Healthy Living

Understanding and Managing Stress

keri-drink

Stress affects everything. Yes, everything. There really isn’t one area of your “world”, body or life that isn’t impacted by stress. Your reactions to stress control everything from your breath to your hormones.

The immediate reactions to stress are what we think of as “fight or flight” responses. Upon experiencing a stressful situation, hormones are released that constrict your blood vessels and raise your blood pressure. Eventually, your hormone levels return to normal and your heart rate is regulated. This is healthy, normal, and fine! However, prolonged, chronic stress can lead to health complications including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

The hormones released when we’re stressed include adrenaline, corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol. While the first two work quickly in the body to give instant energy (which initially reduces hunger), cortisol hangs around in the body longer.

So while an immediate response to acute stress can be a temporary loss of appetite, prolonged chronic stress that goes unmanaged can be tied to an increase in appetite and craving (carbohydrates specifically), and in turn cause you to store fat specifically around the midsection.

Stress causes many problems because it increases free radicals (bad guy compounds that cause a whole lot of problems). The production of free radicals is what is known as oxidative stress. Though the presence of some free radicals is normal, prolonged oxidative stress causes chronic inflammation. This in turn can cause significant damage to your cells, and complications such as, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as arthritis, IBS and Crohn's Disease.

Stressful situations themselves are unavoidable, and sometimes a little stress can be a good thing. But there are ways to prevent elevated responses and manage the stress in your life. We hear it all the time that we should take time to relax, de-stress and unwind, but this concept is so much easier said than done. Taking control of being a less-stressed person is something you can work on in only a few minutes a day – you don’t have to go for a massage or book a spa weekend. Try the following quick stress busters:

  • If you have 15 minutes: read a chapter or two in a book.
  • If you only have 5-10 minutes: sit quietly with a cup of tea.
  • If you can only manage 30 seconds: rub aromatherapy lotion on your hands.

happy-outdoors

Yes, you can lower your stress by getting a massage or doing a little pampering, but you can also prevent elevated responses to stress from happening in the first place by practicing meditation, getting enough sleep, exercising, and, yes, eating foods that are linked to mood-boosting, calming benefits.

Oatmeal, leafy greens, celery, cashew, avocado, grass fed beef, and even dark chocolate can have a positive effect on reducing your stress symptoms. Some foods, like oatmeal, spinach, and dark chocolate, have the ability to regulate serotonin, which is the feel-good, mood-boosting and mood-stabilizing hormone. Others, like grass-fed beef and peppers are sources of vitamin C, which has been shown to lower levels of cortisol in the body and reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress.

Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to fortify your health is to supplement your diet with Minerals & Antioxidants blend. The boost of antioxidants helps to fight damaging free radicals. Think of antioxidants as the good guys that fight the bad guy free rads. Not only that, but when mixed and consumed with water, you’re contributing to your hydration to boot. What could be simpler?

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

5 Common Signs of Mineral Deficiency

unexplained-aches-and-pains

Don’t take this the wrong way, but chances are that you’re deficient … in minerals. That’s because nearly half of the U.S. population receives less than the daily recommended levels of one or more minerals. Despite awareness campaigns to highlight the critical role minerals play in optimal body function, confusion persists about how to avoid a mineral deficiency and know if you’re affected.

Inadequate mineral intake has become problematic because our food supply simply does not provide the same amounts or variety of minerals that diets did 100 years ago. This is largely because our food is grown in increasingly de-mineralized soils. Plus, the more that we rely on processed food (even if it’s fortified), the fewer minerals we ultimately consume.

Other factors affecting mineral levels include pregnancy, dehydration-causing illnesses like those involving vomiting or diarrhea, and more serious medical conditions such as kidney disease. Certain medications and alcohol consumption are also common causes of reduced mineral absorption. For these reasons, in the U.S. nearly a quarter of all of dietary supplements are purchased based on a physician’s recommendation.

tired-at-work

That covers a lot of territory. So, how do you know which column you’re in – adequate or deficient? To help you make a determination, here are the top five most common signs of mineral deficiency and their underlying culprits:

1. Low energy or fatigue: If you’ve been waking up tired, relying on an extra cup of coffee, or generally wondering where the pep in your step has gone, it may be a sign that you are low in magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, sodium, selenium, copper or chromium.

2. Aches and pains: If your limbs feel a bit wobbly after walking a flight of stairs, you are experiencing leg cramps or have unexplained joint or bone pain, you may have low levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium or manganese.

3. Emotional or cognitive symptoms: Inadequate magnesium, iron, potassium, sodium, zinc or chromium contribute to irritability, confusion, brain fog, mood swings and even anxiety. Be aware that women’s mineral stores are regularly depleted. Experimenting with supplementation during ovulation can be a means to help with menstrual symptoms of an upcoming cycle.

4. Tummy trouble: We commonly associate bloating, gas, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea with food sensitivity, but low levels of potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium can also lead to these same gastric issues.

5. Visible changes in your appearance: Calcium, iron, sulfur, zinc and copper all support the integumentary system which is the protective grouping that involves hair, skin and nails. The development of brittle, course or thinning hair, pale skin or brittle, yellow or spotted nails can all point to a long-running deficiency in one or more of these minerals.

brittle-hair

For precise information and advice on your mineral levels, talk to your doctor about adding these tests as part of your annual physical. If the results indicate a deficiency, be aware that even with supplementation and diet improvements, it may take up to a year to fully reverse depletions such that a blood test can confirm. That being said, your efforts will surely be rewarded!

To add a steady source of minerals to your diet without investing in half a dozen costly supplements, look for one product that provides a wide array of these life-sustaining substances. Life’s Abundance Minerals & Antioxidants drink mix fits that bill, containing 74 trace minerals including calcium and magnesium that have been sustainably sourced from sea vegetables. Plus, this product features a wealth of antioxidants from 11 super fruits and alkalizing, electrolyte-rich organic coconut water. This formula features aloe vera powder which provides a source of digestive enzymes to help maximize the product’s benefit. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious, which makes Minerals & Antioxidants a dream solution to give the entire family what they’ve been missing.

Whey Overrated

DisappointedInWhey

Whey is a very popular ingredient in protein powders, especially in bodybuilding formulas. But is this commonly used ingredient all that it’s cracked up to be? In this post, we’ll look at the conventional wisdom and why whey might not be the best option for health-conscious consumers.

Let’s Talk Protein

It’s hard to understate the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of nourishing proteins. Your body needs quality protein to function properly, to build and repair tissues and to make enzymes, hormones and other key bodily chemicals. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of bones, cartilage, muscles, hair and blood. So, there’s no controversy here … protein does a body good!

What Makes Whey Popular?

In the last decade or so, the media began educating consumers about the importance of getting an adequate amount of protein in their diet on a daily basis. That created a demand for a convenient and inexpensive source of protein. That’s when whey protein powders started on their journey to popularity.

Whey-t a Minute!

Unfortunately, whey protein has significant shortcomings, especially for those with sensitive stomachs. First, it’s derived from cow’s milk. Specifically, it is the liquid left over once milk has been curdled and strained. Moreover, it’s a by-product of the cheese-making process. It’s precisely due to its dairy origins that many people experience digestive issues consuming whey, such as bloating, gas, cramps, fatigue and/or loose stools. Formulators in-the-know attribute these reactions to whey’s lactose content, and many adults have some degree of lactose sensitivity.

Plant Power

Here’s our take. Animal-derived proteins are good, but they also may carry the dubious additions of saturated fat, cholesterol, added hormones and antibiotics. However, you can source excellent protein directly from plants without any of those nutritional drawbacks! For example, pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids and therefore is considered an excellent source of protein. Since it contains no dairy or soy, it’s regarded as a “clean source” of protein with zero gluten content. Hooray for plant power!

So, if you’re up for supplementing your diet with a protein powder, but you’re not interested in dealing with the possible digestive distress commonly associated with whey, try a plant protein powder instead!

New Year, Fresh Start

It’s refreshing, right? The feeling of starting fresh in a new year, with an opportunity for self improvement and change.

Here’s a good tip for when you’re making New Year's goals and resolutions. It will help you stay focused on both short and long-term goals alike.

When defining what you want to achieve, keep it realistic, attainable and measurable.

However, no matter how doable your goal, it’s always nice to have that little extra bit of help and accountability when it comes to following through on your promises to yourself.

Everyone can agree that positive reinforcement is a great way to adopt new behaviors and leave bad habits in the dust. As we all know, there's no better feeling than feeling your best!

At Life's Abundance, we've assembled the most incredible positive-reinforcement pack. Think of it as your go-to bag for getting stuff done AND feeling great. This bundle pack includes everything you need to be your healthiest self in 2017 and you can get a 20% discount off the retail price until January 31, 2017! It includes the following six full-size supplements:

Chocolate or Vanilla Protein - A completely plant based, protein rich powder with amazing flavor that can be mixed with anything from water to your baked good recipes.

Cherry or Tropical Flavor Minerals & Antioxidants Mix - A healthy alternative to sugary sports drinks that provides you with nourishing minerals and antioxidants.

Greens Blend - Using this powder is an easy way to get all of your recommended greens in. It’s a non-GMO mix of raw, certified organic grasses and mushrooms with a subtle berry flavor, and a silky smooth texture.

Probiotic - This probiotic is a four-strain blend to help maintain an optimal microflora balance. Good gut health contributes greatly to your overall health.

Multivitamin - This is a natural capsule multivitamin with a focused approach to health. This means that it provides you with exactly the vitamins you need, while leaving out exactly what you don’t.

Fish Oil Capsules - These supplements are ultra concentrated with two to three times as much health promoting EPA and DHA as competing brands. Plus, they have a slightly citrusy flavor!

This pack is essential for making the positive changes you want to accomplish in the New Year. Positive reinforcements will not only help you achieve your goals, but also feel more energized and youthful at the same time!

Utilizing this pack is the perfect tool to start the momentum toward more confidence and focus on attaining your goals. As long as you remain committed, the strength of this positive feedback loop will only grow, enabling you to do more in 2017 than you maybe even thought possible.

So, let's all start the New Year with a big commitment to ourselves, and each other!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

5 Foods for Glowing Skin

Promises of age defying, wrinkle releasing and instant face lifts in a bottle keep beauty products flying off the shelves everywhere from the grocery store to the most posh department store. I’m not saying a few fancy (or not so fancy) products don’t have their role in your skin's health and glow but your best bet at beautiful skin? Is building it from the inside out.

These five foods will offer you loads of nutrients to help clear your complexion, prevent wrinkles and make your skin glow.
Strawberries: This sweet fruit is full of antioxidants (including vitamin C and manganese) that help to prevent damage to the skin by free radicals. Not only that, but it also packs a punch in the B vitamin department, which plays a role in increasing circulation to the skin. Better circulation equals better cell turnover and a healthy flush. Here’s a bonus to these little fruits - researchers have shown that B vitamins play a role in a reduction in hair loss and contribute to shinier hair. Top a slice of Ezekial toast with a tablespoon of ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries as your new go-to breakfast.

Spinach: This leafy green contains zinc, important in controlling the oil content of the skin, which helps minimize breakouts. It’s also an essential component in the formation of collagen, which gives your skin cells their strength and keeps their structure. A boost of zinc will prevent skin from sagging and premature wrinkles from forming. Toss a cup of fresh spinach (frozen works too!) into your fruit smoothie for some serious skin boosting benefits.

 


Salmon: This fish is a well known option for those pining after glowing skin. And for good reason. Its high amount of omega 3s (DHA and EPA) are essential fatty acids necessary for good health, including skin. We can’t make them in our body so we must get them from food or supplements. DHA and EPA help maintain the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes and assist in warding off wrinkles. Their anti-inflammatory effect helps prevent collagen breakdown. Grill a salmon filet with rosemary and lemon for the simplest way to wow your dinner guests. Seafood not your thing? An Omega 3 supplement might be the next best option to ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of those necessary fats.

Almonds: Many know about biotin as being the answer for good hair and nails. But did you know that this vitamin does a whole lot of good for your skin, too? Almonds provide you with this particular B vitamin that gets the limelight for its role in stimulating faster cell turnover for a glowing complexion. Get your healthy dose of biotin by topping a salad with sliced almonds or by grabbing a handful of raw almonds as a quick snack.

 


Kidney beans: You may have heard of beans referred to as the ‘magical fruit,’ but this is true for more reasons than this tune’s amusing lyrics. Their high amounts of iron increase oxygen transportation throughout the body. This means better circulation, which means serious benefits for a healthy glow. Pairing them with a food high in vitamin C will ensure all of the iron gets put to work towards your best looking skin. Make a hearty veggie chili full of bell peppers, tomatoes and kidney beans for a nutrient match made in heaven.

 

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

The Many Health Benefits of Living with Dogs

While all dog lovers intuitively know we are happier and healthier with a dog or two (or three) in our lives, scientists around the world have been working to prove that this isn’t just a feeling but a fact. Dogs really do make us healthier!

  1. Fewer allergies
    That old wives tale that being around animals is more likely to make you sick is just that … a misconception. In fact, children raised around animals are 33% less likely to have allergies to those animals than those who are raised in a more sterile environment. Just like the “hygiene hypothesis” surmising that early exposure to germs makes us better at fighting them, being around allergens while our bodies are still growing helps the body recognize these particles as being A-OK.

  2. Trimmer waist
    Pet parents are less likely to suffer from obesity compared to the general population, particularly if you are the person in the household responsible for walking the dog. It makes sense: maybe you can talk yourself out of an early a.m. stroll, but it’s harder to justify skipping the walk when your dog is giving you those big, excited eyes!

  3. Lower rates of eczema
    Eczema, a painful and itchy skin condition, is a common plague in children and thought to have an allergic component. Children raised with dogs have demonstrably lower levels of eczema compared to the pet-less, which is great news for those of us who love dogs AND kids, and couldn’t imagine going without either!

  4. Cancer detection
    A dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than our own. Think about that the next time your spray perfume in their presence! One of the unintended benefits of this is that many dogs seem to pick up on very subtle olfactory indicators of disease. Dogs have shown repeatable, reliable skill in finding lung, bladder, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers in people … some of whom passed more commonly accepted screening tests! If your dog shows a sudden and insatiable interest in a certain body part, don’t ignore it … your pup may be trying to save your life!

  5. Noticing low blood sugar
    More than one out of every three dogs living with diabetics can detect low blood sugar, according to researchers. With no prior training, some of these dogs have on their own alerted their owners to something being off, providing people a critical lead time in intervening before their blood sugar levels lead to serious symptoms.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Multivitamins… A Good or Bad Idea

In an ideal world, we would eat the perfect amounts and proportions of just the right foods from pristine, organically grown farms so we could obtain optimal nutrition from each and every bite. Sounds good, right?

It’s important to understand that foods are complicated – in a good way. All foods contain a host of complex micronutrients that work together in perfect harmony. This is why I believe that you can’t pop a pill and expect it to replace all of the nutrition foods deliver in your diet. There’s no singular pill, powder or solution that can compare with the comprehensive nutrition that fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and other foods supply to the diet.

The problem is that this is the real world, not an ideal world and our food supply, lifestyles and unique nutritional needs make it difficult for us to get the all nutrients we need from food alone. Fruits and vegetables don’t contain the vitamins and minerals they used to years ago due to the depletion of these nutrients in the soil. They also lose nutritional potency in transit from the farm to your table, not to mention the nutrients lost when cooking them. And finally, our hectic schedules often get in the way of making the right dietary choices. For example, instead of a grilled chicken breast with a sweet potato and green beans for dinner, you worked late and picked up a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and an apple cobbler dessert. This is why only one out of five people get adequate vitamins and minerals from their food.

Here’s where I believe a daily supplements can be very helpful. Although they cannot replace all of the nutrition food delivers, when your body needs a little extra help, they will have your back and can go a long way to help nutritionally compensate those of us who live in the real world.

So now you may be wondering, “what should I be taking?” There’s so many options to choose from that it can get kind of overwhelming. Is a gender-specific formula the way to go, should I try compressed pills, capsules or a gummies, perhaps a mega-dose formula is right for me or should opt for a special supplement formulated for hair and nails, energy or my age? I believe a multivitamin that provides you with the essential nutrients for optimal health and no more makes the most sense. Because too much of “good thing” can have unwanted consequences.

I recommend Life’s Abundance Multivitamin because it provides a balanced approach to a daily supplement, providing all of the essential nutrients and none of the extras. Plus, we’ve added a unique spice blend of black pepper extract, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cinnamon, holy basil and cloves. These spices offer a wealth of plant-based phytonutrients and antioxidants so important for optimal health. And since I believe it’s important to reduce additives from the diet, it is free from magnesium stearate. Life’s Abundance Multivitamin veggie capsules are made from cellulose, which not only helps protect sensitive ingredients but also breaks down and delivers nutrients more easily than compressed tablets. And, last but not least, it is soy, grain and dairy free with no added sugar, artificial flavors, color or preservatives. So, do the best you can to eat as healthy as you can and if you need a little help, try Life’s Abundance Multivitamin.

 

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

Dive Into Antioxidants

keri july 2016 blog

Antioxidants. Free radicals. Two buzzwords thrown around as often as, we eat! But what are antioxidants and free radicals exactly, where are they found and what do they do to and for you?

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Think of them as the "good guys" that protect you from the "bad guys", free radicals. 

Free radicals are produced when your body breaks down certain foods, from environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke and even from the sun. In science terms, a free radical is a highly reactive unpaired oxygen atom. While oxygen is good and essential for the body, it is meant to be perfectly paired in its balanced O2 form. Think of a free radical as a pinball careening around inside your body, constantly smashing into other cells, and inhibiting normal cell function—the cells can’t do their jobs properly because this little guy keeps storming the gates.They damage cells and contribute to aging and other health concerns.

The good news is that we don’t need to live in fear of free radicals. Our bodies are pretty amazing and we can fight them, even with the food we eat. Free radicals can be reduced by eating foods that are loaded with antioxidants. Now the whole “good guy” part is making sense, right?

Antioxidants help counter free radicals in your body (think squashing that fly with a swatter) in a variety of ways. For example, antioxidants lessen the deterioration of the skin’s vital components like collagen and elastin. They protect against long-term sun damage, like wrinkling and skin discoloration, and from UVB exposure by fighting the free radicals that result from sun and pollution.

My favorite foods which have been found to deliver some of the highest antioxidant power are foods such as blueberries, artichokes, black beans, lentils and dark leafy greens. But all fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes will provide antioxidants. Herbs and spices and tea and coffee are also a powerful place to up your intake.

It’s important to remember to mix it up when it comes to eating. So, no eating that same turkey sandwich every day. Eating a variety of whole foods will ensure that you consume a wide range of antioxidants providing your body with the most help it can get, and you’ll be more satisfied, too! Even when you’re eating a balanced diet, sometimes it’s near impossible to consume all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Supplementing your diet with a low calorie antioxidant blend can be as easy as adding it to a glass of water. With our Minerals & Antioxidants mixes, just pour, stir and immediately enjoy 11 different nutrient-dense super foods, while simultaneously contributing to your 8 recommended glasses of water a day!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

The Power of Protein

Omelette

You may hear the word protein and immediately think of a juicy bacon cheeseburger or a Sunday morning cheesy omelet. But, this macronutrient, famous for building muscle, comes in many shapes and sizes and has a whole lot of responsibility other than conquering cravings and “bulking” you up! 

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are more than 50 amino acids in the body, but 20 of them are responsible for protein building. There are 11 nonessential amino acids, meaning the body can create them on its own and 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make by itself, meaning they must be ingested through foods. Most animal proteins, such as beef, eggs, chicken, fish and poultry contain all of the essential amino acids, and so they are referred to as complete proteins. Note: soybeans, hemp and quinoa are the only common plant-based foods that are complete proteins. Foods such as legumes, rice, beans and nuts do not contain all the essential amino acids and may be referred to as incomplete proteins. However, you can combine foods (think beans and rice) to get all of the essential amino acids and form complete proteins. And you don’t need to eat the incomplete proteins in the same meal! You need both essential and nonessential amino acids for your body’s cells to perform all of their functions.

Why is protein so important aside from helping us quash a burger craving? Protein is used in many bodily functions including cell maintenance and repair, blood clotting and the production of antibodies. It is the primary component of many body tissues such as skin, hair, and muscle.

Protein also provides satiety (feeling full). In other words, it is keeps us from diving into an ice cream sundae after... a bowl of pasta. One study(1) showed that people who ate 30% of their calories from protein versus 15% reduced total caloric consumption by 441 calories.

It is important to note that not all protein sources are created equal. We should aim to consume both plant and animal protein (if we’re meat eaters, of course). Animal protein should come from lean sources. It is recommended that approximately 15% of your daily calories come from this macronutrient to meet your basic needs. I believe a healthy diet may safely have as much as one-third of your daily calories from protein, and there is good reason to consume that much.

It’s easy to get into our own little adult food jags and eat the same omelet, burger or kale salad with grilled chicken again and again...and again. But, you should modify that breakfast for perhaps a protein-packed smoothie or tweak your lunch by nixing the grilled chicken for wild salmon or pork tenderloin. Switching up your protein will keep you from getting bored (and ditching your healthy ways altogether when you just can’t eat one more bite of chicken!). Also, when you eat different foods, you are consuming a wider variety of nutrients - especially if you swap out the rest of meal.

Here’s a delicious idea for a nutritious breakfast smoothie using Life’s Abundance Plant Protein powder. This 100% grain-free, plant-based protein powder is a nutrient-rich blend of clean, high quality proteins including pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. And at only 100 calories, it contains a whopping 14 grams of protein in every serving!

Green Smoothie

Avocado Banana Smoothie
Makes one serving with a prep time of 5 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 small banana, frozen
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 small avocado
1 handful spinach, raw
1 scoop Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until you get the desired thickness.

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Reference:
1 Am J Clin Nutr July 2005, Vol. 82 No. 1 41-48.

Start Your Day off Right

Meditating start your day off right

Do you ever wish you were living back in the days before our mornings started off with phone alerts and emails waiting to be answered? Yes, it’s annoying to have modern day technology interrupt what could be a pleasant start to your day, but the good news is that you have the power to create a morning ritual that is energizing and inspiring.

Rather than opening up your phone to check social media or your computer to get ahead at work, start your day off right with the following tips to guarantee a positive beginning to your day.

Practice Gratitude

My favorite daily practice that starts the day out right is being grateful. Find three things to be thankful for each and every morning before your feet hit the ground and at night before you lay your head down.

It could be for a great day at work or for your wonderful partner beside you. It could be the volunteer job you love, the yoga mat waiting for you, or the five-mile run you’re going to brave the cold for.

Choose to start your day from a place of abundance, because research shows that those who do are more optimistic, have more social connections, sleep more soundly, exercise more and are happier. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious and greedy.

Practicing gratitude is a no-brainer!

Quit Skipping Breakfast

You may think skipping breakfast will save you time and calories later in the day, but unfortunately it does just the opposite. Studies show that eating breakfast actually reduces hunger later in the day, and gives you more energy and brain power to get through your to-do list.

Need more proof? Eating a nutritious breakfast can:

• Help you lose weight, and decrease your risk of obesity.

• Increase brain function and concentration.

• Increase metabolism by as much as 10 percent.

• Decrease stress.

• Help you stick to your diet, and prevent snacking throughout the day.

Most people claim they don’t have time to eat breakfast. So if that’s your favorite excuse, I have great news - there are plenty of quick and easy breakfast ideas to get you started on the right track - even if your only breakfast encounter has been at the drive thru.

It takes more time to wait in line at your favorite breakfast stop than it does to make my favorite protein-filled shake. Even if you need to drink it on the go, it’s the best kind of morning take-out there is.

Pineapple Smoothie

Pineapple Green Smoothie

1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk
1 ripe banana, frozen if possible (makes it creamier)
1 large handful of fresh spinach leaves (or a scoop of Life’s Abundance Greens Blend)
1 cup of frozen or fresh pineapple
1 scoop of Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder
Large handful of ice

Mix all ingredients in blender and drink up!

Move it

Most of us are slaves to our computers and sit for hours on end each day, which studies show can lead not only to obesity, but also depression, neck and back problems, and even a shorter life span. What?!

The good news? Researchers at the University of Bristol(1) found that employees performed significantly better in areas of productivity, energy and focus on days that they exercised. If you’re a morning person, try to work out before you get to the office so a late day meeting doesn’t force you to ditch your evening spin class.

On days when I debate with myself whether to exercise when I’d rather not, I ask myself this:

“One hour from now do I want to feel SWEATY or SORRY?”

I can honestly say that nine times out of ten it works. (I’m human; I sometimes cave.) But, when I close my eyes and ponder this question, I know that I’m never sorry for putting on my sneakers, and always sorry when I don’t; and that’s all the motivation I need to get myself moving.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Restful sleep tonight sets the stage for increased energy and productivity tomorrow. Studies have shown that decreased sleep time leads to a drop in physical and mental energy. So, go for a full eight hours if you want to nail that presentation or stay awake for your kid’s afternoon soccer match.

Your kids probably have a peaceful nighttime routine, and so should you.

• Make your bedroom sleep-friendly by eliminating noise with a sound machine or earplugs, and turn off anything that emits light.

• Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom can interfere with getting quality sleep.

• This may seem obvious, but make sure your bed is comfortable.

• Take a warm bath.

• Wind down with your favorite book.

• Prepare yourself for your next day; running through your schedule, getting the kids bags packed, and anything else that would make you late in the AM.

• Incorporate relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation before you fall off to sleep. This helps to relax the nervous system and prep for ZZZZs.

If you’ve been feeling “off” and can’t figure out why, vow to implement a few of these tips into your daily routine and I promise you’ll find more focus, energy and happiness in each day!

Danielle Danielle Diamond, Field Rep Contributor

(1) International Journal of Workplace Health Management 09/2008; 1(3):176-197.