When it comes to working your muscles – whether that be through working your arms or working your brain – it can sometimes seem like there’s no such thing as “too much.” Your body and mind reap the amazing benefits of exercise each and every day, and those benefits can become addicting. But even when you’re in the peak of your fitness happiness, it’s always important to remember the power of the rest day.
Each night when we go to sleep, a variety of processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs in the brain. This is also the time when we solidify and consolidate memories. Think of sleep as your brain’s way of keeping itself healthy – there’s definitely a reason why sleep is so necessary to both happiness and health.
The same concept applies to resting our bodies. When we lift weights, or exercise our muscles in any way (running, walking, biking, push-ups, and all the other amazing ways you use to stay healthy), muscle fibers are damaged, creating soreness. When you take rest periods, your muscles have time to reconstruct themselves, coming out even stronger than before.
Studies vary on how long you should rest after a tough workout. Some studies say an average of 48 hours is optimal time for your muscles to rebuild themselves, while others say one night’s sleep can do the trick. As with anything, it’s important to understand how your body’s rhythms work.
Rest days aren’t only relegated to giving your body a break, either. Sometimes your mind needs one, too. If you find yourself unnervingly stressed by the day-to-day, take a rest day to unwind and do your favorite relaxing activities. This often happens if you haven’t been getting enough sleep, not allowing your brain to reset itself properly. Mindful rest days are as important as physical ones, so ensure you listen to your gut when the desire for this kind of rest comes around.
Keep in mind that your rest days don’t need to mean staying totally stagnant (but they can, if you’re having that kind of day). Yoga, pilates, light jogging, or stretching are great restful activities, depending on your fitness level. Reading a great book or doing a crossword puzzle can also allow you to rest, while still working your mind.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to take a day off. Your body will thank you!
So many things are better handmade. Greeting cards, gifts, cookies, dinner… the list goes on and on. The benefits of homemade food are endless, cards from scratch simply make you feel extra appreciated, and craftsman-created products are higher quality, last longer, and are made with only the most beautiful of materials. There’s something personal and intricate that comes along with handmade items that makes them ultra special. This quality allows items to be infused with personality, connecting you with another soul who created the product you so enjoy.
That’s how we feel about all the shoes, bags, and accessories in our Handcrafted Shop. Straight from the artisan’s workshop, these beautiful pieces make their quality pure and clear. Intricacies abound with hand-stitched details and interwoven leathers, and interesting stylistic additions like hand-sewn zippers, threading, and tassels.
Seen above: El Naturalista Iggdrasil NE22
Right now, our shop is filled with delicious boots. You can tell by simply looking at that these handmade beauties that they’re of the highest quality – that the artisan who created them made this pair of boots his or her pride and joy. The time to create such styles may be more extensive, but believe us, the wait is well worth it.
From unique boutique brands to those that you’ve definitely heard of (and probably shopped before), many of our favorite lines contain handmade pieces. Spring Step – a brand that creates shoes that truly look like pieces of art – adds a wide variety of booties, slip-ons, and heels to the collection. Our favorite comfort sandal brand, Birkenstock, sits on these shelves due to the brand’s impeccable attention to detail and design. Old Gringo’s classic cowboy boots stand the test of time, with undeniably intricate stitching and beautiful, handpicked leathers. And Bed Stu – one of our newest boutique brands – shines with their hand-finished, gorgeous boot styles.
Check out our Handcrafted Shop for some beautiful boots that shine.
We know you work hard. Many of you are small business owners, loving mothers and fathers, career-focused marketers, bankers, retailers, salespeople, doctors, lawyers, and more. Each week is a mishmash of appointments, commuting, work, kids’ soccer games, and all those surprises you simply can’t plan for. Keeping all these aspects of your life straight is no easy task, and we’re constantly impressed by all that our customers do each week.
The more we get to know you, the more we desire to make your lives as easy as possible. Our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible in your own two feet while you accomplish all that you do all week long, while still looking stylish and fashionable.
And that’s where our Everyday Essentials shop comes in. Filled with boots, loafers, heels, clogs, and casual sneakers in easy-to-match hues that fit any sense of style, the Everyday Essentials is your one-stop-shop to comfort and fashion all wrapped up into a neat little package.
The simplicity in these styles gives you one less thing to think about in the morning. When all you need to do is get your day straight and run out the door, the last thing you need to be thinking about is how to match your shoes to your outfit. By keeping your outfit simple, and your closet bare, you keep your mind clear simultaneously, making room for all the important things that dictate your weekly success.
Seen above: Dansko Pro-XP Oiled
Slip on a pair of black loafers (complete with cute accents like a simplistic tassle, or an intriguing embellishment) as you walk out the door to work. Grab a pair of neutral brown leather boots to match flawlessly with an olive sweater dress. Put on your grey clogs for those days when you’ll inevitably be on your feet for the majority of the time. The opportunities – and your chances for success – are endless when you’re in a great pair of comfortable, neutral shoes.
And that’s why these shoes are so essential – they keep you going when you need it most. Check out our Everyday Essentials shop for the best in stylish, active, comfort-driven footwear to get through your busy days with happy feet.
What if we told you that you truly only needed to keep three key ingredients in your pantry to have healthy, easy, filling meals at your fingertips every night of the week? Would you believe us?
If not, hopefully this post will convince you otherwise.
Sweet potatoes, quinoa, and beans: three ingredients that have lengthy shelf lives (taking upwards of a few months to go bad), a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to keep your body satiated, a mix of complete proteins and healthy carbs to ensure you’re never hungry, and the ability to hold impeccable flavor that will keep you coming back for more.
A hearty, in-season winter vegetable, sweet potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark place. These orange potatoes are chock-full of vitamin A to support impeccable eyesight (one potato contains over 200% of your recommended daily value), 50% of a day’s worth of vitamin C to keep your immune system functioning to the best of its ability, and natural sugars that regulate blood sugar levels for sustained energy.
Poke a few holes in a sweet potato with a fork and throw in the oven or microwave. From there, sweet potatoes can be stuffed with a variety of delicious proteins (chopped meat, quinoa, beans, avocado, and more). Chop up sweet potatoes into cubes and roast in the oven with rosemary for a scrumptious dinner side. Check out a few of our favorite sweet potato recipes below.
- Maple Sweet Potato Soup with All-Spice Greek Yogurt
- Lentil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Taquitos
These tiny grains pack a powerful punch. Quinoa is defined as a complete protein, meaning this grain offers all the essential amino acids in one small package. The high protein content makes quinoa an excellent post-gym food for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains a plethora of helpful vitamins, including vitamin B, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
Throw a cup of quinoa into a pot of 2 cups boiling water and let simmer until all water is absorbed – instant complement to any of your favorite meals. Season with sweet ingredients (maple syrup, cinnamon) to include in breakfast or dessert; sprinkle with cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder for a savory dinnertime feast… or incorporate into some of our favorite quinoa recipes, below.
The best thing about beans? There are so many varieties and they’re all so versatile. Pepper black beans in a Mexican dish, use cannellini beans as the base of a creamy soup, or throw kidney beans into an easy chili recipe – no matter what your taste buds crave, beans have you covered. Filled with a healthy mix of protein and carbs, beans are guaranteed to keep you full for hours on end. They’re also full of fiber to maintain a healthy heart and gut.
Whether you buy the dry variety (super affordable!) or the canned (super convenient and quick to prepare!), having beans in your pantry at all times guarantees you a healthy meal any day of the week. Get started by trying out a few of our favorite recipes below.
- Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
- Spinach White Bean Soup
- Easy Double Bean Burgers with Avocado Basil Cream
The best part? These three ingreidnets can be combined into one delicious meal. Cook one sweet potato, spoon on a hearty helping of quinoa and beans, sprinkle shredded cheese (and perhaps some avocado) on top… instant, 10 minute meal.
For most, cold temperatures mean bringing the workout indoors (besides those courageous few who brave the elements… we’re constantly impressed by you!). If you’re an avid runner or walker, this often also means transitioning your workout from the beautiful outdoors to the treadmill.
Everyone has their own opinion of this classic exercise machine. While some can easily stay on there for an hour or more, many get bored just at the thought of exercising on such monotone equipment. Whether you adore it or hate the thought of it, it’s always good to do everything in your power to make your workout that much more enjoyable. So how, exactly, can you maximize your time on the treadmill?
First, ensure you’re using the machine correctly. While everyone has the occasional fear of flying off the back of the treadmill, running too close to the front can also be dangerous and ineffective. Running too close can mess with your stride and form. When you jump on, use the first few minutes to find your perfect pace and stride to set the right tone for the rest of your workout. Throughout, be aware of your posture; once energy starts to fade, it can be easy to forget about this important aspect of your workout. A proper posture engages your core, relaxes your shoulders, and maximizes your workout’s effectiveness.
If you’re the type who gets easily bored on the treadmill, changing up your routine throughout the run or walk can make world of difference. Always warm up at a comfortable pace to engage your muscles. From there, gradually increase your speed slightly every 2-3 minutes. By the end of your run, you’ll be sprinting – a great way to work on speed and burn calories.
Incorporating interval sprints is another great way to work speed into your routine. Set a 10-minute period during which you’ll increase your speed to a sprint for 60-seconds at a time. Take 60-seconds at your normal speed, increase to a sprint for 60-seconds, and go back to your normal speed. Do this for 10 minutes at a time (incorporating 5 minutes of sprinting in total), with short breaks in between.
If speed isn’t your thing, try using the incline function to incorporate hills into your routine. This helps to mimic an outdoor run; every few minutes, increase the incline to what feels like a gentle, rolling hill. Incorporating hills also helps engage your quad, butt, and calf muscles. Nearing the end of your workout, crank up the incline to mimic a steep hill – you can practically see the finish line at the top!
From increasing speed to paying attention to posture and doing a few hill sprints, there are a variety of ways to maximize the enjoyment, calorie burn, and strength in your treadmill routine. Looking for more specifics? Check out a few treadmill workout routines here. How do you make the most of your time at the gym?
There’s nothing more comforting than a great bowl of soup in the winter. Soup makes for a filling, healthy dinner when paired with a hearty salad and can be a delicious mid-day lunch paired with some crunchy bread for dipping. Some of the canned, store-bought varieties get a bad rap for their high sodium content and processed ingredients – but that’s where the power of cooking comes in!
The benefits of cooking your own food are abundant. Creating your own meals allows you to know exactly what ingredients your meal contains, keeping you focused on adding a higher percentage of hearty veggies and all-natural components. Studies show that the more time a country devotes to preparing food at home, the lower that nation’s rate of obesity. The benefits are endless!
Another unseen benefit: a warm stove in the winter means a warmer kitchen, and a happier, cozier you. Today, we’re sharing a filling, veggie-packed, flavorful soup – one that’s guaranteed to warm you up this winter. Between the simmering pot on the stove and the hot, steaming bowl you’ll have when you’re done, this is the ultimate recipe for chilly Sundays.
Even better – this soup is chock-full of healthy ingredients. The base of this concoction is kale, that leafy, winter green that’s infused with iron, fiber, calcium, and vitamin K, A, and C. Taking creaminess from protein-filled cannellini beans and potato, and flavor from garlic, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, this savory soup is guaranteed to become your body’s best friend.
About One Ingredient Chef
One Ingredient Chef is a healthy food blog run by Andrew Olson. His goal is simple: he wants you to become healthier than ever before while cooking the best food of your life. As he says, “The One Ingredient Diet is my simple answer to a world of processed foods. But this isn’t about munching on lettuce! My job is to show you (step-by-step) how to cook deliciously healthy food with only *real* ingredients.”