wellness wednesday: the hot-cold shower

Happy Wellness Wednesday! I have a quick tip today that will help increase blood circulation, ease muscle pain, improve the quality of your hair and skin, and just make you feel really clean and energized. It sounds like a miracle, no? It's one of my favorite things---the hot-cold shower. 

You take your shower like normal, but then at the end spend 2-4 minutes going through this process. Make the water as hot as you can take (without it being painful) for 30 seconds, then as cold as you can take for 30 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you'd like, making sure to always end on cold. 

My biggest tip is that when you're in the cold cycle, you should ensure that the cold water is hitting all of the major pulse points so that your body is cooling down fast. This means under your arms, neck, wrists, and inner thighs.

Let me know if you try this one out! I swear, this makes me feel so awake and clean and truly does help when I have muscle tension the day after a workout. Not to mention, cold water is so good for your skin and hair.

what i ate wednesday

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Happy Wednesday! My intention lately has been to eat more protein, specifically 20g of protein four times a day. So, here's what I ate on a random day this month.

Breakfast: I started the day with overnight oats I had prepped the night before. I've become quite the master of overnight oats, having created many different variations I love. Today, I had what I like to call my 'chai banana bread' flavor. It's oats, almond milk, chia seeds, half of a mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cardamom. I topped the oats with sliced banana.

After arriving at the office, I drank a protein smoothie that I made with half a frozen banana, cherries, pineapple, coconut, almond milk, MCT oil and chocolate egg white protein powder. Like I said above, my goal is to have four meals per day that consist of 20g of protein and this one contains 23g in the protein powder alone. Sometimes, I prefer to just mix the powder with almond milk for an easy chocolate shake, but today I made it a little special.

Lunch: For lunch, I had two really good stuffed and roasted bell peppers. They're stuffed with a mixture containing vegan 'ground beef', mung beans, brown rice, tomato sauce, turmeric, and other spices. I ate this for dinner the night before and they were great warm, but also great cold as leftovers. After roasting them, the top of the filling gets crunchy and it tastes kind of like a summer version of Thanksgiving stuffing. 

Along with the bell peppers, I had a few blue corn tortilla chips and an amazing homemade fruit salad. I chopped up and added any fruit I could find at home and ended up with apples, tangerines, blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, and grapes topped with a lime-agave dressing and hemp seeds. 

Later in the day when I needed a pick-me-up, I had a Sambazon energy superfood blend with acai, yerba mate, and guarana. 

Dinner: As usual, I wasn't super hungry around dinner time so I had a really simple bowl of ramen and for dessert, some apple slices covered in almond butter, granola, and melted chocolate. SO good!

wellness wednesday: the summer wellness guide

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Happy Independence Day! Now that it's July, we're officially in the second half of the year and summer is upon us. For me, summer is the ultimate season for wellness. It's a time when we are all getting out more to experience nature and hopefully engaging in self-care. There are so many great things you can do for yourself in the summer months, so here's my little guide.

MIND
Unplug
This summer is a great time to unplug from phones, computers, and TV. There's no set parameters for unplugging, it's all up to how you feel. To start small, try leaving your phone turned off in a drawer for a few hours. You may end up leaving it off for a whole day or the entire weekend. Use the time you would have spent mindlessly scrolling to try a new creative or physical hobby, or just take a nap!

Engage in more culture
Use the summer season to experience some new books, art, movies, music, or performing arts. Something I like to do is write down a few subjects that I'd like to learn more about. It could be anything: astrology, European history, creative writing, whatever. Then, I like to choose culture that will help me learn more about those things. 

Check in on your goals
June marks the middle of the year, which means the summer is a natural time to check in on your annual goals, benchmark where you're at, and re-evaluate for the rest of the year. Take time to reflect on the first half of the year and celebrate all of the (big or little) things you've accomplished.

BODY
Food + Drink
Eating fresh, in-season, and cooling foods during the summer is a must. If you can get it at the farmer's market, that's the way to go. In ayurveda, summer is the Pitta season (my personal dosha), which means heat and dryness. You'll want to balance this out with light, cooling foods like salads, fresh fruit (especially watermelon), mint, lime, coconut, cucumbers, basil, and sweet dairy products like yogurt and ice-cream.

Beauty
The biggest, most obvious priority is sun protection so don't forget your SPF! But here are some other beauty-related things you should try during the summer. Try massaging your body with cooling coconut oil before your shower. Spritz your face with rose water. Exfoliate your skin with sugar and salt scrubs. Add a salt spray to your hair routine. Exfoliate your scalp with a salt scrub.

Exercise
Working out too hard in the heat isn't good, so focus on fun activities like swimming, hiking, and bike riding instead. Yoga is a great addition to a summer workout routine and there are even practices specific to the season.

SOUL
Clear negative energy
Midsummer is a great time to clear any negative energy built up in the first half of the year. Many people use sage, but I recommend cleansing your space by burning palo santo instead. It cleanses only negative energy and has a sweet scent that makes it a wonderful part of your meditation ritual.

Summer scents
Updating your scent collection is an easy way to embrace the new season and to feel fully entrenched in the current state of things. Switch out your hand soaps, candles, room sprays, and even personal fragrance for scents like tomato leaf, citrus, fresh florals, and salt. 

Grounded in nature
I think we all spend more time outdoors in the summer, but its important to be intentional about it. Spending intentional time in nature is grounding for the soul and tends to help you get more sleep, as well. Take a barefoot walk in the grass or sand, really take in the smells and senses of your natural surroundings, and simply engage yourself in nature. 

what i ate wednesday

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Happy Wednesday! Today is another 'what I ate' day, so let's get straight into what I ate all day yesterday.

For breakfast, I had a fruit bowl consisting of sliced watermelon, strawberries, and bananas topped with a bit of honey and unsweetened coconut flakes. I also had a piece of sprouted toast and sliced avocado. This is one of my favorite easy and healthy breakfasts to have during the week.

Lunch was a vegan BLT sandwich using my dad's recipe for coconut bacon. I just toasted some whole grain bread and topped it with Vegenaise, romaine lettuce, tomato, and the coconut bacon. With that, I had a peach-pear LaCroix and a homemade protein cookie.

For dinner, we had tofu dressed with Trader Joe's soyaki sauce, wild rice, and broccoli. Later that night, I had some popcorn with nutritional yeast and more LaCroix.

I swear, I pick the most boring days to document what I eat! One of these days, I'll pick a fun day. Haha!

wellness wednesday: my trader joe's favorites

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Happy Wellness Wednesday! One of the most basic tenants of wellness is nutrition and, while I love Whole Foods, I really think Trader Joe's is such a great resource for anyone looking to eat healthy and interestingly on a budget. Their prices are so much better than traditional grocery stores, yet they offer a ton of healthy and convenient products. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite go-to items at Trader Joe's that will help you eat healthy this summer and all year.

General Produce Section
There's always a large selection of competitively priced produce, ranging from classics like bananas and apples to more interesting things like pre-chopped vegetables and cold pressed juices.

Fresh Flowers
The flowers at TJ's are so inexpensive which makes sourcing for arrangements really fun and easy. I especially love the eucalyptus branches and the hydrangeas.

Healthy 8-Veggie Mix
A mix of jicama, cabbage, carrot, bell peppers, and more that's great for eating raw in salads or sautéeing.

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Almond Butter
I love this almond butter for spreading on toast, mixing into smoothies, and making protein truffles.

Rolled Oats
You can't really tell in the photo, but this bag of rolled oats is huge! They last forever so you can use them for hot oatmeal, overnight oats, baking, and smoothies.

Unsweetened Almond Milk
While my all-time favorite almond milk comes from Califia Farms, the TJ's unsweetened original version comes pretty close.

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Orange Juice
Aside from fresh-pressed orange juice from Whole Foods, this Trader Joe's orange juice is the best. It doesn't have the artificial taste so many orange juices have. It tastes like you literally just squeezed the oranges yourself.

Nutritional Yeast
I'm a longtime fan of nutritional yeast, specifically Bragg's, and recently have been using Trader Joe's version as well. This is a dairy-free seasoning that has an umami, slightly cheesy flavor. I often sprinkle some on top of my steamed broccoli or mix it into a buttery popcorn topping.

Island Soyaki
This is TJ's cleaner version of your typical teriyaki sauce. It's great to mix in with rice and the 8-veggie mix.

Coconut Aminos
Another longtime favorite of mine is Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids. Trader Joe's version is called Coconut Aminos. This works as a perfect substitute for soy sauce.

Organic Tahini
I love Tahini. It's a mediterranean staple and there's so much you can do with it! Its flavor is deep and nutty, so you can use it to make a salad dressing or a dessert.

Maple Syrup
Can you believe this 25 oz maple syrup bottle is only $12.99? This thing lasts forever, plus it's great quality and tastes amazing.

Maca Powder
TJ's maca powder is super affordable. Mix it into your smoothies for natural energy, make hot cocoa out of it, or mix it into waffle batter.

Cacao Powder
This is a healthier version of traditional cocoa powder and it's super accessibly priced at Trader Joe's.

Coconut Cream
I love TJ's coconut cream cans so much! Usually, I'll buy them when I want to make dairy-free whipped cream. I just blend the cream with a bit of powdered sugar using a hand mixer then use the liquid content in smoothies.

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Dried Fruit
Yes, dried fruit has quite a bit of sugar but it's still a great alternative to most snacks on the market. TJ's has a pretty good variety, but I'm partial to the dried mango.

Fiber Crackers
These are similar to the famous GG crackers so many wellness bloggers like. They taste a bit better though and are definitely filling. 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I love treating myself to a box of these sometimes. They're basically mini Reese's cups but made with dark chocolate.

Vanilla Meringues
Another easy dessert I like to treat myself to is the TJ's vanilla meringues. They're crunchy, sweet, and fat-free.

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
This is a go-to staple for just about everyone I know because it's literally just a bottle of the seasoning they put on everything bagels. This stuff is so good on avocado toast so if you've been sleeping on it, go get it now!