Wellness Tips for Your Best Vacation Yet

Summer is more than halfway gone, but you still have time for a vacation (or two). One of the most common concerns we hear is about how to stay healthy when surrounded by indulgences. With a little bit of planning and commitment to your goals, it is 100 percent possible to maintain your healthy lifestyle on vacation.

Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks:

BYO Snacks: I always have OM POWER BARS and OM POWER MIX with me, whether I’m in the car, on the plane, or in all-day work meetings. Keeping my glove compartment, purse, and gym bag stocked means I always have something I can munch on when hunger strikes. I also never leave home without my MEALS THAT TRANSFORM cooler filled with meals and snacks for the day. Check out our post on smart snacking for more ideas.

Always Carry Protein: I know it’s nearly impossible to pack egg whites and chicken breast in your suitcase, so I recommend tossing in a few snack-size OM POWER PROTEIN shakes instead. I make a quick stop at a convenience or grocery store when I arrive at my destination to pick up water and almond milk to have in my room as mixers. Snack shakes are a great 10-gram protein punch if you’re waiting on friends and family between meals—after I shower and get ready, I prepare and drink a protein shake and then am able to wait for everyone to get ready without getting too cranky. No one wants a mood swing right before dinner.

Pack Smart: Sun protection is a top priority for vacation, so I never leave home with a great floppy hat, a basketball cap, sunscreen, a cover-up, and a big bag to carry to the pool, beach, gym, or spa. I also bring lotion, lip balm, a selection of my favorite Violet Love headbands, and a fitness magazine. Finally, I always carry floss and a toothbrush in case I am out all day so I can freshen up and be ready for whatever my hubby wants to do next.

You CAN Eat Well: Whether I’m at a pool, a hotel, or a resort, I can always find something healthy on the menu—and if I can’t, I ask. I was recently in Vegas at the pool. Despite the typical poolside fare of burgers and fries, I ordered a grilled chicken breast with a side of avocado and a mouth-watering feta and watermelon salad. It was so good that I ordered it the next day as well. It was light, full of flavor, and packed with protein and good fats, which kept me going all day in conjunction with my other snacks.

Move It: I exercise every day that I am on vacation. I don't care if you do lunges around the pool, go to the gym in the morning, or swim and do water aerobics. Moving will boost your mood, sweating releases toxins if you overindulge, and it feels GOOD. I did pushups and leg lifts, jumped rope, and swam every day when I was in Vegas. The bonus? I also got a little sun-kissed glow under my floppy hat.  

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate: My hubby is a bit of tea connoisseur. Before we left for our summer vacation, he made two large thermoses of our favorite green matcha tea. We sipped on that and water with ionic salts everyday. It kept us cool and hydrated all day—this is especially important if you’re spending time out in the sun!

Enjoy yourself and have a healthy, beautiful rest of your summer!

Your biggest fans in health and wellness,

Angela and Team TRANSFORM

 

Self-Care for Your Work Day

Coming back from vacation is hard, right? After we've checked out, logged off, relaxed, and recharged, jumping back into our work routine can feel overwhelming. It's especially challenging when we spend our days sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, and under fluorescent lights. What's a health-conscious adult to do? 

It turns out you can take care of your physical and mental health at workand you MUST. Studies suggest that exercise (especially during the work day!) boosts productivity and performance, while meditation helps reduce stress, improve teamwork, and increase focus. Even a few short self-care breaks can vastly improve your wellbeing. Here are a few things to try: 

  • Get outside. There are few things more restorative than nature, and researchers have found that time spent outdoors can improve your focus, memory, and creativity; fight anxiety and depression; and lower blood pressure, improve vision, and reduce inflammation. Take 15 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon to sit quietly in the sunshine or take a walk around the block. Aim to get fresh air before or after work and on weekends as well. 
  • Eat a nourishing lunch away from your desk. Working lunches should be a thing of the past. Take 15 minutes to a full hour to step away from your computer, put down your phone, and truly enjoy a healthy meal. If you need support with strategies for eating well, schedule an appointment with our nutritionist!
  • Be quiet. Schedule 5-10 minute breaks throughout your day to sit quietly. Close your eyes if you'd like, meditate if it works for you. Give your brain a chance to rest and reset. 
  • Use essential oils. For quick and easy relief at work, keep essential oils handy. They can be used to aid meditation, improve focus, reduce tension, and lessen pain. Keep calm and carry on!

Many employers have begun to see the value in employee wellness programs and actually offer time off or financial support and incentives for self-care practices both in and out of the office. If yours doesn't, it's worth your time and effort to make your case. There's even data to back you up. What's your favorite work day self-care strategy? 

Your biggest fans and friends in wellness, 

Angela and Team TRANSFORM

Red, White, & Blue Brunch

Happy July 4th, everyone! Team TRANSFORM is taking a well-deserved summer break this week, but we thought we'd share a quick recipe for your Stars-and-Stripes holiday brunch. 

RED, WHITE, & BLUE OATMEAL PANCAKES

Ingredients 

1 cup ground oat flour

1 cup rolled oats

3 egg whites

1 whole egg

1/2 -- 2/3 cup almond milk (how thick do you like your batter?)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 dashes pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 scoop OM POWER PROTEIN (optional)

Fresh berries and pure maple syrup (optional but highly recommended!)

Directions

Whisk together oat flour, eggs, 1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and protein powder. Add more almond milk to batter to reach desired thickness. Mix in coconut oil. Heat additional coconut oil in frying pan or skillet and pour batter to desired pancake size. Cook on both sides and serve with fresh berries and a drizzle of syrup or agave. 

Note: Serving size is 2-3 pancakes. If you don't have pumpkin spice, use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Your biggest fans in health and wellness, 

Angela and Team TRANSFORM

 

How to Choose a Yoga Mat

This is the second in a series of posts about developing your home fitness space. Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and tools, and check out our post on foam rollers

Do you practice yoga, or know someone who does? The answer is probably yes. According to a 2016 Yoga in America study, more than 36 million Americans practice yoga, and practitioners spend upwards of $16 billion per year on related gear. That's a lot of yoga mats and pairs of stretchy pants!

If you're new to yoga (or looking to refresh your decades-old gear), a good mat is the most essential investment you can make. However, buying a yoga mat can feel like wandering down the bottled water aisle—there are so many options, they all look similar, and how do you know if one is better than the other?

Luckily, there are many, many high-quality mat options on the market, and your choice actually does matter. Here's your quick guide to choosing the right one—start with these questions:

What style(s) of yoga are you into?

No matter what type of yoga you practice, there's a mat out there for you. The perfect mat for a slower, restorative class might not be best for a sweaty vinyasa flow. Check out Outdoor Gear Lab's breakdown of class types and related mat recommendations. Key considerations include slippage and thickness. 

Are you practicing primarily at home or in a studio setting?

This question matters mainly for portability. With a home-based practice, you might prefer a thicker, heavier mat. If you are carrying your mat back and forth to studio classes, you might want to consider lighter, thinner options. Some companies even make travel-specific mats that fold up and pack down into a suitcase! If you want to get really serious, you can purchase mats for each. Also know that most studios rent mats at low or no cost if you forget your own or prefer not to carry it back and forth. 

Do you have any injuries or special needs?

Very tall yogis might consider XL mats, like this one from Manduka, which add a foot or more for additional comfort, especially in supine poses. If you have knee injuries or feel like you need extra padding, look into thicker or cushioned mats. Many standard mats are 5mm thick, but you can find a few, like this Hugger Mugger option, that are 6mm or more or made of softer material. Again, these tend to be heavier and less portable, but you'll be more comfortable while you practice. Also, keep in mind that soft foamy mats aren't great for balancing poses or intense flows. 

How much do you want to spend?

Mat prices vary widely, from under $10 on Amazon to more than $100 from big yoga brands. If you're newer to yoga and balking at the idea of dropping a lot of cash on a mat, do your research and spend as much as you're comfortable with on a mat that will meet your needs. There's some element of "you get what you pay for," so keep that in mind if you opt for a less expensive option! 

Once you've invested in a mat, take care of it. This is important for both hygiene and longevity. Spray and wipe down your mat a few times a week (or after practice if you're sweating a lot) with a DIY essential oil spray. Consider a deeper clean with mild, natural soap and warm water once or twice a month depending on how often you use your mat. Some mats can even go through a washing machine's gentle cycle. Check specific care instructions from the company before moving forward. Store your mat rolled up or hanging, in mild temperatures, and away from pets, kids, and contaminants. 

Whatever you decide, get to your mat often. We recommend a regular CHIYOGAFLOW practice, but any yoga will do! 

Create Your Vision Statement

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: personal growth and empowerment is as important to your overall wellbeing as nutrition and exercise. It's a whole-brain, whole-body approach to life. 

There are many ways we encourage you to build this commitment to emotional health and wellness, from meditation to a gratitude practice to finding your tribe. One other tool we love is visioning. 

Visioning provides you the space to dream and the direction you need to create your own future. In business, this is often referred to as a mission statement. But for you, as an individual, it is a glimpse of what’s possible, a big idea, or a dream. Your vision can, of course, include professional aspirations, but we encourage you to make it more personal. Visioning is a good practice to cultivate, as well as a first step in focusing your life, your legacy, and your happiness.

We love DIY vision boards--you can use a platform like Pinterest or get hands-on with magazine photos and glue--but there are many methods for creating a vision. For more, check out our recent piece on SharpHeels

One last thing to remember: Your vision is not a to-do list. Identify specific, actionable goals only after you have given yourself permission to dream without limitations. Go big! We're here to support you along the way. 

Your biggest fans in health and wellness, 

Angela and Team TRANSFORM