Tag Archives: health

Back to School: Resist Junk Food Temptations

Dieting during the school year can be very difficult. At my school, we celebrate with donuts and ice cream and junk food. Just like exercising, using your brain and thinking a lot in classrooms works up an appetite and it’s easy to fall back in your diet. With vending machines full of candy, chips, and soda, it’s hard to resist temptations.

The first 2 years I was in high school, I caved in. My diet was horrible! I would buy a Gatorade and candy as my lunch, and even more for an after school snack. I would even borrow money from my friends almost daily. This past year I was able to overcome that habit. I bought maybe 3 things total the entire year, but it was from pure hunger, not boredom. I have a few tips to help you resist bad cravings during the school year.

1. BYO Lunch
The convenience of cafeteria lunches, vending machines, or catered lunches look appealing, but in the long term it’s faster to eat healthy than to work off all of the calories. If there are healthy options, then that is O.K. Most likely if it is coming from a vending machine, it is not healthy. Many snack companies trick consumers into thinking that their food is healthy, and it is deceiving since you can’t physically read the ingredients until after you buy their food. In another blog post I will explain what snacks I do recommend to bring and some easy lunch options.

2. Don’t go for everything that is free
Free ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, and hot chocolate sound great! While I don’t want you to deprive yourself, I don’t want you to go for every single free dessert. For exams, we have a donut station and a hot chocolate station. You’re allowed to get both and generally there is enough for seconds. Just because we’re offered both doesn’t mean we need to take full advantage of it. I personally, would enjoy a hot chocolate with a mini candy cane in it so I get some of the benefits of peppermint oil. That way I’m not watching everyone enjoy their donuts and hot chocolate, but I’m not eating/drinking a ton of sugar either.

3. Avoid Being Hungry
This goes back with the first tip and brining your own snacks. Don’t bring snacks that leave you feeling hungry! This will only result in either buying food from the vending machines or sharing food with someone else. Foods with fiber will keep you full. Just don’t go on fiber overload. Be aware if you have after school practices that you will be hungry right after school so a small snack is necessary. Staying hydrated will also help you not confuse hunger with thirst.

4. Remember your diet
We all have that person inside that reminds us of the healthier option and we sometimes let that person inside tell us to get the unhealthy option. The more you cave into your cravings, the more likely you will repeat. If you’re accustomed to eating healthy food, your body starts to crave it. That’s how I like to think to resist my cravings. Other people think about sports and how sluggish they will be after eating poorly. Some people find it easier to think about their body and how great they look after dieting. Whatever mindset works for you, memorize it and stick with it.

As for people in university/college who have dining halls, the best way to avoid cravings is just fill up on veggies and healthier food and eat fruit for dessert. Again, don’t deprive yourself. Just don’t eat a dessert every day for lunch and dinner. I would make a deal with myself. A sweet dessert after dinner every other Friday night is reasonable. Maybe every Friday night after dinner is easier to start out with. Look at all of the options and form a pact with yourself regarding junk food.

Anyway, I hoped this was a little helpful because during school is one of the most important times to eat healthy. It not only helps with concentration, but overall health when it’s the easiest time to get sick. As bikini season is ending, many people get lazy with their diet and then stress right before bikini season starts up again during exams and the hardest time of the year. Eat clean and I bet you will fit into your new jeans by the time it is cold enough to wear them!


Back To School: How to Overcome Shyness

Hi guys! Its’s Skye and this is my first back to school post in my series with Julia. It is not a typical back to school blog post, but I feel like so many people struggle with shyness, especially at school. I hope this helps and be sure to read Julie’s blog posts as well!

Growing up, I was a very shy person and making friends wasn’t always easy. However, I’ve started to break out of my shell and talk to more opportunities. Overcoming shyness takes time, but I’ve talked to a few people who are shy and they wish that they weren’t anymore. It was definitely something that I knew for sure that I wanted to change about myself. Since school is just around the corner, it’s a very stressful time, especially for people who are shy. If this is something that you would like to change about yourself, keep on reading.

Most people are generally shy around people that they do not know. That’s normal. Some people are more approachable or more likely to talk to a stranger than others. The first step to overcoming being shy around people that you see everyday, such as classmates, is to understand why. Are you intimidated? Are you afraid of saying something weird?

Many shy people are also very self conscious. Instead of focusing on every little detail and flaw about yourself, spend your time thinking about things that interest you. I like to be aware of my flaws just in case someone points it out, but I don’t obsess. That only causes nervousness around other people and intimidation.

This one is obvious, but put yourself out there! Sports are a great way to meet new people and it is also an easy conversation starter. The same goes with arts, clubs, and other hobbies. It is important to do what you are interested in. If you don’t like to play sports, then I wouldn’t recommend trying out for a team if you are just going to be miserable. Instead, I would suggest volunteering. Organizations are always looking for volunteers and usually the other people are nice and friendly.

Another tip I have is to keep a close group of friends that you can just be silly with. Having a close group of friends is important because you know they are reliable. However, you can’t hide behind them. Don’t always be their partners or always be talking to them. You need to be your own person and talk to other people, too.

So, have you ever said something and 10 seconds later think: “Why did I ever say that?” I have thought this to myself multiple times and it happens to everyone. As for this situation, this worst thing you can do is dig yourself deeper. Don’t try to reverse it or keep going with it. Depending on the situation, laughing at it or just ignoring it might be the best option. Don’t let these moments steer you away from interacting with people. It happens.

Maybe you need to change your body language. Looking approachable looks more appealing than someone who just never looks happy. Posture is important for your health but also in how people see you. If you’re slouching with a scowl on your face, you’ve already closed yourself off. I’m not saying you need to always have a smile on your face no matter what, but appearing friendly and showing some emotion will make people want to talk to you.

Lastly, you need to build up your confidence. Just like overcoming shyness, building confidence takes time. In the meantime, I keep a few quotes handy when I need confidence or right before an oral presentation. The first one is from the movie, We Bought a Zoo, and it is: “All you need is 20 seconds of courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise something great will come of it”. I love this because after those first 20 seconds, you won’t even have to think about it anymore. If you show confidence, something great might happen because other people like being around confident people. Another quote is: “Walk like you’re worth a million bucks”. It’s a little more silly, but every time I think this, I stand a little straighter and get instant confidence. These are only temporary though. You need to find your own confidence, and no quote can achieve that.

So, this was definitely one of my longer blog posts. I put a lot of time into it because I know many people struggle with this, including myself at times. I force myself to say hi to somebody at school, or to make an effort to help someone out. Even small things as holding the door for someone will help create some type of interaction with somebody else. But anyway, I hope this post was a little bit helpful and I wish you luck in gaining confidence and overcoming shyness.

Thanks for reading! – XOXO Skye

Health Trends

Health trends come and go. Vegan diets, low-fat diets, Pilates, juicing cleanses, and gluten-free were all health trends. Some of them are still great, just not as common and others really were not all that great for us. Here are a few health trends that are popular right now.

1. The Elimination Diet
An elimination diet strictly restricts what you can eat. Basically it cuts out any food that your body could potentially react to. It’s great in case you think you may have an allergy to something or it can be used to minimize bloating after eating. A few ingredients to avoid in an elimination diet are soy, lactose, sugar, and gluten products.

2. The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by Ancient Greece. It focuses on healthy fats and it is heart healthy. You mainly want to eat plant-based foods and exchange butters for olive oil. You also want to use natural ingredients to season foods and you want to eat plenty of fish and lean meat. Although fish, nuts, and bread are high in fat, they contain mainly monounsaturated fats which is good for you and will keep you full.

3. Zumba
Zumba dance has been around for a few years now but it is still very popular. It is an easy way to get cardio and have fun while doing it. The most important thing is to make it your own class. Push yourself but don’t hurt yourself.

4. Quinoa
Quinoa is a seed that actually originated many years ago. It’s a grain like seed with a crunchy texture and it is packed with nutrients. It is mainly known to be plentiful in fiber and protein and it is a weight-loss alternative to white rice.

5. Fruit-infused water
Ok, so maybe I’m a little obsessed. I not only love the way it looks, but I love the way it tastes. It’s an easy and nutritious way to flavor water. Not only are you fully hydrated, but you get the nutrients from the fruit or herbs. It promotes drinking water and it’s much better than Mio or Crystal Light flavorings.

6. Almond Milk/Butters
Almonds are full of protein and healthy fats. They are a dieter’s friend so it doesn’t shock me that almond milk and almond butter are both alternatives to regular milk or peanut butter in the health world.

My Thoughts on Special K: A Breakdown

Special K claims to be healthy and if you follow their plan you can lose 6 pounds in 2 weeks. Basically you eat a serving of cereal in the morning and eat their products for your other meals up until dinner. Then you are allowed to eat your own food for dinner. This diet plan has worked for many people but it is an extremely hard diet to be consistent with. These restrictive calorie diets are great short-term fixes but once you go back to eating a normal amount of calories, you gain the weight back and more. I used to eat their food thinking it was healthy. My friends eat their food thinking they’re eating healthy. My mom still buys their stuff thinking it is healthy. Well, actually I’d recommend that you eat Lay’s potato chips than some of these Special K products.

I’ve never tried their cereals but they seem a little bit better than some of their other products. I’m focusing more on their granola and pastry bars. The positive thing I do have to say is that their products are very low in calories and they are super convenient. While they are low in calories, they are high in sugar, oils, and artificial colors.

Here is a breakdown of the strawberry pastry crisps since I have them in my house right now. Even though each serving has less than 0.5 trans fats, they are there. There are only 2 grams of fat and 1 g is saturated. The only strawberries in this are strawberry purée concentrate. Concentrated juice goes through a series of chemicals and evaporation to have a thicker and longer lasting juice. These bars are highly processed; the ingredients list takes forever to read. Even though the sugar content is very high, there is almost an equal amount of artificial sweeteners in this too. No wonder why I reached for these when I was craving sugar. The artificial flavors and colors in these pastries should also be avoided. There are no whole grains and barely any fiber. Those are 2 things a dieter should be eating plenty of. Fooducate gave this product a D.

Now let’s move on to their cracker chips with sea salt. They are much less processed and most ingredients I am familiar with. These have less sugar, more fiber, and no saturated or trans fat. Obviously these are not the best for you, but they’re chips (let’s be real). Fooducate rated them a C- because there really isn’t much nutrition value in these.

Lastly I am going to review their strawberry protein shakes. These I have never tried but I’m guessing they taste fine. They are described as breakfast shakes but I definitely would not want to drink these in the morning. With 18g of sugar plus all of the artificial sweeteners, your blood sugar levels are going to spike right when you wake up. These shakes have more ingredients than the pastry crisps and there are no signs of strawberries except “natural and artificial flavors.” Most of the vitamins are added from different chemicals but on the bright side, some of the sugars are evened out with healthy fats and fiber. Still, these protein drinks were rated a D as well.

So there you go. Many people are confused by Special K because they think that their products are healthy and then read everything that is bad about it. You’d be much better off making a homemade smoothie or pastries with real fruit in them. Many diet foods are actually junk food in disguise which is one of the reasons why the food marketing industry annoys me so much. I hope you found this helpful and let me know if you like these type of blog posts!

How Many Times A Day Should I Eat?

Growing up we learned that we need to eat 3 balanced meals a day to be healthy. Now diet gurus and nutritionists are saying that we need to eat twice as many mini-meals because that will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. Does it really speed up your metabolism though? Our metabolic system is definitely something I need to understand more, and I’m not sure if eating more often really stimulates it that much more. This is where misinformation occurs and there isn’t enough scientific research yet to tell whether this is true or not.

Eating 6 times a day does prevent binges because if you eat a meal at 6 am and then wait until 12 pm to eat another meal, you’re more likely to be hungrier and eat more. Also, if you know you’re not getting another meal until 6 hours later, you might eat a lot so you won’t be starved by the time it comes. If you proportion your meals correctly, eating more often will keep a more stable blood sugar level. By eating more often, your blood sugar levels won’t spike as dramatically than if you ate only 3 meals. Having more steady insulin (a hormone that stabilizes blood sugar levels) levels does help you not gain weight after you eat. Many people have proven that eating 6 smaller meals helped them lose weight.

Some people gained weight from eating this many times a day. The big things to remember are that you need to control your portions. Just because you are allowed to eat more often does not mean that you can eat more food. Eating 6 meals a day is not the answer to weight loss. One of the main goals is to curb your cravings while eating less food. Each meal should not be the size of a meal that you would eat if you were only eating 3 times a day. An example of a meal on a 6-meal plan would be an apple with some almond butter. Some of these meals should be more like a nutritious snack than a meal. You really shouldn’t gain weight if you do this meal-plan correctly.

Personally, I stick with a basic 3-meal plan and snack when I’m truly hungry. Eating small proportioned meals all day long might give people more opportunities to snack, which leads into overeating without realizing it. If I eat a little bit when I’m hungry, I don’t need to be thinking about food all day long. Some people would argue that on a 3-meal plan I would be constantly wondering when my next meal will be, but honestly, if I’m busy and satiated I would not even think about food until I was hungry. I actually think that theory applies more to people who eat more often. People who have tried this method of eating every 2-3 hours and found it successful obviously will promote their weight loss trick. However, there are plenty of people who have lost weight just as easy on a traditional diet. Every body is different and all of them react to different changes. Eating more often is not for everyone, especially people who are in school or work and can’t eat every 2 hours. To me, losing weight is determined by what foods you put in and how much exercise you do on a regular basis, not by the frequency of your meals. If you’ve tried the 6-meal diet plan, let me know your response either by leaving a comment or direct message me on Twitter (on my About page). I’d love to see which one works better for you! If there is new information that proves that every human will see dramatic changes in weight loss by eating more frequently, I will definitely promote it later. Until then, I’m not biased either way.

Non-GMO Project

What are GMOs? GMOs are genetically modified organisms created through biotechnology. Basically it merges two different types of genes and breeds two plants or animals unnaturally. Supporters of GM products claim that these modified crops are healthier and reduce the use of pesticides. Also they say that more crops can be picked and it will help “feed the world” because of the lower prices. Scientific evidence has shown that these crops attract bugs that are pesticide tolerant, so in order to kill them farmers use harsher chemicals. These toxins not only damage the soil but also make the foods more dangerous to eat. There is definitely a lot of misinformation and controversies about GMOs and stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes claim to be GMO-free.

The non-GMO project is a non-profit organization and its goal is to inform consumers whether or not there are GMOs in their foods. They are also trying to educate the community about the hazards of eating foods that are genetically modified so less people buy these type of foods. Many companies, such as Kashi are joining the non-GMO project and as more research is being done on the topic and the more knowledge people have about it, the more likely this organization is going to work.

If you want to see a list of non-GMO products, click here

Fooducate: Free iPhone App

One of my favorite health/nutrition app is called Fooducate. It has a breakdown of the good, bad, and just things you should know about most foods. It gives the product a letter grade based off its health content. You can either search a product or browse through categories and see the top rated or the most popular.

When you first install it, you will need to set up a Fooducate account. You can also use this app to track what foods you eat, how much water you drink, and the amount of exercise.

On each product, you can comment your thoughts and heart it if you like it or press the broken heart if you dislike it. You can start a shopping list on this app by going to “My Lists -> Shopping list.” It will tell you the Diet Points of each food which is great if you are trying to lose weight. This app is pretty simple, and I like knowing whether a “healthy” food is actually a diet buster. It’s free on the iTunes Store unless you buy the premium version.