[FRESH] 15

Before I started my first year of college, Freshman Year came with a lot of preconcieved notions for me- Insanely hard classes, non-stop partying, depleated bank account, new friends and of course, "THE Freshman 15". You know, the 15 punds everyone is said to put on that first year due to stress, beer, and a new found love for the all you can eat dining hall?

Well I'm here to tell you: it's real. It's easy to let all of these factors get the best of you, but don't let it. Take a stand and fight the temptation. Bare with me here. I'm not preaching to you. I've been there and experienced the negative effects poor health can have on you. During my first semester, I tried to balance classes, with long studio hours, greek life, and a job. I did not make nutrition or exercise a priority- and sleep was completely out of the question. These decisions resulted in a raging case of Mono and one or two mental breakdowns. Learning from my mistakes last semester, I realized college is not the exception. We don't get to make excuses for ourselves about why we neglect our health. It is so important during these crucial years to take care of ourselves. Now when I am not walking to and from classes, or playing soccer, I like to attend Yoga classes at least three times a week. Not saying I don't wander over to the fro yo machine 4-5 times a week (because I do) but I make sure to keep it in moderation. Health to me is not a matter of losing weight but a way to ensure a balanced and happy life.

Now that I am finished ranting to you about how obviously invested in this issue I am, here are just a few simple steps that you can take towards leading a healthier life :)

1. HAVE A GYM BUDDY. You are not always going to feel as motivated as you do right now. Holding eachother accountable is the best way to ensure that you do exactly what you set out to do.

2. WORK OUT IN THE MORNING. Not only is there an unlimited amount of studies that show working out in the morning boosts your metabolism and releases endorphins, but you get it over with and have the rest of your day to do as you please with the satisfaction of knowing that you started your day with productivity and a purpose.

3. BUY A BLENDER. You are not limited to the overly processed food they serve in the dining hall. Fresh, natural organic food does wonders within the first few meals. Not only will you have more energy, but fruits and veggies are good for your hair and clear up your skin (Another typical college problem... anyone ever had a stress induced breakout before?) If you are not allowed to have a blender in your dorm... well, hide it. I'm sure you already have lots of other "prohibited items" extension cords, candles, etc... Mask the sound of the blender by blasting some music and have a dance party.

Number three is especially my favorite. Smoothies take 10 minutes to make, including prep and clean up time. Often times, you assume fresh food costs a lot of money that you don't have. But if you shop from a cheap bulk food store like Aldis and split the ingredients two ways, you can save a lot of money. My roomate and I did a half juice/smoothie detox for a week and by Friday I had more energy than I even knew what to do with.

Healthy and declicious smoothie recipes..

1/2 cup chopped mango

1 cup blueberries

1 cup coconut water

2 cups packed spinach or 1 cup kale

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 avocado

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon flax seeds

1/2 cup ice

1 navel orange

1 grapefruit

The juice of half a lemon

1/2 cup of chilled unsweetened green tea

1/2 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 a frozen banana

1 cup ice

1/2 tablespoon honey

2 large frozen bananas

1 cup almond milk

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon

Toppings: 1 fresh banana sliced, a few almonds and vegan dark chocolate chunks

1 cup water or coconut water

1/2 medium avocado, pitted

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1-2 cups strawberries (frozen preferred)

1 small/medium beet, ends trimmed and roughly chopped

1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons or so)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 large ice cubes

1 apple

Liquid sweetener if sweeter smoothie is desired

If you are not a beet fan, add a handful of spinach and/or kale

1 cup chopped papaya

1/2 cup spinach

1/2 kale

1/2 banana

1/2 apple, cored and chopped

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 cup ice

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