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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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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Eating Healthy on a Budget

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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “eating healthy is expensive” I would have been a millionaire by now.  But I’m not, I’m a post-grad student trying to show you that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. The truth is, the things that are costing you the most money are more than likely the items that are most unhealthy for you like chips, cookies, or frozen dinners. Down below I’ve included my top 6 tips for eating healthy on a budget. These are things I do every time I go grocery shopping that have helped me to lower my food expenses and waste.

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Recipe: Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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A few weeks back I created a poll on my Instagram (@lifeatthemesa) asking you guys if you would be interested in my tofu ricotta stuffed shells and the vast majority of you said yes and it is finally here! It took some extra time but after making a few additional tweaks this recipe is perfection. I once made this for my mom without telling her what the shells were stuffed with and she didn’t even detect it. For those of you who voted no for the recipe, I highly encourage you to abandon the assumption of tofu being bland and give this recipe a go. I promise you will not be disappointed.  Now, without further ado here is my pesto tofu ricotta recipe.

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The Facts on Fat

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Importance of Fat

Fat- the macronutrient we all love to hate. If you find yourself nitpicking at any flap of extra skin you should know that fat serves an important function in the body and each of us need it. Fat makes up the inner lining of our skin and hair and helps the body to absorb vitamins A, K, E, and D. In addition, fat helps to provide protection to our organs and leaves us feeling full and satisfied when included in a meal. Fat can come from both plants and animals but if you can guess, some are more beneficial than others. Although all sources of fat contribute the same 9 calories per gram, the unsaturated types of fat have been linked to certain health benefits, while saturated and trans fats have been linked to heart disease. When choosing fats, save yourself the heartache and opt for the unsaturated types in moderation. Down below are the sources of fats to limit and fats to include.

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Let’s Talk Carbs

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To kick-start our discussion on all things relating to diet and health, I think it’s important to start with the macronutrient that has somehow earned itself a negative reputation carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have been given a bad name for their attribution to weight gain and metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.  However, labeling an entire food group as “bad” or “harmful” is unfair because not all carbs are made the same.  Before you jump on the no/ low carb diet bandwagon it is important to understand the difference between the various sources of carbs and what the right choice can do for your body. Without further ado, let’s talk carbs.

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Revisiting Your New Year’s Resolutions

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We are officially two weeks into January which means those of us who made new year’s resolutions are two weeks closer to achieving our goals.  However, for many this is the point in which the momentum to change may have faded.  If you have abandoned your new year’s resolutions or just feel less motivated, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Many of the goals we set for ourselves in the new year tend to be far-fetched and unrealistic.  To be more specific I mean that maybe your goal to eat seven vegetables a day and drink eight glasses of water was too drastic of a jump from the lifestyle you led last year. In order to make a lasting change especially in terms of your lifestyle, it is important to make your goals specificrealistic, measurable, and achievable.  With that being said below I have listed my 10 tips to help you achieve your new year’s resolutions. Best of luck ♥

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