live well now | 3 month goals

Making changes in our lives doesn't happen overnight as much as we would love them to.  When we finally realize this and that it won't happen with a magic pill or diet, it can be a little overwhelming to actually think about getting to our Wellness Vision.  We've talked about how to set SMART goals so today we have a tactic for you to keep those SMART goals focused and on track.  Once you've dreamed big and written down what a Wellness Vision looks like for YOU, take some time to focus on what aspect of that wellness vision you think you could work on and start to achieve in the next 3 months. 

These 3 month goals aren't as specific as SMART goals, but they'll give you more direction and focus in working towards your long term goals.  Maybe your wellness vision includes a consistent yoga practice, planning meals, having daily meditation, and being more grateful.  To work on all of those things in one week sounds like a lot, especially with all the other demands of life.  So set one goal you'd like to accomplish in 3 months and then base your weekly SMART goals around that 3 month goal.  As you work on a specific area like this for 3 months it will help you to make it more of a lifestyle change. You'll be able to make adjustments and really make this healthy habit work for you.  In our busy lives as we are giving attention to family, work, and other tasks, it can just seem like too much to take on an overhaul of our health. But if we can decide to give a little attention to one area for a few months, it might just start to become a part of who we are.  Maybe you want to work on improving your breakfasts for the next 3 months?  Put your SMART goals to work by planning healthy breakfasts each week and giving your morning meal the focus it deserves.  Maybe you'll start to feel so great with that morning smoothie that you'll make more healthy choices through out the day.  What an awesome side effect!  Whatever it is you want to improve, give it the attention it deserves for a few months and let it become a part of you.  That's what this is all about, right?! 

Jenny | wholeness

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Recently, I was meeting some new people, telling a little about myself, when a woman responded to me with a, " So you're really into that health stuff?" It was a simple enough question. But I was actually pretty taken back by it. It was as if when I told her I had a baby, she had asked something ridiculous like, "so you're really into making humans?" Yes, I am certainly more interested and invested in health and fitness than most, but I can only assume she had pegged me for "one of those extreme fitness types", ready to motivate you at the drop of a hat and turn down your homemade cookies. 

And there it is, the reason so many of us give up or stay where we are. The pursuit of health or a more svelte physique seem all-consuming, exhausting, and well, just not fun. But what has been on my mind a lot lately and what we hope more of us can embrace is not the elusive ideal of perfect health, but rather, wholeness.  As a human striving to be a better human, the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of my being all have to be a part of that; with the things I eat, how I condition my body, how I deal with my emotions, and how I respond to others. And to be the strong, happy person I strive to be, I have to start with being honest with myself. It's simple. I can't grow into the person I want to be if I'm covering up my feelings with food. I can't find peace and self confidence if I'm always obsessing over losing 5 lbs or what I did or didn't eat. And I can't be what my son needs me to be if I'm exhausted and undernourished. 

History and society have made a mess of how we view our bodies. There is such disconnect between how we look and how we feel. Either we want to be skinny or we want to enjoy life and embrace our curves. Like we have to choose. And there is so much more than just that. There is so much more that can come from our healthy choices, day by day, one at a time. It is a cumulative effect of goodness, building and architecting our minds and our souls with our bodies. We can have wholeness AND our best body. But we have to be little better to ourselves; more accepting of our shape, more nourishing with our food,  more fulfilling with our movement, more realistic with our expectations, and more nurturing with our thoughts. Goodness begets goodness, so fill yourself up.

eat well | easy dinners and grocery list

Meal planning takes the stress and last minute decisions out of dinner and helps to keep us on track with healthy meals.  But we also know finding the time to dig through recipes and putting that list together can be difficult.  So this week, we took care of the planning for you with five dinners- try one or two or all of them!  These recipes are simple, delicious and packed with nutrients.  They bring a variety of vegetables (we know it's easy to get stuck in a veggie rut), use some healthy staples that we try to always have on hand (frozen chicken, frozen veggies, spinach, olive oil, black beans, etc.), and are delicious for the entire fam- even our toddlers dig into these meals! Two of the meals are vegetarian and the others you can adjust to your needs (subbing gluten free pastas or tortillas, using different meat or no meat, etc). Depending on how many you're cooking for you'll have to adjust the list but we think you might just already have some of these items on hand. We hope this gives you some direction and inspiration for a healthy week!

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Dinner Grocery List: 1 bunch asparagus, 1 bag broccoli (fresh or frozen), 1 large bag spinach, lettuce mix or your choice, cabbage mix (or a head of lettuce and cabbage), red and green bell peppers, red onion, yellow onion, mushrooms, snow peas, 4 cloves garlic, 1 bunch cilantro, basil, 2 bags whole wheat pasta (or brown rice pasta), whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat hamburger buns, 2 cans black beans, 2 cans tomato sauce, frozen chicken, tilapia (fresh or frozen), 1 lb ground turkey, 1 bag sweet potatoes, olive oil, parmesan, lemons, lime, chipotle powder, oregano seasoning, Asian salad dressing.

Recipes links: Asian Chicken Salad Sloppy Pizza Joes (we took out the sausage links in this recipe- not needed), Sweet Potato and Spinach BurritoLemon Asparagus Pasta, Tilapia w/sweet potato and veggies* recipe below

*Season tilapia with olive oil, pepper, salt and fresh lemon juice.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Serve with steamed veggies (whatever you have leftover or in the freezer) and a baked sweet potato (try our 6 minute version here).

swell feature | at the market with brittany mullins

We had the pleasure of meeting up with one of swell mama's favorites and another RVA local, Brittany Mullins of Eating Bird Food. Health Coach and blogger, she believes that healthy food should be enjoyed (us too!). And she knows her stuff when it comes to navigating a grocery store. We met up at Ellwood Thompson's, a local favorite, where she shared with us some of her very favorite staples and a couple less common finds. We even got her to share some fabulous recipes and links.

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Kale | I love all green leafy vegetables but kale is one of my favorites. I like to use it raw in salads like this Garlicky Kale or this Kale & Cabbage Pad Thai Salad

Twin Oaks Tofu | This is the only tofu I buy. It's non-gmo, organic tofu that's made locally in Virginia. It's extra-firm texture makes it wonderful for stir-fries or salads. 

Almond Milk | This my go-to non-dairy milk product. I use it for oatmeal, cereal, smoothies and baking. It's dairy-free and works great in baked goods! Here are a bunch of recipes you can make with almond milk

Apple Cider Vinegar | This stuff is amazing! I make a little ACV "cocktail" with 2 Tablespoons diluted in water each morning! More all about it's amazing health benefits.

Chia Seeds | Yes, these are the same seeds used for chia pets! They may be small but they pack a ton of nutrition -- they're loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. I'm a big fan of making chia pudding or chia jam, adding them to my smoothies and oatmeal or using them to replace eggs in baked goods.

Antioxidant berry mix

Berry Antioxidant Mix | I love trail mix and this blend is one of my favorite snacks. It's got your superfood berries (mulberries and goji berries) and heart healthy nuts to keep you full. 

prepare well | lunch ideas

How many times a week do you just open the pantry or fridge and stare.. looking for something to eat.. wondering what you can throw together for your growling tummy and toddler?  Since we're big list people, we've found having a little list of meal ideas on the fridge is a great way to have some new healthy ideas ready to go.  So here's our lunch list.  It's simple, it's healthy and will give you a little variety to your pb and j.  Add these ingredients to your next grocery list and you'll be set! Oh and we always like to have a some fruit and a big glass of water with lunch too! 

mini margherita pizzas | an easy favorite at our house for my husband and toddler

mini margherita pizzas | an easy favorite at our house for my husband and toddler

veggie wrap | whole wheat tortilla, hummus, cucumbers, bell peppers, shredded carrots, greens and any other favorite veggies (add quinoa for some extra protein)

rice bowl | brown rice, black beans, salsa, any extra veggies you have around, avocado and cilantro.. so simple and so so good

mini margherita pizzas | whole wheat pita bread or english muffins, marinara sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. cook at 425 for 10 min. add basil after cooking.

avocado toast with white beans | toasted whole wheat bread, smashed white beans (cannelli or white), avocado, arugula and a little salt and pepper

salmon salad | microwave salmon fillet for 1-2 minutes or until it is cooked through, throw on a bed of greens with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice.

spinach veggie omelet | eggs, spinach, any other veggies and a bit of reduced fat cheese.  cook in a heated skillet and enjoy!