Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Eating mindfully is an important practice of meditation." -Thich Nhat Hanh

I think that the term "snacking" has been given the wrong connotation. Sure, if you perceive snacking as indulging in processed foods high in fat and caloric value, then of course it isn't healthy. If you swap the chips for some veggies and hummus, then snacking can be a positive thing. According to studies, eating snacks rich in nutrients and under 200 calories will keep your body energized and healthy. The combination of protein, plus exercise, fuels the growth of lean muscle mass, which then boosts metabolic rate and increases calorie burn. Another important factor is fiber, which helps improve digestion and keeps you from binging on fats and sugars.

I don't know about you guys, but I tend to get bored with my snacks. I need a little creativity when it comes to healthy eating. So, if you are like me, take a look at the following chart for a variety of options:



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

“No one is wise by birth, for wisdom results from one own’s efforts” -Krishnamacharya

Wow, it feels really good to actually sit down and write at my computer again. It's definitely been a while and so much has happened since my last entry.

They say that life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans. 

I couldn't agree more. For example, just a couple of weeks ago, I knew that there was something missing. I began to realize that I was constantly trying to "plan" out my life without stopping to smell the roses. I became attached to things that no longer served me. I let negative emotions get to me, which created a sense of imbalance within my life. It was unsettling and made me feel uneasy. I held on to things that no longer served me with the hopes that they would bring me eventual happiness.

These excuses seemed to resonate more and more each day. Over time, I could feel myself becoming increasingly bitter. 

Okay, so anyone who personally knows me is well aware that I love preaching about the importance of living a happy life. I mean, that's pretty much what this entire blog is about!

So, what do we do when things no longer serve us? We change them. We create our own happiness. We learn from ourselves and other people... and that's exactly what I did.

On January 6th, I began a new adventure:
YogaWorks 200-Hour Teacher Training Intensive.


I finally decided that it was time to let my inner yogi out, learn a few things about myself, and share what I learn with others.

Before I began my training, I felt all sorts of nervousness and excitement. I honestly had no idea what to expect except for the fact that I was about to get my ass royally kicked.

Well, we are officially a week and a half into our month intensive and I was completely right regarding the ass kicking part (but not in a bad way). To me, this training is not simply about physically challenging yourself. It is also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually demanding as well.

Let's break down the typical 8 hour day:
7:30-9:30am: 2 hour Asana practice
9:45-noon: discussions/posture labs/teaching assignments/etc.
Break
1:00-4:30pm: discussions/teaching labs/etc.

Our discussions range from yoga philosophy, anatomy, modifications, variations, specialty topics.

With the amount of reading, homework, quizzes, and prep for our 4 part final exam... it definitely feels like I am back in school. Only difference? I actually love what I'm studying.


The group of women above have influenced me in the most positive ways. It has only been a week and a half and I already feel like I have known them for years. The amount of support, love, and wisdom I have received from each of them has helped me realize what we are all capable of doing: as women, friends, and teachers of our craft.

I feel more clear minded, calmer, happier, and healthier. I have a better idea of who I want to surround myself with and what it is that I want to do in my life. 

From tadasana, to supta padangustasana...from the philosophy of the yoga sutras, to the history of the Brahminical period... from the serratus anterior, to the femur bone... from samskara, to samadhi... from Patanjali, to Krishnamacharya.... from counteraction, to complementary action... from the differences between Ashtanga and Iyengar....

I have only begun learning what will be a permanent life journey for me...and I couldn't be more thankful.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Don't let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace." -Dalai Lama

So, it has definitely been a hot minute since my last post. Not really my style but let's just say that I've been MIA due to juggling two jobs while trying to maintain somewhat of a social yet healthy lifestyle (hahh).
Did I mention I'm also moving in two weeks?
Regardless, let's get down to business.

HEALTH.

What does that word mean exactly? You might be thinking: "Um, it means you're not sick...duh Kimmy." Well, yes it does... but have you ever taken a second to really think about the way you feel on the inside? Health is not just defined as being free of physical pain or sickness. It is also the way your mind works and the way you live your everyday life. I don't know if you took a look at the quote at the top of this post, but it is about maintaining inner peace

Whenever I feel peaceful, it is when I have freed myself of things that I find toxic within my life. It can be anything from unhealthy food items, to a crazy schedule, to actual people who create an imbalance or unhappiness within my life. 

I know this sounds a little cliche, but I cannot emphasize how important it is to recognize the negative things in your life in order to revamp and live the way you are meant to be: happy.

Now, I have to get ready to leave for work but I wanted to sign off with this message: This is your life. You make your own decisions and determine how you want to live it. Don't let the influence of others affect the way you want to spend your time. Do things and spend time with people who make you happy. Take an extra 10 minutes out of your day to appreciate all the wonderful things this world ha to offer that aren't typically apparent. Make yourself happy and healthy.

<3

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"The stronger you are, the better you feel. -Unknown

Ever wonder what sorts of snacks you should indulge in pre-workout? I know I do. So, I decided to do a little research to find out what sorts of snacks will help give that extra boost of energy right before some intense training. I found this list on greatest.com. Check it out :)

 

Pre-Workout Snacks

The body works to build muscle and recover 24 hours a day, not just during that one-hour session at the gym. Luckily, smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can. Pre-workout, that usually means grabbing a snack about 30-60 minutes in advance, depending on its size and contents, and how much that stomach’s actually grumbling. All ready to go? Check out these 25 options to start things right:
 
1. Protein Creamcicle: Put a twist on the classic kids’ treat by blending 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice.
 
2. Fruitsation shake: Blend 1 scoop of your favorite whey protein flavor with ½ cup ice, and 1 cup frozen berries for a sweet energy boost.
 
3. Cha-Cha coconut shake: Infuse 1 scoop chocolate whey protein with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil.
 
4. Star-buffs shake: Need a pre-workout pick-me-up?  Blend 1 cup iced coffee (keep the ice) with 1 scoop chocolate whey protein.
 
5. Dressed up oats: Load up on carbohydrates for a longer workout with ½ cup topped with 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 tablespoon shaved almonds.
 
6. Perfect yogurt parfait: Feeling fancy, huh? Top ¼ cup nonfat yogurt with ½ cup whole grain cereal and ½ cup fresh strawberries.
 
7. Yoberries a-go-go: For the perfect blend of carbs and protein, try 1 cup non-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt — which often packs more protein and probiotics than regular plain yogurt — with ½ cup fresh blueberries.
 
8. Eggs n’ toast: Have a heartier appetite? Try 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast.
 
9. Fruit and Cottage: Top ½ cup cottage cheese — a low calorie and higher protein option — with ½ cup fresh pineapple, berries, or melon. And voila!
 
10. PB Apple: For a quick carb fuel-up, slice 1 medium apple and serve with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter.
 
11. Classic fruit cup: Prefer to keep it sweet but simple? Combine 1 cup berries, melon, banana, and oranges — oh my!
 
12. Dried fruit: For a quick pre-workout fix, try ¼ cup serving of dried berries, apricots, and pineapple.
 
13. Fruit leather: Need something light that makes you feel like a kid again? Try 1 single serving of fruit leather. Have a little extra time? Roll some out in the kitchen.
 
14. Energy in a bar: With so many options in the aisle, try opting for a bar with the most natural ingredients. While protein count is key, also check the sugar content (it shouldn’t rival what’s found in the candy aisle!).
 
15. Chicken n’ sweets: For a fast bite, grab 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of sliced chicken with an equal portion size of sweet potatoes.
 
16. Oats n’ eggs: Not just for breakfast, try ½ cup cooked oatmeal and 2 whole eggs seasoned with salt and pepper.
 
17. PB & B toast: Fuel up with 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana on whole-wheat toast.
 
18. Turk-cado pasta: Add 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of roasted turkey and 3-4 avocado slices to ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta for some enviable eats.
 
19.  Wafflewich: Spruce up this classic by combining 1 frozen Kashi waffle with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and 1 teaspoon of jam.
 
20. Better than a PB Cup: A half-cup cooked oats with 1 teaspoon defatted peanut flour, a dash of stevia, and a sprinkling of cocoa powder on top.
 
21. Veggie omelet: Add a little more color to your diet by combining 2 whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup sautéed seasonal veggies.
 
22. Rice con leche: Got a long way to run? Fuel up with ½ cup cooked rice, covered with ½ cup milk, a scatter of raisins, and a dash of cinnamon on top.
 
23. Sports drink: An 8-ounce low sugar sports drink (keep it under 10 grams of sugar) will do the trick if you’re in a crunch. For a little more fuel, add a scoop of BCAA powder.
 
24.  Hearty salad: Need some greens? Try 1 cup of salad greens with assorted veggies, 1 hardboiled egg, and a drizzle of EVOO and vinegar, or your favorite low-fat dressing.
 
25. Energy gel: Got a long way to go? Slurp down a energy gel (like Gu) prior to an endurance workout.

Monday, August 19, 2013

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” -Hippocrates

Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad

The multiple colors in the delicious salad signal its nutritional value. It's loaded with vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals. The quinoa and black beans gives this dish a protein pack that will fill you up pre or post-workout. Not to mention all the essential amino acids it provides. You can either make it entirely of quinoa or you can blend a bed of organic lettuce of your choice underneath.

Servings:Serving Size: 1 cup Calories: 164

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup optional organic lettuce (kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, etc) 

 Step 1:
If you haven't done so already, go ahead and chop up your garlic, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and mango. Separate the garlic because you'll be adding it alone before you combine with the rest of the veggies/fruit.




Step 2:

In a separate skillet, heat up 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Add your minced garlic and let the oil soak up the flavor for a few minutes. Do not forget to occasionally stir so your garlic doesn't burn. After a few, grab your veggie mango mix and add it to the skillet. Keeping it on medium heat, stir it a bit so that everything is lightly covered in the oil. Then cover the skillet and let it sit for about 5 minutes.



Step 3:
Once the red onion seems to become a little softer and translucent, grab your cup of cooked quinoa and toss it into the pan. Let it sit over medium heat for a few minutes as you stir with a wooden spoon. 


Step 4:
 Easiest step. Add everything else! I like to start out with the black beans so it can heat up and the flavors can really mix into the quinoa. Then add the lemon, cumin, and turmeric. Stir it for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat and then you can begin serving! If you wanted to add lettuce to your dish, prepare a bowl and cover the bottom with a layer of greens. Add the mango salsa quinoa mixture on top...and enjoy!



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." Jim Ryun

Can you pass the Barre?

Okay, so what's up with this whole new "barre" class trend? It seems to be a form of fitness that blew up over night. No dance experience required, a barre class ultimately combines ballet, yoga, and Pilates to give you a stronger, longer, and leaner body.
As soon as I heard about it, I simply had to test it out. 


While I was in Florida, I decided to give barre a try. I found the most adorable studio in Winter Park called Barre 3

One of the many reasons why I loved taking a class from Barre 3 is the combination of dance and yoga. There is a constant focus on the breath (very helpful) and plyometric exercises that literally make your muscles shake (sounds scary but it's an INCREDIBLE feeling). What are plyometrics you ask? These are exercises based around having your muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible.

As soon as I entered the studio, I instantly loved it. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing and clean, but the staff was super friendly as well! Danielle (see below), was our instructor that day and she was inspiring and motivating. Thank you for an amazing workout!


Barre 3's motto is to provide classes that are designed to transform the body to one of equal balance, strength, and flexibility. The studio offers multiple classes that cater to women of every age and lifestyle. They even have a childcare facility for the wonderful mothers who need a little "me" time!


The studio owner, Ashley Dishman, was so hospitable during my visit. It is quite obvious that she puts forth 100% of love and effort into the studio. Although we did not get the chance to meet in person, she left me a little gift. Thank you so much for the tumbler and tote bag! I literally use the two every time I go to the gym.


A typical Barre 3 class would begin with finding yourself in the vibrant locker area where you can safely stow away your belongings. It is spacious so you have plenty of room to sit and prepare for class. It is encouraged that new clients arrive 15 minutes early in order to sign a waiver, meet the instructor, and get a little tour in before class. 


Next, you'll walk into the studio and set yourself up. You'll want to grab a strap and core ball. Light weights are optional. Your instructor will grab a Pilates mat for you when it's time to get on the floor!
 The ballet barre is set all along the sides of the classroom. The front mirror is a great assistance when you are making minor adjustments to your body during an exercise. 


Your class is set to 60 minutes of small isometric movements utilizing the ballet barre. The upbeat music helps you stay focused and motivated throughout the class time. Not to mention the instructor's positivity and energy! 


What I absolutely loved about Barre 3 were the modifications and adjustments that our instructor, Danielle, provided for us. It made me feel that I was really pushing myself while keeping my body safe from injury. 

FAQ's:

What should I wear to a barre 3 class?
It is recommended to wear yoga attire. For example, I wore tight yoga pants, a sports bra, and a loose fitted top. You can take the class barefoot or with socks. I prefer socks that have a sticky silicone bottom. That way my feet do not side. You can purchase them at places like Target, TJ Maxx, and even right there within the studio! Any other items will be provided to you during class: yoga strap, Pilates mat, ballet barre, light weights, and a core ball.

Do I have to have prior experience before taking a barre class?
Absolutely not! Like I mentioned before, Barre 3 caters to all age groups and walks of life. You definitely do not have to be a dancer or yogi to take a class here. Barre 3 makes sure that all their classes are designed to make everyone welcome and successful.

What kinds of results can I expect from taking Barre 3 classes? How long until I begin to see results?
From doing research, it seems that students typically begin seeing results after about 10 classes. Do not forget to eat a clean diet as well and the you will see results faster. I mean, even after taking just one class my body felt different! Want to know all the benefits of Barre 3? Take a look at the list below that comes directly from their website:
  • Builds long, lean muscles and a strong core.
  • Fast body shaping results and long term postural benefits.
  • Energizes and increases stamina.
  • Develops muscle balance leading to a well-proportioned body with less risk for injury.
  • Increases flexibility and creates a natural flow to the body.
  • Precise instruction for each client improves results (without the cost of a personal trainer).
  • Motivating group environment builds connections and community, both important in making exercise a regular part of life.
  • Efficient 60-minute total body workout with play lounge makes it easy to fit into a busy schedule.
  • Connects mind, body and breath and relieves stress.


Think that Barre 3 could be a great option for you? Awesome. You won't regret it. Go ahead and check out their website to find a location near you!

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

    Pad Thai.


    Okay, okay. So when you read the words, "pad thai," you automatically think of a delicious  peanut noodle dish that is well over your day's calorie limit. Well, this recipe IS a delicious peanut noodle dish but minus all the calories :)


    For this recipe, you'll need:
    -2 tbsp organic peanut butter or PB2 (woops, completely forgot to put this in photo!)
    -2 bags of pasta zero shirataki noodles (15 kcals per pack)
    -4 heads of broccoli
    -hand full of carrots
    -3 garlic cloves, minced
    -1 shallot, chopped
    -1/2 pack of mushrooms
    -1/4 cup lit soy sauce OR see low cal recipe below
    -dash of sea salt

    Low Cal/Low Sodium Soy Sauce Substitute:
    -2 tbsp sodium free vegetable stock
    -2 tsp red wine vinegar
    -1 tsp stevia
    -1/8 tsp ground ginger
    -dash black pepper
    -3/4 cup water
    -dash garlic powder
    -dash sea salt (do not add if watching sodium intake)

    Step 1
    Open up the packs of shirataki noodles and drain them in a pasta strainer. Give them a little rinse with water. Just a forewarning, they smell kind of gross but have no fear! They taste just fine. These noodles are made of a soluble fiber called "glucomannan" that come from a Japanese yam. They are slightly more gelatinous than regular noodles but hey, they are gluten-free and contain barely any calories. Definitely something worth exploring if you ask me.
    Once you've drained the noodles, pat them dry onto a paper towel and set them aside as you begin prepping the sauce.

    Step 2
    Grab your broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms and steam them in a pot.
     Cover those babies up until they are ready!

    Step 3
    As your veggies are steaming, mince the garlic and chop up that shallot.

    Step 4
    Now it's time to prep your homemade soy sauce. Grab all your ingredients, measure them out and heat them on medium heat for about 10 minutes. 

    Step 5
    As your soy sauce is being heated, grab another sauce pan. Add a tbsp of coconut oil, your minced garlic, and chopped shallot. Keep this over medium heat, occasionally stirring the mixture until the shallots become soft.

    Step 6
    As your 2 sauce pans are at work, the veggies should be about done. Take them out of the pot and chop them up into small pieces. Add them 

    Step 7
    Combine everything! Add your chopped veggies and soy sauce to your sauteed garlic and shallot mixture pan. Toss it all together with 2 tbsp of peanut butter (or PB2 if watching kcals). Add a dash of sea salt if you so desire. Lastly, grab those shirataki noodles and toss them into your sauce.

    Step 8
    Voile! You are finished with your healthy and incredibly satisfying pad thai.


    **Side note: Depending on your taste preferences, you could always add more peanut butter and/or salt to your sauce. Also, you could play around with whatever veggies you'd like to add as well. Snap peas are always a great alternative or addition :)