Give morning kindness a chance!

Have you ever noticed that what happens during the morning hours often sets the tone for the rest of the day? When things go smoothly, you tend to feel more relaxed and ready to face whatever the day may bring. However, when things get bumpy before you’ve even managed to get dressed, you’re more likely to remain grumpy until bedtime.

I have to admit, despite my usual positive mood, I am that type of person which is a Grinch before drinking the coffee in the morning and that is why I am silent until I do so. I must be rather careful not to ruin my mojo before I get to my Nespresso machine :). Looking around me, the majority of people seem to be, especially in winter time, in a more silent, gloomy mood in the morning. Thus, the mood breaker can set off anytime. Well, what can you do: morning, less light outside, cold weather, occasional fog, traffic, the rain sometimes…it’s understandable that we may be sleepy and gloomy in the morning these days…but is there anything we can do about it to make sure we start the day on a high note?

Last week, something happened that made me see things a bit differently. I arrived at the office and went to buy my usual morning yoghurt and lemon juice at a nearby place. The lady in the store was in a very nice mood. She greeted me nicely, and at the end with a lot of kindness she told me to have a beautiful day despite the foggy weather. She said “you deserve some inner sunshine with all this grey weather”. I immediately reacted…actually…something just rose inside of me. Her words… were so uplifting. I thanked her… really.  She made my day and it was so damn easy… and my day from that point on went wonderfully well. And I am not bullshitting really.

Inspired by this I decided to make an experiment and bring joy in the morning to some people around me, send some good vibes, tell them nice words to see how they react. Well, you may have guessed it… people smile when they are told nice things when they least expect. In the morning, you may say you still are in in-between moods… until you set off for the day, so someone else being a catalyzer for a positive day is important.

The thing is the more I practice this good mood “giving” in the morning hours, the more I actually feel good myself. It’s almost like a good vibe boomerang.

I actually just saw recently (and it was a nice coincidence to my thoughts these days) that a video was circulating on Facebook about a social experiment done by someone to see how “telling people that are beautiful make them react”. The idea behind it is similar to what I was trying to put in words over here. In case you missed it, here it is, a must-watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW8BDgLpZkI

While obviously and realistically there is some hassles that can’t be avoided because of circumstances around us, you can make mood-enhancing decisions during the morning hours that will set the stage for the next 16 hours or so. And “giving” good vibes may be a rewarding simple act. Just try it once or twice. It costs nothing.

IMG_4242

Actually, there’s one thing you can do just anywhere and anytime to set a good mood around: Smile or put a touch of humor on things. “Smiling is a simple way to change your mood—and the mood of those around you, too.” (and this is documented by a scientist , Dr. McKay, by the way). So spread your good-mood wealth as often as possible in the morning as well as throughout the day. It may build in a lot of good vibe for you and people around me may feel even more attracted to your positive energy. So give a try the next morning, just for a change at least :).

Advertisements

What we design, designs us back…

IMG-20131102-WA0015

This phrase just kept on being on my mind for a while, so I guess I wanted to share these thoughts…It’s just a simple truth that we usually ignore or at least we do not acknowledge.

Think about it for a second… in reference:

1. To our Love life: what we say, do, how we act later has impact on what we receive from the other person. It’s a simple boomerang effect. Words, not only actions, have powerful meanings that leave marks and that come to haunt us back when we least expect. Isn’t that true?

2. To Technology created in the world in general: we created Facebook, Twitter, iPhones that now shape our personality somehow, the way we communicate to each other, who we want to pose to be or actually be. We are trapped by our own creations and now they influence our life back.

3. To Nature: the way we treat the environment we live in, comes to reflect on us with different effects. Global warming for example just to name one, pollution is another and so on. How we design our existence…has a direct impact on the natural beauties around us and in time that shoots back to what we thought was the right thing to do when compromising on the natural aspect for a comfier living. This is happening as we speak…and it will happen more and more hundreds of years ahead until we drag all the energy from this Planet. Unless we change perspective and the way we do things which is highly unlikely… until we are not confronted with a crisis situation that will have a direct effect on our survival mode. We are selfish beings as humans…

4. To our Body: the way we design our eating habits will be reflected on our health and looks. It is as simple as that. And from that…our life is designed forward. As there is a difference between how you live and act when you are healthy and confident, compared to when you are weak or drained out physically from all the toxins you eat and drink. The way we chose to feed our body…eventually designs our life for the long term. So, I suggest this is something that everyone takes seriously. We age as beings…so a healthy mind and body is directly linked to our survival mode. Now, how we want to make our survival in this world, is also linked to that, as what we eat is connected to our mind’s well-being too. So…I guess, all I can say, when you feel depressed and sad and hopeless, try to think among others whether what you eat and drink is not staying in the way of gathering strength and hope to fight any problem in this life. And I honestly speak from experience.

I guess I could go on and on with this list as I find this line powerful and applicable to a lot of aspects in this world: What we design, designs us back…I think it is a nice reflection. I hope you agree to some extent.

My winter slim fit nutritional diet

photo meIf during summer time I go for the strawberry, raspberries & watermelon detox, in winter I always choose something more nutritional to built up my resistance, but also keep a healthy/slim body.

Last winter I found this Japanese Morning Banana diet that worked out very well for me. Also, together with regular gym exercising (2-3 times per week), it helped me tone for my kite-surfing trip in Boracay (kite surf strength and beach body), so I decided to do it again this autumn/winter season. Just in case I end up somewhere sunny 🙂

So here it goes:

Eat a banana for breakfast!

  • You can eat more than one, like two, but don’t stuff yourself to the point of fullness or discomfort.
  • Eat only raw, uncooked, unfrozen bananas.
  • If you are still hungry 15 or 30 minutes after your banana, you can eat other food like oatmeal, muesli, yoghurt. It must be light however.

Eat normally for lunch and dinner

  • Dinner must be eaten by 8 p.m. at the latest (6 p.m. is better).
  • There are no explicit limits on the types of food you can eat for lunch and dinner, or the amount. But avoid friend, lot of bread, lot of carbs – eat in moderation and healthy. Also avoid strict food rules to prevent a sense of deprivation.
  • However, you should not eat a dessert with dinner or any of your meals; you’ll need to satisfy your sweet tooth during a snack, but we’ll get to that later.
  • At all meals you should eat only until you’re satisfied but not full or stuffed. T

Drink only water

  • The only beverage allowed at most meals is water, preferably mineral or filtered.
  • There is no quota of water to drink, and you should not drink it in excess.
  • Outside of meals non-caloric beverages like tea, coffee, and diet soda are generally allowed but somewhat frowned upon, and in general water is encouraged as much as possible; frequent consumption of milk products is discouraged.
  • On social occasions you can drink wine.

Exercise! But only as much as you feel comfortable to

    • Put no pressure on yourself to exercise.
    • If you want to exercise, go ahead: the test is to do what puts the least stress on you.
    • Try to get some walking in every day if possible (but again, don’t force yourself if it stresses you out).

So this is it. If you want, try it out, and I’m sure you will see results in the first week! 🙂

Summer is over? Work Out mode still ON! Here’s why…

photo 3Summer may be over, but that does not mean that we should lay low on the sport, get comfy and built on small body fat. Exercising is way more that just keeping yourself fit. It is more about the “mind fitness” than you think and making it regularly will help you keep a positive mood in the rainy cloudy grey days to come.

Below, I put down a small list of why working out is so important, besides the obvious result of a better shaped body.

1. Improves self-confidence
Regular workouts and the physical practice of yoga develop strength of body, mind and spirit. Additionally, reflection while running for example and meditation or breathing techniques developed in yoga or any other sport activity help clear your mind and sometimes establish certainty about your inherent value.

2. Keeps energy levels high
A sweaty, strong workout releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. Endorphins naturally boost vitality and mood and induce relaxation so you can remain engaged and calm. These chemicals can also help keep spirits high.

3. Enhances focus
Working out, practicing yoga or pillates, learning to breathe properly and meditating can all help strengthen concentration. Scheduling regular meditation and sweat sessions builds tenacity so that you can stay more focused.

4. Develops self-awareness
Knowing yourself enables you to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Yoga, in particular, is geared toward self-study. Any sport usually helps you understand your limits but also push them. It can be motivating and can help you learn how to push yourself and never give up to reach your goals. Training your mind in sports can reverberate on other areas of your life once you learn “never giving-up” thinking and motivation.

5. Builds endurance
There’s nothing like stamina—both literal and figurative—to win a race. Physical challenges, like exercise, help build emotional endurance and mental toughness. You’ve got to stay in it to win it, and you must be able to endure also the hardship in life. Conquering physical challenges will help you realize that you’re able to overcome any obstacle.

6. Provides structure
Lack of structure in day-to-day life can be a major source of stress. Waking up late, not knowing what to do with your time are all productivity setbacks. Establish a routine by beginning each day with exercise.

7. Establishes hormonal balance
Being healthy and fit helps to stave off stress-induced hormonal fluctuations, which can manifest as depression, anxiety or weight gain. The moment we get stressed, our brains and bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline. In the right amounts, these hormones are essential for well-being. However when overproduced, they can be counter-productive—causing slow digestion, unnecessary hunger and unhealthy behaviors around food. Exercise can help keep “fight or flight” hormones in check so that you can productively run your life and activities.

8. Fosters commitment
Being healthy and fit requires consistency, discipline and loyalty to yourself—all of which are qualities that suggest you will be a committed member of any team: family, work, friends. I rest my case!

9. Improves decision making
The inability to make your mind up can be extremely stressful, especially when it comes to big decisions in life. Focused exercise can help establish clarity of mind when confronted with decision-making paralysis. When you don’t know what to do, try exercising or running outdoors. Chatter of the mind clouds thinking and must be quieted before you can draw thoughtful conclusions. When you operate from a place of clarity, you will make stronger decisions and have a better sense of the action steps necessary to go after the right opportunities.

10. Builds creativity
Even just a simple walk can stimulate our creativity centers, so imagine the effect of a real work-out. “Evrika moments” do wonders to alleviate stress and give us new insights into how to pursue any dilemma or activities in life.

I hope the above points shed a light of motivation to keep working-out beyond the end of summer. I know they work on me. Enjoy a healthy body & mind Autumn! 🙂

How to…? Handle & balance proteins

Between low-carb diet, vegan way of living, and every other popular diet and lifestyle trend that have arisen in the past years, I often find myself getting lost in a world of food facts. It seems that there are new ways of living to try on daily. And I have to be perfectly honest… it gets confusing! I’ve experimented with a few and the one thing I have learned is that you have to stick with what works for your body. 

Everyone’s bodies are different, so our diets should be different too. With this topic in mind, I recently chatted with a dietician who gave me a few tips about one extremely crucial factor that everyone’s diet should include. So whether you’re a devout meat lover or a strict vegan, here is the truth about protein… (especially being a woman!!!)
balance-calories-activity

1. How much is enough?

Apparently, the amount of protein each person needs in their daily diet depends specifically on their activity level, body type, and fitness goals. “An active woman may need anywhere from 50-60 grams per day, but you may need more or less depending on your routine.” To put that into perspective, one egg has about six grams of protein, a cup of Greek yogurt has 18 grams of protein, and chicken breast that’s about the size of your fist has 30 grams of protein. Furthermore, 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories consumed should come from protein. The more active you are, the closer your daily intake should be to 35 percent. And similarly, the less active you are, the closer your protein intake should be to 10 percent. Eating some source of protein at all of your meals and snacks each day will help you get the amount you need. And if you’re going to the gym and workout, make sure to increase your protein intake too! Plus, it will help shape and tone your muscles.

2. How can vegans and vegetarians eat enough protein throughout the day?

Vegans and vegetarians have a bit of a protein puzzle of their own because they exclude meat or animal products (or both!) from their diets. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, it’s important to know which foods will help you get enough protein throughout the day. I personally recommend trying quinoa and spirulina, which are some of the few complete sources of plant-based proteins. IF you eat fish, go for tuna. You can also combine certain foods, like legumes with grains or nuts, to create complete proteins. Below is a little list I found on the Vegetarian Resource Group of vegan and vegetarian foods and the grams of protein they have per cup. Keep this in mind the next time you want to make a protein meal:
●Lentils – 18 grams per 1 cup
●Chickpeas – 12 grams per 1 cup
●Tempeh – 41 grams per 1 cup
●Black beans – 15 grams per 1 cup
●Tofu – 11 per 4 ounces
●Quinoa – 9 grams per 1 cup

3. Are there wrong and right types of proteins?
Contrary to common belief, just because something is high in protein doesn’t mean it is good for you. There are wrong and right types of proteins, and you just have to keep an eye out for the healthy ones. For example, fatty meats like hamburgers, pepperoni, sausage or meatballs are not lean sources of protein. In fact, all of these meats are some of the highest sources of saturated fats. Steer clear of saturated fats and opt for lean protein sources like fish, chicken, or any of the vegetarian options listed above. And those protein bars you like to eat every morning? Most of them aren’t exactly great either. When you eat a protein bar or a protein shake, you may think you’re getting as much protein as eating a piece of chicken. But you are actually loading up your body with chemicals, hidden calories, extra carbs and lots of sugar. If you’re on the go and you need a quick protein fix, grab a bar or whip up a protein shake, but only once in a while. You are much better off getting the nutrients and vitamins from eating real foods like chicken or quinoa than going for the processed, powdery shake.

So don’t ever go to extreme regarding proteins – too much or not at all. A balance intake will keep you both healthy and energized. Calibrate the quantity according to your body and lifestyle!

Flat belly foods

IMG_3373During the summer period, all women want perfect toned abs or at least a flat belly to look their best at the beach. So, I investigated a few things we can eat in order to avoid bloating and have a flat sexy belly.

  1. Raspberries (as well as strawberries and blueberries) are packed with fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer (and–ahem–more regular). Plus they are packed with vitamin C, which is good for your immune system as well as your skin.
  2. Kale is a natural anti-inflammatory; it helps reduce bloat and it also revs up the metabolism because it is a flavonoid. Eat up!
  3. Oatmeal maintains blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and binge. Plus it’s full of fiber so it will keep you satiated.
  4. Low-fat yogurt not only has calcium, but it is also a probiotic that fights fat storage and prevents bloat.
  5. Almonds are packed with healthy fats that reduce food cravings while building muscle. Consider almonds the ultimate power snack.
  6. Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help bump up your metabolism so your body burns fat faster and more efficiently.
  7. Watermelon is–just as you expected–full of water (about 92% to be exact). It actually helps flush extra water from your system, which in turn reduces puffiness.
  8. Garlic is a magical thing. It helps reduce fat in the liver, it detoxifies and it lessens bloating. To maximize its benefits, take a few fresh slivers of garlic and sandwich them between two thinly sliced apple wedges and smear them with a little honey. Eat this before bed to reap all the benefits.
  9. Avocado is loaded with lots of healthy fats that burn fat while providing your body with energy.
  10. Quinoa is a magical whole grain that is packed with protein (11 grams for just a half cup) and fiber so it keeps you feeling full longer.

I hope this helps you too as it helped me! xxx

My summer slim detox secret: Strawberries

1619361_10154041858675624_500004530_n
Last year I discovered the power of strawberries on a slim fit body. In summertime, I was mostly obsessed with watermelon which is again one of the best fruit to be eating on hot weather because of its hydrating capabilities. Then I read about strawberries, their anti-oxidant power that helps maintain a beautiful skin and a good metabolism, how they are packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly how they are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving of about eight strawberries provides more vitamin C than an orange. Research also shows that individuals who eat strawberries on a regular basis have higher blood levels of folate, vitamin C and phytonutrients, and a higher intake of fiber than those who don’t eat strawberries – which helps you stay toned, and get those beautiful legs that women long for in summer :).

Having these great nutritional capabilities and then being soooo delicious (!!!), have motivated me to try on some ways to include strawberries in my daily diet.
10373848_10154192517665624_8442421883269662542_n

Therefore, I have tried two detox options with strawberries:

1. Have a three-day fast detox, eating only strawberries every day and drinking lots of water. I have occasionally added watermelon or raspberries. This is a fast way to purify your system, but you cannot do it more than three days. It becomes extreme as your body will start lacking other nutrients that you cannot get from strawberries.

2. The second option that is my favorite and works great during summertime, refers to having strawberries as a side dish to your breakfast, lunch and dinner. This second option is more long-term and easier to follow. Moreover, it maintains a healthy state of your organism throughout a longer period. So, every morning since the season started, I add strawberries to my breakfast (goat yogurt with muesli and at least 8 strawberries on top). At lunch time, as a desert I have strawberries or if I need to snack in-between meals I reach for strawberries. At dinner time, or watching a late movie, I again go for some strawberries.

You may ask: don’t I get bored of it? Honestly, not really, as you don’t actually over do it. It is about adding the strawberries as a side ingredient to your meals. Give it a try and I am sure you will notice some results in about a week.:) Let me know if it proves to be otherwise!