Is Fiber Good for Weight Loss?

Always feeling hungry? Can’t control your appetite some days? Increasing fiber in your diet might be just the solution you need.

With so many recommendations on what to do, how to eat and when, it quickly becomes difficult to make the right food choices when trying to manage your weight or chronic illnesses.

 

fiber

 

Did you know boosting your fiber intake provides these benefits and more: 

  • Keeps you fuller longer
  • Helps with weight loss/maintenance
  • Reduces cravings
  • Improves cholesterol
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Improves heart health

 

Closing the Fiber Gap

How much fiber should you be eating?

Ladies, aim for a minimum of 25 grams a day.

Gentlemen, aim for a minimum of 38 grams a day.

However, studies have found that Americans only average about 15 grams of fiber a day, about half of the recommended total dietary fiber intake.

Increase your dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Filling your plate with these whole, unprocessed foods is the first step to take toward increasing your fiber consumption. Consistently eating well-balanced meals that include these foods will ensure that your getting the right amount of this nutrient.

 

Carbohydrate:Fiber Ratio

Overconsumption of carbohydrates is a common concern for many of us, mainly because this macronutrient turns to sugar in the blood stream which then gets stored as fat, making it easy to gain weight.

It is the quality of carbohydrates that should be of greater concern, rather than the quantity. Consuming carbohydrates with high fiber content can reduce the glucose levels after a meal.  

Because fiber is not broken down by the body, it has no effect on blood glucose. Therefore, the grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carbs you are eating.

When making food choices seek out food options with a good fiber to carbohydrate ratio to reduce the foods impact on blood glucose levels.

 

Make it a habit to include fruits and vegetables with each meal.  

Vegetables high in fiber include leafy greens, squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They can be enjoyed in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and salads and steamed as a side dish.

 

Many fruits are also high in fiber, like apples, pears, oranges, peaches and more. Berries are an especially great choice because while they are high in fiber, they are also low in calorie.  Incorporate fruits into your diet as a convenient snack or as toppings for breakfast cereal, yogurt, salads, and desserts.  

 

fiber up

 

Whole grains are a popular and simple way to increase dietary fiber. The downfall with this is that many whole grain foods are overly processed and the labeling can be misleading.  

Beware of processed cereals and bars as they often have high sugar content and less fiber compared to other dietary fiber options. Swap the usual white bread for whole wheat bread and exchange white rice for brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley or other ancient grains. Consider different types of pasta options like whole wheat pasta, edamame pasta, or  lentil pasta.

 

Nuts and seeds also provide a great source of fiber. A handful of these packs a powerful fiber punch. They make for a nutritious snack, or extra addition to yogurts, salads and desserts.

 

Don’t forget about beans and legumes. These are one of the most naturally rich sources of fiber. If you experience gas and discomfort with high bean intake, consider starting off slowly when introducing these into your diet.

fiber beans

 

Try incorporating more of the recommended foods discussed here and notice the impact this powerful nutrient has on curbing your appetite and controlling blood sugar control.  This, in turn, helps with weight loss/maintenance and prevents/ manages diseases. 

 

Tips to Consider When Increasing Your Fiber:  

  • Increase consumption gradually (add 5g of fiber per day, spread throughout the day, until you reach your goal)
  • Keep edible skin on fruits and veggies
  • Limit starchy foods
  • Choose whole wheat over white
  • Reduce foods high in sugar (especially added sugars)
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to avoid constipation

 

I Challenge You…

to take a look at how much fiber is in your diet today. Does it measure up to the recommended minimum of 25g/day for women or 38g/day for men? 

How do you plan to increase your dietary fiber this week? –>  Here’s a great resource that might help you with that! 

 

Best,

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*** You might also enjoy my past posts on: Eating more Veggies and Fruits  AND Balsamic Roasted Carrots Recipe ***

 


 

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Healthy Travel Snacks to Pack on Your Next Trip

In my last post I shared some practical ways to stay healthy while traveling. A large part of that involves being prepared with healthy snacks. Here are a few of my favorites…

healthy travel snacks

I like healthy travel snacks that are as minimally, processed as possible, will fill me up, satisfy my sweet tooth, and still be nutritious. These are snacks I typically bring along for plane rides, road trips, or weekends away. I tend to make poor food choices when I’m not prepared, so I am always careful to carry healthy travel snacks with me.  

FiggyPops-

These balls of goodness satisfy my sweet tooth without the chemicals and additives of similar products. They are sweetened with fruit juice instead of high fructose corn syrup. I especially love that they are made with whole, plant-based ingredients like:  organic figs, organic cashews, organic dates, organic coconut, organic walnuts, organic dried tart cherries (organic dried tart cherries, organic apple juice, organic sunflower oil), organic gluten-free oats, organic coconut oil, organic cacao nibs, organic maple syrup, organic cinnamon, sea salt.

 

Dried Dates-

Dried fruits can get a bad rep for being high in sugar and because of the way they are sometimes processed. These particular dates are unsulfured and taste like caramel. They are not quite as sweet as the common medjool dates, but I would say they are just as good.

To balance out the glycemic load (insulin spike) of the dates, I pair them with healthy fats like a handful of nuts or better yet a little almond butter inside the date. So good!

 

 

Roasted Chickpeas-

You can totally make these yourself at home by roasting salted chickpeas at 400 degrees until crunchy. If you want something a bit more convenient though, these Good Bean chickpeas make for great healthy travel snacks (one of my favorites actually); and they satisfy that craving for something salty. They come in several flavors, but I prefer the plain, salted one.

Suggestion: Mix them in with chopped dates, roasted edamame and nuts to make a satisfying trail mix.

 

 

Roasted Edamame –

Another great snack! This one is filling and also goes great in a DIY trail mix.

Each serving has 13g of protein per serving and 8g of fiber.

They’re also Non-GMO which is a rare find considering more than 90% of soy is genetically modified. A bit of caution with this product: if you have issues with excess water retention, high blood pressure or heart disease beware of the sodium content (150mg per serving). Always read those nutrition labels my friends.

 

 

Vegan nutrition powders –

I tend to use these travel sized nutrition powders as a quick breakfast option. They hold me over until lunch and ensure that at least one of my meals is packed with the essential vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrition my body needs to thrive.

It can also make for a great latte when mixed into coffee.

 

 

BarkThins-

I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the healthiest snack BUT a girl needs her chocolate fix ya’ know! I love the dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds because I can get my sweets AND some antioxidants, healthy fats, + a little protein. These are really good people!

 

 

 

Kind Bars-

Recently Kind Bars were ridiculed a bit for their high fat content, but looking at research I have found evidence that fat doesn’t make us fat. Sugar does!

These bars are made with wholesome ingredients and are low in sugar. Regardless, you should still read the nutrition labels because there are several different types of Kind bars with varying nutritional content. These particular ones come in several flavors and I have yet to have a flavor I did not enjoy.  I eat them for breakfast or between meals.  These are my go-to healthy travel snacks.

 

 

Chia Warrior bars-   

I recently discovered these little bars and have become quite fond of them. I usually buy a box of 5. Each bar is 100 calories. They have plenty of fiber along with healthy omega 3 fats. There are different flavor options, but I have only tried chocolate peanut butter and the superfood protein peanut butter cacao. (I have a thing for peanut butter, in case you didn’t know). Anyway, both of those flavors are yummy and I would recommend them over Kind bars if your searching for a small between meal snack.

 

 

Lenny & Larry Cookies – 

These “complete” cookies are vegan, soy free, and dairy free. They have tons of fiber and protein. I usually only eat half the cookie if I just want a filling snack. Eat the entire cookie for a meal replacement. 

 

One final tip – 

No matter where you are, access to fresh produce and water are usually easily available.

Stock up on fruits and raw veggies to complement these other snacks. My favorites are baby carrots and raw broccoli. For fruits, I usually go for berries, peaches, bananas, or apples (depending on what is in season/ available). Nothing can truly replace the nutrients and benefits from fruits and vegetables, so don’t forget to include these on your list of healthy travel snacks. 

It’s very easy to forget to stay hydrated when you’re busy sightseeing, but drinking plenty of water will not only curb your appetite but keep you energized and strengthen the immune system.

healthy travel snacks

Yes this does take a little planning, but not much! Feeling your best during and after your vacation is worth the small amount of time you’ll spend packing these snacks. Of course you don’t have to bring them all! These are just suggestions of my favorites. Try out the ones that appeal to you and take them along on your next trip 🙂

What’s your favorite healthy snack? 

 

Happy snacking,

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*** You might also like this post: ‘ How to Stay Healthy on Vacation ‘ and ‘ Eating Healthy While Eating Out ‘

 


 

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How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

While we all love a nice getaway, many of us find ourselves struggling to stay healthy on vacation. It’s challenging to keep up with our weight, healthy eating habits, and exercise routines when you’re away.

You spend the last few weeks before a trip trying to get “bikini ready” by dieting and exercising like a maniac. Then, when you’re finally on vacation, all thoughts of calorie restrictions and workouts go out the window. After the getaway, you come back home to find you’ve regained all the weight you worked so hard to shed. You either stay in a funk for a while or go back to the excessive dieting and exercising in yet another attempt to lose those pounds. Up and down go the numbers on the scale, the cycle never ends, and thus is life. This is a completely unsustainable way to maintain your health.

 

Surely there must be a better way to stay healthy on vacation and maintain it even afterward.. right? Right!!

 

healthyonvacation

 

It’s been an exciting, travel-filled summer for me, with both domestic and international trips. I was sure I would be gaining plenty of weight because I was eating some delicious, rich foods. But hooray I maintained my weight and habits (actually even lost 2lbs!) without having to restrict myself.

I admit that I’ve faced these challenges time and time again when I am away from my home and my typical routine.  Through trial and error, I’ve figured out a simple, realistic approach to keeping my wellness level up before, during, and after a getaway. I hope this helps you stay on track and understand how to stay healthy on your next vacation.

Let’s dig into this, shall we?

 

MAKING CHOICES THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR WELLNESS PRIORITIES

Without structure and a routine when on vacation, it’s easy to lose sight of your wellness priorities.  For me, these priorities include honoring my body and maintaining a spiritual practice, among other things. I disregard these priorities by not resting enough (I get too excited and try to see and do as much as possible), throwing caution to the wind with food and beverage choices, and not making time for exercise, prayer, my thoughts. But there just isn’t enough time for everything, am I right?

So we’ve got to be intentional and creative to make the best choices for optimal results.

First, you have to release the mindset of feeling like you must to stick to a specific diet/exercise regimen while you’re on vacation.  Stop worrying about gaining weight. It’s times like these that the whole “have balance” philosophy comes into play. While you might be great at staying disciplined in your usual day-to-day schedule, when you’re on vacation it’s OKAY to indulge a LITTLE and relax. Now, on the other hand, you shouldn’t throw caution to the window and completely overindulge.

Well of course treating yourself is okay, but sometimes we overdo it and cross that fine line where treating yourself TOO much actually ends of hurting you.

Try your best to uphold your wellness priorities and healthy lifestyle without making it feel like a duty. Be intentional with your actions and choices.

 

EXERCISE WITHOUT EXERCISING?

I must applaud those of you that get up early and workout on vacation.  If you’re like me, working out just isn’t too appealing when you’re away. Some challenges that occur are lack of facilities, not enough space, or you’re too tired from staying out late the night before.  Not all is lost, however, because there are still plenty of ways to stay active, and in turn stay healthy on vacation!

Prevent yourself from gaining weight and getting out of shape by staying active as much as possible.

Some easy ways to get a little exercise without actually exercising can include: Walking, swimming, jogging, hiking, bike tours, stretching, local/ free yoga 

healthyonvacation

A kayaking tour in Portugal was a fantastic form of exercise with a view

 

DIET AND NUTRITION

When it comes to food, it’s a little more challenging but here’s my strategy. Stick to simple breakfast options like nutrition shake, smoothie, or fruit and nuts so you are sure to start the day off nuritionally strong. I loovveee brunching, but limit it to just once or twice a week.

For lunch and dinner, whatever you choose to eat think about the option to share your dish. You are less likely to overeat this way.  I recommend checking out Yelp to review restaurant menus in advance.  Also consider visiting the nearest farmers market to try out local snacks and produce.

healthyonvacation

A yummy meal in Costa Rica, with plenty of veggies

You know how much I love vegetables and plant based foods so it should not be surprising to you when I suggest focusing on getting vegetables into your meals. I know this can be difficult to do on vacation, but start small and try to aim for vegetables in AT LEAST one meal a day. That is the bare minimum you should strive for.

 

Limit dessert and decadent treats. Don’t make it a daily habit to have these.  In all honesty, desserts are my weakness ESPECIALLY on vacations. I’m tempted to try the best ice cream shops and all the famous desserts. A few strategies for this: share the sweet treat, make the rest of your meals healthy and load up on veggies, limit sugar in your diet with all other meals.

And most importantly, carry your own snacks with you because you never know when you’ll be stuck at an airport or in a position where you’re hAngry and the only options are fast food.  Coming up this week I will share with you some of my favorite healthy travel snacks. 

One final tip is to never have two unhealthy meals in a row. Always follow an unhealthy meal with a healthy one. This keeps me accountable to making sure that next meal will be nutritious and nourishing.

 

Whatever you do, don’t be miserable on vacation because you’re worried about getting “fat.” Check in with yourself to ensure your not overindulging. Don’t completely abandon the good stuff- fruits and veggies; And find creative ways to stay active.

Enjoy your trip, #treatyoself, and honor your wellness priorities. 

 

healthyonvacation

A delicious dulce de leche donut at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn

YOUR TURN

What are your wellness priorities and how do you stay healthy on vacation?

Have you had a bad travel experience because you were worried about dieting and weight gain? Share your story or any advice.

 

 

Cheers,

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Costa Rica: Living la Pura Vida

When I started this blog my focus was on health related topics like food, fitness, and overall wellness. As I’ve grown this past year I have realized just how comprehensive health is. It is not simply defined by the fuel we put into our bodies or the exercises that shapes us. Healthy living is more than the number on a scale or even the positive mindset we work so hard to foster. To live in good health, to live well, is to live freely, simply, and with optimism. I was really able to comprehend this on my recent visit to Costa Rica. The “Pura Vida” lifestyle is easy to embrace as it reminds me to take it easy.

I was in Costa Rica for about a week visiting my husband who was there finishing up a project with his graduate program. He had lived there for several years when he was younger, but this was my first time stepping foot in this country. I was excited to see where he spent his childhood and experience the Costa Rican culture. We had a rental car, making easy to travel between cities and explore.

costa rica

La Selva Biological Station 

I spent the first night in La Selva Biological Station, in Sarapiqui, where I got to experience Costa Rica’s beautiful wildlife and forests. In just 24 hours I saw monkeys, all types of loud and colorful birds, two sloths (plus a baby sloth), a poisonous red and blue frog, and wild pigs. Everywhere I walked I had to be vigilant or I might easily miss some wonderful creature! The weather was hot and humid, with some rain (even though this was dry season). This area is secluded from much else so all our meals were provided by the Station, buffet style. This was my first introduction to the fruit in Costa Rica. The papaya, pineapple and watermelon were the best I have ever tasted.  During the day there are hikes offered with a tour guide, or you can go on your own. In the evenings there are night tours where you are sure to see all kinds of crazy looking insects, amphibians, and reptiles (think NatGeo type of creatures!).  After a day, I was pretty much done oo-ing and aw-ing at the wildlife and was ready to pack it up and move on to our next destination. It’s a fun place to see and explore, but after a day or two there isn’t much else to do.

Arenal Volcano National Park

Our next stop was Arenal Volcano National Park. The terrain noticeably changed as we drove further away from Sarapiqui, from green lush landscapes, to dry sparse lands.  Towards the end of our two hour drive, we saw a sloth in the most random of places. He was hanging off barbed wire on the side of the highway. We turned around and pulled over to see if our eyes were deceiving us. Hanging so still and looking a bit stiff, we wondered if this sloth was dead?! A tour guide, along with two tourists happened to pull over as well. The guide told us the sloth was indeed alive and sleeps for up to 16 hours a day. Talk about getting some beauty sleep! Usually, these animals are found in wet, rainy areas sleeping high up in trees so I was surprised to find him here of all places.  Why he settled upon the most uncomfortable of napping spots I don’t understand. I really wanted to touch him, but the guide scared me when he mentioned sloths can bite. Seeing the sloth was a big highlight for me. I can’t get over what an interesting animal they are.

costa rica

After this brief, but exciting slot spotting, we continued on our way to Arenal. It’s a pretty small town, but loaded with restaurants and shops (for tourists, that is). The small park in the center of town is a great place to stop for a rest, as you can see the top of the arenal volcano from here on a clear day. There are hotels after hotels here advertising all kinds of tours and hikes (zip lining is quite popular). And all of the hotels have hot springs, too. We enjoyed the hot springs at our hotel, especially the natural pool with the wet bar. We were told the best days to hike up the volcano were sunrise or sunset, as this is when you get the best views of the volcano. Unfortunately, most of the time the volcano was barely visible due to the thick blanket of clouds hiding it. I mean you almost wouldn’t even know there was a massive volcano there because of how well the clouds covered it up. We did catch a breathtaking view here and there allowing us to snap some photos, especially just before sunset. I wouldn’t recommend hiking to the volcano if it’s an especially cloudy day because you won’t see much. Instead, Karim and I went to La Fortuna waterfalls. It was a short hike, down several flights of steps, but delightful and worth the $12 entrance fee.  Once we reached the waterfall we were able to swim in it. While the water is incredibly cold, it was so refreshing and our bodies seemed to get used to the temperature pretty quickly. A little ways down from the waterfall is a stream/run-off that’s shallow, calmer, and warmer so we spent more time in this area. I’d recommend bringing drinking water, bug spray, towel, your bathing suit of course, and maybe swimming shoes because there are a lot of rocks at the water’s edge.

costa rica

Two days in Arenal was sufficient. There isn’t much of a night life so take full advantage of all the day time excursions. As far as food goes, our favorite by far was Chifa La Familia Feliz. This place served Peruvian/Asian influenced food.  We loved this place so much we ate here twice. The chef is friendly and warm, coming out to shake your hand and welcome you personally. All of the food is fresh and flavorful. You can tell by the plating and type of cuisine that this chef definitely has professional culinary training. And best of all, it’s totally affordable. So if you visit Arenal, don’t leave without eating here.

Tamarindo Area & Playa Langosta 

Our next,last, and most anticipated stop was Tamarindo, Langosta beach. We spent the bulk of our time here mostly surfing, laying out by the beach, watching sunsets, enjoying the main street’s shops and restaurants. The beach area was so laid back and relaxing. Having rented an AirB&B near Barcelo hotels, we were able to cook some of our meals at home. There were plenty of nearby grocery stores but the AutoMercado had the best selection and prices. When we did eat out, we found many places did not accept credit cards, so carry around some cash. U.S. Dollars were accepted, but at a slightly worse exchange rate. Prices in this area are similar to U.S. prices.

Some of the food spots we checked out and would recommend are: Green Papaya, Patagonia, Sharky’s, and Falafel. As you might know, I don’t eat meat but to my surprise, eating plant based was pretty easy in Costa Rica. Most of the restaurants always offered some sort of vegan option.

During the day we spent our time at the beach. Neptuno’s Surf Shop offered great deals on surfing. For $35 they provide semi-private 2 hour lessons and for $10 you can use the surfboard all day long. If you’re not into surfing, you can beach hop. While Langosta beach is beautiful, Playa Conchal was it’s own kind of beauty. The sand was made from an infinite number of crushed seashells (many of which were still whole). No surfing is allowed at this beach so it’s calm and quiet aside from locals selling drinks like pipa fria (cold coconut) and Imperial (the national beer). There are a lot of other beaches to check out all along this western pacific coast of Costa Rica. If you don’t have a rental car, shuttle buses are offered that will take you to these places.  

costa rica

Just because you’re in the beach area, don’t think you won’t see wild life. I was standing in the back porch of our airbnb near the main pool area when suddenly I see a black furry creature walking towards me. I don’t know why, but I thought it was a cat at first only to realize it was a lonely little monkey!  During my stay in Playa Langosta, I also saw a baby skunk and a racoon– different type of “wildlife” but still! Haha.

Costa Rica was a great place to visit. If, and when, you go there be sure to check out more than one area of this diverse country. You’ll find that each place has something wonderful and totally different to offer than the next.  The people are friendly and laid back with their “pura vida” attitude. The food is fresh and delicious, especially my favorites- the fruit (pineapple, papaya and watermelon) and the traditional gallo pinto breakfast. The simple beauty and optimistic way of life here was soothing to my soul. I’ll definitely be back. So if you want the relaxation of the beach, exploration of wildlife and nature, and adventures like hiking and ziplining Costa Rica is a THE place to visit. 

 

If you’ve been to Costa Rica too, I’d love to hear some of your favorite experiences and places to check out because there is so much I didn’t get to see and do (maybe next time!).

costa rica

 

Pura Vida,

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Stress and Your Heart: Is there a link?

Welcome to part II of our Matters of the Heart Series. Last week was all about heart healthy living for disease prevention and today we’re talking stress. Can stress really cause high blood pressure or give you a heart attack? Read on to find out..

stress

We all have a lot on our plates, constantly balancing our day to day responsibilities with jam packed social calendars, extracurriculars, and personal hobbies. People are really busy! When we get a little too busy though, stress sets in with a death grip. Now I know sometimes a little stress can be a good thing, in that it lights that fire under you to check things off your long to-do list, but there is another side to that coin.

The consistent presence of stress in your life, can contribute to physical health issues.

Managing your stress appropriately can help reduce your risk of heart disease and chronic illness. When we embrace a positive mindset, we are more likely to eliminate destructive habits and find better alternatives to deal with our worry. This is why a healthy lifestyle is more than just eating clean and working out. It’s about the holistic approach– understanding the importance of health in all areas of life, including mentally and emotionally. If these areas are not taken care of, they can translate into physical illness.  

When in a state of stress, a chemical and hormonal chain reaction takes place within the body triggering inflammation.  While research has not yet proven that this directly affects risk of heart disease, there is evidence that stress influences your heart (and your health) in other ways. Stress can cause some people to behave in ways that increase their risk of heart disease. Think about it..  We don’t always handle stress in the best ways. Some folks eat to calm down (I could argue peanut butter cures all your problems…just kidding!). Other people throw themselves into their work.  What unhealthy choices do you fall back on when you’re under stress? When experience stress, we tend to make less than favorable lifestyle choices especially surrounding diet, exercise, and habits like smoking or drinking.

6 ways to manage stress and help your heart

Want to turn your stress around and help your heart in the process? Try these six simple tips.

  1. Listen to your body. Your body’s response to stress may be a headache, back strain, or stomach pains. Stress can also zap your energy, wreak havoc on your sleep and make you feel cranky, forgetful and out of control. If you find yourself with strange symptoms like these, your body may be telling you to slow it down. So pay attention.
  2. Stay positive. Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Overall, embracing a positive mindset and practicing gratitude can help you handle stress appropriately. 
  3. Meditate. Traditional meditation focusing on inward thoughts and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors (like high blood pressure). You can also sit quietly, close your eyes and listen to relaxing music. Yoga, prayer and even journaling can also prove to be relaxing for the mind and body.
  4. Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Unplug. Avoid emails, TV news, and sometimes even social media.  It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Take time each day—even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes—to escape from the world by doing something else with your time. Find an activity that is restorative and allows you to forget your burdens for a moment, such as reading, sports, adult coloring books, or any other activity you enjoy.
  6. Create a Self Care ritual. Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or get a massage. Any technique is effective if it works for you.

There will always be stress in your life but it’s your choice how you let it affect you. You may not be able to control the stress that comes into your life, but you can control your reaction to it and that makes a world of a difference.

Is your stress leading to destructive, unhealthy habits? How are you planning to take control of it and help improve your health? 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

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Two Dollars and a Dream- Creating Your Wealth

DREAM

Did you take a chance, but didn’t win the Powerball? Sorry to hear that, but the good news is you still have a chance at getting rich! All it takes is two dollars and a dream.  

May I present to you Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made millionaire. She was the first woman in history to start with nothing and earn her own fortune. This inspiring woman dared to dream when all odds were against her, took a chance, and created her own wealth by turning her biggest struggle (hair loss) into her greatest success (a line of women’s hair care products).     

 

A DREAM DEFERRED 

We all have dreams in life.  They may change, take time to achieve, some may flourish, while others wither away. The dream for me was always to help people improve their well-being AND become rich, too, so I became a pharmacist.  I now realize my intentions were a bit materialistic, but don’t tell me you have never had a similar selfish dream of doing something great while making a lot of money.  Well, this dream turned out to be a classic example of how money won’t make you happy. I was working too much, constantly felt sick, stressed, and as a result neglected my health and relationships.  Sure I was making good money and I was sort of helping people, but was it worth my health and happiness? Was it really the dream I had in mind? (Please note: This is not at all meant to say that I do not have full respect and love for the profession of pharmacy)  Looking back on this time, I realize how I let my dreams wither away for a while and just settled.

 

REALIZING THE DREAM

Finally frustrated with how unfulfilled and unhappy I was, I decided to make a change. That change was to give myself permission to start dreaming again!  After working solely as a pharmacist for about a year, I realized I wanted to make a bigger impact on health and wellness by focusing more on prevention rather than treatment (which pharmacists are doing a lot more of these days, by the way).  I wanted to help people feel good about themselves inside and out, bring awareness to the connection between our diet and diseases, and prevent/minimize medication dependency.  More than that, I wanted to feel good about myself and stop neglecting my own health.

I underwent extensive training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a holistic health coach.  I did tons and tons of research to become an expert in my new found passion, and combined it with my PharmD knowledge. I became my first client, practicing what I was preaching by infusing positive changes into my own life. Not only did I heal my body of asthma, excess weight and stress— but I found my joy, my energy, and renewed my health.

Let me just tell you, in all honesty, this took A LOT of work, both internally and externally.  I had to deal with so many personal fears, limiting beliefs, overwhelm and anxiety, but I want you to know this: YOU are worth investing in. Your DREAM is worth investing in. These kinds of investments will help you create true wealth, no matter what odds are against you. Just take a look at how much Madam Walker had to overcome– poverty, racism, abuse, and much more, I’m sure.

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CREATING MY WEALTH 

Today I can say I have been able to not just lose weight, physically, but emotionally too. I’m not 100% where I want to be yet, but I am well on my way. (We’re all a work in progress, right?)  I’m still practicing pharmacy, but in a new and exciting setting of corporate wellness! I’m practicing as a health coach, too AND investing in myself a lot more. I get to do the thing that brings me joy everyday by helping clients successfully reach their health and wellness goals.  The dream took time to actualize, and continues to be a work in progress, but changed my perspective on the real meaning of being rich. I wasn’t after the money this time, I was after the improvement of my health and the value of my life.   Walking on this journey helped me to realize that THIS is what real wealth is all about.  It’s about impact and not at all about money.  It is a different kind of wealth–  the kind that enriches your life with purpose, passion and fulfillment. Money can’t buy health, precious moments, true friendships or a new life.

I don’t want my life to be defined by the abundance of my possessions, but rather by the richness of my works.

For me, finding fulfillment and true wealth in my life was about believing in the worth of my dream, making a career shift and taking time to invest in my personal health and relationships. What is it for you?  You don’t need to have it all figured, but you do need to be willing to invest in yourself.  You don’t need other people to believe in you for you to believe in yourself.

 

I know everyone was worked up about the Powerball and a little disappointed not to have won, but hey, you took a chance and gave it a try.  Now why not take a chance on yourself?

It’s true you only need $2 and a dream to stand a chance at winning, but those $2 come in a different kind of currency: faith and action. Today I hope you invest in renewing your faith and aspire to take meaningful action in achieving your dream.  Like Madam Walker, let us create our own rags to riches story.

 

So let’s go get rich! How will you start living a richer life today?

Health is Wealth,

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