Just Breathe…

Whether you are aware or not, chances are you have experienced at least a mild form of a panic attack at some point in your life. Whether it came in the form of a brief episode of anxiety, increased heart rate, a feeling of nervousness or simply the urgency to remove yourself from a situation, panic attacks are no fun.

There are a variety of options that can help you overcome anxiety. While some methods, such as herbal supplements or exercise practices may require long-term execution in order to achieve the benefits, there is one recommendation that I have heard about from a number of resources.

Meditation.

Even the most poised, professional, public figures experience panic attacks and swear by daily meditation to get them through it. According to the Maharishi Foundation, Transcendental Meditation (TM) is one easy-to-learn technique that can help you rest your mind and body. If you’re not savvy to meditation, don’t know where to start or don’t think it’s right for you, watch and listen to this story from Good Morning America and Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris.

On the Road Eats

In addition to a love for health food, I also have great passion for travel. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explore new and unique places, where I visit different eateries, vendor partners and foodies like yourselves. While the destinations provide a whirlwind of culinary choices, the venues I also stop at throughout my journeys aren’t always glamorous – namely airports, shopping malls and hotels. These are some of the most commonly frequented food venues I find myself in and it’s not always easy to find a healthy option when I’m on the go in places like these.

However, I’ve come across some great healthy snacks that you can purchase, pack, prepare or pop into your mouth while still staying on track!

Here are some of my recent favorites:

For a healthy on-the-go breakfast:

GnuFoods Fiber Love bars can now be found in airport terminal kiosks, magazine stands and most markets. They come in a variety of flavors, they are packed with fiber to keep you full throughout the morning, and they won’t leave you crashing from a sugar high like most breakfast pastries found at popular coffee shops.

 

For an in-between bite:Kashi GoLean Crisp!

Kashi GoLean Crisp! Chocolate Peanut Bar: At 180 calories and chocked full of fiber, this bar is delicious, sweet, filling, and the perfect snack for an in-between meal bite, in-between flight filler or late-night dessert.

For a quick dinner:

Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad: This fresh, green salad is topped with fire-roasted edamame, spicy roasted cashews (which come in a separate package so you can opt to omit them for a lower calorie meal), warm grilled chicken and Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette (which also comes separately packaged so you can choose the amount for calorie control). This salad is light, fresh and will only set you back around 380 calories.

Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken Salad

The most important tip to remember when flying, traveling, commuting or just plain working hard – DRINK WATER! And lots of it! Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to stay healthy, stave off hunger and keep you fueled, no matter where you’re traveling!

 

How to Get Your Mojo Back

It’s Friday, it’s been a long week and you’re exhausted. I know how it is. The best part of working hard is earning the ability to play hard, but what if you run out of steam and lose motivation? Whether it’s staying motivated to eat healthy, head out for a run, call back your BFF or finish that blog entry you’ve been sitting on for a few days, motivation is key to moving forward in life.

That’s why when I came across this excellent video by Shannon Kaiser of “Play with the World,” I just had to share it! I thank Shannon for being such an inspiration and hope she helps you find yours!

Bed Time Bites

Remember that one time you were up late watching the latest episode of “Amazing Race” and all of a sudden you had a craving for something sweet? Of course you can, because it was probably last night! Since I work around-the-clock to provide you with the latest and greatest in health information, I am a diehard late-night muncher, and over the years, I have learned to make sensible choices when reaching for something to satisfy my cravings.

Whether you’re sitting on the couch in your living room or laying comfortably in bed with the television on and minutes ticking away into the night, it happens often that you start to realize it’s been a few hours since dinner. This is when you need to eat something small that will tide you over until you finally retire for the night.

Multigrain PuffinsMy go-to snack for this time of night is cereal! NOT the sugary, powdered, sweetened, glazed varieties that are more likely to leave you feeling energized and uncomfortable rather than rested and full, but smarter choices that are high in fiber and low in sugar, like Barbara’s gluten-free Multigrain Puffins. A small serving close to bedtime is perfectly fine, but makes sure you don’t overdo it, because consuming large amounts of carbohydrates immediately before hours of rest may actually do more harm than good.

Here’s why: When you eat carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which then enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin – a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall and the pancreas starts making glucagon – a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar. When all this happens right before you’re about to remain sedentary for 6-8 hours or more, then the body will store the sugar as fat.

While there is much debate surrounding the issue of when to eat carbohydrates, which carbs to eat, which to avoid, and whether they make you gain weight, the bottom line is – it’s not the best to over-do it on any foods high in carbohydrates or sugar right before bed, so remember the key: MODERATION!

When your cupboard is bare or you’re just not in the mood for cereal, here are a few other sources of nutrition for those late-night snack times.

Homemade Trail Mix

Trail Mix

My homemade trail mix is completely customizable based on your preference and dietary restrictions, but one option I recommend includes banana chips, golden raisins and carob chips for a lot of sweet, a little soft, and a bunch-a-crunch…without the guilt! For those of you who like nuts in your trail mix, try mixing in some unsalted walnuts or cashews for added crunch, protein and healthy fat. 

The best thing about this snack is you can add in whichever low-calorie foods you like, including dried fruit or nuts, as long as you don’t GO nuts ; )

Cottage PeachCottage Peach

Another option if you’re craving something a little more hearty is a scoop of nonfat cottage cheese mixed with sliced canned peaches (the “light” variety that come in water or light syrup). This gives you a healthy dose of protein and satisfies that sugar craving with a light, low-sugar helping of fruit!

Salty Satisfaction

If you prefer a salty snack over a sweet treat, one of the healthiest, gluten-free routes you can go is to choose a low-salt, low butter-content variety of popcorn. This is a great way to fill up on a high-fiber snack that is not too high in carbohydrates. A great choice here is Newman’s Own Organics, which makes a variety of low-fat, lightly salted, gluten-free options that won’t undo your day!

Share your favorite healthy late-night snack in Comments below!