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Health

How to Be a Boss at Your Career

1. Pick a Career You Care About, Not a Major

And not in the sense that, “Oh, pick a major that you like and the job will come.” Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. I was an English major and I chose the major because I knew I wanted to be a journalist or book publisher. I was 100% sure I wanted to be able to write, edit, proofread, etc. I held internships in college but nothing of extreme substantial lasting value. Choose a major of a career path that you love, not necessarily a major I love. (For example: Had I had the experience, I probably would have been a Business major, but during college, I thought, ‘I never want to do business.'”) The more you know!

2. When You Like Something, Give it Your 100%

Ok, so no one necessarily “loves” a job, but you sure can like a job a lot. Having a job where you feel part of the team and you feel like what you do actually matters/benefits the company, you’ll really start to love the job. A job shouldn’t be just an everyday, 9-5, 5 days a week hassle where you have to literally drag yourself out of bed in the morning. (I’ve been there.) A job is something that you, no matter how much you don’t necessarily love your tasks, can really really thrive at doing.

3. Read, read, read

I started working in content marketing/outreach for an SEO agency, and this is something I didn’t have much, if any, experience in previously. Instead of hoping for the best, I read blogs, articles, books, etc. to learn the industry and also find ways to excel within the industry. (My boyfriend makes fun of me because my Kindle is all SEO/Marketing books.)

Your career isn’t school — no one’s going to give you a bad grade if you don’t hand something in or do a poor job at it. BUT, your career is not only your source of income but should also be your livelihood. If you don’t want to excel at your job, why should your boss want to keep you onboard? And if you’re working just to pay your bills, think again.

4. It’s Not All Money

Money is nice, yes it definitely is. But money isn’t the only reason why you’re working a job. Yes, we all have student loans, rent/utilities to pay for, gas, car insurance, car payments, not to mention, you know, food and Netflix subscriptions. Plus, you want to have a savings account in case of emergency. That’s why, when it comes to working one of your first jobs, it is crucial to save. I’ve been pretty much dedicating most of my paychecks to paying off my student loans/trying to finish paying off my credit card plus my everyday expenses. I don’t splurge on anything anymore, and I don’t really have a desire to anymore. You definitely learn the value of a dollar when you’re only making so many hourly.

6. Work Hard But Don’t Over-Extend Yourself

You have new responsibilities at work, that’s awesome! But if the responsibilities become overwhelming, do not be afraid to say something. If you aren’t going to be able to produce the results you want to produce given your excess amount of work, no one is going to be satisfied in the end. Speak up, and don’t be timid.

7. Study The Industry

I took an intro to marketing class in college, but boy, did that fail to show me what digital marketing is like. In school, you’re given the textbook definitions, maybe some real-life examples, and endless amounts of powerpoints and online tests. (Ok, I took an online class is why…)

Chances are, your industry is constantly changing. If you don’t keep up with it, no one’s going to tell you. Your new teacher? Yourself. And your laptop, industry experts, etc. If you’re not keeping up with the latest trends, chances are, you’re not going to succeed at your work!

8. Your Boss Knows More Than You, So Don’t Complain

Stop being sassy about getting feedback on your work; to be honest, it’s for the best, even if you don’t want to admit it. As a writer/editor, sometimes I find it hard to take critiques, but I realize that it’s only helping me grow and better myself as a writer.

Failure is IMPORTANT to success. That’s right — failure helps you succeed. Your boss once failed, and your boss probably still fails. Don’t assume you’re being judged and manipulated left and right when you’re starting off at a job or even are a few years deep. Every day is a learning experience and take it as a gift!

9. Make the Best Decision For Yourself

If you seek opportunity elsewhere and you think it’ll be a better opportunity, you should take the leap.

cup of coffee
Health

But seriously….Is Coffee Actually Good For You?

Ah, coffee. My pride and joy — the reason I get out of bed. But, what if it’s actually causing you to stay out of bed, even when you need to wake up in, say, a mere five hours? We’ve heard back-and-forth banter about whether or not it’s a myth that coffee is good for you and offers a whole array of health benefits. The other day I heard a couple conversing, and one asked, “Is coffee good for you? It can’t be, right?” Wrong!

The health impacts of coffee have long been a controversial topic, as there are two sides to every story. Pro-coffee connoisseurs promote coffee’s antioxidants, while those on the other side name the downsides, such as insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Fear not: drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought. Well, it all comes down to what’s in your coffee, how much you drink, and when you drink it. Let’s break it down.

Three to Five Cups A Day: A-Okay!

Grab that java! A study of 25,000 participants in South Korea found that moderate daily consumption of coffee, or three to five cups, is correlated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium. The middle of the ground, four cups of coffee, was also found to reduce one’s risk of melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. A high amount of coffee consumption, or four to six cups a day, reduced coffee-sippers risks of getting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Before you start downing your fifth cup today, be sure to drop the cream and sugar. Drinking coffee with a loaded amount of cream and sugar and calling it “healthy” is the equivalent to deep frying potatoes and calling it healthy. (French fries for health!) If you can’t stand drinking completely black coffee, opt for a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar. Just keep it to a minimum and be sure to choose all-natural sugar as opposed to artificial sweeteners.

Coffee is Proven to Reduce Depression

Many studies conducted have linked coffee consumption to lower rates of depression in both men and women.  In several studies, the data suggested a relationship between coffee consumption and depression: in other words, heavy coffee drinkers seemed to have the lowest risk (up to 20 percent) of depression.

Lessening Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes. A review of research conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu showed that the risk of type II diabetes decreases by 9% for each daily cup of coffee consumed.

Your Liver on Coffee…

Aside from actually lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis of the liver. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed an inverse relationship between increased coffee consumption and a decreased risk of cirrhosis, or a 20 percent reduction for each cup consumed (when consumed up to four cups).

Grab Decaf after 2 P.M.

We all know coffee is a stimulant just like soda, energy drinks, and some teas — that’s why we enjoy drinking it so much to stay alert. But be sure to keep an eye on the clock when you’re going for that afternoon coffee as you should stop drinking coffee about ten hours before you go to bed to reduce any sleeping issues. (No one likes waking up in the morning exhausted; it affects performance, happiness, and alertness.)

So, Is Coffee Good For You?

If you keep it to a minimum, drink your coffee in its (mostly) pure form, and watch the clock, you can see the many health benefits of consuming coffee. Just remember, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, try and reduce your caffeine consumption even more.

What’s your go-to caffeine kick? Or, do you prefer the au-natural boosts of sleeping a good 8 hours a night?

Health

Is Sushi Healthy?

 

If you asked me what my ideal last meal would be? I would probably say California rolls. (Either that or a honeygrow salad. But I’ll take a muffin too!) I used to assume sushi had tons of health benefits, regardless of its ingredients. In fact, I was wondering the other day, “Is sushi healthy? Is this just something I’ve been assuming, yet I’ve been wrong?”

There are few things I enjoy more in than eating high-quality sushi that you know is freshly made. To best completely honest, I rarely stray far from the cooked and vegetable sushi options. I know that some people swear by the raw rolls (and that I’m not eating “official” sushi when the fish is cooked), but hey, I enjoy it nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, I was eating a set of California rolls when I discovered that the crab I was eating was actually imitation. (I received a whole lot of, “You didn’t know that?! from friends). No, I assumed crab was crab, and only the supermarkets sold the “imitation” version.

Well, what exactly is imitation crab? The crab sushi restaurants use is actually called “surimi,” which means ground meat. (Gulp.) Surimi is a combination of different kinds of fish, often added with starch,  sodium, and artificial flavors. (Double gulp.)

I stopped eating and thought: “Well then, if I’m eating the equivalent of a Lunchable, then I guess this isn’t actually healthy?”

Well, it all depends! Luckily, you have the option of asking for real crab instead of imitation crab. It costs a little bit more, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy the health (and taste) benefits of real crab?

On the other hand, if you’re eating deep-fried shrimp tempura or sushi loaded with mayo and cream cheese, then you’re not enjoying the many health benefits of other kinds of low-fat, protein-filled sushis. Many sushi rolls are considered healthy foods and are a great source of omega-3 fat (the healthy kind of fat) and other vitamins and minerals.

To enjoy all the healthy benefits of sushi, make these substitutes when choosing your rolls:

Brown Rice Over White Rice

I cannot stress this enough! I personally find brown rice to be more satisfying, filling, and tasty than white rice, which is just brown rice that’s zapped of its nutrients. (Yeah, not satisfying.) Whole grain brown rice is packed with fiber, so it’s great for your digestive system. It keeps you full and satisfied, so you’re not craving fried ice cream afterwards. Unless specified, sushi comes with traditional white rice, so don’t forget to ask for brown rice!

If you don’t want a huge portion of rice interfering with the flavor, you can request half the rice. (Yes, you can do that, as well. Remember, it’s made fresh, so you can custom order.) If you really don’t want any rice, opt for sashimi, or plain, raw fish without rice. If you prefer cooked or vegetable rolls, you can also opt for nori, which is dried seaweed, wrapped around your filling. Nori is packed with fiber, protein, and a number of vitamins, making your sushi even healthier.

Wasabi Over Mayo (And Other Sauces)

Wasabi, the little green paste on the side of your dish (which is actually really just a combination of horseradish powder and mustard — it’s rare to find actual “wasabi” in America) packs a loaded spicy punch to your sushi. And — it’s healthy!

Like spicy? Well ordering a set of “spicy tuna rolls” is unfortunately taking a perfectly healthy food (tuna) and pairing it with unhealthy sauces (calorie-packed heavy spicy mayo) and then deep-frying it. Doesn’t sound like traditional sushi to me.

Why take away the flavor of the tuna by adding an everyday condiment anyway? (Can you even taste the tuna?)  If you’re not too keen on spicy, you can also get a roll filled with avocado, which offers additional flavor, taste, and added vitamins. (Or — try some ginger, the pink side that you’re also offered with your sushi. It’s great for digestion!)

Vegetables Rolls Over Seafood Rolls

I know, maybe you’re thinking, “Why would I eat vegetable rolls when I get sushi?” but vegetable rolls are just as delicious. Plus, eating vegetable rolls is a great way of incorporating more veggies to your diet. (I didn’t say you couldn’t also order a set of seafood rolls! Just don’t order an excessive amount.) I love avocado and squash rolls, or just ordinary veggie rolls, which are filled with nutritious nori, cucumber, carrots, avocado, and occasionally, squash. (Many vegetable rolls include “sea vegetables,” or, yes, vegetables from the sea, which are a powerful healing food and are delicious). Go for the perfect balance when choosing your rolls. You won’t be disappointed!

Tuna Over Tempura

I told you that you could have your seafood as well and still enjoy it raw! Tuna is a very healthy fish, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which can actually reduce abdominal weight. So yes, fatty fish is good for you, too, as it contains unsaturated fat, which boosts brainpower and protects your heart. (Got a test coming up? Eat some tuna.)

On the other hand, tempura is a code word for “fried,” which will actually increase your risk of heart disease. (And it sure isn’t brain food.) Plus, do you really need fried batter for your sushi to taste great? It’s not a doughnut!

Less Over More

When it comes to sushi, less is more. If you’re a chopstick novice, practice perfecting your chopsticks to enjoy your rolls at a slower pace. Don’t down a set of rolls before you actually taste the fresh ingredients. A typical serving size is one set of rolls (about six pieces), so don’t go crazy and order everything on the menu (and then dessert). Still hungry? Try a green salad with delicious ginger sauce, or a bowl of miso soup, which has less than 75 calories and offers a powerful kick of nutrients. Avoid added ingredients and unnecessary sauces when you can eat and enjoy traditional sushi — minus the calories.

So, yes, you can eat sushi as a healthy lunch or dinner, but don’t forget to be smart when ordering. (Sorry, Philly, but I’ll skip the cream cheese.)

So is sushi healthy?

You can enjoy the simplicity of seafood and vegetables without adding a thick batter, deep-frying, or adding gratuitous sauce when you don’t even need it! So, if you find yourself asking, “Is sushi healthy?” Yes and no. Just be smart about your roll of choice!

What’s your favorite sushi roll? Leave me a comment below!

 

Berries in your Yogurt for a Healthy Swap
Health

How To Get Healthy with 5 Easy Swaps

I love a good meal, especially after a long day at work, or even, a busy morning at the office. In all honesty, I probably think about my next meal far too often, which is why I always keep some healthy snacks around my apartment (and loads of peanut butter). I love comfort foods, but I love making simple food swaps to make my go-to meal a healthier, more satisfying choice.

Whether I’m cooking dinner, making lunch, or throwing together a breakfast, I don’t skim on the nutrients (no matter how tired I am). With empty calories, I end up feeling really full, then feeling very hungry within a few hours. (Sorry, pancakes — I’m talking to you.) When it comes to eating well, I try and pack lunch as often as I can, so I don’t feel starving by the time I realize I should actually eat lunch.

Crazy as it may seem, I’ve never actually eaten a cheesesteak in my life (and yes, I live in Philly). Once I tried a nibble of my brother’s and couldn’t even finish it. I know, I’m crazy. When I make my own homemade meals, I do not sacrifice taste. I don’t make a big bowl of plain oatmeal pretending I’m in heaven, but I just don’t sit around eating sugar-laden oatmeal either.

Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or just plain, tasteless.

When it comes to choosing the right foods, I find the perfect balance.

Avocado instead of Mayonnaise

Avocado instead of Mayonaise

I am a passionate avocado advocate. Whether I’m eating it as guacamole (I’ll pay extra, I get it), as mousse (yes, it exists), or as a sandwich spread, you can find this staple in my fridge far too often. Packed with potassium and fiber,  these fruits (yes they are fruits) are good-to-eat even on their own.

Avocado can also be used as an alternative to calorie-laden spreads, such as mayonnaise. As opposed to avocado, mayonnaise is actually packed with sodium, calories, and cholesterol. Mayonnaise all-too-often gives your sandwich a bad (w)rap, no matter how many hearty vegetables you packed in. Yes, avocado does has fat, but it’s heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Did you know an entire avocado has only 14 mg of sodium, and only two tablespoons of mayonnaise has nearly 200 mg?

Instead of piling a heavy heaping of mayo on your sandwich, try cutting up and mashing 1/4th of an avocado and spread it on your sandwich. Not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you, and it makes your sandwich a whole lot healthier (and tastier!)

Mayonnaise: barely any nutrients. (For no nutrients, I’d rather eat an ounce of chocolate!) Avocado: lots of nutrients. I think the winner of the battle is evident.

Spinach Instead of Iceberg Lettuce

Spinach vs. Lettuce

You may think choosing any green for your salad is acceptable and healthy, but don’t be fooled. In fact, iceberg lettuce doesn’t claim much on the nutritional field. On the other hand, another popular salad green, spinach, is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. At only seven calories a cup, spinach provides 56% of your daily intake of Vitamin A.

Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand, only provides you with 10% of your daily intake. Talk about a wilted leaf. For a simple healthy swap, add spinach to your omelets, pasta dishes, and even your pizza. (Just try and make it thin-crust)

Turkey Burgers Instead of Hamburgers

Turkey burgers in lieu of hamburgers

 

Got beef with turkey? Some people assume I’m a vegetarian because I only eat poultry and avoid red meat. I was raised on chicken and turkey, so red meat was never really in my house. I’ve never had a cheesesteak before and I live in Philly. (I know, I’m crazy.) I still eat burgers — just made from turkey.

Three ounces of 85% lean ground beef actually has 75 mg of cholesterol. Ouch.

Luckily, you can substitute your beef with healthier, lower calorie and lower fat meats, like turkey or chicken.

I found a great turkey burger recipe that I try and make at least once a week. I personally love adding a little bit of guacamole (avocado, again), greens, and I’m super satisfied with my meal. Even if you love red meat, you should give turkey burgers a try!

Cheese and Apple Slices Instead of Cheese and Crackers

Healthier swaps: apples and cheese

Choose crunchy apples and low-fat cheese over overly-processed crackers with cheese. I love cheese, so I’ll never condone it (in smaller quantities). Instead, I find a healthier food to complement it, in lieu of overly salted crackers. (To be honest: I rarely add salt to any of my foods — unless it’s Brussels sprouts.)

Apples and cheese is actually one of my favorite snacks. As you can tell from my previous post, I love apples, and I usually eat them before I can even cook dishes with them. I’ve never really loved the combination of apples and peanut butter, but I really find the salty-sweet combination of apples and cheese to be really mouth-watering.

When I pick a cheese, I try and stick with a lower-calorie and lower-in-fat variety, like part-skim mozzarella, which only has about 70 calories per ounce,  or feta cheese, which only has about 75 calories an ounce. You can have your cheese and eat it too.

Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Flavored Greek Yogurt

 

Plain yogurt doesn't know plain taste

Plain doesn’t mean bland! No, you don’t have to give up taste and flavor by getting rid of your favorite fruit-flavored yogurt.  Instead, make your plain yogurt actually “fruit-flavored” and adding fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, and adding a nice crunch, like almonds or other nuts. It tastes so much better than artificially sweetened “fruit” in your yogurt, but it’s a great way to add some fruit to your diet.

 

What’s your favorite simple food swap? Leave me a comment below, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

 

 

Clean eats for Monday
Health

How to Avoid a Manic Monday (Brain Food Included)

 

Chicken and broccoli Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be….

Ok, so no one really likes  Mondays, especially when you have a fun-filled weekend. It’s not like we can’t tolerate them, though, with a little brain food.

I like to prepare my meals to bring to work (most days) because it not only saves me money, but it also makes me feel healthier, knowing what exactly I’m eating.

That being said, I don’t really like spending my weeknights cooking for the week, so I’ll try and make food for the first few days of my work-week on Sunday, when I have free time. I have a few go-to favorites, but I really love incorporating chicken in most dishes. It’s a great lean protein with vitamins and minerals (which is super necessary to stay focused). I don’t know about you, but I feel beyond sluggish after eating foods with few nutrients and lots of oil, like fries.

I also love eating pasta, but who doesn’t? One of my favorite recipes is sautéed pasta with broccoli, but I love adding a protein and swapping the white pasta for whole wheat pasta.

Chicken, broccoli and whole what pasta (with marinara sauce) is one of my favorite foods because it’s not only easy to make but it’s nutritious and satisfying. It’s packed with protein, a vegetable (with nearly as much vitamin C as an orange), and a satisfying whole grain carb. In fact, I make this meal too often, and I may have mentioned it before on social media before, *cough Instagram cough.*

I like to cook my chicken on a George Foreman 2 serving classic plate grill because it takes about 1/4th of the time that it takes if I were to cook it in the oven (plus it tastes smoky and flavorful), but if you have another ninja way of cooking, then go for it!

Recipe for Chicken, Broccoli and Bowtie Pasta 

(Serves 4, or maybe less, depending on how hungry you are)

Ingredients 

-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I’ll buy Perdue or whatever I can find that is organic!)

-2 cups of baby broccoli florets (I just frozen Birds Eye because I can buy in bulk and save it)

-8 ounces of whole wheat bowtie pasta (I use Delallo)

-Grated Parmesan Cheese

-Salt and pepper to taste

-Spices to taste (I like using McCormick’s Southwest “Sweet and Smoky“)

-Pasta sauce (I usually just eye-ball the amount, but I always make sure to buy the sugar-free sauces. Yes, some sauces have added sugar in them.)

Directions

-In one pot, boil water on the stove, and cook the pasta accordingly

-In a separate pot, boil water for the broccoli and cook for 5-6 minutes

-Spray your George Foreman grill with non-stick cooking spray

-Preheat the grill for several minutes, and season your chicken breasts with spices and salt and pepper

-Place chicken breasts on the grill, cover it, and cook for 3-5 minutes (until the juices run clear)

-Heat up pasta sauce in a pan for several minutes (just before it boils)

-Combine your cooked pasta, broccoli and chicken, pasta sauce, and serve with garnished Parmesan cheese and additional spices. Enjoy!

I’ll get about three tupperware containers out of the above portions since I’ll eat it for dinner as well.

After I eat this as my Sunday meal, I’ll put some in a tupperware container to be my savior come Monday at noon. When my stomach starts to growl, I won’t have to reach for the first fast food meal I can find!

Have any cooking suggestions? Leave me a comment!