The Key to Balance: Setting Personal Boundaries

September 2, 2019

Setting healthy personal boundaries is not a new concept. In fact, I’m so confident that you’ve heard this advice before that I’m willing to bet a Nutrinut Mug of your choice if you haven’t ;). On the house! 

So you might be wondering “OK Raisa, if you know everyone has heard this, then why are we even talking about it?”. And that’s a valid question. 

I bring this up for this blog post because it’s the type of advice that we’ve all heard of and really struggle putting it into practice. Some may not even know what that looks like because we’re so used to just taking on the world and doing everything that we think we’re supposed to be doing. Me included.

This applies to your personal relationships, your job, and even when taking care of your health. And for me, understanding your personal boundaries is the KEY in living a balanced life. Because only with this will you even know what balance looks like for you.

We all have personal boundaries that need to be respected in order to be ourselves. To live mindfully and in peace. When we allow life to cross those boundaries, that’s typically when inner chaos breaks out. When storms form inside of us.

When it comes to understanding your personal boundaries, here are some things for you to think about:

1. What’s important to me — list your non-negotiables in: 

  • your relationships (romantic, family, and friends)
  • your job and career (the tasks you do, the environment you’re in, the people that surround you)
  • when it comes to your health (foods, sleep, self-care, and fitness)
  • your soul — for me this is everything else that doesn’t fall under your career, relationships, and health.

2. What part of my current daily routine is draining my energy and emotions. Why?

3. What tweaks can I make RIGHT NOW to start respecting and honoring my personal boundaries?

This is a great place to start! If you do just one thing for yourself today, do this. Set just a few minutes aside to really think about it and write them down. I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of writing things down. It just solidifies it in my mind and in the Universe.

I hope you have a beautiful day and can’t wait to hear about your breakthroughs <3.

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Getting Back on the “Diet”

August 22, 2019

We are officially wrapping up summer vacation season and for many that means one thing: GETTING BACK ON THE DIET.

This time of the year can be very triggering for many. It can come swimming in guilt over what happened during your vacation. All the things you ate with the added bonus of not hitting the gym. Heck, perhaps you even gained a little weight. Don’t you hate that?

And now you are here thinking already on the many ways you can try getting back on track. You may be even contemplating (and googling) the latest weight-loss wonders: Keto and Intermittent Fasting.

I get it! Feeling unhappy with your body and like you’re failing “healthy eating” can take a toll on you. It’s stressful, frustrating, and completely demotivating. I mean DIETING IS EXHAUSTING. Thinking of having to part with your favorite foods and start restricting yourself. Yet again.

BUT, before even thinking on getting back on track, I want you to do 2 things. And it has nothing to do with starting a detox or reset.

1) Let go of that guilt. Not to be cliche and all, but whatever happened in your vacation, let it stay there. Take with you only the good. The wonderful time you had. The beautiful memories you made with your loved ones. That’s it. Stop wasting your time feeling guilty over what you ate.

2) When getting back on track, come from a place of love and NOT punishment. Eat healthy because your body just feels amazing when it’s properly nourished. Move because it gives you energy and strengthens your body. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone on diets because I was feeling unhappy with the way I looked. And I can tell you that that strategy never worked out very well for me. But once you start making your decisions out of love for yourself and your body, everything starts to flow naturally. It becomes easier. It’s like deciding to get a massage or have a spa day every day. You’re excited to go and not dreading it or anticipating suffering.

Getting back on track is not about starting the diet again. It’s about getting back into your groove. Your routine. The one that makes you feel good. That helps your body reach its fullest potential. You won’t have the energy and stamina to follow your life’s purpose if you don’t take care of you first. And that’s what healthy eating is all about.

What we have to remember is that our bodies are changing every single day. It’s up to us to love it in every size, shape, and form. It’s also up to us to take care of it. With amazing nutrients, mindful movement, rest, and tons of self-care!

No more dieting and restrictions. Promise?

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If You’re Eating Out Of A Package, Make Sure To Do This

April 16, 2019

What the secret sauce to eating healthy?

This is something that I get asked a lot. My reply typically consists on first, understanding what works for your body and lifestyle. And a close second, making most of your meals fresh and home cooked.

But I also know that life happens. We don’t always have the time to cook and we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to make the best decision available at the moment. Even if it comes in a package. Here’s the thing, you can actually find healthier alternatives just by knowing what to look for in a food label. And that’s what I want to focus on in this post. I want to empower you to make the best decisions when eating something that comes in a package. Learning what to look for in the food label.

First thing’s first, here’s why I could give less about calories when I check a food label.

Calories are the sum of the energy provided from carbs, protein, and fat. One gram of carbs and protein will give you 4 calories, while one gram of fat will give you 9 calories. With me so far? So if you only look at calories, a lollipop might seem like a better alternative than eating an avocado. And by now we know that that’s really not the case. Lollipops will have less calories because it’s mainly sugar (carbs), flavoring, and coloring. An avocado on the other hand, is rich protein, carbs, and fat (loving some healthy fats!). See what I mean?

So if I rarely pay attention to calories, what do I look for in the food label?

The first thing your eyes should land on is the list of ingredients. Here is where you can really learn what was added to your food and what you are putting into your body.

When you are checking out the list of ingredients, pay attention to the following:

1.Can you understand the ingredients or does it sound like a science experiment?

2.Which ingredients come first? The ingredients appear in order of highest amount present in product to the least. For example, if the list of ingredients of a snack bar starts with oats, you know that that’s the ingredient found in highest quantity.

3.How long is the list? For this Nutrinut, I like to keep my list of ingredients on the shorter end and sans additives.

4.Are there any artificial or natural flavor and coloring? If so, that’s also something you want to be mindful about.

Those are my main tips for what to look for in the list of ingredients. Although this is where my focus is mainly, I also check a few other things like the amount of sugar that is in the product as well as if it’s a good source of fiber. We can definitely talk more about fiber and gut health on another post. For now, just remember that it’s really important to have enough fiber in the day not only to stay regular but also to maintain your gut flora happy! We now know that keeping a healthy gut flora is linked to many other benefits in the body including mood, brain, inflammation, and even weight!

And just another thing, claims like “all natural” may make us feel like we are making the best choices. But that’s not always the case. Here’s a little fun fact. There’s not much of an official definition or regulation over the term “natural”. So it could very well be just another marketing strategy to make us feel like it’s a healthy choice.

Also, when making decisions don’t only focus on: gluten free, vegan, organic, keto, paleo. This doesn’t mean that the food in that package will be healthy and good for you.

Use what I shared to empower yourself to make the right decisions for your body. Which ingredients you are OK with having inside of your body and will help you thrive in your day-to-day?

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The Superfoods You Need To Help Calm Your Anxiety

March 27, 2019

Like many, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with anxiety.

It wasn’t always this way. Of course, whenever there was a big test or presentation, I’d get the butterflies in my tummy. But as soon as it was over, my body just bounced back and I would be my happy, calm self again.

That changed for me about 4 years ago. I am not too sure how it happened. If it was slowly progressing and I was just not paying attention, or if it kind of just hit me at once. But before I knew it, I would wake up and go to sleep with that feeling. The one where every single muscle in your body is tense, where your breathing becomes short and choppy. As if I had to be ready at all times to defend myself. Like I was always preparing for the apocalypse of sorts.

This kept going for a while until I ended up in the hospital. And the amazing part is that after countless tests, the doctor told me that there was nothing wrong. In that moment I knew that I was allowing my anxiety to take over my life and my health. That moment was my turning point. I decided to do whatever it took to make this go away. I took up meditation and started researching about all the possible methods and natural remedies that could help. And that’s when I also came across nutrition and anxiety. I mean I have been in nutrition for years and never really thought much about how the right foods could actually be included in my little anxiety-taming-tool-box.

I started paying closer attention to how I felt before, during, and after meals. Here are some observations I made:

-Whenever I had my morning coffee, my road rage driving to work was intensified by 3 or 4 times.

-If I decided to have a second cup of coffee after lunch, I would experience the same intensified road rage driving back home. Like having zero patience with drivers. Granted, anyone that has driven in Miami, in particular around Medley/Hialeah, will know that you can’t really blame me for the road rage. But nonetheless, my body would be in actual physical pain when I got home from so much tension.

-I often craved a lot of sugar because I wanted to feel better. To feel happier. And whenever I had some sort of dessert it would work. For 2 minutes. Because after the sugar high, comes the crash. Which would make me irritable and anxious. I guess in a way like having some sort of withdrawal.

-When I’d arrive home, I was so anxious and worked up that the only thing that I could do is look for some comfort food. Hello stress eating. I would find myself wishing that I kept cookies and chips at home. Because THAT is what I wanted.

If you pay close attention to the foods mentioned above, you can find 3 common foods here: caffeine, sugar, and processed refined, fatty foods. No kidding! Those are exactly the foods that are known for intensifying anxiety. And although wine or beer was not part of my observations since I am not one to really enjoy drinking, but alcohol is also part of this list. These foods were not the ones causing my anxiety, but they were definitely triggering and intensifying my symptoms.

But the good news is that just like foods can trigger anxiety, there are also foods that can help reduce anxiety. It can be your food version of meditation. So here are some foods for your anxiety-taming-tool-box.

Spinach and Leafy Greens: These are one of my favorite vegetables for one main reason. They are so rich in nutrition. They are a great source of B vitamins and magnesium which are closely related to mood as well as relaxation. In fact, having magnesium before bed can actually even help you sleep!

Cashews: Cashews are delicious and so versatile when cooking. You can have them as a snack, top your salad, and even make creams with as a dairy free alternative. They are rich in healthy fats and fiber, which are both great to help maintain blood glucose levels stable. It is also a source of zinc, which it’s deficiency has been linked to higher anxiety.

Brazil Nuts: Like cashews, Brazil nuts are also a source of healthy fat as well as protein which help give the body a sense of calm and satiety. This nut is also a source of selenium which not only is a great antioxidant but also plays a role in mood and anxiety.

Eggs: Historically speaking, eggs is one of the foods that have gone from the good to bad and then back to good list of foods. Eggs are rich in protein, B vitamins, and zinc which often land it in the top superfoods list. For this one I do suggest going organic and certified by the Humane Society.

Avocado: Naturally avocado has to make it to every list. Because let’s just all accept that it’s like the Mary Poppins of fruits and veggies: Practically perfect in every way! It’s rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Almonds – Almonds make for an amazing snack, an earthy gluten-free flour substitute, and a delicious nut butter. They are rich in healthy fats, protein, and B vitamins and they are a superfood that you can easily keep in your pantry and incorporate to your dishes.

As for how this applies to my anxiety?

I try to meditate daily (I’m currently on my longest streak:18 days in a row). I still allow myself my morning coffee. But it’s now half milk and half coffee and I don’t repeat in the afternoon. I often make green smoothies with spinach to get my nutrition in there. I eat eggs at least 2 times per week and avocados pretty much every other night. And my pantry is stocked with nuts. Last but not least, sugar my kryptonite. I am happy to say that I’m working on establishing a healthy relationship with chocolate. Learning how to enjoy it when I want without it being a coping mechanism to my anxiety.

Most importantly, I am all ears to what my body is telling me. Whether it’s back pain, tummy rumbling, headache, hunger, stress. These are all signs that it’s time to go for a quick walk or eat a have a healthy snack or meditate or even to stop working and call it a day. This is something that I work on every single day. Because my health is one of the main reasons why I took off to join the entrepreneurial life. To find balance. To reconnect with my body.

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9 Nourishing Ways To Kiss PMS Goodbye

March 22, 2019

This one is not only for all the ladies out there, but also the gents. Because let’s face it, it’s part of everyone’s life whether you are female or male. Your mother, sister, girlfriend, grandmother, great grandmother, all went or currently are going through it. So what are we talking about? Premenstrual syndrome or the magical three little letters universally known and feared PMS.

But I am here today to welcome you to open that door wide and embrace it instead of treating it as yet another taboo topic. And this goes not only to the ladies, but also the men because we need your support here. Especially when we go through those roller coaster days.

And the first step to embracing PMS is by challenging the bad reputation that it gets. Here are some of my favorites:

-PMS is a weakness

-”It’s all in your head”

-”Oh, she’s being so moody so she must be on her days”

No, no, no!

Premenstrual syndrome is not a weakness or disease that plagues women, it is definitely NOT in our heads, and last but not least, let’s stop saying that if a woman is being moody/emotional, she MUST be on her days.

Now, let’s better understand what PMS is all about. Premenstrual syndrome happens due to a hormone imbalance that occurs in a woman’s body. There’s a shift in the production of estrogen and progesterone where estrogen increases in the body while progesterone decreases. This change can lead to the manifestation of the infamous PMS symptoms. It’s important to understand that chances are there’s not a single woman that experiences PMS like another woman. This, like almost everything when it comes to wellness, is an individual/personalized experience.

The most common symptoms known are the ones related to mood, right? We become more sensitive and cry while watching Moana for example. Errr, nope, that wasn’t me! We can also become more anxious, irritable, and susceptible to mood swings. PMS can also manifest itself in the shape and form of strong cravings (chocolate, hello!), weight gain, strong cramps, and our breasts can get super tender. Like it hurts to keep a bra on. And if you think you’ve got it all figured out and know exactly what to expect, well think again. Because guess what? Many women experience PMS differently every single month!

Although there’s no manual for women or men on what to expect when you’re not expecting, how you experience PMS is actually not completely out of your hands. And like everything in wellness, it all circles back to nutrition and lifestyle!

3 superstar foods

Let’s begin with the 3 types of foods that are important to include for the right support and nourishment especially during these days:

1. Leafy greens: These will be things like spinach, collard greens, and kale. I personally LOVE SPINACH! You can have so much fun with it in recipes and it’s an amazing source of magnesium. Which if you didn’t know, magnesium is a secret-weapon remedy to help with cramps. Add it to smoothies, baked goods, soups, salads, well you get the idea.

2. Healthy protein: Protein helps balancing your blood glucose levels which is a great way to support your mood and hormones. It is also amazing in helping manage those cravings that we get.

3. Healthy fats: Your famous healthy fats like avocado, salmon, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds all are ways to give a little extra love and balance to your hormones. And like protein, it also helps when it comes to managing those food cravings. Something that I personally like to always keep in my pantry are nut butters because when my cravings hit, they are my go-to.

3 types of foods to be mindful about

Remember how excessive inflammation in the body is responsible for triggering so many things like joint pain, acne, and weight gain? Well it can also make things a tad bit worse when it comes to PMS.

1. Refined sugars: This doesn’t only include sweets, dessert, and sugary drinks. It also includes refined starches like white flour. So maintaining a diet that mainly consists of refined carbs like white bread, white pasta, cookies, cakes, and even white rice, is a strong candidate for high levels of inflammation as well as a higher chance of an intensified PMS.

2. Foods that are sources of dairy and gluten. I’m not saying that your grilled cheese sandwich is the cause behind PMS. But these foods do tend to be pro inflammatory. And by no means am I suggesting that you have the same grilled cheese every day but instead with dairy free/vegan cheese and gluten-free bread. Because not everything that is vegan or gluten-free is healthy. In fact, many times these are extremely processed. Which guess what? They also increase inflammation.

3. Coffee: Last but not least, let’s talk about coffee. Despite coffee making it to the list, I am definitely on the coffee-lovers team. I love everything about the smell and flavor! But 2 observations here. The first one is that people rarely drink their coffee pure. They typically add sugar and cream or milk. And if it’s in a coffee shop, they might go for the caramel and chocolate syrup which opens up an entire other door filled with discussions. But you get the idea. What you add to your coffee is definitely something to be mindful about. Second, although coffee has tons of antioxidants, many women have reported that caffeine makes their PMS symptoms stronger. So it’s definitely something to be mindful about, especially around those days.

3 lifestyle tips to honor your body

Taking care of what you eat is not the only way to support the body while you are going through the different stages of your cycle. There are other very important components that can also really help.

1. Prioritize sleep: Especially during this phase, there’s a lot happening in your body. It can leave your energy levels completely drained and it’s important to pay attention. That’s why sleep becomes so important to help recover your energy for the next day.

2. Easy-going movement: It’s no secret that we feel pretty awful during those days. Some women might not even want to leave the house. Which is why during this phase of your cycle, include easy-going movements every day such as 30-minute walks, light yoga sequences, and even a little swimming. It’s a way to honor your body with movement and give you a little mood boost.

3. Tons of self-care: On our day-to-day, self-care is fundamental. And this is for women AND men. But during these days especially, carve out some time to do things that bring you joy as well as give your body and mind a little love. This can be anything from meditating, to getting a back massage, getting your nails/hair done, or even enjoy watching your favorite movie or show.

And to end this article, I wanted to say kudos to all women (and all the supportive lads). Although some days everything may seem completely upside down, we all manage to pull it together every single month. So love and embrace this part of you.

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