The Best Quotes About Life, Happiness, and Forgiveness

The end of the year always causes me to start reflecting. It is easy in those moments to start to think about the past. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes obsess a little about wishing the past could be different. This is an exercise in futility, because of course there is nothing we can do except to move forward and let go of things that no longer serve us.

I hope these quotes about life, love, gratitude and forgiveness inspire you to focus on and enjoy the present. 

2016 has been a particularly difficult year for so many people that I talk to, so give yourself the kindness that you need to see it through to the end. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it! Remember to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to continue caring for the others who need you.

Give-up-on-a-better-past | The Wellness Scientist

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Jamie Eason’s Chocolate Protein Bars

Happy Meatless Monday!  I’ve been on big baking kick lately, trying out several treats that stick to the Clean Eating rules!

I’m a big fan of grabbing a protein bar on the way out the door to enjoy as a mid-morning snack.  I literally had a standing order with Amazon Prime for my Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bars!

Since I’m trying to avoid dairy and eat foods without preservatives as often as possible, I’ve been making batches of protein bars in my kitchen to grab instead.  This week, I’m sharing another Jamie Eason recipe with you that is a clean treat that is also dairy-free.

Jamie Eason's Chocolate Protein Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup Oat Flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour which you can order on Amazon at a great price! Jamie uses this brand in her recipes too!)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • ½ cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 oz berry-flavored baby food
  • 3 tbsp baking cocoa
  • 4 oz water

 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flour, vanilla whey protein, baking soda, salt, baking cocoa, Truvia) together in a large bowl using a wisk.
3. Add wet ingredients (egg whites, baby food, water) on top of the mixed dry ingredients and stir well.
5. Spray an 8 x 8 Pyrex dish with a nonstick cooking spray and pour batter into dish.
6. Bake 30 minutes in oven.

This recipes makes 16 squares.  Serving size = 2 bars.

Clean Eating Brownies

Nutritional info for one serving (2 bars): Calories 96; Fat 1.4 grams; Total Carbs 12 grams; Protein 10 grams

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Paleo Raspberry Crisp

I had some delicious homemade cherry cobbler with homemade ice cream (Thanks, Andy!) the other night, and since then I have NOT been able to stop thinking about crisps and cobblers.  I’m usually all about the chocolate desserts but if there is a yummy seasonal fruit crisp or cobbler on the menu, it usually wins out!

The hubs and I decided to try going Paleo for 8 weeks to see how much of an impact it makes on how we feel.  I’m also personally motivated to see if the extra fat on my arms melts away to expose these awesome muscles I’ve been building in Pilates 🙂

So yesterday, I was on a mission to collect what I needed to do a little Paleo baking!  I found a great recipe for a cherry crisp from Mellissa who authors the blog, I Breathe … I’m Hungry. We love fresh raspberries and found some beautiful ones to throw into this crisp in lieu of cherries.

Fresh Raspberries

Raspberries have only 5 grams of sugar and 65 calories per cup, so if you are interested in limiting sugar in your diet they (and most other berries) are one of the better fruits to be eating.

Without further delay, here is this week’s Meatless Monday Recipe — my version of a Paleo Raspberry Crisp.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the topping:

1/4 cup pine nuts (chopped finely in a food processor or coffee grinder)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, combine the raspberries, almond extract, coconut milk and maple syrup. In another bowl combine all of the topping ingredients and mix well until crumbly. Pour the raspberry filling into a Pyrex pie plate.

Raspberry Filling

Top with the crumble mixture and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 375 degree (F) oven. Remove from the oven and drizzle a little more maple syrup over the top. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!

Paleo Raspberry Crisp

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Apple cranberry pie recipe - by Wellness Science

Apple-Cranberry Pie Recipe

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Meatless Monday Recipe: Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms

 

It’s been more than six months since the last Whole Living issue hit my mailbox, but MAN do I still miss it 🙁  I SO looked forward to diving into that magazine.  Luckily, the wholeliving.com website is still up and running, and to honor my feelings of nostalgia I decided to pull today’s Meatless Monday recipe from the Whole Living archives.

Courtesy of wholeliving.com  PHOTO: MARCUS NILSSON

Courtesy of wholeliving.com PHOTO: MARCUS NILSSON

Today, I’m featuring Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms from Whole Living magazine’s website.  The notes actually say this was originally from Martha Stewart Living, October 2007.  It looks delicious!  It cooks up quickly, but give yourself an hour to let the mushrooms marinate.  Here is what you’ll need to make 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), stems and caps separated, halved if very large
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 12 pieces set polenta cut into 1-inch-thick rectangles or triangles
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved

Directions:

Toss portobellos with garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for 1 hour.

Transfer portobellos to a plate. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add stock. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon oil, and remove from heat.

Preheat grill to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.) Lightly brush top and bottom of polenta with oil, and place in center of grill. Cook, flipping once, until polenta is marked, crisp, and no longer sticks to grill, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Meanwhile, place portobellos on cooler part of grill, and cook, turning frequently to avoid burning, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Place arugula on a platter, and arrange polenta and portobellos on top. Drizzle about half the sauce over portobellos. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.

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Other Meatless Monday recipes you’ll love:

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tomato-Basil Pizza with Gluten-Free Crust

Spicy Veggie Frittata

Spicy Veggie Frittata

Meatless Monday Recipe: Spicy Veggie Frittata

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Meatless Monday Recipe: Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

 

Eat Well, Travel Often

Greetings! Didn’t want to miss my weekly post, so I’m writing from Paris.

eat-well-travel-oftenEat Well, Travel Often is one of my favorite sayings — and its pretty tough to visit Paris and not eat well.  I’ve had some pretty amazing meals and treats on this trip so far, and the pace is so much different than home.  Here, it is very common to spend 3.5 hours at dinner just relaxing and enjoying the courses and conversation.  A very nice change of pace, and you can see that everyone really seems to be enjoying life.

Dessert at Jean Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris

Dessert at Jean
Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris

This photo is an amazing strawberry and pistachio dessert that we had at Jean — talk about incredible!  The proprietor, Jean, was an incredibly nice guy and was happy to accommodate my request at the time of reservation for a vegetarian menu.

The great thing about being in a city like Paris is that you *can* spend 3.5 hours eating and not feel bad about it because you walked 7 miles seeing the sites all day!  I have definitely not skimped on exercise!  And with the temps being in the high 80s — woah…

Today, I visited the Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin) and explored the gardens.  I was about to leave when I looked at the map once more and realized that I hadn’t seen one of Rodin’s most famous works, The Thinker.  I was able to snap a quick picture amongst the loads of tourists trying to do the same.  Was definitely worth the walk (and only 1 euro for the garden tour!)  More exploring to do this evening!  Hope everyone is having a great week!

The Thinker (Le Penser) at Musee Rodin (Rodin Museum) Paris

The Thinker (Le Penser) at Musee Rodin (Rodin Museum) Paris

An Intelligence Gene? High IQ May Be in Our DNA

 

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Always been the smarty pants in your group?  Awww, SNAP!  Chances are, it’s in your DNA.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

A study of Dutch families (Gosso MF et al., 2006) found that Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs363050, located on the SNAP-25 gene is associated with “performance IQ” (i.e. non-verbal IQ).

Each copy of “A” at rs363050 in a person’s genotype increased the subjects’ performance IQ by an average of three points compared to those with no copies of “A”.The authors estimated that rs363050 accounts for 3.4% of the variation in performance IQ between people.

I learned this little tidbit while exploring my Health Traits on the 23andMe website.  A single user-posted question, “Is There Anyone Else with 2 Copies of the Gene for Intelligence?” sparked over 260 replies from users sharing their genotypes, those of their family members, as well as IQ scores, SAT/GRE scores, levels of degrees obtained, and much more to both support AND oppose the findings of this research.

When you get down to brass tacks, no one who fancies him/herself as intelligent wants to look at their own genotype & have it read otherwise … anymore than someone wants their Kindness Gene genotype to tell them they can’t be empathetic.

Of course for this and other similar discussions, there is the nature vs. nurture debate … it can be challenging to study heritability or genetic differences in intelligence due to the fact that it is difficult to rule out other factors such as environment and opportunities (Rowe et al., 1999; Turkheimer et al., 2003).

What are your thoughts re: intelligence and heritability vs. outside influences such as environment?

Have you been tested on 23andMe?  If yes, was your genotype what you expected?

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Southwestern Cheddar Steak Fries

Happy 1st of July!  In my opinion, no burger (veggie or otherwise) is complete without a side of fries!  I consider myself a french fry connoisseur — try them wherever I go!  These fabulous fries were featured in the June 2013 issue of Clean Eating magazine.  While you are grilling this 4th of July, try cooking up a batch of these as well (hint: total time is less than 30 minutes!)

Oh, and they are only 154 calories per serving!  Can’t beat that!

Photo by Edward Pond - courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

Photo by Edward Pond – courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb red or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 oz finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place potatoes on baking sheet, drizzle evenly with oil and toss to coat lightly. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Sprinkle paprika mixture evenly over both sides of potatoes, then arrange potatoes in a single layer. Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes, then flip and stir, and bake for 7 minutes or until lightly golden and tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with salt, cheese and pepper. Bake for 2 minutes more or until cheese has melted slightly. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately for peak flavor.

Nutrients per serving (2/3 cup serving cheddar steak fries): Calories: 154, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Carbs: 22 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 0.5 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 187 mg, Cholesterol: 5 mg

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Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

 

Trouble losing weight or keeping it off?  Make sure you aren’t making one of these common dieting mistakes.

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Setting Goals That Aren’t Realistic

Setting an unrealistic goal will almost guarantee failure.  Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to weight loss.  Donald Hensrud, M.D., weight loss expert from the Mayo Clinic recommends 1-2 pounds per week.  If you lose weight at this pace, you are more likely to keep it off.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Diet

A diet that doesn’t include any of the foods you like to eat may work in the very short term, but it is unlikely that you’ll achieve you longer-term weight loss goals.  Several studies have found that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or to keep weight off.   Study participants who followed moderate- or high-fat diets lost just as much weight as those who follow low-fat diets.  Successful weight loss depends largely on one thing — burn more calories than you consume.

Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be reaching for the first thing you can get your hands on at lunch or dinner time to satisfy your hunger.  Take the time (maybe on a Sunday morning to plan for the coming week) to make a list of your favorite nutritious meals.  Shop for all of the ingredients and plan your meals for the week at one time.  Bring low-calorie snacks like an apple or a small Greek yogurt to the office to make hitting the vending machines less tempting.

Drink More Water

Drinking water aids weight loss and flushes out toxins from the body.  According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants in a six-month clinical trial both lost weight and reduced waist circumference by drinking water compared to participants who drank caloric beverages.

Skipping Meals

Meal skipping is not a successful way to lose weight.  Frequent meal skipping actually reduces your metabolic rate, making weight loss more challenging.  Eating regular meals keeps you energized throughout the day and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat at night to compensate.

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Other posts you might like:

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Instantly

How To Be Your Best Self

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Looking for some Meatless Main Dishes for dinner tonight or for your upcoming 4th of July festivities?  Look no further than these savory Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Yield: 4 stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • Ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat white cheddar cheese
  • Canola-oil cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 375F.

2)  Remove stems & inside gils of the portobello mushrooms.  Spray inside of a glass/Pyrex dish large enough to hold all four portobellos (a 9 x 9 square pan should work).  Place the mushrooms inside the dish and brush insides of the with olive oil.

3)  Add kale, shredded cheese, and then tomatoes to each of the mushroom caps.  Splash a little extra olive oil on top of each.  Don’t be afraid to pile on the toppings — they will reduce down while cooking.  Splash a little balsamic vinegar on top of each, then season freshly ground black pepper.

4)  Bake in the preheated oven until mushrooms are cooked through and cheese bubbles, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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Do you have a favorite vegetarian recipe? Tell me about it below, and you may be featured on our blog!

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

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