Monika Nowak, Nutrition Coach

My name is Monika Nowak, founder of Power Nutrition LLC, Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, and food blogger.

My goal is to help you CHANGE your eating habits so that you NEVER have to resort to using fat loss pills, restrictive diets, weight loss scams, counting points, or wearing sweat suits AGAIN.

Break the cycle of yo-yo dieting & lose fat for good.

If you are looking for a quick fix, I'm not your coach.

But if you are READY to make changes & build HABITS that will last a lifetime, let's talk.
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It's Friday night.....you've just ended a long week at the salt mines and want to go to the movies to destress. You enter the cinema and all you can focus on is the smell of freshly buttered popcorn. You're thinking "I've deserved this, I've had a long week". 

 

You order a large popcorn, soda and a box of M&M's.

By the time the commercials are done, you are half way through your snacks, feeling a bit gross already.

 

By the time the movie is over, your stomach hurts and you are hyped up on sugar. You get home and can't fall asleep for a long time. When you wake up, you are tired and feeling regretful of last night's choices, not to mention the disappointment you feel when you step on the scale to realize just how costly last night was. 

Can we make this scenario a bit better? Yes, we can.

 

But brace yourself. It will require you to be adventurous and smuggle your own food to the cinema.

 

Since many of my clients live in Ridgefield, CT or nearby, they are familiar with the Prospector Theater and CVS pharmacy. 

 

One of my clients asked me if I can come up with ideas for healthier foods to bring to the movies that can be purchased at that pharmacy. 

 

So here's me out and about taking pictures of chips and candy at CVS. 

This is what I came up with. 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something salty or crunchy 

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

Summary: 

I was really surprised with the variety of healthier popcorn, chips and other snack options at CVS. There was a tremendous amount of organic, non-gmo snacks, unsweetened versions of popcorn, tortilla chips and even kale chips. Go for the single serve packs whenever possible. They are a bit more expensive but it's MUCH easier to control your eating. 

 

 

When you feel like getting something sweet 

GET THIS

 

 

 

AVOID THIS

 

 

Summary: 

Again, I was surprised with the variety of healthier choices such as freeze-dried fruit, lower sugar bars/cookies, organic options, and lots of single serve treats. Definitely go for those! 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something creamy

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

 

Summary: 

Yet again, I was shocked that you can now get greek yogurt, protein shakes and charcuterie snacks at a pharmacy. That's pretty cool actually. Lots of good options to replace ice cream or sugary sodas and smoothies at the movies. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have an article idea for me? Shoot me an e-mail

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Many of my clients struggle with meal planning & prepping so today I wanted to share with you my weekly dinner menu & grocery list (for two people). 

My dinner menu is very simple. It's basically meat/fish/poultry with veggies. They are not the master chef kind of dishes but everything below is nutritious, delicious, filling and easy to make. 

The meals are also high in protein, low in carbs, gluten and dairy free. Every dish here is also going to be under 500 calories but only if you use oils sparingly (which I highly recommend). 

Both my husband and I don't eat starchy carbs at dinner but if you usually do, by all means add some complex carbs to your dinners such as sweet potatoes, squash, wild rice, beans or lentils. 

I repeat a variation of this menu every week by switching the protein/veggie combos and using different spices. There are also a bunch of leftovers (from the meat sauce, meatloaf and rotisserie chicken) from this menu that I use for lunch during the week. 

 

Enjoy and I hope you will get some ideas from it. 

 

Grocery list: 

Meat/dairy/fish

  • 2 organic chicken breasts - about 1 lb

  • organic ground turkey 3 lb (1.5 lbs for meat sauce, 1.5 lbs for meatloaf) 

  • 2 wild caught fresh salmon filets - about 1 lb

  • 2 center cut filet mignon - about 1lb 

  • 2 frozen wild caught cod filets - about  1 lb

  • organic whole rotisserie chicken - this is the only thing I will buy separate, the day of 

Produce

  • whole organic broccoli head

  • 2 organic zucchinis

  • whole cauliflower head

  • bag of fresh or frozen green beans

  • bag of fresh organic baby spinach 

  • 1 container of organic mushrooms 

  • 1 organic English cucumber

  • 1 container of organic baby tomatoes 

  • bag of organic lemons 

  • a bunch of fresh thyme

  • a bunch fresh rosemary 

Misc

  • jar of organic marinara sauce (no sugar added) 

  • olive oil or avocado oil spray 

  • salt

  • pepper

  • garlic powder 

  • balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar 

 

Total cost of above foods is around $80 - based on majority of items being organic / wild-caught. 

 

Menu: 

Monday: Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach salad with tomatoes & cucumbers 

Tuesday: Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms & zucchini

Wednesday: Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + broccoli

Thursday: Turkey meatloaf  with mashed cauliflower & marinara sauce

Friday: Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Saturday: Turkey meat sauce w/ zucchini noodles

Sunday: OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

Below you can find more details on the menu such as cooking tips, recipe details, and pictures of the meals. 

 

Monday 

Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach, tomato and cucumber salad 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the fish in a little bit of avocado oil, with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon slices for a few hours before cooking. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon before serving. 

 

 

Tuesday 

Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms and zucchini

Cooking tip:

Over the last year we've perfected making the steak on a charcoal grill as follows. Take the steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. Get the grill really hot about 450 F. Place the filet on direct heat for 4 minutes each side, then wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. It's a perfect medium rare, juiciest steak you will ever have.

 

 

 

Wednesday 

Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + steamed broccoli 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the chicken for a few hours (or best overnight) in lemon juice, lemon slices, salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme. 

 

Thursday 

Turkey meatloaf (recipe HERE) with mashed cauliflower and marinara sauce 

Cooking tip: 

For cauliflower mash - first shallow steam cauliflower in chicken stock, then drain and place in a food processor. Add garlic powder (or raw garlic), fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano, salt, pepper and blend until smooth. If you really want to make it a hit, add a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese. It will blow your mind.

 

 

Friday 

Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Cooking tip: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Use an glass dish with a lid. Slice lemons and place spiced cod (I use a spray of avocado oil and a blend of no-salt seasoning) on top of them. Add more lemons on top. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook. 

 

 

Saturday 

Turkey meat sauce (recipe HERE) w/ zucchini noodles

Cooking tip: 
The longer the sauce cooks the better. Also using fresh herbs & adding a chunk of hard aged cheese like parmesan can really elevate the flavor. 

 

Sunday 

OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

On grilling

Other than the filet mignon, we do all other grilling indoors using this awesome T-fal grill. It's one of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen and I use all the time. It has multiple cooking features, but most importantly it detects thickness of your cut and it adjusts cooking time accordingly. 

Since it has a grill on top and bottom, cooking time is greatly reduced so for grilled chicken it only takes about 10 minutes, while for salmon about 5-7 minutes, depending on size. 

 

If you need help with anything healthy eating related, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or to set up a consultation. You can e-mail me HERE

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While there are number of various, often confusing & opposing diets (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) the one thing that all of those diets agree on is vegetable intake.

 

Veggies are absolutely crucial for healthy weight, hormonal balance, mood, energy levels, sleep, sex drive, blood lipids, glucose levels, heart & brain health, immune system, inflammation levels and so much more. 

 

While many of you may say that you have no health complaints thus no reason to start eating veggies now, I will tell you that those seasonal colds, joint aches and pains, moodiness, fatigue & tiredness all go away once you up your intake. 

 

Health organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and let me tell you, as a nation we are nowhere near that. 

 

So how to add more veggies to every meal? 

 

BREAKFAST 

>>> Make savory oatmeal: combine shredded zucchini, finely chopped kale or spinach with roasted garlic, onions, peppers & sprinkle of cheese, and stir it into oatmeal, serve with 2-3 eggs.

>>> Add veggies to your eggs (I use leftovers from the night before). 

 

>>> Add spinach to your morning smoothie - I promise even the most picky eaters won't know it's there. 

 

>>> When making avocado toast, top it with spinach before you place the eggs, and serve with a side of sliced up veggies. 

>>> Even if you prefer a sweet breakfast, you can follow it up with a super refreshing green smoothie that you can sip on your way to work. 

My favorite combo is spinach/kale, lemon, fresh ginger, apple or pineapple and cilantro (recipe HERE). 

 

LUNCH 

>>> Think beyond a salad - veggie soups, stews and chili are an awesome way to sneak in more veggies. 

>>> Bring sliced up vegetables, with or without, a greek yogurt based dip. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, peppers, celery are all great options (quick tip: store them with a wet paper towel - it will help them stay fresh longer). 

>>> Bring leftovers  - I always make extra veggies at dinner to eat for lunch the next day. I even make enough so I can feed them to my dog Mic who absolutely loves them. 

>>> Use jarred or canned (BPA-free cans) vegetables - stock up on artichokes, heart of palm, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and add to your salad or sandwich. 

>>> Order soup/salad and 1/2 sandwich - most delis and lunch joints offer this combo - that's a great compromise if you are a sandwich lover. 

 

DINNER

>>> Substitute a starch with a vegetable in your favorite meal: 

- serve stir-fry in a pepper, portobello or zucchini; 

- serve meat sauce over zucchini noodles;

- make cauliflower mac and cheese; 

- make lettuce wrapped tacos or fajitas; 

- make cauliflower crust pizza - recipe HERE ;

- mash cauliflower instead of potatoes; 

- sub rice for green peas in paella recipes; 

>>> Embrace frozen vegetables - by far my favorite way to add veggies to my dinners is to shallow steam them in chicken broth (pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a pan, cover and bring to boil. Once it boils, add your vegetables, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, fresh/frozen, how you like it cooked). 

Best veggies (either fresh or frozen) for shallow steaming are broccoli, thick leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, peas, green beans and brussels sprouts. I always have bags of them in my freezer. 

>>> Add spinach/kale/chard/herbs to your marinara source or soups - especially the ones that are starting to get a little old. The heat will wilt them and you won't even notice. 

>>> Add a veggie appetizer before main course - whether at home or out preface the main course with a small salad, veggie soup or crudités. 

 

If you need extra help figuring out ways to eat healthier, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail to schedule your first consultation.

I've helped dozens of adults as well as children improve their diets. You don't have to do it alone. 

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  • 1

Weight loss can sometimes feel like a mystical beast, no doubt about that. But the spectrum of weight loss can be quite wide, so let's talk about the behaviors and choices on each end. 

 

There are choices you make & behaviors you execute every day that place you somewhere along this spectrum. 

 

When  you reach for pretzels instead of cut up vegetables you prepared over the weekend, you move towards the 'hard' end.

When you pick a salad in a restaurant instead of pasta, you move towards the "easy" end. 

Nothing happens in a vacuum and each behavior moves you a tiny bit to the left or tiny bit to the right.  

There is always movement to the left or to the right. You never stay still.  Everything you do matters, every choice you make matters. 

So let's get down to it. 

 

How to be in the 'easy' zone? 

  • eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods (80% of diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, healthy fats); 

  • enjoy the heck out of the other 20% of the diet - indulge in favorite treats without feeling guilty, buy the yummiest wine/chocolate you can afford :);

  • eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying every bite; 

  • keep food (other than fruits and vegetables) out of plain sight; 

  • drink a lot of water (aim for 1/2 of your body weight in oz);  

  • move daily - even 3 minutes of is better than 0 minutes; 

  • eat nutritionally balanced meals - combo of protein, fat, carbs in each meal; 

  • reduce snacking to a minimum; 

  • be patient and consistent - weight loss it's not a sprint, it's a marathon; 

  • eat your biggest meal post-workout;

  • aim to be consistent not perfect; 

  • make time to engage in de-stressing activities such as meditation, exercise, reading, listening to music; 

  • recognize & name any and all successes, no matter how small; 

  • when you mess up, face it, take responsibility and move on; 

  • use many ways to measure progress, not just the scale; 

  • embrace being hungry - hunger is a natural thing, humans are designed for times of famine, and times of feasts, unfortunately for our health, last 50 years were mostly feasts; 

  • be realistic about the results - don't expect miracles if you don't do the work, you can't reach the top if you don't feeling like climbing; 

  • cook majority of your meals;

  • believe that you are in charge of your own health and destiny; 

 

 

How to be in the hard zone? 

  • eat mostly processed, pre-made foods, with occasional healthy meals;

  • eat out most of the days; 

  • leave temping foods in plain sight; 

  • have a pantry full of junk foods; 

  • avoid fruits and vegetables like the plague; 

  • sit most of the day; 

  • destress with food; 

  • consume majority of your calories in liquid form (coffees, sodas, juices, shakes, wine, beer, etc.); 

  • eat fast and always finish what's on the plate; 

  • never feel hungry; 

  • aim for perfection and when that fails, throw in the towel and go bonkers; 

  • be always in a rush, never taking time for yourself; 

  • be perfect 7am to 6pm then go bonkers; 

  • be perfect Monday thru Thursday, then go bonkers on the weekends; 

  • reward yourself with food after you exercise; 

  • punish yourself with exercise after you had a bad day of eating; 

  • expect to lose all your weight in an unrealistic amount of time;

  • complain about not losing weight; 

  • complain about not losing enough weight; 

  • cut too many calories or food groups; 

  • repeatedly tell yourself that you are weak, you have no willpower, and/or no self-control; 

 

 

 

 

If you need help getting into the 'easy' zone without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know. 

I'm also preparing a weekend challenge to help some of my clients get over the "weak-end" phenomenon. They often struggle with being "good" Monday to Friday with behaviors moving them towards the 'easy' end and then they go right back to the 'hard' end after the weekend is done. And the process repeats. So let's break that cycle. 

If you are interested in taking part of my next challenge this coming weekend, let me know. You can reach me HERE

  • 369
 

Intermittent fasting has been known to humans (and animals) since the beginning of time. Religious fasting in particular has been practiced in numerous religions across various cultures for centuries. 

 

Nowadays, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in the health and weight loss circles, with multiple studies showing benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as improvement in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, cellular regeneration and overall longevity. 

 

I was exposed to religious fasting for the first time as a kid during Christmas. I'm not sure if my parents just made it up but basically we were suppose to fast from dusk on 12/23 to dusk on Christmas Eve making it a 24 hour fast. Even back then, the thought of not eating for so long was making me panic... a lot. I tried to do it but always failed miserably because I was dizzy or too hungry. To tell you the truth thinking back, my blood sugar levels had to be all over the place because I was hungry all the time. So after a few years I just gave up and never tried it again....Until recently. 

 

16 hour random fast 

My first intermittent fast was during a flight to Poland last December. It was a random decision but one of the best ones I have made, and I am planning to do it again for all future overnight flights. It was the smoothest flight I've had with no digestive issues whatsoever. So this is how it went. 

I had dinner at home at 5pm on Saturday and haven't had any food till I got home in Poland at 3pm (EST+6). Considering the time change it has been 16 hours since I had my last meal and I felt really good. I went on to have normal dinner, watched some TV and went to sleep early. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend you trying it if you ever have any digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, belching, etc.) while flying or if you want to use an overnight flight to get a taste of extended fasting.

Now, onto my latest experiment. 

 

22 hour fast 

This latest fast occurred a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit more thought of. At this point I did a lot of research on intermittent fasting and wanted to try to see how my body reacts to an extended fast. 

I had my last meal at 7pm on Monday, and didn't eat or drink anything with calories till 5pm on Tuesday. So here are my observations. 

Firstly, I was shocked how long I could go without food and how great I felt. I had a busy day which definitely helped keep my mind occupied but I didn't suffer any cognitive decline or brain fog that I was expecting. 

Secondly, I was surprised how much energy I had. I actually think I could have had a light workout that day. 

Thirdly, I felt gentle hunger pangs and mild headaches about 3 times total, the worst one with a lot of rumbling in my stomach at lunch time. They all went away in less than 10 minutes. I felt less hungry than during some of my normal days. 

There were a couple more things I noticed: I was very thirsty all day, and I got colder and colder the longer I fasted. 

So when 4 pm arrived I was getting chilly and decided to have dinner at 5pm. I really wanted to last full 24 hrs but maybe next time. 

 

Summary 

Overall I had a great experience and I'm planning to do it about 1x a month for general health benefits. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try or have any questions, shoot my an email. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out this great resource HERE . 

  • 319

Working with over 70 clients since I opened my business two years ago have taught me many lessons. Based on those and my client's successes I want to share 5 most important tips you need to consider if you want to lose fat in a healthy way, and to be able to keep it off. 

 

You need to be in calorie deficit...but not too large

The single most important factor for weight loss, for otherwise healthy individuals, is to be in the calorie deficit, i.e. eat less than you move. This deficit can be achieved many different ways but it's really important that it's not too large, so no more than about 200-300 calories a day. If the changes are too drastic, and the deficit too large, you will lose weight very quickly, but there is a high likelihood for the yo-yo effect. Additionally rapid weight loss is extremely stressful for the body putting your health at risk by suppressing the immune system and de-regulating hormones. 

 

 

You need to be patient.....and realistic about your expectations

I know that when you start a fat loss journey you are all excited and ready to make changes, but many people expect dramatic results right away... What I mean by that is they expect to lose weight overnight and if they don't, they get very disappointed and give up. This is by far the worse thing that can happen. We seem to not notice the weight gain that most likely have happened over the course of multiple months, if not, years, yet we expect to lose it all in a couple of weeks. An average fat loss rate that is easy to keep off is about 1-2 lb a week. Any faster than that and you are most likely losing lean mass as well (and you never want to lose lean mass!). So be patient and realistic about the timeline of your weight loss journey. 

 

You need to embrace vegetables....and protein 

For the veggie haters out there (including my dear husband) - it is so crucial for your health and well-being to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Vegetables and fruits have enormous amounts of nutrition, not to mention fiber which helps you feel fuller and have better bowel movements (and regular bowel movements mean easier weight loss).

Consuming protein increases your metabolic rate by 30% so once you increase your protein intake you actually start burning more calories than if you were to consume the same amount of carbs and/or fats. This initial increase in intake is often times how you get your initial weight loss started without even cutting calories.

For highly active individuals (exercising about 5 hrs a week) I would recommend as much as 0.8-1g of protein for each lb of body weight. 

 

 

Don't underestimate the value of hydration... and sleep

Water intake and proper sleep are very much under valued and sadly so. Many times I've tracked weight gain/loss based on sleep habits and travels patterns of my clients. If you missed my article on things you can do to improve your sleep tonight, you can read it HERE

I've also seen times where just by simply increasing water intake my clients were able to lose the first 1-2 lbs, just like that. Additionally, we often eat more because we think we are hungry, while in reality we just need to drink more water. 

 

Be smart about cutting foods/drinks  & adding exercise 

 

Lastly, be careful what foods you are cutting out and how much exercise you are adding in. Let's say you decide you want to cut out all the wine for a month. If you've been drinking 2 or more glasses a night, it's likely that you are going to lose a few pounds. But what do you think it's going to happen once you start drinking again? You're likely to put it right back.

Same with exercise. Let's say you just added 4 hours a week to your regular exercise routine to get into tip top shape. After a couple of months you reach your goals, and decide to dial back from 4 to 2 hours a week. Beside getting less exercise now, you are probably adding some foods you cut back on. Result? Weight gain. 

Obviously there are many more factors at play but I hope you do get the point. 

 

If you need help getting started and figure out where you can start creating deficits without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know.

 

I would love to help you. You can reach me HERE. 

  • 257

Many of you already know what NOT to do in order to get better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar and have a caffeine curfew, between others. If you missed my article on ways to improve your sleep click here.

But what are the things we can add instead of subtract when it comes to improving our sleep? 

Check out the list below. 

 

 

Eat this to sleep better tonight 

Selenium

Selenium is critical for good sleep, immune system and thyroid function. Best sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, chicken and cremini mushrooms. 

 

Vitamin C

People with low vitamin C levels tend to have more sleep issues. Excellent sources are everyday foods like bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, papaya. 

 

 

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin can affect anything from mood, social behavior, memory, sleep, sexual desire, appetite and digestion. Tryptophan is found in turkey, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and leafy greens. 

 

Potassium

Bananas are a good sources of potassium but there are far better choices such as leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, avocados, squashes, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, watermelon. 

 

Calcium

Studies show that disturbances in REM sleep were linked to a calcium deficiency. Great sauces of bioavailable calcium are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, sea veggies and sesame seeds. 

 

Vitamin D

According to clinical journals, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Best way to get your D up is through sun exposure (15-20 minutes a day) but salmon, swordfish, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and oysters are good sources as well. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and need to use a supplement, here's the one I use. 

 

Omega-3s

Studies show that omega-3s help you get deeper, more restful sleep. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. If you are currently taking liquid or pill form fish oil, please note that they are very heat sensitive so keep them refrigerated as soon as you open them. 

 

Melatonin

Everybody knows how crucial hormone melatonin is for sleep. Some foods have small amounts of melatonin in them, while others have been food to help raise your body's production of melatonin. Tart cherries are far and away the food source with the highest amount of melatonin, but tiny amounts can also be found in walnuts, ginger root and asparagus. Foods that have been found to naturally boost your body's melatonin levels are pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. 

 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps your body modulate stress response and relax your nervous system. Best sources are bananas, yogurt (sugar free and organic), cashews, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, sea veggies and eggs. 


Probiotics and probiotics 

Fermented foods have been known for centuries and lately all the research is pointing to the connection between gut health and disease development so it's safe to say that we could all benefit from adding more probiotic rich foods to our diet. Buy or try to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, miso or yogurt/kefir. One thing to remember with pickled vegetables though is they have to be raw & unpasteurized for you to get the benefits of them so look for that on the label. 

  • 354

Millions of Americans exercise their bodies every day to reach various goals, from weight loss, muscle gain, performance to anything in between.

But how many people actively engage in brain training? Apparently not enough. 

Cognitive decline is on the raise, with soaring rates of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

My family has been affected by Alzheimer's so I have a personal interest in the latest research and developments in prevention and treatments of ND.  

Today, I wanted to discuss activities anybody can incorporate in their life in order to prevent or at least slow down the degeneration and/or death of the brain cells. 

 

How to train your brain and stimulate new cell growth? 

 

LEARN NEW THINGS 

One of the best things you can do for your brain (at any age) is to learn new things or do things in a new, creative ways that are challenging physically and mentally. 

Whether it's through acquiring new information, physical skills, hobbies, languages, any new activity that challenges your brain will allow you to form brand new brain cells and connections. And this can happen at any age! So no matter what your age, it's not too late to grow some new neurons. 

 

READ 

Reading stimulates activity in parts of the brain responsible for abstract thinking. 

 

MEDITATE 

Meditation has been shows to increase activity of the prefrontal cortex responsible for rational thinking and decision making. 

 

EXERCISE

By exercising your body you literally exercise your brain. Exercising helps with memory, concentration and leads to growth of new neurons. 

 

EAT BETTER 

Diet plays a crucial part in brain health. Brain burns through a shocking 20% of your daily food intake.

 

Some of the best foods for the brain are: 

  • Fruits & veggies including avocados, blueberries, celery, broccoli, beets, green leafy vegetables, rosemary. 

  • Fatty fish (omega-3 rich) such as salmon and sardines.

  • Healthy fats: egg yolk, coconut oil, EVOO, walnuts. 

  • Bone Broth 

  • Turmeric 

  • Dark Chocolate (70% or more) 

 

Some neuron-stimulating exercise ideas: 

- serve dinner/eat/write/play tennis with your non-dominant hand

- learn how to juggle

- learn how to play a new instrument

- enroll in a painting or sculpting class 

- memorize a poem (even better in another language)

- open doors with different, than your usual, hand

- touch your left eye with your right hand, while simultaneously touching your right knee with your left hand, then switch (try to do it 10 times as fast as possible) 

- ask abstract questions then try to come up with the most creative answers

(this is a great exercise to do with your kids)

- practice memorizing, reconstructing from memory, solve puzzles, crosswords

- play brain stimulating games

 

 

Hope you like this article. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me here

 

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Although sleep isn't sexy and needs a new PR campaign, it forms a necessary part of life and it's lack can tremendously affect your health and wellbeing. 

 

Research shows that sleep affects nearly every function of our body - from skin health, emotional regeneration, immune strength and inflammation (lower risk of disease and cancer), improved cognitive function (lower risk of Alzheimer's), to hormonal balance (which will impact the ability to lose weight). It also influences performance, recovery, bone strength and your ability to operate a vehicle. 

 

If you think that Ambien will solve your sleeping problems, research shows that taking even as little as one pill 20 times per year has shows to be associated with increased mortality. Additionally prescription sleepers don't necessarily add quality sleep to your schedule. They make you unconscious which is not the same as sleep. 

 

So what can you do to naturally improve your sleep and your health? Read below. 

 

 

8 easy things you can do today to get better sleep

1. Get more sunlight

Your sleep cycle, or circadian timing system is heavily impacted by the amount of sunlight you receive during the day. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight between 6 and 8.30 am. Getting direct sunlight outdoors for at least half an hour has been shown to produce the most benefit.  

 

2. Avoid screens before bedtime 

Avoid blue light (all screens) at least 2 hours before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize. Use this time to read a book, talk to your loved ones, journal, stretch, knit or you know what. 

 

3. Create an optimal temperature

Studies have found that the optimal room temperature hovers around 60 to 68 F. If you still have problems falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or a shower 1.5 - 2hrs before hitting the sack. 

 

4. Make it dark

Having any type of light source can disrupt your sleep pattern. Not only your eyes have receptors that can pick up light - your skin too. Light pollution (any artificial light) has a huge impact on melatonin - studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep surpasses melatonin levels by more than 50 percent. Get blackout curtains and cover any sources of light in your room (including alarm clocks).  

 

 

5. Get the electronics out of the bedroom 

Our appliances and electronic devices emit not only radiation but also electric and magnetic fields know as EMFs. EMFs have been found to cause disruption in the communication among the cells inner bodies. The World Health Organization has now classified cell phone radiation as a group 2B carcinogen. Moreover, EMFs from common electronic friends have been linked to leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer. 

So instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, get a cheap non-ticking alarm clock like this one and get your phone (tablet, desktop, etc) out of your bedroom (at least 6 feet away). 

 

 

6. Master the nap 

Try to avoid napping during the day but if you are super tired make sure you are napping no longer than 20 minutes, and keep it as far away from the actual bedtime as possible. 

 

 

7. Create a sleep sanctuary 

Keep your sleeping quarters to sleeping (and sex) only. Keep office work out of the bedroom and get a houseplant to improve the air quality in your home. English ivy and perennial snake plant are great air-filtering houseplants. 

 

8. Have a caffeine & alcohol curfew 

Caffeine and alcohol are powerful nervous system stimulants.

 

Additionally, caffeine affects your endocrine system and provokes your adrenal glands to produce two anti sleep hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. 

In order to sleep better, set a caffeine curfew that's generally around 2 pm (even earlier if you are sensitive). 

 

When it comes to alcohol, although it may make you fall asleep faster, studies show that alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep during which short-term memories and experiences get converted into long-term memories. So wrap up the drinks at least 3 hours before bed, work on minimizing the amount of alcohol you drink (optimally 1 (or less) alcoholic drink per day) and increase water intake (for every alcoholic drink you have, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid). 

 

 

9. Go to bed at the right time 

Time between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am is considered money time.This is where humans get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery. 

 

 

 

If you want to learn even more about sleep, check out this great book "Sleep Smarter - 21 essential strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and bigger success" by Shawn Stevenson. You can buy it HERE on Amazon. 

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If there was only one advice I could give to my clients, it would be to eat more dark green leafy veggies. 

 

Bitter greens such as arugula, chicory, dandelion & mustard greens, radishes have underrated health benefits - they increase levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which improves digestion, they help with heartburn and liver detoxification.

 

Leafy greens are also very easy to grow in the garden. In my experience, kale is one of the easiest plants to take care of that produces beautifully throughout the whole season, and can even be re-planted in the fall. 

 

In this article I will be going over the benefits of 8 vegetables you can get inexpensively in any supermarket. They are very popular but sometimes underrated when it comes to health benefits they offer.

 

So check out the list and hopefully you will be convinced to add them to your diet daily. 

 

 

ARUGULA

 

Arugula - rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, K, iron, B-vitamins (including folic acid) and antioxidants. 

 

Benefits: 

- reproductive health, healthy conception and pregnancy,

- immune system support,

- protection against cancers,

- healthy skin. 

 

 

SPINACH

Spinach - rich in vitamin K (strengthens bones and digestive system), vitamin A (healthy pregnancy, skin and immune system), manganese (joint health), B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, potassium (heart health), antioxidants (anti-inflammatory), xanthophylls (carotenoids responsible for eye health), and other carotenoids that are cancer protective. 

 

Benefits: 

- healthy bones and joints, 

- energy source, 

- healthy heart, 

- immune system support. 

 

KALE

Kale - rich in vitamin K, A, C, E, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and carotenoids. No wonder it's been called a superfood for years now. 

 

Benefits: 

- good for pretty much anything, 

- detoxifier, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, 

- healthy digestion and cholesterol levels, 

- energy source, 

- strong, healthy bones,

- cancer protective. 

 

BROCCOLI

Broccoli - rich in vitamin K, D, B-vitamins, A, E, manganese, choline, chromium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, calcium, protein, zinc and selenium. 

 

Broccoli is also extremely rich in phytochemicals such as kaempferol (anti-inflammatory, eases allergic reactions) and glucosinolates (which play an important role in detoxification). 

 

Benefits: 

- overall health,

- healthy weight, 

- beautiful skin, 

- healthy heart, 

- improved digestion,

- liver detoxifier. 

 

 

CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower - rich in vitamin C, K, B-vitamins, magnesium, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, fiber and phosphorus. 

 

Benefits: 

- antioxidant, 

- liver detoxifier, 

- anti-bacterial (stops development of H pylori bacteria) 

- digestive health. 

 

 

BRUSSEL SPROUTS 

Brussel sprouts - rich in vitamin K, A, B-vitamins, fiber, manganese, choline, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and sulfurs. 

 

Benefits: 

- anti-inflammatory, 

- supports liver detoxification processes, 

- cardio-protective, 

- bone health,

- immune system support. 

 

 

CABBAGE 

Cabbage - rich in vitamin K, C (only when consumed raw), manganese (joint health), potassium, fiber, B-vitamins, copper, choline, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. Additionally cabbage is very rich in polyphenols which are highly anti-inflammatory. 

 

Benefits: 

- anti-inflammatory, 

- aids in liver detoxification, 

- supports digestive system, 

- cancer and tumor protective. 

 

RADISH

Radish - rich in vitamin C (helps in collagen production, cell regeneration and aids in healing), B-vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium. It's also rich in such as sulforaphane (helps with neurodegenerative diseases, tumors and digestive issues), zeaxanthin (important for eye health), beta-carotene (great for eye health, immune support, healthy pregnancy, skin health), and lutein (eye health and anti-oxidant). 

 

Benefits: 

- beautiful skin, 

- cancer protective, 

- healthy eyes. 

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2018 is approaching quickly so I decided to write this article about New Year resolutions and how to formulate them so you can actually stick to them for the entire year. 
 
In case you don't know this about me, I'm a "to do list" kind of person. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I have a list for everything: groceries, Costco, weekly reminders, daily to do list, travel packing list, daily habits, books to read, home improvement and professional goals. 
 
I know, nuts... 
 
Anyway, until recently, every January I would set some very ambitious goals in various aspects of my life that never made it pass February. Does this sound familiar to you? 
 
So what have I done differently? How did I start succeeding with my resolutions instead of failing? 
 
First, I started to focus on the journey not on the destination. 
 
So instead of focusing on the big picture, I focused on the small steps I needed to take in order to get there (some call it the process or the system). I've also created this system based on daily habits which after a while become automatic. 
 

One of my favorite quotes (by Aristotle) is: 

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." 

 
 
Second, I made my goals SMART: 
 
Specific 
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic 
Timely 
 
 
So let's go over some examples of goals I have set in 2016 in comparison to 2017 and how by following the guidelines above I was able to achieve a lot more. 
 
READING
 
2016:
Goal: "read more books"
Result: didn't track, but my best guess is about 10. 
 
2017: 
Goal: "read 30 minutes every day" 
Results: 32 books and counting 
 
When I changed focus from a big and vague goal, to a specific and measurable daily habit I was able to read a lot more than before. 
 
MEDITATING
 
 
2016:  
Goal: "learn how to meditate" 
Result: not a single meditation session 
 
2017: 
Goal: "meditate 5 minutes each day" 
Results: 70% compliance over the last year - pretty happy about it and will work to improve it this coming year 
 
When I shifted focus from just an idea that I should really meditate into a daily practice I should and want to cultivate, everything changed. I picked a realistic time to meditate and aimed to do it in the morning so I tried to make it as specific as possible. 
 
EXERCISING
 
2016:  
Goal: "work out more" 
Result: didn't track much so not sure how many sessions I've had 
 
2017: 
Goal 1: "work out 3 x a week (anything counts)" 
Goal 2: "20 consecutive push ups, 8 consecutive pull ups" 
 
I made my goal 2017 goal more specific but at the same time attainable - 3x a week and anything counts so I didn't feel stressed thatI HAD to workout at the gym all the time and even small workouts at home made me feel like I've meet my goal. I also set up separate performance goals so that my individual workouts at the gym were aligned with those specific numbers. 
 
 
SOCIAL MEDIA: 
 
2016: "reduce socialmedia exposire" 
2017: "no facebook after 5pm" 
 
Here I needed a hard rule that turned into a daily habit that I've successfully carried this whole year. 
 
 
So what are your 2018 resolutions? 
 
Lose weight? Get more fit? Eat more vegetables? Make more money? 
 
Whatever your goals are, try to use these guidelines above to write your goals into specific tasks and processes you can execute on daily/weekly/monthly basis. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact me HERE. Let's set up a consultation or a call and go over your goals. I can help you get into the right mindset and set realistic goals that will set you up for success. 

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Have you ever put things on hold because "life" got in the way?

 

You are not alone.  

 

I'm sure many of your are you familiar with the inner-dialogue of somebody trying to lose weight. Let's take a closer look at some troublesome thinking scenarios: 

 

"I'm going to have this cake because it's my birthday/his birthday/Christmas".

"I had a stressful day". 

"I really deserved this." 

"I'm going to get back on track right after my vacation".

"One slice of pizza is not going to kill me". 

"I just can't seem to control myself around chocolate/pizza/wine". 

"I worked out extra hard today so I could have this".

 

Any of those sound familiar? 

 

Sabotaging thoughts like this can not only halt your progress, they can break your spirit, weaken your motivation and destroy your focus. 

 

First step is to recognize those thoughts are ideas, NOT truths. 

 

Some of them may be true, some partially true while others may be completely false. 

 

Are they excuses? I'm not sure. Sometimes we really believe the statement to be true and see nothing wrong with this line of thinking, or with the consequences that it brings.

 

So, let's recognize that whatever we are thinking or telling ourselves is not always correct. 

 

Big part of being successful in losing weight, and most importantly, keeping the weight off, is being able to change your mindset from a negative place (where you suck at losing weight) to a positive place (where you know you can do it). 

 

What I want to teach you today is how to combat some of the most common sabotaging thoughts and change your mindset so that you can tackle weight loss in a more positive way. 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I didn't lose weight this week. I will never be able to lose weight again." 

Positive response: "I didn't lose weight this week but I will not let the scale define me and my progress. I have much more energy and my clothes are fitting better, so clearly I'm doing something right". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I just hate being hungry".

Positive response: "Being hungry is normal. Being hungry means I'm creating a deficit NOT a surplus. I'm ok getting comfortable with hunger so I can better gauge my food intake". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "Eating healthy is so expensive."

Positive response: "Being sick is expensive". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I've had such a long day. I really deserve to eat/drink this."

Positive response: "Every day has been a long day lately. I'm going to find non-food related ways to de-stress so that I don't reach for food every time something goes wrong". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I want to lose weight but I don't think I have the energy to do what it takes right now". 

Positive response: "Do I have it in me to sit back and watch myself put on weight, or best case scenario, stay the same way?"

 

Sabotaging thought: "This is too much effort. This will never work for me".

Positive response: "I'm going to give it my best and see how it goes. What's the worse thing that could happen?" 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I just can't seem to stay on track. Life gets so busy and I have no willpower to stick to my goals." 

Positive response: "I can dwell on all the reasons why this is hard OR I can focus on why am I doing this in the first place. Being healthy is really important to me plus I've done this before so I know I can stay on track if I really want to."

 

Sabotaging thought: "I'm not going to be dieting while I'm on vacation. I want to have fun and not worry about the calories". 

Positive response: "I may not eat as well as I eat at home while I'm on vacation, but I will try my best to make healthier choices because weight loss is important to me. I can eat better than I would in the past and still have fun". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "It's my birthday so I'm celebrating".

Positive response: "It's my birthday today, office party next week, mom's birthday the week after. I can always find a reason to go off my program but right now there are more reasons to stay on the path. I'm going to find ways to enjoy myself while I reach my goals". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I will get back on track tomorrow/next week/Monday/after Christmas"

Positive response: "What's the advantage of waiting? Why not start right now?" 

 

Sabotaging thought: "One cheat meal is not going to ruin my diet."

Positive response: "I've been feeling really good lately, why would I ruin it by cheating? Cheat meals make me feel good only for a little bit. Usually they are not even worth it so they leave me feeling guilty. I'm choosing not to feel guilty ever again". 

 

If you are struggling with a negative mindset or lacking motivation to stay on track, do not hesitate to contact me here. 

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... or jump to: 2017
Profile Feed

It's Friday night.....you've just ended a long week at the salt mines and want to go to the movies to destress. You enter the cinema and all you can focus on is the smell of freshly buttered popcorn. You're thinking "I've deserved this, I've had a long week". 

 

You order a large popcorn, soda and a box of M&M's.

By the time the commercials are done, you are half way through your snacks, feeling a bit gross already.

 

By the time the movie is over, your stomach hurts and you are hyped up on sugar. You get home and can't fall asleep for a long time. When you wake up, you are tired and feeling regretful of last night's choices, not to mention the disappointment you feel when you step on the scale to realize just how costly last night was. 

Can we make this scenario a bit better? Yes, we can.

 

But brace yourself. It will require you to be adventurous and smuggle your own food to the cinema.

 

Since many of my clients live in Ridgefield, CT or nearby, they are familiar with the Prospector Theater and CVS pharmacy. 

 

One of my clients asked me if I can come up with ideas for healthier foods to bring to the movies that can be purchased at that pharmacy. 

 

So here's me out and about taking pictures of chips and candy at CVS. 

This is what I came up with. 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something salty or crunchy 

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

Summary: 

I was really surprised with the variety of healthier popcorn, chips and other snack options at CVS. There was a tremendous amount of organic, non-gmo snacks, unsweetened versions of popcorn, tortilla chips and even kale chips. Go for the single serve packs whenever possible. They are a bit more expensive but it's MUCH easier to control your eating. 

 

 

When you feel like getting something sweet 

GET THIS

 

 

 

AVOID THIS

 

 

Summary: 

Again, I was surprised with the variety of healthier choices such as freeze-dried fruit, lower sugar bars/cookies, organic options, and lots of single serve treats. Definitely go for those! 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something creamy

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

 

Summary: 

Yet again, I was shocked that you can now get greek yogurt, protein shakes and charcuterie snacks at a pharmacy. That's pretty cool actually. Lots of good options to replace ice cream or sugary sodas and smoothies at the movies. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have an article idea for me? Shoot me an e-mail

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Many of my clients struggle with meal planning & prepping so today I wanted to share with you my weekly dinner menu & grocery list (for two people). 

My dinner menu is very simple. It's basically meat/fish/poultry with veggies. They are not the master chef kind of dishes but everything below is nutritious, delicious, filling and easy to make. 

The meals are also high in protein, low in carbs, gluten and dairy free. Every dish here is also going to be under 500 calories but only if you use oils sparingly (which I highly recommend). 

Both my husband and I don't eat starchy carbs at dinner but if you usually do, by all means add some complex carbs to your dinners such as sweet potatoes, squash, wild rice, beans or lentils. 

I repeat a variation of this menu every week by switching the protein/veggie combos and using different spices. There are also a bunch of leftovers (from the meat sauce, meatloaf and rotisserie chicken) from this menu that I use for lunch during the week. 

 

Enjoy and I hope you will get some ideas from it. 

 

Grocery list: 

Meat/dairy/fish

  • 2 organic chicken breasts - about 1 lb

  • organic ground turkey 3 lb (1.5 lbs for meat sauce, 1.5 lbs for meatloaf) 

  • 2 wild caught fresh salmon filets - about 1 lb

  • 2 center cut filet mignon - about 1lb 

  • 2 frozen wild caught cod filets - about  1 lb

  • organic whole rotisserie chicken - this is the only thing I will buy separate, the day of 

Produce

  • whole organic broccoli head

  • 2 organic zucchinis

  • whole cauliflower head

  • bag of fresh or frozen green beans

  • bag of fresh organic baby spinach 

  • 1 container of organic mushrooms 

  • 1 organic English cucumber

  • 1 container of organic baby tomatoes 

  • bag of organic lemons 

  • a bunch of fresh thyme

  • a bunch fresh rosemary 

Misc

  • jar of organic marinara sauce (no sugar added) 

  • olive oil or avocado oil spray 

  • salt

  • pepper

  • garlic powder 

  • balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar 

 

Total cost of above foods is around $80 - based on majority of items being organic / wild-caught. 

 

Menu: 

Monday: Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach salad with tomatoes & cucumbers 

Tuesday: Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms & zucchini

Wednesday: Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + broccoli

Thursday: Turkey meatloaf  with mashed cauliflower & marinara sauce

Friday: Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Saturday: Turkey meat sauce w/ zucchini noodles

Sunday: OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

Below you can find more details on the menu such as cooking tips, recipe details, and pictures of the meals. 

 

Monday 

Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach, tomato and cucumber salad 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the fish in a little bit of avocado oil, with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon slices for a few hours before cooking. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon before serving. 

 

 

Tuesday 

Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms and zucchini

Cooking tip:

Over the last year we've perfected making the steak on a charcoal grill as follows. Take the steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. Get the grill really hot about 450 F. Place the filet on direct heat for 4 minutes each side, then wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. It's a perfect medium rare, juiciest steak you will ever have.

 

 

 

Wednesday 

Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + steamed broccoli 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the chicken for a few hours (or best overnight) in lemon juice, lemon slices, salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme. 

 

Thursday 

Turkey meatloaf (recipe HERE) with mashed cauliflower and marinara sauce 

Cooking tip: 

For cauliflower mash - first shallow steam cauliflower in chicken stock, then drain and place in a food processor. Add garlic powder (or raw garlic), fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano, salt, pepper and blend until smooth. If you really want to make it a hit, add a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese. It will blow your mind.

 

 

Friday 

Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Cooking tip: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Use an glass dish with a lid. Slice lemons and place spiced cod (I use a spray of avocado oil and a blend of no-salt seasoning) on top of them. Add more lemons on top. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook. 

 

 

Saturday 

Turkey meat sauce (recipe HERE) w/ zucchini noodles

Cooking tip: 
The longer the sauce cooks the better. Also using fresh herbs & adding a chunk of hard aged cheese like parmesan can really elevate the flavor. 

 

Sunday 

OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

On grilling

Other than the filet mignon, we do all other grilling indoors using this awesome T-fal grill. It's one of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen and I use all the time. It has multiple cooking features, but most importantly it detects thickness of your cut and it adjusts cooking time accordingly. 

Since it has a grill on top and bottom, cooking time is greatly reduced so for grilled chicken it only takes about 10 minutes, while for salmon about 5-7 minutes, depending on size. 

 

If you need help with anything healthy eating related, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or to set up a consultation. You can e-mail me HERE

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While there are number of various, often confusing & opposing diets (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) the one thing that all of those diets agree on is vegetable intake.

 

Veggies are absolutely crucial for healthy weight, hormonal balance, mood, energy levels, sleep, sex drive, blood lipids, glucose levels, heart & brain health, immune system, inflammation levels and so much more. 

 

While many of you may say that you have no health complaints thus no reason to start eating veggies now, I will tell you that those seasonal colds, joint aches and pains, moodiness, fatigue & tiredness all go away once you up your intake. 

 

Health organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and let me tell you, as a nation we are nowhere near that. 

 

So how to add more veggies to every meal? 

 

BREAKFAST 

>>> Make savory oatmeal: combine shredded zucchini, finely chopped kale or spinach with roasted garlic, onions, peppers & sprinkle of cheese, and stir it into oatmeal, serve with 2-3 eggs.

>>> Add veggies to your eggs (I use leftovers from the night before). 

 

>>> Add spinach to your morning smoothie - I promise even the most picky eaters won't know it's there. 

 

>>> When making avocado toast, top it with spinach before you place the eggs, and serve with a side of sliced up veggies. 

>>> Even if you prefer a sweet breakfast, you can follow it up with a super refreshing green smoothie that you can sip on your way to work. 

My favorite combo is spinach/kale, lemon, fresh ginger, apple or pineapple and cilantro (recipe HERE). 

 

LUNCH 

>>> Think beyond a salad - veggie soups, stews and chili are an awesome way to sneak in more veggies. 

>>> Bring sliced up vegetables, with or without, a greek yogurt based dip. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, peppers, celery are all great options (quick tip: store them with a wet paper towel - it will help them stay fresh longer). 

>>> Bring leftovers  - I always make extra veggies at dinner to eat for lunch the next day. I even make enough so I can feed them to my dog Mic who absolutely loves them. 

>>> Use jarred or canned (BPA-free cans) vegetables - stock up on artichokes, heart of palm, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and add to your salad or sandwich. 

>>> Order soup/salad and 1/2 sandwich - most delis and lunch joints offer this combo - that's a great compromise if you are a sandwich lover. 

 

DINNER

>>> Substitute a starch with a vegetable in your favorite meal: 

- serve stir-fry in a pepper, portobello or zucchini; 

- serve meat sauce over zucchini noodles;

- make cauliflower mac and cheese; 

- make lettuce wrapped tacos or fajitas; 

- make cauliflower crust pizza - recipe HERE ;

- mash cauliflower instead of potatoes; 

- sub rice for green peas in paella recipes; 

>>> Embrace frozen vegetables - by far my favorite way to add veggies to my dinners is to shallow steam them in chicken broth (pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a pan, cover and bring to boil. Once it boils, add your vegetables, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, fresh/frozen, how you like it cooked). 

Best veggies (either fresh or frozen) for shallow steaming are broccoli, thick leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, peas, green beans and brussels sprouts. I always have bags of them in my freezer. 

>>> Add spinach/kale/chard/herbs to your marinara source or soups - especially the ones that are starting to get a little old. The heat will wilt them and you won't even notice. 

>>> Add a veggie appetizer before main course - whether at home or out preface the main course with a small salad, veggie soup or crudités. 

 

If you need extra help figuring out ways to eat healthier, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail to schedule your first consultation.

I've helped dozens of adults as well as children improve their diets. You don't have to do it alone. 

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Weight loss can sometimes feel like a mystical beast, no doubt about that. But the spectrum of weight loss can be quite wide, so let's talk about the behaviors and choices on each end. 

 

There are choices you make & behaviors you execute every day that place you somewhere along this spectrum. 

 

When  you reach for pretzels instead of cut up vegetables you prepared over the weekend, you move towards the 'hard' end.

When you pick a salad in a restaurant instead of pasta, you move towards the "easy" end. 

Nothing happens in a vacuum and each behavior moves you a tiny bit to the left or tiny bit to the right.  

There is always movement to the left or to the right. You never stay still.  Everything you do matters, every choice you make matters. 

So let's get down to it. 

 

How to be in the 'easy' zone? 

  • eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods (80% of diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, healthy fats); 

  • enjoy the heck out of the other 20% of the diet - indulge in favorite treats without feeling guilty, buy the yummiest wine/chocolate you can afford :);

  • eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying every bite; 

  • keep food (other than fruits and vegetables) out of plain sight; 

  • drink a lot of water (aim for 1/2 of your body weight in oz);  

  • move daily - even 3 minutes of is better than 0 minutes; 

  • eat nutritionally balanced meals - combo of protein, fat, carbs in each meal; 

  • reduce snacking to a minimum; 

  • be patient and consistent - weight loss it's not a sprint, it's a marathon; 

  • eat your biggest meal post-workout;

  • aim to be consistent not perfect; 

  • make time to engage in de-stressing activities such as meditation, exercise, reading, listening to music; 

  • recognize & name any and all successes, no matter how small; 

  • when you mess up, face it, take responsibility and move on; 

  • use many ways to measure progress, not just the scale; 

  • embrace being hungry - hunger is a natural thing, humans are designed for times of famine, and times of feasts, unfortunately for our health, last 50 years were mostly feasts; 

  • be realistic about the results - don't expect miracles if you don't do the work, you can't reach the top if you don't feeling like climbing; 

  • cook majority of your meals;

  • believe that you are in charge of your own health and destiny; 

 

 

How to be in the hard zone? 

  • eat mostly processed, pre-made foods, with occasional healthy meals;

  • eat out most of the days; 

  • leave temping foods in plain sight; 

  • have a pantry full of junk foods; 

  • avoid fruits and vegetables like the plague; 

  • sit most of the day; 

  • destress with food; 

  • consume majority of your calories in liquid form (coffees, sodas, juices, shakes, wine, beer, etc.); 

  • eat fast and always finish what's on the plate; 

  • never feel hungry; 

  • aim for perfection and when that fails, throw in the towel and go bonkers; 

  • be always in a rush, never taking time for yourself; 

  • be perfect 7am to 6pm then go bonkers; 

  • be perfect Monday thru Thursday, then go bonkers on the weekends; 

  • reward yourself with food after you exercise; 

  • punish yourself with exercise after you had a bad day of eating; 

  • expect to lose all your weight in an unrealistic amount of time;

  • complain about not losing weight; 

  • complain about not losing enough weight; 

  • cut too many calories or food groups; 

  • repeatedly tell yourself that you are weak, you have no willpower, and/or no self-control; 

 

 

 

 

If you need help getting into the 'easy' zone without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know. 

I'm also preparing a weekend challenge to help some of my clients get over the "weak-end" phenomenon. They often struggle with being "good" Monday to Friday with behaviors moving them towards the 'easy' end and then they go right back to the 'hard' end after the weekend is done. And the process repeats. So let's break that cycle. 

If you are interested in taking part of my next challenge this coming weekend, let me know. You can reach me HERE

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Intermittent fasting has been known to humans (and animals) since the beginning of time. Religious fasting in particular has been practiced in numerous religions across various cultures for centuries. 

 

Nowadays, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in the health and weight loss circles, with multiple studies showing benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as improvement in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, cellular regeneration and overall longevity. 

 

I was exposed to religious fasting for the first time as a kid during Christmas. I'm not sure if my parents just made it up but basically we were suppose to fast from dusk on 12/23 to dusk on Christmas Eve making it a 24 hour fast. Even back then, the thought of not eating for so long was making me panic... a lot. I tried to do it but always failed miserably because I was dizzy or too hungry. To tell you the truth thinking back, my blood sugar levels had to be all over the place because I was hungry all the time. So after a few years I just gave up and never tried it again....Until recently. 

 

16 hour random fast 

My first intermittent fast was during a flight to Poland last December. It was a random decision but one of the best ones I have made, and I am planning to do it again for all future overnight flights. It was the smoothest flight I've had with no digestive issues whatsoever. So this is how it went. 

I had dinner at home at 5pm on Saturday and haven't had any food till I got home in Poland at 3pm (EST+6). Considering the time change it has been 16 hours since I had my last meal and I felt really good. I went on to have normal dinner, watched some TV and went to sleep early. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend you trying it if you ever have any digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, belching, etc.) while flying or if you want to use an overnight flight to get a taste of extended fasting.

Now, onto my latest experiment. 

 

22 hour fast 

This latest fast occurred a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit more thought of. At this point I did a lot of research on intermittent fasting and wanted to try to see how my body reacts to an extended fast. 

I had my last meal at 7pm on Monday, and didn't eat or drink anything with calories till 5pm on Tuesday. So here are my observations. 

Firstly, I was shocked how long I could go without food and how great I felt. I had a busy day which definitely helped keep my mind occupied but I didn't suffer any cognitive decline or brain fog that I was expecting. 

Secondly, I was surprised how much energy I had. I actually think I could have had a light workout that day. 

Thirdly, I felt gentle hunger pangs and mild headaches about 3 times total, the worst one with a lot of rumbling in my stomach at lunch time. They all went away in less than 10 minutes. I felt less hungry than during some of my normal days. 

There were a couple more things I noticed: I was very thirsty all day, and I got colder and colder the longer I fasted. 

So when 4 pm arrived I was getting chilly and decided to have dinner at 5pm. I really wanted to last full 24 hrs but maybe next time. 

 

Summary 

Overall I had a great experience and I'm planning to do it about 1x a month for general health benefits. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try or have any questions, shoot my an email. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out this great resource HERE . 

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Working with over 70 clients since I opened my business two years ago have taught me many lessons. Based on those and my client's successes I want to share 5 most important tips you need to consider if you want to lose fat in a healthy way, and to be able to keep it off. 

 

You need to be in calorie deficit...but not too large

The single most important factor for weight loss, for otherwise healthy individuals, is to be in the calorie deficit, i.e. eat less than you move. This deficit can be achieved many different ways but it's really important that it's not too large, so no more than about 200-300 calories a day. If the changes are too drastic, and the deficit too large, you will lose weight very quickly, but there is a high likelihood for the yo-yo effect. Additionally rapid weight loss is extremely stressful for the body putting your health at risk by suppressing the immune system and de-regulating hormones. 

 

 

You need to be patient.....and realistic about your expectations

I know that when you start a fat loss journey you are all excited and ready to make changes, but many people expect dramatic results right away... What I mean by that is they expect to lose weight overnight and if they don't, they get very disappointed and give up. This is by far the worse thing that can happen. We seem to not notice the weight gain that most likely have happened over the course of multiple months, if not, years, yet we expect to lose it all in a couple of weeks. An average fat loss rate that is easy to keep off is about 1-2 lb a week. Any faster than that and you are most likely losing lean mass as well (and you never want to lose lean mass!). So be patient and realistic about the timeline of your weight loss journey. 

 

You need to embrace vegetables....and protein 

For the veggie haters out there (including my dear husband) - it is so crucial for your health and well-being to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Vegetables and fruits have enormous amounts of nutrition, not to mention fiber which helps you feel fuller and have better bowel movements (and regular bowel movements mean easier weight loss).

Consuming protein increases your metabolic rate by 30% so once you increase your protein intake you actually start burning more calories than if you were to consume the same amount of carbs and/or fats. This initial increase in intake is often times how you get your initial weight loss started without even cutting calories.

For highly active individuals (exercising about 5 hrs a week) I would recommend as much as 0.8-1g of protein for each lb of body weight. 

 

 

Don't underestimate the value of hydration... and sleep

Water intake and proper sleep are very much under valued and sadly so. Many times I've tracked weight gain/loss based on sleep habits and travels patterns of my clients. If you missed my article on things you can do to improve your sleep tonight, you can read it HERE

I've also seen times where just by simply increasing water intake my clients were able to lose the first 1-2 lbs, just like that. Additionally, we often eat more because we think we are hungry, while in reality we just need to drink more water. 

 

Be smart about cutting foods/drinks  & adding exercise 

 

Lastly, be careful what foods you are cutting out and how much exercise you are adding in. Let's say you decide you want to cut out all the wine for a month. If you've been drinking 2 or more glasses a night, it's likely that you are going to lose a few pounds. But what do you think it's going to happen once you start drinking again? You're likely to put it right back.

Same with exercise. Let's say you just added 4 hours a week to your regular exercise routine to get into tip top shape. After a couple of months you reach your goals, and decide to dial back from 4 to 2 hours a week. Beside getting less exercise now, you are probably adding some foods you cut back on. Result? Weight gain. 

Obviously there are many more factors at play but I hope you do get the point. 

 

If you need help getting started and figure out where you can start creating deficits without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know.

 

I would love to help you. You can reach me HERE. 

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Many of you already know what NOT to do in order to get better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar and have a caffeine curfew, between others. If you missed my article on ways to improve your sleep click here.

But what are the things we can add instead of subtract when it comes to improving our sleep? 

Check out the list below. 

 

 

Eat this to sleep better tonight 

Selenium

Selenium is critical for good sleep, immune system and thyroid function. Best sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, chicken and cremini mushrooms. 

 

Vitamin C

People with low vitamin C levels tend to have more sleep issues. Excellent sources are everyday foods like bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, papaya. 

 

 

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin can affect anything from mood, social behavior, memory, sleep, sexual desire, appetite and digestion. Tryptophan is found in turkey, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and leafy greens. 

 

Potassium

Bananas are a good sources of potassium but there are far better choices such as leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, avocados, squashes, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, watermelon. 

 

Calcium

Studies show that disturbances in REM sleep were linked to a calcium deficiency. Great sauces of bioavailable calcium are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, sea veggies and sesame seeds. 

 

Vitamin D

According to clinical journals, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Best way to get your D up is through sun exposure (15-20 minutes a day) but salmon, swordfish, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and oysters are good sources as well. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and need to use a supplement, here's the one I use. 

 

Omega-3s

Studies show that omega-3s help you get deeper, more restful sleep. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. If you are currently taking liquid or pill form fish oil, please note that they are very heat sensitive so keep them refrigerated as soon as you open them. 

 

Melatonin

Everybody knows how crucial hormone melatonin is for sleep. Some foods have small amounts of melatonin in them, while others have been food to help raise your body's production of melatonin. Tart cherries are far and away the food source with the highest amount of melatonin, but tiny amounts can also be found in walnuts, ginger root and asparagus. Foods that have been found to naturally boost your body's melatonin levels are pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. 

 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps your body modulate stress response and relax your nervous system. Best sources are bananas, yogurt (sugar free and organic), cashews, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, sea veggies and eggs. 


Probiotics and probiotics 

Fermented foods have been known for centuries and lately all the research is pointing to the connection between gut health and disease development so it's safe to say that we could all benefit from adding more probiotic rich foods to our diet. Buy or try to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, miso or yogurt/kefir. One thing to remember with pickled vegetables though is they have to be raw & unpasteurized for you to get the benefits of them so look for that on the label. 

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Millions of Americans exercise their bodies every day to reach various goals, from weight loss, muscle gain, performance to anything in between.

But how many people actively engage in brain training? Apparently not enough. 

Cognitive decline is on the raise, with soaring rates of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

My family has been affected by Alzheimer's so I have a personal interest in the latest research and developments in prevention and treatments of ND.  

Today, I wanted to discuss activities anybody can incorporate in their life in order to prevent or at least slow down the degeneration and/or death of the brain cells. 

 

How to train your brain and stimulate new cell growth? 

 

LEARN NEW THINGS 

One of the best things you can do for your brain (at any age) is to learn new things or do things in a new, creative ways that are challenging physically and mentally. 

Whether it's through acquiring new information, physical skills, hobbies, languages, any new activity that challenges your brain will allow you to form brand new brain cells and connections. And this can happen at any age! So no matter what your age, it's not too late to grow some new neurons. 

 

READ 

Reading stimulates activity in parts of the brain responsible for abstract thinking. 

 

MEDITATE 

Meditation has been shows to increase activity of the prefrontal cortex responsible for rational thinking and decision making. 

 

EXERCISE

By exercising your body you literally exercise your brain. Exercising helps with memory, concentration and leads to growth of new neurons. 

 

EAT BETTER 

Diet plays a crucial part in brain health. Brain burns through a shocking 20% of your daily food intake.

 

Some of the best foods for the brain are: 

  • Fruits & veggies including avocados, blueberries, celery, broccoli, beets, green leafy vegetables, rosemary. 

  • Fatty fish (omega-3 rich) such as salmon and sardines.

  • Healthy fats: egg yolk, coconut oil, EVOO, walnuts. 

  • Bone Broth 

  • Turmeric 

  • Dark Chocolate (70% or more) 

 

Some neuron-stimulating exercise ideas: 

- serve dinner/eat/write/play tennis with your non-dominant hand

- learn how to juggle

- learn how to play a new instrument

- enroll in a painting or sculpting class 

- memorize a poem (even better in another language)

- open doors with different, than your usual, hand

- touch your left eye with your right hand, while simultaneously touching your right knee with your left hand, then switch (try to do it 10 times as fast as possible) 

- ask abstract questions then try to come up with the most creative answers

(this is a great exercise to do with your kids)

- practice memorizing, reconstructing from memory, solve puzzles, crosswords

- play brain stimulating games

 

 

Hope you like this article. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me here

 

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Although sleep isn't sexy and needs a new PR campaign, it forms a necessary part of life and it's lack can tremendously affect your health and wellbeing. 

 

Research shows that sleep affects nearly every function of our body - from skin health, emotional regeneration, immune strength and inflammation (lower risk of disease and cancer), improved cognitive function (lower risk of Alzheimer's), to hormonal balance (which will impact the ability to lose weight). It also influences performance, recovery, bone strength and your ability to operate a vehicle. 

 

If you think that Ambien will solve your sleeping problems, research shows that taking even as little as one pill 20 times per year has shows to be associated with increased mortality. Additionally prescription sleepers don't necessarily add quality sleep to your schedule. They make you unconscious which is not the same as sleep. 

 

So what can you do to naturally improve your sleep and your health? Read below. 

 

 

8 easy things you can do today to get better sleep

1. Get more sunlight

Your sleep cycle, or circadian timing system is heavily impacted by the amount of sunlight you receive during the day. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight between 6 and 8.30 am. Getting direct sunlight outdoors for at least half an hour has been shown to produce the most benefit.  

 

2. Avoid screens before bedtime 

Avoid blue light (all screens) at least 2 hours before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize. Use this time to read a book, talk to your loved ones, journal, stretch, knit or you know what. 

 

3. Create an optimal temperature

Studies have found that the optimal room temperature hovers around 60 to 68 F. If you still have problems falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or a shower 1.5 - 2hrs before hitting the sack. 

 

4. Make it dark

Having any type of light source can disrupt your sleep pattern. Not only your eyes have receptors that can pick up light - your skin too. Light pollution (any artificial light) has a huge impact on melatonin - studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep surpasses melatonin levels by more than 50 percent. Get blackout curtains and cover any sources of light in your room (including alarm clocks).  

 

 

5. Get the electronics out of the bedroom 

Our appliances and electronic devices emit not only radiation but also electric and magnetic fields know as EMFs. EMFs have been found to cause disruption in the communication among the cells inner bodies. The World Health Organization has now classified cell phone radiation as a group 2B carcinogen. Moreover, EMFs from common electronic friends have been linked to leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer. 

So instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, get a cheap non-ticking alarm clock like this one and get your phone (tablet, desktop, etc) out of your bedroom (at least 6 feet away). 

 

 

6. Master the nap 

Try to avoid napping during the day but if you are super tired make sure you are napping no longer than 20 minutes, and keep it as far away from the actual bedtime as possible. 

 

 

7. Create a sleep sanctuary 

Keep your sleeping quarters to sleeping (and sex) only. Keep office work out of the bedroom and get a houseplant to improve the air quality in your home. English ivy and perennial snake plant are great air-filtering houseplants. 

 

8. Have a caffeine & alcohol curfew 

Caffeine and alcohol are powerful nervous system stimulants.

 

Additionally, caffeine affects your endocrine system and provokes your adrenal glands to produce two anti sleep hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. 

In order to sleep better, set a caffeine curfew that's generally around 2 pm (even earlier if you are sensitive). 

 

When it comes to alcohol, although it may make you fall asleep faster, studies show that alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep during which short-term memories and experiences get converted into long-term memories. So wrap up the drinks at least 3 hours before bed, work on minimizing the amount of alcohol you drink (optimally 1 (or less) alcoholic drink per day) and increase water intake (for every alcoholic drink you have, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid). 

 

 

9. Go to bed at the right time 

Time between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am is considered money time.This is where humans get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery. 

 

 

 

If you want to learn even more about sleep, check out this great book "Sleep Smarter - 21 essential strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and bigger success" by Shawn Stevenson. You can buy it HERE on Amazon. 

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If there was only one advice I could give to my clients, it would be to eat more dark green leafy veggies. 

 

Bitter greens such as arugula, chicory, dandelion & mustard greens, radishes have underrated health benefits - they increase levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which improves digestion, they help with heartburn and liver detoxification.

 

Leafy greens are also very easy to grow in the garden. In my experience, kale is one of the easiest plants to take care of that produces beautifully throughout the whole season, and can even be re-planted in the fall. 

 

In this article I will be going over the benefits of 8 vegetables you can get inexpensively in any supermarket. They are very popular but sometimes underrated when it comes to health benefits they offer.

 

So check out the list and hopefully you will be convinced to add them to your diet daily. 

 

 

ARUGULA

 

Arugula - rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, K, iron, B-vitamins (including folic acid) and antioxidants. 

 

Benefits: 

- reproductive health, healthy conception and pregnancy,

- immune system support,

- protection against cancers,

- healthy skin. 

 

 

SPINACH

Spinach - rich in vitamin K (strengthens bones and digestive system), vitamin A (healthy pregnancy, skin and immune system), manganese (joint health), B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, potassium (heart health), antioxidants (anti-inflammatory), xanthophylls (carotenoids responsible for eye health), and other carotenoids that are cancer protective. 

 

Benefits: 

- healthy bones and joints, 

- energy source, 

- healthy heart, 

- immune system support. 

 

KALE

Kale - rich in vitamin K, A, C, E, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and carotenoids. No wonder it's been called a superfood for years now. 

 

Benefits: 

- good for pretty much anything, 

- detoxifier, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, 

- healthy digestion and cholesterol levels, 

- energy source, 

- strong, healthy bones,

- cancer protective. 

 

BROCCOLI

Broccoli - rich in vitamin K, D, B-vitamins, A, E, manganese, choline, chromium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, calcium, protein, zinc and selenium. 

 

Broccoli is also extremely rich in phytochemicals such as kaempferol (anti-inflammatory, eases allergic reactions) and glucosinolates (which play an important role in detoxification). 

 

Benefits: 

- overall health,

- healthy weight, 

- beautiful skin, 

- healthy heart, 

- improved digestion,

- liver detoxifier. 

 

 

CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower - rich in vitamin C, K, B-vitamins, magnesium, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, fiber and phosphorus. 

 

Benefits: 

- antioxidant, 

- liver detoxifier, 

- anti-bacterial (stops development of H pylori bacteria) 

- digestive health. 

 

 

BRUSSEL SPROUTS 

Brussel sprouts - rich in vitamin K, A, B-vitamins, fiber, manganese, choline, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and sulfurs. 

 

Benefits: 

- anti-inflammatory, 

- supports liver detoxification processes, 

- cardio-protective, 

- bone health,

- immune system support. 

 

 

CABBAGE 

Cabbage - rich in vitamin K, C (only when consumed raw), manganese (joint health), potassium, fiber, B-vitamins, copper, choline, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. Additionally cabbage is very rich in polyphenols which are highly anti-inflammatory. 

 

Benefits: 

- anti-inflammatory, 

- aids in liver detoxification, 

- supports digestive system, 

- cancer and tumor protective. 

 

RADISH

Radish - rich in vitamin C (helps in collagen production, cell regeneration and aids in healing), B-vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium. It's also rich in such as sulforaphane (helps with neurodegenerative diseases, tumors and digestive issues), zeaxanthin (important for eye health), beta-carotene (great for eye health, immune support, healthy pregnancy, skin health), and lutein (eye health and anti-oxidant). 

 

Benefits: 

- beautiful skin, 

- cancer protective, 

- healthy eyes. 

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2018 is approaching quickly so I decided to write this article about New Year resolutions and how to formulate them so you can actually stick to them for the entire year. 
 
In case you don't know this about me, I'm a "to do list" kind of person. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I have a list for everything: groceries, Costco, weekly reminders, daily to do list, travel packing list, daily habits, books to read, home improvement and professional goals. 
 
I know, nuts... 
 
Anyway, until recently, every January I would set some very ambitious goals in various aspects of my life that never made it pass February. Does this sound familiar to you? 
 
So what have I done differently? How did I start succeeding with my resolutions instead of failing? 
 
First, I started to focus on the journey not on the destination. 
 
So instead of focusing on the big picture, I focused on the small steps I needed to take in order to get there (some call it the process or the system). I've also created this system based on daily habits which after a while become automatic. 
 

One of my favorite quotes (by Aristotle) is: 

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." 

 
 
Second, I made my goals SMART: 
 
Specific 
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic 
Timely 
 
 
So let's go over some examples of goals I have set in 2016 in comparison to 2017 and how by following the guidelines above I was able to achieve a lot more. 
 
READING
 
2016:
Goal: "read more books"
Result: didn't track, but my best guess is about 10. 
 
2017: 
Goal: "read 30 minutes every day" 
Results: 32 books and counting 
 
When I changed focus from a big and vague goal, to a specific and measurable daily habit I was able to read a lot more than before. 
 
MEDITATING
 
 
2016:  
Goal: "learn how to meditate" 
Result: not a single meditation session 
 
2017: 
Goal: "meditate 5 minutes each day" 
Results: 70% compliance over the last year - pretty happy about it and will work to improve it this coming year 
 
When I shifted focus from just an idea that I should really meditate into a daily practice I should and want to cultivate, everything changed. I picked a realistic time to meditate and aimed to do it in the morning so I tried to make it as specific as possible. 
 
EXERCISING
 
2016:  
Goal: "work out more" 
Result: didn't track much so not sure how many sessions I've had 
 
2017: 
Goal 1: "work out 3 x a week (anything counts)" 
Goal 2: "20 consecutive push ups, 8 consecutive pull ups" 
 
I made my goal 2017 goal more specific but at the same time attainable - 3x a week and anything counts so I didn't feel stressed thatI HAD to workout at the gym all the time and even small workouts at home made me feel like I've meet my goal. I also set up separate performance goals so that my individual workouts at the gym were aligned with those specific numbers. 
 
 
SOCIAL MEDIA: 
 
2016: "reduce socialmedia exposire" 
2017: "no facebook after 5pm" 
 
Here I needed a hard rule that turned into a daily habit that I've successfully carried this whole year. 
 
 
So what are your 2018 resolutions? 
 
Lose weight? Get more fit? Eat more vegetables? Make more money? 
 
Whatever your goals are, try to use these guidelines above to write your goals into specific tasks and processes you can execute on daily/weekly/monthly basis. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact me HERE. Let's set up a consultation or a call and go over your goals. I can help you get into the right mindset and set realistic goals that will set you up for success. 

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Have you ever put things on hold because "life" got in the way?

 

You are not alone.  

 

I'm sure many of your are you familiar with the inner-dialogue of somebody trying to lose weight. Let's take a closer look at some troublesome thinking scenarios: 

 

"I'm going to have this cake because it's my birthday/his birthday/Christmas".

"I had a stressful day". 

"I really deserved this." 

"I'm going to get back on track right after my vacation".

"One slice of pizza is not going to kill me". 

"I just can't seem to control myself around chocolate/pizza/wine". 

"I worked out extra hard today so I could have this".

 

Any of those sound familiar? 

 

Sabotaging thoughts like this can not only halt your progress, they can break your spirit, weaken your motivation and destroy your focus. 

 

First step is to recognize those thoughts are ideas, NOT truths. 

 

Some of them may be true, some partially true while others may be completely false. 

 

Are they excuses? I'm not sure. Sometimes we really believe the statement to be true and see nothing wrong with this line of thinking, or with the consequences that it brings.

 

So, let's recognize that whatever we are thinking or telling ourselves is not always correct. 

 

Big part of being successful in losing weight, and most importantly, keeping the weight off, is being able to change your mindset from a negative place (where you suck at losing weight) to a positive place (where you know you can do it). 

 

What I want to teach you today is how to combat some of the most common sabotaging thoughts and change your mindset so that you can tackle weight loss in a more positive way. 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I didn't lose weight this week. I will never be able to lose weight again." 

Positive response: "I didn't lose weight this week but I will not let the scale define me and my progress. I have much more energy and my clothes are fitting better, so clearly I'm doing something right". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I just hate being hungry".

Positive response: "Being hungry is normal. Being hungry means I'm creating a deficit NOT a surplus. I'm ok getting comfortable with hunger so I can better gauge my food intake". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "Eating healthy is so expensive."

Positive response: "Being sick is expensive". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I've had such a long day. I really deserve to eat/drink this."

Positive response: "Every day has been a long day lately. I'm going to find non-food related ways to de-stress so that I don't reach for food every time something goes wrong". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I want to lose weight but I don't think I have the energy to do what it takes right now". 

Positive response: "Do I have it in me to sit back and watch myself put on weight, or best case scenario, stay the same way?"

 

Sabotaging thought: "This is too much effort. This will never work for me".

Positive response: "I'm going to give it my best and see how it goes. What's the worse thing that could happen?" 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I just can't seem to stay on track. Life gets so busy and I have no willpower to stick to my goals." 

Positive response: "I can dwell on all the reasons why this is hard OR I can focus on why am I doing this in the first place. Being healthy is really important to me plus I've done this before so I know I can stay on track if I really want to."

 

Sabotaging thought: "I'm not going to be dieting while I'm on vacation. I want to have fun and not worry about the calories". 

Positive response: "I may not eat as well as I eat at home while I'm on vacation, but I will try my best to make healthier choices because weight loss is important to me. I can eat better than I would in the past and still have fun". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "It's my birthday so I'm celebrating".

Positive response: "It's my birthday today, office party next week, mom's birthday the week after. I can always find a reason to go off my program but right now there are more reasons to stay on the path. I'm going to find ways to enjoy myself while I reach my goals". 

 

Sabotaging thought: "I will get back on track tomorrow/next week/Monday/after Christmas"

Positive response: "What's the advantage of waiting? Why not start right now?" 

 

Sabotaging thought: "One cheat meal is not going to ruin my diet."

Positive response: "I've been feeling really good lately, why would I ruin it by cheating? Cheat meals make me feel good only for a little bit. Usually they are not even worth it so they leave me feeling guilty. I'm choosing not to feel guilty ever again". 

 

If you are struggling with a negative mindset or lacking motivation to stay on track, do not hesitate to contact me here. 

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Monika Nowak, Nutrition Coach
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