Define Your Health

What Matters Most ~ Living the Best YOU


Ask Health Coach Maria: Should I Be a Part-Time Vegan?

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Have a wellness question for Health Coach Maria? Ask her here.  

After watching a few different food documentaries, I am moving towards becoming a vegan, but making a total switch seems hard, Do you think I can still reap a lot of the benefits of veganism by just eating animal products more sparingly?

—Stacy, MD

There is no doubt that anyone and everyone can benefit from eating more unprocessed plant foods. Fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all packed with the exact nutrients our body needs. 

A diet high in whole plant-based foods reduces your risk of disease, shrinks your waistline, and is necessary for proper digestion. 

Now, should plants be the only thing you eat? Not necessarily. 

Everybody’s body is different. We each have our own biochemistry, tastes, and preferences, and while some people can thrive on a vegan diet, others find complete abstinence from animal food unnecessary. That’s what bio-individuality is all about. 

Citrus Sensation: Summer Pomelo Salad Recipe

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The lively blend of seasonings in this salad encompasses the definitively sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors so typical of Cambodian cuisine. Harvested in the USA from November through June, pomelo is the thick-skinned, giant yellow ancestor of grapefruit. While the recipe calls for pink flesh pomelo, yellow flesh pomelo is fine, though a little less visible in the salad. Pomelo flesh is drier and sweeter than grapefruit and makes a delicious focal point in this exotic salad. If pomelo is unavailable, use ruby red grapefruit in its place and add a touch more sugar to taste.

Serves 4-5


5 Essential Oils to Improve Your Memory and Focus

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By now, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about essential oils. First used by the Egyptians and Babylonians, today essential oils can be found in everything from lotion to hand soap to shampoo. So what is it about these potent potions that has made them a holistic staple for thousands of years?

Well, essential oils have some incredible medicinal properties when inhaled or applied topically to the skin—typically the wrists, palms, or scalp. They are also the basis of aromatherapy, the practice of enhancing psychological and physical well-being through the regular use of a plant’s aromatic oils.

Though this alternative medicine practice might seem like a practice for the crystal-wearing crowd, aromatherapy actually began in Europe and has been embraced by Western medicine. Aromatherapy is used cure a variety of maladies while boosting other bodily processes. In particular, essential oils can profoundly improve memory, helping to boost both your focus and your recall time.

Here are some of the most effective memory-enhancing aromatherapy scents: 

5 Steps to Finding Your Best Diet Plan

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Losing weight and trying to live a healthier lifestyle can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many books, websites, and resources claiming to be “the best” way to lose weight quickly and keep it off.  It’s even trickier when you see a friend thriving on one diet, like Paleo, when you seem to be gaining weight on the same eating plan. It can be very confusing!

So how can you figure out which of the seemingly endless diets will work best for you? Luckily, you don’t have to give all of them a try to get yourself on the right track for healthy success. Here are a few simple things you can do to find the best diet plan for the one and only you:

Video: How to Maintain Healthy Habits While in a Relationship

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Ahhh, love—what could be better for your health? Multiple studies show that being in love lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and various other diseases. 

But what about the times when being in a relationship hinders your healthy habits? After a long day at work, it’s all too easy to fall into the rut of collapsing on the couch next to your loved one, hashing out your days, and ordering in Chinese to enjoy with a movie. While a night in is cozy from time to time, it’s important to also maintain a routine of exercise and healthy eating, even when you’re in love. 

In this video, Hailey from Wellness Today shares tips on how to balance a loving relationship and a healthy lifestyle. Check it out below!

4 Ways to Avoid Gossip and Improve Your Peace of Mind

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Gossip can be tempting and entertaining. How many of us have caught ourselves leaning in for a salacious bit of news over the juice bar, reaching for our phones to text our friends the latest office story, or whispering between yoga mats a rumor concerning a certain instructor? We’ve all been there. After all, everyone loves a good story!

Yet the energy surrounding gossip is often negative, founded upon unhealthy comparisons, half truths, and shallow judgment. If we want to bring love and acceptance to ourselves, then we need to extend these same gifts to others and eliminate our participation in gossip. How do we avoid gossip in our daily lives? 

Bring a little compassion. They say the distinction between comedy and tragedy is simply a matter of perspective: if you slip on a banana peel, it’s funny; if I do, it’s embarrassing and painful. But the truth is it’s never compassionate to enjoy someone else’s misfortune, and it’s much harder to gossip about someone with whom we empathize. The easiest way to turn an uncomfortable gossip session into a heartfelt discussion is to inject a little empathy for the person involved. How would you feel if someone was whispering about you? 

The Working Girl’s Guide to Digital Detoxing

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Digital detox is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a period of time in which a person refrains from using electronic devices, such as smart phones or computers, and is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”

When reading this definition, did the thought of putting down your cell phone or closing your laptop give you an instant panic attack? Or did you had the opposite reaction? Perhaps you felt a wave of relief even at the very thought of stepping away from the digital world for awhile. 

If you noticed yourself feeling either of these reactions, it may be time for a much needed (and possibly dreaded!) digital detox. In today’s world, where so much of what we do is online, it’s incredibly difficult to pull yourself away from your electronic devices completely. For most of us, our jobs depend on the Internet, so a full-on digital detox is not feasible. 

Rest assured, there is a way to detox without losing your job. This is where the working girl’s digital detox comes in! This is a plan to eliminate all of the extra “noise” on the Internet that will allow you to focus on your real life, not the life your Instagram followers think you have!

1.    Find the Right Time

7 Things You Didn’t Know About...Bee Pollen

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We all know that honey can have some serious benefits, but that’s not the only health-boosting product busy bees are turning out. Bee pollen may not sound as appetizing as its sweet counterpart, but many herbalists recommend it as a highly nutritious food source to support overall health. 

Most commonly seen as small yellow pellets, bee pollen can be found at many health food stores and farmers markets. Don’t let the size fool you—those little guys have quite an interesting background as well as a unique nutritional profile. To get you acquainted with bee pollen,  here are 7 things I bet you didn’t know about bee pollen. 

1. Busy bees: Each bee pollen pellet contains over two million highly compacted flower pollen grains, and one teaspoon of bee pollen contains over 2.5 billion pollen grains.  It would take one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather enough for just one teaspoon of bee pollen. 

4 Reasons Push Your Body to its Limits with Tabata Training

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You’ve heard a lot of talk about Tabata recently. Whether it’s at the gym, in line at a café, or just walking down the street, everyone seems to be praising Tabata these days. So what is Tabata? While it may sound like a new dance craze or some exotic vegetable, it’s actually a Japanese exercise regimen that has taken the American fitness community by storm.

More specifically, Tabata, or “The Tabata Protocol” as it’s formally called, is a version of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that wins over devotees for its effectiveness and its simplicity.Created by Irisawa Koichi, the then head coach of the Japanese Speed Skating Team, the Tabata protocol works like this: After a 5-minute warm-up, an athlete spends 20 seconds exercising at the peak of their ability, and then rests for 10 seconds, repeating this series for a total of 8 intervals followed by a 2-minute cool-down. During the 20 second interval burst, you work your aerobic system to its edge, activating your anaerobic system so that your body continues to burn fat, even while at rest. The result is in an extremely effective workout in just four minutes.

Gluten-Free Atkins? It's Possible!

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You don’t have to go far to see the term “gluten-free” on store shelves or restaurant menus. Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives dough its elasticity, and many people now claim to feel healthier and better (and even lose weight) when they don’t eat gluten or cut back on it. For those with celiac disease (about 1% of the population), eating foods containing gluten can cause everything from irritability and depression to abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

About 6% of the population has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, and, most likely due to a higher understanding of and bigger emphasis on food allergies, digestive health and genetic modification of grains, a quarter of Americans are cutting down on gluten or going gluten-free. When you avoid or cut back on gluten, you are naturally eliminating a highly processed grain, which explains why Atkins can be a gluten-free-friendly weight-loss program.