Health & Fitness

My Necessities for Fighting (and preventing!) a Cold

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This weekend, I got hit with a pretty gnarly head cold. I’m sniffly, sneezy, sinus head achey…all that good stuff. So, I needed to stock up on my cold fighting goodies, and I figured I’d share them with you! Now, when you’re sick, it’s all about getting your immune system back up and filling your body with healthy things! Many of the below items are things I use on a daily basis, but some of them I add specifically when I’m feeling sick. In no specific order…

  1. Moisturizing Hand Lotion. Colds happen more frequently in dry, cool conditions, which also dries out our skin. Plus, if you’re washing your hands and sanitizing them a lot to prevent spreading (and catching) germs during cold and flu season, then your hands are probably going to be feeling a little dry. I like to keep moisturizing lotion on hand (get it…hand…?!) all the time, but especially during winter. (Pictured: Vivo Per Lei Dead Sea Hand & Body Lotion)
  2. Moisturizing Lip Balm (with SPF). No matter what lip color I’m wearing on a certain day, I always keep some clear, moisturizing, and SPF-filled lip balm handy, especially during winter when things dry up a bit. Sometimes, I’ll also dap a little on my nose if it gets too dry and chapped from all those tissues. (Pictured: Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing SPF 15 Lip Balm in Quenched — this is one of my favorite clear lip balms)
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar is great for for many reason (digestion, weight loss, energy boost, skin clarity…the list goes on), and for that, I try to make sure I have a little bit mixed into my water on a daily basis (usually it’s the first thing I do when I get up…glass of water with a splash of vinegar). Sometimes, life gets in the way and I forget to have it, but I’m super diligent about drinking it when I’m feeling under the weather. It’s really great for helping to detox your body and get all the bad stuff out. (Pictured: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)
  4. WATER. When you’re feeling sick, HYDRATE. This is SO important! And, when you’re not feeling sick, hydrate anyway. Staying well-hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body.
  5. Local Honey. Not only does honey make your tea taste great, but it can also help relieve cold symptoms! Local honey helps fight allergens that may be floating around in your city. Honey also works as a natural cough suppressant and helps fight bacteria.
  6. Sinus Rinse. One of the more frustrating things about having a cold is a runny nose and all that sinus pressure. Sinus rinses are a little weird at first, so they take some getting used to, and sometimes they’re not super comfortable, but it’s really good for you, so I highly recommend it! It helps flush out your nasal passages to clear out all that gunk in there and the saline solution helps to kill bacteria. I also gargle with warm salt water to kill germs and sooth sore throats. (Pictured: NeilMed Sinus Rinse)
  7. Hand Sanitizer. Fall/Winter is cold season, which means more germs are flying around, so carry some hand sanitizer with you to keep your hands extra clean. I love this EO Lavender spray sanitizer and keep it in my purse all the time. (Pictured: EO Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray)
  8. Cough Drops. Cough drops help soothe cold symptoms and provide relief to congestion. I like going with lemon mint and opting for sugar-free options, like these Ricola ones. (Pictured: Ricola Lemon Mint Sugar Free Cough Drops)
  9. Chicken Soup. Not only is chicken soup a yummy winter meal that makes you feel nice and cozy, but it also helps to soothe cold symptoms. Any hot liquids (soup, tea, etc.) help to loosen up mucus so you feel less congested and clogged up, but chicken soup also has anti-inflammatory properties too! (Pictured: Trader Joe’s Low-Sodium Chicken Broth)
  10. Tissues. Don’t get your snot everywhere. Duh. (These are basic ones I got at CVS because they’re cute and perfect for throwing in your purse, but the medicated ones are nice too!) (Similar to Pictured: Kleenex Pocket Packs)
  11. Tea. I am a BIG tea drinker. I have caffeinated tea every morning and some herbal tea nearly every night before bed. But when I’m sick, I especially like to have tea with some boosting health benefits too, like Yogi Green Tea Super Antioxidant or Yogi Echinacea Immune Support. I also really love Trader Joe’s Chamomile and Bedtime tea for, well, bedtime. Again, hot liquids help to sooth your throat, break up mucus, and speed up recovery time. (Pictured: Yogi Echinacea Immune Support Organic Tea, Yogi Green Tea Super-Antioxidant Organic Tea, Trader Joe’s Chamomile Tea, and Trader Joe’s Bedtime Tea.)
  12. Vitamin C & Multi-Vitamins. I take Vitamin C and a multi-vitamin every day (my favorites are these gummy ones from Trader Joe’s). Vitamin C can help you shave a day off the duration of your cold. It’s nearly impossible to overdo it with Vitamin C, so take your vitamins and eat Vitamin C rich foods! (Pictured: Trader Joe’s Gummy Vitamin C and Multi-Vitamins)
  13. Echinacea. Echinacea is a safe and relatively harmless supplement that can help boost your immune system. It’s not something I take regularly, but I do stock up on it and take it daily when I’m feeling sick. (Pictured: Nature Made Echinacea Pills)
  14. Tylenol Cold. Depending on the type of cold you might have (feverish, head congestion, coughing, etc.) you might want to get some pain relievers with some added bonuses in them. I try not to use medication unless I’m feeling really bad, but this cold I’m having right now is causing a lot of sinus pressure and giving me some bad head and ear aches, so I need a little something to take the edge off. (Pictured: Tylenol Cold – Head Congestion)
  15. Dayquil & Nyquil. Like I said above, I’m not big on medication unless I’m feeling really icky, but I will do a day or two of Dayquil and/or Nyquil when my cold is feeling really bad. If you’re going to be taking medication during the day, try to go for options that are non-drowsy so you can still be alert (unless you’re taking the day off and can sleep all day to recover!). (Pictured: Vicks Dayquil & Nyquil Cold & Flu Relief Liquicaps)
  16. Cold-Pressed Green Juice. Green juice can be like a shot in the arm — it’s full of rich nutrients that help boost your immune system and keep you healthy. I try to get a good green juice or smoothie in every few days all the time. When I’m sick, I also like to make sure I’m focusing my diet on foods that are super healthy. Your immune system is down, so feed it good stuff! Cold-pressed juice is important too because it gets more juice from the fruit and retains more nutrients than juices that are pasteurized normally. Trader Joe’s just came out with a line of cold-pressed juices that are tasty and more affordable then lots of the juices out there (they’re $5 each). Whenever you’re buying and drinking juice, look at the ingredients. Stick with juices that do not have any sugar added, but use whole ingredients. Also, even if the juices are made with real, whole foods, juices can be high in calories and (natural) sugar, so don’t over do it!
  17. Grapefruit Seed Extract. This supplement has tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients (called bioflavonoids) that help fight disease and eliminate free-radicals. It is a proven immune system booster and stimulator. It helps fight bacteria and viruses too. I usually mix it in with my daily apple cider vinegar and water, but I especially make sure to take it when I’m feeling under the weather. I usually add 10 drops to my water. (Pictured: Grapefruit Seed Extract Liquid Concentrate)
  18. Citrus Fruits. Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc.) are high in Vitamin C, the benefits of which we’ve already covered. These fruits are also high in fiber, which is good for your digestion. These foods are low in calories and sugar, which makes them great snacks for when you’re sick and not up for exercising as much as you might if you were super healthy. I love squeezing about half a lemon into my tea!
  19. Ginger. Fresh ginger helps with digestion, helps to clear our your microcirculatory channels, and helps to decrease congestion. I love throwing it into my smoothies or slicing some up and putting it in my tea. (Alternative to fresh ginger: Nature’s Way Ginger Root Supplement)
  20. Garlic. Garlic contains allicin, which has powerful healing capabilities, especially with colds and congestion. I love cooking with garlic, so it’s a pretty normal part of my diet, but when I’m feeling like my immune system is a little low, I’ll throw a clove into my smoothie. Yes, you can taste it, but if you fill your blender up with other yummy ingredients, that one clove shouldn’t taste too strong. (Alternative to fresh garlic: Nature’s Bounty Odorless Garlic Supplement)

The final thing you should do when you’re feeling sick or have a cold is to get REST! I tweaked my back last week during boxing, so I’ve been taking it easy the last couple days. When you have a cold, you should get plenty of rest — sleep mainly, but also consider taking it easy on your regular workouts. Oh, I also get a yearly flu shot to help keep me healthy during flu season.

Hope these are helpful and hope any of you feeling sick start feeling better asap!

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How To Make Homemade Banana Ice Cream (Quick, Easy, & Delicious!)

As you guys know, I’m doing a 90-day fitness challenge right now, which means lots of healthy eating and lots of working out. And less trips to get ice cream and fro yo. BOO. But I’ve figured out a little trick to be able to have delicious homemade ice cream – and it’s HEALTHY.

Here’s what you do:

  • As far as service size, I use one banana per person.
  • Choose bananas that are on the riper side for the best flavor.
  • Cut the banana into uniform chunks.
  • Arrange the sliced chunks evenly on a freezer-safe plate.
  • Freeze the bananas for about 2-3 hours.
  • Put the frozen banana chunks into a food processor and chop until the consistency is nice and smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

You can also add peanut butter, cocoa power, or cinnamon (or anything else really!) to the bananas while chopping them up to jazz up the flavor more. Once you’re done, you can top it with chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream – you name it!

(Another quick tidbit…potassium – there’s lots of it in bananas – is really good for sore muscles, so not only is this ice cream HEALTHY, but it’s good for your tired muscles! Another bonus!)

15-Minute At-Home Workout (FREE! No equipment needed!) PLUS 90-Day Challenge!

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a bit of a fitness rut. A few months ago I transitioned from working full-time in an office to launching my own freelance consulting and design business (more on that later), so now I make my own schedule and work in a home office. I absolutely LOVE it. But, even though I have complete control over my schedule and how I’m spending my time, not having the same rigid routine that I used to have is something to get used to. And it’s been a little tricky to get into a solid workout and eating cycle because my schedule is much more unpredictable. I’ve also been having a lot more lunch, happy hour, and dinner meetings, which is great because I’m eating great stuff, but less great because usually it’s not as healthy as what I’d have at home.

SO, I decided it was time to reign things in and get everything back on track. To do this, I’m putting myself on a 90-day fitness challenge. Here’s what I’m going to do, every day, for the next 90 days:

  • Drink half a gallon of water each day
  • Take all my vitamins each day
  • Only allow myself 2 cheat meals per week
  • Do the same set of exercises (below) each day

For me, the exercises I’m going to do are not intended to replace my normal weekly workouts. I will do them every day, even if I’ve worked out that day. I wanted to create a 15-minute series of effective exercises that I can do from anywhere without needing any equipment. So, that means I have no excuses to getting it done. I wanted to set something up to ensure that I get my body moving and work on my strength and fitness a little bit every day – even on those long, busy days where all I want to do is get in bed and watch Netflix.

Here are the exercises I’m going to do:

  • Tracy Anderson Arms (7 minute arm workout with no weights, get the workout HERE)
  • 1 minute forearm plank
  • 1 minute side plank on each side
  • 15 push ups (5 with my hands close together to focus on triceps, 5 with my hands wide apart to focus on pecs, and the last 5 back close together – substituting girl pushups if needed)
  • 15 squats with narrow stance
  • 15 squats with normal stance (feet at shoulder or hip width)
  • 15 plie squats
  • 15 clams with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 15 straight leg raises with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 15 angled leg raises with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 50 sit ups

*if you don’t have a resistance band, you can do those exercises without one. You can also have a workout buddy apply pressure to your leg to add resistance.

Anyone is invited to do this challenge along with me – it’s basically a create-your-own-adventure type thing. So, choose workouts and diet guidelines that make the most sense for you. The important thing is to choose something that you can commit to EVERY DAY for 90 days. You’re more than welcome to do the same thing as me. If you’re going to do the challenge too, comment and let me know what you’re going to do! I’ll be posting regular updates about it on my facebook page: facebook.com/LaurenMSalaun

Weekly Uncut Blog: World Cup Final!

 

Last weekend, Germany won the World Cup Final against Argentina. It was a really good game, going into extra time, with Germany securing the win with an amazing goal by Mario Goetze. Honestly, his shot was GORGEOUS. The game was competitive, and fun to watch, but it would have been really nice to see an Argentine (specifically a Messi) goal and a bit more high stakes game-play. But like I said, very good game. Did you guys watch the World Cup? How about the Final?

Also, if you’re interested in any of the outfit items in my video, here are a few! Unfortunately, I bought some of these things a little while ago, so they’re not longer available, but I’ve posted similar ones below.
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How To Be Instantly More Confident

I am a very naturally confident person. I don’t often doubt myself, my abilities, or my beliefs. I’m very grateful for this, and I know that I owe a lot of that to how my parents raised me — to always believe in myself and to believe that nothing is out of my reach.

For some people, though, confidence is really hard to come by. And even for those of us who are really confident, sometimes we’re faced with things that make us uncomfortable and fill us with self-doubt.

There are a lot of things you can do to develop true internal confidence, but there are also a few tricks you can do to instantly appear more confident on the spot.

1. How You Sit and Stand — Good posture is key. Don’t slouch. Sit or stand up as tall as you can, put your shoulders back and down, and hold your head up. Not only does good posture make you appear more confident and help you assert yourself as a strong person, but it’s good for your body. 

2. How You Speak — Enunciate. Pronounce your words clearly. Project your voice so people can hear you, and don’t speak too quickly. When we get nervous, our tendency is to speak very fast. In those situations, try to speak more slowly — it will probably feel like you’re talking in SLLLOOOWWW MOOOTIOONNN, but out loud it’s probably just fine. Being able to deliver what you’re saying clearly and intentionally — not fumbling around with your words — presents a much stronger picture than if you’re using filler words like “um” or “like.” Another thing, confident speakers are comfortable with pauses — don’t worry that if you need to take a moment to think about what you’re going to say next that you’re going to appear weak or dumb or something ridiculous like that — if you’re talking with someone, taking an intentional pause is much better than saying  “ummm…” Oh, and a huge pet peeve of mine…don’t start sentences with UM. Just start saying what you’re actually going to say, amirite?

3. SMILE! Not only is smiling good for your health (it’s science!), but it will make the other person more comfortable, which will likely make you more comfortable — even if you’re feeling a bit terrified inside. Now, obviously if you’re having a serious conversation, don’t smile too much, that could be really inappropriate. Also, avoid the creeper smile or a forced smile. Real, genuine smiles, folks.

4. Eye Contact. Eye contact is a HUGE sign of confidence. When you meet someone and shake their hand, look them in the eye! When you’re talking with someone or listening to someone, look at them! It’s the grown up thing to do. I feel like people are getting worse and worse at making eye contact these days, and most of the time, a lack of eye contact does not translate into something good — it signifies discomfort, disrespect, nervousness, you name it. (Now, I realize that’s not true in all cultures, but in the U.S., eye contact is generally GOOD). Of course, if you feel like you’re going to burn a hole in the person you’re talking to or make them burst into flames by the power in your eyeballs, scale it back a bit.

5. Get out of your own head. Don’t over-think things; don’t doubt yourself. Get all that crap that’s making you feel less than how you should OUT, and replace it with more empowering thoughts…I’m awesome, I am SO funny!, I’m going to kick-ass today, I am THE best…I mean, maybe not those words exactly, but you get the idea. 🙂

Hope this helps you when you’re feeling like you need a bit of a confidence booster! I believe that the whole “fake it ’til you make it” mentality works in a lot of areas — and this is one of them! Inside, you may not feel more confident immediately, but if you practice the things that I just mentioned, over time you will become a more naturally confident person.

If confidence is something you struggle with, take a look at the following books. I haven’t read them, so I can’t personally recommend them, but I’ve heard good things about them from other folks, so check them out!

  1. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know
  2. Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt
  3. Confident Heart Devotional, A: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself (A Confident Heart)

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(And if you’re interested… my kick-ass coral/orange lipstick is Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Creme, in Siren topped with some Dose of Colors Lipstick in Coy in the middle of my lips.)

GHEE & BROWN RICE / QUINOA PASTA (#JuneBlogADay #8)

Two things I’m digging lately, ghee and Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta. photo5

1. Ghee.

I’m pretty new to using ghee and have been thrilled to find out that there are a bunch of health and cooking benefits. Basically, ghee is clarified butter, and is made by simmering butter and then separating the liquid part from the chunky party (yes, very technical description) — the liquid part will solidify once cooled, and that’s the ghee! (I smell a future DIY project….). Ghee is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, but can also be used as a replacement for butter or oil.

First impression…tastes a lot like butter, but with a consistency very similar to coconut oil. I used it on top of my pasta tonight with a pinch of salt and some parmesan cheese.

Here are just a few of the great things about ghee:photo6

  • It has a high smoke point (482* F), which means you can cook and fry with it at high temperatures and it will not break down or burn.
  • It does not spoil easily, so it doesn’t really require much refrigeration, if any.
  • Apparently, when ghee is made, the milk solids are separated (that’s the chunky part I mentioned above) and removed, so people who are lactose intolerant can usually have ghee with no issue.
  • Ghee is super nutritious: high in Vitamins A, D, and E, a rich source of K2 and CLA.
  • It’s rich in fatty acids, which are a good source of energy. It also has butyric acid, which aids in digestion and decreasing inflammation in the body.

If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE butter (a friend has even endorsed me for “Butter” on LinkedIn…it’s that serious. But more on that later…), and ghee is kind of butter 2.0. I will never give up the real thing, but ghee is a great (healthful!) addition to my cooking. Order yourself some Ghee: Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter (Ghee), 8oz.

2. Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli Pasta. (Order here!)

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I’m Italian. I was also an athlete my whole life, which means I used to eat pasta ALL THE TIME…dinner, microwaved for breakfast the next morning, you name it. And being a young, spry lil thing that ran my butt off in soccer practice and other sports nearly every night, it didn’t matter one bit how much pasta I consumed when I was younger. Nowadays, not so much. Today, pasta is more of a treat. I try to eat clean 80-90% of the time, and pasta does not factor into that clean eating plan. The grains I usually eat are brown rice and quinoa. So, you can imagine how THRILLED I was to discover quinoa and brown rice PASTA at TJ’s. And I kid you not, the only ingredients are brown rice and quinoa, and guess what, those count as clean eating! I honestly feel like I’m cheating each time I eat it — it really tastes like the real thing.

First impression…It completely satisfies any pasta cravings I ever have. It’s so good! Now, if you know your pasta, you’ll notice that it’s not EXACTLY the same as the real thing…with normal pasta, it’s smooth and your teeth cut through it easily. The brown rice and quinoa pasta is “stickier” and the tiniest bit chewy, but man, for an imposter, it does the job.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to eat healthy but absolutely needing to get your pasta fix, try this stuff out. Plus, it’s organic!

Tonight, I added a touch of ghee to my boiling water instead of olive oil, and then put a little bit on the finished pasta. YUM.

Healthy & Refreshing Appetizer/Dessert (#JUNEBLOGADAY Post #4)

The other night, I whipped up a VERY TASTY appetizer that was inspired by one of the dishes we ate at AOC. It also doubles as a healthy and refreshing dessert!

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Here’s what you need:

1 peach (sliced)

1 apricot (chopped)

Handful of pomegranate seeds

Dollop of ricotta cheese

Squeeze of half a lime

Mint sprigs to garnish

Aside from the full fat ricotta (you can use low-fat if you want, but trust me the real stuff is AMAZING…and worth it), this is a pretty healthy appetizer/dessert. Enjoy!