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Encouragement
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My Monday has been such a Monday!

A brief summary: I overslept and missed my 5:30 am running group. My car had troubles on the way into the office; it has since been towed to a local auto shop. I had a bit too much chocolate yesterday (can you relate!?) so my skin is feeling extra oily today…(and my oily skin reminds me of the chocolate I ate, which reminds me that I didn’t workout this morning, which makes me upset–so, consequently, I want to eat more chocolate… )

Oh boy.

I realize that at this point, I have two options. Option ACall today a wash. Go to the local organic market and buy myself a pumpkin turkey enchilada and carton of pistachio gelato, plop on the couch, and turn off the world. Or Option BChoose to believe that tomorrow will be better. Perhaps, jog a couple of miles to cool down after work, and then retreat to the fireplace with a good book after making myself some warm root vegetable soup…

I choose Option B.

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2014

Hi friends & fellow bloggers,

It’s been awhile, am I right?

Like many of you, I view the start of the new year as a time to start afresh. After the holidays (lots of food and little sleep) I am more than ready for this ‘reset’ button. Here were my four primary NY resolutions of 2014…

1. Get more sleep! Last year, though I put in tons of hours at the gym and yoga studio, but far too few sleeping in my bed. After reading some articles about the importance of sleep (it fights premature aging, helps mental clarity, helps reduce the number on the scale, etc.) I realized it was time to make an adjustment.

2. Finally kick artificial sweeteners–completely. So far, I’ve eliminated artificial sweeteners in everything except for coffee and tea at the office. In 2014, I’ll kick them completely.

3. Start saving money! A girl’s gotta start sometime…

4. Travel some. New York, anyone? Europe? Somewhere?!

5. Write daily, and blog weekly! Someone told me that, “write every day. Something will end up being great” \

6. Pray, reflect, journal each day.

Join me as I (attempt) to follow through with these resolutions!
Cheers to our 2014,
T

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Okay friends—school is back in session, work is in full-swing, I’m helping friends plan their weddings, I’m trying to stay in shape with the holidays right around the corner—and life in general seems to be moving at a million miles a minute! Does anyone else feel my stress?!

stress

In an effort to calm down, mellow out, and think more clearly—I’ve come up with a list of things that help alleviate the urge to tense up and freak out when stress knocks at your door (or breaks your door down completely). I hope you find this helpful (and if you have additional tips, please don’t be shy—I love to hear others’ thoughts!).

1)      Eat clean for a clear brain. It is tempting to let our emotions get the best of us—especially when we’re stressed out. Eat Clean!Research shows that eating clean (“clean” means a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and lean meats—while avoiding as much as possible processed, sugar-laden, packaged temptations) helps with mental clarity. So, instead of reaching for the carton of Ben & Jerry’s the next time you have a presentation due and a class to prepare for, make yourself a big bowl of chopped fruit, drizzled with honey and perhaps dolloped with a tiny bit of whipped cream! I promise you’ll be satisfied without the accompanying guilt in the morning.

2)      Meditate to start your day. –I make my quiet time a priority each morning. Even if I am meeting my running group at the crack of dawn, I make it a priority to have at least 20 minutes of prayer and reflection by myself before leaving the house. This helps me start my day with a clear mind, a solid foundation, and a sense of inner peace.

3)      Plan times to relax. –If you’re on this blog, or if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a workaholic. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, but there is something wrong with working hard without breaks. I suggest you plan a time each week that is solely dedicated to recharging you. Different people recharge in different ways. For my boyfriend, recharging looks like videogames and computer coding (I know, he’s a dork—but they make the best boyfriends!). For me, recharging looks like a manicure and back massage, baking while listening to Jack Johnson, or a good, long run by myself. Consider your time to recharge as a valuable time to unplug. I promise, if you do this, you’ll be more efficient when it’s time to get back to work!

4)      Open the window. Get some fresh air. I spend at least 8 hours of the work week inside. Whether I’m in an office or a classroom, I’m in. To de-stress, it can be very effective to get out. Open the window and simply breathe in the freshness that is the outside. (Unless, of course, you’re in Los Angeles…then, I suggest you drive outside city limits and breathe cleaner air!)

5)      Send yourself flowers. I’Flowers!m not at all ashamed to admit that I buy myself flowers all the time. There’s something about the bright, vivid colors that makes me happy regardless of how long my to-do list is.

6)      Workout! Endorphins, which are touted as the chemical release that makes you feel “happy” are produced when you work out. This means that moving can actually help you feel happier. (Not to mention, working out is crucial to staying in shape—which can be difficult when we’re stressed to the max!)

7)      Become a Yogi. Though Yoga is a form of working out, I really think it deserves its own line. Why? Because yoga is just as mental as it is physical. The act of yoga allows you to reach a calm, centered space—and who doesn’t want that in the middle of chaos?! Become a Yogi

8)      Go out and let your hair down. When you’re stressed, plan a day or night to spend with your buddies. This could look like a group hike, heading to on the town (though I definitely do not recommend alcohol as a way to cope with stress), or having the girls over for a movie night. Regardless of what you do, it is crucial that you have something to look forward to—and nobody helps us forget our stresses than a bunch of friends!

9)      Count your blessings. It’s easy for me to get caught up in making future plans and fulfilling obligations when I get stressed. I find that when I stop and think about what I am thankful for, I learn to live in the moment to cherish what I currently have. This mindset makes coping with the details of each day much more bearable!

10)   Read this blog! J Sure, this is shameless self-promotion, but I really do strive to provide helpful tips on living healthier as a busy individual. Check out healthy recipes, advice, and motivation here at tiffstips.wordpress.com!

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Eat Your Iron!

Hey lady friends!!

Did you know you could get iron through veggies?! I was tested and found out I have an iron-deficiency. Here are some of the ways I have been working to increase it!

-Tiff

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This delicious salad takes just minutes to throw together and adds color and fun flavors to any meal! It is perfect for a light dinner or as a side salad to any lunch or dinner entrée. It should be noted that it holds for approximately 3 days—but it’s so delicious that it’s usually gone by then anyway! Image

(This recipe makes approximately 1 meal-sized serving or 2 side servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of heirloom tomatoes, organic (the more colorful—the better!) (this is approximately 3 cups of a variety of heirloom tomatoes)
  • 1 small red onion (you’ll only need about ¼)
  • 1 tbsp.  crumbled feta or your desired amount of fresh mozzarella or –if you don’t do cheese products, skip this step! The salad is delicious without the additioImageImagen of cheese.
  • ½ tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. organic Italian dressing (I use the creamy Italian from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • just a pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt

Directions:

  1. Wash, dry, and halve all tomatoes. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a small dish, combine the balsamic vinegar and Italian dressing (of your choice). Once mixed, pour over tomatoes. Stir this mixture gently. (Do this first so that the tomatoes can “marinate” while you prepare the other ingredients.)
  3. Chop approximately ¼ of a red onion (or your desired amount) into thin pieces. Add the mixture to your tomatoes.
  4. Add basil and feta or mozzarella to the mixture.
  5. Mix thoroughly albeit gently, so you do not crush the tomatoes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Hi y’all! I hope you are well! I’ve been doing superb myself, though working a little too much. I’ll be striving for better personal-work balance from now on…and you know what that means! — More blogging! (It’s my personal way to unwind.)Image

Over the last week I have been craving salads of all sorts. I’ll post a few “unique” salad dishes for you to try, starting with this BERRY refreshing salad! (Points for being clever, right?!)

This salad is unique because it incorporates the refreshing taste of mint and the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth summery fruits. The flavors awaken your senses, the mint promotes a fast metabolism, and this salad is QUITE beautiful to look at!

Because it’s unique both in taste and in aesthetics, your guest (boyfriend? Husband? Wife?) will think you took a long time on it—when in reality it takes just a few moments to throw together. (I love easy!)

Ingredients (for a serving for 2):

½ cup blueberries, organic

½ cup strawberries, organic, halved

½ cup watermelon, cubed in 1-inch pieces

1 /2 tbsp. organic Stevia

1 tsp. honey or agave

1 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. grated lemon or lime

½ tbsp. fresh, finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:

  1. Wash all fruit and set aside to dry.
  2. In a small bowl or dish, whisk together stevia, honey/agave, water, and lemon or lime zest. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, add in the finely chopped mint leaves.
  3. Put all fruit in a serving bowl; pour the mixture over the fruit and mix thoroughly.
  4. Let the fruit sit in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes. (The natural sugars in the fruit are accentuated by the lemon and lime zest! This assures that the minty flavor is not too strong!)
  5. Enjoy!

Happy cooking, friends!

-Tiff

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It’s that time around the country: Graduation! In just a few days—if not graduate1already—millions of Americans will graduate college and join the work force. (Or, for the ones like me who have tackled both college and the workforce at the same time, they’ll have an opportunity to focus solely on climbing the corporate ladder!) This is an exciting time, but also one that will result in weight gain as people enter the corporate work and a more sedentary lifestyle.

According to a CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,600 full-time workers, 41% report that they have gained weight at their present jobs.scale

59% of those workers have put on more than 10 pounds, and 30% of those surveyed have put on more than 20 pounds.

While the Career Builder survey cited that Administrative Assistants, Office Directors and Managers, Engineers, Teachers, Nurses, Information Technology Managers, Attorneys, Machine Operators, and Scientist were the most affected by work-related weight gain—there are other jobs also affected by work-related weight gain.

But why? The common denominator in all of the jobs listed (and others that may be unlisted) is stress—coupled with easy access (in most of the jobs listed) to junk food, and long periods of sitting.  How can you avoid this going into your new job? Or, for those already working, how can you whittle your waist and get back on track?

The following tips are a surefire way to help you help yourself when it comes to wellness at work…

  1. Make sure to eat—and bring your snacks and lunch whenever possible!
    Before work, eat a breakfast that consists of lean protein, fiber, whole grains (complex carbohydrates), fruits, or vegetables.  (This will keep you satisfied, and studies show that students and employees who eat a healthy meal in the morning focus better at work.)
    Plan your snacks and lunch each day! Make sure your snacks are healthy (vending machine snacks are often high in sugar and fat—which are can cause blood sugar spikes and drops, and ultimately leave you vendingfeeling lethargic and bloated). Whenever possible, pack a lunch and snacks.
    Space your eating. Most nutritionists recommend eating every 3-4 hours. Watch the clock (this will help you avoid eating out of boredom—tip #3)
  2. Workout with coworkers! Chances are, if you live and work in America, people in your office could use help with their exercising and eating habits just as much as you could. Find someone (or a group of people) at work who like to run, dance, walk, jog, bike, or hike and hold each other accountable. (I run most days during my lunch hour with a coworker; that way, my workout is finished before I even leave work. On days I know I can’t run at lunch, I make it a point to run before work with coworkers or after work. Running with a buddy keeps me accountable and makes things enjoyable!)
  3. Don’t eat because you’re bored. Don’t eat because you’re stressed. People tend to overeat in two circumstances: when they have too little or too much to do. When you’re tempted to eat (and you know you aren’t hungry), drink a large glass of water or herbal tea, go for a 5-minute walk around the office, take 10 deep breaths, or stand up and stretch. But do yourself a favor and don’t eat that Kit-Kat.
  4. Vary your routine. I read somewhere that the hardest part of being an adult is “getting used to the mundane”—which essentially means, coping when life seems monotonous or the same day in and day out.  Morning muffins, lattes, or the habitual glass of wine each night with dinner can seem harmless—but can result in unneeded additional pounds over the years. Allow yourself to have that muffin, or sip that latte or glass of wine—but do it on occasion.
    This also means vary your routine with exercise. I mentioned that I run—but I also do yoga, attend Crossfit, and hike. Doing the same thing day in and day out can be good—but to get the maximum benefits from exercise, a person should vary their types of physical activity!
  5. Log your foods—and your feelings! Invest a dollar into a notepad. Write down what you eat, and at the end of the day, write down how you feel. Feeling bloated? Feeling lethargic? Observe the foods you’ve eaten on days when you feel something negative, and discern what foods you may need to avoid.
    Most nutritionists agree that people at more than they think they do on a given day; sometimes we eat absentmindedly. Writing things down can keep you aware of what goes into your body.
  6. Drink enough water. Water is an essential piece of any healthy bottledwaterperson—and it is especially important if you are more sedentary for hours during the day! Strive to drink at least 6 glasses (8 oz. each) of water each day!
  7. Take breaks throughout the work day. If you work an 8-5, you are permitted, in most places, an hour lunch and two 15-minutes breaks. Take them. Use those 15 minutes to walk around, stretch, or get your blood flowing!
  8. Get enough sleep. Experts agree that we make poor eating decisions when we have poor nights sleep. When the body needs energy, it often craves carbs –and when we’re tired, we tend to avoid those good-for-you complex carbs and binge on, well, the less helpful stuff. Assuring an adequate night sleep can set you up for success the following day. (Shoot for at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night!)
  9. Be positive, and forgive yourself. Being healthy is sometimes hard. It can be a challenge to change habits that have forged over the years, but a healthy body is totally worth the effort. Stay optimistic when you find yourself “messing up”—and forgive yourself. Each day is a new day, and a new opportunity to nourish your body well!
  10. Put your health before your job. It does not matter if you are Lady Gaga’s personal assistant or the President of the United States of America—you cannot serve others (in your workplace, or in your tiffblogpersonal life) unless you are working well yourself. That means, to do your job and live your life in the most effective and beneficial way possible, you absolutely must put your health before all other things. Set boundaries with work, set goals for yourself, and enjoy living your healthiest life!

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