Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Healthful Indulgence: Day 2

Day 2
Morning Indulgence: Indulge in a healthy breakfast of oatmeal cooked with fresh blueberries. Simply make the oatmeal on the stove-top as instructed on the packaging and add the blueberries a few minutes before the oatmeal is done. Notice how these antioxidant rich berries add a pungent swirl of flavor as they burst open, seeping their violet color into your morning breakfast. Top the oatmeal with a light drizzle of maple syrup, satisfying your sweet-tooth-cravings of indulgence, while boosting your immune system with its innately fortified zinc and manganese nutrients.

Mid-day Indulgence: Take 15 minutes to play a game of Frisbee with a friend (or with your dog if you have one and are at home), enjoying the sunlight as it beats down upon your head. Feel the re-energizing of your body that comes from just a short period of aerobic activity, as it breaks up your often long, monotonous day.

Evening Indulgence: Take the time to call up an old friend, one who you haven't gotten the chance to speak with in awhile. Rekindle and strengthen your friendship by checking in on how he/she is doing and by sharing your own stories. Afterwards, take a few moments to feel the gratification that comes from the devotion of a period of your evening to social activity.

Final Indulgence: Fill up your bathtub with some soothing, hot water and some lavender (or other calming fragrance) bubbles. Go full out and put on some of your favorite relaxing music and even light a few candles. Take this time to think solely about yourself and to focus on how you are feeling. Let go of any tension you may be holding from earlier in the day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Little Healthful Indulgence Never Hurt Anyone...In Fact, It Will Help

Everyone needs a little self-pampering from time to time. You can't live life without an occasional indulgence, that is if you plan to live a life consisting of happiness and satisfaction. However, not all of this indulgence or pampering has to create negative effects on your life, physique, conscious, etc.. Indulgence doesn't always have to signify the overconsumption of salty snacks or fatty desserts, and self-pampering doesn't always have to encompass large amounts of your time, taking up otherwise allotted space in your busy schedule. Indulgence can in fact be particularly healthy if done in the right way, and daily acts of pampering can be incorporated into your life with minimal adverse effects on your everyday obligations.

For the next seven days, Fun, Fitness, and Fresh-air will be running a guide to healthy indulgence that will leave you feeling more energized, focused, and satisfied than ever before, and won't leave your conscious tenaciously guilty. With these suttle indulgences, you will begin to be able to cherish the daily, vitalizing aspects of life, and be able to feel pampered throughout your everday interactions. The guide is devised to show you that not all indulgence should have to be kept hidden in the back of your closet, impatiently pulsing in your mind waiting to see the daylight; so let's break them out into the fresh-air and begin!

Day 1
Morning indulgence: Have a cup of antioxidant rich green tea, read the tea bag, and take 5 minutes to melt into it's written mantra as you enjoy the relaxing warmth of the awakening tea. Simply focus on the inspirational quote on the tea bag and just let it settle in your mind to allow for its subconcious use throughout the day. For just a few minutes, eliminate any thoughts of rushing to get to work, school, etc., and let yourself slowly awaken your body in the presence of positive thoughts and inspirations.

Mid-day indulgence: Take a break, either before or after lunch, to take a brisk ten minute walk. Absorb the sun's beating rays as you swiftly gaze off into the beauty of nature that surrounds you. Rid yourself of any throbbing obligations that may lie ahead of you and focus on the tranquility that can be found from a quick walk in the outdoors. Try not to focus on the racing traffic, or loud construction-like noises around you, and gear your mind towards the bright parts of nature that can be found in any setting, such as the breeze passing over your face, or the excitement of freshy surfaced spring days.

Evening indulgence: Take time to do an hour of deep-breathe filled yoga. If you feel crunched for time, skip your late night TV session, or your daily facebook monitoring. As you engage in the poses, focus simply on the supple movements and the flow of the in-and-out of your breathe. Remember to save ten minutes for a deep relaxation at the end of your session. Feel the benefits of the complete lettin go that came from indulging your body, mind, and time in this agile exercise.

Final indulgence: Enjoy the savoring of a few pieces of heart-healthy dark chocolate.

As you go to sleep, notice how you feel, your level of contentness, and the amount of disconcertion today's indulgences contributed towards. As you continue with the seven day guide of indulgence, notice an increase in your feelings of contentenss, and a decrease in your feelings of disconcertion.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is finally here!  You know what that means....Warmer weather is hopefully on its way (and free Rita's today!).

With the arrival of spring, it's time to let go of clutter, including the old grudges you may have muddled up inside your head.  Get rid of those old, out-dated sweaters-  you know, the ones you have been keeping year after year that you claim you are going to wear one day, but haven't even touched for the past five years (except to move towards the end of your closet to make room for new, brighter and better blouses).  Clear your mind of any unnecessary hatred you have bottled up about others.  Let it all go, be free, no only physically but mentally.  Spring is time for change, time for smiles, and time for Fun, Fitness, and Fresh-air!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Salad Contributing to Making America Fat?

Could the semblance of all those salads that you eat for lunch everyday containing the nutritiously thin, vitamin-filled, bright green leafs be at the root of why you aren't able to lose the extra pounds you've been struggling to get rid of for weeks?  The same salads that leave you craving a chocolate bar or bag of chips right after eating lunch (no matter how full you are), the same salads that you replaced your usual turkey and cheese sandwich for, the same salads that you've been eating in order to lose the extra weight you can't seem to shed...

As I was browsing my college newspaper, I came across an article that talked about the hidden calories within salads assembled by Einstein Bagels, a fairly large corporation that sells food within our cafeteria.  Although I wasn't all that shocked to hear what the article had to say considering I've previously read a lot of similar articles, many readers are left utterly surprised when they read about the outrageous amount of calories within the salads they eat, such as the ones produced by Einstein's.  According to the article, the chicken chipotle salad contains 710 calories and the chicken caesar salad contains a whopping 810 calories.  It mentions that you could consume a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's Lighten Up Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream instead and still have 20 calories left over!

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Einstein's isn't the only company that sells salads that can be compared to the nutritional contents of hamburgers.  McDonald's Premium Southwest salad with crispy chicken contains 430 calories, Burger King's Tender Crisp Garden Salad contains 450 calories, and Wendy's Mandarin Grilled Chicken Salad contains 540 calories.

Not only do the salads contain a prolific amount of calories, but many also have a large amount of fat, such as  McDonald's Grilled Chicken Salad with Newman's Own Caesar Dressing containing 56 grams of fat or Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad containing 36 grams of fat.

So my question is:  Why are companies loading these products with fat and calories when they know most consumers are buying them because they consider the products to be a healthy alternative?  It really isn't that difficult to make an appetizing salad that contains minimal calories.  There are tons of ingredients, such as sauteed mushrooms or heart-healthy nuts, that could replace unneeded, artery clogging toppings like bacon.  Also, there are tons of bright, colorful low-cal toppings, such as tomatoes, beets, radishes, and carrots, that can can make a salad more aesthetically appealing than any other competing cuisine.  

Personally I think companies would profit more by making there heavy yet intended to be light products healthier.  Far more health advocates like me might actually consider going to a fast food restaurant for convenience and purchasing a salad once in awhile.  Most of us now rarely step foot in such a place.  Instead of deceiving their customers, fast food restaurants should look into healthier options and make the salads they sell actually nutritiously beneficial.