Your Guide to Vitamins

guidetovitamins

If you eat a perfectly healthy and balanced diet 24/7, you are probably getting all the nutrients you need from your food…and I envy you. But if you’re like me, taking the right supplements will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs on those days when an afternoon ice cream cone sounds better than a bowl of fruit.

Today I’ve rounded up some of the best vitamins that young women may consider taking. These are simply suggestions, and you might only need to add one or two to your diet depending on what foods you already eat. Food is your best source of nutrition, but when you have those off days, this list will help boost your body’s nutritional intake.

1. A GOOD WOMEN’S MULTI. If you’re going to choose one vitamin from this list, it should be a multi-vitamin that is made for women. Make sure it has folate or folic acid, which is very important for women ages 18 to 40, who someday want to have a family. A good multi-vitamin will give you a daily dose of all the things you should be eating in your diet…and more!

2. BIOTIN. Biotin is one of my personal favorite vitamins because it has worked miracles on my hair, skin, and nails. I take 500 micrograms a day, and ever since I started I have noticed that my hair is longer and shinier, my skin is clearer, and my nails are stronger. Many multi-vitamins have biotin in them already, so be sure you’re reading your labels.

3. IRON. Iron is a great supplement to take for women who are menstruating because your body loses iron every month. You only need about 10-20 milligrams, but it works wonders by delivering oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. If you eat a lot of red meat (say, a serving every day) you might be getting enough iron to skip this supplement. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also great sources of iron.

4. ZINC. Zinc is an important mineral that boosts our immune system and helps fight off disease. And it is an especially important vitamin for vegetarians or pregnant women. If you’re a veggie lover, you probably eat a lo of legumes, which prevent zinc from properly absorbing in your body. If you’re expecting, you should also up your zinc intake because your little one will be using up most of the amount that’s in your body. Make sure you’re getting between 8 milligrams and 11 milligrams of zinc daily.

5. FISH OIL. This omega-3 right supplement is fabulous for healthy hair, skin, and nails, and will support your heart and blood systems. The long list of fish oil benefits also includes helping with depression, preventing painful periods, and lowering cholesterol. Take about 1-2 grams per day.

6. VITAMIN D. The main job of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your bones and keep your cells happy and healthy. The great thing about this vitamin is that our bodies actually manufacture it naturally…that is, when we’re exposed to sunlight. If you live somewhere with constant cloudy weather or long winters, you might not be getting enough vitamin D. Taking 3000 IUs should help to get you back on track.

7. RESVERATROL. Resveratrol is the powerful antioxidant that is found in grapes and red wine. Therefore, just like red wine, it has amazing anti-aging properties and is long believed to help fight cancer and heat disease. Take one capsule per day and soak up those antioxidants.

8. GREEN VIBRANCE & SUPERFOODS. One of my personal favorite vitamins that I take each day is called Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health. Each capsule is filled with organic greends, freee-dried grass juices, and concentrated super foods. I love it because when I’m having a day where I’m constantly on the go (a.k.a living off of coffee and snacks I can easily bring in my car), this supplement has a lot of the nutrients and vitamins I would get if I had the time to sit down and eat a big leafy green salad. It certainly does not replace real fruit and veggies, which should be a staple in your daily diet. But it’s packed with a lot of good stuff. You can also buy it in powder form to add to your smoothies.

9. CALCIUM-MAGNESIUM. Calcium is one of the most important supplements young women can take to strengthen muscles, bones, and teeth. And, studies show that when it’s taken as a combined calcium-magnesium supplement, it allows both vitamins to absorb better into your system. Just remember to take this supplement separate from your other vitamins and on a empty stomach- otherwise it can interfere with the absorption of your other nutrients. The recommended dosage is 1000 milligrams of calcium and 400-600 milligrams of magnesium.

10. PROBIOTIC. Taking a great probiotic supplement is an amazing way to maintain intestinal functions and keep your gut and stomach healthy. Probiotics are live organisms that are considered “good” bacteria, or bacteria that strengthen the immune system and help us to digest food. My favorite probiotic is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula. Just like calcium-magnesium, make sure to take this supplement on an empty stomach as well.

As with all things in life, take these suggestions in moderation. Just as there are side effects for eating too much of anything, there are side effects of taking too many vitamins. Do what feels right for your body and contact a nutritionist or a trusted doctor to help you come up with a routine that works for you.

 

 

Healthy Halloween Treats

healthy halloween treats

Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays. Between costumes, seasonal crafts, and candy, what’s not to love? I like to celebrate all month long, but by the end of October I usually feel like I’ve had more than my fill of sweets. While I certainly won’t turn down a sweet treat or two, it’s nice to have a healthy alternative to all the candy this time of year. These Halloween treats I’m sharing today are made with fresh fruit, so you can still feel festive without all the sugar. They’re a great healthy option to serve up at a Halloween party, or you can bring them to work to share with your officemates. I can guarantee they’ll be a huge hit!

Check out these healthy Halloween recipes below…

 Banana Graveyard Ghosts

graveyard banana ghosts

Here’s what you will need:

  • Bananas
  • Black decorating icing
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate Cookies

 Instructions:

For the Banana Graveyard Ghosts, I simply cut three bananas in half, and then gave the ghosts spooky eyes and a mouth using a tube of cake decorating icing. I placed a dollop of peanut butter at the bottom of each banana to keep it in place on the plate. To make the graveyard dirt, serve your ghosts on a bed of chocolate cookie crumbles.

 Cute Clementine Pumpkins

cute clementine pumpkins

Here’s what you will need:

  • Clementines
  • Green pipe cleaners

 Instructions:

Making these Cute Clementine Pumpkins could not be easier. First, make sure you are using clementines or another variety of citrus that is shaped like a pumpkin (oranges are too round). Then, peel the fruit, trim a green pipe cleaner down to the appropriate “pumpkin tem size”, and place it inside the top of your clementine.

I hope these healthy treats are a hit at your next Halloween party or celebration!

Healthy Protein Cookie Dough

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I’ve always been one of those people who would rather eat cookie dough with a spoon than wait for it to be baked into cookies. And when that cookie dough happens to be high in protein, high in fiber, vegan (no raw eggs to worry about!), and free from processed sugar- then why not, right?

Don’t knock chickpea cookie dough until you try it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or sweet cocoa nibs

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Combine chickpeas, peanut butter, agave, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Transfer your “dough” into a mixing bowl and stir in chocolate chips by hand.

3. Chill in the fridge or freezer until cold. Note: This treat tastes much better chilled than at room temperature. 

Top 10 Beauty Foods

top10beautyfoods

It’s no coincidence that some of the most beautiful women are the ones who care about what food they put into their bodies. I’ve even noticed this phenomenon with my own appearance, and maybe you have too. When I’m eating a well-balanced diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, my hair is shiny, my nails are strong, and my skin has a glow to it. And when I overindulge in greasy, fried or processed food my complexion and tresses usually suffer.

Here is a list of the top ten all-around beauty foods. These fresh and delicious eats are filled with nutrients needed for clearer skin, healthier hair, brighter eyes and more! You can invest in the latest facemask or top concealer on the market, but those beauty products are nothing without a healthy diet…

1. PURPLE CABBAGE. If you’re worried about wrinkles, eating lots of purple cabbage is the way to go. High cortisol levels in the body can cause crows feet and other wrinkles. Purple cabbage is both anti-inflammatory and rich in vitamins A, C, and E- which help to lower cortisol levels. So next time you’re shopping up a salad, add some cabbage to your mixed greens.

2. EDAMAME. Edamame and other non-processed soy foods are rich in isoflavones, which help to preserve skin-firming collagen. So, eat this sushi bar appetizer for youthful looking, wrinkle-free skin.

3. WATERCRESS. Ailments like uneven skin tone and hair loss are often signs of poor circulation. Rich in calcium, iron, and iodine, watercress helps to cleanse and oxygenate tissues for improved circulation and glowing skin.

4. WILD SALMON. Wild salmon is full of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your skin supple and hair shiny. Salmon also contains selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from UV exposure. The vitamin D in salmon keeps bones and teeth healthy too.

5. BEETS. Beets naturally help to flush out the lymphatic system, which removes toxins from the body, and in turn brightens your eyes. Raw in salad or roasted as a side, these are a delicious and nutritious beauty food.

6. CILANTRO. Cilantro has the ability to remove heavy metals that enlarge fat cells from your body. Enlarged fat cells increase the appearance of cellulite, making this common seasoning a great beauty food for your whole body.

7. WALNUTS. Along with keeping your scalp and hair healthy, the healthy fats in walnuts can make skin more supple and resilient to issues like age spots and sagging skin. What a perfect midday snack!

8. TOMATOES. Tomatoes (especially canned ones, believe it or not) are the best source of the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which fights many signs of aging. Tomatoes are also rich in the immune-boosting vitamin C, which increases the body’s natural ability to heal damaged or irritated skin. So bring on the pasta sauce…

9. YOGURT. Since yogurt is higher in calcium than milk alone, it’s great for strengthening your nails, teeth, and even improving your posture. I like to add a little low-fat or non-fat Greek Yogurt to my morning smoothie for a calcium and protein boost!

10. WATER. Water may not be a food per se, but H20 is everything when it comes to beauty. When you’re body is dehydrated, every inch of your appearance suffers- from your skin to your hair to your nails to your eyes. If you have trouble sipping plain water all day, try adding slices of lemon, oranges, or strawberries for some extra flavor.

Peanut Butter Protein Blondies

Proteinblondies

Normally, I only post about my “outfits of the day” and fashion related content. However, I’ve decided that I am going to include posts about my lifestyle in general, that may be useful and interesting!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been trying out numerous new recipes. I’ve decided to “eat clean” and cut out the majority of processed food from my diet. After a month of “eating clean”, I began to notice that I had much more energy, focus, and felt that my overall wellness had improved.

Chocolate and sweets have always been my ultimate weakness. At one point in my life I managed to lose over 40lbs, and my biggest struggle during that time was limiting the amount of sweets in my diet (I obviously would never completely eliminate them…you still gotta live a little!). However, when I decided to start “eating clean”, I realized that I needed to learn how to satisfy my sweet tooth a little differently. These Peanut Butter Protein Blondies are my absolute favorite!

Macros per square: 139 calories, 8.4 g protein, 6.5 g fat

Ingredients: (9 squares)

* 1 1/4 cup almond flour

* 3 tbsp. stevia

*1 scoop (20g) vanilla protein whey

*1/2 tsp. baking powder

* 1/4 tsp. salt

* 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

* 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

* 1 tsp. vanilla extract

* 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

* 1 tbsp. honey

* 1 egg

* 2 egg whites

* sugarfree peanut butter/choc. chips for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray. In one bowl mix together almond flour, stevia, baking powder, protein powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and egg whites, add vanilla extract, honey, applesauce, milk, and peanut butter. Mix until blended. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir. Pour in pan. Place chips on top. Bake 15-20 minutes.