7 Simple Steps to Improve Your Health and Wellness

health and wellness

What does health and wellness mean to you?

Being in control of your health does not need to be difficult. Actually, a lot of research shows that the key to a lifetime of good health is through “lifestyle medicine.” This means taking small, simple steps in improving your overall health and incorporating these habits into your everyday life.

This being said, you do not have to take a giant leap to totally change your lifestyle. It begins with small changes, that eventually turn into habits. There is nothing wrong with having big goals, but there is also a benefit in working on the little ones.

Just by adding a few of the following practices into my lifestyle I’ve been able to see a dramatic increase in my overall health and wellness. I wanted to share these simple steps with you so that you too could see a positive change in your lifestyle.

Eat Smarter

One of the smallest life changes we can make is eating smarter. This doesn’t mean revolutionizing the way you eat, just implementing some different changes where you can.

There can be a lot of healthier alternatives for our usual meals, including the following.

  • If you regularly eat foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates such as rice and pasta, you may opt to choose their whole-grain versions.
  • Say no to sugary drinks. As always, water is the best option. You can also infuse your water with lemon and cucumber for that refreshing taste. I love doing this with lemons and strawberries.
  • Eat your veggies. Incorporating more leafy greens to your meals will do so much good for your body.
  • Avoid adding salt to your meals because it may contribute to bloating and high blood pressure.

Find a New Hobby

One thing to help improve your health and wellness is experimenting with hobbies. Hobbies make you explore your hidden talents and improve them at the same time. They also relieve stress and help you take a little break from your fast-paced lifestyle. Simple hobbies like doing a crossword puzzle or sudoku will have a productive and positive effect on your brain. While it’s a fun activity in the short-term, it will help lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the long-term.

Personally, I love finding new hobbies to explore. My favorite hobby to do is gardening. It’s a super relaxing addition to my day, and also provides my family with fresh produce. 

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Studies show that most adults do not get at least seven hours of sleep, and at this point in time, we all know how important it is to get enough sleep. Making sleep a priority is a great habit to introduce to your schedule if you don’t already do so.

Try to develop a ritual that will train your brain to relax and make you fall asleep more quickly and soundly. For me, I love enjoying a cup of tea before bed, and a dimly lit bedroom to help me sleep better and longer.

Train your Posture and Work those Muscles

Ever wonder why you are suffering from back pain at your age? Well, your posture may be bad, so always make sure you have proper posture.

If you are working at the office or pretty much sitting in a computer the whole day, make sure you are sitting in an ergonomic chair. Another small activity that will benefit you, both in the short term and in the long run, is stretching. It will only take a few minutes of your day and will do so much good for your body!

‘Me’ Time is the Best Time

One thing that is oftentimes overlooked in regards to health and wellness is what I like to call “me time.”

An effective way to improve your overall health and wellness is by taking some minutes each day to do something for yourself. This will promote inner growth and renewal. It will help you think better and breathe for a while. One way to enjoy ‘me time’ is by having a glass of wine or a smoothie and a bubble bath.

I also love to enjoy a smoothie while relaxing with a book, but it looks different for every person. Find what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it.

De-Stress and Meditate

Even the simplest things like going for a walk, listening to music, and cleaning can decrease your stress levels. One way that I work to destress is through meditation. Meditating will improve your focus and lessen your cortisol levels which, in turn, will improve your immune system.

Count your Blessings

This is one of the most important things we should do every single day. It is proven that people who know how to appreciate things in their life are happier than those who don’t.

When you start to count your blessings, you’ll be surprised about how lucky you are and how beautiful life is. Doing this before anything else in the morning, or every time you feel stressed or anxious will surely help you go through the day with a smile on your face.

Have you thought about incorporating these steps into your daily routine? Let me know how if you add any of these into your life, and how they impact your health and wellness. I love hearing from you in the comments!

Plant-Based Mini Baked Potatoes with Paprika

mini baked potatoes final

Plant-based Mini Baked Potatoes? Aren’t all potatoes plant-based? Believe me, my family typically loves to load these mini baked potatoes with lots of sour cream, cheese and bacon! These however are not those, these are a healthy alternative which are an awesome side to any dish, and are very simple to make. You probably already have all the ingredients in your house.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups halved mini potatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.
mini baked potatoes raw in bowl

Instructions

First step is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then rinse potatoes in cold water. I like to cut the potatoes in half, but depending how big they are you can cut into fourths. I used half a bag.

mini baked potatoes with spices in bowl

Now it’s time to add the olive oil, paprika, and garlic salt. A perk to this mini baked potato recipe is that there are no set measurements. I’ve added some suggested measurements to help you but to be honest I just eyeballed how much of each ingredient to pour in. You do not want the potatoes to be drowning in oil, so just add enough to lightly coat them. Then toss.

mini baked potatoes with spices on sheet

Lay them out on the pan. They can be facing up, down, or sideways, it doesn’t matter. Bake until they are soft and a light golden brown. Usually takes around 15 minutes give or take.

Final Verdict

mini baked potatoes cooked on sheet

These plant-based mini baked potatoes are the next best alternative to french fries! They are so delicious and can be paired with any lunch or dinner. If you’re like me and like salty foods, you can always add more garlic salt after cooking!

if you love potato recipes make sure to check out our earlier post Perfect Potato Recipes for a Plant-Based Diet!

3 Ideas to Keep Your Kids Entertained While in the House

Thousands of families are staying home in self-quarantine to help protect themselves and others from getting infected with Covid-19.  Me and my family are no different. The question we are consistently dealing with is what do in quarantine with our kids.

If you are quarantined with your kids, you may be fully realizing how long 24 hours in a day really is! 

Don’t worry if you’re at your wit’s end, we have come up with a list of 4 fun activities to keep your kids entertained and healthy

1. Host a Movie Night

One of the oldest tricks in the books regardless if you quarantined is to host a movie night with your kids! 

The key to this entertainment is to create a movie-theatre atmosphere. This activity can last much longer than just the two hours that the movie lasts- 

Here are some ideas to make the activity last all day:

  • Have your children plan and prepare a “movie snacks menu”
  • Have your children vote on what movie to watch
  • Create a comfy atmosphere in front of your TV. Ask your kids to help decorate!
  • Turn the lights off during the movie and try to make this an uninterrupted time

This may even help you relax as a parent. When was the last time you sat back and just enjoyed the company of your family?

While the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly stressful and being in self-quarantine is an inconvenience, try to appreciate the unexpected family time you now have! 

2. Try Camping Indoors

When quarantined with kids, try to add a little bit of adventure to your days! 

Creating a fort is the ultimate activity to get kids involved and make them feel like they are in a whole new world. 

Here are instructions for an incredible camping adventure indoors:

Step 1: Set up a tent inside. If you don’t have a tent, a blanket fort will do just fine!

Step 2: Cook food that you would normally make at the campground. At-home s’mores still taste delicious!

Step 3: Share spooky (or funny) campfire stories. 

Step 4: Try stargazing from your living room with some amazing apps!

Step 5: Let giggling induce and don’t worry too much about bedtime. This is a memory they will have forever!

This activity also allows you to take a step back from the screen-time that is consuming so many of us during this self-quarantine! 

3. Teach Them How to Cook Their Favorite Dish

What special dish do you make for your child for their birthday? 

Or on a special holiday? 

There is no better time than during a quarantine to teach your kid how to make their favorite dish!

Kids are so curious and will love learning how to cook side-by-side with you in the kitchen. This is also a great time to teach them about staple meals you make in your household, kitchen safety, and dining etiquette! 

Fun for the Whole Family During Self-Quarantine

Don’t let the Covid-19 pandemic get you down. Self-quarantine is an excellent time to bond with your family and try some activities out that you enjoyed during your own childhood!

These activities are all learning activities for your children and will help peak their natural curiosity. 

Interested in reading more about healthy activities and family life? Make sure to check out our blog for more! 

My Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac Review

I love mac and cheese. My whole family loves mac and cheese. But on a plant-based diet we had been missing our fix. Enter Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

I’m not sure what we were expecting when we started with this but we were pleasantly surprised by what we had in store for us. This box of Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac is advertised as dairy, soy and gluten free. Non-GMO verified and of course plant-based.

First I should mention that we got our box from Whole Foods and during quarantine the Amazon delivery worked great. Here’s a link to Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac directly on Amazon.

Nutritional Facts

I can’t say enough about reading the nutritional facts and how important that is. Regardless of how healthy you think you are keeping your family, even if you’re eating mac and cheese :). I started to do some digging.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac nutritional facts

So what stuck out to me was the amount of sodium per serving. Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac shows 580mg per serving! This of course seems quite high but let’s compare it to other non-dairy mac and cheese.

So while Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac doesn’t compare to the Velveeta version it still is inline with the other non-dairy mac & cheeses. I should mention, if the sodium topic is of interest to you then make sure to check out this article posted from healthline about other foods high in sodium. I learned that this is inline with what a hotdog or bratwurst of sodium per serving.

Unboxing

daiya deluxe cheezy mac unboxing

No surprises here. Standard bag of macaroni and bag of the secret sauce.

Time to Cook

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac comes with really tasty gluten free macaroni. It uses brown rice pasta to avoid the gluten and we really loved it.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Once we added the cheese things started really coming together. A little secret: I NEVER use the whole packet of cheese. It always seemed too much and this case was no different. I think we ended up using about a quarter of the whole bag. Now you could argue that you don’t get the full effect of the dish but on the positive side you also don’t get the full sodium effect.

Final Verdict

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

The box says that it’s good for 3 servings. Which in my house usually means good for 1.5 people. This was no different. Overall we really enjoyed Daiya’s take on mac & cheese. The mac was great the non-dairy cheese was also not too over-powering. It definitely scratched an itch that we had. So if you’re looking for a wonderful alternative to a dairy based mac & cheese make sure to check out Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

4 Plant-Based Family Blogs Helping Us Raise our Kids

plant-based family blogs to raise plant-based kids

I underestimated the challenges of raising plant-based kids. When you’re living on your own, switching to a plant-based diet is a breeze.  We’ve put together a short list of plant-based family blogs to help.

Think about it, you used to do all of your own shopping, plan your own meals, and choose the restaurants you’re going to. 

What happens when you add a husband and sprinkle a couple of kids on top? Raising plant-based kids is not such a breeze. It’s actually a different ballgame. 

When you’re the head of a household and you are trying to navigate around allergies and picky eaters, planning family-friendly plant-based meals can feel impossible.

We’re here to rescue you!

A few other families have made it their mission to share their experiences and what works for them so that you don’t have to go through the same mistakes. 

Read on to find the 4 best plant-based family blogs to help keep your family on track! 

1. Nora Cooks

If you haven’t discovered the site Nora Cooks just yet, you are in for a treat! 

On her site, you are going to find delicious recipes that are both kid and meat-eater approved. Nora has three kids and has shared her tried and true family-friendly plant-based meals!

This plant-based family blog also shares her tips and tricks for raising vegan kids. While there is a difference with vegan diets vs plant-based diets, I still really do like these recipes for a helping raise our kids plant-based.

She has a section dedicated to 30-minute meals which makes cooking at home a breeze! Her vegan mac and cheese is sure to win over kid’s hearts in a minute! 

2. Shane and Simple

Shane and Simple’s tag is “practical, not pretentious, plant-based meals.” 

This approach to a plant-based lifestyle is perfect for families! 

No nonsense, just delicious food. 

Shane first went plant-based for health reasons, and it was not in the original plan for the whole family to transition. However, his whole family did slowly transition to a plant-based diet. He has created a plant-based family blog to help others ease through this transition!

This blog post about becoming a plant-based family should give you some pointers! 

3. My Plant-Based Family

With a name like that, how can it not be a great resource? My Plant-Based Family is a blog created by Holly!

The plant-based family blog is comprehensive and includes posts specific to transitioning kids to a plant-based diet

Not only is this site packed with helpful blogs, it contains a plant-based e-course that will give you the confidence you need to take care of your plant-based family! 

4. Vegan Family Kitchen

The site Vegan Family Kitchen is a great resource for anyone looking to streamline the cooking process!

This mom, Brigitte, has gone through the wringer creating meal plans that will give your kids the nourishment they need. 

What’s great about meal plans is that they give you back the most important thing- time with your plant-based family! 

Plant-based Family Blogs to Help Your Family

Raising vegan kids has never been easier than with the help of plant-based family blogs!

These blogs will help you navigate allergies, picky-eaters, meal-prep, budgeting for meals, and more. 

Providing your family with healthy and delicious foods is one of the most amazing things you can do as a parent! 

Want to learn more about healthy living? Make sure to check out our other posts for more! 

Incase you are still looking for some recommendations here are a couple of additional lists: