Sensible Snacking

I find most people eat in one of four ways –

·      three meals a day

·      three moderate meals a day, plus mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks

·      tiny meals/snacks through the day, stopping ideally three hours before bedtime!

·      OVEREATING

Regardless of which group you are in – even the first one – it’s unlikely you’ll get through a day without at least one snack, planned or unplanned.

 vegan maple chocolate chip cookie from "The Stand" Westport, CT

vegan maple chocolate chip cookie from "The Stand" Westport, CT

Common sense can go a long way in telling you what makes a good snack and what doesn’t.   Here are some examples:
 

* a chocolate chip cookie for desert – maybe even after dinner – as long as it is much smaller than one you might grab in Grand Central at the start of a late commute home

* a small handful -- about 20 or so, not 40 -- of medium-sized cashews, morning or afternoon

* a 16-ounce smoothie, heavy on the kale … and no refill, please!

What are your favorite snacks that make sense?!

briana@lifesdecisionsblw.com

A Smoothie a Day

Would you like an easy and enjoyable way to have the bulk of your daily fruits and vegetables -- and more! -- in one sitting?
A daily home-brewed smoothie gives you one serving of many of your favorite fruits and vegetables.  If you are creative, you can add some that may not individually be your favorites but are nutritionally awesome and help produce an overall tasty treat.
It is important to figure out your top organic ingredients and experiment with different blends -- alternative dairy (non-carrageenan, of course!), coconut water-based, protein-based, etc.  Adding fresh and frozen fruit, instead of maple syrup or honey, insures further nutrient value and avoids extra sugar.   
 
 Briana's Berry Greek Blend 10/22/15

Briana's Berry Greek Blend 10/22/15

Other possible add-ins include spirulina/wheat grass or other superfoods and cinnamon.  If you are going to add different proteins, make sure you choose 100% pure – brown-rice protein, hemp-seed protein, for example.
 
 
Five fundamental reasons for drinking smoothies are:
* assist proper digestion, because you are letting your blender chew your food, while not losing the fiber
* facilitate detox -- your body gets its nourishment without taxing the digestive system
* strengthen your immune system, via added Vitamin C
* aid sleep, by speeding up digestion – kale, for instance, is easier to consume in a smoothie
* curb sugar cravings – you will be happier because you know you’ve done something right for your body
 
 Briana's vegan green goodness Smoothie 10/20/15

Briana's vegan green goodness Smoothie 10/20/15

Drink your smoothie slowly, whatever time of day.   Savor each taste – do not down it in a few giant swigs.  Pacing yourself insures you will feel satisfied and keeps you from further, unnecessary eating.  Home-brewed smoothies are preferable to store-bought, since added sugar sneaks its way into so many of the latter.
 
Take the time to learn as much as you can about different categories of smoothies, including:
·      Green (including powdered forms of greens)
·      Fruit
·      Meals
·      Desserts
·      “SuperFoods” – a baker’s dozen popular choices are greens, acai, apples, blueberries, cacao powder, Goji berries, hemp seeds, kefir, maca powder, seaweed, spinach, sunflower seeds, and tart cherries – all are nutrient-rich foods
Here are three highlights from clients:
·      one can never get enough kale, and loves the alternative of kale as part of a smoothie, aiding digestion and assisting sound sleep patterns
·      another, a fruit fanatic, relishes her favorite mix of mango, blueberries, banana and kefir
·      a third’s preferred breakfast blends frozen pineapple, frozen strawberries, orange juice, and filtered water, and finds it adds energy to his morning
The possibilities are endless!
E-mail me if you would like more ideas, briana@lifesdecisionsblw.com
… and I would love to hear your brainstorms.

Beat the Heat, Cut the Booze … Try Mocktails!

Happy first day of summer 2016!

Did you just ask yourself what a mocktail is??  Your guess is right -- a fun-filled drink that has only natural sugars, is low in calories and has ZERO booze!

 photo credit Penney DeMattio

photo credit Penney DeMattio

The definition of a mocktail:  A nonalcoholic drink consisting of a mixture of fruits and juices.

Well I have taken it to the next level … Add all organic ingredients, even a full unpeeled lime or lemon … to make a delicious zesty drink for all the NON-drinkers at the party or beach.

Now, you don’t have to commit yourself to a full-day, all-week regimen of water and burning all the extra calories you would have consumed.

The possibilities are endless…

You can find my favorite-of-the-moment here, with my recipe list. http://www.lifesdecisionsblw.com/recipes-1/2016/6/21/blws-mocktails

Holler if you want more ideas!

briana@lifesdecisionsblw.com

 

 

 

 

What is the Perfect Way to Start Your Day?

TO BREAK THE BACK OF ALL THE ACIDITY YOU HAVE PUT INTO YOUR BODY THE PREVIOUS DAY, BREW THIS SIMPLE DRINK IN A GLASS MASON JAR, FIRST THING WHEN YOU AWAKEN:  A TABLESPOON OF ORGANIC LEMON JUICE AND 2 TABLESPOONS OF ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, IN EIGHT OUNCES OF FILTERED ROOM-TEMPERATURE WATER.  FOR A “TASTIER TREAT” ADD AN OUNCE OR TWO OF ORGANIC TART CHERRY JUICE, OR ONE TABLESPOON OF ORGANIC HONEY AND SHAKE WELL.

 

THIS TANGY BEVERAGE WILL ALTER THE WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT FOR DISEASE INSIDE YOUR BODY.  IT WILL CLEAR OUT YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, KEEP YOUR BODY NEUTRAL AND GIVE YOU MORE ENERGY THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.

 

RESEARCH SHOWS HIGHER ALKALINITY CORRELATES TO FEWER COLDS … AND EVEN WEIGHT LOSS!

 

WANT TO HEAR MORE?  SEE ME.   

 

BETTER YET, I’LL CONNECT YOU WITH CLIENTS OF MINE WHO NEVER THOUGHT THEY COULD ALTER THEIR MORNING ROUTINE FOR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, AND NOW CAN’T THINK OF GOING BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS.

Anti-Depressants... Cashews, Bananas, Dark Chocolate … and More!

Not a day goes by without a friend or client telling me he/she is down in the dumps, having a hard time seeing the jar as half full or refillable.

I suggest not going to a doctor, with a guaranteed prescription as an antidote.

There are a wealth of foods whose powerful nutrients are natural anti-depressants.   Sprinkled throughout your day, they are far better for you and your state of mind than any medical solution.

These are eight widely recommended choices as the best pick-me-up sources:

·      bananas

·      tomatoes

·      purple potatoes

·      black-eyed peas

·      nuts, especially cashews and walnuts

·      oregano

·      sunflower seeds

·      dark chocolate

Nothing matches the ease of grabbing a banana on the fly.  Personally, I prefer bananas in combination with other foods, for instance one of my favorite breakfasts – overnight oats (the second recipe on my site, posted October 16, 2015 http://www.lifesdecisionsblw.com/recipes-1/2015/10/16/brianas-overnight-oats ), with

·      chia seeds

·      a banana

·      walnuts

·      organic dark chocolate chips

That’s three items from the list … in one meal.

A second personal favorite, especially for healthy snacks on the go, is cashews.  Of course, even a quality snack like cashews means fat calories unless you practice portion control:  I favor one handful daily, or 20 medium-size nuts.  If your lifestyle is genuinely active, then one handful mid-morning and one mid-afternoon will work.

As for dark chocolate – just by itself! -- it is worth spending a bit extra to get the darkest organic chocolate you can find.   If you buy it by the bar, learn to divide it in thirds or quarters at home and wrap those sections separately, so you are not tempted to eat the entire bar in a single sitting, only those three or four small rectangles.

Do you have any ideas for me?

briana@lifesdecisionsblw.com

The Importance of Sleep!

People approach me with all sorts of questions about making themselves look and feel better.   Typical concerns include:

·      How do I lose 20 pounds in two months for a wedding this spring?

·      I don’t have enough aerobic stamina and I’m not patient enough to correct it.

·      What is a good routine to address my lack of upper-body strength?

·      It’s so time-consuming and takes so much planning to incorporate more organic food in my daily consumption.

·      I know drinking more water is good for me, but do I really need to aim for 75 to 100 ounces each day?

“I don’t get enough sleep.”   It’s rare to hear someone volunteer that one.

In fact, sleep is just as important as what you put in your body each day, what your exercise routine is over a week and how much overall balance you maintain in your lifestyle.  Actually, sleep could be the single most important factor.

You may read about Bill Gates and Martha Stewart getting by on four hours a night of sleep, but the truth is the vast majority of adults can not have a happy and productive day without at least seven hours of sleep at night.  Less sleep on a regular basis can impact your physical and mental health, seriously affect your daily efficiency, and – over time – lead to major injuries.

Some people at significant risk include those with long work hours or two jobs, executives with demanding travel schedules and those with overdependence on drugs or alcohol.

Patterns that lead to sleep deprivation are not easy to correct without an honest and supportive significant other or best friend, or guidance from an expert counselor, or an unyielding inner resolve to – as much as possible – maintain consistent bedtimes and wake-up times.

Want to just chat informally over coffee water with me?  I have heard almost every variation on the sleep problem.  

I would love to help you.

Drinking from Glass, Not Plastic

Is it safer for you to drink from glass?

The next time you are in a gym or fitness studio, look around and you’ll notice the majority of people drinking from plastic containers.  This is troubling:  drinking from plastic can only boost the BPA (bisphenol), a common chemical in most plastics, in your bloodstream.

Plastics contain polycarbonate, which increases your estrogen and other hormones – it is a chemical, not a natural estrogen, which can create harmful side effects, such as

·      learning problems

·      an altered immune system

·      early puberty

·      fertility issues

·      decreased sperm count, and

·      obesity

Moreover, refilling plastic bottles can foster increased bacteria.

·      A client and good friend was in the habit of using all plastic bottles.   When she was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to go glass, because she didn’t want to risk bringing toxins into her body.

·      A second client had an old water bottle that did not say BPA-free.   She went to Bed Bath & Beyond and purchased a glass bottle.

·      Another one was such a holdout that I just bought him a glass bottle… and he never went back to plastic.

 The Wilson Sisters

The Wilson Sisters

I am happy to give you a specific recommendation, since good glass containers are not always easy to find through many retail outlets.

Go glass!

Can You Overtrain?

Are you tired, a lot?  Do you have more trouble sleeping?  Do you have muscle soreness developing?  Are mysterious injuries popping up?

You may be overtraining.  That ranges from doing classes back to back when you just did a double the day before, to running at an eight-minute-mile pace when you know you are, at best, a ten-minute miler, to increasing your free weights too much without direct supervision. 

Training means:  workout plus recovery.  If you already work out a lot (every day, twice a day…), stop for a few days.  At the very least, plan an exercise schedule that includes at least one day off a week.

Fuel your body with rest, sleep and hydration.  I am not telling you to stop exercising, I am simply saying you need to understand your body and know when it is crucial to rest for a day, or two.

Come see me, contact me, if you want to hear more.

A 'No-Nonsense' Approach

For two decades, I have been a personal trainer at local gyms.  I realized from the beginning of my personal-training career, I would never train staff because I would spend a ton of energy coming up with their program, and I felt that they wouldn’t come back with the same kind of energy.  For some reason, staff members, even though they understand the end goal, have a harder time than private clients applying themselves day after day … after day.

Briana came to me and said she wanted to get herself in shape, lose weight and become a successful personal trainer. I told her I usually don’t train employees, however, I would allow her to buy a ten-pack and see what happened.  I told her that if she were not serious, I didn’t have time for this.   I trained her for three weeks, three times a week.   After the first ten-pack was over, and she was geared up and ready, I decided she was serious about making a change.  I told her we would go package to package based on her commitment, and, if at any time, she didn’t work hard, train seriously and do as I said, I would drop her.

I pushed her pretty hard.   She took whatever I gave her.  One day, on the leg press, as I sat on the machine along with multiple 45-pound plates, and I told her 15 reps, she gave me a look that said, ‘I can’t.’  I told her, if you want to be a successful trainer, you can’t have a client doing something that you can’t do.  She exceeded 15.  That was the moment I knew I could and would help her.

We went through a lot of different scenarios for weight loss and muscle strength.  Overall, the variety was what worked best.   We went with the flow and when we found something that worked we stayed with it.

 Steve B.

Steve B.

After her first 60-pound weight loss, I decided it was time for her to hit the road.  I had trained her for this moment, and, even though her first initial run was tough, she started to go out on her own.  It was a proud moment in my book.

Not only did I help Briana lose the 100 pounds, I have seen her grow up from an insecure overweight child into an innovative and successful personal trainer.  She has developed the ability to have her own clients and get her own business.

And I’m a no-nonsense kind of guy. 

How to Survive in a Snowstorm

You may recall that winter storm Juno interrupted the relative calm, weather-wise, of January 2015.

And now storm Jonas has done that to us in 2016.

Were you ready for the forced one-day hibernation?   Did too much TV get viewed?  Did you walk to Dunkin Donuts and have two, or three, muffins?

Now is a good time to prepare for our next round of white stuff, or an ice storm, or whatever awaits us during the winter of 2016.

Every household probably has its own ideas for using that unplanned family time.  Here are half a dozen of mine that may work for you in some combination.

·      Some screen time is fine, but not too much.   Try to spend as much of it as possible in a common area, not each person on his or her own device in a different corner of the house.

·      Pick a movie the entire family can agree on and watch it together.   Then, maybe talk about it over organic hot chocolate or hot tea.

·      Plan a family walk, over land if you’re in a good area to do that, or along neighboring streets if they’re clear and you keep a sharp eye out for remaining plows … as long as you all have already been out to shovel the driveway, together.

·      Naps!

·      Try to make a nourishing – and healthy – family dinner happen.   Maybe everyone could take part in the actual meal preparation.  Or, perhaps there is a group baking project:  organic vegan chocolate cake?!  (See me!)

·      How about a family arts and crafts project?  Clear the kitchen table, bring out stickers, scissors and paste.  Put paper up against the wall, pretend it’s an easel and let the kids paint away.  Let the weather be an inspiration:  snowmen made out of marshmallows, or cutting out large snowflakes.

Do you have novel ideas for me?

And, remember, the first day of spring is only 54 days away!