Perfect French Press Coffee

Can I just say how much the quality of my life has increased since I figured out how to make French Press coffee that doesn’t taste like two-day old burned Starbucks?
I’ve been through three iterations of drip coffee makers, a Keurig and a World Market FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKERhttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png in my drinkin’ years.

Happiness...

Happiness...

What French Press does NOT =
⦁    caffeine at your fingertips (Keurig)
⦁    caffeine as an alarm clock (programmable drip)


French Press DOES =
⦁    Fragrant
⦁    Delicate
⦁    Cathartic


MY RECIPE FOR THE PERFECT FRENCH PRESS COFFEE
1. Mark it 8 (ok..12)
Use a permanent marker to note the 12oz mark on your French Press (or 24 oz mark if you have to share.)  Seem silly – but this has saved me MANY an under or overbrewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

2. Boil Water (almost)
Three words: Use. A. TeaKettle.  When you hear the kettle STARThttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png to whistle juuuuust a teensy bit, pull it off the heat. Microwave only if under extreme duress.  Heat the water to boiling, and remove from the death machine.

3. Bump and Grind
In the 30-60 seconds it takes your water to go from boiling to juuuust the right coffee brewing temperature, grind your beans.  COARSELY.  I do 6-8 pulses with my grinder.
What’s that you say?  You can get pre-ground beans?  RESIST, I say!!!  Fresh beans ground to the right French Press consistency actually do make a difference!

4. Stir and Steep
Pour the water slowly over the grinds.  (I like to make big SLOWhttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png loopy circles — but highly doubt this affects the taste.)  Then STIR.  Using a chopstick or spoon, stir the grinds into the hot water for 5-10 seconds or until you get a little foam. 

Steep from 4-6 minutes depending on your COFFEE ROASThttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png.  I do my flavored/light roasts for 6… and a French Roast for baaaaarely 4.5 as I value my teeth.

5. Heat the Mug + Pour
While that’s doing it’s thing, I pour remaining hot water from the kettle into and the mug I plan to use and let it heat while my coffee steeps.  When you’re coffee’s done… just DEPRESShttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png the plunger (no.  it doesn’t have Zoloft) and pour into your warm mug!

6. ENJOY!
I usually add 1-2 Tbs of Organic Half and Half (if there’s more than “milk” and “cream” in the ingredient lists, it’s no longer food, people) and sip slowly!
 

Vegan Almond Flour Protein Pancakes

Had a hankering for pancakes this morning and decided to roll with it!  (I'd post a picture of the actual pancakes, but they do NOT look pretty despite tasting amazing.) Vegan Protein Pancakes

(gluten free, vegan, paleo, delicious)

getimgIngredients:

1/2 c Almond Meal (I dehydrate the leftovers when I make almond milk)

1/4 c Protein Powder (I used Hemp Protein, but Sun Warrior would be awesome!)

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 c Almond Milk

(3-5 drops NuNaturals Stevia if your protein powder is unsweetened)

Mix it Up:

1. Whisk together almond meal, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon.  Slowly add almond milk (and stevia if desired), stirring until combined.

2. Pre-heat a griddle or cast iron pan, greased with a little coconut oil.  It's ready when a drop of water sizzles on impact.

3. Place 1/4 cup scoops of the pancake batter on the griddle and cook for 3-4 min/side, or until they lift easily with a spatula (don't undercook...they'll fall apart!)

I topped mine with a little smear of peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup (also known as the best combo ever.)  Hooraaaaaay breakfast!

 

I swore I'd Never Juice Cleanse

tumblr_mh3z895DIy1qeerubo3_250Quick disclaimer: Check with your doc or RD if you want to try something like this. If you're easily triggered on the Diet/Eating Disorder front, a juice fast is probably not for you in this moment and this post may not even be for you. To clarify on my end: some weight loss was a SIDE EFFECT and NOT A GOAL of my juice cleanse. If I don't have hypoglycemia I'm about as close as it gets.

I've got a 15 year history of disordered eating = a really firecracker combination of restricting/bingeing/restricting.

Throw in my weekly workout and teaching schedule?  Forgetabouuuuudit.

But when my (very trusted and absurdly adorable) nutritionist, Dori Friedberg of Healing Thru Food, recommended it to help jumpstart some healing for my skin and gut, I agreed to try it.

The first couple days of pre-cleanse (just smoothies, salads, fruits, veggies) did not bode well.  I sent her a frantic email on the day before I started juicing full time.  It went something like "AM ALREADY STARVING! PLS SEND TORTILLA CHIPS IN BULK."

The response was very calm: "You've got this. Don't let yourself get hungry.  Drink TONS of juice."

I was completely surprised, that she was right. I drank 16 oz of mostly vegetable juice every 3 hours or so and felt *amazing.*  I wasn't hungry.  I didn't have cravings until toward the end of day 3 when I knew solid food was in sight, and I was mostly craving the experience of chewing fresh fruits and veggies.

The most remarkable results of the cleanse were completely unrelated to the (mostly temporary) weight loss I experienced.

My thoughts and processes felt clear and unhindered.

My blood sugar was pretty consistent because I was drinking juice so often, and there was no sugar/gluten/dairy/bleh anything to gum up the works. I was *insanely* productive!!

The following week proved to be quite trying on a personal and professional front, and as I stuck with a "solid food cleanse" nutrition plan, I found myself able to experience and process my emotions in a really amazing way.  When the body is clear and clean, it acts as a beautiful conduit.

I could simply enjoy what I was consuming without worry or planning ahead.

I tend to be a planner when it comes to food.  Because my schedule is so wacky and I can't afford to eat at the Co-Op every time I gets snack, I have to pack food, plan for blood sugar lows and ensure that I have enough calories to get me through 8 hours of teaching some days. On the juice fast?  I only had to make sure I had a cooler and some juice.

I was never thinking 'Hm. I wonder what I'll have for dessert?  When is dinner again?  Should I eat more in case I'm hungry later?' I just enjoyed what I was drinking and knew my next juice would be ready when I needed it.  What a blessing to live in a present, abundance mindset!

Sugar cravings subsided.

I freakin' love sugar.  Plain and simple.  And while I've been *drastically* reducing my processed sugar intake (like...none) because it makes me feel sh*$^& about 12.2 min after I eat it, going more than a week without processed sugar was both enlightening and exciting.  A date with almond butter was MORE than enough of a treat after drinking kale lemonade for 3 days  :)

I learned - once again - that I'm capable of more than I think.

They say we'll keep getting a lesson over and over until we learn it.  And whether it's my SFG prep, moving across the country or juice fasting for 3 days, the lesson has recently seemed to be:  You are capable, strong and sufficient in this moment.  

Even in my recovery, food and dieting have been a crutch.  They are means to distract myself from unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions by either eating or thinking about eating or dieting or thinking about dieting.  Because this fast was a reset button with the intention of healing, it was a chance to practice caring for myself without those crutches.  And it worked  :)

Will I do it again?

My plan is to do a 3-5 day juice cleanse 2 times/year or so.  My skin was a little dry from lack of fat and we - obviously - can't live on juice especially when training.  There's something, though, about a straight shot of vitamins and enzymes to the brain!   After going back on solid food, I found myself kind of missing the simplicity and the clarity of the previous week.

What am I doing now?

Definitely juicing.  I love the afternoon boost of greens!  I typically make two or three 16 oz juices at a time and drink them over the course of two days.  (It's not ideal, but I hate cleaning my juicer.)

Eating pretty vegan and pretty "clean."  No meat, litte-to-no dairy, sugar or gluten (cards on the table: this weekend was sort of an exception on the dairy/gluten/sugar front and I feel like a$$.)  I LIKE eating plant-based and I really LIKE how I feel when my system is free of the stuff that seems to slow me down.  This is in NO way a diet and I'm leaving myself plenty of wiggle room, so it doesn't feel restrictive at all!  Mostly liberating, really.

Remembering that food is a blessing, that I have an abundance of healthy meals and options and there is no need to 'eat defensively' in case I'm hungry later (#packsnacks.)

***

Share your juicing experiences, questions, comments, complaints and general existential experiences in the comments!!!

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

The perfect snack! We needed some healthy "snacky" cookies to have around the house, so I took this recipe and made a few changes to create something that would be sweet and satisfying without breaking the bloodsugar bank!  Just a few reasons why these are better than Chips Ahoy  ;)

  • Flax Meal: Omega 3's
  • Coconut Oil: Healthy Skin
  • Whole Wheat Flour: Fiber
  • Oatmeal: Anti-Inflammatory
  • Dark Chocolate: too many to name...

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies (makes 16 or so):

Could easily make Gluten Free by using GF Baking Mix in place of flour and GF Oats

  • 1 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/3 C Ground Flax Meal
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 C Coconut Oil, softened
  • 1/2 C Raw Honey
  • 1 Tbs Ground Flax Meal mixed in 3 Tbs Warm Water (or one egg)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 C Dark Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips
  • 1/4 C Unsweetened Coconut Shreds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat coconut oil and honey until smooth; add egg replacer or egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients until dough is just combined. Fold oats, chocolate chips and coconut into dough.
  5. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls or drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Crockpot and Freezer Hacks

This will be quick.  But so are these hacks. PROBLEM:  Canned Beans.

I got really tired of using canned beans because of the BPA in the lining, the icky feeling every time I used a can and tossed it (in the recycle bin, but still) and the $1.89/can for Organic Chickpeas.

HACK:  Cook dry beans in the crock pot.

Soak beans overnight.  Rinse and dump in crockpot.  Cover with water or stock and add a bay leaf, garlic, whatever.  Cook on low for 4+ hours.  Cool them and store in 1.5 cup servings in your freezer.  Thaw when you need them!  Black beans are great cooked with salsa, chickpeas with garlic and lemon for hummus and kidney beans are a chili staple around here.

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PROBLEM: Chicken stock -- also in cans or tetra packs, also expensive. 

HACK: 5 min DIY Stock

When you cook a chicken, save the bones (they freeze super easily.)  Throw them in the crockpot with 8 cups water, a carrot, the leafy tops of celery, large chunks of onion and a bay leaf or two.  (I save my veggie odds and ends also in the freezer for this purpose.)  Cook for 8 hours on low.  Freeze in old peanut butter jars that you've saved and rinsed!

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PROBLEM: Wasted Kale.

My kale gets wilty before I can use it all in salads or sautés sometimes...and it's not cheap this time of year!

HACK: Frozen Kale.

Curly kale freezes *beautifully!*  Rinse, dry well, tear the leaves off the stems and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer.  Seriously perfect to add to a smoothie!

__

PROBLEM: Need a perfectly cooked chicken at 4 pm.

I use a whole chicken to use for a couple of recipes and some stock...but because of my evening training schedule, I don't always have time to wait while he roasts up golden brown.

HACK: Stick that bad boy in the crock pot.

Breast down.  Rubbed with anything you want.  I've done:

  • Curry = thai chicken curry, chutney chicken salad with apricots, and chicken + rice
  • Salsa = chicken tacos, burrito bowls, southwestern chicken salad
  • Lemon and garlic = chicken stir fry, chicken noodle soup, yummy right off the bone

__

PROBLEM: I don't want to do the dishes.

HACK: Leave them for tomorrow morning.

What are your kitchen quick-fixes to save time, money and sanity??

Aryuvedic Sleep Aid with Sun Warrior

Many of you know I have struggled with insomnia off and on over the years. This aryuvedic sleep aid has been a great addition to cold Wisconsin nights and uses my favorite almond milk recipe, which we also use in smoothies and coffee!sun warrior "This homemade almond milk is delicious on its own or added to your own recipe, but it’s great with the ingredients down below for a nice, warm sleep aid..."

Read the full article at SunWarrior.com here and order your vanilla protein here!

(would also love comments and feedback on the Sun Warrior site if you have a few moments!)

29 + 1 Things I Learned in my 20's

I turn 30 today ... on Friday the 13th.  12/13/13.  The big 3-0 on what is numerically speaking the most terrifying day of the year. And I'm freaking excited.

I told someone, quite bluntly, the other day "My 20s were a s*** show!" and - while it's true - I'm actually quite grateful for the crazy, scary, endearing experience that was my 20s.  And so, inspired by this post I found while killing time on Facebook reading industry specific blogs, here are 29 + 1 Things I Learned In My 20s:

1. Food is not the enemy. Stop fighting it - just eat what makes your body feel alive.

2. If exercise makes you miserable, you're doing it wrong. Uncomfortable: deal with it.  Miserable: do something else.

3. Toxic relationships serve neither you nor the other person.

4. OK.  Let's be completely honest.  When something makes you miserable: STOP.  Even if other people won't be happy with you.  Even if that magazine said it will take off that last 5#.  Even if you really want it to work out.  STOP.

5. It's highly likely that you won't use your college degree in the way in which it was intended.  The time you spent getting it, though: priceless.

6. A man will never (NEVER) make you feel as good about yourself as you want to feel.  Only you can provide yourself with the love you so desperately want.

7. Yoga isn't just exercise.  Yoga is a snapshot of your experience of life, condensed into an hour, in a small space, while watching other people do it better than you. Learn from it.

8. TRAVEL.  Get your passport updated and get out of the country now, because it may not happen later.

9. Along those lines: Those opportunities that you think will come along later ... may not.  Go to the concerts, parties, family events that you want to skip so that you can work another shift.

10. You are not broken.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with you that needs to be fixed.  You are a whole, complete, perfect human being who has plenty of room to grow.

11. Quitting is perfectly acceptable.

12. Never be afraid to leap. Even if the net is a long way down, it will eventually appear.

13. Keep your birth control in a temperature controlled environment.  It will melt.  It will freeze.  It will become useless if either of these things happens.

14. Say what you mean when you mean it how you mean it.  Stop filtering your words to keep others from experiencing negative emotions.

15. Drinking pint glasses full of hard alcohol: bad idea.  Drinking pint glasses full of water: good idea.

16. Feeling negative emotions isn't a bad thing.  It's an unpleasant thing.  And they process and integrate much faster (like...years faster) when you take the time to feel them.

17. DON'T START SMOKING.  It's really really really hard to quit.

18. A size zero doesn't make you a better person.  And chances are, you didn't like yourself any better at a 0 than you do at a size 8.  Shoot for happy, not tiny.

19. Paint, Draw, Sing, Dance, Whatever!  You don't have to be "good" at something for it to express the life that is inside you.

20. Read more non-fiction books.

21. Read less (read: no) diet books, fitness magazines, diet blogs, "before and after" weight loss stories, or miracle supplement reviews <Admiral Ackbar voice> "It's a TRAP!"

22. Leggings are not pants.  But they are damn comfortable. And are considered work attire when you're a yoga teacher.  So... they ARE pants?

23. DO NOT download Candy Crush Saga.

24. Listen to your intuition, even when it doesn't make sense.  Cross country moves (three of them), last minute changes in expensive education (twice), or just ordering that random thing on the menu.

25. No matter how angry you get with your mom, she will never EVER stop loving you.

26. You WILL be like your mom.  And it's awesome.

27. Money, while not everything, IS important. Stop working for less than you're worth.

28. Journal!  Fill books upon books upon books with your stories.  They're valuable.

29. Give really good hugs and linger when other people give you really good hugs.

+1 (still learning this one) :

Take time, every day, to sit with your most precious, most divine self.  YOU are the best friend you'll ever have.

 

 

 

Organic, Humane Meat Sources

Many of you know that eating meat is a bit of a conundrum for me. While I struggle with the ethics and sustainability of it, I find that my strength training results rely heavily on eating *some* meat.  (I can't eat eggs, and usually have one meat dish every 1-2 days, drinking Sun Warrior protein and eating legumes, kale and unprocessed soy to supplement my protein intake.) Here's why it's such a difficult choice for me: http://www.meat.org/  (DO NOT CLICK if you are sensitive.  It's tear jerking and nauseating and awful.)

This post isn't about meat or no meat - that's something most Americans will never even discuss. This is about making choices that support farmers and distributors that promote the humane treatment of animals, rather than blindly consuming what's most easily available on your grocery trip.

I'm not asking you to go vegetarian.  Or even eat more vegetables. (OK.  eat more vegetables, da**it...they're good for you.)  Just know where your food comes from and what kind of treatment it had before it landed on your plate.  Here are some easy ways to learn how:

1. Eat Well Guide 2,500 hand-picked, locally grown listings

2. Local Harvest Real Food. Real Farmers. Real Community.

3. Monterey Bay Aquarium "Super Green List" : ocean friendly, human friendly fish

4. Certified Humane Where to find certified humane meat in your area

5. Whole Foods Animal Welfare Standards All meat is rated 1-5 according to animal treatment (1 being worlds better than most meat you'll find at your local supermarket)

The best thing you can possibly do is purchase your meat directly from a local farmer who practices humane, animal-centered farming.  We're planning on getting some next year from a family member, and any "special occasion" meat (like brats...it's Wisconsin after all!) I purchase are bought from my local Co-Op.  I get to ask about the farm and the animals there... they even have farm tours on a regular basis!

I have not yet found a local farmer for chicken, and I started buying Coleman Organic Chicken at Costco because it was a budget-appropriate choice for non-"steroid chicken" (as my roommates and I used to call it.) Since chicken is pretty much the only meat we eat (sorry hubby), I decided to research Coleman to ensure that they didn't practice de-beaking or caging... and was so pleased to find that they're a leader in providing happy chicken in the larger market by working with small farms who treat their chickens humanely!

Bon Apetit!

 

Check out my article over at Sun Warrior.com!!

  • “Shake the hand that feeds you.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food

three_ways_to_make_your_trip_more_eco_friendly_picIn an era when most of our food is shipped across the country—if not across the world—local farmers’ markets are a weekly oasis of brightly colored fruits, veggies, and flowers grown just a few miles from home.

Taking the time to invest in your local growers can help cut down on the emissions created each year by food shipment, and get sustainably farmed and fresher, more nutrient-dense food to your table...

- See more at: http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/three-ways-make-trip-farmers-market-eco-friendly/#sthash.utlr48Jo.dpuf

Ahimsa: Post Vacation Diet

I'm interrupting the flow of regularly scheduled travel saga to talk about something that's been on my heart the past couple days...

Ahimsa: Sanskrit word translated as non-violence, non-injury or non-harming

ahimsaI definitely had an "everything in moderation and some things not-so-much in moderation" mentality while we traveled which, in combination with over 30 hours in the car, lent itself to some snug jeans by the end of two weeks.

In years past, I would have immediately started a cleanse upon returning home, committing myself to being completely miserable both physically and mentally as penance for indulgences and lack of self control.  It would have been a rather violent process, usually starting with a salt water flush (which I don't recommend) a 24 hour juice cleanse (which I also don't recommend) and a week of actively denying myself anything over 1200 calories of pure vegan greenstock.

This time around, I approached it with gentleness, kindness and mindfulness --- and it was amazing.  In just a week, my butt is back in my favorite jeans with a little room to spare, I'm feeling vibrant and healthy and not once did I have to deny myself something I really wanted.

(Disclaimer: ahimsa is often used as the basis for vegetarianism which I have practiced in the past and found that it is, actually, harmful for me given my current lifestyle.  All in the interpretation.)

Step 1: Get some groceries

In the past 6 months, food and fuel had become a method of self care, ending the mental cycle of "deserve" or "don't deserve."  The day we got here, I immediately went to Whole Foods and bought a TON of veggies, bulk quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal, some treats like Kombucha and Raw Crackers and a whole organic "happy chicken."  I cooked the chickie up and dug out my rice cooker ASAP and had the fixings for super awesome, happy meals when the family was eating pizza and chinese food that I seriously didn't want after a week on the road.

Step 2: Get back to yoga

It was an incredibly stressful move involving a lot of family, a limited time frame and very little sleep preceding. My workout plan was to just get back to yoga and be as wonderful to my body as I could, which paid off amazingly as it just felt natural to pick up a kettlebell and get back on my bike after working the kinks out in a few flow classes.

I also knew that it would be difficult for me to commit to a serious sitting meditation at home, and yoga was the perfect combination of moving meditation and few extra minutes after class to sit.  This studio is just 8 minutes from our house and *great* about maintaining a quiet practice space before and after, which I super appreciated.

Step 3: Dig out the Juicer

I made 2 days worth of veggie juice at a time, keeping a pitcher in the fridge and just having 8-12 oz/day with my afternoon snack for an extra veggie kicker.  Added bonus: you can hide just about anything behind a pitcher of green juice and be pretty much guaranteed that no one will eat it.

Step 4: Get back to kettlebells

I just started easy.  A long 12 kg ladder of presses, swings, snatches and rows to wake up some sleeping muscles and grease the groove. Hit some light endurance swings a few days later, and I was back to 24 kg swings for distance by the time I visited a class the following week!

***

This probably seems pretty ho-hum.  There's no magic in it.  No crazy weight loss recorded or emotional high reached.  But here's the truth: I was kind and loving.  I didn't have any sugar for a week.  I worked out every day for a week.  I ate only organic whole food for a week.  And not ONCE did I go hungry, force myself to workout or tell myself what a bad person I was for eating dessert on the cruise.

For those of you who know me pretty well or have trained with me, you know that I am working on a pretty serious paradigm shift in my life and my training.  No longer am I standing on a soap box preaching "eat clean, train dirty" because I believe that small, loving shifts in your life over time just make strength and health your home base anyway.

Ahimsa: be kind in this moment, this asana, this kettlebell swing, this glass of water, this salad.  Your body knows what it wants.  We just have to slow down and grow loving enough to listen to that.

How to Take a Healthy Road Trip

We're road tripping to Canada... Cruising through Alaska... then road tripping from Canada to Wisconsin to start a few years there as PULSE hubby goes to law school and business school.  I am SO looking forward to starting up an eCoaching and video side to my business, rekindling a relationship with Steep and Brew Coffee and to just *being* despite all the changes and upheaval. I've spent a lot of time learning about how to keep myself feeling balanced and centered when we travel... here are a few!

1. Support your immune and nervous system

I take Probiotics (usually my Advocare brand but I ran out) every morning anyway...but I'm hyper vigilant about it when we travel. (earmuffs! : it helps things stay regular on a very irregular schedule...)  I also take a B Vitamin every afternoon when I tend to hit my lull - usually a Cortico B5-B6 from Metagenix for adrenal support, but I picked this up from Sprouts today to hold me over.  I also take a powdered Vitamin C supplement and a scoop of Amazing Grass Greens Powder with my probiotics in the morning!

20130806_114620

2. Eat green food.  Then eat some protein.

For road trips, I always make sure we stop at a grocery store to stock up the cooler with pre-made salads, easy protein and happy snacks.  (a McDonald's salad... is NOT a salad in my book...)  Makes for a great chance to picnic when we find somewhere pretty, and I'm not stuck on a blood sugar roller coaster while sitting still next to a bunch of gummy bears.

Found these pre-made salads and great little hummus cups at Sprouts today too, along with greek yogurts and raw almonds...

20130806_114533

3.  MOVE every day... even just a little...

My big mistake on our trip from DC to CA was not prioritizing exercise.  Here's a 5 min (or however long, just repeat)  interval workout you can do in your motel room, parking lot, McDonald's drive through (BE THE CHANGE!) if you don't want to drag a 16 kg kettlebell in your car.  (who me?)

  • 30 sec jump rope or jumping jacks / 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec push ups / 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec squats or jump squats / 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec plank / 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec jump rope or mountain climbers / 30 sec rest

When my stylist asked me this past week about how I stayed healthy when we travel, I thought about it for a minute, because our last cross-country move... wasn't so healthy.  I drank a LOT of Diet Coke and ate a LOT of 100 Calorie Snack Packs.  I didn't sleep...didn't work out... and got to CA feeling awful.

My goal this time around is:

  • Workout/sweat 3x /week and move every day for at least 20 minutes
  • Eat or drink something green with every meal
  • Set up a bedtime routine (melatonin, shower, book chapter works well for me) to help me sleep despite a weird schedule

How do you stay healthy when you travel???

 

Protein Snacks for YOUR Bikini Body

Can I just say how much I love this?  (apologizing now for the swears) bikini body

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU has a bikini body... so love it and rock it!  Here's what I've been snacking on as we head into summer and into my bikini...

Edamame with Sea Salt

The process of shelling before eating will slow you down (it's the pistachio effect!) if you tend to be a mindless snacker, and this protein-filled snack will stave off sugar cravings and is as high in iron as a 4-oz chicken breast!

  • 120 calories
  • 9 grams fiber
  • 2.5 grams fat
  • 11 grams protein

Roasted Rosemary Almonds with Sea Salt

Rosemary and Sea Salt Almonds

Can I just start with how much I love Pinterest (follow me!) ?  JUST when I think I've seen it all... BAM. Angry cat is having a tryst with the adorable dog from Virgin Airlines.

All that aside, this recipe for sea salt and rosemary almonds is seriously amazing!

  • 117 Calories
  • 2.2 grams Fiber
  • 10.5 grams Fat
  • 3.8 grams Protein
    • (based on 1/4 c serving)

Organic String Cheese

Trader Joe... my dear friend... I could nosh on your organic string cheese along side an apple.  With a sliced pear.  Or sliced with a plate of organic turkey breast, carrots and hummus.

  • 80 Calories
  • 6 g Fat
  • 8 g Protein

Other stuff I chow when no one's looking...

Plain Greek Yogurt with Vanilla Stevia and Slivered Almonds

Small Apple with Chunky Peanut Butter

Brown rice cakes shmeared with avocado and hummus

Turkey Jerky

***

What are your favorite summertime snacks?!

 

 

Prep Cooking : 1 Chicken, 4 Meals

prep cooking

Prep cooking is one of the keys to success for all weight loss and muscle building efforts... probably THE most important thing you can do to ensure your own success.  But how do you turn 1 meal into 4 without a magic wand and some fireworks?  Easy.

Day 1:

Roasted Chicken with Steamed Asparagus and Brown Rice

  • Using this method - I'm gonna recommend olive oil instead of butter - roast a whole, organic chicken.
  • Steam 2 bunches of asparagus.
  • Steam 4 servings of brown rice.
  • Eat up.
  • Pull chicken from bones when cool and store in airtight container in the fridge.

Day 2:

Chicken "Fried" Rice

  • Using your leftover chicken, 1/2 of your leftover brown rice and some chopped asparagus...
  • Follow this recipe for friend rice, substituting your veggies and chicken

Day 3:

Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds

  • Toss some chopped chicken and any remaining asparagus with organic baby spinach, and top with 1 oz goat cheese crumbles and 2 Tbs slivered almonds.
  • Top with this dressing.

Day 4:

Chicken Tacos and Spanish Rice

  • Mix remaining chicken with 1/4 cup organic tomato salsa and reheat in a non-stick skillet.
  • Mix remaining brown rice with 1/4 cup organic tomato salsa and reheat with 1-2 Tbs water in a small saucepan.
  • Heat some organic corn tortillas in a little oil
  • Top with chicken, leftover spinach from salad, salsa and some greek yogurt!

Bam.  4 days of dinner from one chickie.  Just imagine what you could do with a pork tenderloin or a batch of marinated/baked tofu...

What is your favorite way to stretch one day's cooking for a week??

 

Gentle Spring Detox

1162570_teapotSpring is a great time to detox physically and mentally, get rid of old habits (and clothes!) that no longer fit our new lifestyles.  So spend some time cleaning house...and deciding what you want in your life now that there is space!  More strength?  More grace?  Just more space?  Try a 7-10 Detox Period as we step into spring and see just how much is possible when we commit to letting go!

1. Eliminate foods and drinks that are sapping you of energy and clogging up your system.  For most people, this means wheat and processed grains, dairy and dairy products, coffee and energy drinks and all forms of processed sugar and artificial sweeteners.  You may also want to drink detoxifying teas, such as Yogi Detox or Dandelion Root tea, and add an extra fiber supplement to aid in cleansing.

2. Decrease or eliminate sources of toxic stress.  Some forms of stress (such as exercise) can be beneficial.  But there is stress in our life that we choose to include that is draining you, such as toxic relationships, unnecessary deadlines, junky TV, physical clutter and self judgment.  Decide to gently and lovingly cut out what no longer serves you.

3. Twist, Fold and Invert.  A yoga practice that includes lots of standing and supine twists, in conjunction with forward folds and a few inversions will help clear both physical toxins from the internal organs and built up emotional energy locked in the heart and the gut. Try the following yoga series with an appropriate warm up and cool down:

4. Refill the Well.  Identify the nourishing things that you want in your body in your life - and start adding them!  Add brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lots of filtered water and green tea.  Find time for the people that leave you uplifted.  Practice yoga and meditation.  In the weeks and months following your detox, choose one thing at a time to add lovingly to your life.

 

Valentine's Day Meal Plan

They say the way to man (or woman's!) heart is through the stomach.  We agree!!

Healthy Heart MonthIn addition to some heart-pumping classes at PULSE, I can't think of a better gift than an entire day of meals, prepared with love and served with a hug...

Breakfast: Heart Healthy Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Bake

Lunch: Omega Rich Curried Salmon Salad on top of a big green tossed veggie salad

Snack: Lori's Goji Raw Bars

Dinner: Engagement Chicken with steamed asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Dipped Cherries

Hm... Dear Husband.... please see above...

What are you getting your significant other for Valentine's Day this year??

3 Top Ways to Fight Obesity in 2013

As you push forward in setting goals and objectives this year... here's something to consider -- California came in 22nd this year in America's Health Rankings and 5th in Obesity Rankings...but the trend is upward, as it is all over the country.

The graph below shows - as we all know - that obesity is on the rise in California and across the nation.  And it's time to take a stand for our health!

The question is - what are we going to do about it?  The answer is simple, but not easy.

As Daniel Duane so eloquently pointed out earlier this month in his article "Everything you know about Fitness is a Lie" -- treadmills and weight machines are making us immobile and bored.

Movies and books such as Hungry For Change, Food Inc. and In Defense of Food are exposing the facts that "low fat" diets, low calorie foods and the diet industry at large are making us fatter and increasingly unhealthy.

So if what the paid media feeds us about the next great workout fad and diet craze that will give you those flat abs is a lie..... then what?

In order to combat obesity, America needs:

1. Body Awareness  Humans, as a species, have shut down our body/mind connection in the name of hard work, efficiency and convenience.  If we're going to take back our health, the first step is to get back into our own skins. Notice that packaged, processed foods and hours on a treadmill make us tired and sluggish.  Be aware of just how good a Yin Yoga class can feel to an immobile, desk-bound body and how much energy an organic, veggie-packed salad brings!

2. Home Cooking A few amazing, healthy restaurants notwithstanding, you are taking your life in your hands by entrusting your nutrition to companies and restaurants that make money by feeding you foods that make you want more.  Learning a few, basic cooking techniques - like roasting a chicken, putting together a salad or making soup! - is what will save our nation's health.  Read a blog, ask for help and make some mistakes.  Health home cooking could save your life!

3. Happy, Natural Movement I choose to use kettlebells and vinyasa yoga to move because they mimic and expound on our most basic movement patterns: pick up a heavy bag or box.  push a child on a swing.  twist around to look at a beautiful sky or roaring ocean.  You out there?  Find something that makes you happy!  Leo Babuta has a beautiful philosophy on fitness -- pure, childlike movement.  Find something that makes you feel that good all the time.

Personally, I spent years trapped in fad diets, on the Stairmill and out of my own body.  My journey to health has been such a blessing, and I truly hope that this year is an amazing step in your own process and progress.  Love the learning! Love the "in-between" times!  Love yourself exactly as you are... and love yourself enough to care for your body for years to come.

Happy New Year!

Holiday Quinoa Salad

Looking for something to start out your week in the culinary holiday spirit while that turkey thaws?! (seriously...how am I supposed to get that thing unfrozen by Thursday?)

Look no further!  This salad features squash, almonds and yummy orange dressing ...

Holiday Quinoa Salad

Serves 3-4

  • 1 C Quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 C Green Lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 4 C (+ or -) Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 C Slivered Almonds
  • 1 Medium Apple, Diced
  • 1/2 C Cooked Butternut Squash, Diced
  • 2 tsp Thyme (dried)
  • 1 tsp Rosemary (dried)
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, using broth instead of water.  Set aside.

2. Cook lentils according to package directions, using broth instead of water. Set aside.

3. Toss apples, butternut squash and almonds with thyme, rosemary, juice and oil.  Add lentils and quinoa, add salt and pepper to taste...and enjoy!

Would also be great with dried cranberries or currents tossed in (we just didn't have any on hand) or as a base for some yummy turkey leftovers!

If you're around, don't miss our TURKEY BURN 2012 Thanksgiving Workout in Sunnyvale!  We'd love to see you, your family and your friends...just bring a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank and burn some holiday calories!!

Pumpkin and Green Chili Soup

It's getting cooler here in Sunnyvale!  And while swinging kettlebells is a great way to stay warm ... I'm a huge fan soup when it's rainy outside and cozy inside. This chicken soup could easily be made vegetarian, has a great smoky sweet flavor and is choc-a-block full of vitamins!

image

Pumpkin and Green Chili Soup Serves 4 ish

Ingredients:

1 Box of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Soup 1 Tbs olive oil 1/4 cup chopped onions 1/2 cup chopped celery, carrots, bell peppers...whatever's in the fridge! 1 small can corn 1/2 small can green chilies 1/2 cup chopped, pre cooked chicken (I used leftovers from my last roaster) 1 1/2 cup boiling water + 1 boullion cube OR 1 1/2 cup broth

Sautee onions, carrots, celery etc. in olive oil until slightly soft.  Stir in green chilies and cook for few min more.  Add soup and cook for 2-3 min, then stir in chicken and corn.  Add water/bouillon or broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 min.  Top it with avocado, green chili tobasco sauce, a dollop of Greek yogurt and some chives!

Loving me some pumpkin as per the fall usual, so stay tuned for more orange goodness!

Healthy Living eBooks For Less Than $1 Each!

Stumbled across this awesome deal today while perusing blogs (yes, instead of doing my laundry...) and am so excited to share it!!  : )

For $29, Keeper of the Home has bundled 34 Healthy Living eBooks worth over $300!  If you're looking for healthy meals, holistic housekeeping and gardening, beauty and more, don't miss this deal that ends Nov 2nd.  There's also a drawing for killer prizes!

CLICK HERE to buy your eBooks and enter the drawing (or don't.  it will increase my odds... and it's all about me, you know.)

Off to buy mine now!