Things I Look Forward To

ImageHey everybody!

We will be home July 9th.  That is so soon!  I am so excited.  I have been compiling a list of mainland things I’m looking forward to for quite some time now, and figured I would share it.

-Family & Friends.  Yes, I love my island family, but I am so excited to see everybody back home!  So many wonderful people to see…  I can’t wait to sit on my Mom’s couch and chat with her again.  Hang out at their office and go get coffee with Dad.  Farmer’s Market with Nan.  Gym, salads, and awesome talks with Amanda.  My sister can legally drive with me in the car now- crazy! 

-Horses.  I cannot wait to get on a horse and go for a good gallop in a field.  Smell the wonderful smells of the horse stable.  Brush them, feed them, love them.  Watch them run and play in their paddocks.  Talk to horse people.  Horses every day!!!!!!!!!

-Spontaneous gatherings at my family’s house.  You know, those nights when everybody just shows up for an unplanned pool-side BBQ.

-Being able to go places.  You can drive anywhere!  Boston, Vermont, Portland.  Lakes, ocean, mountains, cities, towns.  So many possibilities.

-Food. Strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, dark chocolate, dried figs, orange sweet potatoes, and all that weird hippie food I like.  American grocery stores in general suddenly seem so exciting to me.

-Drinks. Starbucks, Kombucha, and wine.  Drinking water out of the sink.

-Getting mail out of the mailbox.  Pumping my own gas.  Not getting carded for using a Debit Card at the grocery store.  You know, weird little things.

-GPS.  Just the idea that you can watch your car on a map as you drive is totally crazy to me now.

-My cousin Cliffy’s wedding.  Congratulations!!!

-Running.  Yay!  I cannot run after 7am here- too hot and humid.  Excited to run my 5 mile loop through the farm roads.

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-Yoga yoga yoga.

-Mountains.  Hiking and not seeing the ocean everywhere.

-No sad stray dogs everywhere.  Only happy dogs!  Dog parks!  Petco!  (but I will miss Cora).

-Concerts.  TAYLOR SWIFT!  Seriously, I am going to a Taylor Swift concert.

-Target and TJ Maxx.  Enough said.

-Air-conditioned houses.  No mold.  No cockroaches and lizards in the house.  No melted chocolate in my cabinets.  Wow.

-Carpets and couches.  Comfy.

-Real ovens.  You mean… I can fit a pan in it?

-Rain.  Here it will sometimes rain for 5 minutes.  I am looking forward to whole rainy days.  I actually miss them!

-Radios in the car.  1) My car doesn’t have a sound system and 2) There are only 4 radio stations here.  I have no idea what music everybody is listening to these days.  And Saipan doesn’t have a country station.

-Getting my hair trimmed.  Something I learned here- make sure whoever cuts your hair really speaks English.

See you guys soon.  So much to look forward to, but I will definitely miss the Saipan sunsets!

~Lauren

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Recipe: Brownie Batter

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I may not be the greatest chef in the world, but I am undeniably a fabulous creator of healthy smoothies.  Last week while playing in my kitchen, I created a masterpiece that was supposed to be a dessert smoothie, but turned into some sort of scrumptious pudding that was reminiscent of brownie batter.

*Note: Much of my cooking is “adjust according to your taste desires” and approximation.  Get creative!

**Another Note: I realize a lot of these ingredients are not local here.  But a girl has to have chocolate.

Ingredients:

-2 cups Vanilla Greek Yogurt

-5 Dates

-1 tbsp Natural Peanutbutter

-1 Banana

-2 Squares Dark Chocolate (I used Lindt Dark with Sea Salt)

-4tbsp Hemp Seed

I like to make a few batches of this at once and save it in my fridge.  It is best after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.

1. Melt the dark chocolate.  I used two squares.  Use more if you want a more chocolatey treat, or a bigger batch!

2. Combine 2 cups of yogurt, 1 banana, 4 tbsp of hemp seed, 5 dates, 1tbsp natural PB, and chocolate in blender.

3. Taste it.  Want it thicker?  Add more hemp seeds and/or PB.  Want it sweeter?  Add more banana and/or dates.  More chocolatey?  Add chocolate.

Put it in the fridge and eat it later.  All the time.  Healthy and delicious chocolate pseudo-brownie batter bliss.  Let me know if you tried it and liked it!

~Lauren

PS – I am back on twitter! @realhealthlaurn

Wanted: Part-Time Vegetarians

 

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Hello everybody!

Check it out.  I published an article on Elephant Journal discussing the impact of eating less meat on your body, the environment, the world, and of course the precious farm animals.

Go here—>  Wanted: Part-Time Vegetarians

If you love meat, great.  I’m not saying that you need to swear off meat completely.  I don’t believe in being a pushy vegetarian.  Nobody likes a self-righteous vegetable pusher.  However, do your best to eat local meat, along with lots of fruit and veggies.

My personal vegetarian motto: I do not eat any farm animals with eyelids.  That might sound weird, but essentially it is less fancy way of saying that I’m a lacto-ovo-pescetarian.  Basically… I eat dairy, eggs, and fish.  However, I do limit these by following my personal rules…

  • trade dairy milk in for rice and almond milk
  • only eat real yogurt- so many yogurt brands have high fructose corn syrup, gelatin, colorings, preservatives, and more yucky stuff
  • eat light cheese- feta and goat cheese!
  • eat only local eggs and fish, and don’t eat them every day.

These rules aren’t perfect for everybody, but they work great for me! Read my article on Elephant Journal & do your best to be a vegetarian sometimes.  Maybe once a week, maybe several days, maybe every day!

~Lauren

Eat Local

Hafa Adai, everybody!

Hafa adai is the Chamorro greeting on the tiny island where I live.  See the red arrow?  Yea, that’s Saipan.

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When I lived back in mainland United States (Saipan is a U.S. Commonwealth), I took for granted the fact that I could eat anything I wanted.  Sweet potatoes from California, apples from Chile, mangoes and avocados from somewhere much warmer than New Hampshire.  If I wanted it, I could have it.  Now I live on this little island way out in the middle of nowhere.  If I want an apple, I have to pay $1.  For one apple.  And they aren’t even good apples- they were shipped from the States, and they are mushy and disgusting.  Or how about paying $10.99 for a plastic box of moldy strawberries?  Yummy.

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Back in New Hampshire, I tried to eat local whenever possible.  But I still couldn’t help myself from buying a mango here and there, or buying the apples from Chile vs. the apples from the neighborhood farm.  Hey, I just really like the Gala apples!  Living here has given me a new perspective though… and I have officially given up imported produce.  Only fresh local fruits and veggies now, like these avocados that keep falling on my tin roof and waking me up at night- we call them “avocado bombs”.

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Eating local forces you to be creative.  For example, I love salads.  I take some crispy lettuce or spinach and load it up with all sorts of amazing goodness.  Summertime here, I cannot find local salad greens anywhere.  Solution?  Stir fry of peanut greens (my spinach substitute), eggplant, onions, okra, baby tomatoes, squash, whatever I can find.  I buy from roadside farm stands, and the availability changes every day.  I’m getting pretty creative lately.  My most recent favorite is doing a local stir fry and adding a spicy honey mustard sauce, or coconut milk + thai spices.

Another realization- local foods are so much more delicious than grocery store produce.  It makes sense.  Eating food that was picked this morning Vs. food that was harvested before ripeness, exposed to chemicals to increase shine, and transported an average of 1,500 miles.  The mangoes here are SO MUCH BETTER than ones in New Hampshire.  Why?  They grown in my backyard, and I eat them when they fall off the tree.  They haven’t been sitting in a box or grocery store shelf for months.  Imagine the difference in nutritional value.  Not to mention the environmental impact- instead of eating apples that traveled by truck, ship, and plane, I just walk outside and get my food.  Simple.  Also, much of the grocery store produce is mass-produced, treated with pesticides, grown in nutrient-depleted soil.  Eating local gives you a good opportunity to support local farmers while also supporting your own health and well-being.

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I know eating local can be limiting.  Especially when you don’t live on a tropical island (something is always in season here).  I’m not saying that you need to give up eating imported food completely, because that isn’t really feasible for most people.  We still eat imported quinoa, nuts, honey, flour.  I’m just saying, it is good to make an effort to eat seasonal, local, fresh foods.  This summer, think about joining a local CSA- Community Supported Agriculture.  Basically, you pay a certain amount for a “farm share” and in return, you get a weekly or bi-weekly box of whatever is fresh from the farm.  It is a great way to eat awesome local nutritious food, support your local farmer, and learn about new fruits and veggies you might not be familiar with.  Some also offer eggs, meat, honey, and milk.  Google CSA’s for your area and sign up!  Also, don’t forget to check out your local farmer’s markets to meet local farmers and select from a variety of available fresh foods.

Keep it local!  (as much as possible)

~Lauren

Eat Real Food

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Somewhere along the line, we decided to stop eating real food.  As we made the transitioned into the fast-paced modern lifestyle, we began trading in fresh farm food for packages of chemicals.  Somehow, eating chemicals has become pretty normal.  If you step back and really think about this, eating chemicals is weird!!!  Why would we choose to eat fake food when we have access to real food?

We are living in a time where convenience trumps health and taste is more important than nutritional value.  We have each reprogrammed our taste buds to crave processed sugars, high concentrations of fat, and really creepy food additives.  We are becoming an unhealthy world of overweight and malnourished people.  Malnutrition simply means, “bad nutrition”, and by eating fake foods with low natural nutrients, we are gaining weight while depriving our bodies of nourishment.

Choose to eat real foods.  Try to eat less food from boxes and wrappers.  Look at the ingredient list of your favorite packaged foods- is there a huge list of unpronounceable words?  Do you really want all those chemicals in your body?  Remember that the purpose of eating is to give our body energy in the form of nutrients, carbs, proteins, and fat.

Maybe you will try my Real Food Challenge.  For one day, completely abstain from processed foods.  This will be tough at first!  Your body probably craves all sorts of addictive chemicals and tastes.  This also requires planning ahead- finding real food on-the-go can be difficult sometimes.  The longer you stick with a real food diet, the easier it becomes.  Our bodies want to eat real food.  Over time, your body will crave real food and reject fake food.

Example- I used to love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and now I get nauseated even thinking about eating them.  So much sugar!  So many chemicals!  Same with many cereals, drinks, and even some granola bars.  The more real you eat, the more sensitive your body will become to these weird chemicals.

Ready?!  For one whole day, ditch the fake stuff and eat real food.  If you get ambitious, try a week.  Just remember to keep it real every time you put something in your mouth.

~Lauren

The Holistic Health Lifestyle

Holistic: encompassing all aspects of physical, mental, & social health.

Welcome to my new healthy lifestyle blog!  Here, I am going to write about the various aspects of holistic health, including but not limited to: nutrition, exercise, sleep, habits, health, happiness, relationships, finding balance, gratitude… etc.

I’ve been considering creating this blog for some time now.  I really hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to leave comments- feedback, questions, and more.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lauren Carter.  I’m a Registered Nurse, Certified Yoga Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, and was Miss Vermont USA 2011.  I currently live on a beautiful little remote tropical island called Saipan.  I teach yoga here while dabbling in home health nursing.

If you live in Saipan, come do yoga with me!

If you live anywhere else in the world, check out the “Nutrition & Fitness Coaching” tab if you are interested in long-distance health coaching.  I have a great record of happy clients.  If you don’t want a coach, tune into my blog for posts about the holistic lifestyle.  Hopefully you find me informative and entertaining.

If you want to take a peek at my personal blog about life on a remote tropical island, check it out here.

Thanks!
~Lauren

PS- click the “Follow” button on the right side to receive email notifications of new posts.  Click the button below to follow me on Facebook.