Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tips for Smart Shopping + Healthy Eating.

These are some of my favorite tips + tools to help you shop wisely and eat healthy!  

1. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their 2012 list of the 12 most and 15 least pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables on the market (
http://current.com/13da6kc). Print and bring the EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide with you to help you make smart decisions when shopping for produce. You can also download the free app (Dirty Dozen) to your phone. Whenever possible, try to buy organic when purchasing the 'Dirty Dozen'. It's OK to choose conventional when buying the 'Clean 15'. Either way, make sure to thoroughly wash your produce before eating.

2. Now that you know when you should buy organic and when it's OK to buy conventional, here's a handy shopping tip to help you identify organic, conventional or genetically modified produce:
  • Conventional produce uses a 4 digit PLU code (produce look up code). Ex. 4128
  • The PLU code for organic produce always starts with a 9 followed by a 4 digit code. Ex. 94128
  • The PLU code for genetically modified produce (avoid these!) always starts with an 8 followed by a 4 digit code. Ex. 84128

3. All of the information, marketing, ads and studies out there about food + nutrition can be confusing. Fooducate is the perfect solution to help you make smarter choices at the grocery store. All you have to do is scan or type in the UPC code of any product and Fooducate will give the product a grade and will also offer you healthier alternatives. You can download Fooducate to your iPhone or Android or you can check out their website for the same great resources.
FREE iPhone app
FREE Android app http://bit.ly/fdctap2

Share YOUR favorite healthy eating tips in the comments section below!

Have a Healthy Day,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What can you accomplish in 30 days?

I am in the middle of a 30 day fitness challenge (read about it here) that was inspired by my sister, Meg. Meg has a full schedule (she is a pre-school/kindergarten teacher, lacrosse coach and fitness instructor) but she challenged herself to 30 days of Bikram yoga. Here is her motivational recap of her journey. After you read it, share your comments of what challenge you are going to take on!

I was inspired to try Bikram yoga by one of my bootcamp class participants, who thought I might like the dialogue and teaching philosophy. I should start by saying that I was never a Yogi and never really had an interest in practicing yoga, especially Bikram yoga (Bikram yoga is a type of Hatha yoga in which the room is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity and the class practices the same 26 postures each and every class for 90 minutes).

I am a runner who lifts weights, does interval training and plays sports - my belief is that exercise is supposed to be challenging, make me sweat and feel tired; yoga, in my mind, was none of these things. I was SO wrong! After my first few classes, I quickly learned what an intense workout Bikram yoga is and became immediately interested to find out what it could do for my body and fitness level.

After practicing for about two months, I was encouraged by the studio owner to sign up for the 30-day challenge: a commitment to practice Bikram yoga for 30 days in a row. I was intrigued for all of the reasons any competitive athlete would be: it provided a goal, something for which to be held accountable and something that was going to be challenging and rewarding.

I began my 30-day challenge on June 1 and completed it June 30. It was quite a commitment. Each class is 90 minutes but including travel and preparation time, Bikram consumed about 2.5 hours each day. Additionally, I had to prioritize my Bikram each day to ensure I could attend one of the scheduled classes. Furthermore, due to travel out of town, there were four days in which I had to take two classes a day to make up for the days I would miss- those were definitely the hardest! I completed my challenge with a class in Vail Valley, Colorado where I practiced with teammates with whom I was playing in the Vail Shootout lacrosse tournament. It was an incredible way to cap off my month-long practice!

Each class was, and continues to feel, different from the last. I did improve with some postures, whereas some I felt only got more and more difficult. There were many days when I felt anxious and nervous about going to class despite knowing exactly what the class routine was but I always made it through! There were a few where I felt great and others where 90 minutes seemed like 4 hours, but I always completed class. I learned to be patient with myself, to celebrate the small victories of going a little further in a posture or not obsessing about water as much as the class before. I felt the obvious physical change of increased flexibility and feel leaner and longer than when I started. I surprised myself at how far/well/long I was able to hold some postures but probably the most surprising result of all was that I became a Yogi - I began to see myself and think of myself as a practicing Yogi!

Am I going to do another 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge? Probably not in the near future! Right now, I am looking forward to exploring other types of exercise...but I feel proud of myself for overcoming the mental and physical challenges and for doing something that, 6 months ago, I would have never even considered. Now, it's time to find out what else I am capable of!

Congratulations, Meg! You are truly an inspiration and role model to all of us. You have shown us that we are all capable of achieving whatever we put our mind to and that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Take The Road Less Traveled.

Life is a journey but, the truth is, that the final destination is the same for all of us.  We can’t change that no matter how skinny we are, how much money we make or what job we have.  But, what we can do is enjoy the ride. Make it fun, be happy, laugh, travel, try new things, feel good, do good, love, share, grow, learn, stay curious, be interested, be kind, think big, live large, do.  This is what is important.  We are all going to end up in the same place… it’s how we get there and what we do along the way that defines us.   Pick the most exciting road.  The one that speaks to you and intrigues you.  The one that goes where you haven't gone before.  Don’t just follow the road most taken.  Life is short... do you really want to sit in traffic with everyone else amidst anger, worry, fear, unhappiness and doubt?  Or, do you want to take the road less traveled and enjoy the scenery full of joy, happiness, adventure and possibility?  Life is a journey.  Make yours a good one.  Start now.

Have a Great Day,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seeing Double: Inspired Dressing

Inspired by: How you do one thing is how you do everything. (Read the full post here).
I thought it would be fun to share with you how I interpret my outfit inspiration and how, just like when you start with a recipe, you can usually come up with something pretty darn close and equally amazing with what you already have on hand.

Seeing Spots:  These old sunglasses are a little more casual and sporty than the ones in the inspiration photo but they were a closer match than my aviators. I dug this vintage bag out of the back of my closet. I got it at a thrift shop 7 years ago and using it to complete this look reminded me how much I like it! What can you find by shopping your own closet?  Better yet, what meal can you create by shopping your fridge or pantry?

Photo Credit: Pinterest                           Photo Credit: Bryn Sanders
Have a Healthy Day!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Do you know Beau?

Do you know Beau Hossler?  For a few minutes on June 15th, Beau Hossler was the biggest name in sports.  Beau is a 17 year old high school Senior who, for a brief moment, was leading the US Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco last month.

Photo Credit:  Getty Images
Beau didn't have a fancy golf bag covered in sponsorship logos or even a famous caddy named Fluff, Steve or Bones. His bag more closely resembled that of most weekend golfers rather than the likes of Tiger Woods or Phil Michelson.  His caddy?  His godfather. 

So how did it come about that a 17 year old, who still has braces and is committed to play at the University of Texas next year, was at the top of the leaderboard at one of golf's biggest events?  In my opinion?  He made it there because he believed he could.  Period. End of story.

When Hossler was asked if he thought he had a chance to win the event, he answered:
"Absolutely," says Hossler. “There's not a doubt in my mind. Got to go out there and do everything right mentally and physically. But it's definitely out there for me."
Hossler could have been intimidated by the world class players in the event, some of whom are twice his age, but he saw the possibility for himself to be a contender.  He didn't wait until he had more experience, a fancy golf bag or a famous caddy to go after his dream.  He went after it now.

If we don't take risks in life, we will never know just how far we can go.  If you see the possibility for yourself, if you believe that you can make your dreams a reality, then it's the truth.  Now, put in the work and make it happen.  If there is something you have been wanting to do, try, accomplish, or achieve... the time is now.  Don't wait until you learn just a little bit more, until you have more money, until you have more time, until the time is right, until you lose that last 5lbs... until everything is perfect.  Because, guess what?  Nothing will ever be perfect.  Do it anyway!

If Beau Hossler didn't believe that it was possible for him to be at the top of the leaderboard at the US open... he never would have been.  He may not have won this time but how many 17 year olds can say that for a brief moment, they led the US Open and were playing better golf than the likes of Tiger Woods, Webb Simpson and David Toms to name a few?

If you can see the possibility for yourself, put in the work and make it your reality.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

30 Day Shred... Are you in?

I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and my friend and I were sitting in the hotel lobby having a glass of wine.  Each table had it's own TV (random but I guess it's good if the company is bad.. haha).  We didn't really pay attention to the TV until the infomercial for P90X came on (if you don't know what P90X is, it's an intense series of 60-90 minute workouts that you do 6 days a week for 90 days. You can check it out here). 

My friend had never seen or heard of P90X before.  She was mesmerized and slightly amused by it.  I, on the other hand, have actually watched the whole infomercial many times... usually at the gym while running on the treadmill and thinking about how I should really be doing all of the crazy strength and resistance exercises they do in P90X.  Anyway, I digress. 

After watching for a few minutes, my friend turned to me and said "Of course they're ripped and in shape, who wouldn't be after doing that for 90 days!"  So it got me thinking, is she right?  If I were to really consistently workout for a consecutive period of time, is it a given that I would be toned and have the 6 pack abs and long lean legs I have always longed for?  It's time to test this theory out.

Since I don't want to shell out $120 for P90x and don't realistically have 60-90 minutes of free time every day for the next few months, I opted for something a little more wallet and time friendly.  For the next 30 days, I'm going to do the 30 Day Shred dvd from Jillian Michaels (yes, the trainer from the Biggest Loser).  It promises "amazing results" and the possibility of losing up to 20lbs after just 30 days.  The workouts are only 20 minutes long (no excuses for not being able to fit them in) and, the best part, it only cost me $10.99!

I took a BEFORE picture and I wanted to post it today but I'm not quite brave enough for that yet.  So, at the end of the 30 Day Shred, I will post my BEFORE and AFTER photos for comparison.  If getting healthy and fit wasn't motivation enough, posting an AFTER photo that doesn't show any improvement would be pretty disheartening... So here goes nothing (or possibly 20 lbs)!  Who's with me?

If you're up for your own 30 day challenge, take a before and after photo and keep track of your progress.  Then, share your results with me at the end of the 30 days and your story may be featured in the Fresh Equation blog and newsletter. 

Thanks for visiting and have a healthy day!

PS- I was also motivated to take on this challenge by my sister, Meg, who just completed 30 days of Bikram Yoga.  I am so proud of and inspired by her!  Stay tuned for a guest blog post from Meg chronicling her experience.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mint Condition

As a child we had an herb garden right outside our kitchen window and I can remember picking fresh mint to put in our ice tea in the summers.  The smell of mint still reminds me of childhood.

Every time I see fresh mint at the store I'm inspired to pick up a bunch.  Saldy, the first few times I bought it, the leaves wilted and turned black less than 24 hours after I put it in the fridge.  I finally figured out the secret to keeping it fresh and healthy!  If you love mint, this will be a lifesaver.

1. Fill a glass or jar with water.

2. Plant base of mint stems in water

3. Put a large zip lock bag loosely over the top (without sealing the bottom)

4. Place in the fridge in a spot where it's not too cold
(the door or front of a shelf is best as the back of the fridge tends to be the coldest)

5. Change the water every 2-3 days and your mint should last up to a week

 Some of my favorite ways to use mint are in summery drinks (try seltzer with mint leaves and a strawberry garnish or add mint leaves to lemonade), smoothies (add raspberries, lime juice and mint to your regular green smoothie) and veggie spring rolls (be on the lookout for the recipe this Friday).

Have a healthy day!