You Salty, huh?

saltyWe as humans are creatures of habit, we do what we’re used to and don’t even question it. This personally reigns true for me when I’m sitting at a dining table and sprinkle some table salt on my food when it doesn’t meet my flavor standards. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this additional ingredient puts a toll on my well-being.

I generally eat pretty clean, so I had to pause for a minute and question why my seemingly harmless avocado toast was making me feel so bloated and sluggish. My thought process was that I’m better off adding salt and pepper to my food rather than a hefty sauce, butter, cheese, or dressing. Which is true in most senses, but becoming too dependent on salt only causes sluggishness, bloating and cravings for fatty foods.

I realized that once I stopped adding salt to my food I felt comfortably full, extremely energized and not bloated. Once I noticed this difference it made it easy for me to decide to give up table salt for the year. I found myself broadening my horizon to the healthy alternatives to salt and realizing how little sodium we actually need in our diet.

According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended that we consume 1,500 mg of sodium a day -which is less than the amount of salt found in a teaspoon. Despite your current health status, this is an easy initiative to limit your risk factors to cardiovascular disease.

If your preferred salt intake is that of a deer’s attraction to a salt lick, this might be a troubling thought to you. However, it is easier than you think to flavor your food without salt, here’s how.

 

  • Lemon: What we tend to love about salt is it’s slight tang. What better way to make up for this with a squeeze of some fresh and tangy lemon juice?
  • Pepper: I have always added pepper to my food, personally if it’s not spicy or flavorful I’m pretty bored with that food. So I always make sure to add Cayenne pepper, or black pepper.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a great alternative to salt. Balsamic vinegar can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels according to livestrong.com. Plus, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to vinegar.
  • Garlic: Adding garlic to food is the perfect zest for you non pepper eaters. Not only does it give food a satisfying, hearty taste but it helps speed up your metabolism and is a good source of iron according to whfoods.org.

 

February is just around the corner, which is American Heart month. What better time than now to make this simple change that can greatly improve your cardiovascular health? Broaden your palate horizon, limit your salt intake and indulge in an energized and healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a good day to have a good one.”

-Alena Purpero

Meditation 101

meditationThe beginning of a new year means a new you, am I right? So many of us find ourselves making new goals or resolutions that we want to achieve as we make way into the new year. Often, it’s physical appearances that we fixate ourselves on. Wanting to loose ten pounds or look good in that little black dress to wear out and about, but whatever happened to focusing on our mental state? Why are we, as humans of the 21st century, so fixated on our outermost appearances when the root of everything we do and feel stems from within?

 

Well I may not have the answers to all of these questions; I do have a solution that can help improve your everyday life and health in 2017. This solution comes all the way from India during the middle ages. In the 18th century according to Medical News.net.  Indians used meditation to help guide them to faith where it was eventually brought to the western culture in 1979 for the Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program. Today, meditation is used throughout the United States to help alleviate stress and everyday wellbeing.

 

Rather then focusing on only the physical aspects of your health in 2017, I challenge you to focus inside yourself where your health ultimately begins: your mind.  If you’re anything like myself, you may have heard about meditation through the grapevine, but are unsure of what it really is. Below, I have broken down the art of meditation through common questions people have regarding this art.

 

What is meditation?

 

In short, meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. Through regular meditation practice, one is able to learn the patterns and habits of their mind while cultivating a new, more positive way of being.

Why should I meditate?

 

With the hectic pace and high demands of everyday life, it is often that we feel stressed, overworked and out of tune with out body and thoughts. Meditation gives us a chance to reconnect our body back to our thoughts to improve many aspects of our lives. Some of the main benefits from meditation include…

  • Lower stress levels
  • Better connections
  • Improvedfocused
  • Increased control over emotions
  • Increased overall well being

 

How do I Meditate?

 

The art of mediation itself is a very personalized experience, which allows you to transform each session to fit your exact needs. The most important part of your practice should include finding a quiet space that is away from any distractions from the outer world. Making sure all electronics are turned off and out of sight is the best way to ensure you are fully present with yourself. It is also important to find a comfortable position for your body in your session, weather that be lying down or seated in your favorite chair.

 

You should begin by bringing your mind to your breath and slowing your breathing pace through deep ujjayi breaths (deep inhales through the nose and slow exhales through the mouth).  For those new to the mediation practice, it is recommended that you start by following guided scripts. These can be found through apps for your electronic devices, the most popular include sattva, calm and headspace. Or even better, Warhawk Fitness and Aquatics Group Fitness is now offering live mediation sessions in the Williams Center dance studio on Wednesday’s from 12:15-12:45p, where you will be lead through a live-guided meditation script. As you become more experienced with mediation, you are eventually able to block your mind completely from the outside world without any scripts.

 

Now that you know the basics of mediation and all the benefits it has on your body, what are you waiting for? Take time to meditate today and feel the effects it has on the rest of your health goals. Remember: healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy soul.

 

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Soul.~

 

-Hannah Anderson

Netflix and Sweat?

I don’t know about you, but when I come home for break I do not have access to a gym. netflix-and-sweatThat means that the majority of my winter break consisted of watching Netflix on the couch. Now for a while this seemed to be just fine for me. But after a while I started to feel tired and out of energy. Then I thought, why not combine the two?! I could watch my favorite shows AND get a great workout in at the same time.

Something that I recently read about was to watch a TV show or movie and get in a great workout at the same time. The basic concept is that each time a character says a certain phrase or does something specific, you do a specific exercise. This way, you are able to stay entertained without losing track of your health and wellness goals. Another tip to maintain your healthy lifestyle is to have healthy snacks around when you are watching this show. Try to have some fruits and veggies around while you watch your show. You can either purchase these items and cut them yourself or you can buy pre-made platters that are just as good.

With everything going on in our lives, it is really important to remember to relax and take a break. It’s also important to make time for our personal wellness. The next time you realize you need to do both, give this fun combination a try!

|Stay motivated and don’t give up. Amazing things will happen|

Julia O’Connor

A New Year = A New You… Right?

slide1I am all about setting goals and reaching them, but I never understood why we as individuals have to wait tell the first of the year to make a goal, and how long does this goal go on for?  Until we forget about it, until we see results, a few weeks after, who knows.  In my opinion to many New Year resolutions end in failure, and I hate failure.

Make it a full out successful year by tackling one new habit a month for an entire year.  By the end of the year you’ll have twelve new habits that will benefit your years to come.

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging trying to come up with new ideas each month trying to make habits out of.  Below is a list of new habits I came up with to use in my own personal 2017.

January: Lets save some money.

  • Cancel all subscriptions you aren’t using regularly. (Soptify, Nextflix, etc.)
  • Call your cable company and ask for a lower price or if they have a college discount.
  • Pack a healthy lunch instead of buying one.
  • Make your coffee at home.

February: Practice mindfulness.

  • Disconnect from technology for the day.
  • Smile more.
  • Be positive.  Tell yourself something you love about you every day.

March: Organize your life.

  • Upgrade from paper. Digitalize your paper so less clutter is around you.
  • Dispose expired items. This goes further than just food.

April: Anti-stress pickup.

  • Try out mediation. Check out Warhawk fitness yoga classes!
  • Adult coloring books.
  • Anything to set your mind free (working-out, writing, reading, cooking, etc.)

May: Indulge in fruit and veggies.

  • Drink your veggies. Increase your intake by adding veggies to a smoothie or creating your own juice.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand.
  • Try “meatless Monday”

June: Experience over things.

  • Get involved in groups. On campus there are mor4e then 100 to join.
  • Enjoy more live music.
  • Plan a vacation. Even if it’s just for the weekend or a couple miles away.

 

August: Switch up your workout.

  • Try out new fitness classes on campus.
  • Hit up the machines you’ve always been too nervous to uses.
  • Ask a friend to join your workout.

September: Learn a new skill.

  • Look up cooking tutorials, or any tutorial in that matter.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Join one of those 100 clubs on campus.

October: Protect yourself.

  • Strengthen online passwords. Use a tool like LastPass to protect and keep all your passwords.
  • Keep vacations off social media until you return. The world doesn’t need to know that no one will be in your house for a week, it’s just screaming: “please come rob me.”
  • Take up a self-defense class.

November: Decrease portion size.

  • Use smaller plates. Don’t let your eyes control how much food is going on your plate.
  • Divide your plate up so you’re consuming the right amount of each food.
  • Don’t starve yourself or skip meals.

December: Practice generosity.

  • Make a commitment to volunteering.
  • Join an organization that focus on giving back.
  • Work on being generous to yourself.

I hope you learn. I hope you laugh. I hope you never stop. And remember being fit is always in style.

-Karlee Fowler