Benefits of Being Outdoors

This week the academy I’m apart of, Mulitmedia and Digital Art Acdemy (MAD), took a sophomore retreat up to the Montecito Sequoias. It was a great opportunity to get away from the business and stress of everyday life, while also being tech free. On Wednesday we arrived at 7:15 and began our six hour bus trip from Santa Barbara. We drove through the gorgeous California mountains but the real fun started when we got there.

Reina, Hayden, and Bella on the bus.

When we arrived the first thing we did was hike around the frozen lake. Many people brought tubes and sleds along to go down the snow covered hills and trails. Now days we spend most of our time indoors especially during the winter months, but getting outdoors can be both fun and healthy. Aside from just escaping the chaos of everyday life you get to breath better air, soak up vitamin D, and studies have shown getting outside reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Also when you are outside you are most likely being active which is always good for you.

The next day we began our biggest trek to the top of the mountain. After breakfast we all gathered outside and began our journey. It was an uphill hike in the powdery snow which was really difficult. My classmates and I bonded over the struggle and encouraged one another. Though it was tough I think it was worth it because at the top of the mountain there was and amazing view accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment! While on top of the mountain there were snowball fights and a lot of picture taking. Even though it was the most difficult part of the trip it is definitely one of the most memorable things and I felt accomplished afterwards which is always good!

Once we returned to the lodge we ate lunch and were then given free time. A few friends and I decided to go snowboard! I had never snowboarded in my life so it was pretty rough at first but eventually I got the hang of it. Another fun perk of the trip was that it was tech free. At first I wasn’t too excited about that but it actually enabled me to meet new people and be more present. Being tech free has its own benefits such as getting better sleep, being more active, strengthening real relationships, and just being all around present in the real world. On our last day we visited the Giant Sequoias and saw the tree with the largest diameter in the world. Seeing these giant trees really put into perspective the magnificence of Earth.

Overall we had an amazing time on our mountain getaway. We got a great taste of the natural world and took time to get away from our phones and strengthen our friendships within the class. I would really recommend taking time to be outdoors with friends whether it is a planned out getaway or a quick day trip, being outside away from normal chaos and stress is really fun, relaxing, and healthy for you both physically and mentally!


LA Eats

This weekend I went down to Los Angeles with my three good friends Madeline, Karissa, and Reina. Naturally, we did a lot of walking and shopping, but we also tested out some new, good, and, most importantly, healthy restaurants. I wanna talk about what we got and maybe inspire you with some new healthy meal ideas!

The first restaurant we went to was called Flower Child on 1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Flower Child makes everything from scratch using farm fresh ingredients and has paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. There is an option on the menu for everyone and it is all incredibly healthy and tasty! I decided to get the Brussels and Squash salad. It contained arugula, roasted Brussels, butternut squash, organic apple, ancient grains, cranberry, goat chees, sprouted almond, and chia seed vinaigrette. This salad was really good and refreshing and seems pretty easy to make at home which is something I may try.

My tossed Brussels and Squash salad!

Karissa got the Mother Earth Bowl which has ancient grains, sweet potato, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onions, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette, and hemp seed. Reina got the gluten free Mac and cheese, and Madeline got the Flying Avocado wrap with smoked turkey, gouda, romaine, tomato, avocado hummus. All the food we got was very healthy, simple, and delicious!

Aside from being really healthy Flower Child also had a great design and atmosphere that really tied everything together! There were flowers at every table and painted murals on the white brick walls. It had a very cute and trendy vibe, and was perfect for pictures.

After some more walking and shopping we headed to dinner. We ate at a sushi restaurant called Sushi Roku on 1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica. Sushi is one of my favorite foods so I was pretty excited, but this was one of Madeline’s first time trying sushi. I recommended that she start off with something simple like a California Roll. She ordered one and loved it! I got tuna sushi and shared edamame and popcorn shrimp with the table. Overall the sushi was very delicious and of course healthy! My friends and I had an amazing time wandering the streets of Santa Monica and I hope I go back soon so I can try out more new, healthy foods!


An Escape to Ojai

Last week I talked about stress, how it affects the body, and ways to get rid of it. This weekend I had a sort of stress detox at the Ojai Valley Inn. I was able to get away from the chaos of everyday life and relax. The natural surroundings were beautiful, but what I was most excited about was getting to go to the spa. Overall it was just a great place for me to get away without being too far from home.

One of the pools at the spa

From the first moment I walked into the spa I felt calm and refreshed. There were healthy snacks and beverages around every corner like lavender lemonade and fruit. There was also a steam room and sauna which I tried. Surprisingly steam rooms and saunas actually carry heal benefits such as improving cardiovascular health by improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, and it helps to heal broken tissue. After relaxing in the hot tub I went upstairs to wait for my treatment. I got the Purifying Radiance Facial which uses all OSEA products. OSEA is an all organic natural approach to skincare that began in Malibu. I was really excited to try out these products and see if they were really all they seemed to be.

OSEA products at the spa boutique

So a very brief description of the fifty minute session; it began with steam to open up my pores then an exfoliating scrub which was balanced out with a lotion. Next she used serums which were was followed by a mask. Once that was removed she used the ocean cleanser. When I was done my skin felt refreshed and looked really good. I would say that these products did actually did make a difference which is probably due to their all natural ingredients. They are a bit on the pricey side but I’d say it is worth it! I was given recommendations for products and got a few samples including the cream cleansing mud, an exfoliator, blemish balm, and the ocean cleanser. I was super happy with the results and may begin to add OSEA into my skincare routine.

After I was finished with the facial I went to the Spa Cafe for lunch. I got the Farmer’s Market Salad which was really good. It contained mixed greens, feta, pecans, golden beets, croutons, and balsamic dressing. It was a simple salad that would be really easy to make at home. My sister got Thai spring rolls which were another healthy option.

Lunch at the Spa Cafe

Stress and Health

We all know that being stressed is not fun, and is definitely not healthy. We all get overwhelmed sometimes whether it is school, family, friends, or just general responsibilities that we have. Finding easy and enjoyable ways to relieve stress is quite beneficial because mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact stress can take a toll on your body as well as your mind. Stress can cause restlessness and the inability to sleep, underrating or overeating, unwillingness to participate in physical activities, and just leads to unhealthy behavior overall. In more extreme cases stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Clearly stress is a serious issue and should be handled before it is too late. I wanna look at fun and simple ways to subdue stressful feelings to keep you both mentally and physically healthy.

The first thing you should do when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out is slow down and identify what is bothering you. If what you are stressed about has to be done soon I would suggest just taking a second to breath and just think positive. I know that sounds pointless but it can actually help a lot more than you think. If you have time to deal with what is going on in your life the best stress reliever of all is doing something you love, that is also healthy.

Being with others you enjoy is a great way to lower stress

When I am stressed I love to be with friends, go outside, watch shows, read, and hang out with my pets. These relaxing and enjoyable activities enable tensed muscles to relax and reduce anxiety. Stress was initially a survival mechanism as it enabled our ancestors to tense up at signs of danger. Nowadays we don’t have that same kind danger to worry about and tension caused by stress puts unnecessary strain on our bodies which leads to harmful health consequences.

Me and the dogs! (trust me dogs help)

When stressed I also find that physical activity helps whether that is taking a walk or going to workout. When you exercise your body releases endorphins leading to a sense of euphoria. As well as relieving stress and overall just making you feel better physical activity is great for your body.

Hiking and being outdoors with others is another great stress reliever

Hopefully this gave you some insight into stress and inspired you to take time in your life to do things you enjoy. Not only is it fun but it is super healthy for you both mentally and physically!

Exercise Can be Fun

The whole idea of exercising today consists of going on long runs, working out at the gym, and just overall seems extremely time consuming and difficult. This reputation that exercising has acquired has driven many people away as they feel they don’t have enough time or motivation to commit. This is slightly problematic since exercising is great for your overall health and is very beneficial now, and in the long run. I want to introduce a new idea about staying fit and healthy that can be incooperated into everyday life and can actually be considered fun.

Over President’s Day weekend I went up to Mammoth to go skiing with some friends. We skied for three days and we all had an amazing time. I then began to realize that I was actually exercising everyday during that break, but I was having a great time doing so. This led me to the idea that exercise can be fun and is even better with friends. Skiing isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of exercise but it is actually great physical activity.

Me and Madeline hitting the slopes

There are so many other ways to incorporate physical activities into everyday life even if they may not fall into the typical category of working out. Going on hikes, swimming, biking, doing yoga and even just choosing to walk instead of drive can actually make a big difference. These simple activities are quick and actually fun especially when you are with people you enjoy.

One of my favorite things to do regularly is hike. The San Ysidro trail, in Montecito, is walkable from my house which is really fun since I can walk up whenever I want. Aside from the physical activity hiking provides great views and is really fun to do with friends, so this week I had Madeline come over to hike with me.

A view from our hike

We had fun walking up the gorgeous trails, taking pictures, and of course laughing and talking. I really love the idea of getting outside and being active with others since it is much more enjoyable and you are both getting a workout. Overall I think being active with other is one of the best ways to improve health both physically and mentally!

Health Booster Smootie Test

This week I’ve decided to test out two healthy, easy to make smoothies. I’m going to see whether they are as simple as advertised, if the cost of the ingredients is worth it, and most importantly if they taste good. So I found two recipes one for a Power Smoothie and the other for a Detox Green Smoothie.

Power Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1 cup orange juice (good quality)
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup ice

Green Detox Smoothie

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
    1 banana, cut into pieces
    1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
    1 tbsp chia seeds
    1 cup unsweetened almond milk, add more if needed

So far neither smoothie looks too complicated to make. The only thing I’m a little apprehensive about is that both drinks contain spinach. I was curious to know why this random ingredient was added to both recipes, because I am almost positive it isn’t for flavor. I actually found spinach has many health benefits containing iron, calcium, magnesium, helps promote healthy bones, lowers blood pressure, and even fights cancer and diabetes. Another odd ingredient in the Green Detox Smoothie was chia seeds, but chia seeds are fiber and protein rich foods loaded with antioxidants and containing very few calories. So it seems both smoothies are really focusing on providing nutrients to the consumer. So let’s get started!

The first smoothie I made was the Power Smoothie. I actually had all of the ingredients in my home to make this smoothie but I’d estimate the cost to come out to around 15 dollars. This recipe made a lot more than I expected so I’d say the cost would be worth it because you end up with about three whole smoothies. It was really easy to make and filling so making this smoothie as a meal replacement would work really well. It’s filling enough to keep you energized and contains a great amount of nutrients. As for the taste I’ve had better but it wasn’t something I found hard to drink like some of the other healthy smoothies I’ve had. Overall I’d say the Power Smoothie was a success and I recommend trying this smoothie as a meal replacer to provide your body with the needed nutrients and without the unnecessary calories!

I then tested out the Green Detox Smoothie. I just had to buy the frozen pineapple which was like four bucks. I had the rest of the ingredients so I’ve estimated the cost to about sixteen dollars. The only thing I would say about this is that the amount of smoothie made is a lot less than the Power Smoothie so I’d say it’s not completely cost efficient. Other than that it tasted great and was really easy to make! The other great thing about both of these smoothies is that they can easily be prepared then stored in the fridge and used as a easy to go meal that’s really healthy.

Overall I’d definitely recommend trying out both of these smoothies. They could be a fun healthy snack, a meal to go, or, if you are really going for the healthiest option, a daily meal replacement.

Natural Immunity Boosters in Everyday Eats

Whenever I feel like I need to eat better I have this idea of elaborate salads and all organic meals. I am looking for a way to make eating healthier easier and more enjoyable. I figure the simpler it is to help your eating habits the more willing you’d be to do so. I have found four immunity boosting foods on Dr. Oz’s website that can be eaten everyday with about any simple meal you have. So let’s get started!

These immunity boosters can be added to food you love and eat everyday!

The first immunity boosting food I found was avocado. Adding avocado to you diet supports adrenal function and health. They contain essential amino acids, healthy fats, and antioxidants to balance hormone production as well. Having a half a cup of avocado a day is pretty simple considering all the things you could add it to. My personal favorite is avocado toast but putting avocado in your salad, having guacamole, or even eating it plain with olive oil and salt easily adds it to what you eat daily.

The next simple immunity booster is ginger. Ginger warms the body and helps break down toxins in the organs, especially in the lungs and sinuses. It also helps clense the body’s lymphatic system. By breaking down the accumulation of toxins in your body ginger decreases your risk of infection. I really love ginger tea in the morning and before bed during the cooler months. When it is warmer you can also make ginger infused water to drink iced. Ginger is a great flavor booster and is used in spices, sauces, and many flavored drinks as well.

Ginger can be used in drinks, spices, sauces, smoothies, and more

Next is oatmeal. This health food contains soluble fiber which reduces LDL, also known as you “bad” cholesterol. This fiber rich food can be eaten warm in the morning with brown sugar as a nutritious way to start the day. if you are looking for an easier to go snack oatmeal also has you covered, with overnight oatmeal.You can prepare the oatmeal then place it into small separate jars with a bit of sugar and whatever else you want to add. I add flax seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds to add a couple more health promoting ingredients. You then place your little snacks in the fridge and you can either heat them up or take them cold.

The final quick immunity booster is pomegranate. Pomegranate juice contains ellagic acid and Punic alagin which fight the damage cause by free radicals and preserve the collagen in your skin. Pomegranates are also a powerful source of phytonutrients that promote healthy skin. You can eat pomegranates plain as a simple snack or place them in a salad, smoothie, or berry bowl.

This berry bowl is packed with nutrients and tastes great

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle I think the most important thing is consistency. Whether it is exercising a few times a week of attempting to maintain a healthy diet the reasults won’t show unless you commit to what you are doing and work to achieve your goal!