Mini nutrition lesson: antioxidants

Antioxidants are being talked up more & more these days and for good reason. Antioxidants, found mostly in fruits and vegetables, are important in our diet to help prevent cell damage & diseases. They prohibit or prevent the oxidation of molecules in our body including free radicals.

Free radicals can be formed by overexposure to alcohol, tobacco smoke, fried foods, air pollutants, and pesticides. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons (aka unpaired). They’re formed when oxygen interacts with another molecule and are highly reactive. Once they get going, they form a chain reaction. They cause cell death which is dangerous when they interact with DNA or cell membranes.

This chain reaction can be prevented by consuming enough antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants interact with free radicals and shut them down before they can damage any vital molecules. The main antioxidant micronutrients are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A).

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in nuts, seeds, oils, and whole grains.

Vitamin C is water-soluble and is present in citrus fruits/juices, broccoli, spinach, green peppers, kale, strawberries, and kiwi.

Beta-carotene (Vitamin A) is also fat-soluble and is found in egg yolk, dairy, spinach, squash, carrots, broccoli, peaches, and whole grains.

Studies are being conducted on the link between antioxidants and the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and aging. The studies haven’t been done long enough to be conclusive yet, but there is a great deal of evidence showing that eating fruits/veggies & living an overall healthy lifestyle is very beneficial in preventing these. The scientific evidence will come with time!

Endurance exercise (such as running, swimming, biking, etc.) increases the body’s oxygen utilization 10-20x above the resting state. Although exercise is very beneficial and should be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, this oxygen increase also increases free radicals. This can increase damage to muscles and other tissues.

But good news! The human body is very adaptable and enhances the antioxidant defense system with regular physical exercise over time. So when you first start working out (or switch up your workouts) it can feel very taxing on the body. But once your body adjusts to the increased oxygen usage and increased free radicals, it learns how to defend against it. Increasing the antioxidants you get in your diet is still important, especially if you work out regularly, to help with muscle repair and growth.

So all in all, balance is important when it comes to antioxidants. Start a balanced fitness regimen (aka don’t just work out intensely for a couple days, take 5 days off, then repeat). You don’t need to work out every day or even 5x a week to be healthy. Exercise when exercise feels good and is a de-stressor as opposed to feeling like you have to. Try and eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies most days. Don’t worry about supplementing if you’re eating nutrient-dense foods in your diet often. These lifestyle factors will be beneficial in increasing antioxidant consumption as well as many other areas of your health!

Weekly Goals

I posted some pretty broad September goals the other day & wanted to try and do a weekly post where I come up with more concrete, measurable goals. I want to try to get back into running again. I took the spring/summer off because I’ve been dealing with shin splints for the past 5+ years since I ran cross country & track in high school. Shin splints are an overuse injury and are very preventable if you do things right which I definitely didn’t do. I never took breaks and ran on my shins even through all the pain and knowing I should take time off. I think the 6 months off has helped a lot but every time I try to run even a little bit I still feel pain in my shins as soon as I’m done running & sometimes for days to a week after.

So imma start out with just 3 simple goals for this week and get back to you once the week is over to see how I did! I think blogging about my goals will hold me accountable and motivate me not to slack off or forget about them. So we’ll see how it goes!

  1. Run 2 times (just a mile or two, whatever feels good & pain-free!). Run with better form: land on soles instead of heels or toes, stretch calves before & after, stay hydrated & get electrolytes to prevent cramping, roll out muscles after). Also, do heel raises and toe raises (3 sets of 12) twice this week.
  2. Meal prep salads for lunches & overnight oats for breakfasts. These aren’t what I’m going to eat every day because that’s too tedious and boring (for me, it works for some people!). But it’s nice to have healthy meals on hand to just grab & go, especially with having classes and work every day except Fridays. I don’t have a lot of time to make food for myself when I’m hungry. So meal prepping once a week is really beneficial for where I’m at with business right now and helps me de-stress and not have to worry about it!
  3. Spend an hour, once or twice, cleaning/organizing my room. My room is a disaster and has no real organization, especially the closet! I just throw everything somewhere & hope for the best when I go to find it. I want my room feng shui-ed and beautiful & see if it actually has an effect on the energy / how well I sleep. IDK if that actually works or not (because I never have a clean room) ;), but I really want to try!

Peace out girl scouts. ❤ ❤

September goals!

Growth and change are constant values of mine. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut where you feel like you’re doing the same thing day after day. & that doesn’t feel good, even if you’re doing something you like. Growth is such an important part of the human experience. Without it, you’re stagnant and life becomes boring, tedious, comfortable. (I’m not suggesting jumping completely out of your comfort zone and never returning.) Comfortability is amazing and a necessary part of life as well! It’s when you get too comfortable and it starts to turn into a lack of motivation or an acceptance of doing the same thing day after day that being comfortable turns into an issue.

One of the best ways to spark change is by creating goals for yourself. Now you can’t just come up with goals, make vision boards, write about what you want to accomplish, etc. and then sit on your ass & expect change to happen. I know this all too well because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months. I sat around thinking about things I wanted and hoping they would just magically fall into my lap. Until I realized after months of ups & downs and overall repetitive disappointment that anything worth having takes WORK. So I let go of that wishful thinking that some magic unicorn fairy would come fling blessings into my lap and started to actually come up with goals for myself and start MOTIVATING myself to actually work for them. Motivation is fleeting and I don’t wake up every morning ready to put in all the effort all the time. But I remind myself of what I want and why I’m doing this and how good it’s gonna feel when I accomplish my goals and that re-inspires me over & over again.

So here are a few goals for September that I came up with! These are completely subjective/personal goals and it’s really important to focus on where you’re at in YOUR life and come up with goals that motivate you right NOW & are gonna help get you where you want to go.

  1. GIVE more.
    It’s easy to get so caught up in your own life that you forget to give back to others and show the people you love that you care about them. Remember: what you give is what you get. Karma’s very real and you will feel way better when you’re making others a priority and remembering to give back.
  2. More intuitively eat & exercise.
    I’m a huge advocate of intuitive eating > any sort of dieting or other “health” fads that go around the internet these days. I’m not the best at intuitive exercising though. I’m gonna make more of an effort to only move when my body feels like moving and in a way that relieves stress instead of causing it (by feeling like I HAVE to work out).
  3. More water! Less coffee & alcohol.
    Dehydration is real guys.
  4. Take life less seriously & see everything on the lighter side.
    Everything’s funny if you think about it. Quit the petty drama & live a little.
  5. Smile at everyone.
    This is something everyone can do, every day, just to improve people’s days & your own. Spread the positive vibes y’all. 🙂

These are all pretty general so I’ll keep posted on how they go throughout the month. Later gators! ❤

Growing with the Ups AND Downs of Life

Life is always changing. Never stagnant. Sometimes it can get comfortable for a while, you do the same thing every day: go to school &/or work, come home, cook, see your friends/family, go out on weekends, fit in workouts where you can… repeat. & as nice as that comfortability with having a routine is, it can get tedious.

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We’re ever evolving creatures & we’re meant for growth. I truly believe that our purpose in life is to grow, learn, and rack up as much experience as we can (doing what fills us with life & love). If you’re keeping the same routine week after week because you’re passionate about what you’re doing and it makes you super happy, that’s AMAZING. I’m super happy you’ve found that & never give that up. I wish I was at a point in my life that I was doing what I loved every day!

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Until then, I’m gonna keep grinding until I get there. Going to school & working min. wage jobs that I’m not passionate about can be tough and time-consuming​. But it will feel even better when I’m past this chapter of my life and in a job that I really care about & WANT to go to work every day. Having a career in holistic​ health where I feel​ like I’m helping people and making a difference and doing what I’m meant to do. That is the goal. & I know I will accomplish it because confidence is key & you really get what you believe you’re going to get out of life.

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The day to day can get frustrating and it’s a challenge to work your ass off and see no immediate reward. KEEP GOING. Keep a positive mindset through it all because you get to live this life once. Make the best of it every day. Things get hard, people come & go, stress builds up, emotions can be all over the place; it’s all part of life. & the ups & downs are what make life beautiful and worth living. Because you couldn’t appreciate the incredible things life gives you if there weren’t negatives as well. It’s a balance. Yin & Yang. What goes up must come down.

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The world is always changing and it’s our goal to change & grow with it. So follow your dreams. Wake up & set goals for yourself. Find what you’re passionate about and go after it with everything you’ve got. Make a vision board. Find people you love & who treat you right and hold onto them. Surround yourself with positivity, support, love, & everything else you deserve. & most importantly, never stop growing and following your intuition.

Don’t Lose Yourself On Your Own Journey

Jaime from Hustle & Brussel is taking over the blog today! This girl is full of positivity & her words are so so inspiring. Enjoy!

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Your journey is your own. You hold the compass. You steer the wheel. You choose the detours, destinations, and dreams. You can speed up, slow down, or keep it on cruise control. As Sam Hunt would say, “Imma take it slow, just as fast as I can.” The power is yours.

When I started Hustle + Brussel, my overall goal for the blog was to make it a safe and positive space. With one click, it would bring a smile to anyone’s face. It would be serious about providing resources for finding the joy within oneself, yet make you laugh and cry all at the same time.

As a blogger, it is my first and foremost priority to practice what I preach. From time-to-time, I browse through the pages of “me” that I have opened to you and I think I have done just that. I have also become aware that as someone promoting positivity, I am human; and therefore, susceptible to distractions. These distractions sometimes negate my goodvibes. However, it is all circumstantial and my positive spirit remains in the fact that self awareness is a lifelong journey. Throughout the years, we learn more about our intricate personalities, passions, and poisons. Just like our bodies, our wants and desires are constantly evolving. Therefore, we have to be flexible in what we believe to be true about ourselves.

I am currently studying astrology and I use it as a reference to help guide my own journey. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s what I have chosen to aid my adventure. What I do know (as a cancer rising) is, I’m a nurturer. I will put everyone’s needs ahead of my own. While this is a blessing and a curse, it has definitely been a theme in my life and I often lose sight of my own destination.

Over the past month, I have been much more aware of the woman I want to be. I have brought this detailed picture of her to the forefront of my mind as a constant reminder to stay en route. What helps me is to add structure to my schedule. I am that girl who has that go-with-the-flow, no agenda, free spirit, wanderlust kinda thing going on. I love this about myself, but again…distractions! As I am in the midst of practicing discipline, I am feeling much more ambitious and overall successful related to my own endeavors.

Here’s what I encourage all of you to do:

  1. Meditate. On your life. What makes you happy. What brings you sadness. The qualities you possess. Focus on your destination. And, just breathe.
  2. Reflect & Resonate. What did you just picture in your mind? What people, places, and things were involved? What are your life goals? Where do you want to be 5, 10, 20 years from now?
  3. Create a map. The places you want to go. The people you want to see. The person you want to be. The career you want to have. The things you want to own. Visualize it! Mark the pit stops that will get you closer to your destination. Pin the places that will bring you pleasure. Bring the people you want close.

Remember, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We are all prone to swings in emotions, buildups and breakdowns, wins and losses. This is what continues to connect us all as a community. Because in the end, “we’re all just walking each other home.”

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Jaime Ruisi

Hustle + Brussel