When Resting is Harder than Working Out

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About two years ago I decided to give running a real shot. I noticed that when I travel, the best way to explore the area I’m in (and make up for all the unhealthy food I ate) is to go for a jog wherever I go.

The rush you get from traveling combined with the insane confidence you feel when you finish a long run was something I wanted to experience. And it’s oh so sweet. All I had to do was fall in love running. Easy, right? Not exactly.
Continue reading “When Resting is Harder than Working Out”

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Don’t have time to be healthy?

Five fast food items you can get that won’t wake your conscience.

Sometimes we just don’t have the time to pre-pack nutritious meals, esspecially when we are on the road traveling. While it’s more nutritious and economically wise to prepare your food at home, we’ve compiled a short list of options that may help when you’ve got no choice but to turn to fast food. Here are five things you can order that won’t break the scale, or your wallet.

1. More than a just billion burgers! – McDonald’s. The long-time burger chain tends to have a reputation of serving not-so-healthy options on its menu. Although this can be the case with certain items, many customers can agree that the company is making strides to promote healthy menu options. Running late to your flight and all you can see is a McDonald’s drive thru in your path? If you’re getting breakfast, stick to the egg white delight that’s only 250 calories and made with 100% grilled egg whites. And it’s really filling! Avoiding carbs? Try the greek yogurt parfait and some unsweetened tea! So delicious and so satisfying!

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[Egg White Delight from McDonald’s]

2. Now that’s healthier!! – Known for their delicious pretzel buns and tripled-stacked burgers, on the surface Wendy’s seems far from healthy, but they’ve got options for you. Consider ordering a baked potato and instead of sour cream, add a small dab of butter. Keep the bacon bits to a minimum and add a small Caesar salad with very little or no dressing, minus the croutons. You’re looking at a tasty meal at about 380 calories!

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[Side Caesar salad from Wendy’s]

3. Stay Fresh – This one seems like an obvious one, but just because Subway promotes eating fresh, doesn’t always mean you’re eating healthy. Be mindful of your portions and choices. A foot-long sandwich can be too large of a meal if you’re not burning enough calories, so consider buying a foot-long and eating half for lunch and half for dinner, or half for you and half for your colleague, or maybe have lunch for two days!! Stick to turkey and ham, and stay away from things like mayo and too much cheese. A six inch turkey sandwich with 9-grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, is only 280 calories. And chips are not your friend! But if you just can’t stay away, tease yourself with some plain baked lays, but don’t even think about eating more than half that bag!

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[Six-inch turkey sub from Subway]

4. That’s what a healthy lifestyle is all about– In ‘N’ Out is hard because there really aren’t a whole lot of menu options for you to chose from. But if you’re traveling to California, especially from the east, you have to try this place. Although it’s really not the healthiest option, the reason why we chose this one is to prove that even the the simplest of menus– the ones that are unavoidable and that all our friends just love going to– can have some kind of healthy option. There’s nothing worse than being the only one in your group who can’t eat. So it’s past midnight and all your friends want In ‘N’ Out? Have no fear, for the lettuce wrap cheese burger is here.

This juicy “protein-style” burger won’t leave you feeling left out, that’s for sure. And it’s only 330 calories! Get really daring and leave out the cheese. I know a lettuce wrap doesn’t seem like a lot of food, but a large unsweetened ice tea is sure to help you feel full and energized!

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[Cheeseburger protein-style from In ‘N’ Out]

5. Healthy options!? Un-f*#%$#! believable! – While many can agree Del Taco isn’t the first choice when you’re trying to be healthy, it can sometimes be your only choice. When that happens, try the fresh turkey tacos! Each one is only 150 calories and comes with tangy fresh pico de gallo. Skip the soda and grab some water with lemon to cleanse your system and aid with weight loss!

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[Turkey Tacos from Del Taco]

Lets face it, as travelers, some of us don’t have time to prepare two, sometimes three home cooked meals, five days a week, every single day. Even with a 9-5 job it’s not easy. There’s always going to be that day where you’re starving, short on time and all you’ve got is five bucks and change and a drive thru on your left, and a drive thru on your right. There’s always going to be that day when your friends want to go out to eat between classes, or your co-worker asks you to grab a quick bite.

Don’t ever feel like you’re out of healthy options. Don’t settle for that bacon cheese burger, those dollar-menu fries or that breakfast burrito. Too many times we’re convinced that bad eating habits just seem to follow us everywhere, like a dark cloud, but the truth is, good health can be found everywhere, so long as we are searching for it.

Be Your Own Audience

Four artistic ways to relieve stress at home or on the road.

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Life can be hard. It’s only Tuesday and you’re already feeling or have felt stressed, sad, heartache, frustration or any other kind of bothersome feeling, so early on in your week. Well, don’t fret, because you’re not alone. Sometimes we can’t explain the feelings we have, and other times, life just hits us like a giant red rubber ball from early 2000. So what should you do during times like this? It’s always good to talk about it, but sometimes, you just don’t want to. When that’s you (and it’s been me many times), try these four stress relievers that cater to the artist in all of us.

1. Paint or sketch. You don’t have to be Banksy to get your feelings out through some drawings. Painting and sketching requires focus, concentration and thought. But there’s no rule book that says you have to be a professional to own a canvas or some charcoal pencils and shaders. The cool part about painting and sketching is that it can take you hours and you can lose track of time very easily. Got something stuck on your mind? Draw it out. Post it on something. It will be a great release.

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[a messy sketch by a completely average and non-professional artist, me]

2. Poetry. Feeling emotional? Bust out some rhymes. Poetry is a wonderful and emotional way to get out your feelings without having to speak one word. Find a quiet place and start writing down not just your problems, but exactly how those problems are making you feel. Some people feel like poetry is hard, but a lot of the best pieces come from pure emotion. So if you’re feeling down or just emotional, sit somewhere beautiful and write down everything that comes to mind. Having trouble rhyming? Start with simple words and try going through every word in the alphabet to see if you can find another word that rhymes with it. Think of it like a game. Once you’ve found the words, it feels good to read your finished work. And don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a while. Some of the best poetry takes long hours, days, months and even years!

Cannot find the words to say?
Continue the search, they’ll return one day.
Certain minds can be complex,
It’s the reason I’m not like the rest.

3. Keep a journal. If poetry doesn’t work for you, buy a journal and start writing. Write how you’re feeling, what kinds of moods you’re in and how you got to where you’re at. Everyone can write. To write is to simply put your thoughts on paper. Don’t think about grammatical errors and don’t think about who’s going to read it. Just write. And keep writing. The cool part about this is going back to your old journal entries and re-reading how you felt and what you did to get over that. Because the truth is, although we feel sad today, a better tomorrow is on its way. And once you get out of this rut, it will be fascinating to follow your past, gloomy self. And you could use that the next time life throws a punch at you. I found an old journal entry during my times of grief when I lost my mom. It was interesting to read the words of myself 6 years ago, and it was mind-blowing to realize how far I had come from that point.

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4. Play some music. Don’t know any instruments? Learn. Not only is learning how to play an instrument an extremely valuable quality, it’s also very therapeutic and another thing to keep your mind busy. You don’t have to be the best singer, piano player, guitarist or etc., you just have to have the desire to learn. Playing music is something that you can improve at, it’s something you can challenge yourself with, and ultimately something you’ll be proud of, no matter what level you reach. I’m not the best with rhythm, so I picked the easiest instrument I could find, the cajon! It’s literally just a wooden box you hit with your hands to make a beat. The best part about music is that it’s so encouraging and when other people see/hear you play, they want to either learn, or join in. Have friends who know how to play? Start a weekly jam session! Thirty minutes will go a long way. Don’t know anyone who can play music, or aren’t ready to play in front of people? Well, that’s why God made YouTube, right?

We all feel blue sometimes. It’s one of the downsides to this thing called life. But a lot of times people try to convince us that the only way to get through it is to sit on a couch and pay someone to listen to us, or open ourselves up completely to all our loved ones. Although talking through things can be very helpful, sometimes there are just no words to say. So when that happens, turn to art. Oftentimes we’re convinced that just because we aren’t “known” for our art, we are not artists. But anyone can be artistic. To practice art is to practice beauty, so instead of sharing your feelings, share your creations.

8 Nutritious Munchies to Turn to When You Suck at Eating Healthy

There’s nothing worst than expecting to read an article about “delicious” healthy food, then finding that these so-call healthy foods are well…. not so delicious afterall. Dried walnuts? Come on. Maybe for a day. Kale chips? No thanks. The goal should be to find healthy foods that even a stoner would find delicious. Here are some we found:

1. Dark chocolate covered frozen bananas. A snack that is both tasty and nutritious, this treat is an excellent replacement when you are craving a dessert, especially when it’s hot. Who needs ice cream anymore?! Ben and Jerry who?!

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2. Baby Carrots and Hummus. Everyone loves a good dip. Hummus is becoming more of a nutritious trend these days. Baby carrots alone? Forget about it! But that’s not an excuse to turn to ranch or blue cheese. Stick with hummus! There’s all kinds of different flavors–garlic, roasted pepper, vegetable. Hate carrots? Try zucchini!

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3. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Cookie Crumbs. Don’t just settle for greek yogurt alone. That will bore your taste buds. But give the greek a chance. Throw in some blueberries, strawberries, granola or even cookie crumbs! You’ll be surprised with how tasty it could really be!!

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4. Mini Flourless Cupcake. I say mini because that’s really all you’ll have room for. The flour less cup cake is so delicious and it’s gluten-free! The best part is that it’s so rich, a small taste will go a long way. Treat yourself to one of these small delightful sweets when you decide on your next dessert.

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5. Frozen Sour Grapes. I absolutely love these during the summer. They are like tiny popsicles. A cool and tasty treat, you can suck on the grapes for a while making it a great replacement for hard candy!

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6. Blueberry Fetta Kale Salad. No one particularly “loves” kale. Except maybe the fact that it’s good for you. You rarely hear that someone is just craving kale by itself. But there’s no doubt that it is good for you. So why not add a few things to make its taste value match it’s nutritious value? It’s simple. Add some goodies. Blueberries, stringed carrots, walnuts and my favorite–feta cheese crumbles. You obviously shouldn’t go crazy with the cheese, but a little bit of feta really goes a long way.

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7. Cool-shaped Fruit. I know it sounds silly. This one is a really good idea when you’re trying to decide whether or not to bring chips and salsa or a plate of fruit to that party you’re going to. Do you serve the girls chips or pretzels for movie night? Do you have one glass of top shelf whiskey on the rocks? Or do you have a few IPAs? Unfortunately, there’s a healthier option out of all of these pairs. Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple are not only a healthier option for a snack, they’re also boring. So make it fun! Because the truth is, we all love watermelon, most of us love pineapple, and believe it or not, there are some people out there who love cantaloupe. So make it more appealing. Grab some cookie cutters!! Hearts, stars and moon-shaped melons, batman-shaped water melon, whatever you’re in the mood for!

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8. Whole Olives and Baby Dill Pickles. Let’s start with the pickles. There’s a reason why Disneyland sells giant dill pickles as a snack. They’re good! And most can agree the crunchier, the better. The reason why I suggest the baby deli ones is because you can get a whole jar of them, keep them in your fridge and next time you’re feeling the munchies, pop a few in your mouth! Not a pickle fan? Whole black olives are another tasty snack. Grab a can from the grocery store, throw them in a bowl and start munching!

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Eating healthy is not easy. It sucks to have to give up some of your favorite snacks that have been there for you through every break up, stressful work day, and celebration. But you know what also sucks? Working hard on that long run and blowing it all away on one meal. Or that awful feeling of regret as soon as you swallow the last bite of those chili fries. Keep in mind that moderation and portion control is always an important aspect and too much of anything is never good for you.

Don’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t healthy alternatives– and don’t let big brands make you believe you have to spend all this money to be a healthy eater either! The right information is there, you just have to grab it and take a big bite out of it. Happy eating!!