What’s In A Label

During my first year of college I took a nutrition class and a big part of the course curriculum was designed around making sure we understood food labels. The professor didn’t emphasize calorie counting or the food pyramid like one would think… she wanted to make sure that we knew exactly what we were putting into our bodies, as well as the ingredients we should be avoiding when it comes to processed foods.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about this because we wouldn’t be eating processed foods; however, with our busy lifestyles we have to find food that is capable of being on-the-go with us.

Here is a list of top ingredients that you should stay away from:

  • Enriched or bleached flour
  • Artificial Sweeteners such as Aspartame, Saccarin, and Sucralose- Aspartame accounts for 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA . Saccarin has been found to cause bladder cancer in male rats. Sucralose is found in soft drinks… and you already know how I feel about those. (www.organic-nature-news.com)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup- a common sugar additive in processed foods like tomato sauce, ketchup, soft drinks, and baked goods. It is cheaper to produce and transport than table sugar but not necessarily something you want to consume a lot of. While there has always been some problems with high fructose corn syrup, most recently there has been concerns around its contribution to obesity. (www.organic-nature-news.com)
  • Trans Fats- BAD. Don’t eat whatever is in that box. Trans fats are linked to heart disease and other cancers.
  • Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (such as palm and soybean)- Industrially created fats that contain high levels of trans fats which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, which in turn contributes to a risk of heart disease. (www.shine.yahoo.com)

Also, when looking at ingredients on the ingredient list, be aware that what is most prevalent in the food comes first. So, if it is something like whole grains, nuts, etc. you are on the right track. If it is something along the line of sugar, salt, or bleached flour… You should reconsider.


(image: medclient.com)

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One Word: Endurance

I’m at the point in college where I actually have to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have only 3 semesters left until I have to enter the real world beyond this Reno bubble and start following my dreams… Intimidated doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling.

Recently, when considering my options I told a loved one that I was maybe thinking of law school in the future… he laughed. Not only did that make me want to never talk to him again, but it made me want to apply that day just to prove to him that he was wrong. I will never forget that feeling.

I think at some point in our lives, we all get pushed down though. We are told by outsiders or even someone very close to us that we can’t do it…. We can’t accomplish our dreams, we should just settle, we can’t have everything, and we are just going to end up with our hearts broken.

What do they know?

Can those people honestly say that they are passionate about their lives and have followed their dreams? Can they say they’ve ever even put themselves out there enough and loved something so much that they could get their heart broken by it? Probably not.

We will always be told that we can’t do things or that we will fail, but success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down. This brings me to my inspiration…

Boston Red Sox player Dustin Pedrioa was always overlooked when he was growing up. The scouts constantly told him he was too small at 5’8″ or not talented enough in general to make it as a professional athlete. He didn’t care what they thought; he was going to do it. Their negativity provided the fuel he needed to work harder, get to the field earlier every morning, and do it for him. Not only did he have the courage to keep going when all he heard for years was that he wouldn’t make it, but he kept picking himself back up. His story is nothing short of amazing and he is a role model for the dreamer in all of us.

Whatever your dream is… Law school, a fitness goal, professional athlete, starting a business, or anything else….

Do it, and let all of that negativity do nothing to you except fuel your fire.

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The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

One of my best friends recently came home from studying abroad in Alicante, Spain with the Spanish 888 rule drilled into her head by her native roommate. It goes a little something like this:

You must sleep for 8 hours, play for 8 hours and work for 8 hours. If you sleep more than 8 hours, you are lazy. If you play more than 8 hours, you are a drunk. And if you work more than 8 hours…you are American.

The Spanish aren’t the only ones with this kind of mentality though… The Italians have the phrase “il dolce far niente,” which translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

I  think it’s safe to say that very few Americans live life with either mentality. Why are we the only culture that doesn’t know how to relax? Our intense work ethic is a large part of the reason many of us feel that we aren’t living our lives to the fullest, spending enough time with our family and friends, or living out our dreams.

If we aren’t giving our minds time to keep up, reflect on, and process what we are doing on a daily basis we can easily end up lost within our lives and missing the passion that our lives are supposed to be filled with.

We need to learn that relaxation is not only for vacations. We should be practicing it daily with activities like yoga, coffee or drinks with an old friend, a long walk with the dog, a hike to the top of a mountain, a spa day, reading a book in the grass, sitting on the beach and listening to the waves, or something as simple as sitting on the porch.

Whatever you decide to do to relax, make sure you aren’t doing it for anything but the pleasure of doing it. You shouldn’t be on that walk to burn calories, practicing yoga to increase your strength, or laying on the beach to attract a partner. Be there for you, think about your life, breathe, and relax!

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No Passport Required

When I was in Europe the locals would always ask where I was from, and almost immediately after hearing me say “the United States” they would blurt out all of their favorite places (Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New York City, San Diego, etc.) and ask if I had been there too. I think that’s when I realized that I hadn’t seen enough of my own country. On that note, I feel that it’s time to make a list of the top 5 places I need to see in America.

New York City- (image: en.wikipedia.org) I have always wanted to go here, but I just haven’t found the time to do it. I want to be able to spend at least a week or two here to explore.

Big Sur, California- (image: big-sur-lodging.com) Many people have never heard of Big Sur before, but it is definitely on my bucket list of places to see. It has the highest coastal mountain in the continental United States and a waterfall that falls directly into the Pacific Ocean. Big Sur also lets visitors get in touch with their outdoorsy side with campsites and hiking trails – definitely my kind of vacation.

Yosemite, California- (image: inquisitr.com) It is one of the most visited national parks and considered to be one of the top rock-climbing destinations in the world. It is also full of waterfalls, hiking trails, and other outdoor adventures.

Eugene, Oregon- (image: mnn.com) The town is full of natural foods, hippies, Duck football, and craft markets. I’ve heard that the second you get into Eugene you feel like you are in a different world.

Nashville, Tennessee- (image: radisson.com) Nicknamed the “Music City,” Nashville is the hub for country music mixed with a university atmosphere.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for me. I want to keep traveling all over America because I feel like there is so much to explore here! It’s just a matter of finding the time to do it and getting from point A to point B. Any suggestions?

Carpe the hell out of this Diem.

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Do What You Love

In my social business class we were shown a video of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. Prior to this, I had never heard of him, but he is nothing short of amazing. He took over his family business, was making over a couple million dollars a year, built it up to over a fifty million dollar company, turned 30, freaked out, and quit. He walked away from being the CEO at a business that was flourishing because he didn’t love it. How many people have the courage to do that in today’s world? I feel like he is one of the few out there who is actually doing what he loves and creating his own path along the way.

Here is the video. I know it is long but it is worth watching. He was giving this speech about personal branding, however, his passion for life and actually living it is contagious and it gives you a huge push if you are ever facing self-doubt.

“We have to stop doing stuff we hate… If you love it, you will win.”

“Look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘What do i want to do every day for the rest of my life?’ Do that.”

“Legacy is greater than currency. Your great grandchildren will watch and see everything you have ever done.”

“If you don’t believe in what you are doing, you need to get out now.”

“We only get to play this game ONE time, ONE life.”

He is so passionate about who he is and and what he does that it is contagious. He had what many would consider the dream job, but he dropped it all and changed his life because he became just one percent not happy.

I feel that we all need to be willing to change what we do not like about our lives, and not be afraid of that change because Gary is right; we only get to play this game of life one time!

Carpe the hell out of this diem.

(Images courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com)

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The 80/20 Rule

I think at this point we all realize that fitness is a big deal. We know we look better when we work out, we might know it’s the reason we feel better, and we know that it’s just generally something we are supposed to do. What we might not realize is that weight loss, showing those new muscles, and getting the results we want in the gym comes down to the 80/20 rule.

80% DIET and 20% EXERCISE

You can practice the “perfect crunch” all day long, sport the gym outfit everywhere you go, and you can sit on that gym bike for hours on end, but none of that matters if you have a horrible diet. Now, as a college female and a self-proclaimed foodie, I am not saying cut the fun out of your life (and yes, I just said food was fun). You should continue to drink with your friends, eat the cupcakes at weddings, and never turn down the free birthday desserts at restaurants; however, you need to learn how to regulate what you’re eating on a daily basis.

Here’s what you should cut out:

  • Soda- It can lead to weak bones, a weakened immune system, dissolving teeth, and each can increases your obesity risk by 1.6 times. So maybe you’re one of those people sitting there with your diet soda and applauding yourself for your efforts to drink your soda in a healthy way… really? I’m going to be brutally honest with you: Diet soda is worse than regular soda. Instead of the calories that are found in regular soda, you are increasing your risk of cancer and consuming methanol. Don’t worry though, according to many household cleaning websites you can use that soda you’ve already purchased to clean your toilet, eliminate rust, and remove grease from clothing! (Rule to live by: If you can CLEAN with it, you probably shouldn’t be drinking it.)
  • Alcohol- Sadly, alcohol makes you fat. In no way am I saying you should cut out that glass of wine with dinner or a night out with your friends, just moderate what you are drinking.
  • Fried Foods- Just don’t do it.
  • Dessert- Don’t have it too often and I promise it will be more special when you do.

And make sure you add In:

  • Water- You’re drinking juice with lunch? How old are you? Your drinks are an unnecessary place to reach your recommended sugar intake for the day. Plus, you’re supposed to have 8 glasses of water a day to fuel your body.
  • Fish- Low-fat protein.
  • Whole Grains- Different than whole wheat.
  • Greek Yogurt- Twice the protein of regular yogurt.
  • Fruits and Vegetables- The food triangle really wasn’t a joke…
  • Nuts- Best possible snack. Tip: Make your own trail mix!
  • Dark Chocolate- Full of antioxidants and a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth.

These are just some of the things I try to base my daily diet around. By no means do I think you should try to live by these lists. I just think they provide an easy way to regulate what you are putting into your body, and I promise if you stick to them (along with your fitness routine) you will see results!

(Image courtesy of Google)

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The Dreaded Gym

“I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.”

Getting a gym membership, and actually using that membership as more of something shiny to go on your key chain is a challenge in our busy lives; however, it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do for youself.

The truth is you will always find an excuse not to go, but the gym is the one thing in your life that will always do something positive for you. Exercise puts you in control of your weight, combats heart disease, prevents high blood pressure, boosts your mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, and makes you feel more confident in your own skin… What is more rewarding than that? Nothing Really.

I recently ran across Jason Gay’s article in the Wall Street Journal: The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym, and it really stood out to me. Here are some of his tips on the gym along with my input:

  • The gym is will not make you feel instantly better about yourself because it’s not supposed to. The gym is supposed to hurt, you are supposed to feel tired, and everyone there secretly wants to kill themselves. Accept it and know you’ll feel good later.
  • The key to going to the gym is developing a routine. Going once every 4 days is not going to get you the results you want, but going 4 times a week will.
  • The only true way to get the body you want is to work out. If it says you can buy it and “get results” in 10 minutes, I promise that’s a hoax. Save your money and use the gym membership you already have. Not getting results fast enough? Work out harder.
  • A “post-workout dark chocolate recovery bar” is a candy bar. Don’t eat it.
  • You can do any abdominal workout all day long, but those abs won’t show unless you stop eating the cake, cupcakes, pies, cookies, and late-night drunk pizzas.
  • You didn’t buy a gym membership to watch the cable that you already pay for at home, so quit flipping channels and drooling over the television… and run faster.

If you try to find shortcuts, I promise you won’t get the results you want. The truth is, there are no shortcuts. It’s supposed to hurt and you’re supposed to hate it, but it will pay off in the end!

(Image courtesy of www.pinterest.com)

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