6 Simple Things You Can Do To Feel Better Every Day

I am not a medical professional. All changes to your diet, exercise and any other action that can affect your health and wellbeing should be discussed with your physician to ensure they are safe for you.

Hydrate

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Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, cramps and more. Keeping hydrated is important to your overall health. That being said, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Your digestive system is only designed to intake so much water at a time, less than a litre an hour. To read about the dangers affiliated with drinking too much water, click here. When you are exercising your body will actively retain water, so be mindful not to drink too much when exercising. Drinking small amounts often throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated without the potential of overloading the kidneys and liver. The best part about it is that your sense of thirst is excellently tuned to allow you to know when you should be drinking more or less water. The benefits of hydration have been said to include clearer skin, a more efficient digestive track and clarity of mind. If you, like me, don’t love drinking water all day, you can always infuse your water with fruit flavours or products like Mio to keep you from reaching for juice or pop.

Take Time To Relax

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Relaxation has become a luxury in a world filled with deadlines, long work hours, multiple jobs and endless stress. It is important to be able to let your mind and body relax each day to ensure your mind and body can properly recover each night. Many people recommend taking a bath with lavender to relax and give yourself time to unwind. It is recommended to remove yourself from blue light (from cellphones, video game consoles, televisions, etc) a few hours before going to bed. Having an alarm clock in your bedroom and leaving your phone outside of the room while you sleep is also recommended so that the temptation to scroll through newsfeeds can’t be accomplished. It is also recommended to read before bed, avoiding subjects like politics that might bring up negative reactions. Reading philosophy, poetry or a favourite novel can help you settle down for the night. Meditation is likely the best known method of full body and mind relaxation, but it is also very difficult to master, but worth investing time into. Also, limiting caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon, can help you relax in the evening as caffeine can effect the body many hours after ingestion.

Eat Well

Smoothie Bowl

We all know fast food isn’t good for us, and many studies have looked into the negative effects of having junk food regularly in a diet. High amounts of sugar, oils and other calorie dense foods can lead to many different diseases. Most notably diabetes, high blood sugar, hypertension and high cholesterol. Eating low sugar diets allow us to have healthier bodies. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and natural sources of protein leads us to healthier bodies and better digestive health. I wouldn’t ever tell anyone to cut out all treats in their diet, but they shouldn’t be an every day occurrence. Small amounts of things like chocolate can be beneficial, and there is an argument for treating yourself bringing emotional satisfaction. But there is a balance to achieve between taking care of yourself and enjoying yourself.

Move Your Body

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Not everyone loves running or weight lifting, which are the most commonly shown methods of exercise. Find an activity that you can enjoy enough to commit too. We know that exercise releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain, so you will feel better during exercise and for many hours after exercise you will likely still feel more energized, awake and have more clarity. Not to mention all the long term benefits of having a healthy and flexible body. Try new sports, seasonal actives and engage in group exercise to find the ones that suit you well and fit into your lifestyle.

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Learn Something

The human brain needs exercise as much as any muscle in the body. Take the time to learn something new every day. There is a satisfaction in expanding your knowledge and making your interests broader. If you like learning about interesting science, click here to learn some fun science with SciShow. Pick up books, take classes, engage with friends and colleagues to learn from them. Learning new practical skills such as cooking, baking, mechanicals, sewing, programming, photography, web design, spreadsheeting, etc can not only lead to personal achievement, but advancement in the workplace. Here is a list of some great books you might like if you want to learn some new creative skills. You are never too old to learn.

Do Something You Love

Fresh Banana Muffins

Joy is one of the most important parts of the human experience. Doing things that bring you happiness is just as important as exercising and feeding yourself well. Think of it as self-care for your mind. Writing, painting, playing video games, hiking as well as hundreds of other hobbies enrich your life, reduce stress and most importantly, they make you feel good. Though studies have yet to link all the connections between human joy and the body itself, studies have shown that mental state and the immune system are closely linked. A happy person has a healthier immune system!

Let me know what you do to feel good in your daily routine, and share your favourite bed time book! You can always leave a comment, and no email address is necessary to do so!

6 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FEEL BETTER EVERY DAY

Cut Down Calories Without Starving

Let’s get started with, I love having treats and on this blog I do like to share desserts and snacks that aren’t really very healthy. So how do I cut down my calorie intake while still enjoying these foods? Well it’s really quite simple, and it all starts with water.

I am not a health professional, this is an account of how I have found success in changing my relationship to food. Please consult your doctor before making large diet changes.

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The first thing I changed to help me keep my calories under control was what I was drinking. I was in the habit of waking up, making myself a coffee and pouring hazelnut creamer into it. I would have a couple of theses during the day and that was quickly increasing how much sugar I was taking in. I was also guilty of enjoying ginger ale in the evening, which has an incredible amount of sugar as well. So I decided to make those beverages into the odd treat. One or two times a week I have a coffee, and sodas are only when we go out to the movies or the odd dinner. I now have my re-usable water bottle with me at all times. This has helped me avoid the calorie trap of “picking up a coffee for the drive” because I already have a beverage with me. I do get bored with just water all day, so I do add Mio when I start craving soda or coffee. This goes further than not having other beverages, I feel better throughout the day being well hydrated. Because I always have my water with me, I drink a lot more of it. I’ve found when I’m well hydrated, I don’t get as hungry, and I am more easily satisfied with a snack rather than a large meal.

The next thing I did to change my relationship with food was giving myself unrestricted access to it. That might seem counter intuitive, but I assure you it isn’t. Not even a year ago I could easily eat a large pizza all to myself, gobble down some chicken wings afterwards and then eat another equally large meal a few hours later. I didn’t feel very good after, but I had been eating this way for so long I don’t think I could recognize when my body was telling me to stop. Earlier this week I tried to eat a small pizza and had to hand off a slice because I simply couldn’t cram more food into my stomach. I should say, I didn’t just eat pizza, I ate a lot of poutine too! All joking aside, I had a very unhealthy relationship with my food, and I would nearly always chose to eat the fattier, saltier and sweeter options when available.

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When we establish new routines for our bodies, they adjust, and I chose to gently move away from eating an absurd amount of food twice a day, to having snacks and small meals throughout the day. In the end, I eat considerably less, and because I keep fruit and nuts available all day, the foods I am eating are much less calorie dense and much more nutrient dense.

I keep a bowl of nuts on my desk, protein bars in an open bin on my kitchen counter and baby bell cheese is always available in my fridge. Instead of trying to stay away from food, trying to wait for the next meal, causing myself headaches and fatigue, I started snacking. While I’m at my desk I can snack on nuts and avoid pushing off my hunger until I feel like I’m starving and over eat. When I re-fill my water bottle, I have a little cheese. If I’m hungrier that day, I have a protein bar or make myself a little mango protein gelato. By the time dinner comes around, which is the only “meal” I eat daily, I still only have a small appetite. Nearly every night I can’t finish my dinner because I feel so full. I do think it is important to try to eat dinner though, because that is the meal of the day when I get meat based protein and vegetables.

Essentially, over time my body and I transitioned from grossly over eating to having nutrients and calories being introduced throughout the entire day.

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Another big change I implemented in my household is the removal of bread. I found it was to easy for me to have toast with sugary jam for breakfast, grilled cheese dripping with butter for lunch and rolls with dinner. I recognized that my own self-control was weaker than my love for bread products, so I made the hard choice to make them unavailable to myself. This has kept me from reaching for a food I am prone to binge eating. My partner doesn’t avoid bread products, but to help me when he does bring bread products into the house, he only brings as much as he will have with his dinner.

The last big thing I do is accept when I am very hungry, and feed myself enough to satisfy my hunger. During mother natures monthly visit, my hunger spikes, so I reach for chicken and rice soup. It’s warm (internal heat treatment for cramps), low in sugar and sodium, and has less than 300 calories for an entire can prepared. I won’t lie to you and say I don’t crave ice cream and chicken strips during this time, but soup satisfies my cravings.

Now let’s get to those treats I love so much. As we’ve established, I do my best not to over eat and to keep my diet well balanced, so when there is a cookie in front of me I will enjoy that cookie. I may even have two. Treats are not found in my diet every day, but a couple times a week I will enjoy a small treat. That’s the key. A small treat.

This all being said, we are all human and sometimes we slip up. I beg you not to beat yourself up for eating a cupcake or enjoying pizza. Your body is the only one you have and as important as it is to make sure you are giving it good food, you also only have so many years to enjoy your life. One unhealthy meal won’t make you overweight, but consistently eating a harmful diet will. Enjoy in moderation and be kind to yourself.

If you have any tips or tricks you want to share with others on how to regulate their diets, lose weight or just feel healthier and full of energy, please leave them in the comments for everyone to enjoy!

Incredibly Easy and Delicious Vinaigrettes

By request of a friend of mine for my salad dressing recipe, here is the one you enjoyed, as well as a few more.

Who loves salad? Did no one raise their hand? Well that is going to change! Most people don’t enjoy salad because their salad is boring. If you want to really enjoy it, add some crunch! Pine nuts, apple, rough crushed tortilla chips, etc. That crunch changes everything, but it isn’t a salad without something to pull all the flavours together, and that’s where the dressing comes in. Ranch and Caesar dressings are very high in fats, sugars and calories, which works against the healthy choice of having a salad, so let’s look at the simplest dressings, that are low calorie but high flavour.

VINAIGRETTES

Basic Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp white vinegar
  • a dash of black pepper
  • a dash of corse salt
  • the juice of half a lemon

Mix your oil, vinegar and pepper. Drizzle it over your salad then mix you salad until all elements have a rough coating of the dressing. Now squeeze your lemon juice over the salad and sprinkle your salt. Toss up your salad and serve.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp vinegar
  • 5-10 raspberries
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • a dash of corse salt

Put vinegar, raspberries and honey into your blender (I use my Ninjas smallest smoothie cup for this). Pulse until raspberries are broken apart. Mix with your oil (do not blend you oil, it holds onto air bubbles too well). Drizzle over your salad, toss, add your salt and toss again. Serve and enjoy.

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Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1 tsp dried crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of corse salt
  • the juice of half a lemon

Mix your oil, vinegar, garlic, onion powder, black pepper and cayenne. Drizzle over your salad. (If you are using tired garlic, you will want to mix at least 10 minutes before dressing your salad, mixing often, to get the flavour to come through). Squeeze your lemon over the salad and sprinkle your salt. Toss and serve.

The great thing about making your dressings at home is that you can really customize to what flavours you want to enjoy! Spinach and arugula taste great with both robust flavours and sweeter flavours. Romain is fantastic with a little spicy kick. Iceberg lettuce has little flavour on it’s own so it acn wear any dressing!

Make Your Own

The basics of a vinaigrette is its proportions. 1:3 oil to vinegar. You can use any vinegar you want but I would recommend keeping close to olive oil, grape-seed oil and avocado oil. These all lend well to a variety of flavours and hold their own in the recipe. Let me know what recipes you use to add flavour to your salads!

EASY VINAIGRETTE RECIPES

Creamy Chicken with Spinach and Asparagus

I whipped together this little number, adding a little this and that until I liked it, and considering how wonderfully it came out I thought I would share it with you!

This dish serves two people. To adapt it to one person, cut the chicken amount in half, but leave the rest of the ingredients as they are.

If you have read from this blog before, you know I jump head first into things, and cooking is no different. I was looking through my pantry and refrigerator while the man was at work, wondering what I should make out of the two chicken breasts I had thawing when I realized my spinach was going to go bad in a few days, so I whipped together this little number, adding a little this and that until I liked it, and considering how wonderfully it came out I thought I would share it with you!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 cups of spinach (or more if you like)
  • 10 pieces of asparagus
  • 3 green onions
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • OPTIONALLY, ADD PARSLEY, MUSTARD SEED, POULRY SEASONING

Let’s Get Cooking

  1. Rinse all veggies and shake off water. Cut asparagus into small pieces, dice garlic and green onions. Cut chicken breasts into small, bite sized pieces.
  2. Heat your pan to medium heat and pour in your broth and cream. Whisk together, then add your butter.
  3. Add your chicken to the pan, along with all of your spices and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes while agitating the chicken to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the rest of your vegetables to the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Remove at least half a cup of your liquid from the pan into a measuring cup or bowl. Mix the flour into the liquid with a whisk. Ensure there are no clumps. Mix the flour and liquid sauce into the pan, stirring well.
  6. Let the pan simmer until sauce is at desired thickness, stir often, serve hot.

I made this dish in a cast iron skillet for even temperature, though a stainless pan would also work.

If you liked this recipe and would like to share, please do so below in the comments!

Why You Should Buy A Cast Iron Pan

Save time cooking healthy meals using the right pan!

In the last few years as I’ve been growing a little older, I’ve come to realize how important eating right really is. Though I do love the taste of fast food, my body has been getting more and more insistent on telling me how much it does not appreciate the fried, salty food that doesn’t properly fuel my body.

I grew up cooking, though baking really is where my talents lie, so adjusting to cooking meals that properly fuel my body hasn’t been the greatest challenge. That being said, using stainless steel pans and aluminum pots hasn’t yielded the best results, as they lack the quality and diversity of metals like cast iron. With stainless pans I’ve found no oil can really create a stick free surface, and butter creates the most difficult to clean up mess I’ve ever seen.

But now, with my cast iron, my cooking has never been better. Getting a beautiful and flavourful crust on a steak is easy in this pan! Roasting potatoes and asparagus has never excited me before this pan. The flavour just seems to flow through the food better with this pan!

I’ve never really enjoyed vegetables, but I’ve come to love cooking chicken and spinach in this pan as a quick and nutritious meal. I guess what I’m really saying is this pan has made me fall in love with eating my veggies, because it’s so easy to make them flavourful without sauces or high sugar dressings.

Moving away from the food to the pan itself. Though initially you do have to take some time to season the pan, who doesn’t have the fifteen minutes to scrub it down, oil it and throw it in the oven? Once it’s baked for about an hour you turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven for a couple hours. I did google how to season my pan and it was very easy. So if you are intimidated by the initial seasoning, don’t worry! If I can do it, anyone can!

Cleaning the pan also seems to intimidate people, my man for example is terrified of killing my pan, so he refuses to use or clean it. It’s quite easy really. Some salt and a hard sponge will do the trick! Just make sure to really dry the pan! Any moisture could cause rust. The easiest way to do this is to clean it while it’s hot, then put it back on the element you were using to heat it a little to ensure any left over moisture evaporates.

In the end, the pan is easily cleaned, cooks food incredibly well and has inspired me to cook much healthier foods every day. All around a 10/10 rating as cooking tools go! And with every dish the pan gets better!

If you love cooking with cast iron or really don’t let me know in the comments! What’s your favourite dish to create in cast iron?