Easy Ways for a Healthier Lifestyle

As a healthcare provider I find myself trying to help my patients achieve a healthier lifestyle every single day.  It’s amazing what a little education to can do on the matter for a patient.  How I approach it is to encourage my patients to make small steps towards bigger success.  It’s something I have to apply to myself as well.  As a busy working mom of two my own health can often can pushed to the wayside as I spend my day taking care of others.  When I need to re-focus on my own healthier lifestyle I take it one step at a time.  It can be overwhelming to tackle everything in a “right this very second or else” manner.  So I thought I would share some simple changes you can make to live a healthier lifestyle.


Get Adequate Sleep

Pinkie Pie Sleep Mask


The average adult needs 7-8 quality hours of sleep a night.  Your brain needs sleep to function properly.  In fact, while you are sleeping your brain is processing information, forming new pathways, and helps you remember things.  Sleep also helps maintain the balance of your hunger hormones.  The less sleep you have the hungrier you often feel (which I can attest to personally haha).  


Exercise Regularly



Exercise is a fabulous way to stay healthy.  Making time for it can be the challenge.  Aiming for 30 minutes a day most days of the week is a pretty solid recommendation.  Even if it’s just walking the dog or doing a workout video finding time to move is important.  Exercise helps to improve mood (hello endorphins), decrease stress, and sleep better.


Drink More Water

Water Bottles


I can’t tell you how many times I ask how much water someone is drinking and I get “I drink a lot!  I drink at least 4 glasses a day!”  Water intake is something that most people can improve upon.  Our body is composed of about 60% water.  Take that in for a second.  Water helps you function better and flushes toxins out of your body.  Aiming for half your body weight in water a day is a great goal!


Take a Multivitamin



One of my friend’s introduced me to New Chapter vitamins awhile back and I am so glad she did!  When I had the chance to partner with them for this post I jumped.  They ferment the individual vitamins and minerals with beneficial probiotics and whole foods to transform the multivitamins into whole-food fermented nutrients.  Even better?  They are sustainable, vegetarian, and non-GMO.  I’ve been loving the New Chapter Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin for a number of reasons.  First, it contains nutrients for stress, energy, and immune and bone support*.  Goodness knows I need help in ALL those areas!  One thing I appreciate too is that the vitamins are gentle enough to take on an empty stomach.


Eat a Balanced Diet

Fresh Fruits and Veggies


I think eating a well-rounded diet kind is kind of a  no-brainer but it is still challenging for a lot of people.  I spend a lot of time educating my patients on proper nutrition and won’t hesitate to refer them to our dietitians if they need further help.  This is advice I could stand to take myself a little bit more often than I have been.


There you go!  Those are my 5 easiest tips for living a healthier lifestyle.  I’d love to hear yours in the comments!


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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, care, or prevent any disease.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Think About Your Eyes

“This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my review.”


I have always made my overall health a priority by eating the right foods (for the most part), exercising, and going to my primary care provider on a regular basis.  I think that most people that are focused on healthy living do those things, but there is one area of the body that is frequently neglected but is one of our most vital: our eyes.  When was the last time you went to an eye doctor?  Hopefully your answer is within the last year, however, 24% of people are more likely to exercise 3 times a week than get their annual eye exam.   Yikes!


TAYE Gifographic_FINAL


I was unfortunately “blessed” with terrible vision and have gone to the eye doctor regularly since childhood.  Both my mom and dad (and sister for that matter) also have terrible vision so really there was no hope for me.  I remember getting headaches regularly and having to squint to see the chalkboard before getting my first pair of glasses.  Once I got them though my entire world changed and I could see again.  I have worn glasses since and switched to contact lenses in 6th grade.  Beyond just the power of sight the eye doctor can often make important health discoveries and I have my own share of stories to back this up and I am going to share them with you in hopes that they encourage you to take your ocular health seriously.


When I was pregnant with Bryn I had a pretty big ocular scare.  I woke up one morning and a central point in my vision was completely black.  I immediately went in to my eye doctor because I knew being as nearsighted as I am I am at increased risk for a retinal detachment.  Fortunately my retina was attached BUT I had a retinal bleed.  Had I not taken my eye health seriously this could have been a major problem but instead I was able to get right in to a retinal specialist and have my situation monitored.  Fortunately it ended up being just a slight tear and nothing crazy.  Another time I went to my annual eye exam and my eye doctor incidentally found the beginnings of a corneal ulcer.  She was able to catch it and initiate antibiotic treatment before it became exquisitely painful saving me a lot of grief.


So just like working your muscles via exercise or fueling your body properly via good nutrition, you should also make sure that you are tending to your eyes.  I am proud to be teaming up with the Think About Your Eyes campaign to bring you this message.  Think About Your Eyes is a national public awareness campaign that promotes the benefits of eye health, urging people to get annual comprehensive eye exams.  By getting your annual and comprehensive eye exam many eye problems, like my corneal ulcer, can be caught and treated when they are most manageable.  If you do not already have an eye doctor you go to, you can locate one through this locator.  You can also follow the campaign via Facebook or Twitter.


Do you regularly get eye exams?  Have you ever had them find something weird?

Oatmeal with Superberries

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Superberries. The opinions and text are all mine.
I touched briefly on my January meal plan how I am trying to get back in the swing of healthy eating in 2016 and I have to admit that for the most part I am staying on track.  I have been working hard to keep my eats healthy and my meal prep on point.  I can’t say that it has been super easy though – my schedule is crazy and I have to carefully plan meals and snacks.  One of my favorite meals is oatmeal due to the fact that it has lots of fiber, keeps me full, and provides me with great energy.  But I have to admit that plain oatmeal gets boring so I have tried to spice it up.  Enter the Superberries Aroniaberry.


Superberries Aroniaberry 3


The aroniaberry is a berry that is native to North America and is FULL of antioxidants and polyphenols.  Scientists have found that Polyphenols, Flavonoids and Anthocyanins can suppress or neutralize free radicals and may prevent oxidative events in the body, a key factor in healthy aging, and boost our immune system.  A berry to enhance my immune system?  YES PLEASE!  I am currently suffering from the pediatrics plague so any boost in immunity is greatly appreciated 😉


Research has also shown that consuming aroniaberries after your workouts can help muscle recovery and oxidative stress that occurs during exercise.  Since many of us are committing to a more active 2016 this is a perfect complement to an increase in activity.  Banish the sore muscles and enhance your capabilities along the way.


I made my oatmeal super simple but full of flavor – I used 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, 2 packets of stevia, and a handful of frozen aroionaberries.  Delicious!

Superberries Aroniaberry


I have to admit the aroniaberries were a little earthier than other berries I love and not quite as sweet.  But adding in a little stevia to my oatmeal did the trick.  I am sure that these berries would be a great addition to smoothies for an added boost of superberry goodness.


Superberries Aroniaberry 2


Superberries is offering 25% off all six packs thru January 24, 2016 so if you want to boost your immunity, minimize oxidative stress, and start 2016 off on a healthy foot you should check them out 😉 You can use the codes BERRIES25in, CONCENTRATE25in, or Chews25in!


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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Superberries. The opinions and text are all mine.

Starting Fresh

Welcome to the first Monday of 2016! I posted my goals for the year but I wanted to dedicate a whole post to some reflection and goal setting in regards to my health and wellness.  Y’all … I try not to be negative here on the blog, writing positive things helps improve my own mood, but there’s no denying that PA school is incredibly stressful.  Start with working 50+ hours a week, add in studying at night, throw in a family for good measure and it’s easy to get stretched thing.  I ended 2015 feeling pretty burned out.


Fortunately I have had two weeks off of my clinical rotations to refocus, reevaluate, and plan for the next few months.  One of the areas that was fairly sporadic the last quarter of the year was my fitness and healthy eating.  When you work a 12-hour day it’s easy to not want to cook dinner when you get home and resort to picking up food.  It’s also hard to get up early in the morning to fit in a workout.  But once my healthy habits started slipping I actually realized I felt WORSE.  When I am not consistently active or eating healthy I feel lethargic and ambivalent in many ways.  So I knew deep down that I had to change things up for the remaining 2.5 months of PA school and solidify habits that can continue into my career.




I have my healthy eating plan well underway.  I posted about my January meal plan and I am excited to see how it impacts not only our eating habits but our overall health.  I used a printable from the Day Designer to plan out my meals and snacks for the week.  I have realized that if I don’t take the time to plan it out I run out of time to actually think about it.  I did my meal prep yesterday which took less than an hour thanks to a stocked freezer.


In terms of fitness, I planned my workouts there too.  I am hoping to do a combination of my Becoming Extraordinary and Pipehitter workout plans from Ashley Horner.  I also have Hammer & Chisel by Beachbody available for days I KNOW I can’t make it to the gym.  I am shooting for 4-5 quality workouts a week.  I took some before photos today and instead of being disappointed in my starting physique I am EXCITED to see what I can do!  But I won’t be sharing them here because you know, I have to get a job here soon haha.


I’d love for you to join me on this journey!  So if you’re in the same boat and just needing a reset leave a comment below.  I’d love to help support you!  I am off to start my 1st day of pediatrics today.  Bring on the germs 😉


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Heart Healthy Diet Made Simple!

I am super excited to have my friend Melanie guest posting for me today for American Heart Month!  We met when our husbands were stationed in Missouri and hit it off right away.  We also both have personal connections to heart disease and want to help others live heart health lives!
Hi Food, Fitness & Family readers!
I am Melanie, the RD and mom over at Nutritious Eats.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Madeline a few years ago when we lived in Missouri. She found me on Twitter and we realized we had a lot in common so we immediately scheduled a coffee date. After hitting it off (yes, making adult friends is often like dating, ha) we decided we’d be gym buddies for the short time period before she moved. Madeline inspired me a lot in that time we had together and I love that we are still long-distance friends.
I am so happy to be here today to share some info on a heart healthy diet.
Heart health is one that is near and dear to my heart. My dad had his first heart attack when he was 38! I was just a tiny toddler but I remember a lot of lifestyle changes that my family undertook. My parents implemented family walks every night, healthy home-cooked meals, a careful watch on sodium intake. It was real. There were real life changes that needed to take place in order for my dad to stand a chance at surviving. Well fast forward 30+ years, Dad is still living a healthy lifestyle in Texas, post heart-transplant. And just to keep it real, he has far exceeded the survival percentage of post-transplant patients. There is no doubt in my mind that a big part of that has to do with the dietary changes he made along the way.

So what does a heart-healthy diet look like?

1.  Plant-Based

FruitVegRibbet collage
Are you sick of hearing about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables? Well sorry, that advice isn’t going anywhere! The scientific data all support the same claim and that is that people who eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily have a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and no pill or juice will replace them.

2.  Good Fats

Research has changed over time regarding our fat intake (no more fat-free diets, yay!) and rather than focus too much on saturated fat, so let’s focus on the heart healthy fats you should be eating. Monounsaturated fats can protect people against heart disease by reducing blood pressure. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include olive oil, olives, avocado and nuts such as peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios. Chose these over high saturated fat foods like high-fat meats, whole-milk dairy and fried foods.

3.  High Fiber

Soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol by grabbing onto it as it pulls it out of your body, as well as helping to lower blood pressure. Foods high in soluble fiber are oat and rice bran, oatmeal, barely, beans, peas and lentils, vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes and squash, fruits such as berries, apricots, pears, strawberry, peaches, apples, seeds and nuts-yep those nuts again!

4.  Low in Refined Carbohydrates

Low-quality carbs include sugary foods, soft drinks, baked goods, anything made with white flour. These foods cause a spike in insulin which then leads to a rise in triglycerides. Instead aim for high-quality carbs like oatmeal, wild or brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains and don’t overdo your portions of these types of food.

5.  Limited Salt

Sodium in small doses is necessary for body function, however too much will draw excess fluid into the blood which can cause high blood pressure. Limit added salt to food, replace it with no-salt seasoning, spices and herbs. Read food labels and chose brands with less sodium and limit your intake of high sodium condiments like pickles, canned foods, soy sauce, marinades, etc. In 2010 the American Heart Association changed the recommendations to state that Americans consume less than 1,500 mg/day sodium, which is the level with the greatest effect on blood pressure; this recommendation does not apply to athletes, people who work in conditions where they are exposed to excessive heat or any else advised by their healthcare provider.

6.  B Vitamins (Folate, B6, B12)

B vitamins have been shown to lower homocysteine levels, an amino acids and breakdown of protein metabolism, in the body. High homocysteine relates to a higher level of heart disease. Focus on food sources high in B Vitamins like oatmeal, peas, beans, lentils, spinach, mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, beets, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, berriesand fortified whole grain cereals and bread.

Sample Heart-Healthy Menu

Banana-Peanut Butter Oatmeal
One serving (1/2 cup dry) oatmeal cooked in water, non-dairy milk or low-fat milk. Topped with 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, 1/2 banana and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and cinnamon.
1 cup Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
Spinach Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese and Walnuts (Grilled Chicken optional)
A large bowl of baby spinach topped with dried cranberries, walnuts, tomato halves, sliced beets and goat cheese. Toss with a couple teaspoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
Packed with vegetables, beans, tomatoes, serve this high fiber dish with a simple tossed salad.
So there you have it! Not too difficult, right? These simple nutrition and lifestyle changes you can make can really turn around your risk factors for heart disease.  Thanks for reading!
What is your favorite way to get in heart healthy foods?

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