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Monday Motivation Moments With TWF: 5 Thoughts to Get You Through the Week

Monday Motivation:

Make time to check in with your yourself and take time for self-care. It is of the utmost importance.

The past three years have been a whirlwind of planes, trains and automobiles. Although I would power through my days  I would often times feel like I wasn’t even living in my body anymore. I was dealing with constant fatigue, trips to Urgent Care and a longing for a routine and more one on one time with my husband. You know, the simple things in life most of us take for granted. This past month, I took some time off from all of the travel and focused solely on getting back to a place that I love.

Sure, my Instagram feed and Facebook pages only show a happy, healthy woman who is constantly on-the-go and some days I did feel like her, but as of late, I was feeling like a less shiny version of the happy girl I know and love. So what did I do? I started to really check in and ask myself what I needed. I came to the realization it was a very simple formula: sleep more, sweat often, reconnect with friends/family and eat a variety of whole nutrient dense foods.

It was a simple formula that for some can feel like climbing mount everest! Easier said than done right?  I am very blessed to be able to have more control over my schedule than your average 9-5 person, but you do have more time in your schedule than you think. If you feel you don’t, I suggest sitting down at the calendar and scheduling time for your doctors appointments, workout classes and even time with friends. I had myself convinced that there was something very wrong with my body and saw everyone from the endocrinologist to allergist. Aside from a TMJ issue, I was just simply run down, and you might be too.

For me, my first stop was to my acupuncturist. I was placed on an adrenal fatigue remedy that helped me begin to feel better almost immediately. The past few weeks I took the time to workout at least four times per week and not beat myself up when I missed a day at the gym. I focused on my nutrition and also indulged in foods that satisfy my soul. I spent time with friends and Cory and finally feel like I am back to the real me again for the first time in a long time.

Bruno Mars Calves

Bruno Mars has exceptionally large calves for his small body

On a lighter note; Cory and I went to the Bruno Mars concert at he BB & T center last night! Bruno belted out everything from Versace on the Floor to Just the Way You Are. He is an absolutely phenom and has been one of my all time favorites for years now. Yes he is very tiny, but the MAN can he dance! A mix of Michael, James and Elvis yet totally 2017. I would definitely recommend seeing him the next time he is in your city! My thought of the day is not about his musical prowess or his cute dimples, but it is about his lower half. HIS CALVES.  They are very large and muscular and I could not help but be distracted…cue my ADD. Strange I know, but I felt the need to share…my man has very large calves. LOL

Monday Motivations

Fresh Flowers make me REALLY FREAKING HAPPY.

Every Monday while home I don’t wait for my husband to walk in the door with fresh flowers (although he does…sometimes). I go to Whole Foods or Fresh Market and buy myself a simple arrangement or a beautiful bloom in a happy color. I arrange them in my grandmothers vases and single blooms in her tiny trinkets and place them around my house. Fresh blooms can brighten up any home and they always make me smile.

Neat and Tidy Home Motivation Tips

A neat and tidy space yields a more successful day.

While on the road 24/7 I had a completely meltdown last year and finally hired a cleaning lady to come every two weeks. I love her. I adore her and I now cannot live without her; however, being home the whole month meant it was no sweat to keep the house tidy and clean. I actually used cleaning as a bit of downtime doing mindless activity.

So at night, I suggest organizing and cleaning your house, apartment or room to the best of your ability. You will feel much less chaos by starting your day in a neat and tidy place. I am not saying you should become a total neat freak, but there are some serious benefits of putting all of your stuff away and getting those pesky dirty dishes out of the sink.

Motivation Time

Making time for girl-time or friends should be a top priority! Single, married or in a relationship.

When I first moved to Miami I felt like an alien from another planet. I drove a Jetta that I loved and not a “fancy car”.  I didn’t have many designer things and I smiled a lot. It was not until I walked into Inner Balance Studio that I finally met my people. I have made some incredible friends down here in Miami and we always talk about how we met our bestie was by going to workout classes or sweat related functions. We like to go to fitness events and squeeze in a class here and there and always leave feeling happier and more well connected than when we showed up. So if you are feeling a bit lonely, isolated or in need of movement sign up for a class immediately. You never know who you are going to meet.

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Nutrition and Early Detection

Diet Tips For Decreasing Your Cancer Risk

This is a very tough month for many people as October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, most, if not all of us have been effected by cancer in some way, shape or form. Did you know that many cancers diagnosed in the United States every year can be linked to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption or poor nutrition? The good news is that this means these diseases can be prevented to some extent, according to recent studies and the American Cancer Society. Obviously, genetics play a very large role as well and should not be discounted in any way.

Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains should be the when trying to achieve healthy body mass index thus decreasing your risk of developing or dying from cancer. According to this article from Baptist Health South Florida: “Avoiding tobacco, excess alcohol consumption, keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly significantly reduces a person’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer. Moreover, the same behavior can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.”  Heart disease and diabetes are also plaguing our country at an alarming rate.

Watch this video for more tips on Diet Tips to Lower Your Risk“.

(Video: Alice Pereira and Susan Nowrouzi, registered dietitians and cancer nutrition specialists at Baptist Health South Florida, outline dietary guidelines that can help lower your risks for many cancers while promoting general health.)

Not only are developing healthy habits key in keeping you healthy and cancer-free, but so are acquiring annual mammograms and self-exams. If you are like me, and have no breast cancer occurance in your immediate family and are under the age of 40 then simply get to know your breast tissue by performing monthly self breast exams.

Perform self exams by:

Placing a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. If something feels painful, lumpy or “off” then contact your Ob/Gyn for further examination.

Diet Tips For Decreasing Your Cancer Risk

 

BRCA Gene and Breast Cancer

If breast cancer does run in your family then consider getting tested for the BRCA Gene, even if you are under the age of 40. About 15 percent and 32 percent of women 40-44 years old and 45-49 years old, respectively, whose breast cancer was found through a screening mammogram, have a first-degree relative with breast cancer or the BRCA gene, according to the ACS and USPSTF research. According to this article: “The role BRCA mutations play, especially in younger women, is important to note,” Dr. Mautner said. “Women who are genetic mutation carriers or who have first degree relatives diagnosed with premenopausal breast cancer are recommended to start screening mammograms before the age of 40.”

If you are between the ages of 40-49 then make sure to schedule your annual screening ASAP. In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Baptist Health is offering special mammogram pricing in October to patients without insurance. Through October 31, 2017, a screening mammogram is $50, and a diagnostic mammogram is $100. The radiologist’s fee for 3D mammogram is included in the special prices. To schedule an appointment, call 786-573-6000 in Miami-Dade or Broward, 305-434-1588 in Monroe, or visit BaptistHealth.net/BreastHealth.

*** This has been a sponsored conversation brought to you by Baptist Health South Florida.

10 Tips for Portion Control and Your Favorite Foods

10 Tips on Portion Control

Portion control is something that every American most likely struggles with. Why? Because every restaurant you have ever walked into since you were a kid has probably served you extremely oversized portions. Overeating has become a normal part of the S.A.D. or Standard American Diet; however, even  the healthiest people run the risk of over eating. Maybe not on kale and spinach, buton healthy foods like nuts, nut butter, avocado and protein.

A couple of months ago Cory and I were in L.A. and we wandered down to a very un-chic yet deliciously indulgent establishment. This restaurant had a bull you could ride for fun and live music so we took a seat outside and let the good times roll. I ordered a summer chopped kale salad with grilled chicken and a side of truffle mac and cheese; obviously the angel/devil debate was a total wash! Cory ordered pasta for his main course and when it arrived I literally almost fell off my chair. A normal size portion is 1/2 of a cup of pasta. Which is the size of your fist and almost always a european portion, and enough to fit a small bowl. Cory literally had a PLATTER of ziti the size of 2 1/2 dinner plates with sausage and cheese sauce in front of him. I could not believe my eyes! It was literally enough pasta to feed a small army, and NO, he was not running a marathon the next day.

 I wanted to share a few measurements today to help you on your portion control journey and offer a few tips from my friends over at Baptist Health South Florida.

 Natalie Castro, R.D., (pictured), chief Wellness dietitian for corporate wellness at Baptist Health South Florida offers her tips for portion control:

1. Use small plates: When serving yourself a meal or a snack, try using smaller plates.
2. Pick veggies: Load up on vegetables first. Reach for 1 cup or a large handful.
3. Measure protein: After the veggies, put protein on your plate. The amount of protein on your plate should equal the size of a deck of cards.

For more from Natalie, check out THIS POST !

Lucette Talamas, a registered dietitian, (pictured) with Community Heath at Baptist Health South Florida:

1. Downsize creamy dishes: Reduce your portions of high-calorie foods like creamy dishes, pastas, thick salad dressings, pizza, cheesy items, fried foods and desserts. Research shows that consumers eat less high-calorie foods when served a smaller portion.
2. Ask for to-go boxes: If eating out, share a meal or ask for a to-go box at the time you get your entrée. Before eating, pack your to-go box. Remember:  Even half a restaurant entrée can still be too much for one meal.
3. Use kiddie plates: If eating at home, stock your cabinets with smaller dishware to encourage smaller portions.  When serving food, consider using children’s tableware or a salad plate instead of the entrée plate.

For more from Lucette, check out THIS POST !

Tips for Portion Control

Over the next couple of weeks I challenge you to focus on your portions and measure them at every meal. You will most likely be surprised at what an actual portion of your favorite foods look like.

Lean Protein: 4-6 Ounces for a meal. 2-3 For a snack.

Oatmeal: 1/2 Cup

Starchy Vegetables (Squash): 1/2 Cup

Grains: 1/2 Cup

Popcorn: 3 Cups

Bream: 1 Slice

Hummus: 2 Tbsp

Beans: 1/2 Cup

Non-Dairy Milk: 1 Cup

Dairy Milk: 3/4 Cup

Cottage Cheese: 1/2 Cup

Yogurt: 3/4 Cup

Whole Eggs: 2

Egg Whites: 4

Berries 1 C

Banana 1 Small

Cheese 1 ounce

Oil and Dressing 2 tsp

Avocado 1/4

For more tips on portion control make sure to head on over to Baptist Health South Florida.


***This has been a sponsored conversation brought to you by Baptist Health South Florida.

 

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet


I have a love/hate relationship with food and protein bars.  On the upside, protein bars are a convenient way to have an on-the-go snack that is packed with a satisfying amount of protein and fiber to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you full between meals. You can even find certain food protein bars that act as meal replacements; however, you need to be careful as many food bars moonlight as nutritious when in actuality the amount of added sugar and preservatives is comparable to a candy bar.

The ingredient list on any packaged food is actually more important than the actual nutrition label itself. You see, when consuming packaged items the ingredients are listed from highest quantities to lowest. For example, most granola bars that we find in the grocery store like: Nature’s Valley, Power Bars and even the beloved Quest Bars all have high amounts of sugar and preservatives. For example, a typical granola bar should have granola or oats listed first. If you are buying granola bars with high-fructose corn syrup in the first, second or third spot or there are tons of ingredients you cannot even pronounce JUST WALK AWAY. I repeat JUST WALK AWAY. There are tons of health bar options that I love and I am here to share my favorites. Most of these bars cost more than your average bar, but the quality ingredients are well worth it!

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet Primal Kitchen

Primal PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Almond

Like all PRIMAL KITCHEN™ products, there are no artificial ingredients in these Dark Chocolate Almond Bars. Just: Almonds, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Grass-Fed Collagen, Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (Cassava Root), Water, Coconut Flakes, Honey, Natural Flavors, Coconut Oil, Bitter Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Himalayan Pink Salt, Monk Fruit Extract, Tocopherols (Vitamin E).

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet Strong and Kind

STRONG & KIND

Sweet KIND bars are yummy, but can be high in added sugar and preservatives. The newish Strong & Kind line pack a whopping 10g of protein and only 5g of sugar. These bars are chock full of healthy spices and are a yummy alternative to their sweeter counterparts. They get their protein from nuts and pea protein and are a good pre or post workout snack.

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet SHANTI Bar

SHANTI BAR

Organic Energy Bars are 100% USDA Organic Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, Paleo Certified, Paleo Vegan Certified, Kosher Certified, Gluten Free, RAW, Vegan and are made with only real ingredients like celtic sea salt, coconut, maca, goji berries, hemp, spirulina and more! Each bar houses at least 7g of plant-based protein and what you see is what you get.

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet RX Bar

RxBar

The “Real Food Protein Bar”. RxBar is list the ingredients on the front of every bar. The last ingredients being: No B.S. Just the way I like it! These bars are quit chewy, but are great for a pre-workout and come in a variety of flavors! The blueberry is my fav!

Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars

I love all of the Health Warrior Bars, but the ingredient list in the Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars are short, sweet and to the point!

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet GO MACRO

GOMacro Bars

Are certified organic, NON GMO, Certified RAW, Vegan and gluten free. I believe GoMacro bars are great for pre-workout purposes because they do use brown rice syrup which is sugar substitute derived from brown rice. It will elevate blood sugar levels so eating one about 45 minute to one hour before your workout will give you the resources needed to fuel your next workout.

 

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet LARA BARS

LÄRABar

LÄRABar is known as the the original fruit and nut bar. I absolutely love the apple and cherry pie flavors. They are great for curbing a sweet tooth and are made simply of dates, fruit and nuts.

 

 

8 Healthy Protein Bars for Every Diet Perfect Bars

Perfect Bar

Perfect Bar is has the best name because in my opinion this bar is literally PERFECT! I am addicted to the Peanut Butter and limited release Pumpkin Pie bars. They have a blend of 20 expertly hidden superfoods and complex carbohydrates that will fuel even the most intense workouts. Peanut Butter Perfect Bars pack a whopping 17g of protein are are a great way to recover and restore glycogen burned during a grueling workout. You can find a variety pack of 12 bars at Costco for $19.99.

If there is a bar you love, but is not listed here send me note in the comments below!

 

Increase Your Flexibility and Improve Your Quality of Life

“Flexibility makes buildings to be stronger. Imagine what it can do to your soul.” -Carlos Barrios

Flexibility is a muscle or joints ability to move through full range of motion. Flexibility is also one of the most important components of physical fitness, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Take a second. Think about the last time you worked up a sweat. Did you spend enough time warming up your body or cooling it down? If you a group fitness guy or gal you may notice that a few people slip out the door without adeqautely re-aligning their bodies. Stretching and cooling down may seem obsolete; however, that could not be further from the truth. Flexibility training should be a constant in your life and does not always come in the form of touching your toes.

Flexibility Training by Taylor Walker Fit

Working on flexibility can Help to:

  • Decrease Muscle Imbalances
  • Decrease Your Chance of Injury
  • Help Clear Your Mind
  • Enable your muscles or joints work to full range of motion making daily life activity easier.

You can Improve Your Flexibility by:

Working through full range of motion while weight training

Getting a Massage: Getting a massage often seems like a luxury when it is actually a necessity. You do not have to go to a fancy spa to release your knots and tight muscles, you can use a foam roller or tiger tail to help. The most important thing is that you roll for recovery or find someone who can help. There are tons of affordable massage options out there like Massage Envy and Hand and Stone. Kick a couple of those pricey lattes to the curb and you can easily get a massage once a month.

Taking Time to Stretch: This sounds simple, but stretching is often overlooked. As a former dancer stretching was always a part of my regimen. Unfortunately, I have not done it often enough lately and am starting to make it a part of my morning ritual again. I created a light stretching routine that would be perfect for you to start or end your day.

Incorporating Yoga Into Your fitness regimen: Yoga is not all about chanting and “OM’ing”. Yoga works on strength, improving full range of motion and helps provide space in the body. Find an instructor that you like and hit your Downward Dog.

Learning to Breathe: Learning to connect your breathe to movement is one of the most powerful things you can do. Not only will learning to breathe make your flexibility training more effective, but it will help you harness the power to control your mind. I always tell my clients to “breathe out on the work”. So the next time you perform a set up crunches, push-up’s or a stretch breathe out on the work or the hardest part.

Drinking More Water: Muscles are made of up 75% water. Many people are walking around parched and dehydrated. So guess what? Your muscles are essentially stuck and will not work adequately without H20. Focus on drinking at least half of your bodyweight in ounces as a marker for hydration. Be mindful of how you feel and track the color of your urine. If it is pale you are hydrated. If it is closer to amber it means you are dehydrated and need to drink up buttercup!

Give this flexibility routine a try today! You can do it on flat ground or find a step, a chair or a rock for elevation.

Video by Catarcione Productions

Forward Food: A Plant Based Approach With Baptist Health South Florida

***This Forward Food conversation is presented by Baptist Health South Florida. As always all opinions are my own.

Forward Food Check Wanda White

Forward Food Check Wanda White

Forward Food Baptist Health South Florida

The concept of Forward Food is helping grow a healthier, more sustainable food system that eventually we as a community can help bring food forward.

Did you know that if you swapped three meals per week to a plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner you would save you and your family $1,500 dollars per year? Over the course of your lifetime that is some serious coin! Last week, Baptist Health South Florida held a plant-based chefs training to encourage plant based cooking within their hospitals. When I was first introduced to the Baptist Health South Florida team at the Grow2Heal garden I was so impressed about the way they spoke about their health system. Their main goal is actually to offer programs that keep patients out of hospital beds; which is why education is a key component in their process.

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Eating Organic: The Clean 15 vs. The Dirty Dozen

Let’s face it, eating healthy in today’s society takes work. Eating an apple or potato today is not the same as it was when our grandparents sat down at their dinner tables. GMO’s and pesticides have become the new norm and food shopping can be more like navigating a jungle than a walk in the park. Organic produce is not sprayed with with pesticides or grown with genetically modified seeds. Organic foods are foods that are grown to comply with the organic standards of farming and restrict the use of certain pesticides or fertilizers. Pesticide induced diseases include: certain cancers, autism, Alzhaimer’s, endocrine disruption, fertility issues, asthma, allergies, diabetes and more! Crazy, I know.

I a not writing today’s post to scare you, but more to sprinkle some knowledge upon you to help you navigate this difficult landscape and help you decide what items to purchase organically. A good rule of thumb for me when food shopping is that if I am going to eat the skin I always buy organic. Greens, no question! I learned my lesson in non-organic greens last year when I was in a bind. I opened the bag, washed and prepared my salad, only to take a bite and it literally tasted like cleaning fluid!  Although organic may be better for you it can also be quite expensive; however, if you shop with the seasons, take advantage of weekend farmers markets and go to stores like ALDI and Trader Joe’s you may be surprised to find affordable organically grown options. Produce that is grown organically is always going to be a better option for you. So today, I am sharing what is known as the “CLEAN 15” and “THE DIRTY DOZEN”.

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Hydration Station: How Much Water Do You Really Need?

This hydration conversation has been sponsored by Baptist Health South Florida. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hydration_How Much Water Do You Need

Summer is still in full swing here in South Florida and since I have been on the road for two weeks I almost completely forgot what true humidity was until I walked out of the American Airlines terminal on Tuesday evening. As the doors whizzed open I was immediately engulfed by the warm, moisture filled Miami air. Everyone is New York was complaining last week about how hot and humid it was, and honestly, I cannot believe I used to be one of them! Living in South Florida, has taught me a little something about the two H’s: humidity and hydration.

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My Propel Water Fitness Festival Sweat-cation Recap

Propel Fitness Festival

***This post has been fueled by my friends over at Propel Water! As always, all opinions are my own.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Propel Water Fitness Festival in Los Angeles. I am already anxiously waiting next year! Why? Because it was one of the coolest and most inspiring experiences I have ever been a part of. If you have not been following the Propel CO:LABS Blog series that kicked-off in New York then make sure to check out this or this post. Throughout the summer I was exposed to eye opening fitness brands including: The Class by Taryn Toomey, Yoga For Bad People, Prevail Boxing, The Vixen workout and more!  As the summer went on, we went back to our respective cities for local CO:Labs. In Miami, we are so fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best fitness in the country.

Propel Electrolyte water

The culminating Propel Fitness Festival took place at Quixote studios where the entire location was transformed into a Propel Fueled play land. Before the event we had the opportunity to sign up for multiple mash-up classes where we experienced  Fly Barre infused with Vinyasa Flow and The Vixen Workout (created in Miami) with Barry’s Bootcamp. We were also able to take one celebrity class per day. I signed up for Gunnar Peterson with DJ Samantha Ronson and Prevail Boxing featuring Big Boi. The Prevail/Big Boi experience was far and away the best sweat filled hour of my life! There were hundreds of people throwing jabs and upper cuts  all to the sounds of from your favorite Outkast tracks!  Like, whaaatttt?! The young college girl in me was in H-E-A-V-E-N. Half the time I was throwing combos followed by fist pumps, dance moves and yelling out rap lyrics at the top of my lungs.

Flybarre and Vinyasa Flow

I love a good vacation, but a “sweat-cation” is truly where it is at! I was able to explore a new city, burn more calories than consumed and had tons of endorphins coursing through my veins. While planning your next adventure I suggest infusing it with some sort of sweat session. You will have more energy to take on the day and the added caloric burn leaves room for you to indulge! My fellow blogger babes and I had an absolute blast this summer and I hope you enjoyed following along. If find yourself in my city or any of the cities below…make sure you get your butt to class. I promise, you will NOT be disappointed!

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Collagen Peptides by Vital Proteins

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

You may have been hearing all about collagen lately from TV to magazines to your favorite blogs. I started using collagen protein peptides about a year ago when to “upgrade” my coffee with coconut oil, butter and collagen. I have kicked the butter to the curb a little while ago as I do not follow a strict Ketosis diet; however; Vital Proteins collagen peptides and powders are  here to stay. In my coffee I combine collagen peptides, coconut milk creamer, MCT oil and cinnamon into my Nutribullet to whip  up into a protein packed, gut-healing energy drink to start every day.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides to ensure a natural, high quality, and sustainable source of this ancient nutrient. Vital proteins collagen peptides are flavorless, odorless, can be used in cooking, baking and can be dissolved in cold or hot temperatures. Throughout the next few months I will show you you how I incorporate the peptides into everything from soups to donuts (Yes, donuts!) and like I said before…C-O-F-F-E-E!

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

So what are the benefits?

 1-Collagen Peptides improve hair, skin, nails, joints, tendons and ligaments. If you are above the age of thirty the odds of you experiencing tendon, ligament or joint related pain is very high. I struggle with tendonitis and after using collagen peptides consistently my flair ups have been reduced dramatically.

2-It is bioavailable, which means it, is available for absorption into the body immediately.

3-As stated above Vital Protein collagen peptides actually dissolve in hot or cold liquids for use in almost any of your kitchen creations. Vital Proteins also offers collagen “beauty water”, bone brothwhey protein, beauty greens , marine collagen and on-the-go packs to make consistency convenient.

 Vital Proteins collagen peptides yield only 70 calories per serving and offer a whopping 18 grams of protein. Which is what I have been adding to my for a quick and easily post-workout pick-me-up.Over the next few months I will be sharing my favorite recipes using the collagen peptides, bone broth and marine collagen.