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Woman relaxing in field - Boost Your Mental Energy

Boost Your Mental Energy

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It’s one thing to make sure you have enough physical energy, but as long as you eat well, stay somewhat active, and get enough rest, it’s not usually a problem. For those times when you do a feel like you need a little boost, there’s coffee and even something as simple as natural sugars from fruit that can give you a little pick-me-up. But what about your mental energy?

Emotional and mental energy needs are obviously different than physical. Mental energy is what it takes to accomplish daily tasks, work responsibilities, school work, and it’s what you need in order to be creative, productive, and even maintain healthy relationships. More often than not, however, the demand for your time and mental energy can exceed your capacity. The fact is, we all tend to commit too much of ourselves to a laundry list of less-than-crucial things that are simply draining our energy.

Plus, on top of all the demands mentioned above, there are seasonal activities and responsibilities that can demand even more from you both physically and mentally. The energy drain is real, and if you don’t do something about it, you might very well find your physical and emotional health suffering because of it.

It can be argued that mental energy is more important than its physical counterpart. In fact, your mental energy has a great impact on you physically. If you feel mentally or emotionally drained, you won’t be able to physically perform at your best. As with physical energy, there are several easy and a few not-so-easy steps you can take to increase your mental energy…

Take Breaks

We’re not talking about naps, although those are certainly worthwhile. You need to get up, walk around, and stretch once in a while to clear your mind. Even do some mild exercises, climb some stairs, or do some jumping jacks. Physical activity can help recharge your mental energy by improving blood flow and oxygenating your blood which helps fuel your mind.

Eat Whole Foods

Whether its breakfast, lunch, dinner, or during your snack breaks, make sure to skip the fast food and junk and shoot for whole foods, healthy brain-fueling snacks, and nutritionally-balanced shakes instead. Highly processed foods can have a negative effect on brain functions while natural, whole foods tend to deliver nutrient-rich ingredients that increase both physical and mental energy without the risk of a sugar slump.

Focus on What Matters

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of always needing to do more, accomplish more, and exceed all the expectations you’ve placed on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but always remember there’s more to life than work, and you can end up decreasing your productivity if you have too many things on your plate.

Try not to think about always doing more, but instead focus on the tasks that truly matter so you can spend more time and put more thought into those. Think of it as quality over quantity, which is always a worthwhile goal. To-do lists are great for keeping you on track and reminding you of things that need to be done, but find one key goal per day that you want to put most of your energy into, and don’t forget to live in the moment.

Avoid Energy Vampires

Let’s face it, there are certain people and relationships that are more draining than they should be. While every relationship and interaction can have its positive qualities, if there are coworkers or acquaintances who you can feel draining your mental or emotional energy, find ways to nicely escape and focus on more positive relationships or responsibilities.

Don’t be afraid to put your own well-being ahead of everything else. The only way you can perform your best and be your most valuable to others is when you take care of yourself, so it’s selfless to be selfish once in a while.

Cherries on tree - Health Benefits of Tart Cherry

Health Benefits of Tart Cherry

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There are certain foods that don’t get the attention they deserve, and we’re not just talking about exotic foods that are hard to find. We’re talking about health benefits… With its nutrient dense profile, Tart cherry is one of those foods you’ve probably never thought much about aside from snacking on them or enjoying the occasional glass of cherry juice. The health benefits of tart cherry make it one of those nutrition sources you should consider adding to your daily diet.

While sweet cherries are, well, sweet and tasty, they don’t offer all the health benefits of their tart cousins, Prunus cerasus. So, what exactly are the great health benefits of tart cherry? We’re glad you asked:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduced muscle pain
  • Increased strength
  • Boosts immune system function
  • Supports healthy metabolism
  • High in melatonin and tryptophan (natural sleep aids)
  • Improves circulation and nerve function
  • Potent antioxidant that may protect against degenerative brain disease
  • Rich in anthocyanins (phytonutrients that aid in circulation, nerve function, and cancer-fighting)

And what about the taste? Well, there’s a reason they’re called “tart” cherries. Sweet cherries are easy to snack on like some sort of nature’s candy, but the same can’t necessarily be said for tart cherries. As the name implies, they’re a bit sour. You can eat them like other fruit, but not everyone finds the taste to be overly appealing. What’s the solution?

You can buy tart cherry juice that’s sweetened, but that adds a level of sugar into your diet that you might prefer to avoid. Luckily, there are tart cherry supplements that are relatively easy to find, and then there’s RawFusion Complete, which is a plant-based, super-food enhanced meal replacement that delivers a full meal’s worth of nutrition, incredible flavor, and all the health benefits of tart cherry among a plethora of other nutrient-dense whole food ingredients.

The tart cherry may look like a small, low-key fruit with nothing to offer, but don’t judge a food by its cover. Add some form of tart cherries to your diet and enjoy all the naturally-powered health benefits.

Grilling Veggies - Plant-Based Fun in the Sun

Plant-Based Fun in the Sun

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Grilling Veggies - Vegan Style Fun in the Sun

Summer is the season of outdoor fun. The sun is shining, friends are gathering, and backyard BBQs are fired up. All is great… Until you realize you’re the only one on a plant-based diet who showed up at the party, and your food choices are limited. That doesn’t have to be the case, so we’ve got a quick and easy guide to plant-based fun in the sun.

There’s a good chance that many of your friends and family follow a plant-based lifestyle, but when you make new friends or show up to a picnic or BBQ without checking what’s on the menu first, you can end up sitting around with hunger pangs as everyone else is having a good time. There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by plenty of food with no good plant-based options around.

Whether you’re hosting your own get-together grill-fest or showing up to a potluck picnic, it pays to be prepared with delicious and nutritious plant-based food options. Here are a few things to consider to make sure you can still have fun in the sun.

Grilled Alternatives

The grill is where most of the real magic happens at any good outdoor gathering, but there’s a big difference between the average summer BBQ menu and what you may be wanting to eat. Here are just a few plant-based treats that are downright tasty when grilled:

Plant-based burgers: You can go through the trouble of finding a recipe to make plant-based burger patties from scratch, but there are some great pre-made options available in the health food section at most grocery stores. Boca Burgers were bought out by Kraft in 2000, so they’re fairly easy to find, and their vegan burgers have been known to fool many a meat eater. Alternatively, grilled Portobello mushrooms can make a spectacular burger replacement on their own, or you can add them to your favorite plant-based burger to double up on the flavor.

Vegan hot dogs: Meatless hot dogs are even easier to find than burger replacements, and just like the burgers, these taste even better when they’ve got that smoky, freshly-grilled flavor. Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs, Yves Good Dogs, and Tofurky Hot Dogs are some of the most popular and easy to find dogs.

Vegan chicken and ribs: Not always as easy to find as the typical grilled favorites like hot dogs and burgers, meatless chicken and rib options are growing in popularity. While it’s not packed with flavor on its own, most alternative chicken is great for seasoning with your favorite spices.

Fruits & veggies: What’s even more flavorful than burgers hot off the grill? Grilled vegetables! Grilled corn on the cob, zucchini, peppers, artichokes, and onions take on a whole new flavor when grilled. Combine your favorites on skewers for super-tasty kebabs. Even a few seasonal fruits like pineapple, bananas, peaches, and watermelon are ultra-tasty treats when grilled (but don’t cook them too long). Don’t forget the potatoes or yams, especially when sliced and seasoned.

No Grill Needed

Side dishes and things that don’t require grilling keep everybody happy and well fed. Potato salad, garden salad, vegan chili, guacamole, and freshly sliced fruits are all relatively easy to prepare and they make it easy to please everyone.

Kids usually love freshly sliced fruit, but if it’s a little extra warm out or if the kids want some special treats, plan ahead and prepare frozen fruit-juice popsicles. All the sweetness anyone could want without any questionable ingredients.

When you get right down to it, plant-based fun in the sun isn’t much different than it is for anyone else. It’s all about eating good food, making good memories, and spending time with good people.

Roadside picnic celebration - Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Healthy Road Trip Snacks

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Nothing beats a good road trip, but nothing can ruin one like being unprepared. Technology solves some problems by giving you a map on your phone, so there’s no good excuse for getting lost, but eating well on the road is a whole other story. It takes planning to make sure you have healthy road trip snacks to keep you going.

Eating on the road isn’t usually a problem in general. You can grab food at any fast food joint or at any gas station along the way, but eating healthy, plant-based foods on the other hand… That takes a bit more work.

Keeping your home stocked up with healthy food is fairly easy, but packing healthy road trip snacks takes some planning since you have to consider the number of people you’re traveling with and how long you’ll be on the road. Plus, you have to consider foods that will be enjoyable while not making you sleepy if you’re the driver.

Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas

  • Baked goods – Maybe not ideal if it’s warm out and you don’t want to fire up your oven, but muffins and other baked goodies are great snacks (or even meals) for road trips. This includes homemade potato/sweet potato chips and other healthier versions of typical road trip snacks. Roasted nuts and seeds are also fantastic road companions.
  • Fresh fruits/vegetables – These are not only delicious and nutritious, they can also satisfy your sweet tooth and quench your thirst. Some are better if pre-cut while others will last and be more convenient in their “natural packaging” (bananas, apples, etc.), but you might not want pre-cut fruits and vegetables on day two or three, so plan accordingly if you’ll be on the road for a while.
  • Dried fruits – All the benefits of fresh fruit but with the convenience and longevity added in. Just make sure you drink plenty of water, too.
  • Trail mix – If you’ve roasted any nuts and seeds, dried some fruit, or have any other favorite crunchy, chewy, salty, or sweet road trip snacks, why not mix them up into your own homemade trail mix. If you’re out of time or don’t want the hassle, you can usually find pre-made trail mix pretty easily, too.
  • Plant-based protein bars – High-protein road-trip foods aren’t always easy to find when you’re on a plant-based diet, but that’s where RawFusion Bars come in handy. Protein, fiber, and enough sweetness to keep you well-fed and satisfied. Plus, there’s no coating that can melt, so they’re good anywhere and in any weather.
  • Fixings for sandwiches/wraps – It’s tough not to want something a little heartier than snacks when you’re on the road, but finding plant-based lunch isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. Packing up all the fixings for your favorite sandwich or wrap will give you an excuse to stop and have a picnic somewhere to stretch your legs and will work as a real meal to keep you comfortable and maybe help push any road trip partners into the post-meal napping zone if you want some silence. And yes, you could prepare the food ahead of time, but things tend to get soggy, so timing is critical.
  • Drinks – Yeah, it can get annoying to search for rest stops and bathrooms on the road, but dehydration can make you drowsy and affect how alert you are for any emergency situations, so don’t skip the drinks. Drink plenty of water, coconut water, fruit juices, or iced tea (for the little caffeine boost) to keep you healthy, hydrated, and happy. And if you have a shaker bottle and your favorite cold beverage, mix in some RawFusion to give yourself a tasty and filling plant-based protein boost.

Pack a Cooler

While the dried snacks are usually fine out in the open, sometimes they just taste better when they’re a little cool. Plus, the fruits, vegetables, drinks, and many other road trip snacks will simply last longer if packed in a cooler. You can use reusable freezer packs or good old-fashioned ice to keep things cool, and if the cabin of your car or truck isn’t too packed, you can store the cooler behind a seat or in the passenger-side footwell if you’re traveling alone. That will not only keep the snacks and drinks within easy reach, it’ll also help keep the cooler cool rather than the trunk (depending on the time of year you’re traveling).

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Remember that a good road trip and all of its memories are often built around the journey, not just the destination. Map out rest stops, scenic picnic areas, or play it by ear and stop anywhere that looks interesting to stretch a bit, get some blood flowing, and grab some healthy road trip snacks before getting back on the road.

And if you’re not big on planning out and packing a bunch of food to take with you, or if you just need some variety on a long trip, research some healthy restaurants online before leaving so you can stop along the way and enjoy every minute of your journey.

Women on scale - Boost Your Metabolism

Boost Your Metabolism

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Scale measurement - Boost Your Metabolism

If you’ve experienced unexpected weight gain, if you feel lethargic, or if the progress you’ve been making with your weight-loss goals has suddenly stopped, there’s a good chance you’ve hit a plateau and need to do something to boost your metabolism.

Dieting takes a lot of careful planning and can be like a double-edged sword if not done right. The longer and harder you diet, the more likely your metabolism is to slow down. Luckily, there are fairly simple ways to boost your metabolism back up so you can reach your lean-body goals.

Drink water

Drinking water throughout the day is necessary regardless of your weight goals, but drinking enough of it can help boost your metabolism, too. Plus, drinking some water before meals can help curb your appetite so you eat less and don’t binge.

Consume caffeine

Whether it’s from coffee, tea, or any other natural source, caffeine can stoke your metabolism, curb appetite, and help keep you going when calories are low. Most naturally caffeinated beverages also have plenty of antioxidants, and that’s especially true of green tea which has EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), known to promote weight loss among other numerous health benefits.

Spice it up

Food doesn’t have to be boring when you’re watching what you eat. Hot sauces are a great way to keep your food interesting with flavor while helping to boost your metabolism thanks to capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that makes them hot.

Pump up the protein intake

Eating more protein from healthy food sources has multiple benefits when you’re trying to lose weight. You already know that protein builds muscle and stops you from wasting muscle when dieting, but it also keeps you feeling full longer, increases thermogenesis, and boosts your metabolism significantly more than fats or carbohydrates.

Fidget

Movement and activity get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, so go ahead and fidget while you’re at your desk or during any downtime. Better yet, if you can stand up while you work or study, do it. You can also make a point of parking a little further away from your destination and skip the elevator in favor of stairs. And if an escalator is your only choice, as long as there’s not a crowd of people in your way, walk your way up… They’re still stairs, even if they’re moving.

Laugh

Not only does laughter make you feel great, relieve stress, and just improve your overall sense of well-being, it also burns calories, so laugh it up!

Exercise

It should go without saying that losing weight is more than just watching what you eat and cutting calories. Increased activity will magnify the calorie burning and boost your metabolism.

Walking, jogging, and biking are all fine activities, but weights are great when it comes to losing weight. Every pound of muscle you add to your body can cause you to burn up to 50 more calories per day at rest. And while cardiovascular exercise helps burn calories while you’re working out, resistance exercise can boost your metabolism for hours afterward.

For either cardio or weight exercises, consider HIIT (high-intensity interval training) type of exercise which amplifies calorie burning even more.

Consider IF

There’s no shortage of fad diets, and you get down to it, the best diet is the one that you’ll actually follow. That said, intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the easiest to follow and has been shown to make quick work of weight loss. We’ll have a full article on that soon, so stay tuned.

Don’t crash diet

Whatever you do, don’t drastically reduce your calories. Many people assume that if they simply go on a crash diet, they’ll lose weight in a hurry. The reality is often the opposite. Crash dieting can cause metabolic damage and cause you to lose lean tissue while holding onto body fat, so you end up looking skinny-fat instead of toned and healthy. Cut back slowly and always eat healthy. The number on a scale isn’t worth sacrificing your health for.

Above all, when you’re trying to lose weight, set a realistic goal. Make it tough enough to be worth it, but not so far out there that you’ll want to resort to unhealthy approaches. The whole idea is to get to a weight that’s healthy for both your mind and body, so stay nourished, be active, and enjoy the results of all your hard work.

Woman Kicking Water on Beach - Longer Days and Healthier Ways of Summer

Longer Days and Healthier Ways of Summer

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One of the greatest things about the transition into summer is being able to take advantage of longer days. On top of the warmer weather and more outdoor activities, more daylight means you can take full advantage of the longer days and healthier ways of summer.

With the sun setting later in the day, there’s enough daylight left to do things once you get off work or school, so you’re not just limited to weekend activities. Skip the TV browsing and internet surfing and find something to do outside.

If you make a habit of plopping yourself on the couch when you get home and can’t think of anything to do during the evening hours when there’s still a bit of sunlight, we’re here to help:

How to Enjoy the Longer Days and Healthier Ways of Summer

  • Exercise
    After a long, hard day at work or school, one of the best stress relievers is a good workout, and the evening sunlight can help give you the boost to get through it. Plus, the warmer weather will help keep you motivated. If you have time in the morning, that’s even better.And there’s no reason to limit yourself to indoor exercise just because a gym might have lots of equipment. Walking, jogging, running, and bike riding are great outdoor activities, and the fresh air will do you good. Plus, you might even find a local park with exercise stations for some workout variety, and that neighborhood pool is good for more than just lounging in the sun. Swim some laps!
  • Walk or Ride
    Walking or riding a bike provides more than just great exercise, they’re great ways to get around and save the environment at the same time.If you can, walk or ride to the grocery store a few times per week rather than a doing a single shopping trip in a car, and plan evenings out with friends so that you can get there by foot or by bike. And do the same if school or work is close enough… You can save money on fuel, help the environment, and get fit from your commute.
  • Go to the Pool, Lake, or Beach
    Not only are pools, lakes, and beaches great places for outdoor activities, they’re also great places to simply relax and unwind after a rough day. When it’s later in the day, the sun’s rays won’t be at their peak, so you can soak up some healthy vitamin D without worries of overexposure to the sun. And enjoying some time by the water while watching the sunset and doing nothing at all can be good for your mind and body.
  • Yard Work
    Mowing the lawn or gardening might not sound like a lot of fun at the end of the day, but yard work is good physical activity and it’s a good chance to not think about work or school. Plus, it can free up your weekend for other activities with friends and family.
  • Grill Your Dinner
    Nothing beats freshly grilled veggies or even a tasty veggie pizza hot off the grill. The aroma, the flavor, and the potential for great socializing are all great. And grilling is a healthy alternative way to cook without heating up your house.

The longer days and healthier ways of summer will be over before you know it, so take advantage the warm weather and extra daylight while you can. Not only will you be healthier and less stressed, you’ll also set yourself up with good habits that help you avoid sitting in front of the TV or wasting away on your sofa.

Sandy bottom at the beach - Take a Vacation

Take a Vacation

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Dedication to your job and the buildup of stress don’t have to go hand-in-hand. In fact, being too dedicated to work can have a severely negative impact on your job performance and personal well-being. The solution is simple and quite enjoyable… Take a vacation!

Even though most full-time employees have paid vacation time available, about 55% of workers don’t use up all of the vacation time they’re allowed. That’s a lot of unused relaxation time, and it has a big impact on you as well as your employer. Whether you’re worried about the work you won’t be completing while you’re gone or you’re just a workaholic who has trouble forcing yourself to take time off, there are too many good reasons you should take a vacation.

Personal Life

  • Family bonds: It’s easy to get so wrapped up in work and other responsibilities that the most important parts of your life can be neglected. A vacation with family and/or friends can strengthen those bonds.
  • Health benefits: Stress is a killer, but letting yourself unplug and enjoy life outside of work can have incredibly positive effects on both your mental and physical health.
  • Motivation: When work is the only thing you concentrate on, it’s easy to forget the reasons you work. When you take a vacation, it’s a great reminder that it’s the things outside of work that should motivate you.
  • Well-deserved reward: Indulging in unhealthy food choices or ordering things online that you don’t really need aren’t rewarding and often do more harm than good. Relaxation, time with friends and family, or just enjoying the “real” world are the rewards you deserve and need.

Work Life

  • Recharged and refreshed: When all you do is work, it can be exhausting, even without any physical labor. Weekends are a great temporary relief, but an actual vacation where you completely forget about work (even if just for a few days) can get you fully recharged for months.
  • New perspective: It’s easy to fall into a rut with your job and the way you process ideas if you don’t take a break. When you take a vacation, your mind gets freed up to start coming up with new and potentially great ideas that can have a positive effect at work.
  • Improved performance: Everyone can be guilty of just going through the motions and getting the bare minimum done when work feels monotonous. Coming back from a vacation has been shown to show boosted motivation and improved on-the-job performance.
  • Wellness: The health benefits of taking a vacation aren’t only important for your personal life. When you take regular vacations, it’s also great for your overall wellness, which means less likelihood for sick days and personal leave.
  • Employee retention: When you’re an employee, it’s tough not to feel like you can be replaced if you take a vacation, but on top of the improved job performance, using your vacation time is great for employers, too. People who take regular vacations are less likely to get burned out and leave their jobs.
  • Economics: It can be tough to get yourself to spend money on yourself when you take a vacation, but vacations help boost the overall economy. If you’re smart about your money while you’re away, you can look at your spending as a genuine investment in both your own well-being and the health of the economy.

As you can see, there’s no good reason not to take a vacation, even if it’s just a “staycation” where you enjoy some time off at home. It’s good for everyone, including you, your family, and even your employer. Just don’t forget that being on vacation means being on vacation. Don’t check your work email, and remember that whatever you think you’re missing will still be there when you get back.

Plant branches shaped as a brain - Plant-Based Brain Power

Plant-Based Brain Power

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Good brain health means everything, yet it’s something most people never put much thought into. It’s ironic that your brain controls every task you do, from small to big and from subconscious to conscious, yet it’s probably the one organ we put the least effort into from a nutritional-care standpoint. Luckily, it’s easy to adjust your diet to ensure healthy plant-based brain power.

On top of the fact that many people ignore the nutritional aspects of plant-based brain power, it’s also easy to ignore the signs of poor brain health. If you’ve ever had the feeling of having a fuzzy brain, poor memory (long-term or short-term), and/or difficulty concentrating, there’s a good chance you need to put more effort into your brain health. Sure, stress or lack of sleep can cause these issues, but don’t ignore problems that could be rooted in deeper deficiencies.

When it comes to nutrition that supports brain health, wild-caught fish is one of the most highly recommended food sources because of the healthy fish oils, but if you’re on a plant-based diet, that doesn’t exactly help. Lucky for all of us, there’s no shortage of foods that provide plant-based brain power.

Here are a just a few general plant-based food sources for good brain health:

Fruits: Most fruits are full of healthy antioxidants and other key brain-supporting nutrients, but blueberries are probably at the top of the list. They’re incredibly rich in antioxidants and are a good source of gallic acid which is shown to improve cognitive health. And while most people think of avocado as a vegetable, it’s actually a fruit (technically a single-seed berry) that’s chalk full of healthy fats as well as vitamins and minerals that support brain power (plus good cardiovascular benefits).

Vegetables: Almost all vegetables are good for you and provide much-needed fiber and other key nutrients you need for optimal health, but dark green, leafy vegetables deliver an abundance of crucial vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients for enhanced plant-based brain power.

Nuts and seeds: These can be great for adding variety to your meal planning. While they’re calorically dense and therefore require that you watch out for just how much you eat, nuts provide healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals you need for good cognitive health, plus they’re a good source healthy dietary fiber. Seeds, particularly flaxseed and chia seeds, do the same and are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that are proven to help with brain power among numerous other potent health benefits.

Supplements: For those who struggle to get enough plant-based brain power directly from foods, there are plenty of good supplemental sources of healthy fats as well as vitamins and minerals. Finding time to prepare whole meals throughout the day can be burdensome, too, but plant-based protein bars from RawFusion and the delicious and nutrient-dense RawFusion Complete meal replacement help support every aspect of your health without any of the hassle.

Nutritional planning that supports plant-based brain power can help maintain a lifetime of good mental health and fight the effects of age-related cognitive decline. Food plays a vital role in both your mental and emotional health, so remember to always eat well to be well.

Apples, Tape Measure, Schedule - Plan to Be Healthy

Plan to Be Healthy

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The decision to start living a healthier life takes motivation, willpower, and setting specific goals. Good health doesn’t just happen on its own, so you have to plan to be healthy. It takes a bit of work, but it’s enjoyable, and it’s completely worth the effort.

Many people try to jump right in without setting a plan and end up finding themselves giving up before they really get going. As with anything, to be successful in the long run, you have to make a plan to be healthy, and you have to stick to that plan.

The main reason people tend to fail when making the transition to healthier living isn’t because it’s hard – it really isn’t. Most of the time, the reason boils down to not setting a plan and following through with it.

Meal Planning

Because of the fast-paced lives we all live, healthy meal planning can be harder than setting time aside for physical activity. Once you’ve learned to plan your meals in advance, it eventually becomes a habit, and then it just becomes second nature.

Of course, the first thing you have to do is decide on your goals, as that will dictate many of your choices. You might decide to simply change to healthier, organic food sources, or you might need to plan your meals for increased energy, weight loss, or muscle building. Whatever your goals are, planning ahead is the only way to be successful.

Taking the time to map out your daily meal plan will save you a lot of stress and hassle in the long run, and it can ensure your success. While you can certainly prepare your food the night before, that can eventually become a nuisance, and you can end up feeling like you’re always making meals. Plus, it opens up the chances of slipping to your old ways of eating because you’re feeling tired or lazy.

You’ll find it’s more productive and time-saving to prepare several meals in advance, and most people find it best to prepare a week’s worth of lunches on one day. That way, you can just grab your pre-packed lunch each day and head off to conquer the world without worrying about your diet.

It’s also a great idea to have healthy snacks like RawFusion Bars or RawFusion protein as a backup for those times when you have the munchies or just want a treat but still want to keep it healthy. Plus, they make an easy way to make sure you’re getting enough quality, plant-based protein. Besides, a delicious-yet-healthy smoothie with your favorite fruit or a non-milk shake can make it feel like it’s no struggle at all to eat well.

Exercise Planning

Setting up your exercise plan also depends on your goals. Whether it’s body weight your concerned with (losing fat or increasing muscle), strength, or you simply want to be more active, you have to plan to be healthy and stick to it.

There will always be debate as to when the best time of day to exercise is, there’s really only one proper answer. The best time to exercise is… Whenever you’ll actually do it. Decide if you’re going to exercise first thing in the morning, at lunch, or after school or work, then be sure to stick to that schedule.

Long-term goals are great, but you’ll find more success when working toward short-term goals along the way. That will prevent monotony and boredom and will keep you motivated as you reach each of those short-term goals. Whatever your goals or the type of exercise program you’ll be using, remember to tailor your meal planning to match, and make sure to adjust your calories if you find that your diet starts working against you.

Plan to Be Healthy until It Becomes Habit

As you can see, when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it all comes down to planning – at least until it all becomes habit. Setting goals, both long-term and short-term, will give you the challenge and motivation needed to keep moving forward, and changing things up occasionally will keep things fresh and prevent boredom. Telling family and friends about your plans and goals can be a great way for them to help you stay on track. You might also find people with similar goals who want to work with you. You can do it alone, but you don’t have to.

Reminders:

  • Schedule everything until it becomes habit
  • Set short-term and long-term goals to keep you motivated
  • Avoid monotony by changing your exercise program occasionally
  • Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people for support

Plan to be healthy and celebrate all your success along the way.

Man With Back Pain - Stop Sitting So Much

Stop Sitting So Much!

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We live in a world where people sit too darn much. If you’re in school, you at least have the benefit of getting up and walking to your other classes, but if you have a job that doesn’t involve manual labor, you’re very likely at a desk for far too long every day. If you want to avoid health issues and live a longer life, stop sitting so much!

With around 75% of the workforce working desk jobs, the negative health impacts of constant sitting are becoming more publicized, but it still needs to be emphasized heavily: Sitting for long periods is bad for your health. Below are just a few reasons you need to stop sitting so much.

  • Increased tightness and tension in muscles and joints used to support a fixed position for long periods
  • Numbness and eventual weakness in muscles that are inactive
  • Decreased blood flow and circulation throughout your body
  • Decreased range of motion in hips
  • Back and neck pain
  • Poor posture
  • Higher risk for disease
  • Regular exercise doesn’t offset prolonged periods of sitting
  • Weight gain due to reduced circulation of lipase, the enzyme that breaks down and mobilizes fat
  • Decreased life expectancy when sitting for 6 hours or more per day compared to those who sit less than 3 hours per day

If you have a desk job or tend to sit for extended periods, how can you avoid all the potential issues listed above? It’s simple: Just stop sitting so much.

Even if you have a full-time office job, it really is that simple. You can stop sitting so much by making some simple changes throughout your day as listed below.

Standing desk: If your employer allows it, request an adjustable standing desk or at least a standing workstation. Even a mobile workstation will work wonders, and the same goes for a home office or study room – if all else fails, get creative and create a makeshift standing workstation by stacking books or boxes if needed.

Since you’ll still find yourself in a fixed position, it’s not good to simply stand all day either, so vary between your seated and standing workstations throughout the day.

Park further away: This doesn’t necessarily help throughout the day, but it’s a healthy choice regardless. Park at the far end of the lot to give yourself a little extra movement at the beginning and end of your day, and this can help you avoid door dings in the process.

Walk: If you live close enough to work that you can walk or ride a bike a few days a week, great! Regardless, make sure to get up throughout the day for bathroom breaks or to get coffee, water, or a protein drink. For water and coffee, use a smaller cup to force yourself up more often. Walk over to pick things up from the printer, or just get up and take a one-minute walk through the hallways for no reason at all. As foreign as it may seem in today’s world of tech, you can even walk to a coworker’s desk rather than sending an email or instant message.

Take the stairs: Whether it’s at work, school, or while you’re out shopping on the weekend, make the healthy choice and take the stairs rather than an escalator or elevator whenever possible. Engage all those muscles and joints that are otherwise neglected through the week.

Keep things out of reach: Sure, it’s convenient to keep your stapler and other office supplies right next to you, but do yourself a huge favor and move everything just out of arm’s reach. That will force you to get up and walk across your office or cubicle. While it might take a few extra seconds now, it could be well worth it if it adds more time to your life.

Move: Just get up and move! Set a timer or use a desktop app to remind you to get up every 30-45 minutes. Take a short walk, stretch, squat, jump, lunge… Whatever you like. Take a couple minutes to stretch and move, and you’ll not only be healthier and potentially live longer, you’ll also find that you’ll become more productive and focused on your work from the increased blood flow.

You may feel that you need to stay seated 100% of the time while you’re working to get through your long list of responsibilities and projects, but adding some variation into the mix by alternating between sitting and standing can work wonders for your productivity, health, and posture. Whether sitting or standing, do everything you can to ensure you have the most ergonomic workstation possible, but always make it a point to get up and move at least once or twice per hour regardless.

Getting up to move and stretch a couple times per hour or taking a short walk around the office will ensure you stop sitting so much. You’ll engage your calf muscles (as well as hips and other leg muscles) to increase circulation and help avoid long-term issues that can result in pain, immobility, or numbness. Try it for a week and notice how much better you feel, then make it part of your work day every day.