Exciting news! I've been chosen as the North American Finalist for the Weleda Global Gardentrotter contest!
I've conquered round one, and round two is about to happen in a few weeks in Germany. In Germany, the 16 finalists will take video, photography and artistry workshops to learn and then show off our skills. The best is yet to come and at the end of the week we'll discover who will be the chosen one as the Weleda Global Gardentrotter to blog, photograph and unite with nature!
Wish me luck!
Hope you are having a lovely summer. I have applied for the Weleda Global Garden Contest and hoping you can take a moment to vote for me? Weleda is a holistic German product line and is looking for a blogger and creative artist to explore their meadows, gardens and farms located around the world. As someone who lives by the motto, "a lifestyle inspired by nature" and created The Lemon Tree, nature, travel and interconnectedness between man, earth and cultures is not only important to me, it is my lifestyle.
Nature is what peaks my curiosity and inspires my creativity. I believe the birds, flowers and everything created is a messenger and a reflection to our inner and outer world.
I need to make it into the top 6 for the USA, and from there Weleda chooses one of us to go to Germany this fall to compete to become the "chosen one." Voting ends 9/10 and the winner of each country will be announced on 9/12/17. The vote is official once you click on the confirmation link in your email inbox. Weleda does not store emails.
Click here to vote today or follow this direct link: https://www.weledaglobalgarden.com/usa/candidate/2594
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Mainstream diets and trends like to persuade people that their method of eating is the one and only way to optimal health, wellbeing and weightloss. The reality is that there is no one method to eating and our nutritional needs change seasonally.
Life is in constant change and in-motion every second of the day. So how could there be only one method of eating for your entire life? The word diet in Greek, diata, and translates to “a way of living” or “mode of life,” which simply means lifestyle.
There is a reason and a season for everything, which is why nature harvests certain foods at different times of the year. As nature transitions, so do our nutritional needs.
As a health coach and trainer, most clients succeed when free from strict diet rules and guidelines. If you live by any guidelines, these six diet and lifestyle tips help you stay healthy every season. These tips help you break away from the rules and regulations of bogus diets and guide you on how to apply these tips to every season.
EAT SUPER FRUITS
Every season nature blossoms super fruits. From citrus fruits in the winter to pineapple in the late spring / early summer, nature provides nutrient-dense fruits that are “important” to the human body in that particular season. It’s why nature provides cooling water-based melons in the summer and fibrous fruits such as kiwis and cranberries in the winter. Although fruits are available year round, go beyond the banana and apple with seasonal fare.
Dietary fiber provides bulk against the colon muscles to expel waste. There are two kinds of fiber and it is important to eat a variety of soluble and insoluble fiber. It is also important to eat a variety of cooked and raw food vegetables. Vegetables, like fruit, is where we get our nutrients from and one of the best ways to do that is to eat raw vegetables. Sometimes munching on plain, raw carrots isn’t for everyone so a salad, topped with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some salt, is more palatable and an excellent way to consume a variety of raw foods.
AIM FOR BALANCE
Not every meal will be perfect, but for the majority of meals, aim to balance carbohydrates, fat and protein. For example, a falafel sandwich or vegetarian pho are perfect examples of meals that balance the macronutrients, which also includes fresh vegetables.
Mindful eating experts believe in eating via the senses. Visually, what you see on your plate is what you’ll consume. Eating half of a large pizza is “easy” because most of the ingredients are processed and stripped of their nutrients, which does not fill up the body. It’s why we need to eat more of it in order to feel satiated. Bulk up on fiber such as adding more vegetables to pasta or eating a salad prior to consuming the pizza.
Sweet foods are a part of life. The ancients once ate fruit as desserts and today sugar is the drug of choice for most people. It is natural to crave sweet food, but many Americans cope their emotions through binge eating sugar. Eating sugar becomes a habit, but most fail to listen to their inner wisdom to see what they REALLY want to eat. Are you eating boatloads of sugar to cope for your stress, anxiety or displeasure in life? It’s important to discover emotional triggers to see why, when and how you reach out to comforting foods.
GREEN IS GOOD
Every season nature harvests dark leafy green vegetables. From kale in the winter to spinach in the spring, dark leafy greens are an essential food birthed from Mother Nature. Low in calories and high in nutrients, dark leafy greens are great for weight management, rich in electrolyte nutrients and are a valuable food for people susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. Skip the dairy and eat dark leafy greens (ahem, salads aka "kill two birds with one stone") as an ideal source of calcium and iron.
Gratitude is one of life's most basic principles. Sadly, the word has been overused becoming as buzzy as an annoying wasp. Pretentious yoga instructors and shirtless "spiritual gurus," with mala beads dangling around their neck overuse the word gratitude.
When anything has been overused it becomes trendy, mainstream and loses it value. And when that happens, I stop using that word.
But, I am very thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to attend blogfest, especially at this point in my life, a time of resurrecting the authenticity in me.
Years ago, I knew who I was, but either had a hard time showing it or showing my true, authentic self because it doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of the crowd.
I am not, and will never be, some crossfit zealot who can perform 50 box jumps and 20 one-armed pushups in 30 seconds, or a person who will motivate the crowd as a female version of Todd Durkin.
It's not me. It's not who I am. So why do it? If I tried to replicate Durkin, it would be as noticeably fake as fake news.
You don't have to be a badass to be a good fitness instructor or an influential personal trainer. You can be strong, even with a delicate, feminine frame. I believe in developing myself internally, creating a rockhard spirit and mindset that cannot be swayed by others.
On a physiological level, I may tire quicker than these people but I am good and expert at other things, like performing a headstand or actually focusing on something else besides the physical. Because I love yoga, I automatically get type-casted into the woo-woo crowd, but ironically most of my career has been spent in the logical realm, helping the everyday health seeker. I was born and raised as an athlete. The competitive gene still exists within me, which gets ignited every time I enter the tennis court. But even in the realm of yoga, there is an artificial sugar-coating that tops the true, authentic teachings.
I am rooted enough in my identity that I can get inspired while balancing thoughts in my head without automatically coming to a conclusion. And that is what blogfest taught me.
When approaching certain brands and booths, in the matter of 10 seconds, I noticed whether or not trying to partner with someone would be a right fit. Ironically, I've heard similar stats to someone who visits a website or a manager looking at a resume - they somehow know something internally (aka intuition).
One major takeaway from Blogfest is the need to stay authentic and to be different. Or at least that's what I got from Todd Durkin's key note address. His speeches are very motivational. He has an energy that can skyrocket to Mars fueled by one protein bar.
I sometimes think of myself as a quirky spiritual individual. I'm more neutral now than I have ever been in my life.
Because as a coach, trainer and a leader, balancing logic and spirit and staying neutral is what can get people to meet their goals. For example, I don't eat meat, but most of clients eat meat. It is not my right or my job to dictate an ideology. Now I can encourage one to eat more vegetables or try to eat one veggie-based meal per day, but being a dictator or enslaving people into "a must do" is not my jam. That in itself is being different. Divorcing from your own ideology to help others is a must so that people can learn, grow and heal.
How would this person grow with a coach shoving veganism down their throat? They'd probably run to the hills and find the first cow they could milk.
People, whether they realize it or not, love to be enslaved. They want people to TELL THEM how to live rather than making that decision for themselves. Most people yearn to be free, but subconsciously hold themselves back. Enslavement is rooted into our DNA.
Being authentic requires one to stay grounded and to have a clear, focused mind. It's about growing thy roots so deep into the ground that when one sees the herd flocking in one direction, the mind remains strong and intact. There are too many people in this world pretending to be someone they're not.
It is in my core to remain authentic and continue to spread the light at a time when darkness is on the rise. I've ascended beyond the physical, there are plenty of trainers for that, and now it is that time to battle for the mind, spirit and natural world.
I'll end with the biggest lesson from the conference. "Don't be afraid to hit the publish button." I've been afraid to push that button for a long time out of a fear of judgement.
Thank you for reading and following my journey. Stay posted as I reveal a special message from the sparrows in Seville, Spain.
Hello Fitness Friends,
I am excited to announce that I will be attending the 2017 IDEA Fitness World Convention Blog Fest.
Will I see you there?
I am entering my tenth year of working in the fitness industry and though there have been many changes, I am excited to continue my writing adventures at this conference. Whether you're a fellow fitness professional, marketing professional, product developer or health educator, I'd like to meet you, even if its a brief introduction.
I have written and represented, and written for, various brands in the past - the American Council on Exercise, BOSU, Precor - and more! Click here to discover more about me and my portfolio. I look forward to meeting you.
In Good Health,
Smoothie season is almost here. Summer is the season where we crave smoothies more often due to its cooling and easy-to-digest effect.
As a personal trainer and health coach, I’ve seen how the smoothie industry corrupted the mixed fruit beverage. With it’s clever marketing tactics and special “fat boosting” tablets, the public has been misinformed about smoothies. Today, smoothies are trendy and “cool” thanks to its odd flavor combinations. Move away basic banana, strawberry and whey; chickpeas, oats and chia seeds are the new protein boosters in town.
What are some of the problems with smoothies sold today? They contain mystery ingredients, sold in super-sized cups, and can spike blood sugar thanks to its higher sugar content. This blog guides you to what you need to know about smoothie ingredients, portion sizes, fruit used and liquids used.
Portion Sizes: Should smoothies be a meal replacement?
Smoothies are healthy, until they become the next super-size me meal for hipsters and surfers. It is common for smoothie shops to sell 16, 24, 32 and even 44-ounce smoothies that contain the same amount of calories as a traditional meal, or even a fast food meal! Many people have good intentions, but fail to realize that gigantic smoothies will probably cause you to eat more calories during the day.
In my opinion, smoothies should not replace a meal and should contain ingredients that you can eat from its whole food state.
First we have to under the role of digestion. Any food broken down from its whole food state is “predigested food.” This means the digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the food because it’s already broken down. This goes for anything that is chopped, pureed, blended and cooked.
Some companies mask bigger portion sizes with ice cubes, but generally, the bigger the smoothie the more ingredients. So in order to fill you up, specifically long term, you need to consume more of it. Like a pureed soup (think of a creamy tomato or cream of asparagus), if you eat a bowl, most like you’ll still be hungry. Smoothies are satiating on a short-term basis. So if you consume 700 calories with 70 grams of sugar (from milk/juice and fruit) it’s too much sugar (even though its natural) on the system, especially if you order the smoothie with solid food.
Gulping down 24 and 32 ounce smoothies are too much on the system in one setting. Some companies sell 44 ounces!
You need to ask yourself, “Can I consume the smoothie ingredients in its whole food state in one meal?” Most likely, it will be a no. I recommend 8-12 ounce smoothies because it serves its nutritional value.
For those who are on the go and eat a smoothie as a meal replacement, choose a smoothie with some protein in it to satiate the body until you can eat again.
Food corruption is one of the biggest battles in today’s society. Unless you cook for yourself using whole foods, it is impossible to know what is in your food.
Frozen foods like ice cream contain emulsifiers, which makes it melt perfectly. The science of smoothies contains mystery ingredients either for texture, taste or “nutritional value.”
The above nutrition labels are from the Pacific Northwest chain, Emerald City smoothie. Although the labels say “whey protein,” what exactly is in the protein powder? Many protein powders contain artificial sweeteners, flavors and preservatives. Look at the nutty banana nutritional label. What exactly is flavor? Is it artificial flavor? Sugary syrup? What is it?
Store bought smoothies like NAKED and Bolt are no better. The question that no consumer asks is, “how does the strawberry smoothie stay so pink?” If you’ve ever cut your own fruit, or juiced at home, the fruit / juice browns within 30 minutes. If its too pink, there must be a mystery ingredient to keep its shelf life. Plus, any "protein powder" smoothie doesn't really stay as smooth and thin when sitting on the shelf for a while at home compared to mainstream "vanilla chai smoothie" bottles.
Have you ever tasted an avocado smoothie from a store but when you got home and made it yourself it tasted bland? It’s because these companies use stevia or a sweetener/syrup to make it palatable.
Smoothies are one food made “bad.” And it is best to control what goes into the blender by making it yourself. Many companies are owned, operated and corrupted by behemoths like Pepsi Co. & Kellogg's.
Using Juice as the Liquid Base – A Smoothie No No
Juice, like mentioned above, is the broken down, liquid remains from the fruit or vegetable’s whole food state. The body easily digests and absorbs juice. And since a smoothie is easy to digest, the body ingests too much sugar in on sitting, even though it originates from fruit. When that much sugar hits the system, the body cannot tell the difference between a soda pop or an orange-mango smoothie. To get one cup of orange juice, it is possible to juice up to four oranges. Can you eat four oranges in one meal?
Plus, since a smoothie is a liquid, there is not much saliva produced, which contains enzymes to break down the food.
I recommend using an unsweetened plant-based milk as the liquid base. If you use a fruit juice base, make sure the portion size stays under 12 ounces. Every now and then using fruit juice is okay, but long-term juice consumption has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes. I recommend squeezing your own juice, if possible.
It is better to eat the fruit in its natural state or use milk (preferably plant-based) as the base. Another alternative is to use water.
Tips for Making Smoothies
-Keep portion sizes "normal" meaning 8-12 ounces
-Recommend plant-based milk or water as the liquid base
-Use Enough Ingredients that you think you can actually eat from the whole food state
-For thicker smoothies, freeze fresh fruit and then use it in a blender
-Consume the smoothie and once you obtain your next hunger pang, incorporate solid foods
Mind Body Soul Food Smoothie Recipe Examples
Vegan Tropical Peach Smoothie
Banana Spinach Smoothie
Vegan Caramel Apple Smoothie
Vegan Tropical Peach Smoothie
Dairy-Free Cherry Berry Vanilla Smoothie
About the Author
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is an award-winning plant-based fitness trainer and health coach. She is a Master Trainer presenter for BOSU & the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Kovar is also an ACE Subject Matter Expert in Fitness Nutrition. Elizabeth has studied yoga in 7 different countries and is author of Finding Om: An Indian Journey of Rickshaws, Chai, Chapattis and Gurus. Kovar is the first Stuart R. Givens Fellowship co-recipient, 2014 Shape.com's "Top 50 Hottest Trainers in America" and "PFP Media Personal Trainer of the Month - November 2016."
The pilates ball is an effective training tool because it promotes core stabilization by adding resistance, which forces exercisers to activate their pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, the ball acts as an unstable surface, which promotes deeper core stabilization.
The following exercises require activating, or “hollowing out,” the pelvic floor. The feeling is similar to a Kegel exercise or stopping the flow of urine. When lying down, draw the pelvic muscles up and the navel inward toward the spine. Maintain this position while breathing. The exercises can be added into any fitness routine or performed in sequential order. It is best to perform the exercises at a slower pace, which challenges the deep layers of the core. When performed correctly, six to eight repetitions in total or on each side is sufficient.
Read the rest of the blog at acefitness.org
Are you looking to improve your clients’ fitness routines? If you want to create new and innovative exercises, it’s time to get back to the basics. Many trainers constantly seek the “next best exercise” or rely on new equipment to challenge their client’s routine. Although this is O.K., the reality is that many personal trainers and small business-training studios do not have the budget or the space for new equipment.
Read the rest of the article on the American Council on Exercise's Fitness Expert Blog.
Original article published April 5, 2017 on ace fitness.org
Guest Blogger: Sally Writes
Seniors represent 14.5% of the US population according to the Census Bureau. This means that the number of elderly people, 65 years or older stands at 46.5 million based on the 2014 statistics. Aging has many repercussions including declining mental and physical functioning. Good health, therefore, is key in coping with the effects of getting old with exercise or physical activity an essential part of lifestyles. However, for seniors who have not been exercising before retirement, this can become a difficult task or a daunting prospect.
Luckily, there are several ways seniors can ease into physical activity. One is to hire a fitness trainer to help seniors exercise safely if clearance has been granted by a physician. Trainers can also design and monitor a fitness program for the elderly. With the right exercises, seniors can benefit from cardiovascular fitness, improved muscle strength and healthier bones & joints. Risks of dying from certain diseases such as heart attack and cancer are also reduced. In addition, physical activity lessens feelings of depression & anxiety and helps improve moods & emotional well-being. Additional tips on how the elderly can improve their health are explained in this article.
Every solstice and equinox Mind Body Soul Food offers free distance Reiki to anyone who wants more light, love and energy in their life or for a particular situation.
The world is shifting and this tumultuous energy will be here for a while. It's time to bring more light and love to your inner world so you can grow, expand and positively effect humanity.
Many people still need to heal personal wounds and spring represents a re-birth, an awakening of energy as nature and humans transition from hibernation to revival.
If you would like Reiki sent to you (or to a humanity problem) please fill out the form below by Sunday March 19th. Please state your full name, location (this helps direct the energy to the right "Susan Smith" & no more than 5 sentences about your situation or what you Reiki for in your life.
Since this energy is about revival, I will Reiki specific humanity issues including Yazidi women who are sold into sex slavery for ISIS, European/global terrorism/crimes against women in Europe & planetary issues including the rhinos who recently were attacked in Paris zoo for their horns.
Please fill out this form by Sunday March 19th.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com