healthy lifestyle staples: tongue scraping
okay, i know what you’re thinking. tongue scraping? is she serious? what even is that?! well, i’m 100% serious and after you read this article, i guarantee you’ll go buy yourself a tongue scraper and love it.
so, why is this a healthy lifestyle staple? tongue scraping, or jiva shodhana in sanskrit, is an ancient ayurvedic practice that is known for not only keeping your mouth extra clean, but can help to detoxify the entire body, as well. here are three great reasons to start using a tongue scraper asap:
- it improves oral health. because tongue scraping removes the bacteria that forms on your tongue throughout the day, it will ultimately leave you with fresher breath, less plaque buildup and healthier gums. it can also reduce your chances of getting cavities.
- it aids digestion. tongue scraping will clear up your taste buds so that you can really taste the food you are eating and begin the digestion process smoothly. digestion begins with salivation and if you can’t truly taste your food, your body won’t know how to properly begin to break it down, which can screw up the whole process. and no one wants that.
- it boosts your immunity. because the tongue is the first line of defense in your immune system, removing toxins and bacteria from it can prevent them from being reabsorbed into the body, which is especially important during cold and flu season.
i know that this sounds really weird, but give it a try. i guarantee once you start you will wonder how you have ever gone without doing it. it’s best to do it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, right after you brush your teeth. i personally use this tongue scraper by dr. tung’s. the stainless steel versions are preferable to the plastic ones and you can purchase one on amazon for around $5-$7.
image courtesy of the chalkboard
motivation mondays: week 6
wow, i can’t believe this series is already in its sixth installment… time goes by so fast these days it’s actually scary. i feel like it was just a few weeks ago that i was ringing in 2014, but in reality, the year is almost over already. seriously, where is the time going?
this weekend definitely went by too quickly. i ate at some awesome restaurants [mostly very unhealthy ones, but remember… balance!] and yesterday i ran my first half marathon, which definitely helped me justify all of the indulgent meals i consumed over the weekend! i needed to carb load to prepare for the race… right?
running a half marathon was something i decided i wanted to try to do about four months ago. honestly, if you would have told me at this time last year that i would be completing a half marathon ever in my life, i would have laughed at you. i never thought long distance running was something i could do. when i first started training, i wasn’t sure how i was going to do it, 13.1 miles?! that was crazy to even think about.
at first, my goal for race day was to finish, no matter how long it took, my only goal was to finish. walk it. run it. just finish. i started training and realized i was actually better at running than i thought i was, so i switched my goal to finish without walking at any time during the race. before i knew it, i was surprising myself with my times and setting the goal to complete the race in two hours. it seemed like a stretch, but i was gonna go for it.
i ended up really surprising myself, finishing the race in 1:53:17… almost seven minutes under my goal of two hours! what surprised me even more was that i still was able to do this despite some serious pain in my right knee and hip that started around mile ten. i managed to push through the last three miles without stopping to walk [i think my playlist really helped keep me going towards the end]. my friend, jenna, ran the race with me and also surpassed her goal, so we both felt pretty amazing post-run… and here we are!
we had our post-race meal planned for months to be at queens comfort in astoria. just take one look at that menu and tell me you don’t want to eat there. the menu was slightly different from what is currently listed on their website, but we all shared the atomic fireballs [deep-fried mac + cheese with sriracha and ranch] and capt’n crunch french toast balls for appetizers. i ordered the crispy pumpkin eggs benedict as my main course, which consisted of poached eggs layered on top of deep-fried pumpkin and fresh spinach on top of the most heavenly biscuits, all smothered in chipotle hollandaise sauce [pictured below]. out. of. this. world.
now that i’ve gotten that little half marathon recap out of the way, let’s get to this week’s quote for the motivation mondays series!
like i mentioned before, i surprised myself in so many ways yesterday. not only did i complete a half marathon, i ran the whole thing and beat my personal goal by seven minutes. i’m still in shock over what i was able to accomplish… and it feels great! i put the work in, trained as much and as hard as i possibly could and before the race, i just kinda let go of the anxiety about crossing the finish line in two hours and just did it. if i had been worrying the entire time i don’t think i would have done as well as i did.
we can plan and plan and plan our lives away, but sometimes just allowing things to run their course and releasing control can feel so good. of course, we shouldn’t apply this to every aspect of life, as there are definitely some things that require more attention than others, but if you’re a planner or someone who feels totally uncomfortable in situations where you don’t have control, letting go from time to time is something you should try.
letting go is really good for your mental health, especially if you suffer from constant stress and anxiety. it allows you to step back, take a deep breath and slow down your thoughts. then, you can put all of the energy you were putting towards worrying and stressing towards something more positive, like finishing a project you’ve been working on forever, spending time with friends you don’t get to see very often or just taking the time to take care of yourself. sure, you can do all of these things while worrying about something else, but you won’t get the same results as you would without the added pressure and anxiety.
when your life isn’t consumed with worry, you’ll find that you have so much more time in your day-to-day life to do the things you actually enjoy and want to do. worrying can take so much joy out of life and in the end, all of the worry in the world isn’t going to change the way things end up 99% of the time. in the end, you’re left with a lot of wasted time and energy, the side effects that stress and anxiety have on your body and mind and a situation that was going to end up how it was going to end up with or without you constantly obsessing over it. remember that old song, “don’t worry, be happy“? i think that guy was onto something.
a couple things i’m loving at the moment that i think you will love, too:
malala yousafzai being awarded the nobel peace prize at age 17. if you haven’t read her book, i am malala yet, stop what you are doing immediately and go do it. since reading her story earlier this year, she has been such an inspiration to me and is an amazing role model for people struggling anywhere.
this sundae from pure food + wine, an all raw vegan restaurant in manhattan. i ate here on saturday night and the food was good, but the desserts were out of control. i can say with absolute certainty that this is the best thing i have ever eaten.
thug kitchen’s new cookbook. i’ve read thug kitchen for a couple of years now [and it still gets me] and i’m so excited to buy this cookbook and “eat like I give a f*ck”.
coming up this week, i’ve got another pumpkin recipe in the works and a new edition to the “healthy lifestyle staples” series, so be sure to keep up so you don’t miss out on anything! how are you guys liking the motivation mondays series? is there anything else you would like to start your week off with besides a positive mantra and fun links to check out? maybe a new smoothie recipe or healthy living tip? leave a comment with any suggestions and i’ll see what I can do!
have an amazing week!
image courtesy of La Bonne Vie
eurotrip recap part 1: oktoberfest 2014!
happy friday, guys! i hope you had a great week and have lots to look forward to this weekend. rather than doing another recipe or post about “try this to be healthier!” today, i thought i would close off the week with a recap of the first leg of my recent trip to europe, which was spent in munich, germany at oktoberfest!
oktoberfest was the entire reason this trip even happened. one sunday funday last summer, a group of friends and i somehow ended up on the topic… and a few weeks later we had hotel rooms booked. no other plans, no flights, just a hotel in munich for the first weekend of oktoberfest. hotels and hostels book up fairly early since it’s such a huge event that attracts binge drinkers from all over the world, so having this locked down early is something you need to do if you don’t want to sleep in a public park all weekend [yes, i know people who have done this].
day 1: we arrived in munich on the friday before oktoberfest began, so we had some time to explore the city before the madness started. we grabbed a few beers and walked through the city, eventually over to the oktoberfest grounds to scope everything out and then made our way to the englischer garten, a beautiful park located outside of the city center. the seehaus beirgarten sits on the park’s small lake, which is where we decided to have our first steins, brezn [pretzels!!!] and other traditional german fare.
[enjoying our first steins of the weekend at the seehaus biergarten.]
day 2: saturday, september 20th. the first day of oktoberfest 2014. the day we had all been anticipating for months was finally here! we woke up early, like… 5:00am early… and made our way to the schottenhamel tent, where the mayor of munich taps the honorary oktoberfest kegs every year. obviously, when checking something like oktoberfest off of your bucket list, it’s really necessary to go big or go home. the doors would open at 9:00am and the first steins would be served at 12:00pm, but getting there early was the only way to have a chance at getting a seat inside the tent. unfortunately, arriving at 6:00am was still not enough time to guarantee us a seat. by the time we made it into the tent, all of the tables were taken and we had no choice but to sit outside, still at schottenhamel tables, but away from all of the official keg tapping festivities. so, if you ever plan on going to the first weekend of oktoberfest and want to see the tapping of the kegs, get on line like, four or five hours early.
as always, we made the best of a not-so-ideal situation and as soon as the beer started flowing, it didn’t matter that we were outside… we were in munich at oktoberfest drinking beer by the stein. i mean, how bad could life really be at that point?
[our first official oktoberfest steins at the schottenhamel tent… prost!]
we eventually wandered out of the tent and explored the rest of the festival a little bit. oktoberfest isn’t only about drinking [although this is certainly the primary focus] and there are other things to do, like eat german style food [pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, apfelstrudel, etc.], play games and win tacky prizes and ride the carnival rides. it was also fun to see all of the people dressed in trachten [traditional bavarian dress] and to walk around and take in the ridiculousness of seeing drunk people just passed out all over the place… ahhhh, oktoberfest.
[girls dressed in dirndls… next time i will get one of my own!]
[do not be fooled, this ride was not scary…. at all.]
[just a couple of people that i don’t know taking a midday nap in the middle of the street!]
day 3: so, this day…. this day… was really, really something. we got ourselves to the hofbräu tent around 10:30am [sundays at oktoberfest are typically a little quieter than saturdays], waited only 15 minutes before securing a table and got down to business. we quickly made friends with our neighbors [some guys from norway, a few from canada, a very drunk german kid who loved how i met your mother], attempted to learn a german drinking song or two and before i knew it, I had lost track of how many steins i had finished. the rest of the day was all a blur if you know what i mean, but one of the highlights was riding the swing ride towards the end of the day [disclaimer: i do not recommend doing this at the end of the day, but you know, just do you]. here are a few gems from the day.
[hofbräu tent… aka heaven]
[the quality isn’t great, but you can get a feel for the inside of the hofbräu tent.]
[the gang with our new friends from norway!]
[the swing ride… try to get this out of the way before you start drinking.]
[this is what pure happiness looks like, everyone.]
i have to say, this was literally one of the best days of my entire life. there was so much beer, i was with some of my best friends, i got to see an old friend and made some new ones and just thrived off of the happy, care-free atmosphere. oktoberfest, i’m kinda obsessed with you.
needless to say, we have already booked hotel rooms for oktoberfest 2015. yea, it was that fun and i can’t wait to do it again, this time, as an old pro.
has anyone else ever been to oktoberfest? what was your favorite tent? would you go back again or was once enough? share your experiences in the comments section below!
fall favorites: healthy pumpkin spice latte
the pumpkin spice latte has gotten a lot of attention recently. it’s a fall staple and a seasonal favorite of a lot of people [myself included]. this year, starbucks made it available a few weeks earlier than usual [well before fall officially started], but along with the hype has come quite a bit of negative press, especially among the health and wellness community. why? well, it turns out that a starbucks pumpkin spice latte actually contains zero pumpkin. yep, you read that right. there is no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.
sooo, what is? about 50 grams of sugar [double the recommended daily intake], caramel coloring [made with ammonia], artificial flavors [made with petroleum], g.m.o. milk, preservatives, sulfites, and pesticide residue. the diagram below from food babe breaks it all down.
so, should you cut the p.s.l. habit quick? yes. is there an alternative? who do you think i am? of course there’s an alternative. and i think you’ll be pretty satisfied with it! using ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health and real pumpkin, you can make a healthy pumpkin spice latte right at home. for one latte, you will need:
- 1/2 c. brewed coffee, hot
- 3/4 c. almond milk [or other non-dairy milk of your choice]
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. 100% pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- place all ingredients, except coffee, in a blender and blend until slightly frothy [about 2-3 minutes].
- transfer mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until hot. do not boil.
- combine with coffee and serve hot or over ice. enjoy!
there are also some health benefits that come along with consuming real pumpkin, including weight loss and immune support, a boost in your mood and a reduction of cholesterol levels. with this healthy pumpkin spice latte you can still indulge and enjoy your favorite fall pick-me-up, but you won’t need to worry about what you’re actually putting into your body and the impact it may have on your health. you’ll probably also save some money if you’re not running to starbucks one, two, maybe three times a day to get your fix.
it’s okay, you can thank me later.
motivation mondays: week 5
hey, everyone! i hope you all had an amazing weekend… i certainly did! saturday i did my last long run before my half-marathon [11 miles… not sure how i feel about having to add on two on sunday!] and had dinner and drinks with some friends i haven’t seen in a while… isn’t that always the best? yesterday i spent the day in long island at several wineries with a group of my coworkers. it was the perfect fall day and we all had a lot of fun… maybe too much fun, if you know what i mean! Check out my instagram profile for a few weekend snaps.
it’s monday again, which means another post in the motivation mondays series. this month, i’ve made a commitment to thinking more positively. sometimes [especially recently] i can get into negative thought patterns that consume me and have an effect on everything that i do. i spend a lot of time stressing about things that aren’t worth stressing about, and sometimes having so much anxiety can be really exhausting. and being exhausted all of the time isn’t good for your mental or physical health… it just ends up being a vicious cycle. for this week’s edition of motivation mondays, the weekly mantra is something i like to go back to when i need to remove myself from a stressful situation or stop negative thoughts and and take a deep breath:
the biggest problem with thinking negatively is that your thoughts can manifest themselves into reality. so, if you keep telling yourself, “i’m so fat, i’ll never be able to lose weight,” or “my life sucks, i’ll never have the job/boyfriend/girlfriend/income/apartment/house/car that i want,” that’s exactly what will happen. you have to find whatever you want within yourself first. you have to believe, i mean really believe, that you can have it, otherwise, your life will never be what you want it to be. so, whatever it is that you want, tell yourself you can get it. imagine what every aspect of your life will be like once you have it. manifest the sh*t out of it. you’ll honestly surprise yourself when you realize how far just a little bit of good energy can take you and how much better you will feel overall.
making a major shift in your thought patterns can be hard at first, but even just one small shift a day could be the start you need. today, start by re-phrasing every negative thought that you have into a positive thought. for example:
negative thought: ugh, i can’t believe i just ate that cookie and screwed my diet up again. i’ll never lose these last five pounds.
positive reframe: it’s okay that i just had that cookie because losing weight is about balance and building a healthy lifestyle. i’m allowed to treat myself and indulge here and there.
i’ve also been using this guided meditation from cassandra bodzak of go sweet + skinny and it’s been super helpful in picturing the life i want and focusing positive energy on manifesting that for myself. it’s a quick 10-minute meditation that you can do each morning when you wake up or right before bed.
be sure to let me know how it goes!
i will leave you with just a few things i’m into right now:
this article that made me feel like the author somehow infiltrated my brain used my thoughts for inspiration.
this clip of b.j. novak reading to a room full of little kids… i mean…. it’s just too perfect.
this sweater from madewell. i’m obsessed with the side zippers and just want to throw this on with a pair of skinny jeans and ankle booties and call it a day.
i have a couple of posts planned for this week that I think you will enjoy. wednesday i’ll be sharing another fun fall recipe and at the end of the week i’m going to post a recap of the first part of my eurotrip, munich, and most importantly, oktoberfest!
have an amazing week! see you back here again soon!
image courtesy of RealSimple
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