Strengths, Self Love, and a Giveaway

I am majoring in Psychology and Human Health and have become completely enamored with the field of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is not about mental illness, but instead focuses on positive mental health and improving wellbeing. I have been lucky enough to take classes on the topic and learn about simple lifestyle choices that lead to happier, and often healthier, lives. The quote on my Yogi Tea the other day was a reminder of a key focus of Positive Psych: focus on your strengths. Our strengths are a mixture of natural talent and hard work (I would argue mostly hard work and perseverance!), but utilizing them and letting our strengths shine is a wonderful way to maximize our abilities and feel successful. It is easy to focus on where we are lacking or areas where we struggle, but if we focus on our strengths and how to use them to achieve our goals we can maintain a positive mindset.

In no way do I believe that we should not strive to improve and challenge ourselves–that is a huge piece of happiness and growth! Striving for improvement is crucial to success, but it is important to maintain appreciation for your strengths throughout the process. What are your strengths? How have you used them today?

On a less serious note, the NuNaturals giveaway has been extended to December 31! Enter here for your chance to win:

NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway!

Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Spiced Buckwheat Pear Bread and a Giveaway!

I love making seasonal baked goods! There are so many people to give to, so many new recipes to make–it is simply a great way to spread joy and health. I (almost) always make my baked goods sugar-free and sweeten with fruit or stevia. I have a giveaway for NuNaturals stevia going on here if you want to enter:

                                                               NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway!

But now let’s get down to business:

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Ingredients:

1c Buckwheat Flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used a 30g scoop of whey protein)
5 packets stevia
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 small steamed pears
1 small pear, unsteamed
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix buckwheat flour, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and stevia in a large bowl
  3. In a small bowl, mash 2 steamed and add in 2 eggs and vanilla
  4. Chop the remaining pear into small chunks
  5. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined
  6. Add in the chopped pear and stir until fully mixed
  7. Pour into a greased baking loaf pan (top with a sprinkling of oats if you want)
  8. Bake in oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Enjoy!

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NuNaturals GIVEAWAY and Holiday (Sugar) Crash

The holidays are full of excitement, joy, and love, but let’s not pretend it’s ALL good! There are certainly stressors that accompany this hectic time, and ironically the added pressure of feeling happy non-stop only adds to the stress. It is okay to take a few minutes alone, a few minutes of exercise, a few minutes of self-care. Too much of a good thing can become exhausting very quickly; I use my time doing Pilates to quiet my mind and appreciate solitude during the holidays. I find this rejuvenating and have plenty of energy for family time full of fun activities and goofiness.

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During the holidays there is always a ton of sugar, which I believe is what causes a lot of the overwhelming excitement…which then leads to a crash. If you don’t typically eat a lot of sugar be aware of this during this time of year. Definitely enjoy the foods you want, but be aware of how they might affect your mood if you are sensitive to sugar highs!

Rice cake topped with some NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup heaven!

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My favorite way to combat sugar crashes is stevia–the super secret weapon for baking and sweetening just about anything! I am so excited to host a giveaway with NuNaturals to give FOUR of you the chance to receive Vanilla NuStevia Liquid, a bottle of the new Sugar-free Cocoa Syrup, & a bottle of the new Sugar-Free Mint Cocoa Syrup, plus a 50 pkt. box of NuStevia No Carb Stevia packets! This is an amazing pack of goodies–the Cocoa Syrup is absolutely life-changing! Enter the giveaway below (ends 12/29/15).

Enter the giveaway here!

If you don’t win, do not fear!  NuNaturals is generously offering a 15% discount effective until June 30, 2016. Online ordering customers may also receive FREE SHIPPING to the in the Continental US on all orders exceeding $ 35! Visit www.nunaturals.com  to order.

Happy holidays!

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Holiday Travels: Tips and Tricks

Traveling for the holidays is hard. It’s mass chaos everywhere; people are distracted, highways are packed, and airports are bustling! There are a few things I always do before traveling to minimize stress and anxiety, whether traveling by car or plane.

      1. I tend to randomly think of things I need to do before I leave or items I need to pack, often in the middle of the night or during class or work. I highly recommend taking 1 minute and writing it down on a piece of paper or make a note on your phone. Then right before you head out the door for your trip, go through the list and make sure you did it all!
      2. SNACKS! Nothing is worse than being stuck in the airport and hungry. Overpriced snacks or unhealthy snacks are both awful options (in my opinion…I am a cheap college student here 🙂 so I always make sure to pack some fruit, veggies, and of course a few questbars.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

 

3. Stay hydrated! It is tempting to drink less so you don’t have to stop on a drive or get up during a flight, but staying hydrated keeps you feeling good the whole day! Planes dehydrate your skin (why your lips and face feel dry post-flight) and drinking plenty of water can keep your skin and body feeling good.

 

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

4. Treat travel time as “me-time.” Bring along a book you’ve been dying to read, a new CD, or a podcast you enjoy. Jam out, learn, or even sleep!

5. Pack everything the night before…except toiletries! Pack them as you use them in the morning–that way you remember everything you use on a daily basis.

Safe travels this holiday season!

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

I love the holiday season, but sometimes finding gifts can add undue stress to a time that should be full of joy and gratitude! Here are a couple of my favorite gift options for even the most difficult person on your list:

  1. Toilet Tree Products: This brand is totally eco-friendly and has everything from a bath tub caddy for bubble baths or fancy electric toothbrushes!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

2. Naked Nutrition Protein: This brand has nearly every type of protein powder imaginable without anything extra added. It is the perfect protein powder to get for a fitness-conscious friend, especially because you don’t have to choose one of the millions of different flavors out there (especially since they often contain fillers, dyes, etc.).

3. ETSY!: Etsy is always a favorite go-to for gifts. You can find the perfect personalized gift and support small business! I simply search keywords of things, quotes, or jewelry I know the person likes.

4. Wink Desserts: A shipment of Wink Ice Cream will be a great surprise on the door step of your loved one! Perfect for anyone with allergies.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

5. Questbars: These are always a great choice, especially now that they sell variety packs you don’t even have to pick just one flavor! This is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth or someone starting on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

 

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

What are your go-to gifts? Do you do your shopping early, or are you into the thrill of last minute gift-seeking?

Cancer and Diet, Some Basics…

I definitely am not an expert of any kind, but after learning about diet’s role in cancer prevention from a class I am taking I wanted to share! Phytonutrients, think vitamins and minerals, have powerful effects on the body and are capable of turning cells on and off, fighting free radicals, among other benefits. Dr. Kucuk, a leading oncologist at Emory University, discussed harnessing the power of specific phytonutrients, such as genistein and lycopene, and the drastic benefits that result in numerous types of cancer. Lycopene, found in high levels in tomatoes, has reactions with free radicals and helps diminish DNA damage in the body. Dr. Kucuk emphasized the synergistic value of tomato, which includes beta-carotene, lycopene, and astaxanthin, among other nutrients. These nutrients acting together have the most powerful effects against cancer.

Although soy gets a bad rap, it has some serious benefits. Genistein, a soy isoflavone, helps block cancer cell growth because it sensitizes cancer cells. This means that genistein supplementation can enhance the benefits of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Genistein attacks NfkB, which maintains cancer cell resistance, and increases the cell’s vulnerability to treatment. Genistein has no known negative side effects and can only improve cancer outcomes, particularly prostate cancer outcomes.

A diet high in antioxidants fights free radicals in the body and helps decrease oxidative stress. Continued oxidative stress leads to damage of DNA, lipids, and proteins. Healthy fats, omega 3s, help diminish oxidative stress in the body. It is not a difficult equation; we simply need to eat healthier fats and focus onwhole foods containing potent phytonutrients, like tomatoes and soy.

Dr. Kucuk emphasized a diet high in vegetables, which echoes common dietary guidelines. Fresh, healthy foods are a staple of a healthy diet, no matter what population or illness. In the Mediterranean diet, there is an emphasis on leafy greens
, which naturally contain high levels of phytonutrients. In the paleo diet, there is a focus on fresh fruits and veggies. In the DASH diet, we see the same advice. Need I continue listing? Beneficial phytonutrients found in these whole foods can fight oxidative damage that is occurring within the body everyday as a result of our environment and the natural aging process.

I have outlined how genistein and lycopene work to prevent cancer above (in a highly simplified way!), but beyond their specific mechanisms they can have other protective impacts. Before cancer cells form, maintaining a diet full of healthy foods, with a focus on tomato and soy products, can help diminish oxidative stress in the body. Decreased oxidative stress can decrease inflammation and improve overall wellbeing, which would lead to decreased rates of cancer theoretically. Phytonutrients are a safe means of decreasing risk and enhancing wellbeing that promotes a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life. Keep on veggin’ out!