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Travel Tips from Eli Sapharti, Author of “From Fat Boy to Fit Man”

eli sapharti

After conquering obesity, losing over 100 lbs, and getting in the best shape of my life, I have learned that when I am taken out of my regular daily routine and environment I can easily fall prey to old eating habits. One of the most challenging situations for me has been while traveling.

This reminds me of a particular airplane trip that I took a few years ago. One that I would soon like to forget if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned.

As I prepared to leave on a three-day business trip, I made sure I had everything I needed. Or so I thought. I had the right clothing, toothbrush, shaving blades, deodorant, and all the necessary toiletries. (I even packed extra undies.) What I didn’t prepare for were my meals that I was so used to  having ready during my regular weekly routine at home.

My first challenge was when my flight was delayed and I found myself at the airport for an unexpected extra 2 hours. I was starving. (Well, not literally, but I WAS very hungry.) Since I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant and order grilled chicken and veggies (which would have been the best choice), I grabbed what I THOUGHT was the next best choice. A prepackaged turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Healthy, right? WRONG! I later learned that this sandwich had more fat, more sugar and more carbs than if I had ordered a burger a a sit down restaurant. Big oops.

My next challenge was while in the air.  I don’t know about you, but I get especially hungry while traveling. Perhaps its not “real” hunger, but it seems these instances awakens my inner “snack monster”. So, I snacked. The problem was that the only snacks available were potato chips, cookies, or honey roasted peanuts. So of course I chose the peanuts—they were obviously the best option, right? Probably, but the issue was that one little bag (ok FOUR little bags) of peanuts didn’t satisfy me. So since eating FIVE bags of peanuts would have been excessive, I had a bag of chips instead. After all that saltiness I got a major sweet craving, which made me reach for a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Talk about a binge!

Luckily, after this binge I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were ready to land. Thank goodness for that or I may have been charged an extra fee for excessive snacking on-board!

The good thing about this trip was that it forced me to think and prepare before embarking on any trip, whether on a plane, a road trip with the kids, or even my honeymoon cruise which I cannot wait to go on!

Here are some rules I learned from this experience, which you too can use to avoid a travel binge:

1) Calculate how many hours you will be traveling and pack adequate meals for that time frame. For instance, pack a healthy sandwich or two that you can take with you on a plane, train, or automobile. By eating real meals you’ll reduce your in-between meal cravings.
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Don’t Do The Vending Machine Walk of Shame – We’ve Got Your Best Choices

Last week I told you about some of the wacky vending machine items that clever entrepreneurs are offering up. And while some of them had potential, like the fresh salad machines in Chicago, others were completely impractical, like the caviar kiosk in Los Angeles.

For those of us who just need a little afternoon pick-me-up, the typical vending machine offers a convenient choice of snacks to grab and go, but which item is the best choice?

healthy vending machine snacks

When hunger pangs hit and you slide your dollar into the machine, remember to choose a snack that has a healthy balance of protein and fiber. This will keep your blood sugar from spiking, combat the dreaded foggy brain, and keep you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. When it’s time to push the button, keep these healthier options in mind.

Salty Snacks

Planters Sunflower Kernels - 160 calories, 4g fiber

Triscuit Original Snack Crackers – 240 calories, 6g fiber


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5 Things You do that Erase the Benefits of a Yoga Class

yoga class

Picture a serene room full of calm smiles, deep breaths, and mindful movements and you have an idyllic yoga setting. Peaceful instrumental music strums in the background as the sunlight peaks through the windows. Sounds perfect, right? Like just the place for tranquility and happiness! So why do some yoga sessions make you feel more stressed out afterward? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the setting. And it’s all about you. Here are 5 things you may be doing to sabotage the success of your yoga class, and easy fixes for each.

1. You Arrive Late
Nothing disrupts the first sun salutation like rushing in a few minutes late, squishing in between the rows to find a spot for your mat, and attempting to collect yourself after class has already begun. The first and last few minutes of class are arguably the most important and beneficial for your mental and physical health: crucial moments to slow down and check in with your mind and body.

Instead? Shoot for setting up your mat 10-15 minutes BEFORE the class is set to start. Use this time as much deserved “me-time” to stretch, close your eyes, do whatever you need to do to set your day aside and focus on what your yoga practice may bring you that day.

2. You Compete with Your Neighbor
Your yoga practice should be just that:  yoga PRACTICE. This means there is no good or bad, right or wrong way to do it. As long as your alignment is safe, and you are not bringing harm to yourself or others, all is fair game. It might be tempting to check out the skinny-mini with her designer tank top in the front row (…how is her Warrior II lunge that low?!), but you’re not doing anyone any favors, especially yourself.

Instead? Keep your eyes closed if you have to, and focus on how your practice feels on the inside, rather than how it looks on the outside.
3. You Add to Your Mental To-Do List
Inhale arms up (“eggs, milk, spinach”), exhale forward fold (“run to the bank, fold my laundry”). Does this sound like your internal monologue during your class? It can be tempting to tune out and let your body to the work while your mind wanders. But the most powerful part of these 60 to 90 minutes are arguably your work on staying present.

Instead? Set your to-do list aside because you can always pick it up the second class ends. But for now, connect your breath and movements together so tightly that there is no room for any other thoughts.

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6 Ways to Makeover a Boring and Bland Salad

salad

By Team Best Life

As the weather warms up, you might be looking for easy meal solutions that don’t require turning on the oven. We’ve got a suggestion: Salad! Think your salad has to leave you hungry or dissatisfied? We can help! To create a full-meal salad that really fills you up, use the following tips:

Go green. You may be most familiar with iceberg and romaine lettuce, but why not experiment with other greens that offer different flavors and provide different nutrients? Give these greens a shot: arugula, butterhead, escarole, kale, mache, mizuna, spinach and watercress.

Choose a variety of veggies. The classics, like carrots, radishes and celery, are no-brainers. But if you want to be more adventurous, you can sprinkle on some roasted red peppers, canned artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm. Best Life lead nutritionist Janis JIbrin likes blueberries, beets, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and fresh mint.

Get your fat fix. Stir in just one high-fat addition, such as 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of nuts, or ¼ cup of sliced avocado. That will help keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your bowl and help you absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetables.
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Wacky But True: Study Using Voodoo Dolls Proves “Hangry” is a Real Thing

voodooFor years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)

At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.

Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls.
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