Do Juice Cleanses Actually Work?

pin it button Do Juice Cleanses Actually Work?

realityofjuicecleanses 600x442 Do Juice Cleanses Actually Work?Those of you hooligans who have been following me for a long time know that I am a fan of using detox water, juicing, and smoothies as a way to supplement a healthy diet and get the most nutrients in your diet and promote healthy digestion and maximum hydration.

However, I do not believe in restricting your diet to ONLY these things. As I’ve said before, the only way to see results that last is to find a balance of clean foods and exercise. Selecting only one food to eat for periods of time can actually hurt your progress. (Such as that ridiculous fruit-only fad diet that is such a bad idea on SO many levels.)

So what about a temporary juice cleanse? Does that help flush your body of toxins and start fresh? Or could it be the cause of cravings and the start of an unhealthy cycle of calorie restricting?

2014 01 31 09.44.18 1 400x300 Do Juice Cleanses Actually Work?Those of you who follow me on Instagram (@swansandsparrows) know that I’m a fan of Nektar, and I decided to write this article and do some investigating into the idea of whether or not doing a juice cleanse like theirs is actually beneficial. [Read more...]

Recipe: SUPER CHARGED Avocado Eggs

pin it button Recipe: SUPER CHARGED Avocado Eggs

avocadoeggs 600x337 Recipe: SUPER CHARGED Avocado EggsGood morning! And by morning I mean 11:56am because I went to the Ed Wood film festival last night where my film was showing and stayed out super late so this is me sleeping in.

This is my go-to recipe for “mornings” like this because I need something to keep me fueled up for the rest of the day so I can get through yoga, my shift at work, and tons of pre-production for tomorrow’s shoot and not fall asleep in the middle of everything.

The spice from the chili powder wakes you up, the healthy monounsaturated fatty acids in the avocado nourishes you and speeds up your metabolism as well, and the protein keeps you full. Add a slice of whole wheat toast to help your body better utilize the protein from the eggs. Also whole wheat toast is the bomb. [Read more...]

54 Healthy Habits for the New Year

pin it button 54 Healthy Habits for the New Year

54healthyhabitsforthenewyear 600x400 54 Healthy Habits for the New YearThe reason most people’s New Years’ resolutions fail is because they try and do everything perfectly right from January 1st. They cut out junk food, exercise seven days a week, and they go on a juice cleanse and start detoxing.

The problem is, for most people this isn’t sustainable. February rolls around, and they’re back to their old habits, except this time they feel ashamed that they weren’t able to keep up with such a hard, sudden change.

This year, do your New Years’ Resolutions right. Want to get fit? Healthy? Take it week by week. Make one small healthy change every week in 2014. January 1st, begin eating one piece of fruit each day. The second week, start eating one vegetable each day. The next week, begin exercising twice a week. Then three. Then four. Gradually build upon each of these healthy habits.

This works because only gradual changes will stick.

Need some ideas for small healthy habits? You’ve come to the right place!

Here are 54 health and fitness habits to build in the new year: [Read more...]

Beginner’s Guide to Juicing

pin it button Beginners Guide to Juicing

beginnersguidetojuicing Beginners Guide to JuicingIf you’re like me, eating vegetables raw sometimes doesn’t cut it. That’s where juicing comes in! You just throw veggies and an apple into a juicer and you’re all set! It’s super lazy and perfect for my low-maintenance style of eating. I don’t know about you guys, but the less work I can do in the kitchen the better.

Juicing vs. Making Smoothies

There are pros and cons for both smoothies and juicing:

juicing 400x266 Beginners Guide to JuicingJuicing. The point of juice is to increase your fresh produce intake and boost immunity. Juicing helps fight oxidative stress in your body by increasing the content of vitamins and minerals in your body. Also who the heck is just going to eat half a head of cabbage for fun?

Smoothies. Smoothies are more of “meal” options that don’t strip fruits and veggies of fiber like juicing does. Also, smoothies don’t require fancy equipment and you can throw things like Greek Yogurt into the mix to add some protein. Some people like to add protein to their smoothies, although personally I’m not a fan of overdoing the whey protein (but that’s for another post.) However, too much fruit juice, yogurt, honey, or other stuff can considerably increase your sugar intake and cause blood sugar spikes, so be wary.

Generally, I like smoothies because I have a small Magic Bullet Blender Beginners Guide to Juicing that blends like a dream and the blender doubles as a cup. Great for a college student. Juicing is more of an event that I do when I come home, but it’s nice to be able to throw veggies that are almost past their prime into the juicer and not have to waste anything.

If you think juicing is for you, read on! If not, you can check out my smoothie recipes here.

Types of Juicers [Read more...]

6 Tips for Picking the Freshest Fruits and Veggies

pin it button 6 Tips for Picking the Freshest Fruits and Veggies

pickthebestproduce 6 Tips for Picking the Freshest Fruits and VeggiesPicking the freshest produce can be difficult, so I put together this simple guide to picking the freshest fruits and vegetables at the grocery store! Also, where you shop is a factor in freshness. One grocery store near where I live constantly has rotten berries, so instead I buy all my fruits at a local farmer’s market. You can also grow your own produce. The picture for this article is actually of tomatoes from my parents’ garden, which is grown in a pot. More on gardening in another article!

Here are my 6 tips for picking the freshest produce: [Read more...]

How to Design Your Weekly Workout Plan

pin it button How to Design Your Weekly Workout Plan

bigstock Beautiful young woman stretchi 45290131 600x400 How to Design Your Weekly Workout PlanCreating your weekly routine is critical in staying focused and reaching your health and weight loss goals! Workout plans vary depending on if you’re training for events, want to burn fat, or simply just want to stay active.

Here’s my handy-dandy guide on designing your weekly workout plan:

3 Important Elements of a Weekly Workout Plan

When designing your workout plan, these three elements are key for creating a plan that effectively burns fat and speeds your metabolism:

  1. HIIT. Instead of steady state cardio, do HIIT! Read my Ultimate Guide to HIIT here for more info.
  2. Cross-training. Yoga, bike riding, hiking, swimming, surfing — there are so many different ways to cross-train! Not to mention that cross training helps to work muscles that maybe get forgotten about or aren’t used enough. Cross-training also helps prevent injury because doing repetitive exercises like running without a variety of cross-training can lead to overuse of those muscles.
  3. Strength training. This is such a critical part of your workout plan! Strength training helps speed your metabolism and burn fat. You can’t just do cardio, or else you’ll lose muscle mass. With strength training it’s also important that you cycle your workouts (i.e. do upper body muscle groups, lower body muscle groups, and total body on a separate day) instead of doing total body strength training every day. You can read my beginner’s guide to strength training here.

Know that your workout plan won’t “work” at all if you don’t eat clean! Read more about clean eating here.

How Many Rest Days Should I Have Per Week? [Read more...]

10 Best Fitness and Weight Loss Apps

pin it button 10 Best Fitness and Weight Loss Apps

bigstock Young People group of women 40771600 600x400 10 Best Fitness and Weight Loss AppsMy most important fitness tool is my phone! There are a ton of great apps to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Here is my top ten list of apps I can’t live without:

  1. Half Marathon Trainer. Check out my review here — I love this app, and it’s a great way to train for your first half marathon! The app uses walk/run or jog/run intervals in order to help you train safely and efficiently. [Read more...]

3 Best Half Marathon Training Tips!

pin it button 3 Best Half Marathon Training Tips!

bigstock Athletic running happy young w 45923932 600x400 3 Best Half Marathon Training Tips!Hey guys! I just ran 7 miles today as part of my half marathon training plan, and I thought I’d give you guys my TOP 3 TIPS for running so far your legs almost fall off.

Also it’s good preparation for zombie apocalypses/Hunger Games that could be present in our distant futures. Train now, survive later!

TIP #1: START HYDRATING 3 HOURS BEFORE YOUR RUN

Trust me on this one! Hydration is a critical factor for endurance, and in order to properly hydrate you can’t just chug water 5 minutes before your run. Your cells need time to properly absorb the water you’re drinking.

TIP #2: EAT WELL OR DIE

tumblr inline mwsnk84csV1qdrp2g 3 Best Half Marathon Training Tips!

And by “die” I mean “you become so exhausted you have to quit running.”

This lovely sandwich is one of my FAVORITE pre-long run breakfasts. Inside are scrambled eggs, satueed spinach, bell peppers, and onion, and the whole wheat bread is slathered with super healthy basil pesto. Two clementines on the side for some extra fruit. It has everything you need to kickstart a great run: protein and complex carbs!

You can find some more great snacks here!

TIP #3: FIGHT BOREDOM

Here are some of my favorite ways to fight boredom on those long runs:

  • Listen to a podcast. (This American Life, The Moth, Welcome to Nightvale are my favorites)
  • Mix up your route. One of my favorite runs is around this mountain in my hometown that has GORGEOUS views when you get to the top. It’s a five mile loop, and so much fun to run.
  • Run from zombies. Try the Zombies, Run! app for an interactive adventure!
  • Run with a friend. Training with a friend is always a great way to stay motivated.
  • Make a new running playlist. Fast, up-tempo songs are shown to improve your endurance. Put together a great playlist for a boost!

There you have it, my three top tips!

Looking for more workouts to do? Check out my 30 Day Youtube Calendar!

 

 

5 Rules for Eating Healthy When Dining Out

pin it button 5 Rules for Eating Healthy When Dining Out

howtoeathealthywhilediningout 600x399 5 Rules for Eating Healthy When Dining Out

Eating out can be tough if you’re health conscious. Here are 5 tips for eating healthy while dining out! These are my five rules for eating healthy while dining out. For more tips, check out this article about eating clean at restaurants.

  1. Avoid white flour when you can. I’ve basically never been able to find a *real* whole wheat option at restaurants, but get as close as you can. Pastas are a no-go, especially since they’re often covered in buttery sauces that pack on calories and saturated fat.
  2. Avoid fast food at all costs. Fast food restaurants (Wendy’s, McDonalds, etc) are landmines. It’s really hard to eat anything of nutritional value there. Subway is perhaps the exception, and you can make your own healthier options there.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take it “to go.” The portion sizes at restaurants are huge. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate if you’re getting full.
  4. Go green. You don’t have to order a salad everytime, but try and choose options with lots of veggies (like vegetable soups or sandwiches).
  5. Mix N’ Match Side Dishes. Even if you’re at a restaurant where everything seems unhealthy, you can create your own meal out of side salads and dishes such as mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, etc. Try and create your own meal out of complex carbs, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and veggies.

Good luck!

-Amy

photo by my brother, DJ Suto. His blog is Geocentrism.

6 Things I Wished I’d Known About Health and Fitness

pin it button 6 Things I Wished Id Known About Health and Fitness

bigstock Young Woman Choosing Food 37905298 600x400 6 Things I Wished Id Known About Health and FitnessI’ve spent the last four years of my life learning all I can about health and fitness and tracking down photos of cats that look like Ron Swanson. If I had a time machine, these would be the things I would have told myself at the beginning of my journey:

1. Calorie counting promotes obsessive behavior.

Sure, calorie counting can help you get a better picture of how much you’re eating and if you’re snacking on junk food when you’re not hungry, but you shouldn’t do it regularly.

2. Weight loss isn’t necessarily the same thing as fat loss.

You may be thrilled when the numbers go down on the scale, but the scale is unreliable. What you weigh depends on a number of factors, including the breakfast that’s digesting in your stomach, the salt content in your body, the amount of water you’ve drank that day, among other things. When the scale decreases, it could be just a fluctuation in those variable. Or, if you’re not doing enough strength training, you could be losing valuable muscle mass, which leads to a slowdown of your metabolism and fat gain in the long run.

But when you get rid of fat and replace it with muscle, you may not gain or lose any weight, but you’ll be slimmer since a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. More on this subject here.

3. When in doubt, do more strength training.

Strength training is SO important. I created a beginner’s guide to strength training as well as a list of reasons why strength training is key for fat loss. It can be hard to get into strength training, but having more lean muscle mass speeds your metabolism and makes you stronger. And who doesn’t want to be able to move their own furniture and carry heavy groceries with ease!? Cardio can’t do that, yo. [Read more...]