Fiber Fueled, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Recipe

Mediterranean Grain Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked farro 
1 cup chickpeas
1 large tomato diced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup seeded and chopped cucumber
¼ cup sliced Kalamata olives
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
 
Zesty Lemon Dressing:
 
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
 
Instructions:

  1. Make the grain salad: Bring 3 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the farro. Cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
  2. Combine the cooked farro, chickpeas, tomato, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, olives and parsley in a large bowl and toss together. Set aside. 
  3. Make the dressing: In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper until well combined, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. 
  4. Assemble: Toss the dressing with the grain salad until well combined, adding more salt and pepper, as desired. Store in the fridge. Leftovers will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. 

This recipe is from the book, Fiber Fueled by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz. It is delicious, light, and easy to make for lunch or as a side for dinner with some grilled chicken or steak! Enjoy!

Fitness, Goals, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Mid-Year Check In, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Perspective, Pursuing your dreams

We’re HALFWAY Through 2021!

Where are you at?!

Every January I set intentions and goals for the upcoming year. In recent years, I have been extremely specific about my annual goals and the steps it’ll take for me to accomplish them. I look at them frequently throughout the year to ensure I am on track but each July I take a good, hard and honest look at the goals I set, my progress thus far and if they are still relevant to me and my dreams. 

My midyear check-in is about reviewing the following:

  • where am I at in the process of meeting my goals?
  • what MUST I do over the next 6 months to reach my goals?
  • if I have reached a goal, can I level up in that area, if desired?
  • do my goals still feel attainable, or do they need to shift a bit – make bigger or a bit smaller?
  • how am I feeling about my progress?
  • what am I surprised by?
  • what has been the hardest step(s) towards reaching my goals? How will/have I overcome it?
  • what is the feeling I want to embody at the end of 2021?

This process can be a motivating wake-up call to maintain the fire I set in January. Sitting here typing this and looking at the goals I set in January, I can celebrate the fact that I have already accomplished a few of them, while simultaneously recognizing that I haven’t dedicated much time to others. 

This opportunity of a midyear check-in allows me to shift my focus a bit, if needed and maintain the course. 

Did you set goals/intentions at the beginning of the year? If so, how are you doing on progress? 

Want support? Reach out, I’m happy to help!

There’s STILL six months in this year! What do you want to achieve by January 2022? And more importantly, what feeling do you want to embody?

Keep going, you’re worth it.

Fitness, Health and Wellness, Nutrition

My Top Five Tips for Getting Back on Track

Ever find that after a busy season, holiday or family vacation you need to pull yourself back up onto the wagon to get back on track? Consider these five tips as a way to optimize your health!

  • Movement – 
    • USDA recommends people move their body for 150 minutes per week – this breaks down to 30 minutes, five days a week or ten minutes, 15 times. What I recommend is that you choose an activity that you enjoy to optimize the likelihood of consistency. 
    • When doing movement, stay within your aerobic heart rate zone! When we maintain our heart rate in our aerobic zone, we run our cells aerobically with oxygen, which is up to 16 times more energy efficient compared to our anaerobic heart rate zone. The goal is to stay in that energy-efficient, clean burning, oxygen-eating aerobic zone for the vast majority of time during exercise. Use thisinformation to calculate your aerobic heart rate zone.
    • Put movement on your schedule, ideally in the morning before anything gets in your way. Show up for your movement appointment as you would any therapy, dental, or chiropractic appointment.
    • Breaking the myth – you do not, I repeat, you do NOT need fancy, expensive equipment to get healthy and to move your body. All you need is yourself, and ideally proper footwear.
  • Nutrition – 
    • Minimize processed food – most processed food has harmful, toxic oils in it. The oils are considered TOXIC because they can not handle heat and when they are introduced to heat, they convert to trans fats. Trans fats lead to the formation of free radicals which not only turn normal polyunsaturated fatty acids into mutants, but can damage any part of your body: cell membranes, chromosomes, other fats etc.
    • Minimize refined sugar intake – most Americans are consuming, on average 200-pounds of sugar per year! Consuming refined sugar not only puts you at risk for diabetes, but it changes how your hormones work, significanly impacts your circulatory system, cholesterol, and can lead to birth defects among many other things. Refined sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. 
    • Eat clean – switch to organic to minimize your exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides, all of which have been linked to cause certain birth defects, obesity, diabetes, ADHD and various forms of cancer. 
    • See food as energy – fuel your body with food in a way that will serve you, your health and your goals.
  • Sleep – 
    • Recommended amount of sleep per night is seven to nine hours. How much sleep do you need to thrive?
    • Minimize blue light at least two hours before bedtime – if this feels impossible, consider purchasing blue-light blocking glasses. Blue light blocks the release of melatonin, a natural hormone that makes us drowsy and promotes our sleep cycle.
    • Create an optimal sleep environment for YOU – what temperature does the room need to be? Does it need to be dark? What about white noise? Do you hate your sheets? Change them out!
    • Consistency when it comes to bedtime and wake up time – yes, even on the weekends. Figure out how many hours you need to thrive and adjust your bedtime and wake up time so you get just that. 
  • Fluid Intake – 
    • Standard recommendation is six to eight glasses of eight fluid ounces per day OR half your weight in fluid ounces. Consider splitting up the day into quarters and set consumption goals.
    • Consider drinking eight fluid ounces of luke warm, lemon water in the morning to assist with boosting metabolism and liver detoxification.
  • Stress Management – 
    • Stress is energy in the body – the three ways to move energy is through movement, sound or your breath. Considering moving your body, breathing it out or screaming it out to let it out. 

Every moment is an opportunity to get back on that wagon, to pursue your health and to choose something that will serve you. 

What will your next choice be?

Blood Sugar Balance, Fab Four Theory, Health and Wellness, Kelly LeVeque, Nutrition, Recipe, Smoothie

Strawberry Basil Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp MCT oil
2 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup diced frozen or fresh strawberries
Handful of spinach
Handful of basil
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend to the desired consistency. If you use fresh strawberries, add a few ice cubes before blending to cool. If you’re not into strawberries, consider using blueberries, cherries or raspberries! If you’re not into MCT oil, consider an alternate healthy fat, such as 1/4 of an avocado.

This recipe is from Kelly LeVeque’s book, Body Love. A refreshing smoothie as the days warm up and summer approaches. Enjoy!

Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Marathon, Marathon Training, Personal Development, Running

I completed my 11th FULL marathon!

I completed it on Sunday, May 2nd. I was scheduled to run the Northeast Kingdom Marathon on May 1st, but it was postponed until September. When they announced the postponement, I was faced with a decision: pause training and re-start when it’s within the 18-week window, OR keep training, map my own race and get it done. I decided to keep training. Much like all of us, I didn’t know what the restrictions of COVID-19 would look like in September and I wasn’t willing to push my plans again for COVID, so.. I didn’t.
 
What I want to say about this marathon, which really can be applied to any aspect of life is: if you have something on your heart, if you have a dream, goal or an intention, figure out a way to do it and just do it. We can always allow fear, doubt, uncertainty, weather, upset or anything get in our way, but when you can push everything aside and continue to pursue your dream while you simultaneously hold those feelings – man, what an amazing experience. You can hold fear and still maintain your forward momentum. You can hold any emotion and still obtain your dream. 
 
The night before the race, per usual, I was experiencing some pre-race jitters, uncertainty and questions of: “am I really going to achieve this?” “Why am I doing this to myself again?” This is nothing new. These thoughts, feelings and questions enter my mind every evening before a race. In this moment, I have two choices, I can allow the thoughts and questions to keep me up all night and ruminate, or I can allow them space to be there and continue moving forward with my plan. 
 
I mapped my route prior to the race. The route took me from Ferrisburg, through Charlotte and into Shelburne. Rolling hills with views of Camel’s Hump, the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain. It was breathtaking scenery that left me feeling grateful, humbled, at peace and calm. 
 
My husband, unbeknownst to me, set up a cheer squad to help me out along the way. Every time I approached loved ones, I got full body chills. Seeing them all jumping up and down, waving their hands and rooting me on from the sidelines was the exact boost I needed in that moment. 
 
In addition to training for 18 weeks, I prepared for this race by making a playlist and purchasing a book on audible. I also knew that if push came to shove, and I slipped into a negative mindset, I could dedicate each mile to someone in my life that I love and admire. As I write this, I find myself thinking and feeling like the time flew by… because honestly, it did. 
 
I spent the first hour adjusting my pace and getting comfortable in a stride that I could maintain. I spent the time embracing the beats of the music, soaking up the morning sun and holding gratitude for the scenery. 
 
During the second hour, I started to feel my left hip a bit but was also met by my loved ones. That love, excitement, and full-body chills allowed me to shift my focus back onto the road and my journey. 
 
It was during the third hour that the challenge set in as the wind was now against me. It was during this hour that I had a moment of breakdown. A moment of awareness on how different my life would be/could be if I made different choices. In this moment, I was overcome with compassion, love and pride for where I am in my life, for the people that I choose to have in my life and for how far I have come. There were tears, pride, happiness and then full-body chills again. 
 
The fourth hour was by far the hardest. I had just hit 20.5 miles and I still had 5.7 miles to go. It was an hour of on-going self-coaching, self-compassion, self-love, grit, determination and power. My legs felt like led, my left hip had come back to greet me, and I felt ready to accomplish my mission. But I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t going to stop. I wasn’t going to walk. I was going to keep running, no matter how slow my pace became, and I did just that. 
 
I didn’t stop once. I ran the entire time and although my pace went from an 8:35 to a 9:53 minute per mile, there was no option for walking.  
 
I won first place! I say this with a smile knowing that I was the only runner out there, so I also came in last. Haha. 
 
Either way, I sit here at my desk with sore legs, a big smile and another massive accomplishment under my belt. 
 
We can do anything we set our minds to. I hope this story and marathon recap helps you feel empowered and allows you to hold the belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. 
 
Get after it, you’re worth it. 

Goals, Health and Wellness, Joy, Pursuing your dreams

May Newsletter – Big Life Changes!

Hello all – I  have a few BIG updates for you today. 

First off, I am OFFICIALLY 35-years-old! I turned 35 on April 26th and it was an amazing day. I spent the morning hiking Camel’s Hump! Through the 14-20 MPH winds, 30-degree temperatures, rocks covered in ice and a lot of fear, doubt, uncertainty and self-coaching, I made it to the top. Never in my life have I hiked alone but what better day to do it than on my birthday! I felt empowered, thrilled, and grateful when I made it to the top. Sometimes I want to push through the journey without even recognizing the beauty in it just to get to the destination, but this hike wasn’t about standing on top of that mountain, it was about the grit, determination and self-coaching it took to get me there. Our strength is built in our journey. Needless to say, I am so ready for this next year of my life; every step, every trip, every fall and everything in-between. You’re mine, 35!

Which brings me to my next big announcement: two months ago, I stopped working at Home Health and Hospice to pursue my business FULL TIME. That’s right, I am officially 100% an entrepreneur pursuing this dream of mine. I have kept it pretty “hush hush” because I’ve wanted to avoid any additional perceived pressure and because of the fear of failure. However, I see how this could also limit my capacity for growth. I also see that this dream not becoming what I want it to be, isn’t a failure; a failure is never giving it the attention it deserves. So as I pursue this dream, as I stumble, as I thrive, as I fall – just know that although you may see me fall, you will always see me get back up. 

My ask for you is this: if you are someone or know of someone that is looking for support as they pursue their health and wellness, will you give them my information? If you know someone wanting support when it comes to movement, nutrition, behavioral health or stress management, I can help them. If you know someone struggling with stress, overwhelm, exhaustion, or anxiety, I can help them. My mission with this dream of mine is: to help guide people on a journey towards healing. We are our own medicine and our own remedy, but sometimes it just takes someone to light the path for us. That’s what I’m here to do. 

I’m pumped for this year. I’m ecstatic with the decisions, expansion and development I’ve experienced lately and there’s SO much more to come. 

Check out my website for a quick refresher on the different services I offer and keep it in mind when someone is expressing dissatisfaction with their current level of health – I’m their gal! 🙂

Breath Work, Health and Wellness, Limiting Beliefs, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Mindset, Overcoming Self Doubt, Personal Development, Perspective, Self Awareness

Breath work has Changed my Life

Bold statement, but simply the truth.

Breath work has made a significant impact on my life, my health, my healing and my spirituality. Sometimes it feels complex to talk about because it feels so different from what I have experienced in the past or from how I have previously lived my life, but it’s part of my life now. Breath work has allowed me to realize that I have everything I need within me. It’s allowed me to realize that when I’m having a really hard time, a really big feeling or a really down day, I have the power within me to re-center, re-align and settle into my essence. 

Breath work has helped me re-connect with the essence of who I am. I had a very intense vision during one of my sessions: there I was standing in darkness, holding onto a string that was connected to the black and white way of life I have been living, mostly in regard to my job. Through this session, I thought about my life and the journey I have been on. Through this session, I thought about how I’ve been feeling in my current role as a nurse. And by the end of this session, I realized that holding onto this string attached to the black and white way of life just simply didn’t feel right to me. It felt wrong. It felt heavy. It felt nauseating. It felt like I was trudging through concrete. And then I saw the other string. Attached to this string was the gray way of life. But to me, it wasn’t gray – it was so full of life and color. It felt light, it felt warm, it felt exactly like home. It was in this session that I realized, although most of my life I have felt that I need to climb the latter, or have the cookie-cutter way of life or a job that everyone understands, ultimately that’s not who I am. I am not the black and white way of life, I am the gray way of life, where it’s a bit more obscure, a bit more ambiguous, a little bit different from the mainstream, but exactly right for me. 

Breath work has helped me to heal and continues to help me to heal. There is a lot with this concept, but ultimately, I feel we all experience our own level of tragedy, trauma or wounding in our lives. Breath work has allowed me to do the shadow work, to nurture the parts of me that felt neglected, abandoned, hurt, abused or forgotten. Breath work has allowed me to nurture the little girl part of me that still feels that hurt. Breath work has allowed me more compassion, love and grace for who I am today and the traits that I have always deemed as weaknesses. 

Breath work has helped me to realize that I have everything I need inside of me to succeed. We are often taught throughout our lives that in order to be happy, in order to be successful, in order to be loved, or in order to be healthy, we must seek something outside of ourselves. Breath work has shown me that I have everything I need to achieve what I want to achieve in this life. Breath work has helped me to stop directing my attention externally for validation and accolades and instead turn my attention onto myself and seek internal validation, love and acknowledgement. 

Breath work has helped me to manage my stress, overwhelm and anxiety. Breath work has helped me to identify what I need and then to go after it. Breath work has helped me to re-become the version of me that I let go of, suppressed, ignored, have hated and/or abused. Breath work has helped me to recognize my worth and has helped me to stand strong in defending that worth.

Breath work has changed my life. 

Breath Work, Fitness, Health and Wellness

The Positive Impact of Breathwork on your Health

So maybe you’re thinking: “So what? My breath, big deal. I breathe every day, why do I need to sit down for 15 minutes each day to focus on it?” If you are wondering why and how breathwork has the ability to change your life, here are a few ways that it can have a positive impact on you and your health.

  • Skin Health – when we practice breath holds, and hold the breath inside the body, it supplies oxygen to the skin cells. When we increase the oxygen to the skin cells, we increase the blood thrush which improves the appearance of the skin. With breathwork we are also detoxifying the blood which is often the etiology for various skin conditions. We also have the ability to prevent premature aging. 
  • Respiratory Health – when we practice breathwork, we can improve our expiratory power which enhances the airflow by decreasing resistance to the lungs. We improve the strength and endurance of our respiratory muscles. With regular practice, we can produce positive changes in the respiratory pressure and cycle. 
  • Cardiovascular Health – when we practice breathwork, we can reduce our heart rate and blood pressure, we can modify the heart rate by stimulating cells of the body and by increasing oxygen intake. 
  • Boost Immunity – we’re all looking for this these days, am I right?! By practicing breathwork, we can boost our immunity by lowering our natural stress response and by down regulating pro-inflammatory markers. Breathwork also has beneficial effects on cell-mediated and mucosal immunity. 

In addition to above, it can also help with weight loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, detoxification, focus and concentration. Breathwork can help you become reconnected to your essence and true self and deepen your spiritual practice. 
 
If we can heal ourselves with our breath and optimize our health, why wouldn’t we?

Breath Work, Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Mindset

How your body changes when you change your breath

Oftentimes, we don’t think about our breath, it’s such a natural occurrence that even though we breath up to 20,000 times a day, it goes unnoticed. It’s time to shift our awareness from the external, to the internal. It’s time to shift our awareness inward so we can optimize our mental, emotional and physical health. 

The majority of people are embracing their days with short and shallow breathing. When we are constantly breathing with a short and shallow breath pattern, we are not using our full lung capacity; we are not fully exhaling the CO2 in our body. By not fully exhaling the CO2, we accumulate CO2 in our body which makes our blood more acidic, this puts us at a greater risk for disease. 

When we practice breathwork, we have the ability to self-regulate during a stressful and overwhelming situation, we have the ability to cleanse and release tension, emotions, traumas and wounds and we have the ability to live our lives in a place of calm and harmony. 

When we practice strong and dynamic breathing practices, we are breathing more, which is decreasing the CO2 in our body. When we have low levels of CO2 in our body, our pH rises and our blood becomes more alkaline. When our blood is more alkaline, we are stronger in fighting off and preventing any chronic condition or disease. When we practice strong and dynamic breathing patterns, we activate the sympathetic nervous system, which activates, unblocks and resets the mind, energy and emotional system. 

When we practice gentle and soft breathing practices, we are increasing our CO2 levels in the blood, lowering our pH and making our blood more acidic. The high levels of CO2 leads to vasodilation and bronchodilation which induces a state of open breathing and cardiovascular system dilation. Slow and calm breathing techniques will induce a state of deep relaxation combined with high concentration. Slow and gentle breathing practices calm down the nervous system, decrease the heartrate and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. 

What if you could consistently self-regulate when you were in a state of stress and it would only take one minute, would you want to learn the technique and practice it when needed?

You have the ability to heal, it’s simply about your breath. 

Breath Work, Health and Wellness, Limiting Beliefs, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Mindset, Overcoming Self Doubt, Personal Development, Perspective, Self Awareness, Self Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

April Monthly Newsletter – Your Breath can Heal

Did you know that you have the power to heal yourself? Yes, you! You have the power within you to heal yourself from stress, anxiety, overwhelm and ailments. 
 
For so long we’ve been shown and told that in order to heal, we must take medication or we must seek something outside of ourselves; when in reality, we have everything we need within us. It comes down to something so simple, so natural and so essential to our existence: our breath.
 
Take a minute, sit back and recognize how you are currently breathing. Are you breathing into your belly or your chest? Is your breath long and slow? Or short and fast? Are you holding your breath? Is it irregular? Do you breathe in through your nose or your mouth? 
 
Anxiety, stress, or overwhelm is simply energy in our body. If we can learn to regulate our breath, we can learn to regulate and shift from our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). 
 
When our bodies are in a constant state of stress our blood is typically acidic due to the increase in CO2 in our body. The increase in the CO2 in our body is due to our poor breathing habits. When our blood is acidic, it is an optimal environment for disease. 
 
Over the next month, I will be writing all about breath work: how it has made a massive impact on my life, overcoming my limiting beliefs and healing my childhood wounds. How it can optimize your health in regard to your immunity, respiratory and cardiovascular health, as well as mental health. How it can have an impact on how you pursue your days; one breath at a time.
 
That’s right, I am a certified breath work instructor and it’s time to show you the positive impact your breath can have on YOU.
 
It’s time to start healing ourselves, from the inside out? You in? Let’s go!