Author: Alexandra Pettaway

5 Key Steps to Form Healthy Habits

Why is it so difficult for us all to stick to a new habit? Every year, millions of Americans create a New Year’s Resolution, and these resolutions are discarded in a matter of weeks or months. It’s easy for many of us to start a diet or a fitness program, but what is keeping us from forming these healthy habits long-term? Is it a lack of motivation, forgetfulness, or that it’s “just too hard”? The answer may lie within the Trans-Theoretical Model, a tool that can be used to assess one’s “readiness” to start a new healthy behavior. The Trans-Theoretical Model, or TTM for short, is a cyclic model with 5 stages. Here, I will outline each stage of the TTM, as well as some tips to continue moving forward in pursuit of your health goals. STEP 1 – Pre-Contemplation Pre-Contemplation is the beginning stage of the Trans-Theoretical Model. If you are in the pre-contemplation stage, it means that you have no desire to change your behavior in the immediate future. A person in this …

Maintaining Balance in Your Life

Welcome to the NEW AND IMPROVED web page for Everything Alexandra! It has been FOREVER since I’ve published a post on my blog, and I’ve been itching to create and share some new content. Since I’ve returned to Boston for school, I’ve been juggling my full-time education studying Chemical Engineering, work, and extracurriculars. Unfortunately, the Everything Alexandra blog has taken a backseat as I’ve focused most of my energy on my classes, and my priorities have felt soooo out of balance. After I created the new Instagram page for Everything Alexandra, I noticed that the majority of my posts were about vegan food. Although I think that food and nutrition are a super important part of wellness, there is so much more that goes along with wellness, including mental health, that go unspoken about. Wellness is so much more than just nutrition and exercise (although I do believe that these are still super important), and it’s easy to get so caught up in the “physical” aspects of health that we forget to take care of ourselves on the inside. I …

The Amazing Green Smoothie

A common misconception about green smoothies is that they have to taste awful in order to be healthy. Well that’s just flat out wrong! Though I do agree that some green juices and smoothies have a much more bitter taste (thank you kale and arugula), this smoothie is the perfect transition. I recommend using baby spinach as your choice of greens, especially if you aren’t used to the taste of kale. Plus, I personally think spinach blends better (AND looks prettier). This Amazing Green Smoothie is pleasantly sweet, thanks to the natural sugars found in banana, pineapple, and mango. These fruits also give it a slightly tropical flavor (which makes it the perfect breakfast in the summertime). For this smoothie, you will need: 2 cups of baby spinach 1 frozen banana, cut into slices 1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen) 1/2 cup mango (fresh or frozen) 1-2 cups almond milk (NOTE – more milk will be needed if using all frozen fruit, otherwise the smoothie will be too thick) Now, it does matter what order you add your …

Smoothie Bowls

One of my favorite go-to breakfast choices is a delicious fruit smoothie. I love how quick and easy they are to make, and how versatile they can be. It’s super easy to add a scoop of protein powder or nut butter to transform your smoothie into some excellent post-workout fuel. But lately, people have been taking it a step further, and crafting their smoothies into beautiful food masterpieces, topping them with sliced fruit, nuts, seeds, you name it. They are called smoothie bowls, and they look downright delicious. If you enjoy the taste of a smoothie but it doesn’t feel quite like a meal, you should give smoothie bowls a shot. This was my first attempt at crafting a smoothie bowl, and it turned out to be pretty tasty. I started with a simple strawberry banana smoothie and added some protein powder. I will definitely experiment with other flavor combinations and add those soon! Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl 1 banana, sliced (save a few slices for toppings) 1 cup strawberries (about 5-6 medium sized …

Berry Banana Chia Seed Pudding

Okay, I tried this recipe last night and just HAD to share ASAP.  If you’ve never had Chia Seed Pudding before, this is definitely something new for you to try.  This particular flavor was made with vanilla almond milk and some maple syrup, and the sweetness was perfect paired with some tart blueberries and a few slices of banana. This tastes best when you let it sit overnight (or at least 12 hours), and it keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge.  This recipe only calls for 3 ingredients (which you may already have in your kitchen!), plus whatever ingredients you’d like to use for toppings. With all that said, here’s the recipe! Berry Banana Chia Seed Pudding 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I used sweetened vanilla almond milk) 1/4 cup chia seeds (you can use black or white – I used black because that’s what I had on hand!) 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup fruit/seeds/granola for toppings! Combine the milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup into a bowl or a mason jar. …

3 Major Tips for Going Vegan

First off, I feel like I should say a quick disclaimer. I did NOT choose to start a vegan diet as a means to lose weight. I chose veganism for other reasons, including personal health reasons, environmental reasons, and animal welfare (but this isn’t an article about why I became vegan, which I will save for another time). A common misconception about the vegan diet is that it’s extremely restrictive. The vegan diet is often compared to the likes of “rabbit food”. These claims are WILDLY false! Although I do eat lots of fruit and vegetables, my diet extends way beyond just that. This leads me to Tip #1: Tip #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things If you want to switch to veganism successfully, you’ll need to make some additional changes to your diet. If you were to simply cut out meat, dairy and eggs from the Standard American Diet, you wouldn’t be left with much else. It’s important to fill your plate with a good mix of fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains, and healthy …

Surviving Holiday Stress

Oh, the holiday season. It’s a time that should be filled with love and laughter and delicious food, but it’s hard to enjoy the festivities when you’re stressed out about things like Black Friday shopping, overindulging on Thanksgiving dinner, or finals week. Well, you’re not alone. This time of year can be extremely overwhelming, which is why it’s so important to manage your stress during these times. Stress is your body’s natural response to “dangerous” situations. While a little stress from time to time is completely natural, too much can be extremely taxing on your body. It affects your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to viral infections or disease. It affects your sleep, leaving you fatigued and unable to focus on school or work. And, it affects your digestion, making it more difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients needed to keep you healthy. Basically, too much stress can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. Plus, it’s the leading cause of acne, and there’s nothing worse than trying to …

Why We Should Stop Worrying About Weight

“The only way to solve the weight problem is to stop making weight a problem—to stop judging ourselves and others by our size. Weight is not an effective measure of attractiveness, moral character, or health. The real enemy is weight stigma, for it is the stigmatization and fear of fat that causes the damage and deflects attention from true threats to our health and well-being.” – Linda Bacon, Health at Every Size I remember the first time I weighed myself on my Wii Fit balance board. I was 11 years old, and I weighed 92 pounds. That was a healthy weight, according to the video game, because I had a BMI (Body Mass Index) that fell within the “normal” range. I didn’t really care much about this new information, because, well, I was a kid. I wasn’t supposed to care about my weight. It had been a few months since I had last played the game, so when I turned it on, I received a message telling me I was due to weigh myself again. So I, now at 12 years old, stepped …

How I Cured My Acne

I’ll warn you now – this post is a long one. But, if you’re like me and you’ve suffered from acne for years without seeing any improvement, this will be worth the read. Acne vulgaris is the most common skin condition in the United States, especially for adolescents. If your pores become clogged with dead skin and excess sebum (an oil produced by your sebaceous glands designed to protect your skin), it manifests into a pimple. Although everybody experiences acne from time to time, some people are more prone to breakouts than others. Acne can also worsen over time: some people don’t experience acne until their 30s, or even their 40s. I started experiencing acne when I was in high school. I would get a pimple here and there, but in time they usually went away. When I started college, the added stress of my rigorous coursework and the change in my diet caused me to experience more severe and frequent breakouts. I tried new skin products, but nothing seemed to work. I ended up taking matters into my own hands (literally), and I would end …

No BS about IBS

  It is quite normal to experience some belly bloat every once in a while. But if you are experiencing chronic symptoms that don’t seem to go away, you may have a deeper issue going on in your gut. Bloat and stomach distention are issues that I’ve dealt with since childhood. As a kid, I had to take fiber supplements, drink prune juice (yuck), and drink coffee to try to “regulate” my GI tract. My symptoms only worsened as I got older, and I wrote it off as either a gluten intolerance, a dairy intolerance, or some sort of sensitivity to processed food. Still, even after I cut these foods out, my symptoms persisted. It got to the point where I found myself doubled over in pain after eating an apple. An apple! By then, I was fed up with trying to deal with my symptoms. I was miserable. So, I saw a gastroenterologist, and he determined that I had IBS. If you’ve never heard of IBS, or you have but you don’t quite know what it is, …