Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Is it me, or is this week flying by?  It's Wednesday already!  What are you doing for your wellness today?  Have you been doing your best? Trying new veggies? Drinking more water? Getting more sleep? Eating smaller, more often meals?
This Wellness Wednesday tip, is to use reusable/refillable products.  This will cut down on waste and improve the wellness of our earth.  Sometimes if you bring in reusable/refillable containers to retailers, they will give you a discount... So it's win-win!

Here are some thing's I use & reuse regularly...

  • Water bottles, I refill them with filtered or water fountain water where ever I am.
  • Coffee tumbler, Starbucks offers 10% off any drink if you bring in your own cup
  • Grocery/shopping bags, I bring my own, where ever I go
  • Cleaning product bottles, I reuse the original bottles by refilling them with my own cleaning products or I buy in bulk and refill into smaller bottles
  • Tupperware containers, instead of using plastic baggies for lunch, leftovers, or snacks
  • Travel Toiletry bottles, I refill them with my current beauty products
  • Rechargeable batteries, a must when your kids love their Leap Pads... Great for cameras too.
  • Dishes, flatware, & Glasses, instead of disposable paper & plastic products
  • Lunch bags, you can take your own lunch & snacks just use a reusable bag instead of paper bags
  • Sponges & cleaning clothes, I reuse, re-wash them over & over again

There are all kind of reusable/refillable products... Feminine products, reusable paper towels, mason jars, reusable napkins, dryer balls, silicon cupcake wrappers, reusable drinking straws... You name it, you can find it.  If a refillable product is not an option, find a way to recycle the product.  So this Wednesday, help reduce waste and use refillable/reusable products!  Let's keep our Space well, too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hearty Vegetable Soup

This Meatless Monday, I made my Hearty Vegetable Soup. I was looking for something easy, and my husband wanted something "carb-free". Coming off of a 10 day auto show trip, I was yearning for vegetables, so this soup was perfect and loved by everyone in the Thayer family!  Here's the recipe, enjoy this low calorie filling soup!

Hearty Vegetable Soup
Serves 8, time: 60 min (w/ 10-20 prep time)

1 tbs olive oil
2-3 cup carrots, sliced in discs
1 onion, rough chopped
3 small stalks celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed & cut into 1" pieces
2 small zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1 qt low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
Salt & Pepper
1 bag (9 oz) baby spinach

Heat olive oil in stock pot, add carrots, onion, and celery and sauté over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic.  Cook for 8 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften.
While veggies are cooking, slice cabbage, cut green beans & zucchini, and set aside.
    When carrots, etc are tender add tomatoes & their liquid to the pot. Add cabbage, green beans, chicken broth, and water. Add salt & pepper to your liking. 
Heat to a boil, over high heat, add zucchini then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
Increase heat to high & boiling.  Add spinach, reduce heat to low, again. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all veggies are tender. 
Cool soup slightly, ladle up and enjoy! Store soup in fridge for 2-3 days of snacking or leftovers, you can also freeze in 2 cup portions and freeze.

Each cup of soup is about 45 calories, 2g of protein, 9g carb, 1g fat, 4g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Taco Night

At least once a month, I love to make tacos for my family.  One of my favorite ways is chicken tacos with a salsa baked pulled chicken.  My friend Becky made this for me for dinner one night during our 26 night stay at the Texas State fair over 5 years ago, and I've been making it ever since.  The chicken is a much healthier way to make your taco meat, since it's baked in low-calorie salsa.

Chicken Tacos
Serves: how ever many you want, Time: 60min

Chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (1 per person)
Jar of your favorite salsa, fruit salsas don't work very well
1/2 cup of water (maybe)
Tbs olive oil
Taco seasoning
Salt & pepper, optional
Taco shells, soft or hard
Favorite taco toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, beans, etc

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil on bottom of baking dish. Place chicken on top of oil. Sprinkle with taco seasoning, salt & pepper. Pour salsa all around chicken breasts, add a little water until salsa is reaches tops of chicken breast without covering them. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is done.  Remove from oven, take a fork and tongs and start pulling apart chicken to shred.
Once chicken is all shredded, re-cover with foil and bake another 15 minutes to make sure the meat absorbs the yummy salsa flavors.  Take out and serve buffet style allowing you & your dinner guests to build their own tacos. 
I serve my tacos with a side of black beans & brown rice, and the kids like to have cheese quesadillas and they make like mini pizza tacos. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Today's Wellness Wednesday is coming from Philadelphia, where I am working the auto show.  My Wellness Wednesday tip is for your work wellness.  Many times we get boggled down by the many tasks at hand, the quota that is expected from us, the major report that is due, or we get stressed about our own or others' adversity and drama.  That being said no matter where you are or what you do... "Do your Best and Forget the Rest".  Worry about yourself and your job, and be the best employee or employer you can be!  Focus on how well you do your job, not others.  Make sure you are always giving 100%.  Even if you are searching and interviewing for new jobs, put the best you forward.  Stay positive, and don't let others negativity bring you down.  If you constantly worry or complain about how others aren't doing their job, it will not only take away energy from your tasks, but it will also bring undo stress onto you and your body... Which is not healthy, for your self, your soul, or your work space.  Just think, if everyone at your job from the negative Nancy, to the positive Patty, to the dramatic Doreen, to the lazy Larry, even the stressed-out Stan, all came to work with the "Do your best, and forget the rest" attitude... What a positive, productive work environment we would all have.  So this Wednesday, for your overall work wellness, "Do Your Best and Forget The Rest!"

Thanks to Tony Horton from Beach Body & P90x for such a great, motivational phrase!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Gone are the days where we eat just 3 meals a day.  Now, it's recommended that we eat every few hours, 4-6 meals.  Well, really, not 6 meals but 3-4 small meals, and 1-2 snacks.  Creating healthy eating habits is essential to living a healthy life.  Healthy snacks are a great way to get in extra nutrients throughout your day.  Eating 4-6 meals a day, not only keeps hunger pangs away, speeds up your metabolism, but it also helps you make better meal choices and eat smaller portions because you're not starving by the next major meal time.  So this Wednesday , I encourage you to eat a snack, a healthy snack in between meal times.  Here's a list of some of my favorite snacks
  • Sliced raw veggies & hummus (or low calorie dressing)
  • Ants on a log- celery, Peanut Butter, raisins (sub nut-butters w/dried fruit)
  • Cup of Fresh fruit (like strawberries & blueberries)
  • Piece of fresh fruit (apple, banana, orange- I pre-wash my fruit when i bring it home, so I can grab & go)
  • Apple slices & PB (1-2 tbs) 
  • Greek yogurt w/ or w/o homemade granola (Chobani & trader joe's)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Nut & dried fruit mix 
  • Hard boiled egg
  • 1/2 of PB&J with low sugar jelly
  • Small handful of honey wheat pretzels (trader joe's)
  • Blue corn or soy/flax seed tortilla chips & salsa (trader joe's)
  • Small Fruit smoothie or veggie juice
  • 1 rice cake w/ peanut butter
  • Part skim mozzarella cheese stick
  • Protein bar (chocolate chip cliff bar is my fav)
Dessert snacks (bonus!)
  • 2 small chocolate chip cookies or mint Oreos (my kryptonite)
  • 1/2 cup of ice cream or sorbet, (edie's slow churn or trader joe's sorbet)
  • 1 cup of berries with a squirt of whipped cream

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Relieve the Headache

Many of you might not know, but I suffer from migraine headaches.  They started when I was a kid, and I still get them, often.  That being said, I try very hard to keep a smile on my face while my head is throbbing.  I try to use medicine as my last resort.  I prefer natural, home remedies before over the counter or prescription meds.  Now, let me say this... I am not a doctor, nurse, or medical professional.  I am only sharing my ways of relieving my headaches, they might work for you and they might not.  If you have any ways to relieve your headaches, please share below.

Okay, back to headaches... Here are some of my natural tips to relieving headaches. Tension, sinus, migraine, whatever...

  • Water: I drink water to make sure I'm hydrated. If I catch a migraine early enough, I'll run cold water over my pressure points in my wrists.
  • Aromatherapy oils: peppermint, lemon grass, or lavender oil on temples and back of the neck help to relieve tension and relaxes the body.  Other scents have been known to cause more of a headache for me.
  • Dim the lights: bright lights can aggravate a headache 
  • Rest: I try to sneak away for at least 15-20 min.  I turn off everything, close the blinds, and close my eyes.
  • Meditation: quiet time focusing on the breathe, does amazing things for the body's restoration
  • Tea or coffee: Depending on the headache tea relaxes me, and the caffeine from coffee or tea, helps when I'm on the go with a headache because it helps the blood flow more freely.
  • Walk or run: this works especially if its a stress-induced headache, releases my stress and my focus is off of the headache pain, and on to the run.
  • Yoga: some yoga poses like seated neck stretches, cat pose, quarter dog (like downward facing dog, but on your forearms instead of hands), child's pose, happy baby, legs up on the wall (straight or straddle), seated spinal twists, corpse pose (meditation pose) can really help calm and restore the body & head.
  • Warm bath or Shower: warm water has an amazing way of relaxing, add a little lavender to help relax even more
  • Ice Packs or cool compress: I place them on forehead or on the back of my neck.
  • Hair: I make sure my hair is out & loose, tight styles and ponytails don't help either.
  • Food: this can be a "catch 22", certain foods are trigger foods for my headaches, so this is a two parter- I watch what I eat to avoid headaches. But the second part of this, is sometimes headaches are caused by hunger, so grab a healthy snack if it's not near a mealtime, and don't skip meals!
  • Alcohol: I stay away from all alcohol while I have a headache, it only makes my headaches worse!

Honestly, there are times when my natural remedies do not work, or I'm on the go (on the show floor), and I don't have time for my home remedies... So what do I reach for?  Alieve works well for me, and Excedrin Migraine for those extreme migraines.  I also have a prescription migraine medicine, but my body does some crazy things with that, so it only comes out if a migraine lasts over 36 hrs and none of the other remedies or over the counter meds work.  But all in moderation, because these medicines can have different and negative effects on the body (stomach, liver, etc.).  I hope the next time time you get a headache you try a more natural approach to relieve it, and keep smiling.  If you find you are getting headaches often, track your activity and foods, then contact your doctor, you might discover a trigger.  Stay well and headache-free!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

This Wednesday, we are a full week into the new year, how's it going so far? Resolutions still in tact?  Are you working towards those goals?  This Wednesday, I want you to look deep inside, and long hard long inside...

What is driving you to live a healthier life?  Honestly, what is the real reason you made your New Year, New You resolutions & goals?  Is it vanity?  Are you doing it to make someone else happy?  Did the doctor suggest a healthier lifestyle?  Are you secretly competing & comparing yourself to someone (known or unknown)?  Are you doing it for longevity of life?  Are you doing it for your loved ones?  Are you doing it to lead by example? Do you have something to prove?  Are you trying to fit into your jeans from college?  Why are choosing to live a healthier life?  Be honest with yourself!

Now, write it down, whatever the reason or reasons may be... Write it down, some place you can come back and look at it, from time to time (maybe near your list of goals).  Now write (if you haven't already): I am living a healthier life for me, myself, and I!  Once you accept that you are the number 1 reason, all of the other reasons will fall into place.  I'm not gonna lie to you, February will hit, your schedule will get busier, it will get colder out, and you'll start to lose focus... When you do, go back and look at why you are choosing to live a healthier life.  Anytime, you start to feel discouraged or tempted, look at your reasons, look at your goals... And remember You Can Do It!!  So, that being said, my Wellness Wednesday take-away, is to be honest with yourself, and love yourself... enough that you will want to become happy, healthy and well by sticking to your New Year, New You health goals and resolutions!!

Shrimp & Rice Jambalaya

I have another recipe for you!  After Monday's Moroccan Stew (which my husband did not like), I had to come back swinging with a yummy, but healthy recipe, in order to redeem myself!  With this recipe, you have the ability to make this as spicy as you would like, I kept mine on the mild side.  If you're not a fan of shrimp, you can substitute chicken or your favorite sausage.

Shrimp & Rice Jambalaya 
Serves 4, time 30 min total

12oz medium shrimp, peeled & deveined (if frozen, thaw)
1 cup celery, chopped (2 stalks)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I made my own, see recipe below)
1/4 tsp Red pepper flake (optional)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs olive oil
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup long grain brown rice, uncooked
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
Lemon wedges & Hot sauce (optional)

Rinse shrimp, and pat dry, then set aside.  In a large skillet w/ a lid, sauté celery, onion, green pepper, Cajun seasoning, red pepper flake, oregano, in olive oil over medium-high heat, until veggies are tender.
Add broth, stir in rice, bring to a boil. Drop heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 min, or until rice is tender.
Add tomatoes and shrimp, stir. Increase heat to medium, cover and cook until shrimp are opaque.  Serve with lemon wedges & hot sauce... Enjoy!!

My homemade Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

Mix all, store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moroccan Stew

So, last night for Meatless Monday, I made Moroccan Stew.  I have to say, if you don't care for curry,  couscous this dish is not for you... My husband does not enjoy the consistency of couscous, so this was not a favorite.  I however enjoyed it, I might try it next time with rice instead of couscous because the flavors were great.  I adapted this recipe from Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light cookbook.

Moroccan Stew
Serves 6. Prep time 10 min, cook time 30 min

1 32oz container Vegetable Broth
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous, uncooked
1 12oz bag frozen broccoli, carrots, cauliflower
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup onion, rough chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
1 cup dried apricots (optional)
In a large pot combine all of the ingredients. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Then simmer for 30 min. Stir stew, remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

I served our stew with a side salad... I hope you enjoy this low calorie, healthy, meatless monday dish as much as I did.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Happy New Year!!  I hope the holiday season brought you joy, happiness, but most of all good health.  As many of you are returning to work & school today, don't forget about your health and wellness.
This Wednesday, I want you to stay warm and dress appropriately when going outside.  Jack Frost is alive and well in most of the country, so be sure to bundle up!  I know you're probably saying, "but Ashley, you cant get sick from going outside without a coat on!"  Yes, you are correct, you get sick from viruses, bacteria, and nasty germs.  However, when your body is too cold, it works extra hard to warm it up, which takes away from it's super germ-fighting skills.  Put on the coat, gloves, hat, scarf, sweaters, etc... whatever your weather dictates... That includes you Southern California, put on a coat when those nights get chilly.  Don't worry, bundling up can be stylish and fashionable, just ask my girl, Fit Traveler AJ!
Stay well and warm this Wednesday, by dressing for the weather!  Don't forget about the other wellness tips to help keep you healthy... wash your hands, eat your vegetables, drink water, and rest your body!