Latest Posts

How to Savor Summer

We get 13 weeks of “summer” in New England. And you better believe I’m enjoying every ounce of this unleashed, soul warming, daylight filled summer-and I hope you do too.

Yes, I know that June 21st is officially the first day of summer. And that the season ends on Sep. 21, the fall equinox. However, I’ve always lumped up the care free splendidness of summer into the months June-August. Let’s face it-as soon as Labor Day is over the ease and flow that summer brings with it gets washed away with the back to school craziness.

Planning out a care free summer may sound like a paradox, but the planning is half the fun! In fact, a 2010 study from The Journal of Applied Research and Quality of Life, shows that the anticipation drummed up from planning a vacation increases one’s happiness factor. So how does one plan for an amazing summer? Carve out some time, break out your calendar and reach out to the people you most want to include in your summer fun plans.

Make a Game Plan

Look ahead about 4-6 weeks at a time and decide on a few 3 day weekends and a full week or more off. For the longer break, I like to plan it one year in advance, especially because we like to vacation in New England and Air B&B’s or hotels fill up months in advance.

For 3 day weekends you could take at least one long weekend in June and July for a family adventure, like camping or day trips. Once you’ve got a few dates in mind, it’s time to plan them out and of course ask for the time off from work.

Coordinate Dates with Family and Friends

I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to make plans in the winter with friends, it’s just harder. We’re all working our tails off and hibernation mode is in full effect. Summer is just the perfect time to reconnect and enjoy time together outside! Reach out to your family and friends and nail down some dates that you can hit the beach together, enjoy lunch at a vineyard, or try an outdoor adventure like paddle boarding. It’s a great time to get creative and step out of your comfort zone. The best memories are made this way!

This is also the time to start planning your 3 day weekends and longer vacations with family. Maybe you already have a summer tradition in place, and now you just need to pick the perfect weekend together. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to explore that one hiking trail, but never have, now’s the time to make it happen-after all August will be here in the blink of an eye ; )

Write Out Your Savor Summer List

This is the fun part, actually brainstorming your Savor Summer List! These are your top 5 musts for summer. Decide what you absolutely must do or see this summer. You may find that there’s a number of activities happening in your own state. Pick one of your three day weekends and check out that vineyard you’ve always wanted to have a picnic at.

There are tons of summer activities you can dive into: including concerts and movies in the park, farmers markets, kayaking, beach fun, carnivals, street fairs, and so much more. Grab one of your local town magazines, search the Facebook Events page, and get ready to explore.

I’ve always wanted to go to an event where you get to dress up, such as a Halloween Ball or a Kentucky Derby. This year one of our favorite gems in town, The Blithewold Mansion, is throwing a USO Party called Swing Into Victory. It’s being held on the grounds under a tent with a stunning view of the bay, a swing band, and yes 1940s attire! I can’t wait to swing underneath the stars and make memories.

Discover what lights you up and start building your savor summer list. Because after all, the summers are short in New England, but you can lengthen and enhance your days with just the right amount of planning.

5 Energy Boosting Foods

Every day we make dozens of choices when it comes to how to fuel our body. We can choose to consume foods that have energy boosting powers or we can choose to eat processed foods that cause our energy to plummet and crash. While there’s no such thing as “super foods” (outside of the marketing world) there are definitely foods that deliver a big punch when it comes to nutrients and minerals.

Let’s explore some foods that you can add to your diet to help boost your energy so you can thrive throughout your day!

Eggs

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

According to a 2009 study in Nutrition Today, eggs provide a sustainable source of energy that can benefit endurance athletes, and help with weight control.

One egg provides 6 grams of protein and is rich in nutrients including: B vitamins, folate, and thiamin. They also provide 9 essential amino acids that aid in the delivery of glycogen to muscles.

The doctors in the Nutrition Today study emphasized the importance of eating eggs in the morning to help with satiety throughout the day. They suggest 2 eggs can help balance your appetite.

Green Tea

Photo by Ieva Vizule on Unsplash

Green tea can be a great alternative to coffee, if you want energy without the jitters. Since green tea has approximately 35 mg. of caffeine per serving, half of which is found in coffee, it can help increase alertness and focus without having you jumping off the walls. In addition to increasing energy, green tea provides a number of other health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, better digestion, and increased antioxidants that can help slow aging-to name a few.

Yogi Green Tea is one of my favorite brands, and it comes with a cute little inspirational message on the tea bag. Studies citing green tea as an endurance enhancer, suggest drinking 3-4 cups of tea daily on a consistent basis.

Nuts

One of the best snacks you can have on hand at all times are nuts. They provide B vitamins in your diet that are essential for energy. Thiamin also knows as B1 are found in nuts, and these B vitamins help extract energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Biotin, another B vitamin nuts provide, also helps break down glucose from carbs. In addition, Biotin helps with the production of brain chain amino acids, which is found to aid in energy for endurance athletes, preventing fatigue.

Whole Grains

Grains like quinoa, steel cut oats, and whole wheat bread are comprised of complex carbs which help deliver sustained energy throughout the day, since they take more time to digest. They also activate brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine which can help increase mental alertness and mood. In addition, whole grains are filled with fiber which will help you feel fuller longer. You’ll be less likely to have a snack attack when choosing foods that satisfy you throughout the day.

Dark Leafy Greens

Photo by Vince Lee on Unsplash

Dark leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard and kale are a good source of magnesium. Our bodies need magnesium to help sustain our energy and even fight off symptoms of stress such as fatigue. Since magnesium helps to regulate our nervous system, it is essential that we eat foods rich in this mineral to help keep our energy at an optimal level.

One thing you’ll notice that all 5 energy boosting foods have in common, is that they’re sourced from nature. Stick with whole food choices as often as possible and you’ll find a pep in your step throughout the day!

Resources

5 Trainer Tips for Workout Motivation

Find Your Perfect Fitness Fit

Begin the search for a fitness program that you can stick with for the long game. Consistency truly is one of the most important elements of success. Take the time to discover your fitness personality, so that you’re more likely to stick with your chosen activity. Are you someone who thrives in communities and enjoys the social element of working out in groups? Then sign up for a fitness class at a studio. Are you short on time and funds, but also self motivated? Make the initial investment in creating a home workout environment. Choose an online workout class that you can stream for your computer and start lifting. Or maybe you need extra motivation and accountability from a personal trainer. Having a weekly appointment that you’re less likely to break with a trainer could be just what you need to stay committed to your healthy habit.

Having a Why is Good but Having a How is Better

Get clear and write down 3 reasons why getting fit is important to you. In addition to your whys, write down how you’re going to feel when you start seeing results. Once you have your whys start making an action plan. If time is a road block, then sit down with your calendar and take a look at your week. Maybe you’re a weekend warrior and Saturdays and Sundays can be reserved for your exercise routine. Could becoming an early bird help you create space for working out? Carve out the time and schedule in your new workout program, like it’s the most important work meeting on your schedule.

Say No to Overcommitment and Yes to Your Health

If your health is a priority, it’s time to start being honest with yourself, set some boundaries and prove to yourself that you value your time and commitment to feeling stronger, more energized and healthier then ever before. Are there any commitments taking up time in your calendar that you can step away from in order to create more time for a workout? We tend to fill our calendar with all sorts of activities, from volunteering for every school book sale, to staying late at the office again to assist with that big project, and to making sure we attend every single baseball practice and game. Give yourself permission to cut back somewhere or recruit extra support from family, so that you can add a workout session into your week and increase your energy.

Track It

If you’re someone that loves numbers and visuals then track your workouts for motivation. You can use a fitness tracker device that you wear while you exercise. Many devices track steps, calories burned and other measurables on a weekly basis. Some fitness studios, such as Orangetheory take it up a notch, and you’re able to see your data while you workout. You also receive a daily email after your class with your stats that you can compare over the course of an entire year! If you want to keep it simple you can journal your progress as well, with good old pen and paper or online programs such as lifesum.com

Go Recipe Hunting

Go on a hunt for some new recipes and or meal plans that will inspire you to clean out your pantry and fill it with wholesome goodness that will help your body thrive.

Personally Pinterest is my go to, there are endless recipes you can specify searches for. Just type in healthy dinners and you’ll see a variety of recipes to choose from. If you love thumbing through magazines and books, head to your local library or peruse the aisles of your grocery store and pick out a few recipe books or magazines that appeal to you. Facebook is also a good resource as there are tons of community pages you can join that offer recipe sharing and meal plan support.

And if cooking isn’t in your wheelhouse, then try out a meal delivery service such as Green Chef, which happens to have a deal going for $40 off your first order.

So let’s do this! Find your why, map out your how and reap the benefits of a fitness program that will help you feel better than ever.

Empanadas-The Flavors of Family

On New Year’s Eve I taught Grace how to make the empanadas my Puerto Rican abuela used to make for me.  This is a special treat that takes a lot of time, love, and patience.  Grace likes to help me in the kitchen, so I thought the time had arrived for her to learn one of my favorite family recipes.

IMG_1802.JPG

Dishes that remind us of our loved ones are like a thread that ties the generations together.  The aromas and flavors of family dishes evoke childhood memories filled with the same love and “sabor” that they were made with.  I have many memories of my abuela in the kitchen preparing a buffet of Spanish food:arroz con gondules (Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas), sorullos (deep fried corn sticks), platanos maduros (sweet plantains). She made everything with love and would sit back and smile when she would see everyone savoring her food.

I remember her hands always smelled of Spanish herbs and garlic when she hugged me or rubbed my head, and there was such a comfort in that for me.  I hope to pass down that love and those kinds of memories to Grace.  I hope she remembers being with me in these simple ways, more then she remembers the toys she got for Christmas.

IMG_1803.JPG

After teaching Grace how to seal the beef turnovers with a fork, we very delicately placed them in the pan, so as not to break them.  My husband loves empanadas, and waits all year for his favorite treat.  As soon as we were done frying them, he savored 3 in less then 10 minutes!

IMG_1800.jpg

I’m keeping the recipe close to heart.  But here is a good one you can try: Food Network Empanadas  And yes, there are about 20 ingredients and the cooking time is lengthy, but so worth it.  And no, these are not whole 30 or paleo approved in any way.  They are simply one of the best indulgences to enjoy with family.

IMG_1779.jpg

What I’m Loving Now

The Power Bowl from Quench Juicery in Warren 

Feel like spooning your smoothie?  Get an acai bowl!  You can mix in all kinds of healthy ingredients, but the acai is what gives the bowl it’s signature name.  What the heck is acai?  It’s a South American berry that’s loaded with nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.

Recently, I tried The Power Bowl from Quench Juicery in Warren, RI-basically I had dessert for breakfast!  Usually I opt for one of their protein smoothies, but I was in the mood to mix things up.  The bowl was bursting with flavor: bananas, coconut, nutty granola, almond butter, and honey.  In the future, I would go lighter on the coconut and honey, to reduce the amount of sugar.  I like the variety that acai bowls bring to the table and the berry itself tastes like a mix between a grape and a blueberry.  Want a DIY version?  They sell frozen acai berries at Whole Foods.  And you can find pureed berry packets at Trader Joes.

Juicery

Pacemaker

As we all know music makes the workout!  Research confirms that upbeat music can influence your workout performance, by having you literally pick up the pace!  Pacemaker is an app that helps you mix your favorite workout songs into a beat matched playlist.  Not only can you mix your own playlists, but you can follow other users with similar music tastes and save their playlists as well.  It’s opened up a whole new world of music for me, and exposed me to a wider variety of genres and songs.  The Pacemaker app only works with a Spotify Premium account.  Want to give your playlists a DJ upgrade?  Download The Pacemaker App HERE

Pacemaker

Go2Socks

Compression socks and leggings are a new part of my workout routine.  They help ease aching legs by promoting circulation, and reducing lactic acid buildup that can accumulate after an intense workout. But most of all, I just like the way they hug the fatigue out of my calves and feet!

Want a cute holiday themed pair to help your post workout recovery?  Click this Amazon link and receive 25% off until Thanksgiving when you enter the promo code go2joy4u.

1

Move of the Month

How’s your balance and joint stability? Need more of it? Add in unilateral (one sided) exercises! This week I’m working on firing up the muscles around my knees and ankles with single leg squats.

This exercise is one of the best ways to help even out your lower body muscle imbalances and turn on your Glutes! So often, when we exercise the focus is spent on the front body muscles, especially our quads. Choosing one sided exercises and balancing our front bodies with glute and hamstring activation can help improve joint instability; saving our knees, hips and lower backs.

This week try doing 3 sets of 12 reps of single leg squats on each leg. Focus on engaging your glute and evenly placing your weight evenly throughout your foot bed. Maintaining an even diagonal spine will help with core recruitment as well.

Instant Pot

Officially sold on the magic of the Instant Pot! I broke in this new kitchen tool with a Chicken Corn Chowder recipe.  for dinner that tasted like it had been simmering for hours. The entire dish from prep to plate took less then one hour. Total game changer in the kitchen!

The Instant Pot is like an electric pressure cooker and certain models offer a slow cooker and rice cooker function, cutting down on kitchen clutter and clean up. It’s like turbo speed cooking, without sacrificing any taste. It even sautés and sears meat! 😱

Click HERE for the delicious recipe I pinned from Simple Happy Foodie. I substituted light cream and you could omit the bacon (but why would you do that?)

C8890551-0C37-4D9E-8919-40F93EBF6B88