind Body Green’s article 10 Great Health Benefits of Eating Kale:

  • It’s filled with powerful antioxidants, like flavonoids, and that my friends helps protect against various cancers.
  • Kale is also rich in Vitamin K, A, C and even in calcium, what! That means from keeping your skin youthful — to aiding your metabolism and preventing bone loss, the vegetable carries a powerful punch.
  • Kale is also filled with much fiber, which is great for detoxing.
  • Not only that, but one cup of raw Kale is only 33 calories and zero fat. Zero.(Uh yeah, sign me up.)

And if your not convinced yet on why you should try it, five health experts in a Time article gave it the all clear as the cruciferous king of superfoods. In fact, “Kale’s so hot because it packs in more nutrition than practically any other whole food,” says Many Oaklander of Time Magazine.

kalesmoothieNow to incorporate Kale into your meals I would simply start off with a smoothie.

Here’s my favorite: Kale and Banana smoothie

I like to use it as a base and sometime I change it up and add a vanilla protein, or use strawberries instead of banana. It’s so delicious it’s almost like an ice cream shake. Personally, I love adding fresh mint leaves because it gives it a super fresh taste too. So good.

If your on the go, Panera Bread also has Roasted Turkey and Carmelized Kale Panini that’s heaven.

Kale salads aren’t my cup of tea and I haven’t tried Kale chips because I honestly prefer the smoothies.

So if you haven’t tried Kale yet, I would highly suggest it — at least once 🙂

And don’t feel rushed to try it immediately, you can try it on National Kale Day (coming up in October), if you want. Yup, it’s a real thing.

Change!

Momma, just don’t understand.

It’s like a play on the song “Fame.” Get it? Yes, no? Maybe.

Well that’s what I want to write about. Change. It’s a simple word and it’s an action type of word, a verb. When you initiate change something is going to be different. Most likely your actions to a particular thing that you always do, for instance a routine.

By definition, change specifically means to make or become different (google it). Working out is a former of change. Whether it be your mind, or your body its actually transforming it into something that was not there at the present time. Essentially change is progress because whatever it is that your aiming to change is in turn causing you to do something.

Just two months ago, I spoke about progress and how taking little steps towards your goal

One lit bulb among unlit ones

Change.

can help you achieve some amazing feats. Now, I want to push myself and all of you to embrace change.

So why don’t you change up your daily routine, or even your gym workouts. It’ll help alleviate the same monotonous actions and bring some variety into your life. And lets be honest, variety is the spice of life.

Here are three things to help you spruce up your routine for a healthy happy life:

  1. Wake up and say thanks. You can achieve this by meditating even if it’s just for five minutes. Or you can pray. Or just wake up and say “thank you.” Sounds a little nuts, but it’s showing appreciation for all you’ve have at that very moment you wake up like: your home, your bed, beautiful early morning sky, food in your fridge or clothes in your closet. It’s a way to refresh your day the very moment you wake up and set yourself up for a successful day — and it even gives you a piece of mind. Try it.
  2. Sip some tea. The benefits of tea are crazy good. Not even playing. I know some of you have seen the flat tummy tea posts on social media sites. But aside from what some tea companies claim to offer, there are different kinds of tea to help you clear your mind, make your body feel good and even clear your colon. To name a few benefits
    • Tea is full of antioxidants.
    • Tea has less caffeine than coffee. (And for some us, coffee is like crack in the a.m.)
    • Herbal Tea can help smooth the digestive system. Yeah buddy.
  3. Lastly, put on your favorite song on and turn up the volume. Let loose a little bit. Create your own routine to your favorite song and dance like no one’s watch, because technically you’re all alone at home with at least 30 minutes to yourself and no one is watching 🙂 . It also helps get the blood flowing, heart pumping and you get to let loose a bit.

Change is scary, starting a new gym program is scary or even a new routine. But change is definitely what you make it. So why not let change work for you.

Losing Mojo

How long does it take to lose your mojo? And by mojo I mean the drive to work out and just do everything you need to do? I think I lost it.

I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. It seems like that’s the only thing I blog about whenever I write on this blog. And even that is seldom. Blah. I’m going to try to go to the gym, if not, maybe get some squats and crunches in. Lord knows I need it.

Oh yeah, I had another birthday. I’m 26 now. Whatever.

Carol

Beginning a Fitness Journey All Over Again

I’ve slacked on my body. Terribly.

Three months ago, I was in a car accident. I injured my back and have been seeing a chiropractor since. I wasn’t allowed to run or workout at the gym for quite some time because I had to get better. That alone killed me. It was hard for me to eat healthy because I literally had no time. I got a new job. I had doctor appointments in the mornings and by the time I arrived home I had to cook, clean and finally have some ME time. I know, it sounds like excuses – but I can’t help but think there are so many other people that go through the same thing. Maybe, not necessarily a car accident, but unexpected events that slow you down on certain goals. I’m here to say I experienced it too, and I’m not ashamed. It’s life. It happens. Period. However, once the opportunity arises for a comeback you have to take it! And that’s exactly what I’m doing, now.

 

I have slowly begun weight training and running again. Last week I woke up stupid early – like at 4:30 – to head to the gym, workout and make it in time to my doctor’s appointments, and then to work. It was hard, but totally worth it. Two days ago, I ran 2.77 miles (although, in my defense, I totally thought the route I had taken was three miles).  The run was hard. I continued to get wedgies throughout the entire 30 something minutes. (Wedgies totally suck by the way, I forgot how much they did.) AND I was slow. Super slow. But I didn’t stop. That’s all that matters.

My fitness progress took a set back when I was in that car accident. But thanks to GOD I am alive well, and beginning my fitness journey all over again. And you know what – I’m going to make this journey even better than the last!

 

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My last advice before this college student graduates!

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One thing that I have learned during my “path to healthy living,” is that this is an everyday process. I cannot stress this enough! There isn’t a deadline to living healthy and that is why it is something to keep in mind everyday. There are many excuses that we can all make for why we go into the fast food line rather than meal prepping or why do we choose to hit the snooze button instead of getting that work out in early in the A.M. The fact of the matter is will power and self-discipline is all we need to stay on track. One thing that I have done to help me either stay on track or get me back into the healthy path has been to always have an amazing support system that I rely on. My family has had history of obesity and especially since we are Hispanic and are built a little differently we are more prone to pack on the pounds. The females in my family have had their own struggle, some of them turning into extremes and finding unhealthy ways in order to lose weight. I had been generally overweight for all my life, when I was younger it was more difficult and the desperation to look like my slender friends was high. Bulimia became a disease of mine for a short period of time during the age of 14 until I realized that hurting myself just to get me to love myself didn’t seem right nor make sense. I started talking more to my sisters more about my inner struggles and they started becoming supportive of me and encouraging me to work out with them. Whenever we would eat together I would see my sisters choosing healthier options and I didn’t want to big the piggy of the group, so I would opt for the healthier option. Little by little I began building a health conscious habit that I never had before. Now when I fall off track I know that I shouldn’t really be eating junk or not working out because I knew it wouldn’t benefit me any. Sometimes building awareness is what you need to not let yourself go completely. If I eat poorly or drink heavily, I always reflect on how I felt afterwards. I don’t allow myself to feel guilty but I just reflect on how I physically feel. Most times the junk that I consume isn’t gluten free and I feel terrible after so I make a mental note that this is not how I want to feel. So I try and remember the negative side of being unhealthy and see how unhappy it makes me feel and that is how I am always able to bounce back onto my path again. That’s what it is all about, being able to just get back on track if you stray away from the path. Keep things new and exciting so that you don’t get bored! Find new recipes to try so that your meal prep doesn’t become boring and new and different ways to keep active like trying a new class or signing up for a race to keep you motivated. I am going to sign up for an 8 week boot camp that starts tonight and I am doing it with my friend so not only is it something that is going to keep me occupied for the next 8 weeks. I graduate on Sunday and will finally be done with school, so this boot camp is coming at the best time to kick start me on my new regimen that I will be able to make now that I won’t have the stress of school to interfere or become an excuse anymore!   Happy finals week everyone! Always remember that self determination, confidence, and drive will get you anywhere in life!

Xoxo

Jaz

Breathing Exercises to Help You Balance Your Life and Relieve Stress

I think I’ve overloaded myself with too many  activities. On one hand I have this blog I’m running + a media critique paper + reports for capstone class + a midterm and now a futuristic new media communication technology group project that I’ve recently been assigned. Oh yeah, and I just remembered, a final. That’s just on one hand. On the other hand, I have everything else in my life going on and I’m taking on peoples projects because of certain complications. Where do I find my balance? How do I keep my sanity?

And sometimes, I just can’t make it to the gym, you know?

Sometimes,  I’m  just so focused on my studies and the people around me that I just can’t focus on myself and it really just breaks me down. So what do you do?

Photo Credit via Eva Tricks

Photo Credit via Eva Tricks

 Just Breathe. Stop what you’re doing. Breathe. Keep your back straight, bring your shoulder’s back. And breathe. Good? Now Repeat.

That’s my own little version. I practice it for, literally, about 60 seconds and I’m back. I regain composure and control of whatever situation I am currently in. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and count to ten. Who ever thought breathing exercises could work so well, huh? The fact is that breathing reduces stress, and carrying on a load that is as big as a gorilla on your back normally tends to cause a good amount of stress. Now, some people say a little bit of stress is needed to keep people going and striving for more, but sometimes there’s too much that can really break a person down.

Here Time Magazine’s Health Website has 6 Breathing Techniques that can help anyone relax in 10 minutes. My favorite or most preferred?

Guided Visualization.

In a nutshell,  you’re basically breathing deeply while focusing your mind on positive images to replace negative thoughts. The whole idea of guided visualization is to go to that happy place that you’d rather be, instead of your current state of mind.Time magazine would rate this exercise on an intermediate type of level and they also state that there’s usually a coach, therapist or guide that suppose to help you go there. I think that if you can’t afford it, just grab a friend who cares about you and is willing to help you go there.

Breathing exercises, just get like Nike and “Do it” its good for you.

Just Breathe.

Alba

Just Get the Hell Out of Bed!

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This is exactly what I need to tell myself literally every morning! The struggle is so real and I’m sure there are plenty of people whom can relate to me with finding the energy to just get up and do something! They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well I have been pushing myself to leave my excuses at the door and trying to formulate the habit of waking up early and getting myself to my 7:15am Timed Exercise workout. Now to some that may not sound that early, but this is coming from someone who literally would yell at anyone whom would call me before 10am.

After miserable years of having to be at school at 7:15am throughout High School I decided in college that there was absolutely no reason for me to take any classes before 10am so that’s when I grew a bad habit of sleeping in. I had to work so hard on becoming a, “morning person.” I realized that I would just make so many excuses when I was done with either work, school, sometimes even both that I would just go home instead of working out. When I first attempted to work out in the morning it was rough because I used to stay up late, either it was hanging out drinking with my friends at night or just up talking with my sisters hanging around at the house. After my sisters moved out I would find myself going out more with my friends and never having the energy for waking up and getting a work out in before having to go to school or work.

 I would wake up and get ready to start my day and feel so awful about my body and how big I felt but not only appearance but I felt very lethargic. So I did something that me as a social butterfly was hard to do, I started saying “no”. No to going out, no to drinking, no to late night munchies, and instead I would go to bed. The amazing amount of energy that you have when you get enough sleep is shocking at first. I started getting up and going for walks, long walks just enjoying what the morning was all about. It was hard for me to get used to, I didn’t want to talk to anyone I just wanted to be in my own little world enjoying the peaceful morning. I tuned out all the busy cars with my music and just walked. Eventually I found myself at the gym in the mornings, getting a little more social taking some spinning and Zumba classes.

 That was pretty much how I started my fitness journey 2 years ago. I’m not saying that I have been getting up every morning eager to work out or that I stopped going out. What I am saying is that sometimes you need to reevaluate priorities in order to form a habit. So far I have been doing good the past couple of weeks, I am even getting over ambitious and getting to the gym at 6:00 am to get some cardio in before my 7:15 Timed Exercise class. As I am writing this blog I laugh because I just realized something, my Timed Exercise class is at 7:15am and the time that 1st period used to start in high school was 7:15am which I used to loathe!  I can say that I am proud of myself though of how much I have changed, I am a proud 7:15am Timed Exercise attendee and I love it. So just wake up & shake up!

Xoxo

Jaz

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