SUMMER TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY
Warning: Adult language
Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language.
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Holy sunshine, chicas! How did summer get here again so quick? Oh I'm not complaining, believe me. But man does time fly! I know y'all are busy dusting off your flip flops and picking out those hot new nail polish colors for your tootsies (I hear pastels are where it's at). But before you jump into summer, let's talk tips. Summer is such a busy time of the year. It's easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Every time you turn around there's another graduation party, swim party, birthday party, picnic, campfire, family reunion, vacations, and let's not forget the 4th of July! This is all fun stuff, but it can wreck havoc on our health... and our waistlines. So what can we do to stay on track and rock our bods all summer long? Don't you worry, we're just about to dive in! Oh and btw, I'm saving the best tip for last so stick around. Let's start with some fun!
Visit Farmer's Markets
Making a weekly visit to your local farmer's market is not only something fun and different to do, but you end up bringing home delicious fresh produce while supporting your local farmers. It's an awesome summer twofer. I don't know about you but I get so sick of the bland fruit all winter long. The pale colors, the mediocre taste. UGH, I want a party in my mouth. When summer arrives I get so excited about all of the colorful fruits and veggies that explode with flavor.
Every Sunday I take my little girls to a farmer's market that sets up in a nearby park. We walk the trails and then hit up the fruit stands. We look forward to it every week. Check out your local farmer markets and make a new summer tradition. Your tastebuds will thank you for it!
Sweat in the Water
Water workouts are a great way to get your exercise in and have some refreshing fun at the same time. Swimming and moving in the water is super easy on your joints and muscles, yet burns mad calories. Yes, sometimes it's not too good to be true. So get your bod in some water and start splashing around.
You don't even need an official workout to follow, you just need to get in there and move. Even treading water torches calories. Take advantage of the season and tighten up your goods in the water while having a blast. You can have fun like a kid AND get healthy at the same time. I know, it's bomb news. If you don't have a pool, start letting all the pool owners you know that you'll be seeing them on the regular. Remind them that you're a helluva good time and that they love you. They'll totally buy it.
Grow a Herb Garden
Herb gardens are awesome! First of all, they're easy to keep alive. I'm known as the plant killer in my house. My husband says I have a black thumb. As much as I hate to admit it, it's mostly true. But man I can grow herbs like a boss. If I can do it believe me, you'll have no problem. Secondly, not only are herbs healthy for you but they'll make your meals taste like Gordon Ramsay was in your kitchen throwing shit and swearing at you.
Another great thing about herb gardens is you don't need much space. If you don't have enough of an outdoor area, you can plant those suckers in pots and keep them in the house. There's a satisfaction in growing things that is hard to find elsewhere. So make an herb garden your new summer project and get your hands dirty. It's good for you!
Vitamin C Prevents Sunburn
Did you know that vitamin C helps prevent sunburn? Oh yes it does. Strawberries and citrus fruits have the highest amounts of vitamin C. Fruits make the perfect summer treat! So make a fruit tray and bring it out to the pool after you're done with your water workout. How perfect is that? Oh yeah, baby, we have so much healthy going on here it's gettin' outta control. I want to mention though, if you're going to buy strawberries, buy organic. Strawberries are the very first food on the Dirty Dozen list for foods that have the highest amount of pesticides. Any food that's on the dirty dozen list you should try to buy organic. All other fruits and veggies will be fine with a good wash in the sink. Here's your Dirty Dozen List (updated June 2019):
I also gotta take a minute to give a shout out to my favorite fruit, watermelon. Strawberries and citrus fruits aren't the only ones that help your skin from sizzling. Watermelon blocks UV radiation. Yup, it's delicious and it loves you just as much as you love it. Watermelon is also a top player in the hydration game. It's 92% water so not only does it protect your skin from the sun, but it also keeps your insides all happy and liquid-y. Good stuff, man. Put it on your grocery list!
If you'd like to know how to pick the most magical of watermelons every single time, here's a great guide. I've been using this method for years and it hasn't failed me yet!
Pick Safe Sunscreens
We were all raised to think slathering sunscreen on ourselves is the healthiest way to protect our largest organ, our skin. But it depends on which sunscreen you're using. There are a ton of healthy options, but are you using the harmful ones? There's a really easy way to check. If you're not familiar with EWG, it's time to get acquainted. EWG is a company whose mission is to make us aware of which products are safe for us and our children and which ones do more harm than good.
You can visit EWG's website and punch in your sunscreen here to see it's safety rating. You can even download their app, EWG Healthy Living, onto your phone. You can scan products right in the store to see if they're safe before you buy them. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to research product ingredients and what's safe and unsafe. But I do have time to scan stuff! And if my kids are with me, they love to be the scanners! Although they'll often fight over who gets to scan first. Oh the life of a mom trapped in a store with her kids. There's truly no better test of patience.
The EWG app doesn't just rate health and beauty products, it also rates food. You can scan the eats in your grocery cart before you bring them home to your family!
Grow an Aloe Plant!
Despite your safety measures to prevent sunburns, sometimes it just happens anyway. We have those days where we lose track of time in the sun, maybe forget to reapply our sunscreen, or find ourselves unexpectedly outside in the blaring sun without anything on. Aloe can help tremendously and it's all natural and safe. Aloe can naturally relieve sunburn. It can be a real life saver! Now if you fall asleep on a nude beach and you're a giant naked crispy critter, you may not get enough of the green magic from just one aloe plant. But you'll have plenty for the usual trouble spots; face, shoulders, and for where all of those straps shifted.
In my house, aloe vera is our home slice. It always has our backs. I have a big aloe plant on my window sill and we're always snapping off a piece for something. In the summer, in addition to treating our sunburns, we constantly use it for mosquito bites and other bug bites. Aloe plants are super easy to keep alive. Remember, I have a black thumb and our aloe plant is still thriving despite the fact that I often forget to water it. I know, I need bitch-slapped. Well at least my aloe plant thinks so.
NOURISHING THAT BOD
Grill, Grill, Grill!
What is it about grilling food that makes the flavor out of this world? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that no matter what food gets thrown onto the grill, it comes out tasting like charred heaven. What really blows my mind is how the veggies taste on the grill. OMG it's true magic! Some of you lucky folks live where it's always warm and you can grill year round, but I live in southwestern Pennsylvania so winters here are freezing! There's no grilling at my house in the winter. In fact, most nights I'm half tempted to climb into the oven right next to my damn casserole during those frigid months! By the time summer comes around I'm salivating for grilled grub!
My fav veggies on the grill are eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. Oh my, we fight over them at my house. I usually have to throw death glares to get my allotted ration. And yes, I will steal my kids' veggies off of their plates if they take too long to eat them. Don't judge me, they had their chance.
I know, I know, we've all heard it a million times. Well I'm here to make it a million and one. Oh stop, I'll be quick. It's so easy to get dehydrated. In fact most of you reading this at this very moment are dehydrated. It's hard to know sometimes because we don't feel thirsty until we are severely parched. Before we become beasts who are feining for a drink, we usually become hungry first so sometimes it's hard to tell if we need to hydrate.
During the summer, it's super easy to get dehydrated so make sure you always have something to sip. Our bodies are 70% water. Staying hydrated is absolutely vital in keeping our bodies functioning properly and efficiently. Be careful not to chug high calorie drinks all day though. You can really rack up the calories with sugary sodas and juices. My favorite way to stay hydrated is to drink detox water. Don't let the word detox scare you. It's really just water with fruit in it, but the infusion of the fruit helps your body flush toxins while it's keeping you hydrated.
My fav detox water, Lemon Cucumber Mint, is so refreshing!
Summertime is a time for lots of activity and sports; Baseball, softball, volleyball, walking and running trails, hiking, bicycling, oh the list goes on. It's very tempting to drink the colorful sports drinks out there. Don't. They are typically full of high fructose corn syrup, sugar or artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and food dyes, all of which are not healthy. We grew up being told that sports drinks restore our electrolytes and they became the go-to drink for when we're being active. The amount of electrolytes we can get from these drinks aren't worth it.
Instead, try some coconut water!
Not only is coconut water delicious, but it's truly one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. It's jam packed with electrolytes, just as much as the sports drinks but without all of the harmful ingredients! In fact, many elite athletes rely on coconut water to keep them hydrated and to help prevent muscle cramping during strenuous activity. One cup of coconut water provides 600mg of potassium (a medium banana has 422mg).
Here's a crazy fact ya! Completely unrelated to hydration.
Show Up With Chow
Parties, picnics, campfires, and oh so many more summer get-togethers that have tables upon tables of tempting unhealthy foods. It's so hard to make healthy choices! One of the best ways to solve this dilemma is to bring something to the party. Don't just hope someone else will bring a healthy dish for you to nosh, because the chances are slim. Instead, you can be the one who brings the healthy food! No, I'm not talking about you bringing a tray of rice cakes. There are many yummy options for you to show up with; shrimp trays, veggie trays, Caprese salad, and fruit salad are just a few examples.
My ultimate favorite healthy dish (that no one knows is healthy) is Crack Salsa. I'm telling you, you haven't fully lived until you shoved this shit in your mouth. I named it crack salsa because once you try it, you need rehab. Every single time I'm due to attend any kind of event or get-together, I'll get a text or a call demanding that I bring crack salsa. I'm not gonna lie, I've gotten countless people addicted to this salsa. If you start making this stuff, you too will become your family and friends' crack dealer. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself.
SUMMER SOUL SEARCHIN'
I saved the best for last! This section talks about how to reset that tired soul of yours. We can't get healthy without first healing the deepest part of ourselves.
Adulting wears us out. We're always busy, running from one place to the next. Our minds are filled to the gills with to-do lists, unattended emotions, fears, money woes, uncertainty, and endless worries. It's so easy to forget some of the most important things we should be doing, things that make sure we're taking care of ourselves. Let me take this time to remind you of a few soul happy things you should be doing this summer (and all year round).
Spend Time In Nature
What better time of the year to soak up some nature than summer? Did you know that spending time in nature is actually good for you? I'm not talking about the general oh-hey-those-trees-are-pretty feels, I'm talking about research. Hard facts and statistical proof. In a University of Essex study, after participants spent time in nature, over 70% of them had less depression and 69% had an increase in overall wellness.
There have been countless studies keep saying the same thing, getting out of buildings and into nature makes us better. Getting fresh air and seeing some green improves our physical, mental, and spiritual health. In fact, spending time in nature is often referred to as green therapy. It soothes the soul. Even 20 minutes outside can improve our health!
If you've ever heard of earthing, you know it's another type of nature therapy. Earthing, also called grounding, is most easily explained by electricity. Our earth is electrical, just as we are electrical beings. Our bodies run electrically (think cardiovascular and nervous systems). Earthing is when you spend time with your bare feet in contact with the earth's surface.
With your bare feet on the ground, the earth's electrical current is then able to travel into your feet and enters your system. This resets and stabilizes our bodies' electricity. This crazy, magical, and mystical phenomenon quickly starts healing our insides. Pain and inflammation are reduced, our biological rhythms are righted, and we are infused with calmness. It even helps us sleep better.
Wanna take a guess at what causes our earth's surface to be grounded? Yup, lightening! Lightening is so important! Every few seconds, lightening is striking the earth somewhere. As it strikes, it charges the ground with electrons. It is these same electrons that make their way into our bodies and help heal us. Pretty damn amazing, huh? The earth really does provide us with everything we need.
For those who are bedridden or have a very difficult time getting outside, there are even grounding mats you can purchase that mimic the earth's electricity! I would think that the real deal is best but for those who don't have that option, this is a wonderful alternative!
Ever wonder why you sleep better at the beach? It's because you're spending a large portion of your day with your toes in the sandy salt water. You are earthing all day long!
Salt water is a powerful electrical conductor. That earthly abracadabra shoots up our legs and all through us and leaves us feeling a sense of peace that only the ocean can bring.
So if you've always wondered why you love the beach and can't wait for vacation to come each year, that's why! You are literally restored and reset there from all of the earthing you're doing. But don't forget, you can get in some earthing right in your own backyard! You don't need to go to the beach to restore yourself, so unleash those piggies and get to steppin'.
Get Your Read On
Just like with earthing and spending time in nature, reading has been proven to increase our wellbeing and improve our physical health, not to mention it actually makes us smarter. Studies have proved that reading slows the progress of both Dementia and Alzheimer's and may possibly prevent them altogether. Reading also improves our concentration, memory, and creates new brain pathways. But I really don't need any convincing other than the fact that it's fun! I love escaping the real world, even if it's just for a little while, and diving into a whole new epic world that lives inside my noggin.
How many times do you think about reading a book but decide you don't have enough time? Or you plan on reading when you go to bed but find yourself snoring and drooling all over yourself after two paragraphs? In this busy world of ours we often put our needs on the back burner so that we can fit everything else in. The problem with that method is that if we never take time to relax and restore ourselves, we end up stressed and frazzled and often sick. You cannot continually keep putting yourself last and expect to not have any backlash.
We need downtime. We need quiet. We need simple pleasures.
It's not selfish to make time for these things, in fact it's unhealthy not to. At some point you have to recognize the importance of chilling the hell out. We run ourselves ragged everyday and yet it seems we still can't get everything done. Maybe, just maybe, if you start taking care of yourself and your wellbeing, you'll see some of those things that you break your back doing aren't really as important as you think they are. And even if they are that important, so is making sure you're okay. Because let me tell you, if you're not okay for long enough, at some point you'll be faced with an illness or some other roadblock... and then nothing will get done. So slow your roll, killer. Take some time to find some peace.
You Already Have A Beach Body
Are you unhappy with your body? Are you worried about donning a swimsuit this summer? Well listen up, beautiful, because you need to hear what I'm about to tell you!
Put that fucking suit on anyway!
Please don't make the same mistake I did! I was morbidly obese for over 10 years and I let that completely ruin my quality of life. At 262 pounds, I refused to put on a swimsuit. Actually, I refused to do pretty much anything.
I don't care how much weight you have to lose or how long of a journey you have in front of you, STOP feeling embarrassed and shameful of your body. I wasted so many years bashing myself and feeling ashamed of my body. There is no point in that! It only holds you down even more and paralyzes you from making changes. Nobody cares that you got fat. They love you just the same. Whatever size bathing suit you wear at the beach or poolside is of no concern to anyone but you, ESPECIALLY the people in your life who love you. Think about this...
Think of someone in your life that is overweight. Do you think of them in a negative light because of their weight? Do you secretly say horrible things about them because they're heavy? Do you love them less because they need to lose weight? NO, NO, and NO!!!! You love them just the same! And you don't see them for their weight, you see them for their spirit and their heart, how they treat you and how they love others. You don't judge the people you love based on the size of their bodies.
So why do we judge ourselves that way?
Why do we torture ourselves and constantly speak badly of ourselves? Why do we keep a destructive inner dialog running in our minds about our failures and weaknesses? Why can't we look at ourselves the same way we look at every single other person in our lives? Why is it that we are so mean and hateful to ourselves while we bend over backwards to show our love for everyone else?
THIS NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW!
This ridiculous self hatred we have for ourselves is exactly why we haven't reached our goals yet... and why we never will if we don't start being more kind to ourselves. It is absolutely preposterous to think we will succeed at getting healthy, or anything else for that matter, if all we do is tear ourselves down.
IT MUST STOP NOW!
So what if you got fat?? Millions of us did. It's easy to do. And guess what? IT'S REVERSIBLE! How many things in life do you have complete control over? How many mistakes can you completely turn around and fix? Not many! This is something that you have control over! What a blessing that is!
So STOP putting all of your energy into hating yourself and START putting all of your energy into forgiving yourself and working on one goal at a time. Refocusing and redistributing your life force and energy into positive and productive goals will transform you in the most amazing ways!
Love your body right now so that you can get it to where you want it to be. Love it fiercely, love it consistently, and love it unconditionally. You may not like how it looks right now, but your body continues day in and day out to keep you here. It keeps giving you another day and another chance to wake up and treat it better.
Make today the day you declare love for yourself. Make today the day you put on that damn swimsuit and go have some fun!
*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
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