Mindful Breathing

A common coping technique used under stress is to  remove ourselves from our surroundings and retreat into our minds. Here we can relive our past and contemplate the future, creating a fertile ground for anxiety. Living in this “uncontrollable” state can quickly carry us away.  A simple yet powerful tool to redirect our energy back to the body, back to our present moment, is through our breath.

Start by sitting into a comfortable position.  Place one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. Close your eyes and get quiet. Turn your lips up into a gentle smile.  Feel the warmth of your body on your hands and start to notice your natural breath. When ready, lengthen your inhale by filling your abdomen, feeling your belly rise. Continue this deep breath into your chest, feeling your chest expand. Get as much oxygen as possible.

Exhale and release completely, flushing out tension within the body. Take 12 deep breaths and return to your normal breathing. Asses your body and mind. Repeat as needed.

Our breath is our life force, a grounding technique available to us all, anywhere we may be.

Mindful Movement

Mindfulness is defined as the ability to be fully present in the moment. A simple definition for an action that yields powerful results. By offering ourselves moments of mindfulness, we can foster an environment of relaxation, creativity, focus, and contentment. 

Over the next few weeks, you will be introduced to a variety of mindfulness practices that are proven effective as stress management tools. I think it’s safe to say we could all benefit from a little stress reduction in our daily lives and while we navigate this unknown territory.

Creating a practice of mindfulness may be intimidating at first. It’s intangible nature can make it difficult to begin and can often lead you to wonder if you’re “doing it right.”  

Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness. It is a unique self-practice that can be formed in anyway to fit you and your lifestyle. Mindfulness practices vary in style. To find the one the works for you, simply try out an approach. Tune in to how your body and mind responds during and after the practice. Just with training our bodies, our minds need the same consistent training for lasting benefit. 


Our first mindfulness technique is called Mindful Movement. Think of this similar to yoga, without the physical exertion. When we are mindfully moving, our intention is to focus on our breath while tuning into our bodies, passively feeling the stimulation of various moves and stretches. 

When thoughts start to  enter your mind, kindly recognize their presence but try to refocus back  to your breath and body. After your practice, get curious around the thoughts that may have popped up. Practice kindness to yourself during the process, let go of any judgments or expectations. 

Mindful Movements can be done guided or unguided. In the beginning, it’s recommended to follow along to a guided practice. Here are a few links to get you started. 

A lesson from the Universe

What a wild time in our history of humanity. We’re not used to so many unknowns. We’re not familiar with lifestyle disruptions. We are not comfortable with limited access to distraction.  Yet, we are all experiencing the energetic shifts that are happening around us. 

Feelings of frustration, fear, insecurity, and loneliness are extremely heavy to hold. But these feelings can become our biggest teachers if we let them. Saving space for ourselves within the chaos to simply “BE” allows to lean in to the discomfort, feel what we need to feel, and learn how to change our subconscious “reactions” into conscious “responses”

As difficult of a this time may be, let us honor it for the opportunity we are being presented with. We are being called to reconnect with ourselves. We are being forced to slow down. We are being given the space to open ourselves up to the lessons the universe is presenting us, both individually and as a collective whole. 

My lesson is to surrender desire for control. My lesson is to accept what is and have trust that I am on the right path. 

Perhaps your lesson is to realize your job is not your life, or that your sense of security no longer lies within yourself. Perhaps your lesson is to realize how much you enjoy cooking, or discover that you have an innate desire to help others around you. –

Whatever your lesson may be, it’s yours to learn within any given situation. All I know is that we have a choice to look for the lesson or suffer without purpose.  To learn is to grow, and that may be one of the greatest gifts in our human experience.

Stay tuned for some mindfulness practices to help lean in to your lesson. 


After the recent buzz around plant-based diets, I decided to give it a go and see if I could stay within the confines of my current nutritional goals.

My dietary approach is eating clean foods with a proper macro balance. I strive to hit 8-10 servings of veggies and fruit daily, drink at least 1/2 my bodyweight in oz of water, and keep added sugar below 25g/day, additionally I’m dairy free.

For the past 3 months I’ve been in a reverse diet, working on kickstarting my metabolism after a period of time under-eating and overtraining (oops!).  My current macro goals are 125 g protein, 180g carb, and  65g fat which equals about 1800 calories. FYI. I’m still in reversal mode with a goal to get maintenance up to 2200-2300 calories.



1.  Vegan food can be tasty AF. Each vegan recipe I made was delish, thank you @thugkitchen

2. I never craved the taste or texture of meat

3. I felt satisfied after every meal

4. Energy levels during workouts stayed high as my carb intake was high


1. Hitting daily protein goals was v difficult. High protein plant-based options such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds come packed with high levels of carbs and fats respectively. In order to get remotely close to my protein goal, I was seeing my carbs hit +250g, fats +100g and still only seeing protein at 70-95g. This shot my daily calories up to around 2300, something I was not comfortable with in this stage of my reverse diet. 

I tried opting for soy based protein choices such as tofu and tempeh, but like the beans, found that they made me feel super bloated.

2. Post workout recovery majorly suffered. I was beyond sore all day every day for two weeks without making any changes to programming. I owe this a reduced protein intake.

3. I ended up eating LESS veggies per day as I was so damn full from all the beans and fats.

4. I ate more processed foods than before, i.e. crackers, pastas, vegan cream cheese, and vegan scones (SO GOOD!)

5. To follow a plant based diet, you’ve got some serious prep-time for meals, especially if you’re trying to avoid processed foods.

6. No matter how full I felt after a meal, I was  hungry an hour later.

This was purely a personal experience and definitely not a long enough trial to determine lasting physical effects to body. I myself felt fluffy and bloated consistently, perhaps that would change after a period of time. 

I’ve always advocated a well balanced diet that prioritizes eating plenty of veggies and fruits, which could be considered a plant-based diet. Instead of going full vegan and potentially suffer from protein deficiencies, simply opting for a few meals a week that are meat-free could be a nice compromise. 

Another lasting lesson was the major learning curve that comes with changing a diet. Trying to navigate the grocery store for plant-based options and learning how to prep tofu was overwhelming. As a nutrition coach, this gave me great insight as to how my clients must feel when learning how to change their diet. This was a humbling experience that has given me a deeper level of understanding the challenges they face.

All in all, it was an interesting learning experience. Vegan doesn’t work for me, but I respect those who rock it.

All things on hydration

On average, the human body is made up of 60% water which means staying properly hydrated in kind of a big deal. Hydration is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells and flush toxins from your body.

Additionally, drinking enough fluids help to:

  • Improve physical performance
  • Help you to lose weight
  • Boost your mood
  • Boost your brainpower
  • Prevent headaches
  • Protect against disease

So how much water is enough for you? A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 your bodyweight in oz of water every day.

As with most generalities, this rule will vary individually based on internal and external factors. Because our bodies are constantly losing water through sweat, urine, breath, and bowel movements, we need to learn how to properly adjust our intakes. Water goals may increase based on our activity levels, environment, overall health, and if one is pregnant or breastfeeding.


Exercising or engaging in activity that makes you sweat will require increased water intake. For the majority of us, we should be engaging in physical activity on a daily basis, which means we should be upping the ante daily. Add an extra glass of water before, during, and after activity to replace fluid loss (roughly 24-32 extra oz of H20.)

Pro Tip: Consider adding electrolytes to this extra drink to help with muscle recovery and repair.


With the pleasure of living in the great state of Texas, the majority of us will be sweating more over the summer months. Take this into account as you become more aware of your water intake. Other environments that contribute to water loss are areas high in altitude.

Overall Health

Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If you’ve been feeling under the weather, drink more water or follow a doctor’s recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder and urinary tract infections.


Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters/80 oz) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters/105oz) of fluids a day.

How to tell if you’re getting enough

Unfortunately, 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration and don’t even realize it! If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may be struggling with mild to moderate dehydration. 

  • Feeling thirsty, dry mouth
  • Tired, sleepy, midday fatigue
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal.
  • Trouble concentrating, foggy headspace, anxious, irritable
  • Headache
  • Dry skin.
  • Dizziness

Take control, drink a glass of water (or two!) and see if your symptoms improve.

What about electrolytes?

Preventing dehydration is not just about drinking enough water, but also about your body’s electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are certain minerals (i.e., calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium ions) essential to human health. These essential minerals are found in our food and cannot be substituted by any other nutrient in the diet. 

Electrolytes regulate the flow of water in and out of cells and spark nerve impulses. Without them, we could not move, think, or live. Watch this surprisingly entertaining video for more info! 

We most commonly lose electrolytes during bouts of sickness and sweaty workouts (ever tasted salt on your skin after sweating?) To prevent further dehydration, we can replace these lost electrolytes. Don’t go reaching for a Gatorade just yet, sadly these drinks are full of artificial colors and loaded with sugar.

Replacing lost electrolytes is as easy as maintaining a balanced diet and drinking enough water throughout the day and around activity and through supplementation.

My favorite method is to simply add a dash of Himalayan Pink salt to a cup of coconut water after a workout. A more flavorful method is adding a Nuun tablet to a glass of water.

All in all, water is the essence of life. Invest in a big reusable water bottle, preferably a non-plastic option such as Hydro Flask, and carry that baby with you everywhere you go!