WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL VALUES?

Doing 1 on 1 health coaching for a year now, I’ve realized that THIS tool can be the game-changer in helping a person really take action towards reaching their goals, whether they be health-related or otherwise. 

If we all can figure out our values, connect to them and make our daily choices and life decisions from that place, we would live life with more of a sense of inner peace and fulfillment. Our values, whether we know them consciously or not, can really be the driving force for a lot of our behaviors. 

If you value having good health, connect to that and let that drive you to make those healthier choices in your daily life. When what we do and how we behave doesn’t match our values, we can be feeling all sorts of messy! Internal conflict, stress, unhappy, unfulfilled, etc.

You can follow this basic protocol to figure out your values:

Define your values- what’s important to you? what matters most to you? When were you the happiest in your life? When you answer these questions, you will be able to figure out what you value most.  Also, remember it’s ok to go back and redefine our values as we learn more and grow.

Take a close look at your life and see how your time is spent (this can really show us if we prioritize our values or not)

See how you can make daily choices that honor your values. 

Some of my values are faith/prayer, being active, eating healthy, family, some good old entertainment, mental health, balance, being respectful, learning, productivity and taking action, being responsible, creativity, consistency, inner beauty, kindness, fairness, close friendships, connecting with others, self-control, etc.  This is definitely not an exhaustive list of mine. Also, some I struggle with, some I desire to have, and some that come easily to me. 

Other values can be fashion, make up, organization, sports, leadership, competition, practicality, simplicity, strength, adventure, travel, community, boldness, loyalty, functionality, etc. Of course, there’s definitely more universal values that almost all humans appreciate, but we each tend to have our own particular preferences of them. 

I’ve been taking courses on the 4 temperaments (sanguine/phlegmatic/meloncholic/choleric) with @isaaq.mohammed (he can be found on IG) called “knowing yourself” which has given me a good amount of insight into my own behaviors and natural tendencies and also other people’s behaviors and tendencies. So much of who we are is because of our nature (the 4 temperatments) and so much can be because of our nurture (how we were raised/what we were exposed to, etc.)  Once you’re more aware of yourself, your weaknesses and strengths, your likes and dislikes, your personality traits, your principles and values etc. you can really try to improve and balance yourself and reach your life goals. 

Other benefits of knowing yourself is that you’ll be less “judgey” of others behaviors when you know your own flaws. Also, when you know yourself, you will seek less acceptance, approval and understanding from others (aka fitting in) because YOU understand yourself, your values and worth. Values will help you place boundaries where you need them. They will give your more confidence in your decisions. Sometimes you will have to choose between 2 different values, and at those times, see what feels more fitting for you and ask God to bless you in your affairs! 🙂

How to keep your immune system healthy!

Hi guys!

With all of this corona virus and flu virus fears going around, we have to know how to keep our immune systems strong and healthy! Following these guidelines (along with keeping proper hygiene and washing your hands the proper way of course!) can help protect you from many harmful viruses and bacteria, and also help speed up your recovery should you catch one!

  • Make sure to get in all the immune-supporting nutrients! In particular, these are Vitamins A, C and D along with zinc and omega 3 fats! All of these help with either the production and/or activity of certain types of white blood cells essential to the immune system or help fight inflammation to balance the immune system’s response. Vitamin A is needed to maintain the mucus membranes that line our respiratory tract and digestive tract which serve as the first line of defense against harmful pathogens
VITAMIN A-RICH FOODS:
Liver, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, dairy.
Our body can also produce vitamin A from carotenoids found in plant-foods: sweet potatoes, pumpkin,spinach, kale, carrots, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, lettuce, broccoli, etc.
Vitamin C Rich Foods:
Strawberries, guava, pineapple,oranges, kiwi, bell peppers, tomatoes,cantaloupe, lemons. 
Vitamin C is shown to reduce the lengths of colds.  
Vitamin D-rich Foods:
fatty fish like salmon, egg yolks, but its not as abundant. Taking a daily supplement to make sure you’re getting enough especially in the winter would be the best.  
Zinc:
Beef, lamb, oysters, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, oats, cashews, chicken
Omega 3 fats:
 Salmon
 Sardines
 Walnuts
 chia seeds
 Flaxseeds 
  • Spices and herbs like ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric and oregano are all great immune-boosters.  They have anti-viral/anti-bacterial properties along with being anti-inflammatory!  Increase these more in your soups, stews, salads, bean dishes, roasted veggies, etc.  Maybe making a turmeric aka golden milk latte every night before bed, or having a chutney daily with raw garlic. Aside from these, including coconut oil, bone broth and shiitake mushrooms also have properties that boost your immunity in their own respective right.  
  • Probiotics! Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your gut! A healthy gut = a healthy immune system.  Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestines that fight off all the bad disease-causing bacteria! Our gut is like an ecosystem and the more diversity in beneficial bacteria you have, the more health benefits you will get.  Take a probiotic supplement or you can add fermented foods in your diet which contain plenty of probiotics.  Examples of fermented foods are yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha.
  • Sleep and Stress Management –higher levels of stress hormones in your body suppress immune function and can harm your body’s ability to fight viruses. In terms of sleep, sleep HEALS.  Lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. Recovery time is also prolonged from sickness if you’re not getting enough sleep. 
  • Reducing SUGAR, excess dairy, and processed grain products. These either create excess inflammation in the body, don’t offer significant nutrition and end up not leaving space in your stomach for nutritious foods! So, things like white bread, bagels, donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, pizza, heavy creamy pastas, AVOID and replace these with more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. This will strengthen your immunity. 
  • Also, well-studied is that people who exercise regularly seem to have a reduced chance of getting sick.  Exercise boosts the activity of your immune system!

So, now putting this altogether! Maybe you add a serving of those vitamin A and C rich fruits/veggies to your meal. Ex: have some cut up oranges and cantaloupe with your breakfast or have some roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli as a side for lunch!

You can also prep snacks high in zinc and omega 3 fats: make a trail mix type baggie with some pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, and dried fruit!

You can add an immune boosting soup to your menu 1-2x a week with some chicken, bone broth, garlic, ginger, mushrooms etc. For breakfast, you can do an egg, smoked salmon, avocado sandwich! Or do a bowl/jar of oats with some chia seeds and top with some pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, strawberries and drizzle of honey!

Of course, aside from these dietary additions, keeping a healthier lifestyle by prioritizing sleep, using healthy stress management tools like deep breathing, meditating, journaling, positive affirmations etc, making exercise part of your lifestyle and reducing your reliance on sugar and processed carb-loaded foods will benefit your health in many many ways. Again, take it one positive choice at a time.

If you still catch those bugs, know that this is part of life and focus on recovery!

A Healthy Desi Food Diet

Desi Food!

Everyone has their own traditional cuisine they’ve grown up eating. For my desi folks, we DO NOT have to ditch our ethnic food to be healthy and reach our health and fitness goals! We just need to plan our meals wisely.

Don’t just be eating meat with a little masala and rice/bread! That’s not balanced. Where’s the veggies ? 1/2 cup cooked veggies is a serving and 1 cup raw veggies is a serving. Have at least 3 servings in a day! So, time to get more color on that plate!

So, My top tips for having a well-balanced desi food plate are:

  • Have a veggie dish with every meal (and not just aloo (potato) based!) Aim for 1/2 cup!
  • Have a salad or just cut up fresh cucumbers, radish, carrot, onion etc on the side as much as you can ! For the times you don’t get to add the above-mentioned veggie dish, have at least 1 cup of this salad!
  • Have daal often especially if you’re keeping it vegetarian for the meal. Aim for 1/2 cup.
  • Eat up to 1 cup cooked rice or 1 medium size whole grain roti (flat-bread).

So, here’s what I have on my plate:

  • 1/2 cup cooked okra (bhindi) masala (recipe can be found here – I just used okra instead of asparagus!)
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (daal) with “hidden” veggies. I added zucchini and carrots to it. The recipe for this daal is saved under highlights titled “desi food” on my IG account – @healthwithafrina (Lentils actually fall under the starchy vegetable category AND protein category since they’re rich in both!)
  • 1 cup rice (I’m mostly active and also don’t have any weight loss goals, so this amount is good for me. You can reduce to 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup if you’re looking to lose weight or have blood sugar issues. You can do brown rice as well of course).
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 2 oz Cooked salmon (this is to add more protein. Protein helps us feel fuller, reduces our reliance on eating more empty carbs like the rice or roti while replacing them with more nutrient-dense, muscle building, metabolism boosting goodness. Of course salmon has its own host of benefits! You can do chicken/beef/goat etc instead) if you’re leaning toward having more vegetarian meals and cutting down meat intake, then for the added protein part you can have 1/2 cup of yogurt raita instead! (Yogurt raita is a traditional desi side made in a variety of ways like with fresh mint/cilantro, green chillis, garlic, spices like cumin seeds/chaat masala , yogurt and a little water mixed or blended all up) **we’re all individual and our lifestyles are different. Check your hunger level and activity level like if you were pretty active or plan to be active for the rest of the day, then make sure to add that extra protein especially then! Because sometimes the reason why we get late night cravings is because we didn’t eat enough satiating protein and fat filled meals earlier on and instead relied only carb-heavy meals.**
  • For my good fats, I cooked this all in some ghee and some in avocado oil. Do NOT be afraid to add that flavorful oil (tarka/baghaar whatever you call it) to your daal once it’s fully cooked. Just make sure it’s a high quality oil! The fat helps you absorb certain vitamins and minerals better from the lentils and veggies, along with keeping you fuller and keeping your blood sugar stable!! Keeping your blood sugar stable, can help protect you from many chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity etc

Birthday Refections

Another year older! Numbers don’t lie. Every year, I find myself reflecting on my birthday. So, here are my birthday reflections. These are just a good chunk of my realizations, what I’m valuing, what I’m still wanting and what I have learned this past year. 

  1. Trusting in Allah (God). Completely. Doing more dhikr (remembrance/praise of God) helps with that.
  2. More quality time with family – I’m valuing this more and more as I’m getting older.  Especially cherishing my parents. 
  3. Needing my girlfriends! Heart to heart conversations are the best with your close few.
  4. Getting my creative juices flowing – in any way, shape or form.  This could be building my business, artwork with the kids, cooking in the kitchen, dancing, etc.
  5. Incorporating more quiet time/stillness in my day where I get to connect with myself, Allah and nature- taking little ‘nature breaks’ when I feel the need
  6. Prioritizing physical activity to feel strong and fit.  Again, for me that looks like yoga!
  7. Practicing gratitude by appreciating and celebrating the good in my life. 
  8. Learning more and more about mental and emotional health especially as it relates to my individual self
  9. Exploring with my kids
  10. Finding those little moments of joy and laughter amongst the hectic schedules and motherhood duties of daily life.  Being fully present in them.
  11. Bonding over some good entertainment with others
  12. Healing myself
  13.  Not comparing my life to others
  14. Moving on
  15. Taking action and showing up

I hope you could relate with some of these or be inspired by them. What realizations are hitting you as you’re getting older? I would love to hear some of them. We’re all always evolving and as we go through different phases of life, sometimes that has us re-evaluating some of the outdated beliefs and ideas we’ve been carrying with us. Reflecting really helps you figure out what’s serving you and what’s not anymore. I urge you to give it a try!

Weight Loss Tips

I’ve gotten so many questions and requests regarding “how to lose weight,” so I decided to write a full blog post all about it! I focus more on creating a sustainable healthy diet and lifestyle over the long term. I want you to know that you don’t have to follow the latest diet trends and drive yourself crazy. Just stick to these principles below as best as you can and you’ll see improvements in your weight and health!

1. A Lower-Carb Diet! 

Simple. Eat more fat, protein and fiber-loaded foods rather than carb-heavy/starchy/sugary foods.  Just trim your portion size of the carb and mainly eat whole grain carbs! There’s plenty of research that indicates that a high-protein breakfast is linked with reduced cravings during the day and also less late-night snacking! So, if you’re the kind who gets a coffee and croissant/giant muffin on the go and skimps on breakfast, change that! Switch over to eggs, Greek yogurt, nut butters, avocados, smoked turkey/salmon, etc and get off the cereal! It’s not just about how many calories you consume vs. how many calories you burn, it’s more about the TYPE of calories.  The type of calories (ex: soda vs. broccoli) you consume affect your hormones in a way that they either promote disease and weight gain or promote health and fitness.

2. Cut out processed foods and sugary drinks!

Take out those donuts, cookies, chocolates, chips, cakes, as well as those fancy frappucinos, sodas, fruit juices, etc.  Allow yourself 1-2 times out of the week where you treat yourself to these things, so that you don’t feel deprived and enjoy yourself.  One tip I can give you around this is to be INTENTIONAL about it.  Don’t just have it because it’s right there, it’s convenient or your friend/co-worker is having it.  Be intentional and go for it when you REALLY want it.  Remember, many granola/energy bars/flavored yogurts which are marketed as “health foods” are actually pretty high in added sugar.  Instead, for snacks go with a mix of nuts/seeds, fruit with almond/peanut butter, veggies with hummus/guacamole, etc. Also, for drinks, water is your best friend! Have some lightly flavored/infused water with some lemon/lime/orange etc if you don’t enjoy drinking plain water.

3. Consume LOTS of vegetables!

Eat those salads and roasted/sauteed veggies.  4-5 servings of veggies and at most 2-3 servings of fruits is recommended. Fruits do contain natural sugars, so we don’t want to rely on them too much. I’ve posted a sample picture at the beginning of this post of what an ideal plate looks like. Try to follow that most of the time. Its OK if sometimes you have more carbs and less vegetables. What you do most of the time is what matters! Here’s a visual of what 4-5 veggie servings in a day looks like. This is not to intimidate you. It’s to encourage you and help you come close to this inshaAllah (God-Willing). Make it your own by using your ethnic foods!

4. Exercise at-least 30 mins every day or 45 mins every other day.

You won’t get the results you’re looking for if you don’t exercise consistently. If you can’t go the gym, you can just dance it out. Make it yours!

5. Try your best to get a good night’s sleep.

 There’s research showing that we crave more comfort foods when we’re sleep-deprived. Hormones that increase our appetite go up and we end up eating bigger portions of food at meals. On top of that, sleep reduces our insulin-sensitivity which makes our body more likely to store fat. Stick to a schedule for sleep and food!

Here are some weight-loss friendly foods:

  • Coconut oil- Don’t add it on top of the other oils you already use in your cooking, rather replace some of the oils you use with coconut oil.  The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are quickly converted into energy and are less likely to be stored as fat! 
  • Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies- You can eat a big volume of these since they’re so low in calories and carbs. Try broccoli and cauliflower roasted!
  • Apple cider vinegar- it appears that ACV can help promote weight loss by improving blood sugar and insulin responses especially after a higher-carb meal. Use it in your salad dressings.  You can also have a glass of water mixed with 1 tbsp of ACV 20 minutes before your meal to help with digestion.

Here’s a 1 day sample meal plan for weight loss or really for anyone trying to eat a heathier diet and up their nutrition.

1 Day Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast:   Open-faced egg sandwich – Top 1 slice whole grain toast with ¼-1/2 mashed avocado and 2 scrambled eggs! Add some berries on the side.

Lunch:  Whole grain wrap with turkey/chicken/fish/beans with lettuce and about ½ cup chopped vegetables (like onion, tomato, olives, cucumber) and 3-4 tbsp hummus.  On the side, have some carrot and cucumber/celery sticks.

Snack: Apple slices with almond butter

Dinner: ½ cup rice or medium size whole grain roti (flat bread), baked/grilled chicken or fish (palm-sized is good), 1 cup cooked/roasted vegetables (ex: broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant, okra etc.) or 2 cups chopped salad. (Having yogurt or “raita” with your chicken and vegetables is also good since it ups the protein content!)

Post dinner treat: (If craving!) 2 Stuffed Dates. Take the pit out of dates and stuff them with some almond/peanut butter butter and pinch sea salt. Freeze. You can eat this right out of the freezer.

So, I hope you now have a clearer picture of what a “weight loss” diet looks like. Above and beyond the weight loss benefits, if you want to prevent chronic disease, stick to these factors and you will enjoy better health, strength and energy inshaAllah (God-willing).

Of course, these are all general guidelines.  Every person is different and what works for one, won’t always work for the other.  If you need a more personalized diet plan for yourself and need some coaching to reach your health goals, I’ll be starting my 1 on 1 coaching sessions very soon!  Stay tuned.  

Eggplant Hummus Wraps

Meatless Monday recipe comin at ya !

This is so great to #mealprep and that’s exactly what I did ! You can just roast the eggplant and mushrooms and make the salad ahead of time! Then during the week, you can throw this wrap together whenever you need. Just make sure to have some good hummus on hand !
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Here’s the recipe:
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1 large eggplant 
1/2 container of mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder 
Salt and pepper
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Slice eggplant into large 1/2 inch thick planks. Slice mushrooms . Season with oil and spices. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes . Remove mushrooms and set aside . Flip eggplant and put back in oven for another 15 mins till tender and brown in places !
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Garlic and paprika fresh chopped salad:
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1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced in long strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced 
2 scallions, sliced on the bias 
1 small tomato, thinly sliced 
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/3 cup chopped parsley 
1 clove garlic minced
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Toss all together and add 1/2-1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and 1 tbsp olive oil and a good pinch salt ! Refrigerate.
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Now heat any whole grain tortilla in a pan with some butter . Add 2-3 tbsp of hummus (I used a store-bought roasted garlic hummus), add a dash of crushed red pepper, some baby spinach , some eggplant slices, some mushrooms and then the chopped salad !
Wrap it up and enjoy.
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You won’t miss the meat one bit! I like to use mushrooms and some sturdy veggie like eggplant because it adds like a thick meaty texture!
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Prepping your body for Ramadan

Hello to my lovely readers!

Ramadan is a couple of weeks away alhamdulillah (All praise and thanks due to God). I wanted to share some little tips and tricks for you to prepare your body for a healthier and easier Ramadan inshaAllah.  Our eating habits can drastically change during Ramadan, so making small adjustments before can help you transition better. These are intended to help reduce any possible side effects of fasting. So, here we go!

  1. Start reducing your Caffeine intake – especially if you’re a heavy coffee drinker! This can ensure that your withdrawal symptoms aren’t as bad when you do start fasting. 
  2. Drink lots of water- if your body stays properly hydrated consistently, it will be better able to handle long fasts minimizing symptoms of dehydration. 
  3. Include more sunnah foods (the Prophet’s food) in your diet! All the sunnah foods have loads of nutrition in them along with being light and easy to digest. Plus, you get the reward of emulating the Prophet. Some sunnah foods are melons, squash, dates, honey, figs, cucumbers, grapes, olive oil, vinegar, eggs, fish, basil, and black seeds which can be great additions. 
  4. Reduce refined sugar- As soon as you do this, your cravings will decrease and your blood sugar will start to stay more stable which is especially important during the time you are fasting!
  5. Batch prep some healthy food and freeze them for Ramadan.  Things like kebabs, veggie patties, chutneys, chicken, etc can be made ahead. I know the deep-fried items like samosas and rolls are made ahead by the dozens in many South Asian households, but try to hold back on that! Have them as the occasional treat like when you’re invited at an iftar gathering. 
  6. Start cutting out snacks from your diet! Stretch out your meals longer by just sticking with breakfast, lunch and dinner. No grazing/snacking if you’re used to that. This way you will be getting your body used to longer periods without food!
  7. Start waking up a bit earlier to adjust your sleeping patterns. In Ramadan we wake up to pray and eat suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) super early. It can be difficult to do that, so these adjustments can really help some of us. When ramadan is in full swing, I even try to add in a power nap when I can because of getting less sleep during the month.

Now of course, I just covered the prepping you can do to get yourself ready physically for fasting in Ramadan, but as Muslims, the spiritual benefits are what we’re really after.  As a reminder to myself and you, let’s make this the best Ramadan, spiritually inshaAllah.  Make your intention and set realistic goals for yourself. All this meal prepping and eating healthy stuff is only a means to an end.  A means to having more energy and more productivity in the things that matter most in Ramadan like your worship and good deeds inshaAllah.

zesty asparagus masala

Zesty asparagus masala !

This is a spin off my aunt’s recipe for okra masala . I wanted to try and make asparagus South Asian style and this totally worked !  You can use okra instead if you like.

Asparagus can be such a great nutritious addition into anyone’s diet . It’s loaded with folate, fiber and vitamins A, C and K!

I love the combination of the toasted spice mixture in the end . The spices really help boost a persons digestion and metabolism .

Here’s the recipe:

Sauté one medium chopped onion in about 2 tbsp of oil (I used avocado oil) until golden brown.

Add 2 chopped medium tomatoes, salt to taste, 1/4 tsp turmeric , 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper . Mix around and then lower heat to medium low, cover pan and let tomatoes cook for about 5 mins . Remove lid and cook on high till the tomato masala is a bit dryish (mash the tomatoes if you want!)

Add 1 bunch of chopped asparagus , stir around and then lower heat and let asparagus cook till tender (about 15 mins) .

While asparagus is cooking , in a dry skillet, toast 1/2 tsp each of whole coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds , and mustard seeds along with 1/4 tsp each of Kalonji ( aka nigella seeds in English) and fenugreek seeds (methi dana). Once the spices are a bit toasty, add to a coffee grinder and grind them . I got about 1 1/2 tbsp jor so of ground spices .

When asparagus is tender , raise heat to high and cook a bit more till masala looks done. Add all the toasted spice mixture and add some green chili’s . Mix, lower heat and cover pan for just a few more mins for flavors to come together. Done . Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro 💚

Again, follow me @healthwithafrina on Instagram to see regular updates from me and keep your eyes peeled for my first ever 6 week holistic health program in the works and launching VERY soon!

#asparagus #healthydesifood #realwholefood #iinhealthcoach #cleaneating #vegetarianrecipes #masala #nutritious #healthyfoodshare #healingspices

 

Beating the Winter Blues!

Winter will be here soon! The bitter cold and less daylight hours can have some of us feeling the winter blues. There’s even something called seasonal affective disorder which is basically a type of depression that occurs in winter! I want to share some holistic diet and lifestyle tips that can help you stay happy this winter.

1. Wear brighter colors – seriously! Color therapy is real. Different colors can help shift our moods. Brighter colors are associated with happiness and youth! In nature, spring, summer and fall have so many colors to offer and in winter, there’s generally more greys and a lack of color. So, add some more color to your own personal life to boost happy feelings!

2. Get outside early morning or afternoon when there’s actual sunlight out! Sunshine significantly goes down during the winter, so take advantage of it when there is some. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and take a walk outside. Light therapy is also very real. Natural light boosts mood!

3. Move your body! Anything that gets you more physically active. Exercise, yoga, dance, etc. One of the best ways to relieve stress and release those feel good endorphins is by exercising! Time and time again, exercise has been proven to decrease feelings of depression and improve mood.

4. Diffuse your favorite natural fragrances in your home! We find ourselves more home bound in the winter season staying cozy and warm indoors. Aromatherapy is very powerful! You can use essential oils like lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, rose etc to help you feel instantly relaxed easing any depressive moods. It’s a regular in our household and we love coming home to delicious smells!
Alternatively, you can create your own simmering potpourri! Basically all you do is simmer water in a pot on the stove with your favorite smelling scents like from spices and food/food scraps like orange peels, lemon peels, cinnamon, apple peels and cores, cloves, dried lavender etc. They will make your kitchen and home smell lovely uplifting your spirits. You can get super festive with it at this time of the year. Keep it going and just add water as needed.

5. Drink hot drinks! Nothing more comforting then sweet warm drinks that cozy you up on the inside! Hot chocolate is our favorite which we make diary-free with our favorite creamy home-made cashew milk. Our favorite recipe can be found here: https://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/14/luxurious-dairy-free-hot-cocoa/
I even read that just clutching a warm mug in your hand soothes us even before we begin to drink. Finding your favorite mug (lots of motivational ones out there!) makes it that much more special!

6. Make sure you’re getting enough of all those mood-boosting nutrients you might be deficient in! Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids can help fight depression. Also, eating complex carbohydrates releases serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the body, which can temporarily enhance mood!

So, yes, these were some self care tips from me for the winter to keep your spirits up! Of course, there’s a gazillion things you can do to cheer yourself up and you know yourself best! Of course, if you have serious mood/depression issues than make sure to get the professional help you need and do the deeper internal work that needs to be done. I love journaling and find it extremely therapeutic. Whenever my thoughts and emotions are nagging and getting the best of me, I pull out my journal to make sense of it all, gather perspective, shift from negative to positive and move on. It’s like an emotional detox! Try it 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me on IG @healthwithafrina to get more frequent tips and inspiration from me!

HOLIDAY SEASON: HEALTHY EATING TIPS

Holiday season can be a little tough for people who are trying to eat healthy and clean, lose weight or those who have any dietary restrictions. I have 6 tips to help you stay on track while STILL fully enjoying the holidays!

 

  1. Make sure you’re well fed BEFORE the holiday party.  No skipping meals!  I know many people who really don’t eat all day before the party in anticipation of having a larger meal at the party.  Basically, they try to save their calorie intake for the party.  Although that might sound smart, it really sets you up for failure in two big ways.    It will slow down your metabolism which is NOT helpful for weight/belly issues and 2.  Your increased hunger level and cravings will just get the best of you leading you to stuffing your face into a food coma! So, make sure your body is “nutritionally fed” before the party.  Have eggs with greens for breakfast or have a loaded green smoothie.  This will prevent you from overeating!
  2. Eat your FAVORITE foods at the party! You don’t have to eat everything or sample (putting it mildly here) everything. Whichever dish is your favorite to eat or whichever dish you are in the mood for, eat that!
  3. Eat SLOWLY and SAVOR each bite! Don’t mindlessly eat while rambling on.  Fully enjoy your meal by chewing more and loving every bit of it.  You can try putting down your fork in between bites to help slow you down.  Remember, it takes time for our brains to get the signal that we’re full, so if you eat slow, you won’t over eat!
  4. Enjoy the company and the entertainment! There’s MUCH more to holiday gatherings than just food!!  Connect with others and just have a good old time.  That can nourish and comfort you on another level aside from food!
  5. Bring a healthy side dish to the party if you feel like that will help keep you getting too off track with your healthy diet.
  6. Lastly, practice moderation. Try to get in a light exercise the day of the party.  This will keep your body more insulin sensitive which can help with weight management. Drink lots of water throughout the day, so again you body feels more balanced, satisfied and at ease!

 

And if you still go “overboard,” know that it’s OKAY!  You can pick right back up again the next day.  No need for immense guilt.  It will be a new day where you get to make healthier choices all over again.  Take a deep breath and just THANK God for all the abundance you have around you!