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
healthy lifestyle staples: reusable water bottles
as a human living in the 21st century, it seriously amazes me how good, clean, pure water is nearly impossible to come by… unless, of course, you live in the mountains next to a spring you can drink from… but i’m assuming for most of us, this is not even close to being the case.
bottled water isn’t even safe these days… they are actually adding things like magnesium sulfate [bath salts], potassium chloride [used in lethal injections to stop the heart] and straight up salt to bottled water. dasani has recently taken a lot of heat for this, but unfortunately, they’re not the only company adding things to their water. it’s pretty pathetic that i now find myself reading the ingredients lists on bottled water… that literally makes no sense. and, as if this wasn’t already bad enough, the plastic bottles that water comes in contain even more chemicals [that I cannot spell or pronounce] and the most talked about of them all, bisphenol a [bpa] is known to cause breast cancer and birth defects. effing awesome.
if you’re anything like me, you’re most likely asking yourself, “soooo, what the eff am i supposed to be drinking?” some of you may be surprised by this answer, but i seriously believe that the best, healthiest and safest water for us to be drinking is tap water. now, i know that there is really no way to know 100% for sure what’s in the water that comes out of our faucets, but i’ve reached a point where i feel like as long as it’s been filtered, tap is the way to go. it’s time to kick the bottled water habit to the curb.
Image courtesy of paper hounds
the best thing you can do to kick the bottled water habit fast is to find a fun reusable water bottle that you can easily throw into your bag and take everywhere with you. there are tons of companies that now make glass, aluminum and plastic water bottles in a variety of colors and prints that are not only safe, but look great and will also help you to reduce the amount of waste you are contributing to the planet.
some of these companies even use recycled materials for their products and donate a portion of their profits to charity. i’m pretty much obsessed with bkr bottles, which are pictured above, but klean kanteen, sigg, and hydros also have some really great options, too. the prices may seem high for a water bottle, but think about how many times you’ve picked up a $3 bottle of water at the bodega. see what i’m getting at here?
when it comes to filtering your tap water, there are a lot options out there, as well. personally, i use a traditional brita pitcher right now, but I’m dying for one of these pitchers from soma. the filters are made from malaysian coconut shells, fine silk and other plant-based materials… health and luxury rolled into one package? perfect.
image courtesy of selectism
so, go shell out for a new, fun water bottle and a water filtering system of some kind. you’ll be much healthier and end up saving money over time, which means more disposable income for things like an uncontrollable green juice habit, mani/pedis, yoga classes, and happy hours with your friends. sounds like a win-win to me.
healthy travel: what’s in my carry-on?
ahhh!! the day has arrived! in just a few hours, i will be in the sky, somewhere over the ocean, bound for europe, baby! the first stop on the trip is munich for OKTOBERFEST. this is a major bucket list item for me and i could not be any more excited to spend the next four days drinking beer by the stein and eating every pretzel i get within a ten foot radius of. from munich, we’re headed to budapest for a few days before spending the final leg of the trip in vienna. did i mention that i’m excited? because i am.
as much as i love traveling [i have a pretty serious case of wanderlust], figuring out how to stay healthy while on vacation can give me a lot of anxiety. obviously, vacation is about relaxing, letting loose and immersing yourself in a new place, but i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… it’s still gotta be about balance. an easy way to start your trip off on a healthy note is all in what you pack in your carry-on. airports and airplanes are full of absolute garbage for food options, getting comfortable and, god forbid, sleeping, are nearly impossible and planes are crawling with germs.
i like to make sure that my carry-on is packed full of healthy snacks, a few things to help me relax and plenty of distractions. here’s a peak into what i’m throwing in my carry-on as i’m headed to the airport today.
1. a book, magazines, headphones + a phone loaded with music. between waiting to board, the flight itself and layovers, there is typically a lot of downtime that needs to be filled. headphones and music are a no-brainer a few magazines and a book can go a long way.
2. hand sanitizer + echinacea. planes = petri dishes. seriously, they are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. hand sanitizer is absolutely necessary and i like to pop a few echinacea tablets before, during and after my flight to give my immune system a boost.
3. chamomile tea, magnesium + lavender essential oil. chamomile tea is known for is relaxing properties and i love having a cup after take off… bring your own and just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water. i’ll also take a magnesium supplement or two to help balance my melatonin and serotonin levels and a dab of lavender oil on the inside of each wrist helps me to really relax and [hopefully] drift off to sleep.
4. snacks. healthy ones. lot’s of ’em. plane. food. is. gross. even calling it food is a stretch and there is absolutely no way any of it is good for you, so i always make a run to whole foods before any trip. there are so many healthy snack options out there now which are easy to toss into your bag and i always grab a bar of dark chocolate because… why not? this is vacation.
also, i cannot recommend staying hydrated while flying enough. the stale air in the cabin can really dry you out and arriving at your destination dehydrated is never fun. if you have room, throw a small water bottle in your bag and have the flight attendants refill it for you… oh, and asking for an aisle seat is probably a good idea, if you catch my drift. i also carry kiehl’s lip balm #1 and some hand lotion with me to keep my skin and lips from drying out as well.
i have some posts scheduled to go up next week while i’m away, so keep checking back and head over to instagram to follow along with my european adventures. how do you guys survive a long flight? do you have any exciting trips planned for the fall? would love to hear all about them!
happy labor day + 5 ways to stay healthy at a b.b.q.
can you even believe it’s already the end of august? i have no idea where the summer went and i am not looking forward to the downward spiral into cold weather, winter jackets, avoiding the outdoors by any means necessary and total misery that’s inevitably going to begin within the next few weeks. sometimes i seriously wonder why i haven’t moved to a city where seasons aren’t a thing…
anyway! since it’s labor day a.k.a the last long weekend of summer, i expect that many of us will be spending the weekend drowning our sorrows in food and alcohol, so i thought it would be helpful to chat about how to stay healthy at a barbecue. here are 5 ways to stay healthy at a b.b.q. while still enjoying yourself and letting loose, regardless of what your plans are this weekend!
- b.y.o.f. (bring your own food). no, no, no. i don’t mean you should pack up a little lunchbox full of “good” foods just for yourself that you’ll whip out when everyone else digs into the spread of chips, burgers, and desserts. seriously… who does that? basic b*tches, that’s who. [okay. fine. i’ll admit that i’ve shown up to many-a-barbecue with my own box of veggie burgers, but that’s where i draw the line.] what you should do is make an awesome dip or a healthy dessert to bring to share with everyone. there are tons of quick and easy recipes out there, so finding something that everyone will like won’t be hard. check out my pinterest boards for inspiration!
- scope out the buffet before digging in. before you start piling food on your plate, check out the buffet and see what you’re working’ with. i would say that about 99% of all buffets at picnics and barbecues include some sort of fruit and veggie spread, so you can fill your plate up with some watermelon and raw cucumbers, leaving a little room for that pasta salad and dessert at the end.
- wait before going back for round two. no matter how delicious that burger was or how badly you want a second slice of that key lime pie… wait. take some deep breaths, drink a glass of water and give yourself some time to digest everything before running back for seconds. if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later, go back and serve yourself a small second portion of something you really enjoyed.
- eat a light, healthy breakfast before the party. start your day off with a light, healthy breakfast, such as a smoothie or chia seed pudding, so that you don’t arrive at the party starving. this way, regardless of what your options are, you’ll get in a healthy, nourishing meal no matter what direction the rest of the day takes, if you know what i mean!
- drink water. okay, i cannot stress how important this is, especially if you plan on drinking alcohol. to keep myself hydrated in the heat and help avoid a massive hangover the next morning, i try to drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic drink i have. i’ll be honest… this doesn’t always happen… we can all get carried away… but, if you can maintain this little policy throughout the day your body will really appreciate it the next day.
so, there you have it! five pretty simple ways to stay healthy at all of the picnics, pool parties, beach cookouts and barbecues you’re headed to this weekend! personally, i’m off to philly tomorrow morning for made in america with one of my girlfriends, so be sure to check out my instagram for videos of my favorite performances and a few philly editions of #eatingfortheinsta. in true bananas + bellinis fashion we have a few healthy and few absolutely not healthy spots mapped out for our food tour of philadelphia. do you have any recommendations for us?
what are your plans for labor day weekend? whatever you’re doing, i hope you have as much fun as these guys did!
photo courtesy of m.w.r. hawaii
3 reasons why balance is better than perfection
in my early 20s, being “perfect” was something that i strived for. this desire manifested itself most prominently in my quest for the perfect body through a strict, vegan diet that eventually morphed into orthorexia. while i had the best of intentions, i became so obsessed with being perfect and healthy that i completely lost sight of who i was, how to take care of myself and how to enjoy my life… the biggest problem was that i didn’t even realize it.
eventually, as quite often happens in these cases, i reached a point where i just couldn’t do it anymore. i was exhausted, stressed out and just generally miserable, even though i had reached a weight i considered “perfect” and had the healthiest diet of anyone i knew. i decided to seek help and was able to work through my issues in a way that was healthy, productive and sustainable. in the years since, my goal is no longer to be perfect, but to be balanced. i work to maintain a lifestyle that makes me happy, keeps me healthy and doesn’t create unnecessary stress in my life. do i have my moments? of course. who doesn’t? but, the difference is that now i know that happiness is achieved through balance, not perfection. here are 3 reasons why balance is better than perfection:
1. balance doesn’t allow for “cheat days” because it’s impossible to cheat. when you are working around the clock to maintain a perfect diet and avoid “bad” foods, a well intentioned “cheat day” can easily turn into a full-on binge where you inhale every cookie within a 10-mile radius because, “it’s okay, i’ll be good the rest of the week”. when you’re balanced, you eat the cookie if you want to eat the cookie no matter what day of the week it is. you skip the gym to go to happy hour with your girlfriends if that’s what you want to do. and you know what? it’s fine. one cookie or one skipped gym session isn’t going to derail everything you’re working for. eating every cookie in the tri-state area? that could cause some problems.
2. balance alleviates stress and anxiety. letting go of the idea of perfection is seriously liberating. as soon as i stopped trying to be perfect, the feeling of anxiety that always consumed me was just not there anymore. i could go about my day without spiraling into a panic over what i was eating for lunch, when i was going to be able to make it to the gym or if the shirt i was wearing made me look fat. when you’re not stressed out over trivial things, you can focus your energy on things that are important, like spending quality time with your friends, getting work done productively and accurately and pursuing hobbies that you are interested in.
3. balance is sustainable. when i was attempting to maintain a strict vegan diet, i had this terrible habit of getting drunk, housing an entire pizza and spending the next day mentally bashing myself and swearing that i would never do it again. i’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that it did happen again. many, many times. what can i say? i love cheese and was forcing myself to completely avoid something that i really enjoy, all in the name of trying to be perfect. now, i maintain a mostly vegan diet and when i feel like having a slice of pizza, i eat the damn slice of pizza and i rarely go overboard. when you deny, deny, deny all the time, you’re bound to overdo it when your self-control eventually wears thin, and this goes for anything, not just food. perfection is not sustainable over a long period of time… listening to your body, however, is.
so, here’s the thing. “perfect” doesn’t exist. and the chances of you being happy, healthy, enjoying life and maintaining the lifestyle you’ve created in the pursuit of perfection are slim to none. you’re allowed to be obsessed with green juice and yoga while also being obsessed with pizza and taking naps. i am. and not only is it okay, it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. once you let go of the idea of being perfect and find a level of balance that you can maintain, your life will take on a new form and you will be the happiest, healthiest, most perfectly imperfect version of yourself possible. i promise.
if you’re struggling to find and maintain healthy balance in your life, i can help! as a part of my health coaching practice, i help my clients to develop healthy habits that allow them to live a happy, healthy life in a way that is realistic, maintainable and allows for those necessary indulgences every once in a while. If you would like more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about my services and to schedule your free initial consultation!
photo courtesy of steph brescia photography
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