It's here! Summer produce is both ripening and sweetening and it just feels right to do a deep dive into some of the benefits of our favorite summer fruits, in particular. Here's a snapshot of what we have in our kitchen at the moment. On any given day, we're adding melon, blueberries, plums, and nectarines to the mix too. (Not to leave vegetables out or anything, but they'll have to just get their very own post once tomatoes come onto the scene). So here goes!
High in vitamin C (very high, in fact) and fiber and especially sweet this time of year, chow down if you feel a summertime cold coming on. My favorite way to eat them is in smoothies with banana and peanut butter (yup)!
Also a decent source of vitamin C and fiber, peaches pack a punch in the potassium category too. We need potassium to keep our muscles healthy, so peaches would be a good choice as an after-workout snack (paired with protein, of course). I love a juicy peach and blueberry cobbler myself.
Turn to these little babies when you need a boost for your skin because they are high in Vitamin A. Apricots provide a nostalgic flavor to me since I grew up with a flourishing tree in my backyard. I love chopping ripe apricots up into oatmeal with a little cinnamon or nutmeg in the mornings.
These sweet bursts of flavor keep up with berries and stone fruits on all fronts: in Vitamins A, C, potassium, and fiber levels. Additionally, some say cherries can help with insomnia, as they can increase melatonin production (specifically in the form of tart cherry juice). My favorite way to eat 'em, though? Straight outta the bowl.
This past Sunday, I ran a 5K with two of my clients, Anastassia and Brian. It was so awesome to see them supporting one another in both the training and the execution of this goal. It was also a HUGE accountability to me, as this time of year brings with it a lack of motivation toward healthy movement. Because I had agreed to run this race with the couple, I was responsible for getting myself into 5K shape.
Finishing a 5K this month was one of my year end goals, so in due diligence, I'm reporting that it's complete! I try to talk about my own health a lot as I coach and blog here at Nourished! because believe it or not, eating well and moving...while they have become much more habitual in my life over the past few years, don't always feel fun to me. I find that remaining committed to living the life I desire my clients to live has been the most incredible way to stay accountable to good health in this journey. A couple of my other year end goals were to:
-Remain controlled with my lifestyle diet and limit cheat days to where they normally belong for me (holidays and weekends).
-Stay on top of immunity.
The first point has been difficult, I will not lie. When I wrote this year end resolution, I had forgotten about all the opportunities I'd have for celebration in December. I've been diligent about choosing just one treat when I'm at a party and trying to enjoy the heck out of it while abstaining from everything else...my energy levels and emotional stability thank me for this. But I have definitely had a treat here and there on a non-holiday or non-weekend day. There's grace for that, I tell myself! I'm just being honest with you all here that the struggle is not only yours.
Staying on top of immunity has been a challenge as well as cold and flu is now at its peak. I came down with back-to-back colds a few weeks ago, but was able to fight them off more quickly that usual with plenty of fluids and rest. Also, the thing about zinc shortening your cold or flu really did seem to work on me! I loaded up on the stuff as soon as I felt the sore throats creeping in and was not down for long at all. Presently, I'm feeling perfectly healthy!
So there you have it: my year end check in. It's not perfect, but it's real and honest. I encourage you to openly share your year end goals with friends as well since talking about them is the most helpful way to follow through!
Is it just me or do you kinda piddle out physically toward the end of the year too? Something hits me around Halloween each year that tempts me to just "give up" on any ambitious personal standards around food and exercise. I think to myself, "Well, I made it though Halloween, but then there's Thanksgiving, about 3-4 holiday parties, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day...and then I may as well eat whatever I want until New Year's Day because it's only a week later..."
Enough is enough! 2014 was the last year I'd do that to myself. Sure, there's a place for less stringent rules around food when you've got a handle on avoiding sensitivities and you're in maintenance mode. But truthfully speaking, if I let myself forget about diet and exercise entirely from now until January, I will enter 2016 in a fog. I don't want to live that way! I don't want to wait for New Year's Resolutions to get my body in check. I want to keep my body in check through the holiday season so that I can focus on more specific and advanced New Year's Resolutions...ones that require a pre-established high standard of health.
In order to do that, I'm setting a few goals for myself to finish 2015 well. I would encourage you to do the same! Ok, so in the next two months, I will:
-Stay controlled with my lifestyle diet and keep cheat days limited to holidays and weekends, like I normally would any other time of the year. I will not "give up" between Christmas and New Year.
-Stay on top of immunity.
-Participate in a 5K!
What about you? What do you need to do in these last couple months of 2015 to stay on track (or get on track, for that matter)? What can you do for yourself now to get a healthy jump start on any physical New Year's Resolutions you hope to tackle next year? You are worth that jump start and you are worth a good finish.
Let me know in the comments what your plan is!
I'm back with part 2 in this mini-series on immunity. A couple weeks ago, I talked about the long term strengthening of your immune system, while today I want to touch on "incident response", or more simply--actively fighting colds and flus. Working to build up that solid door of immunity to protect the fortress that is your well-being is vital, especially as we enter the cold and flu season. But what do you do when all your efforts in this arena have seemed to fail? Here are my top go-tos for when I feel something coming on (which, for me, usually starts with a sore throat):
First thing first--I recommend sanitizing every part of you that's come into contact with illness. That may mean if a cough is going around at the office, you shower immediately upon getting home from work. The most common illnesses we fight in cold and flu season enter our bodies mostly through the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose (for real), so be serious about keeping your head clean. As funny as it sounds!
Secondly, kill any bacteria forming in the back of your throat with an apple cider vinegar tonic. Both apple cider vinegar and honey have antibacterial qualities. Some people can really water down their tonic to be able to consume a larger amount, but I personally can't stomach too much of the stuff so I make it strong and tiny. Combine 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and stir, allowing the vinegar to break down the honey. Next, dilute with 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water. Then down the hatch it goes!
A common tip, but effective all the same is to take plenty of vitamin C when you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu. It is true that vitamin C is water soluble, so your body will get rid of any it can't use. With that said, pack it in! Just be careful not to give yourself a tummy ache. When I'm actively fighting a cold, I try to consume vitamin C at every meal, whether directly in my food (like tomatoes and citrus) or through a tablet. Another supplement to pair with your vitamin C is zinc. The research is not definitive, but zinc may shorten the length of your cold. You'll want to follow the recommendations for dosage that come with your bottle though.
My last tip is an important one! It may be tempting to cruise over this one, but hang tight because I'm about to get serious about rest and hydration. When you feel sick, all you really want to do is crawl into bed anyway, and your body actually knows what it's doing there! Rest and hydration truly are two of the body's most effective ways for fighting illness! I touched on these ideas in the last post on immunity and they're important enough to reemphasize. The reality is, if you get caught up in a crazy schedule and poor nutrition habits, your body will not be equipped enough to fight the cold or flu it's threatened with. You need a decrease in adrenaline and assistance to your lymphatic system (which is what rest and hydration DO) to stay and get well.
So get to it, friends and FIGHT THAT COLD. I just want you to get back to feeling super! And if you have more helpful ideas for what to do when you feel something icky coming on, share in the comments below!
Today, I'm thinking of immunity as a solid, wood door. I'm not looking to build up immunity only as strong as a waist-high, penetrable, white picket fence. Fall is almost upon us which means cold and flu season is coming whether we like it or not. I'm looking to build my immunity up like a sturdy door! I've got to protect this fortress which is my work, time, and happiness. I hope you are fighting for your immunity just as fiercely. If you're a little fuzzy on the how, you tuned in on the right day!
There are two ways to look at immunity: long term strengthening and incidental response. Long term strengthening of the immune system means you're doing things when you're well to stay well. Incidental response is when you're actively fighting a cold or flu because you can feel it developing (usually in your throat or head). This topic will turn into a two part immunity series, so let's tackle just the long term angle today.
We've all heard the doctor's office adage about washing our hands, but long term strengthening of the immune system goes far deeper. Stress management is the irreplaceable secret weapon here! In short, when a body is stressed, it experiences heightened levels of adrenaline which communicates with the brain that it is time for fight or flight. The longer the body is under stress, it will begin to shut down those functions not necessary for survival. It's intuitive to draw a connection between someone who is stressed having a stomach ache, but less intuitive sometimes to realize that it was stress which caused the same person to come down with the bug going around the workplace. Stress management is my gold as a health coach, which is why I'll save the rest its magic for an entirely separate post...I could talk for days about the importance of this practice! But I couldn't NOT mention it in a post about immunity because the linchpin for longterm immunity, I believe, is what I've just discussed.
So how do you keep you stress in check? A couple of basic ways would be by getting enough sleep on a regular basis and keeping up a regular exercise routine. A few other ways to ensure that your impenetrable door of immunity is built up and ready to resist disease include: consuming enough fresh produce, staying hydrated, and finding an immunity blend supplement that works for you. It should go without saying that fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods out there. Eating at least five servings per day (more is recommended, but typically less is consumed by the average American), will deliver wonderful vitamins and minerals to your body's immune system. Staying hydrated is important for most of the functions in your body, but it specifically touches immunity in that water helps the lymphatic system do its job of detoxifying the body. Lastly, finding an immunity blend supplement that you like can help. Taking this from the months of October-March, specifically, will cover you with an extra layer of nutrients during your most susceptible months. I personally like Congaplex by Standard Process (and no, they don't pay me to say that!).
After all that information, my desire is that you feel equipped to build up that sturdy door of immunity to protect the fortress, which is you and your wellbeing during the upcoming season. Stay tuned because in the next post of this series, I'll touch more specifically on incidental response, or what to do when you feel a cold of flu coming on. So what about you? What are your go-to's for strengthening long term immunity?