Love this 2016 holiday gift guide. There's something for everyone on your list (including you!). Happy holidays!

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

My  2016 Holiday Gift Guide was so fun to put together. Picks include affiliate links and direct links for easy shopping. I hope you find something special for someone you love! 

Love this 2016 holiday gift guide. There's something for everyone on your list (including you!). Happy holidays!


FOR THE FASHIONISTA

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I adore these inspiring Mantra Band A good friend bought me LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE for my birthday last year and I always layer it with my other bracelets.  I love feel good jewelry. This is the perfect gift for a friend, sister, co-worker or teacher.


FOR THE BREAKFAST LOVER

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Give your family something to rise and shine about — 75 amazingly good recipes that everyone will love. Written by my friend and fellow RD, Katie Morford of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook this awesome collection of breakfast delights will make the first meal of the day worth waking up for. Surprise the breakfast lover in your life with this cookbook here.


FOR THE STRESSED OUT

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One of my favorite apps right now is the Calm for the iphone. It’s a quick and easy way to get some peace and serenity into your life, right when you need it. I love listening to a waterfall sleep story before bed or the sound of waves crashing on a beach while I work.  Give someone you love a little zen with guided sessions and tips for managing stress. A meditation subscription might be the perfect gift for everyone I know.


FOR YOUR BESTIE

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I recently attended a chakra clearing in a salt cave and I’m now pretty much obsessed with the power of Himalayan salt to heal and soothe my soul. Crazy, right? Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. This super cool 100% rock salt lamp from Urban Outfitters is a symbol for me to stop stressing out and get focused on the present. I love it for my desk, but it’s perfect for any peaceful nook in the home. Buy it here.


 FOR HER

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These Beautycounter from Beautycounter are the perfect one-stop-compact for any gal on the go! Both palettes mix best sellers and a few new shades for just the right balance. Added bonus: BC uses porcelain flower extract in their powders, a Thai bloom known for its antioxidant benefits to help moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes that creates a flattering, luminous effect. Check out all of the Beautycounter holiday gift sets here.


FOR THE FASHIONISTA

1451487_545098458909116_1649397358_nI absolutely love Stitch Fix. I’m a little obsessed, actually. I’ve received over 30 of these lovely square boxes to date. I’ve introduced Stitch Fix to most of my friends and family..even my 70-something mom loves getting her box! Stitch Fix is like having your own personal stylist on call: just complete a style Profile and their stylists handpick a selection of five clothing items (plus jewelry, purses & shoes) unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You buy what you like and return the rest (shipping is free both ways). If you buy all 5 pieces, you get 25% off the entire box! A $25 Stitch Fix gift card allows your friend to try the service for free. It’s a genius idea! You give the gift…they deliver the perfect present.  Grab a few gift cards here.


FOR THE BAKER

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You can’t have too many cake servers….a fact I know to be true. This Maelle Cake Server from Anthropologie is adorable and will be sure to please the baker on your list. Click here to buy.


FOR THE KITCHEN

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We use these bowls every day in our house and so will the lucky gal who gets a set from you!  They stack well, come in gorgeous colors, and are a timeless dinnerware classic. Pick up a set here


FOR THE iPHONE PHOTOGRAPHER

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This Olloclip might be the coolest phone gadget – EVER. It’s a 4 in 1 lens that you clip onto your iphone that allows you to take fisheye, wide-angle, macro, and 10x & 15x photos in seconds. It also weighs in at less than an ounce. This bad boy is going on my own Christmas list for sure.


FOR THE SMOOTHIE LOVER

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A new or reconditioned Vitamix might be the very best gift EVER! It’s definitely my favorite kitchen gadget of all time! I use my machine every single day. It’s by far one the best kitchen appliance investment I’ve made (and I bought mine as a reconditioned model). In December, you can save up to $90 on a new qualifying machine on Vitamiz OR you can click here to learn how to get a reconditioned machine.


FOR THE KNITTER

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How cute is a stoneware yarn bowl? This gift has my sister name all over it. Make the knitter in your life happy and you may just get a new scarf. Buy it

FOR THE DOG LOVER

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I just love this handcrafted ornament stamped with your favorite pet’s name. It’s super cute and a great gift for that special dog (or dog lover) in your life.


FOR THE GAMER

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Because we’re all going to play with our phones during the game anyway, right? Game of Phones is a genius way to get full participation during game night. For the gamer who has it all, I bet they don’t have this


FOR THE TEACHER

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I love this super cute mug idea for that special teacher in your life. I’m thinking Miss Long might be receiving one of these this year. It’s snarky and a little dark, but that’s why I love it.


Happy Holidays and happy shopping!

Master your mindset, change your life. Become the healthiest you possible by learning to change the way you think about food.

Master Your Mindset to Lose Weight

Master your mindset, change your life. Become the healthiest you possible by learning to change the way you think about  food and getting healthy. This is not a post about why you should do yoga. We all know yoga is good for us, you certainly don’t need me to tell you that. This is a post about how powerful your mindset is and why mastering it is the key to lose weight and become your healthiest self.

I’ve been doing yoga on and off for the last 20 years. I “discovered” it back in grad school in my 20s. I was living in a college town where the only yoga you could find was taught in a church basement on Friday nights. My instructor was a 70+ year old harem-wearing yogi who started each class chanting OM. Yoga for me back then was about learning to use my breath as I flowed through a pose and clearing my mind in order to have a better life.

It’s such an abstract thing to say that yoga can contribute to “having a better life,” but there was something about sitting there on the floor of that church, listening to this old guy chant that kept me going back. Right from the beginning, yoga was about centering myself through the challenge of a pose and clearing my mind.  It was never about getting exercise.

Since then, I’ve dabbled in various types of yoga and experienced different instructors and their philosophies. It’s hard to find a class these days that isn’t all about getting a workout. Now the rooms are super hot and you do the same series of repetitive movements over and over and over again. This type of yoga is how I picked up a wrist and shoulder injury that got so bad I couldn’t do yoga anymore.

Fast forward to today. A somewhat healed me is excited about a yoga studio that opened near my house. I solicited a friend and decided to take a couple of classes. It’s important to remember at this point that I am not new to yoga. I know all the poses (even their Sanskrit names) and because I took private lessons for a while, I care about good form. I know what it takes to get into a pose, hold it, and how it’s supposed to feel.

About 5 minutes into my first class I feel like a total loser. My incredibly tight hamstrings don’t allow me to get my legs even close to being straight. I can’t go deep into any of the poses. I can’t do the vinyasas (read: pushups) between poses because my wrist immediately starts to hurt. It’s so hot in the room I feel like I’m going to pass out. I literally have sweat dripping all around me…my mat is so slippery I can’t even stay in down dog. My left hip starts throbbing during Tree pose and my balance sucks.

Then I had a lightbulb moment. This is what it feels like when people try to lose weight. Specifically, this is how you feel during Nourish when I ask you to stop eating sugar and cut back on caffeine. You’ve probably removed sugar from your diet before, but you feel out of practice, your confidence is low, and you don’t think you’re going to make it the whole 21 days. All those same thoughts and feelings going through MY head during yoga class are going through YOURS during Nourish:

I’m so out of shape, what’s the point of doing this?

I can’t finish. I want to stop now.

If I can’t do the pose perfectly, there’s no point doing it at all.

OMG, it’s going to take FOREVER to get back to where I was.

Why is it so easy for everyone else?

How many more minutes?

How can I sneak out of here?

I kid you not. I thought every single one of these thoughts during that 50 minute class. But I didn’t leave. I sucked it up and finished.

Once the torture was over, I changed my clothes in the locker room and went outside to meet Michele. I stepped out the front door to find it was a perfectly gorgeous day. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze in the air and I noticed that I felt good. I felt accomplished. My muscles were loose, the tightness was gone. I felt at peace.

And then I remembered something I had learned years and years ago. It’s how I felt right then that mattered, not how I felt during class. And eating healthy is the same way.

You have to change your mindset and focus on how you’re going to feel AFTER achieving your goals and not on the pain of discipline in the moment.

Although yoga focuses on the present moment, the magic really happens after you leave the mat. That day is a reminder of what’s possible with a simple mindset shift.  When you set out to lose weight or change your diet and you’re hungry, craving sugar, stressed and you want to use food for comfort and you ask yourself what is this all for?  Remember how you’re going to feel tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year. When you lose weight and your clothes fit better, you’re able to get off medication, when you’re not using caffeine and sugar to get through the day, when you actually crave healthy food as a way to feel good about yourself and your life.

Trust me, you’re not going to feel sad about the food you’ve given up when you start to see a new possibility for your life.

Choosing to be the healthiest version of yourself is similar to a yoga practice. It’s not about what you look like doing the pose, it’s not about what others can do better than you can. It’s not a race to the finish. Rather, it’s a slow and deliberate journey that could takes years to perfect.

Just like yoga, once you think you’ve mastered it, you can step back and ask yourself is there more I can do? You may have mastered the beginner class, but what’s next? On the yoga mat and in life there’s always a variation that can take you deeper…and just like that, you’re a beginner again.

Join me in September and start your own journey.

Join Nourish: 21 Days of Clean Eating this fall! Registration opens Sept. 1st!

 

Clean eating packaged food list

Can Packaged Food Be Healthy?

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I’m asked all the time about what we eat during my online group program, Nourish: 21 Days of Clean Eating. I’m also asked how my program compares to Whole30, 21 Day Fix, or other group programs. My program is different from these programs for a few reasons. For one, we are learning about food in an inclusive way, not by what we give up. What I mean by that is, we focus more on what we ARE eating vs. what we aren’t. We also don’t give up foods simply because they’re packaged or because some pseudo-science tells us they are going to destroy our health. We know better than that.  Which brings me to reason two….

There’s me: a real-life health professional with degrees and credentials and over 15 years of experience actually working with individuals and groups on how to get healthy. I say this because I think it’s important. I’m not trying to sell anyone on my own lifestyle or product. I’m there to provide expert guidance based largely on proven, evidence-based information, with some practice-based wisdom thrown in for good measure. I can do this because I’ve actually worked with hundreds and hundreds of people over the last decade and a half. I’ve partnered with physicians, physical therapists, personal trainers, and psychologists to get their clients and patients healthy. Bottom line: this is my profession. You can trust that I have a valid reason for what I recommend, I have your best interests in mind, and I care deeply about your health.

And finally, In Nourish we eat more than just veggies and meat. We actually eat grains, beans, some dairy, and other packaged food. We don’t eat a ton of packaged food because a majority of it is made with too much sodium, fillers, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, additives and other unsavory ingredients. I’ve written about this before. But not all packaged foods are unhealthy. In Nourish, I teach you what to look for on a nutrition label and why; I teach you how to read the ingredient list like a pro. Once you learn this, you can see that many packaged foods are doing it right and are vital to achieving and maintaining good health. Let’s take a look….

Danielle’s List of Clean Eating Packaged Food

Canned Food

  • Dried beans may be best, but canned or boxed beans are a great alternative. Rinse and drain them before eating to remove added sodium and you are ready to go. Steamed lentils are a great choice as well and are super convenient.
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned tuna (or tuna in pouches)
  • Canned salmon

I recommend BPA free cans, whenever possible. Here’s why.  For a list of food companies who are and are not using BPA in their packaging, click here.

Whole Grains

  • Oats: oats and other grains have to be processed in order to eat them. Oats are also one of the most studied grains in terms of their health benefits. Oats contain a special type of heart-healthy fiber that has been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff).
  • Quinoa: (during Nourish, I emphasis whole grains first, whole grain flours second. This means choosing quinoa over quinoa pasta, fresh oat vs oat cereal, etc.)
  • Whole Grain Rice: (choose plain (unseasoned) rice that has been minimally processed. This includes wild rice, brown rice, red rice, black rice, brown basmati and brown jasmine rice)

RX bars + Lara bars (I love these bars; they are relatively natural, with no sugar added)

Natural nut butters (with no sugar or chocolate added)

Nut milks

Chia Seed

Hemp Hearts

Ground Flax Seed

Vinegar

Oil (choose unrefined, heart healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut, flaxseed, peanut, and avocado oil)

Salad dressing (look for olive oil based, no sugar added versions)

Frozen fruit

Frozen veggies (without added sauces)

Eggs

Pre-chopped veggies (eat these quick though, they don’t stay fresh long)

Shelled edamame

Miso paste

Tempeh

Frozen salmon / fish

As you can see, you can eat quite a bit of healthy, packaged food and still feel good about your health. Of course this is not an exhaustive list and there are definitely other packaged foods that are healthy and Nourish-friendly.

If you want to learn more about how eating clean, whole food effects your health, mood and overall wellness, join us this September for Nourish: 21 Days Of Clean Eating and find out! Registration opens September 1st.

Join my weekly eblast HERE to get advanced notice of Early Bird pricing.

Join Nourish: 21 Days of Clean Eating this fall! Registration opens Sept. 1st!