7 Immune Boosting Foods

With flu season in its beginning stages, what better way to protect yourself from nasty flu-causing germs and bacteria than the food you eat.

Add these 7 foods to your weekly grocery list over the next few months to keep yourself in the clear!


A hot cup of tea will not only keep you warm during these cooler months but it will also give your immune system a big boost! One study showed that people who consumed 5 cups of tea each day for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than people who drank another warm beverage. Bob your tea bag up and down to release 5 times more antioxidants!


Loaded with a powerful bacteria-fighting component called allicin. Garlic can be added to all kinds of foods – Veggies, soups, sauces…

Sweet Potatoes

Your skin is your largest organ and it is exposed to so many germs on a daily basis. It’s important that you have a defense system in place so your skin can fight bacteria before it wreaks havoc on your insides! Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene which gets convereted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is the most important vitamin for your skin. My favorite way to cook sweet potatoes is chopped and sauteed in a bit of coconut oil topped with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.


Rich in compounds that actually stimulate white blood cells to get t work. Enjoy all kinds of mushrooms for ultimate immune protection! 

Oats & Barley

Both of these hearty grains contain a certain type of fiber called beta-glucan which has powerful immune boosting properties. Barley contains the most amount of beta-glucan with oats coming in 2nd. Certain mushrooms also contain this type of fiber!


5 Steps to a Speedy Recovery After a Tough Workout

As soon as you kick off your sneakers after your workout your body starts repairing the damage done to your muscles. This repair mode is actually what makes you stronger and shapes your muscles.
What you do when you’re resting your muscles is just as crucial to your results as the workout itself. Here are 5 simple things to do after an intense workout:
1) Upgrade your post-workout nutrition. 
Consuming a protein-rich snack about 30 minutes after your workout will prevent cortisol (which is released during exercise) from blocking the repair process. Hardboiled egg whites or a protein shake are great ways to get that protein in!
2) Sleep 7-9 hours each night. And on a schedule! 
Deep sleep has numerous benefits to your health and physical body. But lack of it can be detrimental especially if you’re trying to slim down! Not getting enough shut eye prompts your body to consume more calories and inhibits the ability to feel full. Your body will also produce more ghrelin, the chemical messenger that triggers cravings! Why? Because your body is so tired so it looks for a quick source of calories for energy to stay awake. It gets worse…fatigue suppresses leptin, the hormone that signals the brain to stop eating!
3) Move! 
Even if you feel like you deserve to lay around all day after a tough workout, the best thing you can do is get up and move around. Anything light such as a walk around the block, the office, or even just sitting and standing every hour while you’re working at the office! Just move! Fresh blood flow from movement brings fresh nutrients to the muscles. Waste products such as lactic acid will also be flushed from the muscles. Bonus: More activity on a daily basis = better sleep!
4) Give yourself a rub down. 
You don’t need to spend a ton of money at a spa for a massage to get the wonderful benefits of a rub down post workout. Massage reduces inflammation in muscle tissue as well as increases blood flow to the sore muscles, speeding up the recovery process. 10 minutes before bed on days you worked out should suffice. Long, smooth strokes over the muscles is best.
5) Hydrate! 
Dehydrated muscles = weak muscles = poor workouts = zero results…Drink up.

Best News Ever: Chocolate Keeps You Slim

Did you know that indulging a little bit can actually be good for you!? Yep.

Of course there’s a limit to the amount but 100 calories of dark chocolate each day can help keep you slim as well as keep sugar cravings at bay. Make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa though! Anything less than 70% doesn’t provide the same benefits.
Specific antioxidants in true dark chocolate (called epicatechins) may rev your metabolism. Other research shows that organic rich dark chocolate can decrease cancer risk, heart disease risk, and may lower blood pressure.


Fun Fact: One study found that the taste of melting chocolate on the tongue produced the same activity in the brain as a passionate kiss!
So enjoy a little something sweet once in awhile :) But remember that limit!

The Exercise Trio You Should Start Doing For Fit, Functional Shoulders

Aside from attaching your arms to your body, your shoulders play a major role in a ton of everyday movements.

Reaching, holding, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling…all involve your shoulders. We use them all the time! This shoulder trio is the perfect combo of exercises for healthy, functional, injury-free shoulders.

The Exercise Trio You Should Start Doing for Functional & Fit Shoulders

Hitting the shoulder from multiple angles is key. 

Incorporating exercises that hit all 3 parts of the shoulder (anterior (front), posterior (back), and medial (side) is crucial for proper development.

Our shoulders are fragile, very complex, and pretty unstable. Ignoring them during your workouts is a bad idea. Just ask the 70% of people that suffer from some type of shoulder ache, pain or imbalance. It’s not fun. Shoulder injuries are not easy to deal with.

“Activating all 3 heads of deltoids by performing multiple exercises will ultimately offer the best and most functional training results.” -Cedric Bryant, PhD, FACSM

These 3 exercises strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve range of motion throughout the entire joint.

  1. Bent Arm Lateral Raises
  2. Shoulder Press
  3. Seated Rear Delt Flys

Using a light weight perform 10 reps of each exercise above back to back, without rest.

Repeat 4 sets. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.





Americas New, Nasty Habit

Americans have a new, nasty habit.

Contributing to the downfall of our countries health as a whole, sitting is officially the new smoking.

“More dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting…”

James Levine, PhD Co-Director of the Mayo Clinic

Think about how many hours you spend daily on your backside.

Do you live a sedentary lifestyle? (Sedentary – from the Latin word sedere meaning “to sit…”)

And if so, is it really as bad as Dr. Levine says?

Let’s find out…

The Research

Science is revealing that:

A) Americans sit WAY too much and

B) it really may be killing us.

The average American is sedentary ~13 hours a day.  People sit at work, at home, in the car…We gravitate towards seats in waiting rooms, sit on other people’s laps when there’s not enough chairs, and some people even sit as they shop thanks to those electric scooters at the mall.

Studies show that spending 6+ hours on your butt (not including sleep) puts you at an increased risk for an array of debilitating diseases.  

In fact, “sitting disease” is now a term coined by the science community. Although there’s no concrete diagnosis, sitting too much is dangerous to our health.

  • The Journal of The American College of Cardiology found that women who sit for 10+ hours a day were at a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease than women who sat for 5 hours or less.
  • The Journal of The National Cancer Institute reviewed over 4 million people and more than 68,000 cancer cases. Cancers, specifically lung, colon, and endometrial, were much higher in sedentary individuals. The research also shows that the risk of developing cancer increased with each additional 2 hours of sitting time.
  • Research published in Diabetologia found that sitting for 8+ hours a day puts you at a 90% increased risk of  developing type 2 diabetes.

Other common problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle include:

*Slower digestion causing cramping, bloating, heartburn, constipation…

*Decreased brain function

*Neck strains

*Shoulder imbalances leading to poor posture

*Herniated disks

*Weak abdominal muscles

*Decreased hip mobility (the #1 cause of falls in the elderly)

*Weak glutes

*Varicose veins

*Blood clots

A Sitting Body

Sitting down brings your body’s metabolism to a scary halt.

The human body contains over 360 joints and 650 muscles making it quite literally designed for movement.

The lack of motion throughout joints coupled with the absence of contraction throughout the muscles creates a ton of negative biochemical reactions within the body leading to poor health.

Lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme found in the blood vessels of your muscles. Its job is to capture fat in the blood and destroy it. This enzyme gets released by your postural muscles (mainly your legs)  when they are doing their job → supporting your body weight.

What do you think supports your body weight when you’re sitting?

That’s right…The chair. Do you think the chair contains lipoprotein lipase that will magically shoot up through your butt and burn fat for you? Heck no.

A single day of sitting around decreases lipoprotein lipase secretion by 90-95%.

We all know that aside from fancy enzymes playing a role in fat burning, so does burning calories, or using up energy…

You burn 30% more calories when you’re standing than when you’re sitting.

In 4 hours, that represents as many as 240 additional calories burned throughout the day!

Actively Sedentary

Actively sedentary is a term Katy Bowman, author of the book: Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement thought up describing people who DO workout yet still don’t move enough.

“Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day… You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”

 The social media fitness world puts a lot of pressure on people to get their butts in the gym for a 60 minute workout but rarely entices people to just stand up from their chair.

Focus more on how you use your body throughout all hours of the day, not just the time spent on your workout.

The 20-8-2 Rule

“Chair living has proven so enticing that we have forsaken our legs. It is now time to find ways to get us back onto our legs.” Dr. Levine

I get that sitting is almost natural to us nowadays. A lot of what people do for work requires sitting down. But you can’t make excuses.

Get up. Move. Spend more time on your feet!

Use the 20-8-2 Rule.

Sit for 20 minutes.

Stand for 8 minutes.

Move around for 2 minutes.

Wherver you are, whatever you’re doing…make sure you make the effort to move around more. 

Sources & References









Basil and Kale Pesto

Packed with flavor, full of nutrition, and super simple to make; this basil and kale pesto will save your taste buds from boring flavorless food forever! You can put it on almost anything – chicken, fish (GREAT on salmon), and even your veggies – spread some on cucumber slices ;) … Anyway, I used a small food processor to make it. I have the nutribullet and I’ve tried to use that before but it doesn’t quite mix it well enough. I suggest purchasing a food processor.

You will need:IMG_1245

  • 3 big handfuls (I used baby kale)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • ½ cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts *Pine nuts can be pretty pricey so if you expense is an issue, just use all walnuts!
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ~1/3 cup olive oil – More/less depending on the consistency you like
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • *You can add ¼- ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese if you’d like … But to keep the recipe dairy-free, skip the cheese. Trust me, it’s just as good without!


Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot (large enough to fit your kale). Once water is boiled, submerge the kale into the water, allowing it to lightly cook. After a minute or so, place the kale in a strainer and run cool water over it to stop the cooking process. When kale is cool, squeeze out the excess water.

IMG_1252Lightly toast your walnuts. Spray a small frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and place the walnuts on the pan over medium-high heat. Continue moving the nuts around to prevent burning. Toast about 3-5 minutes.

IMG_1250Place your nuts and garlic into the food processor and chop. Add basil, kale, and lemon juice. *If your food processor is small, like mine, add the kale and basil a little at a time.

Season with salt and pepper then grind.

Place a tablespoon or so of olive oil and process. Continue adding a little bit of olive oil at a time until the pesto is a nice consistency.


Taste and adjust as needed!

Health & Happiness


7 Ways to A Great Calorie Burn!

burn calories

Calories don’t burn off nearly as fast as they are eaten and I’m sure you all know that. When it comes to weight loss, the “calories in, calories out” idea can be frustrating. We eat so many calories and burn so few….so what’s the deal? Here are some changes you can make to your life that will help you burn even MORE calories!

  • Eat before your workout…A lot of people like to roll out of bed and on to the treadmill before eating anything. While there is controversy over this topic, a recent study in the Internal Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that eating something small before a workout sets your muscles up with the perfect amount of glycogen they need to perform their best. They found that exercisers who ate breakfast prior to working out had a significantly higher VO2 (a measure of energy expenditure) and fat-burn rates compared to those that did not eat anything.
  • Work your lower body…Your largest muscles are in your legs. Rep per rep, leg exercises such as squats burn way more calories than upper body exercises such as bicep curls. No disrespect to your upper body but when it comes to torching calories, lower body exercises are your best bet. Plus, working your larger muscles requires more calories to be burned during the recovery process. So it’s really a two for one deal…burn more calories during AND after your workout on leg day!
  • Incorporate interval training…You’ve all heard or seen the word “HIIT” which stands for high intensity interval training. Rather than running 2 miles at the same speed (known as steady state training), interval training requires you to change things up. By alternating periods of high intensity exercise with periods of rest, you’re able to work harder and longer, thus burning more calories in the end. BONUS: A research study from the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University found that doing high intensity interval training can have your body burning calories for up to 14 hours AFTER your actual workout…Can’t beat that!
  • Lift heavier weights…Those 5 pound dumbbells might like cute in your hands but picking up heavier dumbbells will help you burn wayyyy more calories. More muscle = faster metabolism = more calories burned. You need to challenge your muscles with heavier weights in order for them to grow!
  • Switch up your workouts…A lot of trainers preach “consistency is key” and while that is true to an extent, switching up your workouts from time to time will keep your muscles guessing. You never want your muscles to get used to an exercise or a specific weight. Your body can adapt in just 3 weeks from the same exercise program. When that happens, you plateau and your body stops burning as many calories as it did when you first started. So yes, stay consistent with working out but switch up your workouts every so often!
  • Take your running outside…Running gets a lot of recognition for its big calorie burn but did you know that you can burn up to 10% MORE calories by taking your run outside? You can thank the uneven terrain, temperatures, and wind resistance for that!
  • Do your strength training BEFORE your cardio…If you do cardio and strength training in the same workout, always always always strength train FIRST. Why? You’re more likely to hit your strength training workout harder. And that’s important because at the end of the day, strength training beats cardio in the calorie burn competition.