Chocolate, how do we love thee? It’s easy to count the ways.
We’re not just talking about the fact that it’s more delicious than almost any other food. High-quality dark chocolate also comes with plenty of health benefits, meaning you can think of it as more than just a decadent dessert.
We probably won’t have to twist your arm to get you to eat chocolate, but here are a few reasons to pat yourself on the back when you do.
RELATED: 5 Tips for Heart Health
The key? Make sure the chocolate you choose is as dark as possible (70 percent cacao or higher preferably) and low in sugar. Then, limit your intake to a few small squares, since the calories can add up. We’re not talking about kale here, guys; we’re talking about conscious indulgences.What Are Antioxidants and Are They Really That Important?
A: Over the past decade, the term “antioxidants” has basically become shorthand for healthy. Ask someone to explain why a superfood is super? Antioxidants. How to reduce inflammation in the body? Antioxidants. How to prevent disease? Antioxidants.
But people often ask me this question: What are they, really? And are they as important as food manufacturers, nutritionists, and scientists make them out to be?
Here are the basic facts on the powerful nutrients, which, yes, you really do want all up in your diet 24-7.
Many nutrients you know about fall into the category of antioxidants (the “good guys), like vitamins A, C and E, minerals like selenium, and Most are found in plants—including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and herbs and spices—and in healthy fats like nuts and beverages like tea and coffee.
Put simply, all of them are substances in the body that protect your cells from the harmful effects of molecules called free radicals (the “bad guys”).
Think of a free radical as a pinball careening around inside your body, constantly smashing into other cells, disrupting normal cell functioning. The cells can’t do their jobs properly because these guys keep storming the gates. If the body isn’t able to defend itself and the free-radical production becomes excessive, it can lead to damage that contributes to aging (yes, including wrinkles!), heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
Antioxidants are the first line of defense to prevent that from happening. I like to think of them as little molecules flying through our bloodstreams wearing capes, like superheroes. When they encounter free radicals, they neutralize them (by using their powers to do things like donate electrons to balance out the unpaired electrons that cause the free radicals to wreak havoc, but that’s getting technical).
All of that is to say that these molecules really are pretty incredible, and eating foods that contain them as often as possible is a great idea.
One way to determine a food’s antioxidant power is by checking its ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score. The ORAC scale was developed as a way to determine which foods were richest in antioxidants, and it essentially measures how well the components of a food mop up free radicals in the bloodstream. It’s not a perfect scale but it is a reference point.
But there’s a lucky secret: you’ll find the highest antioxidant values attached to colorful, plant-based foods like blueberries, kale, cinnamon and turmeric, and…wait for it…dark chocolate! In other words, most antioxidants are found in the healthy foods you should be eating anyway for other important nutrients like fiber.
So, your overall focus should be on maintaining a nutrient-dense diet that’s filled with a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and spices. This way, you’ll be taking in a variety of powerful antioxidants naturally, without going overboard, at every meal.
Photos: Adam Jaime, Mikey Boyle via UnsplashWhat Is Moringa, and Is It Really Good For Me?
The plant is often referred to as “the miracle tree,” after all, but while it does have a pretty impressive nutrient profile, adding it to your smoothies won’t magically guarantee good health. Here’s what you need to know.
The moringa tree is native to South Asia and grows crazy fast in tough climate conditions. It produces “drumstick” pods, seeds that can be eaten like peas or pressed into oil, and small, round leaves can be eaten fresh or dried and powdered. Most people in the U.S. ingest the leaves as a powder added to smoothies.
Practitioners of Ayurveda, India’s ancient system of medicine, believe the plant can prevent 300 hundred diseases, which brings us to…
Western medicine definitely hasn’t close to verified that 300 number (and in fact, there are very few top-notch clinical studies on the plant), but moringa does have a lot going for it nutritionally speaking. It delivers high doses of iron, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. Some studies have shown it may fight inflammation and it also contains lots of powerful antioxidants. Research has also shown it may reduce some risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, and it has many other promising potential medicinal uses.
Moringa is certainly good for you, but it’s no magic bullet and isn’t easy to find. If you want to buy a green powder that lists it as an ingredient and boost your smoothie with it, go for it, but if you’re eating lots of dark, leafy greens and antioxidant-rich berries you’ll also be fine without it. Remember that supplementing your diet with the most nutrient-rich foods is just one small component of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
NA Challenge: Drink Water (64 Ounces!) Every Day
Ahhh….water! Your body is about 60% water. Yes, this means your skin, muscles, and brain are mostly water, making proper hydration key to a healthy body. Good ol’ H2O is the way to go when it comes to beverages.
For one week, I’m challenging you to drink 64 ounces of water everyday. That’s 8 glasses of 8 ounces, and one of the easiest ways to get 5 glasses in without evening thinking is to make sure you have one before every meal (assuming you are having 3 meals and 2 snacks each day).
Having a tall glass of water before each meal will not only add to your daily hydration, but it will help you eat a little less at your meal, improve your skin, put you in a better mood (nobody likes a dehydrated camper!), and even give you more energy. Yep, indulge in a tall glass of water before you eat anything and you’ll see results FAST in so many ways. For real. Drink up!
What’s in it for you?
Day 1: New water bottle: Since some of your meals will not be eaten at home, invest in a BPA free refillable water bottle that you can carry with you – everywhere. I always recommend snagging one that holds 32 ounces, so you just have to remember to fill it twice in one day and BOOM! 64 ounces down the hatch. Go on, treat yo self to one you love!
Day 2: Basic flavor: Boost up your water with the juice of a lemon wedge. Not only will this give your water a little extra flavor (making you want to drink more), the added antioxidants can boost your immune system and will give you a little extra perk! Not into lemon? Mix in a scoop of Life’s Abundance Antioxidants and Minerals and swallow 74 plant based trace minerals and antioxidants from 11 nutrient-rich super fruits without even blinking. And, holy yum, it makes plain water taste delish.
Day 3: Drink in line: In line to buy lunch? Drink your glass of water while you’re waiting. By the time you get your lunch you’ll be ready to eat…and you’ll be hydrated for all that heavy fork lifting.
Day 4: Go for bubbles: Replace your glass of water at one meal today with a tall glass of seltzer water. You don’t need the bubbles from champagne to feel a little festive! And who says champagne glasses are only for champagne? Here’s permission to get fancy sans alcohol. But fair warning – if you bloat easily, you may wanna skip this one as all those bubbles can add to this problem.
Day 5: Herb it up: Instead of just squeezing in a piece of citrus, add some fresh herbs to your water. Basil and mint make great herbaceous waters and seriously, how pretty does it make it? And promise you, somebody will ask you what’s in your water that day, so it’s a great conversation starter. Just in case.
Day 6: Spicy water, really?: Kick start your day by adding a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to your water. The capsaicin in the cayenne will boost your metabolism. And you’ll spend all day sipping something that makes you go hmmmm. This is interesting. But you’ll keep sipping…
Day 7: Rewrite your ritual: Now that you’re used to drinking a full glass of water before each meal, plan on making this a habit in the future. This can be a new ritual for you. Jot it down! Sticky note on the mirror, food journal entry, diary story, calendar reminders. Whatever your writing preference, make it happen!
My mission in life is to help as many people as possible take their nutrition up as many notches as possible, so they can live their most Nutritious Lives. It’s really that simple.
Everyday I seek opportunities to help me accomplish my mission, and weigh opportunities that are presented to me to help me do this.
When the opportunity arose to partner with Life’s Abundance to create a line of the best supplements you can find that were organic (when necessary), completely GMO free, at a cost that’s accessible to most people, and that I could be 100% involved in choosing the ingredients for, it was a no-brainer.
Yep, you read that right. I helped choose every single ingredient that went into these supplements.
I’m so ridiculously excited about this, and I know you will be too once you finish reading this!
In over a decade of counseling clients in my private practice in NYC, thousands of people have come to me because they’re tired, stressed, overweight, unfocused, unmotivated, and feeling like they aren’t the best version of themselves.
We live in an age with amazing medical breakthroughs that save people’s lives, except we’re sicker, fatter and unhealthier than ever.
We’re overfed and undernourished because we choose convenience over wellness and our habits are shot! I believe that having a solid nutritional foundation (and this doesn’t have to compromise convenience or taste!) combined with the other pillars of a Nutritious Life can help anyone attain and sustain a healthy body, mind and life.
Each of the products I created with Life’s Abundance contributes to building that solid foundation in some way. So, if you or someone you know is trying to take their nutrition up a notch, I’m glad you’re here.
We all know we should eat better and increase the nutritional value we get from food on a daily basis, but many of us either don’t know how or we simply can’t make it happen. Sometimes, it’s just not realistic to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from the food we eat, especially with issues of depleted soil, eating processed and overcooked food, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
This is why I’ve been recommending supplements for years – because they supplement what is hopefully a healthy diet to begin with. Think of them like insurance for your body – they won’t replace solid nutrition, but when your body needs a little extra help, you’ve got it.
There are a handful of supplements that I’ve always recommended to my clients because I think they’re the most important ones for optimal health, so naturally they were the first products we developed, and we focused on formulating them in an easy to digest way.
We carefully handpicked each and every ingredient – if it’s in there, it’s in there for a reason – and left out any that posed a health concern or just flat out didn’t need to be included.
Supplements aren’t for everyone, especially those that are already eating an incredibly clean diet or are following a plan that guarantees they’re getting in all the vitamins and minerals they need. But they’re great for anyone that doesn’t fit those categories, no matter how close or far from that end of the healthy eating spectrum they are.
By adding supplements to your daily routine, you may start to feel a little healthier and more motivated, which can slowly make you become more mindful of what you eat. When you learn to make better food choices and feel better in your body, it’s a game changer for your whole your life.
Feeling good comes from the inside (mentally and physically), and creating change in your wellness routine can happen without deprivation.
These products are not a diet – they’re intended to be incorporated into your diet and your life to support your overall health, not just for 30 days, but for a lifetime. This is why I’ve incorporated them into my pillars of a Nutritious Life philosophy.
I’ve had many opportunities to get involved with other companies before, but I never wanted to work with a company that I didn’t believe in or that didn’t share my same values and goals. When I met the team at Life’s Abundance it was clear we shared the same beliefs about health and wellness and our goals were in sync.
They’re an employee-owned company and they take a great deal of pride in doing solid work. They’ve been providing top quality products for pets since the 90s and a select group of dietary supplements for people since 2003. The introduction of these new products we worked on together represents a significant expansion of their dietary supplement line.
Life’s Abundance is known for making top notch products, having awesome customer service, and taking care of their people. And by people, I mean their employees, distributors, and customers. Pretty much everyone.
Distributors? Yep. They give people an opportunity to help support themselves and/or their families, have a little more freedom and a lot more fun by welcoming passionate people like you and me to become independent distributors for their products. What’s better than helping people live more nutritious lives and earning a great income while doing it?!
I love, as in L-O-V-E what I do. In over 10 years of counseling clients one on one in my private practice and reaching millions of others via national TV, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to make healthy choices and to change your diet and lifestyle. This is why I lovvvvvve making it easier for people!
I also know that I’m very lucky to earn a living and support my family doing something that I am so uber passionate about. And I want to help others have this opportunity, too.
So many people have jobs that they aren’t passionate about. They’re caught up in the rat race and the daily grind and struggle of working harder and harder and never having enough time left. It’s not easy.
Others may like their job and may be super passionate about what they’re doing but they just can’t seem to make ends meet at the end of the month.
Or worse, some people experience both. Sound familiar?
Through my partnership with Life’s Abundance, I can now provide people with the best supplements I know, give them an opportunity to better financially support themselves and/or their families, and have a little more freedom and a lot more fun.
I truly believe that success comes from making money doing something you’re passionate about and actually enjoying it on a daily basis. Like I said, what’s better than helping people live a healthier life and earning a great income while doing it? In my mind, nothing.
Joining my team and becoming an affiliate is such an easy way to expand your wellness business. If you’re a health coach, registered dietitian, doctor, yoga teacher, nutritionist, personal trainer, massage therapist, pilates instructor, chiropractor, healthy chef, or overall health nut (like me!), chances are you already recommend supplements to people.
Yep, you tell them exactly what to take, which brands you love, where to buy them, and then you send them on their way to a better life and make no money in the process.
There’s a better way for everyone.
What if you found a product you LOVED, knew exactly who created it and handpicked all the ingredients in it, told those same people about it, offered them to buy it directly through you, and you made money in the process?!
It’s that easy. You haven’t changed a thing, except you probably have way more confidence in the product you’re recommending and you made a little money for yourself at no extra cost to your client, family, or friend. If that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is.
Learn more about joining my team! We’d love to have you, and we’ll help you every step of the way!!
Don’t think joining my team is for you, but want to know more about the products?
4 Ways to Fight Winter Skin With Food
Winter skin is upon us, and I just heard a collective sigh.
Cozy sweaters, colorful scarves, fuzzy earmuffs—all things we love when the temperature drops outside. But flaky skin, scaly patches, and itchy itches are the things nobody loves that come with the territory.
Rather than succumbing to winter’s wrath, I want you to combat winter skin from the inside out. Eating certain healthy foods and applying others topically can give your skin a smooth, rosy glow now matter how cold it gets.
1. Take a tea break. Baby its cold outside—why not curl up with a warm cup of tea? While you might not be as thirsty in the winter as you were during the summer heat, staying hydrated in the winter is equally essential.
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water and tea per day can help flush out toxins, prevent the skin from drying, increase cell turnover and keep your skin young and fresh.
Herbal teas are a great way to stay hydrated or you can choose a green tea variety to help reduce inflammation for extra beautification.
Just be sure to combine drinking plenty of water and/or tea with applying plenty of topical moisturizer—moisturizers help hold water in the skin’s top layer, so it works hand in hand with water. This translates into great glowing skin despite the harsh winter weather!
2. Eat one orange food and one green food (and no we don’t mean M&Ms!). Halloween is over, but that doesn’t mean orange is out just yet—orange veggies, such as carrots, squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are full of carotenoids.
Carotenoids increase our defense against the sun and damage from UV rays (remember it is important to always use sunscreen for protection, even in the winter!).
They also help prevent acne breakouts and flare-ups that can make your skin blemished and blotchy. Try a pumpkin yogurt mask for a little winter skin pampering.
Green foods, such as kale and spinach, are full of vitamin C, which can act as your food equivalent of the fountain of youth—vitamin C helps to repair skin by building collagen and helping to ward off those pesky wrinkles. Eat at least one orange and one green food every day and your skin will thank you!
3. Snack on (healthy) fat. We love fat. We aren’t talking about the kind you find in pie and french fries, but rather the healthy fats found in salmon, avocados and chia seeds.
These foods contain omega 3 fatty acids, which aid in heart health and weight loss…but did you know they can also give you healthy skin? They help reduce inflammation and prevent collagen breakdown (translation: less wrinkles).
Looking for some healthy snacks? Simply mix 2 tablespoons chia into your yogurt for an added 5 grams of omega 3s, or sprinkle some flax into a mid-day cuppa oatmeal.
One food that is as good in your belly as it is on your face is an avocado. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat and is rich in vitamins A and E.
Vitamin E enhances your skin’s collagen production (translation: smoother skin) while sealing in vital moisture. Try this avocado face mask and let this double-duty powerhouse work its magic on your dry, winter skin!
4. Eat at least one colorful fruit every day. Fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants not only fight damaging free radicals in your body, they also can fight those winter skin blues too! Antioxidants help protect your skin against damage caused by the sun and harsh weather conditions in the winter.
Blueberries have the added benefit of containing compounds that slow wrinkles and the effects of aging. Think of antioxidants as your youth elixir, keeping you beautiful, ageless and energized no matter what the weather has in store. An apple a day could keep those wrinkles at bay. Healthy eating, healthy skin, healthy you!