Easy Avocado Tuna Salad

Easy Avocado Tuna Salad RecipeLet me introduce you to your new favorite healthy snack: Easy Avocado Tuna Salad. My quest for an easy and healthy snack lead me to The Healthy Maven’s recipe for tuna salad. I made a few tweaks, and immediately became hooked.

Although I’d love to nosh on cheese and crackers all afternoon long—and believe me I could with the entire cheese drawer in our refridgerator stuffed full of decandent cheese—my waistline and my dietitian (and of course by dietitian I mean the internet), confirm that this is not the snack of champions. And that is how I arrived at a delicious and healthy alternative to the classic tuna salad. Hardcore health nuts and weight lifters will eat tuna straight from the can. I’m not that hardcore. Not even close. But I don’t eat mayo. See my dilemma? Enter avocado, stage right. The tangy flavor of Dijon mustard mixed with refreshing apple and crunchy celery, plus a dash of spice and citrus, and voilà! A simple, healthy and flavorful snack was born.

This is culinary greatness in my book. Easy, few and fresh ingredients, healthy, and cheap. Yep, culinary greatness by all accounts. Get ready to toss out that unhealthy version for this Easy Avocado Tuna Salad.

Easy Avocado Tuna Salad
Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large ripe avocado
2 cans of chunk light tuna in water, drained
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green parts only)
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 green apple, chopped
1 heaping tsp. dried dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4-6 servings.

  1. Peel and pit the avocado and place in a medium bowl, then mash it up with the back of a fork.
  2. Add in tuna, scallions, celery and apple. Mix until just combined.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Serve as a healthy snack on top of crackers or cucumber, or enjoy spread between two slices of bread for the perfect sandwich any time of day.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 💜

Printable recipe

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Monday Motivation: Find your balance

Balance is not something you find. It's something you create. Fitness and health is a balancing act. Balance allows us to remain successful in our efforts towards our goals. To remain sane and happy in our pursuit. Tipping the scale too much to the fitness side can be just as unsatisfying as tipping it too far the other way. But balance also requires patience and kindness. Trying too hard and too fast to get back into our fitness routine, to change overnight, will cause burnout. You have to have patience. Drowning yourself in guilt for indulging over the weekend will push you off course. You have to be kind to yourself.

Strive each day for balance.

Everyone’s balancing act is different and no one can tell you what ratio of fitness, life, and indulgence is right for you. You have to know yourself, know what makes you happy, to ultimately find YOUR balance. Once you find it you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals and living a healthy, happy life! 💜

But first, running: 6 Reasons to run in the morning

Woman running at sunrise

Running in the morning has become a satisfying addiction for me. The treadmill pulls at my body like a magnet; pulling me to it every morning. Of course the first week or two are always easy. You set high hopes and goals and refuse to let yourself down. Then, as if a force is working against you, you think of every possible reason why you shouldn’t get your morning run in—I have too much work, I’m too tired, it’s too cold, my knees hurt, etc. But you push through all of the noise and do it anyway. You stick to your goal and something amazing happens—you start to enjoy it. You start to see its benefits and that solidifies your desire to get up and get running every morning. Don’t believe me? Here are six reasons to run in the morning:

  1. A more focused mind and increased productivity.
    It’s amazing how much more productive and focused you become simply by running in the morning. In fact, working out can increase your mental clarity up to ten hours post exercise!
  2. Increased energy to get you through the day.
    Although it seems counter-intuitive to think you’ll have more energy throughout the day if you burn energy in the morning, you will. By starting your day with a workout, you will be more likely to beat that dreaded afternoon slump.
  3. Stress relief right from the start.
    Starting your day with a stress-relieving activity will set yourself up for less stress when you get to work, according to a recent study. Additionally, people who exercised regularly reported feeling more confident and felt good about their work-life balance.
  4. A better mood that sets the tone for the rest of your day.
    It’s no secret that working out will release endorphins, which means you’ll be in a better mood. Why wouldn’t you want to start your day on a high?
  5. Feel accomplished and ready to tackle anything.
    Kick off your day already feeling accomplished. This will set the tone for the rest of your day—ready to tackle anything that comes your way. And, if you don’t accomplish anything else… at least you got your run in! 😜
  6. Better sleep at night.
    Simply by running in the morning, you could find yourself sleeping better throughout the night. Studies have also shown that people who exercise in the morning have an easier time of falling asleep at night.

There are many other reasons why running (or doing some form of exercise) in the morning is beneficial, but hopefully the ones I did list above are enough to convince you to do so. I’ve personally realized all of those benefits now that I’ve incorporated a morning workout into my daily routine. I feel less stressed at work and more focused. I have more energy throughout the day and I start my day feeling accomplished. I hope you also realize these things by adding in a morning run!

Happy [morning] running! 💜

Reflections & intentions

ditch the resolutions_ironwomandiariesHappy New Year! 🍾🎊🎉 I can’t believe it’s 2016!

It’s time to reflect and learn from all that we did—and did not—accomplish this past year. I love what the quote in the image above teaches us: “You are NOT a problem. Create an intention, a positive call to shift, a spark of magic + manifestation rooted in SELF-LOVE and backed with ACTION.”

Reflect

2015 was the year of exploration and biking. Any chance we could hop a plane to someplace new, we did it. And any chance I could get on my bike and ride, I did it.

In January we saw spectacularly gorgeous beaches on St. Thomas, USVI. St. John, USVIIn February we explored Ecuador from sea to mountain villages to big cities. Markets that smelled of fish and raw meat with blood stains on the floor from the various animals having being butchered on spot. We saw markets that were spotless and smelled fresh. Every market having veggies and fruits of all variety piled higher than our heads. Raw meat stacked sky high as well. We saw guinea pig on a stick and cool whip “ice cream” cones. Lush green hills with dense fog and hot baths with healing powers. We climbed a small mountain and rappelled down waterfalls. So much was explored and experienced and countless memories were made.meat market

Veggies and fruits_market in Ecuador

Over July 4th weekend we ventured to Aruba for a quick trip over the holiday. We drank delicious green juice every morning from a tiny shack on the boardwalk and ate a romantic dinner on the beach as the sun set before us. Eduardo's Beach Shack

For Thanksgiving we stole ourselves away to St. Croix, USVI. We paddle boarded, snorkeled, and won a hermit crab race. We saw bright colored flowers and butterflies that engulfed not only our car but the ditches and road before us like a heavy snowstorm.Legs on the beach in St. CroixMiles and miles were put on my Giant bicycle as I biked to and from my part-time job and on 50-mile joy rides after my “real” job. I raced in my first time-trial, only to not finish. I started a training journal in June that I have continued to write in regularly. This keeps me motivated, let’s out some creative juices, and shows me my progress along the way. training journal

We juiced like crazy. Ate too much peanut butter ice cream. Laughed and cried. Spent time with family and friends. Went for walks. Started running almost daily. Initiated Sunday night pizza night. And fell in love with Joe all over again.  Joe & Coco 2015I drank way too many chai lattes, caramel macchiatos, and flat whites. I didn’t say ‘I love you’ enough. I didn’t see family enough. Work came first too often. I judged myself. I called myself names. I didn’t feel worthy to chase my dreams. I prayed too little. And I too often compared myself to others. But I showed up every day.

Intentions

All to often my New Year resolutions and goals focus largely on fitness and health. I rarely think bigger, into other aspects of my life. Perhaps you are guilty of this too. This year I am not setting resolutions, I am setting intentions of positivity and growth. I want to:

  • Be more “in the moment.”
  • Volunteer. (This is a big one for me. I really want to help, on a regular basis, those that are in need.)
  • Meditate.
  • Enjoy the outdoors more.
  • Remember how important small romantic gestures are.
  • Continue to run 5-6 times a week.
  • Tell those I love ‘I love you’ more.
  • Do small acts of kindness that brighten someone’s day.
  • Be more giving.
  • Realize the power within me and be more forgiving of myself.
  • Wake up each day with a grateful heart.

May the gift of love, happiness, peace, and warmth be yours as you make a new start. And keep in mind the past so as to gain from it pearls of wisdom as you make a fresh new beginning this New Year.

Happy New Year!

sunset in Wisconsin

5 Reasons to eat chocolate today [And not just because it’s #NationalChocolateDay!]

#NationalChocolateDay 2015It’s National Chocolate Day! What a perfect excuse to eat a little extra chocolate.

Chocolate is probably my biggest weakness—especially if peanut butter is involved and it’s in ice cream form! 😜 I don’t really care for candy bars, just a piece of dark chocolate is enough to satisfy my nightly cravings. I’ve also been known to occasionally sprinkle cacao nibs on my overnight oats or raspberry topped English muffin. Luckily though, there are proven health benefits associated with dark chocolate and, especially, cacao nibs.

Have you tried cacao nibs? They are slightly bitter (I always by the unsweetened ones, as those are the purest and pack the most health benefits), but if you add them to overnight oats, a smoothie, or on top of toast, you won’t even notice this. I buy the Navitas Natural brand. They are the perfect excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast and still feel good about it!

As promised, 5 Reasons to eat chocolate today:

  1. Flavonoids: These powerful antioxidants absorb free radicals that cause damage in the body; like heart disease and cancer.
  2. Reduced inflammation: Amazingly, chocolate can help reduce inflammation in blood vessels, keeping them both pliable and capable of full dilation for optimum blood flow to your heart and other working muscles.
  3. Improve your mood: Scientifically speaking, chocolate and cacao stimulate the brain to release a feel good chemical, phenylethamine, that triggers the release of endorphins. This causes dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, to spike in production. All you need to know is, chocolate really can make a person happy!
  4. Less cravings: Dark chocolate lessens cravings of sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So that means eating a bit of chocolate can actually help you stick to a balanced diet!
  5. Everything in moderation: There are many other health benefits of dark chocolate and cacao, but when it comes down to it, I’m a believer of everything in moderation. If you are craving chocolate—eat it! Depriving yourself will only cause you to over-indulge later or be unhappy. Life is a balancing act. Finding what balance works for you is the key to your happiness.

So go ahead, eat some chocolate today! 💜