#UltimateCoffeeDate | July Edition


Hello blogger friends and readers!

It’s officially the second half of 2016 – month 7 – already!  Here’s another blog post for the #UltimateCoffeeDate link-up, hosted by fitness bloggers Lynda, Coco, and Deborah.

While we catch up over coffee, I’d like to share…

That I’ve been on healthylioness.wordpress.com for a whole year now!  This ‘anniversary’ is a reminder of why I started blogging – to keep myself accountable to my health goals and to stay connected to the Sweat Pink ambassador community. Now that’s something I can celebrate.🙂

Next, I’d like to share… 

That my new favorite form of leisurely exercise in London is walking along the Thames River into the nearby town center.  It usually takes an hour round-trip, which is just enough light exercise for a couple days per week to keep the academic stress at bay. Plus, I get to take in the gorgeous scenery, say hi to the swans and ducks, and sometimes grab a coffee on my way back.

Do you have a favorite type of leisurely exercise?

Finally, I’d like to share…

That I’m desperately looking forward to (and praying for) warmer weather in London.  We had some great days in early June, but lately dark clouds have been hanging over the city. I always feel more energetic when the sun’s out, so here’s to hoping July holds some epic weeks of sunshine bliss!

What are you excited for in July?

Thanks for reading!

~ The Healthy Lioness




Hello June | #UltimateCoffeeDate


Hey friends, it’s the first Saturday of the month so here’s another #UltimateCoffeeDate chat to get us all caught up about what we’ve been doing lately.  Thanks to Lynda, Coco, and Deborah for hosting this awesome blog link-up!

Ok, here goes…Let’s imagine ourselves sitting down at a quirky, hipster-meets-vintage-library cafe down a small side street in urban London.  I’d probably order a small mocha — who can’t resist mixing coffee with cocoa? — and maybe a blueberry muffin to go with it.

Now, while we catch up over coffee, I’d like to share…

That I’ve started running! Albeit very slowly. I’m mixing short bursts of running and walking to gently adjust my body to running using a C25K app. After taking that first step, I feel pretty great knowing I’m investing in my body’s health.

Secondly, I’d like to share…

That I’ve come to realization that the last eight months have been the most challenging of my life.

When I initially pictured life halfway across the world in England, I didn’t expect each day to bring sunshine and roses per se.  But I also hadn’t expected to be thrust out of my comfort zone in so many ways. From missing home, to dealing with health issues, and questioning life decisions, it’s been a complete whirlwind.

However, now that I’m in the homestretch of my studies, I can look back and see that what I’ve accomplished so far was pretty terrific. I’m well on my way to having spent an entire year in a different country, interacting with a unique culture, and ultimately learning more about myself as a person than I probably would have done if I’d stayed in California right after graduating.

Lastly, I’d like to share…

I recently discovered the delicious goodness of homemade baked sweet potato fries. And I’m addicted. Throw the slices together with some coconut oil, sea salt, black pepper and paprika and bake for a healthy, tasty side dish.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a very rewarding month. It’s officially summer! Go out and make the most of the sun, wherever you may be.

~ The Healthy Lioness



Healthy Food Hacks for Work

Healthy Lioness Workplace Hacks

Today I’ve brought you all a post in collaboration with Nuts.com, who have been very kind in providing this fun graphic checklist for 7 ways to stay healthy at work. The top 3 are my own ideas and the other great 4 come from the Nuts.com team.

I’m definitely guilty of snacking at work — it’s so hard to stay away from cookies and crackers when you’re sitting at a desk all day! But I do better when I’m prepared for the day with planned snacks and smart options within easy reach.

Bring your own lunch or plan your lunch buy
When you prep meals, you’re less likely to overeat and overspend. If you can, bring leftovers from last night’s dinner or whip up something simple like a veggie-packed sandwich or salad. Even if you can’t bring lunch from home, you always have the chance to scout out  your meal options around your workplace. So check online for the menus at the local restaurants, see what’s available and decide on two or three top, healthy choices (just in case something isn’t offered by chance). Then when you go and purchase your meal, you have a pre-determined meal choice in mind and are less likely to be influenced into buying something on the unhealthy side.

Include protein in mid-afternoon snack
Many of us crave a salty or sweet snack around 3 or 4pm when we’re feeling sluggish. I remember reading somewhere years ago that this is because your body’s craving an energy boost (protein!) around this time, as it’s usually been a few hours since lunch. Protein is a great way to satisfy this craving, and there are tons of nutritious salty or sweet options you could chooose from. Here are a few:

–  Chocolate-covered almonds
–  Hummus and Carrots
–  Roasted Pistachios
–  Celery and Peanut Butter

Opt for healthy sweets
Personally, I always want something chocolatey at night when I get home after classes or work. It’s tough to do, but I ultimately feel better when I choose a healthy sweet over a pure sugar-y one. So whether you crave sweets in the middle of the day or at night, do your best to take charge of your willpower and choose a better alternative. Some options to consider:

–  Fruits are great, packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants.
–  Chocolate covered nuts and dried fruits (raisins are my fave!)
–  Blueberries and Greek Yoghurt (throw in some ground flaxseed for some Omego-3s).
–  Homemade trail mix – almonds, peanuts, M&Ms, dried cranberries,etc.

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Nuts.com, who provided the graphic with my 3 top ideas included. I was not compensated for this post. Opinions shared are my own.

#UltimateCoffeeDate | February 2016


Hello Blogger friends!

Happy February, y’all. Sorry, I’ve been absent for the past few weeks, but I’m excited to be back with an upbeat post. Though, I’m technically posting late for the #ultimatecoffeedate linkup, but at least I am sharing, right? ~Better late than never.~

So if we were sitting down for coffee today — in a cute little cafe down the street, of course — I’d share that…

I’m really into teas right now

I used to be a black tea-only kind of gal (both English breakfast & Indian teas) but after I fell into an unfortunate string of back-to-back colds starting in December, I expanded my reservoir of tea leaves to fend off sickness. I even bought a nifty little tea-infuser! Now I constantly stock green (almost always raspberry), moringa, peppermint, chamomile and liquorice teas, in addition to classic black tea. And I just discovered ginger green tea, so that’s a powerhouse variety that I must purchase on my next grocery run.

The teas have helped keep me away from sugary sodas, which I don’t allow myself to buy at the grocery store. (Though I will indulge in one every once in a while if I’m out for a meal with friends.)  But don’t worry, I haven’t given up coffee! I simply prefer to pick up brewed lattes when I’m at Costa or Starbucks, because they taste better than the coffee powder currently sitting in my kitchen cabinet. ~ Everything in moderation.~

I finally bought a new yoga mat!

It feels sooo good to be back on the mat. And I enjoy being able to fit my practice around my weekly schedule of classes and work, in the comfort of my living space. The mental and physical boosts I feel, which I’m sure you other yogis can relate to, really help to destress in the evenings.

The #SweatPink #PoseoftheDay challenge has kept me on track

I love seeing everyone’s cool pose variations, many against very scenic backgrounds, on Instagram and Twitter. It’s been the motivation I’ve needed to stay moving , especially when the sky is grey and stormy and all I really want to do is crawl into bed and watch Netflix all day. (Because who wouldn’t want to do that? I mean, really?) But there’s a beauty and strength in all forms of exercise, whether they’re conducted outdoors or indoors. Because we’re taking care of our bodies, showing them love and investing in their future – our future.

Now, it’s over to you. What have you been up to in the past month? 

~ The Healthy Lioness

A Few New Stepping Stones

Happynew year!


A year that holds the promise of …Change. New adventures! Limitless possibilities…

But it is really, just another year, isn’t it? Like all the years before it, the way we signify the new year is simply with the change of the four-digit number on our calendars, computers and smartphones. Sure, it’s fun to celebrate the incoming year with a big bash and all, but by the time we’re mid-way through the first month, we’ll likely have adjusted and forgotten the initial hub-bub.

Though don’t get me wrong, I do love the idea and feeling of the new year as a fresh start. But that fresh start can come at any moment really. We just have to be willing to say today is the day that x stops, I commit to y, and z will happen. That’s why I started my new year’s ‘resolutions’ (if you will) earlier than January 1st. But really, they’re more like steps and new habits to help revamp and reinvigorate my lifestyle. And while they’re not explicitly related to fitness or physical health, I believe they’re necessary for eventually achieving a wholesome life, especially in terms of maintaining mental and emotional health.

I started with some very necessary self-reflection.  You know, thinking about who I am as a person. If I actually act the way I think I act.  I always find that I have the most clarity when I’m home where I grew up. Maybe it’s because I’m with my parents (who, let’s be honest, are my ultimate role models) or maybe it’s the rural atmosphere where I see one of the basic necessities of life (agriculture) occurring firsthand. It’s here where I get away from the metropolis and realize that a lot of what I thought I needed in my life (mostly pushed into my mind by our materialistic society) isn’t necessary at all. I don’t need fancy-anything. I don’t need to impress anybody except myself. I just need to ensure that what I do every day leaves me content and happy so that I’m able to share those positive feelings with others.

Next I moved on to thinking about gratitude and making it an integral part of my daily routine. Each night, I try to thank God for all the things I’m grateful for in my life. And you know what, it’s a really calming practice. Granted, sometimes it makes me a little more emotional, but I do find myself smiling and feeling happier as I fall asleep.

Then came my hopes and dreams.  The latter half of 2015 had me swimming in a sea of ‘O I could do this? Or this! Oh maybe this?’ as I learned about the possible career routes I could take with my masters degree. January, February and March will be spent taking this into deep consideration and making a well-researched, conscious move, hopefully in the right direction.

Now I’m working on developing a plan for a better year than the last. But as it often happens, when I’m faced with a big task like an academic assignment or pivotal decision, I want to do everything else except focus. So I think it’s rather perfect that I was recommended Marie Kondo’s book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. (The author actually mentions this phenomenon of avoiding the big task at hand…with the sudden urge to tidy-up — which I’m definitely guilty of.)


I’m only about a third ways through the book right now, but I’m finding it quite useful. Kondo’s method of tidying up – by category rather than by room, and her emphasis on the need to undertake tidying up as a main event, rather than little by little – is profound. And I really think it’ll work. If I can get my living space organized (both in the US now and the UK, once I’m back) I feel I’ll have some much-needed mental clarity, with none of that physical clutter bogging down my subconscious.

And the rest of the plan…well, that’s still in the works.😉 But I do know that it includes being more decisive and intentional with how I live my life. And that includes how I feel and act day-to-day.

So there you have it. My current, but flexible, ‘stepping-stones’ for a hopefully better life.

Do you have any New Year’s ‘resolutions’?
~ The Healthy Lioness

Winding Down for 2015

We’re more than halfway through December, so close to Christmas Day and inching up on New Years! Who else is excited and indulging in all of the seasonal delicacies, including those holiday coffee drinks?

I, for one, am ecstatic to be home in California for the holidays. While I am sad that I won’t be able to experience London on Christmas Day and New Years, absolutely nothing beats being home with my family, cooking and relaxing.  I’m especially excited to have that apple pie I missed for Thanksgiving, proper peppermint mochas and delicious home-cooked Indian food.

Another benefit of being back home is having the opportunity to re-evaluate my eating situation. After having a tense last few weeks working on final assignments for the fall term, and battling an unfortunate cold/infection, I let my healthy eating slip away in favor of comforting foods. Now there’s nothing wrong with that – but I don’t want to continue this, especially in the New Year.

I find the one thing that works best for me is to simply not buy junk food at the grocery store. If it’s not in my room or in the kitchen, I won’t be tempted. But if those biscuits, crisps and chocolates are there, and I know they’re within reach, they’ll be gone quicker than you could imagine😉. But of course, if I’m out with friends, I definitely allow myself the occasional treat.

What else am I doing to wind down for 2015? — Watching live television with my parents, reading, going to the movies with my brother, showering love on my dog and cat, and trying to get rid of the remaining cold still lingering in my body. O and trying out some new (healthy) holiday baking recipes.🙂

Here’s to a peaceful holiday season everyone!
~ The Healthy Lioness

Joining in on the #UltimateCoffeeDate Linkup!

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Early in October, I came across FitnessMomWineCountry‘s Ultimate Coffee Date post and immediately loved the idea behind the linkup. I adore coffee – I probably have at least one cup a day (sometimes two if I’m writing papers). And I’ve always really enjoyed meeting up with friends to catch up, usually one-on-one, over a latte or an americano. So obviously, I had to try out this virtual coffee date; I think it’s a great way to ‘meet up’ with tons of other bloggers, network and learn about what’s going on in their lives.

So thank you to the hosts – Deborah, Coco and Lynda – for heading this linkup!

To start off this month’s coffee catch-up, Good Morning and Happy Saturday!

We’re officially a full week into November and the autumn season is sweeping past like crazy. I can’t believe it was Halloween last weekend and now we’re heading towards Thanksgiving. Now, even though I am in the UK right now and won’t make it home for all of the amazing foods and family gatherings that’ll be happening in two and a half weeks, I plan to do my own cooking here with friends!  I especially can’t wait to make apple pie and roast potatoes/veggies. YUM, am I right?

Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving or family/friend gatherings coming up?

November’s a pretty busy month for me compared to October. I’ve got quite a few assignments and projects due for my post-grad classes and I’m currently in the middle of a short-term internship at Women’s Fitness Magazine. It’s tough balancing full-time school and a part-time work placement so I am in awe of those who do both full-time!

Are you working on any big projects this month?

Going back to the topic of coffee…have you seen Starbucks’ red cups for the holiday season?! I personally really love them; the vibrant red cheers me up on cold mornings and gets me excited for the holidays coming up. AND they’re already serving holiday drinks – Gingerbread latte anyone? The only thing is, the drinks available here in the UK are different than the US. I have yet to come across peppermint mochas and creme brulee lattes…but I am excited to try out the new ones here, like the honey, almond hot chocolate and toffee nut latte🙂.

What’s your favorite Starbucks holiday drink?

Well, that’s all I have for now. Enjoy the weekend everyone!
~ The Healthy Lioness

Revisiting Mindfulness


Mindfulness has really taken off recently and everyone’s buzzing about it. I’ve even heard it mentioned in class this week and the other day I mentioned to a friend that I try to be ‘mindful.’

Over the summer, I was reading a great deal on healthy living, both the physical and mental sides, and had a pretty good idea of what I thought mindfulness meant.  But I often feel that it’s good to revisit certain ideas or mantras we’re aspiring to follow, in order to reaffirm the definition and recommit.

So what does it mean to practice mindfulness?

In the most simplest terms, being mindful means being aware.

Aware of your environment. Aware of yourself, your actions and your emotions. And crucially, aware of other people, their actions and their emotions.

It’s so easy to jump to conclusions without thinking things through or properly evaluating a situation and taking all sides into consideration. So if you make an effort to tap into your consciousness and pause for even two seconds to be aware, you have a better chance of responding adequately to the situation. It’s a great way to reign in impulsive emotions and helps to maintain healthy relationships.

I find mindfulness especially helpful on bad days. You know those days when you wake up and everything seems to be going wrong, even down to the small, minute things? Yep, those days definitely need mindfulness to stem the flow of negativity. Often, I pair mindfulness with a bit of deep breathing. 1, 2, 3. Ok, what am I doing wrong in this situation and how can put my feelings in check? Usually, the feelings will subside and I feel better, partially because I haven’t reacted rashly but primarily because I feel good for doing something positive. For me. And for others (in a way). If I can send out positivity into the world, I’m going to choose that option. I’d rather smile than frown. And hopefully that will rub off on someone else.

It’s also really important to be conscious of how other people are feeling and acting. When speaking with friends, I try to be a good listener, picking up on their tone of voice, body language and what they’re saying. And if they express a problem, I try to help in any way I can. Sometimes people just need to talk things out with someone. Or other times, there’s actually a way to do something to help out. And when you are able to aid them, it’s wonderfully rewarding. That’s mindfulness stepping further and influencing physical actions.

Hopefully you found this post interesting and helpful in reflecting on mindfulness.

Let’s be extra aware of ourselves and others this weekend and Happy Halloween everyone!
~ The Healthy Lioness

Healthy Sunday Snack: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Protein Clusters

Happy Sunday friends!

A few weeks ago, I picked up chocolate-flavored whey protein powder from a sports shop in the hopes that by purchasing it, I’d be more motivated to workout and consume protein regularly.

It was effective to a certain extent. I’ve noticed a conscious effort to include sources of protein in my meals, in addition to fruits and veggies. But the thing is, I hadn’t actually been using the whey protein powder! That is, until today.

I came across the idea for peanut butter/chocolate clusters/balls while exploring Pinterest and fellow Sweat Pink ambassadors’ blogs earlier this week. I’m a HUGE peanut butter fan (I especially adore Skippy’s). So this healthy, sweet snack is perfect and I’ll definitely be making it again in the future. Below, you’ll find a summary of how I prepared the clusters (with approximate measurements, as I eye-balled the quantities of the ingredients). I decided to experiment with granola instead of oats, which most other recipes call for, but I think it came out quite nicely. Hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I do!

1 Medium mixing bowl
1 Baking sheet, lined with parchment/wax paper/paper towel.
1 Mixing Spoon
1 Large Spoon or Ice Cream Scooper.

1 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Cups Granola (I used a raisin/almond mix, but choose your own preference)
1/2-3/4 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Scoop/Serving Chocolate-Flavored Whey Protein Powder


With your mixing spoon, combine the granola, protein powder and chocolate chips in the bowl. Then stir in half of the honey. Slowly add in the peanut butter, mixing in one big scoop at a time. Finish off with the rest of the honey. The end mixture should clump together quite well, but not be too-sticky or glued together completely.

Using your large spoon, scoop up enough of the mixture to form rounded clusters that fit nicely into your hands. (Make the clusters as big or small as you’d like). One ice cream scoop is usually a good-sized amount. Cup your palms, gently pressing the mixture into a rounded cluster, then place on the baking sheet.

Tip: Before forming the clusters with your hands, run your hands under warm water so they’re damp. It will help prevent the peanut butter and honey from sticking to your hands when trying to make rounded balls.

Refrigerate your finished clusters for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Enjoy the rest of the evening everyone and cheers to healthy cooking!
~ The Healthy Lioness

Updating My Nighttime Routine

IMG_20151021_221541(British spellings look so quirky, but I guess I should get used to them!)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had quite a bit of trouble getting a good night’s sleep each evening. Not only has it been difficult to fall asleep, but waking up constantly has made my nights (and as a result, my days) extremely frustrating.

So I’ve decided to take action.

By making 4 key changes to my evening habit, I’m hoping to make it a little easier for my body and mind to wind down.

Chamomile Tea
Following the example of my tea-loving mom, I’m drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea before bedtime. It’s supposed to be helpful in de-stressing the body.

Turning off Electronics
My daylight hours are already over-stimulated by news, videos and music delivered through digital screens, so I think it’s a good idea to stop the flow of information at least two hours before bedtime.

Instead, I’m planning on reading a few chapters from a novel – a fun, pleasurable read to contrast all of the studious (but usually interesting) texts I focus on during the day.😉

Hot Shower
I’ve always heard that a hot shower is better for promoting sleep because it helps to relax the body. So instead of using warm water, I’m going to adopt hot water for at least 4 or 5 minutes during evening showers.

Lately, my workout regimen has mainly included 20 min. sessions done in the comfort of my room a few times per week, but I’m hoping to get back into yoga. That’s why I’ve resolved to start off with some calming poses before bed. All I need is to do first is pick up a yoga mat from a local store on my next shopping trip.

While these changes may not seem drastic, I’m hoping they’ll be effective tweaks to my nighttime routine.

Do you have any tips for promoting restful sleep?

~ The Healthy Lioness