7 Great Exercises For Your Abs!

We are always looking for new exercises to add into our #ExerciseRegularly routine. This week, we asked our trainer Ken Yu to some of his favorite moves for those killer abs. Check out his workout below, with YouTube links for examples if you need any help!

“Make sure you do the repetitions for quality and not for speed. Try tighten your abs and keep them tight throughout the exercise. Take breaks when needed.” – Ken Yu

25 Each:

  1. In-Outs:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeTze9BXGW4
  2. Bicycle Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwyvozckjak
  3. Wide-Leg Sit-up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeRK-6S0xXs
  4. Scissors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoNCIBVLbgY
  5. Pulse-Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lh4JtL-6ME
  6. Leg Climbers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIOStk2Hznc
  7. Russian Twists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wNNCQj2mV4
  8. End with 5 Sets of plank holds for approximately 5 – 15 seconds.

Beautiful athletic woman working ab intervals on fitness ball in fitness gym.

Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth

Today marks the last day of National Diabetes Awareness Month, which means it its your last chance to drop by both Le Colonial and Brasserie Ruhlmann to indulge in our tasty, curated pix-fixe menu! A percentage of the proceeds from this menu will help us stop childhood obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, and improve eating habits for children locally.

Courtesy of Le Colonial, please enjoy this recipe for their exquisite pan seared cod with a ginger lime broth.

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Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

BROTH

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 pieces fresh ginger, each 2 inches long
  • 1 Thai chile, halved lengthwise

FISH

  • 3 pounds Cod fillet
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro stems
  • ½ cup finely minced lemongrass (about 2 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chiles
  • 2¼ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • Fleur de sel, for garnishDIRECTIONS:
  1. To make the broth, trim the lemongrass, leaving only the bottom 5 to 6 inches of the stalks, and peel away the outer layers, leaving only the tender stalks. Bruise the lemongrass by smashing it with a small pot or the dull side of a cleaver. In a medium saucepan over high heat down to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cod into 6 equal pieces and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro stems, lemongrass, olive oil, chiles, garlic, and salt and stir to form a paste. Spread evenly over the tops of the cod fillets.
  3. In a very hot pan, cook the fish until firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per inch of thickness. Just before serving, stir the lime juice and fish sauce to taste into the broth. Place each piece of fish in a bowl and pour ½ cup of the broth around the fish. Garnish with cilantro, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

ENJOY!

When It Comes To Fighting Diabetes, We Are Indeed Stronger Together

Let’s all unite for National Diabetes Day Nov 14

Diabetes is a disease that can make you feel very lonely – it requires self-discipline, behavior modification, and a whole lot of courage. Diabetes never leaves you, there is no vacation from it even if you sometimes just want to forget about it!

I spent many years controlling my Type 1 diabetes (T1D) extremely well and then some years dismissing it. I wanted to have a life, not just be a person with diabetes. I never asked for help – my attitude was that I was going to solve the puzzle and get rid of this terrible condition once and for all. After studying the disease in med school and as a scientist, I realized it was not so simple. The people with diabetes who I encountered during my education and my early years with the disease, were mostly very sick, since the people I saw had ended up in the hospital where I was studying or working. I had absolutely no interest in connecting with them since I could not relate to them. I was, frankly, afraid of them, and surely not inspired or comforted by them. When I was working as an intern in the ER of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, or as a post-doc at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, I saw individuals who were struggling with foot ulcers, blindness, kidney or heart disease on a daily basis, and my mind became more and more set on not disclosing that I was one of them.

After leaving medicine and working in the life sciences industry, I stopped paying as much attention to my disease since the long-term consequences of the disease seemed very far away, while the near-term issues, such as having to fear low blood sugars and having to tell colleagues to accommodate to my eating habits were less desirable to someone living in the fast lane! Yet again, I did not relate to anyone with diabetes although there were several people who were going through what I was living and doing it well!

I now realize that I was wrong. Relating to others, opening up about issues in addition to strengths and weaknesses makes you stronger and it helps others as well as yourself!

Today, on National Diabetes Day we embrace fellow individuals living with diabetes, we welcome anyone who wants to share their story, and we encourage families and friends of people with diabetes to open up about their struggles.

At www.Lyfebulb.com we realize that this fight against a disease that is becoming a pandemic is not one to fight alone. We lead by example, fostering partnerships with fellow organizations to increase our reach, to expand our capabilities, and grow our community. We have also embraced mutual and diverse partners ranging from the global diabetes leader, Novo Nordisk for our Innovation Awardfocused on patient entrepreneurs, to art galleries Contini Art UK in London and Unix Gallery in Chelsea to showcase a performance by type 1 diabetic Omar Hassan on November 17th, to specially curated diabetic-friendly menus at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center and Le Colonial in Midtown. We have also partnered with Punch Fitness Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to encourage exercise. In addition, we advise a number of smaller biotechnology and healthcare IT companies in their path toward improving the quality of life for people with diabetes, and we encourage entrepreneurs who are deriving their motivation for innovation and business-building from their own experiences with disease.

Today is a day to celebrate our unity, to celebrate our fight – but also to Live Lyfe with and without diabetes!

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This blog was also featured on The Huffington Post on November 14, 2016.

The Lyfebulb Philosophy – An Introduction

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  • Work Hard
  • Eat Well
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Expand your Horizons
  • Relax Frivolously
  • Do Good

We believe that living well and being happy with yourself include all these components. It is not enough to work hard and play hard but we need to take care of our bodies and minds as well. Treating our bodies as finely tuned machines is a method top athletes are used to and that works for periods of our lives but to succeed to be overall happy the human being needs more than just fuel and toning, we also need intellectual stimulation, feeling needed and to use our hearts.

I have lived a life that has been divided into different phases, the first phase as being a child athlete in gymnastics, track and field and tennis which required me to keep my body very strong and flexible.

This changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes a few days before my 17th birthday after which I dedicated many years to forcing my brain to take in as much as possible about my own disease and show the world that I could compete well in academics and later on in the work place. I did not focus on my health for a few years and due partly to my lack of care for my own body, it broke down and forced me to switch focus again.

After having to solve for several complications to diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision loss and general dysfunction, I started the third phase of my life, which now took into account my body and mind, but I still had not included my heart. When you are fighting for your life, it is hard to think about what you can do for others, but survival instincts take over and the individual becomes selfish. I see this a lot in people who have chronic disease, they tend to feel sorry for themselves during periods of time and it will take some soul-searching until they realize that helping others, ie doing good makes you feel and even look better!

When I realized all this, more than 20 years after my diagnosis I felt a new kind of energy and motivation that reached beyond making money or getting ahead. I wanted to make a difference but to do that, I needed to take very good care of my mind and body.

For me, my motivation changed from being a competitive athlete, star student and young professional trying to make it, into an adult with some disabilities but with a clear compass for what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to be seen.

I think motivation is the driver for behavior and any program to affect health, esthetics or performance need to include strong motivational triggers, otherwise technology, diets, gyms do not work.

My simple advice to anyone who wants to keep a healthy diet is to eat a balanced diet, with proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but to reduce the portion sizes and the amounts of simple carbs, saturated fats and red meat as soon as you want to reduce weight. Another important trick is to have many smaller meals, rather than a few heavy ones, to never have a large meal late in the evening and to replace alcohol with water as much as possible. You want to keep your metabolism high and working, which you do not do if you starve yourself and skip meals. Coffee is a great metabolism booster, although there are side effects to consider if you are hypertensive or if you have GI issues.

Regarding exercise, my simple advice again is to be regular and to incorporate physical activity daily, almost as a part of your routine. It could be a walk in the morning, after lunch and dinner, taking the stairs and to walk the distance from the last bus stop before reaching your home. If I do not have time to get to the gym or go for a run in the Park, I pay extra attention to my body during the day and do small things such as lifting my legs while sitting, tightening my muscles in meetings or volunteering to do errands (will make you popular in the office). Getting your heart pumping is critical and using your muscles will build tone and make you look better.

At Lyfebulb we also believe in broadening your horizons beyond work and exercise. This means that we encourage individuals to participate in activities that are not directly related to your work, for example music, art, antiques, theater, movies. This is different than just enjoying some time off, which falls under the category of relaxing and we add the word “frivolously” to make sure there is no required learning in the relaxation.

Personally, broadening of my horizons is the most difficult pillar to incorporate in my life and that has to do with my competitive spirit. If I am not very good at something, I rarely participate actively, just passively, as a form of relaxation. For example, I love watching movies, but I do not push myself to watch so-called intellectual movies or classics unless they are enjoyable. I do not listen to music to learn about a composer/artist or genre, only to feel happy or work out. I love fashion, but only if the clothes appeal to me personally and if I would consider buying them. I am not interested in their history, the designer or how they were originated or made. I have a strong sense and clear views on esthetics – but only for my own pleasure.

Lastly, doing good – something we feel we should all be doing daily and always keep the concept in mind. It actually should not even be a thought, but it should be inherent to your character –  we believe that people who are good, normally do well!

So now let us get back to motivation. What drove me to become a top tennis player in my country as a teenager? Not doing good, not to be healthy and not to be rich, but I was driven by the motivation of winning, becoming a champion and the satisfying feeling that I was truly excellent at something. A similar feeling drove me to do well in school, but the direction my studies took me also included the motivation to learn more about my personal disease and to be part of the race toward a cure. I wanted to graduate with two degrees from a top university in record time, and so I did. But when I had reached that goal, my motivation to pursue medicine was lower than my motivation to become successful financially and to again prove to the world that I could do something very hard, ie move careers and become a successful young woman in finance despite my scientific background. Although it appealed to me to make money, financial success was never the driver, while “winning” still was. I set up goals for myself, in getting great jobs, performing well in meetings and being recognized for my intelligence. When I got very sick due to genetic predisposition to microvascular complications and mismanagement of diabetes, I was motivated by a different driver – health.

I needed to get back in shape metabolically to continue the life I was living, and although I made big changes, this fight required double transplants and lots of medical care to get to the point where I am now.

 

What motivates me now – health and doing good are at the forefront, success at work and personally are secondary. I want to be happy and I want to make others happy. I love seeing the work we do at Lyfebulb make a true difference for people and that I can use my experiences to help others – companies, individuals, foundations and hospitals. I guess I still like to be recognized and my inherent insecurities push me to work very hard and to continue my quest, but I never forget to keep space open for my health which clearly is backed by how I eat, exercise, relax and how I expand my horizons!

My advice to others is to recognize your personal motivation – it may differ from mine. If you focus on your looks, health, family, net worth really does not matter. All that matters is that you use your trigger at the moments when you need to make decisions and that you keep in mind the 6 Lyfebulb pillars of our Philosophy.

For example –

1: if your motivation is your family, keep them at the forefront of your mind when you are faced with stress. When you are close to eating the wrong meals, skipping your daily exercise or when you are close to making an unethical decision – think about your family and how they will suffer if you are no longer strong and happy.

2: if your trigger is your financial situation, think about the long term and how your health is critical to your pocketbook and that making short term profits while disregarding your waistline and your morals will not enable you to enjoy the money for a very long time

3: if your driver is your appearance, consider the food you are eating or avoiding to eat and the exercise you are dropping or overdoing. It is equally bad for your appearance long term to be too skinny as it is to be too fat. Health is reflected by your appearance, so if you drop your driver, your health will be suffering a great deal.

We will be featuring a number of ideas to stay on the plan – simple, enjoyable and motivational posts will be launched on our various social media outlets. Stay tuned and do not hesitate to reach out to tell your story and to ask us more about ours!

Breaking Through by Omar Hassan

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We are thrilled to announce that in one month, we will collaborate with UNIX Gallery and Contini Art UK, to bring you a special performance by the artist Omar Hassan, a member of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle.

Omar is an internationally renowned and celebrated artist whose technique, style and personality break away from conventional approaches. Hassan’s work merges his many worlds: fine art, boxing and living with Diabetes. In his work, Hassan explores the gravity of disease and simultaneously emanates positivity and the powerful urge to overcome adversity.

Omar will create one of his amazing works of art on November 17th at UNIX Gallery, located at 532 W 24th Street in New York City, which will then be auctioned off during a silent auction. The proceeds will go the Lyfebulb’s foundation, and help further our mission to improve the lives of those living with Diabetes. If you are unable to attend the event, you can still make a donation here. We appreciate any support our community may be able to provide!

We hope to see you at UNIX Gallery on November 17th at 6 pm!

To RSVP, please email Andrew Cole – andrew@unixgallery.com.

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Snacking Smartly

Ingredients for salad with salmon, cherry tomatoes and lettuce on a wooden chopping board on rustic white background, selective focus

The habit of snacking exists for a reason: our blood sugar gets low between meals and we feel hungry. Snacking on a small portion (one handful serving size, or 100-200 calories) of healthy food like a piece of fruit, boiled egg, or nuts can actually improved our health, assist in weight management, optimize brain function, and reduce fatigue between meals.

The problem with snacking is when it becomes a habitual cycle, and you find yourself snacking on food throughout the day instead of sitting down for meals. Although taking a few bites or handfuls of food throughout the day may feel like you’re eating less, you’d be surprised how much those little bites can add up, especially when they food has a high caloric density like chips or candy.

Here are some tips on how to get out of the habit of mindless snacking:

  1. Plan your day with mealtimes in mind. Before you go to bed, think about the next day and how you can fit in three 30-60 minute meals.Better yet, prepare those meals ahead of time. Sitting down and focusing on eating a colorful and diversified plate of food will not only stimulate your sense of taste, but your sense of sight and smell, leaving you more satisfied and less likely to over-eat or snack on unhealthy foods later on. Remember, fill your plate up with a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats to feel fuller and more energetic throughout the day.
  1. Listen to your body. If it’s 3pm, you’re fatigued and can hear your stomach growling, give your body a snack. Don’t think you’re doing yourself a favor by pushing through those signals your body is telling you. However, when you do snack, snack wisely. Keep it small – a one handful serving size, or between 100-200 calories. Try to incorporate protein or fiber in your snacks, as they will help keep you fuller longer so you’re not going back to the fridge for more. Avoid “snack” foods like chips, candy, and sweets. These will leave you feeling more fatigued as they are inflammatory foods that can negatively affect blood sugar levels.
  1. Drink water between meals. Next time you find yourself hungry between meals, drink a glass of water – you may have simply been dehydrated. Try to always keep a water bottle on you and sip throughout the day. This is an easy way to replace unnecessary snacking with healthy sipping. If you have a hard time drinking plain water, try infusing your water with fresh fruit like lemon slices, blueberries, or pineapple chunks.

Here are some perfect snack foods to have between meals:

  • One handful of mixed nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews (best unsalted)
  • An apple with a slice of low-fat cheese
  • Vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, bell peppers) with hummus
  • A slice of sprouted grain toast with avocado
  • A hard-boiled egg and a handful of berries
  • A ½ cup serving of greek yogurt and 1 tbsp of nut butter – add cinnamon and stevia to taste
About ContentChecked: We are a family of three mobile phone applications focused on giving power to the users by allowing them to scan their food labels to discover any hidden food allergen or intolerances (ContentChecked), sugars (SugarChecked) or migraine-triggers (MigraineChecked). Our vision is to provide the go-to source for people seeking to maintain a clean and healthy diet.

 

  • woman eats sweets at night to sneak in a refrigerator

Change For Good

happy young man jumping  and drawing 2016 in the air

One of our core missions here at Lyfebulb is to inspire change, which happens to be a popular topic this time of year.

It’s no secret the new year brings with it the notion of change and self-improvement.  And as far as I’m concerned change is a good thing!  It opens up space for small but powerful lifestyle improvements.  Whether that’s healthier habits, cooking, or even breathing, small changes add up (these are all great goals, by the way!).  As my mentors say: small hinges swing big doors.

I’ve shared my top three tips below, which will help you establish achievable, inspired (and inspiring!) goals.  But first, start with this question: If you could wave a magic wand, and really get what you want in the next (insert time period), what would that look like?

State your goal in the positive

Say what you want, not what you don’t want.  This will help keep your mind focused on the positive, which impacts the small, daily decisions.  It’s much easier to make changes when we work toward something, rather than pulling away from something.  For example: “I’d like to incorporate more whole foods to my diet”, instead of “No processed foods.”  Other ideas might include:

  • Drink more water
  • Spend time with a good book each night
  • Experiment with new veggies in my diet

Goal should be initiated and maintained by self

While it’s important to surround yourself with individuals who inspire and motivate you, it’s equally important we set goals that don’t rely on someone else changing.  In other words: look to others for support and motivation, but don’t make them the cause of change.  Here are some examples:

  • Start a new blog to document my favorite recipes
  • Practice yoga for 20 minutes every other morning
  • Smile at strangers on the street

Size matters

Your goals should be large enough to be worthwhile yet small enough to feel attainable.  I love checking things off my to-do list; it makes me feel productive and validates my efforts.  The same thing goes for our goals.  Be realistic.  Maybe you’d like to join a book club that meets twice a week, but you know that might put a strain on your schedule.  Instead, you join one that meets every other week, knowing you can follow through with your commitment with ease.  Here are some other “sizable” goal ideas:

  • Workout twice a week
  • Get to bed 30 minutes earlier at least three times a week
  • Cook one new homemade meal each week

 I encourage you to jot down a goal or two taking these tips into consideration (did you know? writing your goals down on paper will help hold you accountable) and revisit it regularly to ensure your thoughts and actions stay aligned.

If you’re looking for inspiration we invite you to check out Lyfebulb Connect where you can find support and resources dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with chronic disease.  Here we use our stories and experiences to encourage and inspire one another in making changes – but it all starts with you.  What changes do you see for yourself?  To borrow the quote from Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Frittata Cups

It’s that time again!  We’re thrilled to share the third installment of our Lyfebulb Lyfestyle cooking demo series.  In today’s video we showcase a wonderful dish for those of us with busy schedules: single-serving frittata cups.

This is a great solution for those mornings when you need breakfast ready and waiting for you.  The frittata cups are a delicious mix of quality protein, healthy fat and veggies, and they’ll give you steady energy all morning long.  They practically shout out “healthy lifestyle!” for anyone who enjoys eggs as much as we do.

The frittata cups are best eaten warm and straight out of the oven, but can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Enjoy!
PS.  We’d love to see your healthy cooking creations on Instagram!  Tag us or use the hashtags #Lyfebulb and #LyfebulbLyfestyle so we can encourage and inspire one another!
Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata Cups
(adapted from thekitchn.com)

Makes 8 individual cups

Ingredients

2 cups chopped kale
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
8 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. To get 2 cups kale, remove the leaves from the kale ribs. Wash and dry the leaves and cut them into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

2.  In a 10-inch skillet, cook the garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the kale and red pepper flakes and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Add the kale and oregano to the egg mixture.

4.  Using a 12-cup muffin tin, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to grease 8 of the cups (you may also use butter or non-stick spray if you’d prefer). Sprinkle the tops with goat cheese. Bake until they are set in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Relationships Matter

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Who are your influencers?  Who in your life has the power to affect your health, your mood, your habits and the way you see the world?

The answer is: everyone.  Our family, our friends, our communities — everyone in our life has the ability to enhance our state of mind and being!  And while we’re born into family, we have a choice when it comes to the rest, those we call friends and the communities we connect with.

According to psychology professor Arthur Aron, PhD, director of the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at New York’s Stony Brook University: “Relationships are — not surprisingly — enormously important for health, and there are lots of studies on the biological processes that account for the link between relationships and health.” (source)

As I’ve gotten older I’ve placed a greater importance on relationships.  I seek out communities that offer support and a shared perspective (or experience), and friendships that challenge me, inspire me, and bring joy and fulfillment.  And though my closest friends live all around the globe I am a happier, healthier person with them in my life.  The simplest text can brighten my day!

A 2009 article in the New York Times called What Are Friends For? A Longer Life addresses the impact positive relationships have on our health.  It even goes so far as to say positive relationships “could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life.”

But relationships don’t just happen overnight; they take time, energy, and a little love.  The good ones will be there through the ups and downs, but I find that my closest friends know a little attention and thoughtfulness goes a long way.

If you’re looking to strengthen relationships in your life this holiday season, here are 5 simple tips from theInstitute for Integrative Nutrition:

Communicate

Whether in person, through an email, over Skype, or a good old-fashioned phone call, reach out to the people you love, even if it’s just to tell them, “I love you!” A little communication goes a long way in nurturing relationships.

Give a gift

‘Tis the season for giving, and it’s fun to get personal and creative. Give a family member or friend the night off by offering to babysit her kids, or make a batch of seasonal healthy treats to share with co-workers.

Dine together

Meet at your favorite local restaurant, or invite friends and family over for a homemade meal. To keep preparations stress-free, suggest a potluck dinner and everyone can contribute a dish.

Plan an activity

Visit a museum, meet for a walk, or decorate for the holidays together. If you’re feeling really festive, plan an ornament exchan
ge or a holiday cookie swap with a group of friends.

Practice self-love

Don’t forget about the most important relationship – the one with yourself! Taking care of your own needs, including a spiritual practice and regular exercise, allows you the freedom to love others to the best of your ability.

When we pave the way for positive relationships we can be sure our health will benefit as much as our mood.

And if you’re looking for a supportive, compassionate community, join us at Lyfebulb.  Our community is passionate about helping people with chronic disease improve their quality of life NOW.  We’d love to see you at one of our regular meet-ups or hear from you on our message board.  Let us influence one another!

Our Health is in Our Habits

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With a little guidance, patience, and experimentation, it is possible to know which foods are right for you.  What a sense of relief it is to have a personalized diet that caters to your health goals, concerns, and lifestyle!  But it doesn’t stop there.  While our diet does make up a big part of our health, food isn’t everything.  In addition to knowing what to eat, we must learn how to eat.

What does that mean?  It’s the state in which we approach food.  How we feel when we sit down to a meal.  How we think when we pick up our forks.  And how we act when we take a bite.  These “how’s” not only affect the efficiency of our digestive system, they also influence our state of mind (really!).

“How’s” are the foundation for our habits, which is no small thing.  As it goes: “we first make our habits, then our habits make us.” (John Dryden)  How do your mealtime habits play into your health?

Since I’m always looking to enhance my mental state here are three tips I put to use daily:

1. Slow down

Take time to sit and enjoy your meals.  Pause whatever you’re doing–even if it’s just for five minutes–and commit your mind and body to the dish in front of you.  Enjoy it!  When I eat quickly I find that I don’t even taste my food, let alone enjoy it.  Where’s the pleasure in that?  Then, when I look down and find my plate is empty I feel unsatisfied, anxious and annoyed.  I don’t like to experience those things, so I know it’s in my best interest to slow down.  Curious to see how it works?  Try this: start by setting down your utensils in between each bite.  Pause to take a drink of water.  While you take the time to nourish your body, let your mind take a break as well.  This gives your body time to process the food you’re ingesting, which will also help you feel better satiated since the body has time to tell the brain “I’m full.”

2. Chew, chew, chew!

I used to work in a fast-paced office where I ate my lunch in a hurry, hunched over my keyboard, hardly chewing.  No wonder I struggled with so many digestive issues, like bloating and heartburn.  Did you know digestion begins in the mouth?  Our saliva provides powerful enzymes with each bite, helping to break down the food before it enters the intestines.  When we take the time to chew our food, not only are we aiding in the digestion process, we become more conscious of each bite, which causes us to be more conscious of our food as a whole.  Try this: at your next meal chew each bite 30 times.  I know it sounds silly but you may be surprised with the results.  Can you do it?  The goal is not to count to 30 with each bite, every time (that would get a little tiresome); the goal is simply to make thorough chewing–and consciousness–a natural part of each meal time.

3. Enjoy the experience

Don’t forget to taste your food!  Pay attention to the flavors and the textures.  Savor each bite.  You might even feel differently about certain foods when you notice the details!  What’s more, this habit can help us experience even more pleasure with those foods we love.  For example, I love chocolate chips cookies.  So when I enjoy one, I really want to enjoy it: I stop whatever it is I’m doing and I take slow, mindful bites.  I might even close my eyes.  This allows me to thoroughly enjoy the moment and take in all the delicious flavors.

Try this: take a moment to calm down before starting your next meal.  Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  This will help your body better prepare for digestion and bring your mind back to the present state (instead of tangled up in that never ending to-do list!).

An improved state of mind is a powerful thing.  Imagine what more we could accomplish if we acted with an alert mind from a place of peace?  While we may not be able to control the circumstances around us we do have the power to embody health NOW.

The impact of these “how’s” can be felt right away, so I encourage you to give them a try!  Because a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about food – what you do matters.  Isn’t that empowering?

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