What’s in my grocery cart?

Ashley Cramer writes a monthly health and lifestyle column for The Penny Rose. She is the owner of The Barre Studio in Capitola, Calif., and is Nutritious Life certified. 

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for beauty products, but I also know that what I eat is equally as important. Food nourishes the body from within. When digested, food breaks down into vitamins, minerals and proteins that can help you look great, lose weight and fight disease. Since healthy eating doesn’t happen by accident, it’s essential to keep the kitchen stocked with good-for-you foods. Here are a few staples that you’ll find in my grocery cart. 


Berries are low in sugar, high in fiber and full of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. They are also packed with Vitamin C, which promotes hair and nail growth and can delay signs of aging. Just remember that berries have high levels of pesticide residue. Fresh or frozen, it’s best to buy organic. 


Calorie for calorie, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense super foods in existence. Whether you prefer your spinach juiced, blended, cooked or raw, you’ll benefit from phytonutrients, vitamins and more than 20 minerals. Not to mention, high levels of Vitamin A help skin retain moisture and fight wrinkles. At only 40 calories per cup, you can incorporate spinach into your diet without any guilt.


Fat is essential to our health, and “good fat,” such as the monounsaturated fat in avocado comes with many benefits. It keeps your skin glowing, hair growing and supports organ function. Avocado also promotes weight loss because the healthy fat and fiber help you feel full.


Eggs contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral that your body needs to function. Whole eggs, yolk and whites, are a fantastic source of protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you control your appetite and curb cravings. Eggs are also rich in two nutrients—choline and lutein—that are key to keeping your skin firm and smooth. 

Dark Chocolate

 Choosing the right dark chocolate will help you get the most health benefits from this treat. Cacoa is the secret to the antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits, so look for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao. Since cacao can have a bitter, chalky taste, look for dark chocolate that uses cane sugar, vanilla or cocoa butter to balance it. Enjoy! 

Tips to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution

Ashley Cramer writes a monthly health and lifestyle column for The Penny Rose. She is the owner of The Barre Studio in Capitola, Calif. 

The holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry, but after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, we’re often left nursing a hangover and carrying a few extra pounds. New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get fit soon follow. These top the list of the most commonly broken resolutions, but a few simple strategies can help you stick to your resolution in 2015.

Set a specific goal. A resolution is often a vague statement like “In 2015, I’m going to lose weight and exercise more.” Set yourself up for success by turning your resolution into a goal that is specific, realistic, measurable and time-bound, such as “I will lose 15 pounds before bikini season by exercising at least three times per week.”

Write it down.  When you write down your resolution, it’s no longer an ambiguous idea but rather something you’ve committed to do. Keep your written goal somewhere that you see it often—try a post-it note on your computer monitor or bathroom mirror. Seeing a short, written reminder is motivating and will make you accountable to your goal.

Put it on the calendar. Without scheduling time for exercise “I’m going to work out today” can easily turn into three days of driving around with an unopened gym bag in your trunk. Try scheduling your workouts for the week on Sunday night. You can always move them if something comes up, but you’ll start the week with a plan of action.

Don’t give up when you slip up. If you’ve skipped some workouts or had a junk food binge, don’t get demoralized and give up on your resolution. Just get back on track and know that it’s okay to let yourself mess up every so often.

Reward your progress. Sometimes we get caught up focusing on the end-goal and forget to celebrate incremental successes. As a reward for consistently going to the gym, maybe buy new workout clothes, get a massage or give yourself a day to relax and binge on Netflix. The rewards don't have to be big or expensive, but recognizing success along the way will keep you motivated to reach the next milestone and ultimately to achieve your resolution.