2016 Fab Fall Cleanse

The seasons are changing and it’s time to turn over a new leaf with One Healthy Hamptons’ new and improved FAB fall cleanse! Commit today to this five-day real-food plan and get ready to welcome the crisp fall season with open arms and tons of energy, confidence, and deliciousness!

leaf7Let’s get back to the basics with whole foods, tasty seasonal recipes, and life-changing wellness tips! This plan provides a guide for a five-day clean eating program to fuel your body with super foods, flush toxins, kick-start healthier habits, and restore energy. It’s not a quick fix, a diet, or a juice fast. With over 20 simple recipes, Kiley, founder of OHH and Nutritionist, created this program with your well-being and busy lifestyle in mind.

Within days of starting the plan, you’ll feel better, lighter, more energized, inspired, balanced, and ready to embrace fall! Best of all, you’ll pay a fraction of the cost of a juice cleanse, one that often results in exhaustion, irritability, slowed metabolism,  interrupted routine, and ironically, post-cleanse weight gain. Skip the sipping and choose real, fresh, delicious seasonal foods!

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Simply email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com with subject “cleanse” for sign-up instructions. The program cost just $35 ($30 for subscribers!) and will be sent via email immediately. You’ll receive practical nutrition and wellness advice, a full grocery list, and countless recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, and drinks. The structure is simple, flexible, and easy to follow, regardless of your busy lifestyle. Hop on board and feel fab in just days!

MP900227717Once you have purchased the OHH Fabulous Fall Cleanse, you own it and are free to use it at your own convenience, anytime you’d like. As summer winds down and our schedules ramp up, it’s more crucial than ever to put yourself and your health first. This is step one to doing just that.

One Healthy Breakdown: Refresh, renew, and cleanse away the old. Welcome the new!

Surround Yourself with Inspiration

Have you ever heard the saying: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Well, I’d like to take things a little bit further.

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Not only are you a product of your relationships but you are a product of your environment, the foods you eat, and the thoughts you consume. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with supportive, positive, like-minded, AND open-minded individuals. When you start to surround yourself with people who inspire you, you’ll start to raise your vibrational aura and everything else starts to fall into place. THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK! As long as, you too, have your back.

For today, my advice for you is to find the healthiest and happiest person you can stand and spend as much time with them as possible. When you are choosy about who you spend your time with, you are setting yourself up for success in the future. If you ensure that you’re surrounded by inspiration, you’ll never have trouble finding it when you’re in need.

One Healthy Breakdown: Surround yourself with greatness, eat greatness, think greatness, and be greatness!

*Check Alexa out at alexagundermann.com and stay tuned for some healthy collaboration events in the Hamptons this summer!

February’s Tiny Change: Eat More Plants

*This post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one small, super doable change-over a year it really adds up! Read about all changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges!

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits associated with eating a plant-based diet, like reducing your risk of heart disease, lowering your blood pressure, and adding years to your life. Food experts, nutritionists, and dietitians may disagree about the right diet, but amidst these debates, they have always been able to agree on at least one thing: MORE PLANTS = GOOD.

This month’s tiny change is just that – tiny. No need to cut foods out, restrict, or diet. Simply add more plant-based foods and recipes to your cooking repertoire. If you’re already eating a largely plant-based diet, wonderful! Try something new and interesting like DIY nut milk. If you’ve yet to dip your toe into plant-based cooking, start easy with something like chia seed pudding.

You don’t have to eat less or cut out anything. Just add more vibrant colors, nutrients, and variety to your meals. If a few of those delectable plant-based dishes happen to replace the less-than-healthy ones in your repertoire, that’s just a bonus! So what constitutes “plant-based,” exactly? Great question! Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and oils are all fair game – all things that originally stem from plants (pun intended!)

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Here are five ways you can make this tiny change easy and awesome!

1. Incorporate these plant-based foods into the way you already eat

The best thing about plant-based foods? You can fold them into absolutely any eating style – they’re totally inclusive! Eating Paleo? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Locavore or seasonal eater? Great, simply add more plants to your daily routine!

2. View this as an opportunity to experiment with new recipes + types of food
Consider this a little nudge to explore new recipes or make reservations at a new restaurant. Asian, Indian, and Ethiopian cuisines include lots of plant-based dishes, many featuring interesting spices and flavor combinations. Give them all a try!

Instead of trying to plant-i-fy existing dishes, why not try something totally different? We’re much more likely to enjoy a recipe (and make it again) if we eat it with an open mind…rather than thinking “this was much better when I made it with a whole stick of butter…” This tiny change gives you the perfect excuse to push yourself toward easy experimentation and more adventurous eating.

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3. Know that this isn’t just about smoothies and salads
Gotta love a good green smoothie, but there are tons of luscious, decadent plant-based foods out there. In fact, if you want to try just one new plant-based recipe a week this month, how about some delicious oatmeal, hummuscookies, PB & J, sweet chocolate avocado mousse, and even ice cream?! Plant dishes can be sweet, savory, warm, chilled, and satisfy just about any craving!

4. Swap in one plant-based dish for one meat or dairy dish

Rather than overhauling your entire meal, try just swapping one dish. Munch on a batch of homemade veggie burgers and sweet potato fries for your Friday night Netflix marathon or warm up with butternut squash soup for meatless Monday. Whip up a balanced meal, use DIY nut milk in your smoothie or make guacamole instead of french onion dip. Just one tiny swap at a time; you’ll be amazed how easy it is to eat more plants!

5. Choose plant-based dishes when you’re eating out or grocery shopping

Now, you know I’m a huge advocate of DIY-ing, but most of us are short on time and long on obligations. Who among us hasn’t picked up dinner on the way home from a hectic day?

Remember, there are a surprising number of plant-based options at your local grocery store, and maybe even your favorite restaurant. Grab a tub of guac, baba ganoush, hummus or even black bean dip. Check out the salad bar for freshly prepared veggies, grains, and plant-based proteins to add to a bed of greens.

When you’re eating out, soups, salads, and vegetarian entrees are often plant-based, (and delicious) so give it a try. To help kickoff this tiny change, you could win amazing prizes and tools to fill up your plate with as many colors and nutrients as possible. You’ll be amazed by how simple it is to eat more plants. And the best part? This easy, delicious tiny change can set you on the road to a healthier heart, longer life, and happier body!

One Healthy Breakdown: Crack open you cookbooks and get ready to veg out!

New Year Kick Start

Raise your hand if all that eating, drinking, and being merry took a little toll on you over the holidays. Ditto. Let’s move on and move up with this New Year Kick Start. We’re focusing on starting the year off feeling our absolute best…no juice cleanse included (you’re welcome!)

Your liver and kidneys constantly cleanse your body, so a typical juice/flush cleanse is just not necessary, healthy, or any fun at all! This kick start will “detox,” “cleanse,” and “reset;” however, instead of solely ridding the bad stuff, we’ll actually replace it with healthy goodness! Instead of focusing on deprivation, we’ll focus on fuel and fulfillment. Lets set precedents to make the next year (not just the next week) your healthiest, happiest yet!

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Although these tips are meant to be followed indefinitely, aim to be more strict this week, hence the term ‘kick start.’ With that said, everybody (and every body) is different, so do what works for you, your body, and your lifestyle.

  • Reduce your consumption of processed foods, fatty meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Increase your consumption of fruits and veggies. Try to buy in-season and organic whenever possible, especially for the dirty dozen. Frozen organic produce is great too, as availability is limited in the winter and frozen produce maintains its nutrients.
  • Incorporate whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and lean protein in moderation, but keep veggies the center of attention. For example, trade your taco or sandwich for a salad or use lettuce wraps instead of bread/tacos.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with water, water, water (tea, kombucha, and sparkling water are good options too.) Aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

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  • Start each morning with lemon water to stimulate your cleansing organs, boost metabolism, and aid digestion.
  • Include some sauerkraut or kimchi in your diet for a healthy gut.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Your body will not efficiently burn food if your stomach is empty, so be sure to eat breakfast within about an hour of waking (click here for breakfast recipes.)
  • Aim to move your body for 30-60 minutes every day, weather it’s a morning run, group fitness class, afternoon walk, yoga session, strength training, etc. Just do something, preferably something that you enjoy. Your body and mind will thank you.
  • Have a green smoothie a day, preferably in the morning to optimize nutritional benefits.

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  • Keep things simple by making big salads and veggie-based soups to keep on hand.

Here’s a quick and easy Detox Soup Recipe: using a Vitamix or high-speed blender, combine 8 ounces of bone broth, (or veggie/chicken broth ) 1 zucchini, (raw) 1 handful of greens, (romaine, spinach, or kale) 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped scallions, 1 teaspoon basil, thyme, and other herbs of choice, 1/4 lemon, and 1/3 cup chickpeas. Heat mixture on stove and enjoy. Makes two servings.

  • If you find your sweet tooth ramping up, have fruit or tea. Low sugar fruits include grapefruit, berries, papaya, melon, and green apples. The fiber in fruit hinders sugar absorption, so don’t feel bad about eating a banana either! If you experience night cravings but are not physically hungry, brush your teeth and tell yourself that the kitchen is closed…until tomorrow. Just stepping out of the kitchen is sometimes enough to banish cravings and revert your mind.

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  • Tune in to your body’s cravings for warming, comforting winter eats. It only makes sense that our eating style should change with the seasons, just like the clothes that we wear.
  • Chew food slowly and eat consciously. Taking the time to tune in, chew each bite mindfully, and truly enjoy the pleasure that food brings fosters healthy digestion and satisfaction.
  • Why not take some time to clean out your fridge, pantry, and even closets? As you shop for replacements, keep foods, products, and cleaning products au natural.
  • Sleep a full eight hours as much as possible and make time for self-care and meditation. The way in which you treat your body and mind is just as important as the food you eat.

If you’d like more information about proper portions, reading labels, or a personalized meal plan, please email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com to set up a personalized nutrition & wellness consultation today. We’ll start working towards your personal goals together.

One Healthy Breakdown: “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas!” ~ anonymous

Healthy Holiday Eating with Bloom & Spark

Aside from cozy fires, warm sweaters, and time with family, the holidays are often full of endless parties and copious amounts of food. There’s no need to deprive ourselves; it goes against the abundance and gratitude that the season brings. Here’s how staying present at the party can help you to in maneuver tricky situations and feel your best:

food-sweet-cookies-christmasBefore the party, make a plan and stick to it. Think ahead what you will eat and what you won’t eat to feel good about yourself. By planning ahead, you can have what you like without going overboard. Maybe you skip fried food, minimize sweets, or limit drinks. Maybe you make a compromise with yourself – have the dessert but skip the appetizers. You could stay near the veggie plate while you chat to avoid mindlessly devouring the plate of pigs in a blanket. You could bring your own homemade dish to ensure that you at least have something healthy to eat. Whatever your game plan is, decide ahead of time and stick to your plan! Eating a light meal or healthy snack at home before you go to the party will ensure that you don’t grab whatever is in front of you out of hunger. These superfood balls may be just the trick to your nutritious and delicious pre-party plan.

IMG_5792Bloom & Spark’s Superfood Balls:

Superfood balls are really popular right now for good reason! The great thing about them is that once you have the base, you can really add anything you want to make them your own. Start with dates and nuts in the food processor and feel free to add coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maca, goji berries, chocolate, even essential oils like peppermint and cinnamon. You could even roll them in ground up candy canes for a festive and tasty holiday touch! These are also the perfect thing to bring to a party if you want to avoid sugary desserts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 10 dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp maca powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions: Mix everything (except the cocoa powder) in a food processor. Once all ingredients are incorporated, take out half of the mixture and set it aside in a bowl (if you want to make half of the batch chocolate like I did.) Add the cocoa powder to the mixture that’s still in the processor. (If the mixture is a little dry you can add 1-2 tsp of water while it’s still in the food processor to moisten.) Roll both mixtures into bite size balls and let them cool in the refrigerator before serving/eating. Yum!

IMG_5800*Caroline O’Neill is a year round Hamptons resident and health and wellness lifestyle blogger of Bloom & Spark with a passion for nutrition, yoga, food, spirituality and personal development.

 

December’s Tiny Change: Move Your Body Every Day

OHH Intro: This month’s #12tinychanges is something near and dear to our heart at OHH; movement and we practice what we preach! This is the perfect tiny change to get out the holiday stress. Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s take on daily movement.

I know what you’re thinking: “it’s the holidays. The last thing I have time for is exercise! I am so, so, SO busy. I barely have time to even think about it!” Trust me, I get it. Hear me out…

First off, let’s call it “movement,” not exercise. A lot of us have negative associations with the word “exercise.” We immediately picture getting chosen last in gym class, dancing awkwardly in the back row of a Zumba class, or taking a beating during bootcamp. Let’s reframe, shall we? What if we simply aim to move our bodies every day—and that movement can take whatever form we like?

moveYour daily movement can be a long walk to the farmer’s market or a hike with the dogs. It can be two hours of raking leaves, an hour of cleaning, or 30 minutes of playing tag with kids. It might even be a one-person dance party in between all the holiday baking. You get the point. Just make it your goal to “move my body every day.”

During the winter—and especially the holiday season—we need to move our bodies more than ever. This is a time when many of us fall out of our routines and make promises to get back on track after the new year. But movement helps us manage the stress of holiday shopping, packed social calendars, and trips to see family. Movement also helps us cope with the inevitable ”seasonal mopes” that accompany lower temperatures and less daylight.

When we move around (in any way), we’re more patient, more focused, and more relaxed—all things that come in handy any time, but especially when you’ve got to wrap 67 presents, attend holiday parties, and travel for hours on crowded roads and packed airports with everyone and their mother!

If you’re ready for this month’s tiny change, here are seven easy ways to make movement part of your daily routine:

1. View it as respite
You’re not “going to that cardio class you hate,” instead you’re “taking a hike in the gorgeous, crisp air.” You’re not “attending that dreaded spin class,” instead you’re “clearing your head with a walk around the neighborhood” or “going to that amazing yoga class.” Rather than thinking of movement as mandatory exercise, think of it as time away from all the tasks and to-do lists to clear your head. Movement can be a break and a breather, not an obligation.

2. Give yourself the right fuel
It’s hard to move your body when you haven’t nourished it properly. Make it easier by loading up on proper fuel. I swear by a tasty bowl of oatmeal, berry good bars, pumpkin bread, or even chocolate squares. Stay hydrated and help out those sore muscles with a green smoothie. Or go for the ever popular avocado toast—and add an egg or other nutritional boosts to help refuel and recover.

IMG_19643. After you’ve moved your body, notice how good you feel
That serene, accomplished feeling you have after you’ve moved your body? Notice it. Do you have more energy? Are your endorphins running? Acknowledge the feeling. Say to yourself “I feel great and that’s because I moved my body.” When you mentally pair a positive emotion with a physical act, you’re more likely to make it a part of your daily life!

4. Rather than meeting for drinks, meet your friends to move
It’s cheaper, it’s healthier, and it’s a great way to bond. Just get outside wherever you are. Walk around town, meet for a run, head to a fun class, or bundle up on a stroll along the beachfront. If it’s really too cold, take it inside and cruise around the mall before it opens (window shopping optional!)

5. Embrace winter and the unique activities that go with it
Instead of hunkering down and hibernating, what if we welcomed the snow and ice with open arms? Colder temperatures bring activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating!

6. Do more of your favorite active hobbies
I bet movement is already part of your life—maybe you’re taking fitness classes or playing with your pups. What if you simply did more of what you’re already doing? Add another weekly sculpt workout, get on your mat every afternoon for 10 minutes, or tack-on an extra few miles to your bike ride. If you’ve found something that works for you, do it more!

7. Remember that every step counts + you’ll never regret moving your body
When your calendar is overflowing and you can’t fit in an hour-long workout, it’s easy to throw in the towel and throw yourself on the couch. Try an at-home workout that fits into your schedule. If you don’t have time or you’re not in the mood, just add a tiny bit more movement to your day—take the stairs, park further away, add two more blocks when you walk the dogs. They all add up!

And if you need a movement pep talk? No one ever says, “Ugh, I sure wish I hadn’t hiked to that beautiful overlook” or “starting my day with yoga was such a terrible idea!” Once you get moving, you’ll be glad you did. Doing creates more doing—a little bit of intention and movement affects everything. You’ll feel like a happier & more energetic version of yourself all day long!

Kale & Chocolate will be giving away some great prizes to get your endorphins pumping! To enter, simply share your movement on instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges and tag (and follow!) @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley.

One Healthy Breakdown: movement is medicine, so get moving!

Healthy Holidays OHH Style

The magic of the holiday season surrounds us and we’re determined to make it through feeling healthy, happy, grounded, rested, well-fed, balanced, and ready for 2016!

IMG_3036Although it’s easy as pie to cut sleep, eat all the cookies, skip breakfast, have another cocktail, and end up completely burned out, tired, bloated, hungover, guilty, and miserable come January, let’s not!

hangoverOHH’s #HealthyHoliday Tips:

Keep it simple: yes, there will be parties and cocktails, gingerbread, latkes, toasts, roasts, cookie exchanges, peppermint bark, and a hundred reasons to indulge. And that’s ok. But all of those ‘extras’ sure do add up. To offset the indulgences, keep things simple at home. No need to make a three-course meal; instead, allow yourself permission to keep things light and basic. Make a “kitchen sink” salad, smoothie, or snack – just make sure you’re using whole foods. Keeping meals simple allows our body to maximize digestion and nutrient-absorption. Here’s a super simple salad made of arugula, sauerkraut, tomatoes, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs for your dose of greens, probiotics, healthy fat and protein all in one!

FullSizeRender3Eat your veggies: there’s no way around it – veggies are healthy and you must eat them. Don’t fret, you can easily increase your veggie intake in a yummy, easy way. Try making a meal that centers around vegetables instead of meat or pasta, like a meatless stir fry, hearty soup, or holiday smoothie. We don’t often give veggies the opportunity to be the main attraction, but doing so is a super simple, healthy, and affordable way to fuel our bodies. Secondly, try replacing your usual comfort foods with veggie-loaded options. Instead of your go-to mashed potatoes, try cauliflower mash. Forget the french fries and instead roast a new variation of squash, like acorn, delicata, spaghetti, butternut, kobucha, or pumpkin. When you’re urged to grab chips or crackers to snack on, eat crudite to satisfy that craving for a crunch.

Treat yo’self: we’ve said it before and we’ll say again – it’s all about balance. Let go of the labels and ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. Indulging in holiday treats is not only acceptable, it’s actually good for you! Consciously eating food that gives you immense pleasure can fulfill your heart, satisfy your cravings, and feed your soul. Whether it’s a family recipe that you look forward to every year or a new discovery on your journey, choose to indulge wisely and enjoy every single bite.

balancedNews flash: it’s not just about the treats. Or the veggies. Indulge in something that has absolutely nothing to do with food, like a bubble bath, scented candle, holiday movie, pedicure, song download, nature walk, novel, dance party, magazine, TV marathon, or anything that makes you feel pampered and rejuvenated. Just like we deserve to enjoy the cookie, we deserve a break, some self-care, and even a good nap!

Move and be still: we already established that most of us will be indulging a bit this season and that is A ok…as long as we remember to move (ie: exercise) and be still (ie: meditate/sleep/breathe.) Schedule your workouts (and your stillness) as you would meetings and don’t skip ’em. Get your turkey trot on, try a new class, rake leaves, shovel snow…whatever it takes to stay active and accountable. And mindful. Taking time to slow down, live in the moment, and embrace the holiday spirit is equally as important. Combine the moving and the stillness with a yoga class or non-workout workout. Sweat, enjoy, breathe, repeat.

One Healthy Breakdown: here’s to spreading health and holiday cheer this year!

Healthy Holidays at The Beach

Jamie Lerner is a private in-home fitness trainer and studio instructor specializing in flexibility, strength, core power, alignment, and balance as well as cardio and dance. How does Jamie stay healthy through the holiday season in the Hamptons? Here’s how:

IMG_4670Gratitude + inspiration. I’m grateful for the love and support that is all around us, it’s always available if we let it in. I’m grateful for the comforts of the privileged life we live here. I’m inspired by the millions of people on earth who devote their lives to helping others who suffer.

Healthy Thanksgiving. Whenever I’m home for Thanksgiving, I like to offer a fitness class that morning. This year is no exception. It gives us a feeling of community, an hour or so to put the preparations and fuss and visitors aside to take care of ourselves, and offers the best possible insurance that we’ll feel so much better before, during, and after the feast! And then I teach a cardio class Friday morning to help burn it all off!

Mindfulness tricks. No tricks! Plenty of treats! It helps to keep in mind that a treat means something out of the ordinary, not something you consume or experience every day. When you get an impulse or craving for something that qualifies as a treat, try filing it under “hm, sounds good! Let me hold off on that today, maybe tomorrow.” The next time that impulse arises, punt it again and continue to enjoy the anticipation. You may forget about it entirely or the special situation presents itself to treat yourself. It could be food or drink, an activity, a big purchase, or another indulgence. As for staying healthy, my fitness/dance/movement practice has gotten me through cancer, heartbreak, the blues, anxiety, and continues to sustain me as I contend with the aging process. That, and spending as much time as I can with dogs!

IMG_1691It’s also good to remember that even though it’s getting colder and we’re busy-busy-busy, the beach is always there, year round, waiting to calm us down, open us up, and reconnect us to life.

One Healthy Breakdown: What a great reminder – we sure are lucky to be surrounded by beach and beauty in the Hamptons! Happy holidays, Jamie, and thank you for sharing your insight!

*Until January, 2016, we’ll be spreading health through the holiday season here in the Hamptons! If you’d like to share your own holiday tip, trick, tradition, recipe, etc. as part of OHH’s #HealthyHolidays, email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com.

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November’s Tiny Change: Get More Sleep

OHH Intro: Sleep refuels and rejuvenates us, allowing us to keep on keepin’ on. This is the perfect tiny change with substantial lasting effects on all aspects of our health and happiness. Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s rundown of how to get a better night’s sleep, every night.

SammyIf you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month we’re implementing one super small, super doable change—it really adds up over the course of a year! You can read about all the changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges.

We’ve turned our clocks back and the sun is setting on darkness earlier and earlier as we approach winter. Our internal clocks will be re-setting, gearing up for what feels like hibernation, while our lives remain full of plans, hectic schedules, and the upcoming holidays. So it makes sense that this month’s 12 Tiny Changes Challenge is all about sleep!

By now, you probably know that you should be getting more sleep. In fact, there is evidence that only 40% of Americans are getting the recommended amount of shuteye! We can do better. Our lives and our bodies deserve better.

Lack of sleep has a cumulative effect. It reduces our immunity and slows our metabolism. It makes us more prone to stress and raises our cortisol levels. It makes us grumpy, irritable, and more likely to make less-than-great decisions.

Waking up poorly-rested can trigger a domino effect that throws off your whole day. You hit the snooze button (three times), rush through your hair and makeup routine, and gulp down a less-than-healthy breakfast (if anything at all.) You then stumble into work with low blood sugar, a foul mood, and a messy ponytail. Is it a surprise that your meeting goes poorly, your lunch is a whole pizza, and you road rage on the way home? It may seem like a no-brainer, but when we’re well-rested, these things are a lot less likely to happen.

If you know you should be getting more sleep, you probably are familiar with the basics of how to do it. No caffeine after 2 pm. Put down the phone. Shut off the TV. Make sure your room is dark, cool, and relaxing.

Here’s another tool to your ‘more sleep toolbox’. I call it: the nighttime ritual. A nighttime ritual is any set of behaviors or activities that help you wind down and decompress before bed to get you ready for the eight hours of sleep you need. These are things that calm and center you, preparing you for that deep, restorative sleep that will make the next day easier…and more productive!

Here are some of my favorite nighttime rituals.

1. A soothing evening snack or drink.
We are all familiar with the wisdom to “eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” Although we do sleep better on a stomach that isn’t too full, we don’t want to wake up at 3 am starving. I like to keep my dinners light, so if I need a nighttime snack, I’ll munch on a handful of walnuts or cherries, both of which are natural sources of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness).

If you like to wind down with something comforting & cozy, you can’t beat the extra TLC you feel with a healing turmeric latte or a warming cup of herbal tea. An apple with nut butter gives you a generous serving of fiber with a bit of healthy fat and protein, while bananas are filled with magnesium, potassium and tryptophan—minerals that relax your body to help you get a bit more shut eye. (A little nice cream, anyone?)

2. Get tomorrow out of your head and onto paper.
Do you do that thing where you lay in bed, stare at the ceiling, and mentally compile pages of to-do lists? Yeah, me too. Let’s stop. If you take five minutes each night to write down your next-day tasks, you won’t have to lie awake worrying that you forgot something.

For bonus points, write your to-do list on paper (so you won’t get sucked into your computer or phone) and do this somewhere other than your bedroom. Then leave it there – far, far away from your bed. Total game-changer!

3. Prepare for tomorrow so you can truly relax once you’re in bed.
Your future self will thank you for this! Spend 20 minutes laying out your clothes for the next day and making sure you have what you need (and enough time) for breakfast. When you prep ahead, you eliminate any thoughts about stressful mornings that could keep you up at night in addition to maximizing your sleep the following morning!

4. Try a little bit of stretching or gentle movement.
I like to move through a few yoga poses before bed, or even just sit on the floor and stretch. It helps me work out the kinks of the day and signal to my body that we’re slowing down. Even just a few conscious deep breaths may be enough to make that shift.

5. Make your preparations for bed as lovely and luxurious as possible.
I know it’s tempting to quickly wash your face and then pull on some old sweats, but it’s so much nicer to make bedtime into a sweet, relaxing ritual. What if you spent half an hour relaxing in the bathtub? Or found a pair of cozy pajamas you really liked? Or made your moisturizing process into a mini massage? What if you splurged on Egyptian cotton sheets and a few pillows that perfectly meet your fluffiness needs? You’re a lot more likely to get ready for bed in a timely matter if you actually enjoy the process!

6. Practice gratitude.
A gratitude practice can help put things in perspective, especially if you’re feeling a little low. It can be done by writing your thoughts down in a special journal, sharing the highlights of your day with your partner/roommate/pet, or just mentally thanking life for the good things it served up today. If you’re stuck, remember you can be grateful for anything. I’ve even written, “I’m thankful that my dogs are happy and healthy.” This is such a great practice to do, not only around Thanksgiving!

7. Feel good with soothing essential oils.
Essential oils are one of my favorite pantry staples, but I use them for more than salad dressing! Rose and lavender oils relieve stress and bergamot is said to alleviate mild anxiety. Of course, you can simply breathe in your essential oil of choice, but you can also add a few drops to a bath or to the floor of your shower. I love these recipes for calming essential oil face mists.

8. Cuddle someone who loves you.
Your cuddle buddy can be your kids, your partner, or your pet! Whomever you cuddle, the benefits are the same; cuddling has been shown to boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels. Plus, it’s a fun and calming and the perfect way to end your day.

This month, I’m doing the challenge right alongside you. Getting enough sleep is something that I really struggle with. So, I’m ready for more + better sleep!

To help get you excited for this month’s challenge, Kale & Chocolate will be giving away some awesome sleep-inducing prizes, including bath powders, essential oils, eye-masks, and more. To enter, simply share your nighttime rituals on instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges and tag (and follow!) @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley. Show us your cup of tea, your meditation space, your fur babies, your nighttime snack…anything that helps you feel calm and centered before dosing off to sleep. So, tuck yourself in and sleep tight!

One Healthy Breakdown: in order to live life to the fullest, we must sleep in between!

Are YOU Hydrated?!

Stay hydrated! Eight glasses a day! Water, water, water! H20 all day! We hear it all the time…but why? Is hydration overrated? Do we really need that much water every single day?

Water_drop_impact_on_a_water-surface_-_(1)If you’re short on time, the answer is no, hydration is not overrated. Yes, we really need to drink a LOT of water…every single day.

So, how much water are we talkin’ here? Turns out the eight glasses a day may not actually be enough. More recent research suggests drinking half your body weight in ounces. For example, someone who ways 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of water daily. Remember, drink even more if you’re exercising or spending long periods of time in the heat (hey, summer sun, I’m talking to you.)

Here are a few more numbers for ya: water makes up about 60% of your body weight, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and hydration can increase your metabolism up to 3%. That’s more calories burned simply by drinking water!

Water also cleanses our system naturally, energizes our muscles, and averts cravings. Oh, and another thing: this just in, dehydration causes a hangover. Proper hydration prevents a hangover. So, drink up and then drink some more! If you’re going to follow just one nutrition tip, make it hydration. Get a (BPA free) water bottle or two and take it everywhere with you. Drink at least one glass first thing in the morning (lemon water, anyone?) and sip consistently throughout the day. What else counts? Great question. Seltzer, club soda, tea, iced tea, and hydrating foods (watermelon, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, radishes, etc.) If plain water bores you, spice it up with fun additions and natural concoctions.

One Healthy Breakdown: cheers to being a hydration station!