Anxiety: Our Story and Tips for Managing It

Anxiety: Our Story and Tips for Managing It

What is Anxiety?

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is characterized as “feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.”

What Triggers Anxiety?

Many psychologists believe that anxiety is triggered by any feelings of uncertainty, worry, or fear. But in everyday life, the more distinguishable triggers can be socializing, sudden lifestyle changes, alcohol/drugs, excessive caffeine consumption, and stress (to name a few.) However, everyone is different and their anxiety attacks can be caused by other unorthodox components in their lives.

Our Experience with Anxiety:

Just like many of you anxiety is something that isn’t new to us. Especially during the last year and a half both our anxiety levels have been through the roof and there were times when we thought it would never get better. Fortunately we’re now both at a place where we can happily say that we’ve learned to better control our attacks when they do appear through these methods we’re about to share with you all.

Remi’s Anxiety:

Stems from:

  • Lack of control
  • Anything that deviates from the regular routine / schedule (ie. travelling, spontaneous plans)
  • Alcohol (ever heard of #hangxiety? It’s a real thing!)
  • Overthinking about the future

How it feels / What happens:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest tightness
  • Insomnia

Things that have helped:

  • No caffeine (especially on the day after consuming alcohol)
  • Having a simple morning and night routine that I can do anywhere (ie. stretches, meditating, tea before bed) even when travelling to stay in routine
  • Social Media detox to be more present
  • CBD oil
  • Wim Hof breathing exercises
  • Meditation using Headspace
  • Journaling: writing down your thoughts to get them off your chest

Bryn’s Anxiety:

Stems from:

  • Other’s opinions
  • Concern over the feelings of family / friends
  • My actions and how they affect others
  • Feelings of never doing enough
  • Pressures of existential life crisis such as dating, my job, life’s purpose, the overall future

How it feels / What happens:

  • Restlessness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Impulsive actions
  • loss of breath

Things that have helped:

  • Therapy: Learning to identify these thoughts and organize them as not worthy of processing
  • Hot yoga, my favorite form of exercise that forces me to slow down my thoughts and tune into my body
  • Scheduling me-time to make sure my needs are met before catering to others
  • Solo morning walks without going on my phone

Takeaway:

Anxiety is different for everyone but if there’s one thing that we can both agree on that has helped us is being more present. We live in a world where we’re constantly distracted by our phones / screens, planning the next big vacation, or overthinking about all the things that could go wrong so much that we forget to appreciate the present moment. Did you know your brain can’t tell the difference between when you’re thinking about a traumatic event vs. actually experiencing it? So why put your brain through a trauma that hasn’t even happened yet! Rather than stressing over things that have already happened in the past, or things that haven’t happened in the future, try to appreciate the present moment. The next time you start to feel overwhelmed, just take a nice deep breath, feel the ground beneath you, and just remember all there is to be grateful for in that specific moment. Life is a beautiful thing and shouldn’t be spent stressed and anxious all the time!

We hope this month’s blog post was helpful to anyone who may be going through a tough time. Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram if you tried any of these tips, or if you have your own tips that you’d like to share. See you all back next month for more tips and tricks to improve your health and become your best self. <3

Eating Out Without Stressing Out

Eating Out Without Stressing Out

With restaurants closed for dine-in during the pandemic, many people have learned just how much healthier and cheaper it can be to cook your meals at home. Admittedly, sometimes food just tastes better at a restaurant and eating out is such a fun social experience that we’ve all missed. As restaurants are starting to open for dine-in again, we wanted to share our tips on how you can get the best of both worlds by staying on top of your health goals and still enjoy meals out. When we both struggled with our eating disorders, eating out was a topic that brought upon anxiety and stress. If you’ve dealt with a similar insecurity of overindulging and ruining your “diet” from eating out with friends, we’ve got you covered. Like everything in life, moderation and balance are quintessential to truly appreciating something. Here are our tips on how you can still dine out at restaurants without the guilt.

PLAN AHEAD! Find out what restaurant you’re going to eat at and look at the menu beforehand to choose what you want to order and plan in advance.

  • If you know you’re eating out later and and that the food won’t be very healthy, try to eat something lighter and full of nutrients for breakfast or lunch to balance your day. 
    • ie. If you want to order pasta, maybe eat a lunch that is light in carbs and high in protein. If you’re going to order a steak, maybe opt for a plant based protein source for lunch. 
  • Having a few drinks at dinner? That is totally fine! Make sure to hydrate during the day beforehand and eat foods full of nutrients that will help your body metabolize the alcohol faster, reducing your hangover the next day. 
    • Foods high in protein, fiber, and vitamins. Ie. oats, salmon, eggs, dark leafy greens will help your body metabolize alcohol faster.
    • Add lemon juice to your water which helps to protect your liver and detox your body. 

TIPS FOR ORDERING AT A RESTAURANT: Always look for an option with veggies! 

  • Try to order something that has some type of vegetable incorporated. One of our favorite tips at any noodle soup restaurants (ramen, pho, etc.) is to order the vegetarian option but sub veggie broth for beef / chicken broth. You can still get the delicious flavor of the broth while still getting all your veggies in. Also, beef / chicken / pork bone broth has tons of vitamins and collagen. 
  • If your group is okay with it, try family style! Offer to split multiple dishes with the person / people you’re dining with so you can order a vegetable dish and get to try more entrees. 
  • None of the entrees look appealing to you? Check out the side dishes / appetizers! You can typically make a meal out of the sides / appetizers which usually have smaller portions, are more inclined to incorporate vegetables, and cost less than an entrée. 
  • Save your leftovers and add more vegetables when you eat them the next day: 
    • Ie. adding spinach to noodle soups, adding more vegetables to pasta or rice dishes, or just eating it with a side salad at home to boost the nutritional content and volume. 

Treat eating out as a special occasion by not doing it too often during the week. We like to view eating out as a nice weekend treat. Weekdays are typically for cooking and eating healthy while weekends are for enjoying new restaurants with friends. Stick to your diet on the weekdays so you can enjoy your weekends eating out guilt-free! 

Give your body a digestive break after eating a large dinner by skipping breakfast the next day. We recommend at least a 12 hour break between the last meal of the day and first meal the following day to reset your digestion. 

It’s easy to overeat when eating out (anyone else love all you can eat kbbq?) but listen to your body! Eat slow, enjoy the food, and stop eating when you’re satisfied. No one likes being stuffed to the point where they can’t breathe. Remember, you can always take home leftovers to eat the next day! 

Don’t beat yourself up for having a couple unhealthy meals a couple times a week! You won’t ruin your progress after straying from your diet once in a while. Even fitness professionals cheat every so often for their sanity. It’s all about balance!

Our goal has always been to make living a healthier lifestyle easier to understand and execute. As we all know, food is one of life’s greatest gifts to us so we hope this month’s newsletter brings you more sense of calm and control. You have the power to choose what you eat and how you eat it — food does NOT own you! Happy eating, everyone!

Healthy Holiday Feastivities

Healthy Holiday Feastivities

The holiday season is a very special time filled with family, friends, and an abundance of food, but it also has the potential to negatively impact your health goals. We sometimes tend to use Thanksgiving day as an excuse to eat as much and as unhealthy as we possibly can, resulting in feeling sluggish for days after and sometimes knocking us off our health game until the new year. We’re here to show you that it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still enjoy the holiday festivities and your favorite foods by being cognizant of how you spend this day as well as what you’re eating to avoid feeling lethargic. Below are some of our tips on how you can balance a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying yourself during this time that only happens once a year. You deserve to enjoy your most beloved foods free of stress and without wreaking havoc on your body. 

Thanksgiving Day Game Plan:

  1. Get your workout done in the morning, before the madness begins. We suggest doing at least 30 minutes of activity to get your blood pumping. As a result, you’ll feel rejuvenated and inspired to make better eating decisions throughout the rest of the day. 
  2. If you know you’re going to eat a very heavy dinner, try to eat something lighter and nutritious for breakfast / lunch. Opt for a smoothie loaded with greens, fruits, and superfoods or a salad full of leafy greens that are full of fiber to help you digest all the heavier food you will be eating later on. Try not to starve yourself before the big feast or you’ll find yourself making unconscious eating choices out of hunger.  
  3. Find out the menu beforehand to ensure there are healthier options present, especially vegetables. If not, offer to bring your own healthy dish. You can guarantee someone at the event will appreciate you bringing a lighter option to balance out the heavier items on the table. If you are bringing a dessert, opt for something that is refined-sugar free. (See recipes below.) 
  4. Reach for a glass of red wine instead of a sugary cocktail. 
  5. After dinner, go on a walk outside with your family / friends. Not only will walking help you digest everything you consumed, but it is also a great bonding experience. 

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: 
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS, SQUASH, PECANS AND CRANBERRIES by Simple Veganista 
STUFFED MUSHROOM CUPS by Skinny Ms
If you want to make this vegan, Bryn recommends substituting the cheese for ½ cup soaked cashews, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. 
FALL HARVEST SALAD with Half Baked Harvest
CAULIFLOWER MASHED POTATOES by A Sweet Pea Chef
VEGAN COFFEE CAKE by Big Man’s World
CREAMY PUMPKIN PIE by Chocolate Covered Katie
APPLE CRISP by Well Plated

THANK YOU! 
As Thanksgiving is a time to practice gratitude, we wanted to take this time to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you for subscribing to this newsletter and joining this community! To us, your readership means you are interested in taking charge of your health to become your best self even through these trying, difficult times. We are fortunate to have this outlet where we can share our knowledge to help someone out there. Wherever you are reading this, we wish you, your family, and loved ones, a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. This year may have been rough, but knowing we’re all in this together makes it a little easier 🙂 

The Un-Sugar Coated Truth: Part 2

The Un-Sugar Coated Truth: Part 2

Swapping sugar for healthier options isn’t rocket science. Simply take your favorite recipe and substitute it with one of the healthier options above! All these suggestions will not raise your insulin / blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar would. You’ll be surprised when you can barely taste any difference

For cooking / baking:

  • Monkfruit sweetener: zero-calorie sweetener derived from monkfruit that resembles granulated sugar. Use 1:1 ratio
  • Coconut sugar: natural, dark-colored sugar derived from coconuts. Use 1:1 ratio. Unlike brown sugar, coconut sugar contains fiber which decreases blood sugar spike.

For coffee / tea / cocktails:

  • Stevia: zero-calorie sweetener derived from the stevia plant. While splenda is also a zero-calorie sweetener, it is unhealthy because it’s created from chemicals that trick your body’s natural way of processing sugar. If your recipe calls for a liquid sweetener, stevia also comes in a liquid form. Instead of using creamers like Coffee Mate for your coffee, try opting for some plant-based milk with stevia instead. It tastes exactly the same and it’s better for you!

For breakfast foods / liquid sweeteners:

  • Raw honey: While you may think the regular honey you bought from the grocery store is healthy, unless it is labeled as “raw and unlfiltered” it probably has added sugar to it. Agave is also a common substitute for honey which people think is healthy, but it actually can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Always opt for raw honey which is completely natural and packed with antioxidants. You’ll be able to tell if it’s raw and unfiltered by its color which should be opaque, not clear.
  • 100% Grade A maple syrup: Most maple syrup brands have added sugar so make sure you get 100% grade a maple syrup which is a great sweetener and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.

Another big part of eating less sugar is just making smarter choices and we hope to make you better equipped to do so! It’s the small things we do consistently every day that create the biggest results, so we’ve provided a bunch of examples and recipes for ways that you can still enjoy delicious foods.

Below, you can find visual examples of simple swaps you can make in your diet that would significantly reduce the amount of processed sugar you intake. We’ve also included some of our favorite recipes that will still satisfy your sweet tooth craving.

We hope you found this month’s newsletter insightful and enlightening! Remember, you don’t have to give up your most beloved foods because they’re bad for you. We’ve spent the past two years finding alternatives to basically everything we love eating and we’ve never felt better! Please let us know if you tried out any of these recommendations or if you have any questions at all about the information provided. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about how to improve your well-being. See you next month!