Diet, Health and Wellness in Austin
It is true what they say, “abs are made in the kitchen.” We can’t talk about fitness without talking about some of the most important facets of living a healthy lifestyle: diet, health, and wellness. Below we cover healthy lifestyle habits, local restaurants and delivery services, and a few general tips for living your best life in Austin. those in our city.
The word “diet” is falling out of fashion. Now-a-days, it really is about living a healthy lifestyle versus adapting to some fad diet and hoping it sticks. The 80/20 rule is easy to remember and understand:.Eat healthy 80% of the time with foods that work for you and your lifestyle. The other 20% of the time, indulge a little bit. Allow yourself that cookie, that slice of pizza, that frozen marg (@polvos). Without those mindful indulgences, you’re creating an environment where you are sure to go off the rails and abandon a healthy lifestyle all together because it was just “too hard.”
Some of our favorite healthy lifestyle tips are below:
Yes, fiber. Vegetables. Wheat Bran (Gluten). Legumes. Fiber is crucial to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Women should aim for 35+ grams of fiber a day, and men should aim for 40+ grams of fiber per day. Eating fiber and protein at each meal ensures a regular metabolism. Fiber binds to the carbs you are consuming and ushers them out of your body so the fat from the carbs are not sitting inside of you causing weight gain and bloating.
One of our favorite brands to follow in this category is F-Factor. Tanya Zuckerbrot created this plan, which guarantees that if you are eating 35+ grams of fiber a day, and trying to stay below a 35 gram net carb (Total Carb – Total Fiber = Net Carb), the weight will begin to fall off. You will never feel as light, lean, and slim as when you are eating the F-Factor way.
F-Factor allows you to drink, eat out, eat dairy, and eat carbs. It doesn’t hold you back from living a social lifestyle which, lets be honest, we’re in Austin and we like our Mexican food and margs OK?? Listen to this podcast Tanya did with the Skinny Confidential. You will be hooked. Try following Tanya or Lauryn on Instagram, it helps to join a community that has your same healthy lifestyle goals and to be inspired by the countless recipes, and dining out experiences while living the F-Factor way. Check out this table to see net carbs in some of the most high fiber foods. Integrate these into your daily routine, when eating out look for these on menus and be sure to order to up your fiber intake.
This is a low-carb or no-carb diet where the body experiences ketosis. Molecules called ketones build up in the bloodstream and while low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar to drop, our bodies begin burning fat for energy. The key here is not to overdo it on fats and proteins, and be sure you are still eating enough fiber. The combination of low carb, high fat and protein, and good fiber intake makes a well-balanced diet. What is great about Keto is that you are still eating dairy, meat, fat, and other things that are sometimes considered unhealthy. As always, everything in moderation, but we have seen great results from living a Keto lifestyle. Our favorite way to find Keto recipes is just by following #KetoRecipes on Instagram!
It shouldn’t be a surprise that masses of people have switched to a vegetarian diet in recent years. There are a variety of reasons to do this, including concern for animal rights and the environment. Studies have shown that vegetarians are less prone to common diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes as well. An article published by the Huffington Post showed that vegans and vegetarians had a significantly longer life expectancies—on average more than eight years longer than the general population. Blue Cross Blue Shield has also published several reports showing that vegetarians also have a lower risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
Overall this is a great way to live a healthy lifestyle. You can still find protein sources outside of meat with eggs (for vegetarians, not vegan), a variety of legumes, and grains such as black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, and others. This is also a very fiber rich diet which, as we listed above, has major health benefits as well. One of our favorite vegetarian/vegan recipe creators is The Minimalist Baker. Her recipes are very inventive and based on common dishes we all know and love, making becoming a vegetarian a very approachable change in diet. Of course living in Austin, there are so many restaurants that adhere to this lifestyle too. Below you will find a list of some of our favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants.
Austin Staples for a Healthy Lifestyle and Diet
Not a meal prepper? Us either. Snap Kitchen makes it so easy to eat healthy throughout the week. You can stop by one of their 13 Austin locations (including inside any Whole Foods), and grab breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks for the week. They are all pre-packaged and microwavable making it super easy for the office. They are very affordable too ($3-11/meal depending on size), and offer low-carb, Keto, and vegetarian lifestyle plans.
Getting groceries delivered to you to saves time. H-E-B and Whole Foods have great pre-made options too, so you can even utilize these services for office deliveries to make it easy to stay on track during the work week. Grocery delivery also helps you order only what you need works best if you plan ahead for cooking for meals that week. It also helps to cut costs on groceries by not throwing extra things in your cart as you pass by them in the store. We also love being able to add things to your grocery list throughout the week with ease!
Amazon PrimeNow Grocery Delivery – Spend $35 and the delivery is free! Download the separate PrimeNow app to scroll through options at your local Whole Foods. Since Whole Foods and Amazon merged, bringing the less-expensive 365 Every Day Value Brand, it is honestly cheaper than you think to buy your groceries there. Use Code: 10PRIMENOW for $10 off your first order.
H-E-B Curbside Pick-Up or Delivery – Curbside: $4.95 shopper fee; Delivery: Shopper Fee + $5 Delivery Fee. I love using the HEB app because you can find so many coupons to help save money. Can also order H-E-B with Favor (this includes Alcohol)!
Instacart – Order from Specs, Total Wine, Wheatsville, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Target, H-E-B, Central Market, Randall’s, Costco, Sam’s, CVS, Petco, and Tomlinson’s. Super fast delivery times. Great when you’re in a bind—place the order before you leave the office and have groceries delivered to your house within an hour! Deliveries as low as $3.99. Use this code for $10 off your first delivery.
Healthy Dining Out
Vinaigrette – Tons of great salad options. (South Congress)
Citizen Eatery – Vegan. (North Burnet)
Honest Mary’s – Build your own grain bowls. (Arboretum location open, Rosedale coming soon)
ATX Food Co. – Vegan trailer. Order online & Pickup or from multiple delivery services. (Barton Springs)
Blenders & Bowls – Acai bowls. (5 Locations – Downtown, Westlake, Eastside, Domain, Guadalupe)
Bouldin Creek Cafe – Vegetarian. (South 1st)
Whole Foods Salad Bar – a TON of toppings to choose from. (Multiple Locations)
Picnik – Very clean, farm-to-table, optional vegan cuisine with approachable known dishes. (Trailer on S. Lamar & Restaurant on N. Burnet) Pro Tip: Try their butter coffee, the fat in the butter and MCT Oil (a form of coconut oil), help make the caffeine last longer and leave you less jittery. #keto
Salata – Build your own salad. (Arboretum)
Joann’s – Powerbowl. (South Congress)
Fresa’s – Kale Caesar, Power and Super Bol’s, Brussels, Beets. (South 1st Restaurant & 6th and Lamar Drive-Thru) – Pro Tip: Substitute chips for carrots & jicama sticks with salsa, queso and guac!
Steeping Room – Great salads and vegan options. (North Lamar and the Domain).
Flowerchild – Counter service, quick healthy dishes. (Downtown – 2nd Street, and Domain Northside)
True Food Kitchen – Same owners as Flowerchild, sit down restaurant, local healthy dishes, can order vegan. (Downtown – Seaholm, and the Domain) Pro Tip: Get the Edamame Dumplings!
Counter Culture – Vegan. (East Cesar Chavez) Pro Tip: Try their pizzas, tacos and burgers! They’re awesome even if you are not vegan.
Curcuma – Vegan Food Truck. (East Cesar Chavez)
Sweetgreen – Build your own salad. (Coming Soon – South Congress, next to Equinox)
Health and Wellness
What exactly is health and wellness? We hear these words often but what do they truly mean? Wellness is really just being more aware of things you can do to be living a healthy lifestyle, and making positive choices. A study by UC Davis identified eight areas of wellness: emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, social, occupational, financial, and intellectual.
Emotional wellness is also your mental wellness. This would include self-care and relaxation in order to decrease stress levels. Increased stress = increased cortisol levels, which have been related to weight gain. Be sure to take time to relax, put your phone down (reduce blue light), sleep when you’re tired, listen to your body, and practice self care. Self care could be going to the spa (take a water taxi to Lake Austin spa), or it could be taking a warm bath (with a lush bath bomb) and reading a book to relax and ease the mind. Take mental health days when you need them, talk to a therapist or counselor (UT Psychology program offers a free clinic to the public with UT doctorate students offering counseling services for a fraction of the cost), and look into meditation.
Meditation: There are a few places in Austin that are great for getting your feet wet in the meditation space. Check out Meditation Bar near MoPac and Steck ($30 introductory offer for first week – unlimited, or $18/class drop in), Kadampa Meditation Center near William Cannon and Manchaca (they also have events), or downloading a guided meditation app like Headspace. Headspace makes it super easy to wake up and have a few minutes of guided meditation. Practicing mindfulness and reduce stress before going into your busy day.
This goes into taking care of your body and health. This includes exercise and fitness, diet, seeking help when needed (going to the doctor, having regular physicals and bloodwork), and getting enough sleep.
If you don’t believe in modern medicine and don’t like the idea of shots and drugs, you should definitely check out Ayurvedic Medicine. Listen to this podcast by Skinny Confidential where they interview Sahara Rose, author of the book Idiots Guide to Ayerveda. In ayurvedic medicine, there are three mind-body types or “doshas” – Vata, Kapha, and Pitta; basically three substances present in your body and health exists when there is a balance between those three bodily elements. Once you find out which type you are, you can create a lifestyle routine around it. This can include recipes for your dosha type, and specific home healing remedies. You can take a quiz here to figure out your dosha, and explore from there!
This is really respecting our planet and taking steps to protect it. Interact with nature—Austin has so many places where you can do this: hiking, biking, walking the trail, getting out on the lake or river, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, swimming; going to the park, and, if you have a dog, taking them for a walk or hike; running outside, etc. Check out our post on best outdoor workouts in Austin. There are ton of great places to explore and it will really build a strong environmental consciousness by raising your awareness of the environment you’re in.
Environmental wellness also includes your immediate space around you. Think about more plants in your home and work space, high-quality filtered water, clean air (changing your AC filter), and more natural light.
It is important to have a social aspect of your life whether it be with family, friends, coworkers or others. This creates a support network of encouraging relationships with peers, and intimate romantic relationships. The key here is to surround yourself with people who are lifting you up, not bringing you down. It’s a new year and it is OK to reevaluate relationships and truly see who is adding value.
Being in a socially happy place also creates a sense of belonging, increasing overall happiness and physical health, which also leads to more motivation and productivity in your life. If you’re new to Austin, get involved in a group. This could be an active group like a gym (check out our post on best gyms in Austin), running club (check out Loop Running Supply), co-ed sports like kickball (Club WAKA is great) or softball. It could also be a spiritual or religious group; or getting to know more people in the workplace who could become friends outside of the office.
Spirituality can mean multiple things—relaxation or religion; aligning our values with our actions. This goes hand-in-hand with emotional wellness, and creating a set of beliefs and values that give meaning and direction to our lives. Meditation, yoga, prayer—these could all be examples of practicing spiritual wellness. Check out some of our favorite yoga studios, here.
This is committing to a work environment that is supporting good health and productivity and allowing for a positive work-life balance. Through this, we still want to feel fulfilled in our jobs, and as though our careers are progressing. An article by Allwork says that occupational health is a leading factor of good health, especially considering that people spend over 40 hours of their week in the workplace. Austin has some of the best occupational wellness workplaces in the country, including companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Dell, and many others. Working in open spaces, collaborative environments, social aspects of the workplace with group outings and team functions, flexible time off, less stress (remember, stress = increased cortisol = weight gain) and increased ability to grow in your career. All of these things contribute to a strong occupational wellness and are important in overall health. Check out this article on Glassdoor with the top places to work in Austin, that outlines details about work life balance and positive reviews from employees.
Intellectual wellness is all about continuing to learn and grow, using the resources around you to become a more intelligent individual. Reading (join a book club with friends, or even try a virtual group like Oprah’s book club), continuing education through professional development classes sign up for a classes at ACC that might interest you like, painting, pottery, etc.) or workshops around the city (like a free money management class). Check out any cultural events in Austin, or community activities. Join the nextdoor app, and see what community activities could be going on right in your own neighborhood. The Austin Public Library also has events going on at multiple locations every single day.
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