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!

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:

Pre-workout Snacks That Will Fuel You For Any Workout

Do you eat pre-workout snacks? Is working out part of your normal routine? Do you make it to the gym only to feel depleted of energy after a few minutes?

I used to experience this a lot myself. I would motivate myself and drive to the gym, only to feel sluggard a few exercises in. A few years back I started reading more about nutrition and what fueled our bodies. I quickly realized that I needed to add a pre-workout snack to my diet, and much to my surprise it made a huge difference in my energy levels.

Even if you understand the importance of a pre-workout snack, it can be confusing to know what you should eat. Generally, you should want something light on the stomach, but something that will still fuel your body. Eating the right food will keep your blood sugar steady and in turn, give you the energy you need to have a good workout. It will make you perform better and recover faster, which is something I’ve seen happen in my own life.

When and How Much Should You Eat?

Depending on how much time you have before working out, the choices of pre-workout snacks range. Generally, the recommended time frame to eat before a workout is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before. I suggest planning ahead of time when it comes to pre-workout foods, that way you can just grab it and go when you’re in a rush.

Below, I compiled a list of pre-workout snacks that will give you just the energy you need for your workout.

Banana

Bananas contain the perfect amount of calories to fill you up and enough carbs to keep you energized until the end of your workout. You can opt to eat a whole banana, which is not only energizing but also filling! If you find that a banana doesn’t do the trick, add some peanut butter to the mix.

This combination is yummy and packed with both protein and carbs to fuel you through whatever workout you are doing.

Oatmeal

spring peas

Oatmeal is a great pre-workout snack because it is rich in carbs and it fills you up quickly. Not only that, but it’s also so satisfying to eat. 

You don’t have to eat oatmeal plain either. Try adding some nut butter on top, or some fruits, to spruce up the taste. It is also great to incorporate low-fat milk into the recipe as well.

I love eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds before my workouts. Since this is quite a heavy snack, give yourself time to digest it before your workout.

Greek Yogurt

This is the ultimate pre-workout snack! Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein you can find from regular yogurt. They are very filling but at the same time, not too heavy to digest before a workout.

They are the perfect snack to bring with you if you are in a rush and they are easy and quick to eat too! If you have some almonds at home, feel free to mix it with your yogurt for some added fat. You can easily find a 100-calorie pack of yogurt in your local grocery store, and keep them in your fridge for when you need them.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are the perfect on the go snacks. They are packed full of protein and are very easy to eat! Find a good brand with less than 300 calories per pack and stack them up in your pantry or your gym bag.

Bagels

spring peas

If you find yourself extra hungry before a workout and want something delicious and filling, a bagel (preferably made from whole wheat flour) is a perfect choice for you. I love to add some cream cheese on top but I also know people that love adding peanut butter. Adding a topping like peanut butter adds a solid source of protein, which is always good before a workout.

Toast/Cereals

I love eating a slice of toast pre-workout because it only takes a minute or two to put together, and is easy to digest! Cereal is also another good pre-workout snack, mainly because it is easy to make as well. Add some dried fruit into your bowl for added nutrients and flavor.

Smoothies

Making your own smoothie ensures that you know what’s in it, which means no unnecessary added sugars.  Unfortunately, many smoothie shops add so much sugar to their smoothies, taking from being a healthy snack to a dessert.

It’s better to make your own with some almond milk, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies than buy it at a shop. Add some Greek yogurt and peanut butter for some protein, and you’re good to go!

Apple

spring peas

Nothing beats a slice of a nutritious apple. If you’re running late, you can eat it while walking to your gym. Apples are a good source of calories and carbs which are essential for your workout.

100% Fruit Juice

If you don’t feel like eating something, you should try to at least drink some fruit juice instead. Try to reach for an orange juice for some carbs and pre-workout natural sugar.

With all these options, I bet you’ll never work out again without filling in your stomach beforehand. I know that adding a pre-workout snack into my routine has helped me a lot with energy during my workouts, and I bet it will help you as well. Which is your favorite among these? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

While you’re here, make sure to check out another one of my blog posts, “20 Post Workout Foods That Are The Most Beneficial (And Easy!).”

3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to do During Self-Quarantine

3 Healthy Activities for the Whole Family to Do During Self-Quarantine

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are in search for some healthy activities during our self-quarantine. I believe as many do that it’s an unprecedented time at which many families are recommended to stay-in in order to avoid spreading the virus. 

In many States, including my own, self-quarantine is required to all individuals and families, regardless if you have been exposed to the virus. These people should avoid all interaction with other people for 14 days and keep a close eye on the CDC guidelines

Self-quarantine is taking the term “family time” to the next level. We as parents are finding out that keeping a child entertained 24 hours a day is no easy task. 

It is tempting to hand your child an iPad or a phone and just wait it out. While it’s the easiest approach, this is not the most healthy activity during self-quarantine.

However-

Staying active and healthy is essential during this time. That’s why I’ve put together a list of three activities you can try to get your family up and moving! 

1. Go on a Family Walk

Go on a Family Walk

Bring it back to the basics and go on a family walk! As long as you are not interacting with other people, going on a walk is a great activity to try. 

There are lots of ways to make simple walks an engaging activity for the whole family. Here are some of our ideas:

  • Play eye-spy on your walk
  • Go on a “nature walk” and let your child collect new plants and leaves to learn about
  • Gather treasures and then make an art project when you get home
  • Let your child take pictures of things they enjoyed on their walk

Our children are used to running on playgrounds and playing with friends all day. Keep up their physical activity and their curious nature by taking a walk around your neighborhood! A perfect healthy activity during a self-quarantine.

2. Take a Wiggle Break

Teachers in schools have been using this strategy for years, and the time has come to share this with all parents! 

If you type in “brain break” or “wiggle break” into Youtube, hundreds of helpful videos will come up that guide your child through some movement activities. 

These short breaks will get your child up and moving, and it will give you a couple of moments to clean up a quick mess or put the finishing touches on dinner. 

With self-quarantine, it is so important to not get sucked into a video game or show for hours on end. 

Standing up and dancing, wiggling, and stretching is going to help prevent any meltdowns that might be bubbling up under the surface. 

3. Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Create a New Routine with Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Breathe in- 

Breathe out. 

Yoga is a healthy activity best during self-quarantine :). It has been found to help kids (and adults) control their emotions, have more stable energy throughout the day, improve mobility and core strength, and relax. 

When my big family is cooped up in a house all day together during self-quarantine, all of these skills come in handy! 

Creating routines helps kids feel safe. 

With that in mind- 

What better time to introduce this healthy activity into their routine than during the Covid-19 pandemic? 

To try this out, you have a few different options. You can try using kid yoga poses posters. Just type in “kid’s yoga” into Youtube, or check out a couple of highly rated yoga kids books on Amazon!

Try These Healthy Activities to Stay Active During Self-Quarantine

Incorporating these three healthy activities into your routine during self-quarantine are going to help you stay calm. But more importantly stay healthy and bond with your family! 

Hundreds of thousands of families are avoiding contact by self-quarantining during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all trying to navigate this “new-normal” as best as we can. 

Focusing on the things you can control, like your physical activity, will help you navigate this experience with much easier!

From our family at planted.org to yours, please say safe, healthy and positive!

Like what you’re reading? Check out our other healthy living blogs for more!

7 Natural Supplements to Boost Your Immune System

Spring is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on protecting our immune systems, especially with the threat of the coronavirus looming. I’ve been taking extra measures with some natural supplements the past couple of weeks in order to make sure that I don’t catch a cold, and so that my immune system continues to be built up.

With the rise and fall of spring temperatures, our bodies are more vulnerable to colds, allergies, or even the flu. To avoid this, we can boost our immune systems with natural supplements and vitamins! While there are many supplements to help equip your immune system for fighting germs, there are 7 specific supplements that will help you protect your immune system this spring.

Garlic

This may be the easiest thing on this list for you to get your hands on. Garlic is a very popular antiviral and anti-inflammatory food that is proven to prevent common colds and cases of the flu. It is rich in selenium, a compound that can slow down the body’s over-active responses. It is best to consume more fresh garlic while spring is approaching, and you can do this easily by adding it to your meals.

Make sure to chop or slice the garlic, as it will release a compound called allicin into your food. Allicin has been shown to possess antioxidant activity and has antibacterial activities. I love adding garlic to just about anything but have recently loved it with air-fried sweet potato fries.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a classic natural supplement that we should all be taking, no matter the season. It is necessary for the development, growth, and repair of all body tissues as well as being critical for many bodily functions like absorption. Vitamin C is also one of the top immune-boosting vitamins which can prevent common colds if taken daily and not only when you are sick.

Like garlic, you can take it in supplement form, but you can also add it to your diet by adding in specific foods. Aside from a vitamin supplement, you can get Vitamin C from other sources, like citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and peppers. I love getting my Vitamin C from grapefruit.

Zinc

Zinc is a powerful mineral that keeps our immune systems working at their peak. It also is a great mineral to take if you want to prevent colds. Now, if you already are suffering from a cold, try using zinc lozenges, they are proven to clear the symptoms in just three days!

You can also get zinc from most forms of seafood and from poultry products as well. I recommend taking a supplement if you do not eat animal products.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that provide a variety of benefits to the human body. In recent years, more and more people have been experiencing the positive effects probiotics have on the immune system. They are known to improve gut health and since 70% of our immune system cells are found in our gut, it also boosts our immune system.

Yogurt, kimchi, and kefir are just some of the foods that are rich in probiotics. Aside from taking a powerful probiotic, I make sure to eat probiotic rich foods like kimchi.

Elderberry

Elderberry

Elderberry is another recently discovered holy grail item on our list. Elderberry is a fruit packed with flavonoids, a very powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are necessary for our immune systems as they can reduce flu symptoms in just three days. They lessen flu symptoms because they are capable of killing different viruses present in the body due to their immune-boosting properties.

Not only can they protect against viruses but elderberry is rich in anthocyanins which are proven to support the immune system. You can get your daily dose of this magical fruit in either liquid or capsule form. I like to take it in liquid form.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria that is both safe to consume and an immune system booster. A lot of studies show that spirulina can help users overcome nasal allergies, which is common in this season of the year. Although it may not look appetizing or inviting, research shows that it really helps to strengthen the immune system. Another bonus is that this natural supplement and bacterium helps to lower inflammation on the body.

You can take it regularly in pill or powder form. I love experimenting with different spirulina smoothies.

Tinospora Cordifolia

This herb is very common to India and is only now getting the recognition it deserves worldwide. Not only does it help regulate sugar level, but it can also enhance the immune system functionality. It helps a cell called macrophage to fight germs do not want in our body.

You can take it in pill form or you can brew a tea from stem and roots. I like brewing it myself and adding it to my daily routine.


There you have it, the best natural supplements to boost your immune system! Do not wait until you get sick and take preventive actions now. I have implemented most of these supplements into my daily regime and have yet to get sick this year, knock on wood.

Most of these natural supplements are very easy to find and they can even be taken in pill which makes them easy to take, even for the pickiest of people. Just make sure to consult your doctor before you make major changes to your regime.

If you’re still looking for some tips about staying healthy, make sure to take a look at our earlier post about Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Herbs and Oils