Holding Out for a HERO!

The new Quest Nutrition hero BAR!

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 7.22.29 PM

I have tried two flavors so far, although I am DYING to get my hands on the chocolate caramel pecan flavor…

image002

I loved both flavors (blueberry cobbler and vanilla caramel) that I got the chance to try prior to the release. The rich white chocolate-like coating combined with the crunchy cereal-bar base created the perfect texture. Not to mention the caramel and blueberry layers; the caramel layer blew me away. They both were gooey, sweet, and delicious. No one would ever guess that these bars are healthy! Hero bars combine the best of the older seasonal pumpkin quest bars and the new cereal bars. These are my new go-to treat!

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 7.22.45 PM

These bars are sweetened with allulose, which is a sweetener that is new to the market. While the allulose is listed as a sugar on the label, the body does not absorb it…watch the video below for a more in-depth explanation::

Nutrition aside, these bars taste DELICIOUS!

***

Are you excited to try the new Hero Bar? Which flavor sounds the best to you?

Mindful Monday: A First

I’ve decided to introduce a new staple to my blog–Mindful Monday! This series will be focused on living mindfully and what that means day to day. Mindfulness is a huge buzzword, but what does it really mean? There are dozens of definitions out there…

According to google,

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 11.43.13 AM.png

Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center describes mindfulness as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” The site goes on to mention the importance of acceptance of self, thoughts, and feelings.

15936036_696a216229_b

Merriam-Webster defines it as ” 1. the quality or state of being mindful 2. the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also:  such a state of awareness.”

I think mindfulness can be achieved in almost any moment, yet it is still so challenging. I find it particularly challenging in that I have a mind that does not turn off, which is something I think many of us can relate to! I am always thinking about things on my to-do list, worries, or things in the future–which is certainly far from mindfulness. While I have not started a mindfulness meditation practice, I am working to incorporate mindfulness more naturally into my life.

459679127_1280x720

I take a shower mindfully, I try to practice mindfulness in bad traffic, I cook a meal mindfully. All of these moments, however small, punctuate my day and add a moment of calm and a sense of being even just slightly more centered. I think the key lies in taking baby steps. Adding a twenty minute mindfulness meditation every morning to start is just a little too ambitious for me and where I am in my life right now, but these little moments count. For me, it is more about sustainability and quality rather than going all out–and I am okay with that.

In an effort to share my practice, and hold myself accountable, I am going to begin a weekly series focusing on mindfulness and reflections of my mindfulness practice.

***

Do you practice mindfulness? What does your practice look like?

15655214702_0ca539aba7_b

Ted Talk Friday: Know your worth, and then ask for it

Time and time again I have received the same advice from mentors, supervisors, and business-oriented friends…know your worth and ask for it. After listening to a Freakonomics podcast on the gender wage gap a few years ago, I have been thinking more about the reasons why. There are two major narratives: 1) We are a sexist society and thus pay women less because we believe they are worth less 2) Women don’t ask for higher salaries

I think it is a combination of both and this Ted Talk by Casey Brown is a wonderful reflection on this problem. I hope you enjoy!

***
What do you think? Do you know how to communicate your value?

Coach Training Accelerator: A Review

I love learning, but I’ve always been a bit skeptical about online learning courses. When Coach Training Accelerator gave me the opportunity to complete their Certified Coach online training, I couldn’t turn it down–I had to try online learning for myself!

Confession: I was wrong about online learning.

This was amazing.

I was so surprised by how much I learned through the series of 20 lessons. The content is a supplement for the CTA Certified Coach Program and is delivered through audio and transcribed lectures that covers content ranging from interpersonal skills to financial decision making. As a psychology major, I thought I had a fairly good knowledge base on how to motivate and change behavior, but I learned so much more during this 20 class graduate-level online course series.

336x280d

I have never thought about the idea of self-employment, or taking on coaching as a part time job, but I am deeply interested (and qualified!) after taking this course. Coaching is not just weight loss or career focused; coaching can extend to a variety of unique domains. This course explained that you can become a coach for whatever you see yourself as an expert in; for example, I feel very connected to college aged women seeking holistic wellbeing. My knowledge and skills align with this population and I can relate well to them, which would make me a more helpful coach that I might be for a busy mom looking to lose weight.

336x280c

Beyond the basics, the course really goes step by step through what it takes to get your business started. These lessons were some of the most technically helpful and the weekly timeline is perfect. Every lesson has direct, clear goal-focused “homework” to help you get your business started and avoid the endless “I’ll do it later” excuses. I would recommend sticking to a routine when taking the course; putting the weekly lesson in your calendar and sticking to it is so helpful. Some days I honestly struggled to stop at just one lesson!

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 9.21.45 PM

When I missed a week in the midst of finals and my college graduation, I received an encouraging email from the program checking in on my progress and making sure I didn’t have any questions. I think this is one of the most unique aspects of the program; there is a clear line of communication to a support system within the program for questions, mentorship, and advice. Plus, this connection is not just while you are taking the course, it is a life-long connection.

Crescent_City_Connection_-_seen_from_the_north_-_P1110530

I learned strategies that will be immensely useful both in coaching, and in my everyday relationships and business endeavors on the whole. This course is unique in that it goes beyond basic coaching content–it includes so much about the business side of coaching and the importance of professional development. I’ve gained so much unexpected knowledge and I love knowing that I’ll always have access to the resources of CTA. Please let me know if you have any questions about my experience or any specific aspects of the program!

Click here to try the course!

Ted Talk Friday: How Money Affects Social Ties

I’m already missing Emory since I graduated on Monday so I thought it was only fitting to post a Ted Talk given by an Emory professor. I think Emily Bianchi does a great job discussing how money impacts how we interact with those around us; I think this is especially salient in settings where you have individuals with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds (like some colleges). I hope you enjoy this great talk!

***
Do you think about how money impacts social ties in your life?

Is Glycemic Index Useful?

“Glycemic index” is a common indicator of how a food impacts blood sugar, or how quickly blood sugar rises after consumption. High glycemic diets are linked with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a variety of cancers, and cardiovascular disease.[1] Glycemic index helps classify carbohydrates beyond the categories of simple or complex; simple carbohydrates are sugars or highly refined grains compared to complex carbohydrates, which include unrefined grains, whole grains.[2] This has led to recent trends focused on “low glycemic” foods and sweeteners, like agave syrup or coconut sugar.

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 7.24.12 PM.png

The glycemic index (GI) is based from the glycemic impact of glucose, or simple sugar, which has a has variable GI depending on the GI reference list used. GI scores differ across different sources, but always use glucose and white bread as reference points within the index. While this variability in scores has been attributed to methodological differences in the past, it is becoming more clear that GI may be more complicated than researchers once believed.[1]

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 7.25.24 PM.png

A recent study at Tufts University found that GI can differ as much as 25% among individuals and 20% within an individual. This study found the same food can have low, moderate, and high glycemic impact, which makes it difficult to create categories that are accurate across individuals. The study used white bread, which is often villainized as a high glycemic food, yet in the study it had moderate to low impact for a number of participants. Additionally, the same foods have variable impact even within the same individual. The results suggest that glycemic index has far less value than was previously believed.[3]

Anadama_bread_28129
While glycemic index promotes healthy choice in theory, it is not a reliable measure. A senior author of the study suggests that individuals should choose whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lean meats. Glycemic index also only observes the impact of carbohydrates in isolation, rather than looking at the effects of a whole meal; individuals eat more than carbohydrates in any given meal, which renders the isolated effects of a single carbohydrate source far less meaningful in real life situations. While advertisements may continue to tout the benefits of low GI food products, research has shown that the benefits are limited.

References: 
1: Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S. H., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2002). International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. The American journal of clinical nutrition76(1), 5-56.
2: Saris, W. H. M., Astrup, A., Prentice, A. M., Zunft, H. J. F., Formiguera, X., Verboeket-van de Venne, W. P. H. G., … & Vasilaras, T. H. (2000). Randomized controlled trial of changes in dietary carbohydrate/fat ratio and simple vs complex carbohydrates on body weight and blood lipids: the CARMEN study. International journal of obesity24(10), 1310.
3: Matthan, N. R., Ausman, L. M., Meng, H., Tighiouart, H., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2016). Estimating the reliability of glycemic index values and potential sources of methodological and biological variability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition104(4), 1004-1013.

This post was originally featured here on 03/29/17. 

Ted Talk Friday: Rewiring how you look at yourself

This video highlights the importance of how we view ourselves, and not just how we view ourselves physically. Jenny Shatzle tells her own story and uses it to show the larger context of how self-respect, self-love, and self-confidence can change your life. Self-confidence is often a challenge for me, especially given that it is so often seen as over-confident or “too much” in my mind. My favorite lines: “You have to own it. You have to live it. You have to love it.” Also, you’ve gotta love her energy!

***

Do you feel awesome now? 🙂

Ted Talk Friday: Good Boundaries Free You

I have found that boundaries are one of the most challenging things to maintain in relationships. We are not taught them, and they are often seen as cold, unkind, or distant. I love this talk because it highlights the real benefits of boundaries and how they can improve both your own life, but also your relationships. Boundaries in work, relationships, and with ourselves are crucial and I think Sarri GilmanSarri GilmanSarri Gilman does a great job explaining that.

***
How do you practice good boundaries? Where do you find boundaries the most challenging?

Wise words from a professor

As a senior in college, I am facing some major life choices as I decide where to go and what to do next. I struggle with change, and making this decision has been a great challenge for me. As such, I have been reaching out to numerous friends, mentors, and professors to gain their insight and advice. While advice can only get you so far, I have found that many lessons and ideas have helped me reach my own conclusions in a more confident way.

2000px-Mentor_learner_co-op.svg_

There was one conversation that was particularly striking; I met with one of my favorite professors (and mentors) on campus and we discussed his experiences, my options, and his philosophy on living. He is a deep believer in finding a career that combines work and play. While I agree, it is difficult to use that belief as guidance as you embark on a first career choice–a time when there are innumerable paths and options.

Given this problem, he told me about his bucket theory. Here is the idea:
1) You have three buckets
2) Time, Security/Financial Security, Loving what you do
3) Make sure at least two are full, while filling all three is ideal…it might not always be possible

Don’t mind my scribbling, but this is the picture I drew as he described his theory to me:

Using this theory, I decided on the next step in my life. I made a difficult choice…but I know I will be filling the buckets of time and loving what I am doing. It might not be secure, which scares me, but I am beyond excited. I am so grateful for guidance from such wonderful people and can’t wait to start my life in the grown-up world!

***
How do you make big decisions? Do you have trusted mentors to turn to?

Ted Talk Friday: How healthy living nearly killed me

I am a huge fan of AJ Jacobs–he has written a ton of fascinating, hilarious books. This Ted Talk does a great job of summing up lessons he learned through living the “healthiest” life possible. This is a perfect testament to the danger in taking something to an extreme. His descriptions of endless sunscreen application truly encapsulate the issues that come with following instructions for ideal health. In a health-obsessed world, his experience really adds a nice contrast and adds support to the value of living a balanced life.

***
What do you think about AJ’s experience with healthy living? Do you think balance is harder than extremes?