My Thoughts on the Instant Pot & Oil-Free “Refried” Beans

Back in May, I received an Instant Pot Ultra for my birthday and was so excited to work with it! I posted a picture on my Instagram story when I first got it alluding to future recipes using it but then I didn’t talk about it. I decided to avoid posting recipes utilizing it on the blog because I didn’t want to exclude people who do not have an Instant Pot. While I realize that the Instant Pot is a convenience gadget,  I wanted to mention it now because after using it consistently for the past 3 months I can say it has helped me stay on track of making healthy meals at home. As always, I want to be as transparent as possible on this blog to talk about things relating to health, wellness, and living a fulfilling life and today that means talking about a product that has made my life so much easier. Instead of going through every single thing I have made using the Instant Pot thus far, I’ll highlight the pros and cons from my experience so you can decide if it would be a helpful product to keep you on track of your health and/or fitness goals.

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My Go-To Groceries

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If you’ve recently decided to change the way you fuel your body then I’m sure  you’ve already asked yourself, “what should I buy when I go to the grocery store?” The truth is, your first trip to the grocery store following your decision to change your lifestyle may be a little bit intimidating because of the abundance of product choices. There are hundreds of thousands of products that use the word “natural” which may confuse you as to whether or not it is a good choice. The true nutritional value of any product can be discovered by familiarizing yourself with the nutrition label (to learn more about how to read the nutrition label, click here).

Now, for those of you who are still a little bit stumped as to what you should add to your grocery list, don’t worry because I’ve got you covered. Today I’ll be sharing with you an example of what a typical trip to the grocery store looks like for me. I’ll share some of my favorite things to keep in stock and explain why they are a great choice to help keep you full and satisfied.


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Self-Care Practices

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Hi guys!

So in my last post, I decided to get really personal and share my experience with stress. I wanted to share with you, not just the things I know about health but also my own struggles that have impacted my health. Today I want to share with you some of the things I do to take care of myself to avoid feeling defeated when presented with a stressful situation.  The best way to manage stress is to prevent it from happening altogether, and the best way to prevent feeling overwhelmed is to take care of yourself by listening to your body. Being able to listen to your body is one of the most important life skills to master because it can make the biggest difference in how you react when presented with a stressful situation. The feeling of being overwhelmed that is often associated with stress is a result of feeling like we don’t have control over the situation. However, the one thing to keep in mind that will help prevent stress from setting in is to take charge of the things that you do have control over such as your self-care habits. By incorporating some of these self-care practices into your life, you can help to keep your physical, mental, and emotional health in check to keep your life as stress-free as possible.

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My Experience with Stress

One of the things that I want Life at the Mesa to offer is a completely transparent outlook on the things that matter to you and your health. From topics on nutrition to those that pertain to mental health, I want to talk about the reality of what can influence your health, happiness, and well-being. With that being said, today I wanted to share my experience with stress as a college student and some insight on the things I have learned. Stress can be defined as a physiological and psychological response to a perceived threat. The key word to pay close attention to is the word perceived. Perception is a key factor to stress because each of us has a different outlook on life and the things that make us stress out.  For that reason, I wanted to share with you a recent picture I found on my laptop that embodies my perception of stress before I understood how to cope with it.

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How to Make a Healthy Choice

 

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Understanding how to read a nutrition label is key to understanding how to make an informed decision about what is a healthy product and what is not. This post will be expanding on my previous post, Decoding the Nutrition Label.  Today, I’ll be breaking down what makes a product healthy or unhealthy.

A healthy choice should be one that has protective factors against chronic diseases like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whereas a not-so-healthy choice will include a greater amount of saturated and trans fats along with added sugars, and salt.

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Decoding the Nutrition Label

 

Within the realm of nutrition and health, there are so many products that claim to be “healthy”. How can you really tell whether or not a product is actually good for you? The answer lies on the box of the product in the format of what is known as the nutrition label. Every item that is sold for consumer consumption is required by law to highlight the nutrient breakdown. In other words, the nutrition label breaks down in detail the amounts of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) within the product. The best way to take charge of your health is to familiarize yourself with reading and understanding the nutrition label. With that being said,  today I’ll be breaking down the information you need to be aware of and what exactly each area means.

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Recipe: Green Smoothies

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One of the most popular “health” foods are green smoothies. While they may be convenient and quick when on the go, not all green smoothies are all that healthy. In fact, many green smoothies are loaded with sugar to compensate for the added vegetables. Although fruits are a healthy choice, they are naturally high in sugar so just like any other sweets, they should be eaten in moderation. Fruits are usually better as a snack in between meals when paired along with a source of fat and protein. When too much fruit is added to a smoothie, it can spike blood sugar levels which will ultimately make you crash. For that reason, I have created two smoothie options that contain both protein and fat to help counter-balance that blood sugar spike. Whether you like fruity smoothies or creamy smoothies, I’m sure that you will find one of two of these recipes will help to satisfy your craving. Both of these recipes contain spinach which is high in vitamins A, C, K, and the mineral folate. These smoothies are very filling and are best suited for a meal replacement.


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Recipe: Panko Crusted Cauliflower

 

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Hi guys! So I know it’s been awhile since my last blog post, but thank you for being so patient with me. Today I’ll be sharing with you one of my pride and joys and that is my recipe for panko-crusted cauliflower. Growing up, my mom used to make panko crusted chicken and I was obsessed. But as I got older and became more health conscientious I realized her pan-frying method maybe wasn’t the healthiest approach. But because I loved my mom’s recipe so much I was determined to find a healthier alternative that was as equally delicious. That’s when this recipe was born. This is one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare cauliflower because it is filing and so satisfying. The crunch from the panko makes all the difference and it is truly one to try out. These are amazing tossed in just about any sauce you can imagine and are a lighter option for chicken strips and/or nuggets. The flavor combinations are endless and you can use them to top a salad, add to a wrap, or just eat as finger food. Before we get into the recipe, here’s a little background on the star of the show-cauliflower.

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Health Conscientious or Health Obsessive

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Up to this point, I have given insight into the various source of macronutrients, tips on eating healthy, and provided a recipe idea to help inspire you to live a healthier lifestyle. However, before I go any further I wanted to talk about the fine line that exists between being health conscientious and health obsessive. Someone who is health conscientious realizes the true value of their health and understands that there are certain things their body needs to flourish. With that being said, people who are health conscientious also understand the importance of balance and self-love. Whereas someone who is health obsessive does not and instead demonstrates destructive behaviors all for the sake of perfection. The key to living a healthy lifestyle is not about perfection but rather intention. Every single day you are presented with the opportunity to make choices that will either push you toward or away from your goals but it is all up to you. Down below I have included some behaviors that will help you to determine where you lie on the spectrum of health conscientious or health obsessive.

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Simple Snack Solutions

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Snacking in between meals is extremely important to help maintain a steady flow of energy and to help boost your metabolism. If our blood sugar levels drop too low, we may feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed which in turn will cause our bodies to slow our metabolism.  By having “smart snacks” on hand, you can help to boost your dwindling energy levels throughout the day. “Smart snacks” are those that combine a serving of carbs, fat, and protein to help steady our energy levels. Carbohydrates like fruits, veggies, and granola provide the body with a burst of energy. Meanwhile, protein and fat sources like eggs, peanut butter, and hummus help to curb and keep hunger at bay. Down below I’ve included further detail on why these snack options are worth trying out.

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