April’s Tiny Change: Eat More Color

This month, our #tinychange is to add more color to our plates. There are lots of reasons to load up on deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables, but for me, one the best reason is that it makes me happy! We feel invigorated and energized just looking at brightly colored meals (not to mention all the health benefits our bodies get from eating them!)

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Consider this the food version of tucking away your black winter sweaters and dull wool coats and pulling out your bright, colorful sundresses and fun tops: we all look better and shine brighter with a pop of color, even our meals. Here are my five favorite reasons to add more color to your plate:

1. Count colors!
Counting carbs, weighing food, and tracking calories can be effective for some, but they’re surefire ways to suck the joy and fun out of eating. The act of measuring and counting also reinforces the beliefs that healthy living is hard, time consuming, and unenjoyable. Not true!

Healthy foods are colorful foods. Think about it: Black wild rice and brown rice are healthier than white rice; orange sweet potatoes are filled with more phytonutrients than white potatoes; dark green spinach is better for us than light iceberg lettuce; freshly spiralized green zucchini noodles are more nutritious than white noodles. When you choose your foods based on color, making healthy choices is as easy (and fun!) as stocking your fridge with the vibrant colors of the rainbow.

2. Color Crowds Out Clutter
Balance over (hence the name Kale & Chocolate!) but the reality is: we have limited space on our plates and in our stomachs. When we add more color to our meals, there is less room for the not-so-healthy colorless clutter.

Rather than telling yourself that you can never eat pasta again, what if you made yourself a big green salad and tossed your pasta with colorful grilled vegetables? You’d need a lot less pasta to feel satisfied, your plate would be filled with nutritious, colorful foods…and you’d still get to eat the pasta that you love! It’s not about taking away food, it’s about adding color!

Swap your plain store-bought hummus (most likely chemical ridden) for this pretty Beet & Basil Hummus with a rainbow of chopped veggies!

3. More Color = More Nutrients
I’m fascinated by the science of healthy eating; it’s one of the reasons that I studied plant-based nutrition. When we eat colorful foods, we consume more micronutrients (the vitamins and minerals that are vital to development, disease prevention, and well-being).

If you want to make sure you’re getting sufficient nutrients, but you’re not particularly interested in reading labels or researching which foods are high in which vitamins and minerals, simply add a variety of colorful produce to your plate. When you eat all the hues of the rainbow, you’re naturally eating a micronutrient-rich diet. It’s that easy!

Swap bland protein shakes for a beautiful vibrant smoothie bowl with fun toppings.

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4. Food Love is Self-Love
Think about plain old beige oatmeal versus gorgeous, colorful, creative, and nutrient-dense carrot cake oatmeal. Which meal has more love? Like the vibrant hues of spring, color brings warmth and comfort to your plate. Show yourself love by preparing beautiful, colorful meals.

Swap a simple salad for a Super Summer Salad for more colors, flavors, and nutrients!

5. No Season is More Colorful than Spring
As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more and more amazing foods appear at the farmers’ market: spears of tender asparagus, creamy avocados, red beets, green broccoli, and gorgeous strawberries are coming into season right now. There is no better, easier, more delicious, and more affordable time to add color to your meals!

*This post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge, implementing one monthly 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 tagging @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley! Yes, there are prizes involved!

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One Healthy Breakdown: Here’s to eating the colors of the rainbow and a bright, vibrant spring!

March’s Tiny Change: Notice Your Subconscious Thoughts About Food

*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. (Did I mention that there are lots of theme-related GIVEAWAYS each month?! Read on!)

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For the last six months, we’ve been making teeny, tiny, totally doable changes in the direction of creating and sustaining healthier lives. So far, we’ve talked about how we fuel our bodies (eating breakfast every day, trying plant-based foods, cooking at home, and moving and resting our bodies.) But a perfectly fueled, well-rested body won’t do us any good if it’s home to a negative, pessimistic, self-critical mind.

Have you ever found yourself having unkind thoughts like these?

“I can’t believe I ate all that pasta. Gross. I’m so weak.”

“How do I keep screwing this up? I told myself I wasn’t going to overeat and here I am, stuffed, unhappy, and guilty. I should be better than this.”

“I know that dairy upsets my stomach, but I just ate half a pint of ice cream. I’m so bad.”

I recognize them myself because this is something that I struggled with for ages. If I ate too much, I’d say mean things to myself. If I didn’t eat enough vegetables, ate mindlessly, or if told myself that I wasn’t going to finish the rest of the hummus and then when I did—I’d berate myself.

This food-related stress and anxiety isn’t just emotionally unhealthy: it’s physically unhealthy. Marc David, my mentor and founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explains that our thoughts quite literally affect how our bodies function. Guilt and other negative, stress-related emotions trigger the release of cortisol, which can cause us to store more calories as body fat.

Thinking negative, stress-inducing thoughts after a meal impacts our digestion and nutrient assimilation and removes any pleasure we might have experienced while eating the food. To put it simply: the thoughts we think about the food we eat instantly become the reality in our bodies via the central nervous system.

By now, we’ve heard “you are what you eat,” but you are also what you think! This month, let’s commit to stopping unkind thoughts before they even start. We can rewire our mind to be more positive. Here are three steps to help you release negative food and body chatter, once and for all:

1. Take note of when and how you say these things to yourself.
For many of us, these unkind thoughts are mental background noise. We’ve heard them so many times, playing on repeat in our heads, that we don’t even notice them anymore. Whether we are aware of them or not, they affect our self-esteem, our choices, and the chemicals in our bodies. Noticing these thoughts is the first step to healing our relationships with food and our bodies.

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2. Speak to yourself the way you’d speak to a young child or a dear friend.
We would never, ever tell a friend that she was “weak” for having a second serving of brownies, but for years I’d say things like this—and worse!—to myself. When I finally realized that my negative self-talk was a problem, I struggled to find positive, supportive things to say to myself. If you’re in the same boat, talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a dear friend or a young child.

“You’re doing your best.”

“You made the most of a tough situation.”

“You’re doing a great job—keep it up!”

“I’m proud of you.”

When we give ourselves the same amount of love and attention that we give other people, our internal dialogue begins to shift. This can feel a little awkward at first, but keep the conversation going! Training a new behavior takes time, and once it’s ingrained, you’ll have swapped a harmful, unhealthy, and counter-productive habit for a positive, uplifting, healthy one. Using kind, supportive language in your conversations with yourself will help ease the food stress—and more!

3. Remember that you are the creator of your thoughts, so you can change them.
When we tune into our inner dialogue, it’s easy to feel out of control. It can seem as though we’re being forced to listen to a radio station where a mean (or even spiteful!) DJ isn’t taking requests.

But it’s important to remember that our thoughts—both good and bad—originate from us. We are the creators of our thoughts, so we are capable of changing them. I can say to myself, “That’s how I was for the last XX years, but I don’t want to be like that any more. This changes now.”

Your mind is a one-person radio station—and you are the only one who gets to choose the playlist. Believe it or not, it’s all up to you! You can even try this trick for re-routing your internal monologue: The next time you start to hear the same unkind chatter that plays on repeat, I want you to actually think (or say!) the words: “Stop. Change the station.”

Imagine reaching out toward the knob on your car radio and turning the dial. Or imagine pulling the headphones out of your iPhone and being greeted with glorious (and peaceful!) silence. Try it. You won’t believe how effective this can be!

Changing the way you think is a journey that requires a lot of focus and effort. Be gentle with yourself during this process and try not to get down on yourself when and if you have those negative thoughts again. They’re bound to resurface occasionally. Awareness is the first step here!

To help you have kinder & more loving thoughts, I’ve teamed up with some incredible partners to give you awesome and supportive tools for this month’s challenge. Simply join the conversation #12tinychanges on instragam and tag @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley.

One Healthy Breakdown: What you think is just as important as what you eat. And the only person who can change your mind is YOU.

Word of the Year

What if planning for the new year felt thrilling? Exciting? Fun and invigorating? I don’t know about you, but when I was in the habit of making yearly resolutions, they most certainly did not feel like that.  Coming up with a New Year’s promises to myself was more like an exercise in shame and disappointment; it seemed to highlight all the ways my previous year hadn’t quite measured up.

Add to that the stress of planning goals and changes for the next year, and it became a recipe for disaster! At the end of 2013, I changed the way I thought about my coming year and instantly, everything felt lighter, easier, and more loving.

What did I do? I chose a word of the year. In 2015, I picked the word trust. In 2014, my word was simplify. My “word of the year” anchors my daily life. It helps me focus. It guides the work I do, the choices I make, and the way I navigate my everyday. When I feel adrift, I remember my word of the year and come back to myself & my goals for 2016.

word-of-the-year-2015-bMy word for 2016? Spaciousness. Sounds nice & relaxing, doesn’t it?

This means making space in my day for a spontaneous game of fetch with my dogs or a leisurely stroll through the farmers’ market. It means finally making space for the book I’ve always wanted to write. It means prepping food on Sunday in a non-stressful manner… and then having space to kick back and enjoy my evenings without worrying about what’s for dinner during the week.

Spaciousness1-editedIt’s resisting the desire to schedule, map out, and micro-manage every single last detail. It’s saying “no” comfortably to make room to say “YES!” It’s greeting life and opportunities with open arms.

But the word that works for me is not necessarily the word that works for you. Maybe you’d like 2016 to feel focused or connected or inspired. Or perhaps you want ease or to be more playful.

Choosing a word of the year has grounded me and changed the course of my next trip around the sun—and I want that for you, too! Here are three steps that will get you started:

1. Think about how you want your life to look and feel
In order to keep traditional resolutions, we usually end up counting calories, dollars, or social media followers. We track numbers and assess our success based on said numbers.

But when you navigate your new year with a single word as your beacon, the new year slowly shifts into something easier and sweeter. A “successful” year is a year that looks and feels the way we want it to look and feel.

Peer through the window of your Future Dream Life and really imagine the specifics. Would it look like Fridays off, getting a manicure with your best friend? Would it look like more quality time with your kids? How would you spend that time with them? What would you talk about? Would your Future Dream Life look like a night out in the city? Who would you be with? What would you be wearing?

And how do you want it to feel? Do you want to feel free? Supported? Seen? Imagine the way you want your heart and mind to feel every day and then choose a word accordingly.

2. Trust your intuition
Choosing your word of the year is a lot easier than you’d expect. You don’t necessarily have to labor over this decision; you likely don’t need to turn this over in your mind a thousand times.

Really think about the past year. What worked? What didn’t? If you’re honest with yourself, you probably already know how you’d like next year to be different. If a word immediately springs to mind and it feels right in your gut, you’ve found your word. Congratulations!

3. Now consider how you can apply this word to your whole life
“Supported”’ at home means something different than “supported” in your professional life. And “connected” to your body is different than being “connected” to your partner.

How does your word apply in the context of work? At home? Does it affect the way you move your body or the choices you make around food? Will it change the way you use technology?

When you take the time to imagine the way your word applies to all the areas of your life, you’re ready to make that word happen—everywhere.

Now it’s your turn to identify your word for the new year. Good luck!

One Healthy Breakdown: Wishing you a year filled with health, happiness, and finding just the right word!

December Ground & Grow Challenge

We’re growing our roots to get ready for the New Year. Tree pose (Vrksasana) is a classic yoga pose that grounds, lengthens, strengthens, opens hips, and encourages correct posture. The busy month of December is the perfect time to root down, ground ourselves, stay balanced, and foster growth into 2016. To perform tree pose, stand strongly and balanced on one leg, while bending the other knee so that your foot is resting on the ground, your standing ankle, or above your knee. Once balanced, place your hands in prayer position and then slowly move them to reach upwards to grow your branches. This month, you’ll be alternating between tree pose and chair pose to maximize grounding and growing. To perform chair pose, (Utkatasana) stand straight up, with weight evenly dispersed in both heels. As you inhale, reach arms up as you bend your knees and squat down, keeping knees and thighs together, as if you’re sitting in a chair. Keep arms and torso up at a slight angle and roll shoulders down. Stay in the pose at least 10-20 seconds to maximize benefits. Chair will not only ground you down, it will also fire up your glutes and thighs to burn some serious calories. Just print, pin, or save the calendar below and commit to grounding and growth all month long! Think of it as preparing your body and mind for what’s to come as the holiday season ramps up and we turn the corner into a fresh, new year of opportunities.

Dec Tree Challenge One Healthy Breakdown: ground yourself and grow your life simultaneously!

Feeling Fresh & Clean Ending 2014

One engagement, wedding, and honeymoon behind me and I’m ready for a reset, both mentally and physically. The dress fittings have come and gone and life goes on, my friends! Real life is calling and there’s no time like the present. I know you can all relate. If it’s not a wedding, it’s a birthday, a vacation, or another reason to celebrate. There will always be an excuse to sip champagne and eat cake, but it’s about living in moderation and maintaining a healthy body and mind that keeps us stable. Instead of heading into January with holiday bloat and gloat, let’s skip the New Years anticipation and just feel better today. Personally, I feel my best when I’m treating my body and my mind right.

Living a healthy lifestyle is like balancing a scale, the middle point between extremes. Though I didn’t really diet for my wedding, I was definitely hyper-aware of what I put into my body and how I targeted my workouts. While that’s one side of the spectrum, the other was my honeymoon indulgence in all things good and carby; pasta, pizza, wine, dessert, and more wine. While both practices were right for me at the time, (no shame in that!) but I’m excited to find the happy middle that is real life again!

Vintage Balance Scale If you’re in a need of a few small changes, a little reset, and balancing out the scale, join me in the following practices. Let’s do this sans the juice cleanse, starvation, strictness, supplements, or labels. Just some good old fashioned healthy fun to feel good inside and out.

1. Eat clean, lean, and green, whole foods, and indulge mindfully. It’s no surprise that whole foods are the way to go and that fresh fruits and veggies should be at the top of the pyramid. As the seasons shift, our bodies naturally crave more comforting, warming foods. Satisfy these cravings with soups, autumn staples, spiced smoothies, lean protein, whole grains, herbs and spices, and healthy fats. It’s not rocket science and there’s no magic diet involved (thank the lord!) Indulge moderately, chew slowly, and be aware of portion size. Don’t restrict yourselves of your favorite pleasure foods (for me, it’s red wine, nut butter, and dark chocolate) and don’t beat yourself up for indulging, but do avoid processed food and too much of a good thing.

2. Move your body every single day. It’s that simple. I’m all about switching it up, trying new things, and enjoying exercise. To me, a healthy, balanced life includes some grueling workouts that challenge, push, and exhaust as well as less-demanding days to rest, stretch, and recharge. Regardless of what it is, your favorite workouts/classes should be a priority on your calendar. Make it happen, walk more, and treat your body with love, it’s carrying you through life and you won’t get very far without lots of movement.

3. Sleep. Thoughts of our honeymoon are full of amazing memories, sites, and meals as well as physically and emotionally feeling like a  million bucks. No, it wasn’t just because I was on newlywed cloud 9. I slept. A LOT. Sleep is the fuel that charges our bodies to run efficiently and stay healthy, both physically and mentally. 8+ hours – make it happen.

4. Take time for yourself and give yourself permission to RELAX, every single day. Whether you practice daily meditation or not, it’s crucial to take ten minutes a day to breathe, connect with yourself, reflect, refocus, set your intention for the day, do some yoga, and completely relax. Like sleep, this simple practice can make your entire day, week, month, life better all around.

One Healthy Breakdown: It’s really that simple, folks. Let’s commit to feeling fresh and clean heading into 2015!

What’s Really on My Mind for 2014 and Why YOU Should Care

The saying “this is the first day of the rest of your life” never really resonated with me because there’s always tomorrow (well, hopefully…) But, today? TODAY is the FIRST DAY OF 2014. That feels more real to me, more concrete, more attainable. I can’t really picture the rest of my life, I can’t picture 20, 30, 40 years down the road, but I can picture the next 365 days and I can grasp what, how, and why they’re going to be absolutely amazing.

sabatino-060Rewind back to the fall. I was having a conversation with a friend about what really drove me to start One Healthy Hamptons and what I dreamt it to be. The goal of OHH is to provide a resource and a community to celebrate and grow health and wellness here in this amazing place we call home. I wanted to rejoice the uniqueness of this beautiful place full of incredible people and outstanding resources. But why? Why me? Why here? Why now?

Why not just let people do what they want to do? Health is already a huge part of this community; we love our fitness classes, our kale salad, and our fun nights out, embracing the Hamptons scene, all while penciling in the next day’s workout…right? But, is it a positive thing? Are we just going through the motions and working out to make space for the fun? Are we indulging with thoughts of cardio and detox? If this is you, don’t worry, this was me too.

I started OHH because I am so DONE living like that. We only have one life, only 364.5 more days to enjoy and embrace 2014. So, unless we’re enjoying the process, it’s really just a big, huge waste of valuable time. I started One Healthy Hamptons because I was DONE with this deranged mindset. DONE with society’s pressures to ‘get skinny.’ DONE with the cycle of overindulging followed by detox, diet, and cardio binges. Ugh, what a miserable, unbalanced way to NOT enjoy all of the valuable time we have on this earth. I was DONE with the negativity that’s been so closely wound into such positive concepts of health and wellness. DONE hearing, seeing, judging others, done being jealous, done overdoing it for all of the wrong reasons. I know if I was DONE, that lots of others must be just as fed up, just as ready to turn things around. Once I hit this realization, things began to shift, especially as my eyes opened to the unique world of wellness throughout the Hamptons. Health and wellness became a positive passion, not a negative obsession. One Healthy Hamptons resulted from my growing passion to turn negativity to positivity and to spread that positivity throughout the place I love to call home as much as possible. To connect people over the common theme of embracing health and wellness.

I started One Healthy Hamptons to get the message across, not just to other young girls with deranged mindsets from society’s impact, but to an entire community of diverse people, that being healthy and fit, making wellness a priority, doesn’t have to be a sacrifice at all. It can actually be a balanced, ENJOYABLE process with huge positive outcomes. Eating healthy is fun. Working out is fun. Trying new things, challenging our selves, pushing the limits, attaining goals – it’s all fun. The things that make us feel our best, our strongest, our healthiest, are GOOD for us and they deserve to be embraced.

For me, 2013 was a huge year of personal, professional, physical growth. I gave up time at the gym and put that energy into enjoying moments with family, friends, and growing professionally. (Yes, LESS time working out is what I’m preaching here.) Less dreaded time on the treadmill or elliptical, fewer hours, and less sweat. Why? Because I was DONE working out just to get it over with. DONE eating bland food just to wear certain clothes. DONE detoxing on Mondays to make up for a fun weekend. I do it now for enjoyment. I workout because I ENJOY it and I eat what I ENJOY. One Healthy Hamptons is built on the premise of balance in life, not extreme exercise, not cutting calories, or cutting fun in any way. That’s so last year.

And, ya know what? I’m healthier and fitter than I was last New Years. I’m not perfect, I’m not balanced, but I’m closer and I’m happier. And I’m here to share the health and happiness with YOU. Living a healthy lifestyle and embracing it can be a balanced, ENJOYABLE process. That’s really what a resolution should be about. A goal that you aspire to reach with a process of getting there that is ENJOYABLE. Or else what’s the point?!

My drive to start this community, One Healthy Hamptons, came from the desire to fully embrace the positivity of health and wellness and to make it that much more accessible for all of us. In a few short weeks, once we’ve settled into 2014, gotten used to our routines, and hopefully taken the holiday decorations down, health and wellness in the Hamptons is going to be the MOST accessible it’s ever been. We’re throwing a party and it’s called Hamptons Wellness Week. For one week only, all things healthy and well Montauk to Westhampton will be RIGHT at your fingertips.

If you want 2014 to be THE year, YOUR year, then join me. If you’re ready to set yourself up for success, if you’re DONE with the negatives and ready to CELEBRATE, or you’re ready to make this your healthiest year yet, you’re invited to Hamptons Wellness Week. If you want to learn, try, and grow, you’ve got to be there! Where?

Sign up for Hamptons Wellness Week on January 12th at Hampton Coffee’s Experience Store in Southampton, meet me there between 8 and 11am or 4 and 6pm to commit to getting fit, reinvest in your health, learn a ton, and have some fun. Participants in Hamptons Wellness Week will get: SEVEN premium fitness classes of your choice that work with YOUR schedule, SIX lectures to learn the skills to make 2014 knock your socks off, nutrition consultations, natural facials, a party and tasting at Fresh, the Hamptons top restaurant for healthy, local eats. PLUS, the first 50 to sign up will get awesome gift bags to kick off the week/year/healthier YOU!

One Healthy Breakdown: I resolve to write more concisely in 2014 😉

12 Days of Holiday Fun

How about actually enjoying this time we know as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ spreading cheer instead of fear?! There’s nothing holding us back from keeping calm and embracing the season. Instead of just surviving the holidays, lets slow down, breathe, soak it in, count our blessings, have fun, be silly, make cookies, and spread CHEER this year! Here are 12 ways to keep calm and have a HAPPY holiday season!

8ea3e998a97216c58c47d7c29b917d3c*photo via Pinterest

12. Make a shopping list. Put some thought into your gifts and stay organized. Check off as you shop and don’t save it all for last minute! When you’re done shopping, reward yourself with a little something special for yourself. 11. Wear a big, chunky holiday sweater (it doesn’t have to be “ugly,” per se – beauty is in the eye of the beholder…) but it must be too big and super comfy! 10. Make hot chocolate and watch your favorite holiday movie and soak it up. My personal faves include Elf, Love Actually, The Family man, and The Holiday. 9. Did you get your Christmas tree yet?! Blast the tunes and decorate with friends/family! 8. Take a break from it all to focus on you. Get ALL bundled up and take a long winter walk or run. Leave your phone at home and soak up the silence. Enjoy a healthy peppermint smoothie while you’re at it! 7. Open a bottle of wine and throw yourself a gift-wrapping party. 6. Send a card to someone who won’t expect it and will be touched. 5. Make your favorite holiday cookies, from scratch, and share them. Or try a new recipe; TLC Cookies or World Peace Cookies, both of which are made with love. 4. Take a nap (the holidays are exhausting!) english bulldogs dressed up as santa and rudolph 3. Blast your favorite holiday tunes and have a dance party. 2. Family time. Enough said. 1. Have yourself a merry little holiday season. One Healthy Breakdown: we look forward to the holiday season all year. Don’t let the stress distract you from enjoying the most wonderful time of year.