Friday, July 26, 2013

"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." Buddha

Banana Protein Pancakes & Cream Sauce.

FINALLY. A way to eat sweet delectable pancakes without all the added guilt. Not to mention the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and protein you are adding to your day! For only 210 calories per serving, these pancakes will be a hit for anyone with a sweet tooth.

To recreate, you will need:

The Batter:
*1 cup of rolled oats
*1 tbsp of raw chia seeds
*1/2 banana
*1 tbsp agave nectar
*1 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp baking powder
*A small sprinkle of sea salt (do not need to add if watching sodium intake)
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1/2 cup coconut milk
*1 tbsp coconut oil
*1 tsp cinnamon
*2 tbsp water
Makes approximately 4 servings.

The Cream Sauce:
*1/2 cup organic cashews
*1/2 banana
*1/2 cup coconut milk
*1 tsp cinnamon
*2 organic medjool dates
*1 tsp vanilla extract
Makes 4-6 servings.

Now, let's cut to the chase... shall we? :)

Before you start focusing on the batter, grab that 1/2 cup of cashews and soak them in warm water. You want them to soak as you prepare everything else so they are soft when you need them.

Measure out your cup of rolled oats...
Then blend them into a fine powder. 
Like so...

Grab that raw chia seed and add it to your blended oats.

Now add your baking powder AND baking soda (forgot to add the soda in the picture lol)

Smash up half of that banana and add it to the mixture.

Now, add the remaining ingredients to your batter: the agave nectar, coconut milk, cinnamon, water and vanilla extract. Blend together very well!

Prep the 2 tbsp of coconut oil. I like to measure the amount aside and use a smidge of it for each pancake I cook. That way, I monitor how much oil I utilize. It's nice because I usually don't end up using the whole 2 tbsp after all. Yay for cutting calories :)

Now, let's get all the ingredients for the cream sauce prepped and into the blender: 2 dates, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 banana (forgot to add in picture), 1/2 cup of soft cashews, and the optional salt.

Your blended cream should look a little like the photo below. If you'd like, you can warm it up on the stove or in the microwave. I recommend it!

Go to town on those pancakes! 1 serving will either be 1 large pancake or 2 small ones. If you're trying to stay in the 210 calorie serving zone, pour on about 3 tbsp of cream. You could also add a dollop of 0% fat Greek yogurt with some sliced fruit. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Energy and persistence conquer all things." -Benjamin Franklin


This form of exercise has become one of the biggest workout trends that continues to grow across the US. So while on my mini getaway, I decided to try out a spin studio in the little city of Portland, Maine. 

Let me introduce you to Reve Cycling Studio.

The studio itself is quaint and adorable! You walk up the stairs and go right into the main room where the front desk is located.

Our spin instructor was Amy. Both her and the puppy are the sweetest. Amy gave us an extremely motivating and tough workout. The lights were dim and the music's rhythm went perfectly to my pedaling. All of which I absolutely need when spinning. I came out sweating and feeling amazing.

The actual spin room has two rows of stationary bikes that surround the instructor seated up front. The pedals are SPD compatible and can also tighten up on regular sneakers.

The studio also has a yoga room which made me extremely happy! It's spacious with hard wood floors and overlooks Forest Avenue. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to take a class...but I am positive that they are just as wonderful as the spin classes.


I would say that this studio is definitely a hit. It's only been opened for two months but I am positive that the word will spread and more people will continue to join. Let's just say that if I ever find myself in Portland again, I will definitely be making a stop or two just to go in and sweat...and you should too. Make sure to do research and see where your local spin studios are. If you need help locating one, shoot me an email :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

“You are what you eat. What would YOU like to be?” -Julie Murphy

Salmon Quinoa Quiche.

As you could probably tell, I am a little obsessed with breakfast. I like to change things up a bit depending on whether I am in a sweet or savory mood. Since my last recipe was sweet, let's do some savory, shall we? I found this recipe on Fit Foodie Finds and absolutely had to try it from the moment I laid eyes upon it.

For this heavenly dish, you'll need:
-4 oz. of cooked salmon
-6 eggs
-1.5 cups of cooked quinoa
-1 tsp coconut oil or cooking spray
-Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fehrenheit. Take out a muffin pan and wipe just enough coconut oil (or cooking spray) to lightly grease it up. Fill each space up with a muffin tin and then go ahead and scoop about an inch of quinoa into each space. Next, add some cooked salmon on top of each one. Lastly, individually crack an egg into every quinoa/salmon tin. You can add whatever remaining quinoa you have to the tops of each space for a little garnish. Of course, you can sprinkle some salt & pepper to taste :)

Enjoy! I know I will!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." -Mark Twain


My best friend and I travelled up there to go visit our other best friend who lives there with her fiancé. Aside from the insanely hot weather, it was magical. The culture, the people, and the sites are just some of what I love about the city.
What I really enjoy about Boston is the amount of exercise you are forced to do as an everyday activity. You pretty much have to walk or take the T everywhere. There are also so many people who run and ride their bicycles. It's very inspiring to continue a healthy lifestyle even on a mini vacation. Makes me want to consider moving to New England within the next few years!

Portland, Maine.

I grew up in this city and decided to take a little detour after my Boston adventures to revisit my past. There are certainly some things that give me both pleasant and... not so pleasant memories. Regardless, I thought it would be great to spend some time with old family friends.
Being in this place feels like a culture shock. The way of living is simple and definitely not something I am used to. This is in no way a bad thing though! My lack of comfort zone really gives me a chance to reflect on myself and how priveleged I am for my lifestyle back home. I am taking these few days up here as my chance to be more open-minded to diverse ideas and ways of living.

Today, I am going to explore the outdoors and people. There is a clam festival with apparently over 45,000 people attending. Sounds like my type of place to make new friends.

Today, try and go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe it'll inspire you or give you some time to reflect. Sometimes, that sort of stuff is necessary in our lives...especially when you get caught up in stuff that really isn't that big of a deal. Don't sweat the small stuff. Appreciate the small stuff :)


Friday, July 12, 2013

"Perseverance, secret of all triumphs." -Victor Hugo

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope your week has been fabulous and that you are continuing in your positive daily goals whatever they may be. Have you been eating clean? What about exercising? Keep in mind that these two things combined together will help you not only physically but mentally as well.

For example, I just started doing HITS on the treadmill this week. I did 3 days straight and took an off day (mainly because my ankle was super sore yesterday). During these three days, I decided to completely cut out all processed foods. Let me tell you, that was difficult because I LOVE me some Kashi cereal or oatmeal in the morning. Regardless, just after 3 days, I noticed my change in mood and the way I physically felt. I had a ton of energy, was constantly smiling, laughing more, and felt stronger within my core. WOW. If this can happen in 3 days, imagine what it could be like if it were my permanent lifestyle.

So, just like that, I decided to apply this. Of course, I will allow myself occasional cheat meals.... aka chocolate. BUT, in order to practice discipline, the quality of the tiger, I will only allow it in moderation.

Fully committing to a life change like this takes dedication and perseverance. It takes a strong will to do so. I've come to find that it's easiest to say no to tempting things if you are already in the swing of saying no. This is an example of what I mean: if you are sitting at home with nothing to do and someone offers you ice cream, the chances that you will eat it simply out of boredom is pretty high. On the other hand, if you already dedicated an hour at the gym that day, the chances that you will say no to that ice cream is also high. This is because of our mind set. I know, I know... I feel like I have talked about this a million times. Seriously though guys, mind set is extremely important.

My Summer Yoga Journal :
Although I practice all the time, I would not consider myself biased. I honestly do think that yoga is an excellent form of exercise that purifies not only the body but the mind as well. Its various forms of healing has helped people of all stages: children, young adults, athletes, pregnant women, seniors, etc. There is a reason why the Buddhist people are typically associated with this form of exercise. Yoga is a physical activity that strengthens/lengthens your muscles, increases flexibility, decompresses your internal organs, and purifies your body of toxins. With that, it also helps you to clarify your mind and create internal peace by utilizing meditation techniques.

This entire summer, I have been away from my home in Los Angeles, and away from my home studio, Moksha Yoga LA. I have been spending time with family in Florida and have found it difficult to find a place where I feel at home and can practice. So, I decided to wander around during my Florida travels in order to find various studios to share with you. It's actually very fun finding new places because it gives me the chance to meet and interact with new people. Here is a list of fantastic yoga studios I have attended from my travels this summer:

Orlando Power Yoga- Orlando, Florida:
Seriously guys, if you are located in the Orlando area and looking for an amazing place to practice, this is it. It is my #1 choice. Because I am originally from Orlando, this used to be my home studio. OPY was founded by the lovely Kelly Senn who studied under Bikram Choudhary in Los Angeles. She received her 200 & 500 hour teaching certifications, attended multiple workshops, and basically has been kicking butt. She is an incredible teacher and role model. All of the teachers at OPY are phenomenal. If you really want to sweat, try one of Greg Duke's or Alex McCullough's power hour classes. If you like martial arts, you should definitely take a Budokan class with Reider Howe. You will not be disappointed with whichever teacher you take. 

Yoga 365: The Hot Yoga Center- Clearwater, Florida: 
This small studio is a hidden gem located right next to the beaches. I got the privilege to have a private session with one of the owners, former Tampa Ray Aaron Ledesma. He and his wife, Karen, opened up the studio a few years ago after Aaron discovered that yoga dramatically helped his back injury from baseball. Aaron shows a love for his practice and an extreme willingness to help others who have too suffered from athletic injuries. If you ever find yourself in Clearwater Beach, I highly recommend taking some time out of your day to take a class at this studio. You will sweat, you will learn, you will breathe, and you will have fun.

Florida Power Yoga- Land O' Lakes, Florida:
Talk about an intense work out. This is not your average power hour yoga class. This is power hour combined with the Insanity/p90x workout. Seriously. If you stray away from yoga because it is too slow for you or perhaps because you do not like Sanskrit verbiage, then this is the place for you. The energy is dynamic in this place. The studio is brightly colored and there's a happy and energetic feel that you can't shake lose. I received the chance to speak with the owner who is as bright as the walls you are surrounded by. I loved coming to class here even though there was a point in time where I may or may not  felt like I was going to pass out. Regardless, the feeling I had when the class was over was completely worth it.

Palm Yoga- Tampa, Florida:
This little studio is tucked away within the heart of Tampa. I didn't know much about it so I decided to simply walk in and take the hot Vinyasa Flow class. I'm so glad that I did because I loved it. Although it was a little slower paced than I am used to, the instructor really goes through each pose with you so that you can understand exactly which muscle groups you are using. Not only is this informational, but also helps when practicing on your own at home. The class as a whole was extremely soothing and the environment was loving and kind. These qualities are extremely important because it gives me a sense of belonging and comfort. I know that whenever I am in Tampa and need some time to unwind, Palm Yoga is the place where I will be.

Namaste Yoga Studio- Tampa, Florida:
This facility was actually one of the first studios I visited in the Tampa area. I love it because the instructors are very personable and willing to create an environment suitable to your needs. The studio also has a spa located inside and a farmers market every Sunday!

Evolation Yoga- Carrollwood/Tampa, Florida: 
I was pleasantly surprised with my experience at Evolation. At first, I did not know how to feel because the instructor initially seemed a little high strung for my liking. He took me off guard when he stated, "This is savasana, not snooze-vasana! I do not want you to close your eyes in this 'resting' pose." At first, I could not believe my ears. How could an instructor tell us not to rest in our resting pose? Although a little irritated, I continued. I am happy that I did because it opened my eyes to new ways of teaching and exploring yoga as a student. I was able to focus on different aspects of the physical positions rather than from the mind. Although this is not necessarily how I would teach yoga, I did appreciate the change. I spoke to the instructor afterwards and quickly learned that he was a really nice guy!

Cheval Athletic Club- Lutz, Florida: 
This may be a little tricky to take a class at because you would actually have to know someone or have a reason to be within this gate restricted community. If you ever have the chance to wander within the community, you should definitely stop by the athletic club. They completely renovated the entire building. Theres a yoga/pilates room, a spin room, martial arts room, weight lifting room, tennis court, and arcade! Let's just say this place is definitely a luxury sort of YMCA. As far as the yoga classes go, it is definitely a more slow paced experience. Keeping in mind that a majority of the people who use the facility are seniors, I was able to interact and learn from them. As a yoga teacher in training, it is very important that I learn from all wakes of life. If you are looking for a more extreme workout, I would not recommend taking a yoga class from this club. Go ahead and try one of their kickboxing or cycle classes!
As you can see, I love finding new studios to share with everyone. Although these are my last few weeks in Florida, I will be sure to post if I end up attending classes at any other studios. 

Have an incredible day and remember to create positive change in your day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." -Buddha

Good afternoon lovelies!

How about some food for thought?

I don't know about you but I'm feeling some great energy today. It could be because of the sunshine outside or possibly because of the energizing breakfast I whipped up this morning. By the way, it was just a quick omelet - 1/2 cup egg whites, 1 cup spinach, & 1/2 cup turkey. I used a dab of coconut oil in my pan :)

Speaking of breakfast, you may or may not be able to tell that this is my favorite meal of the day. It's so important! It's what fuels you. Without it, your body and day will be slow. There's a major chance that you'll start to overindulge during other meals...perhaps snacking on things that are full of processed ingredients. Sound familiar? If this has happened to you on more than one occasion, try my motto:

"Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."

While living by this statement, also try and eat your last meal by 7 pm so your body has enough time to digest before hitting the sack. Drink enough water during the day and have at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Sounds pretty easy, right? 

In Buddhism, one of the deities is the tiger. One of the qualities of the tiger is discipline. So, in order to live a healthy lifestyle and apply certain mottos like the one above, we must create and maintain discipline.

Another deity in Buddhism is the snow lion. One of the snow lion's qualities is discernment. Discernment and discipline go hand in hand. Discipline is telling yourself what it is that you want to do or change. Discernment is what you actually "do" rather than simply "say."

Transform your life a little bit each day. Let's start now. Today, apply this motto: "I will apply discipline and discernment in whatever it is that I would like to positively change within myself."

Take as little as 10 minutes or as long as a few hours to decompress and listen to your inner self. What is it that is making you uncomfortable or unhappy? How can I take the steps to make it right?

My advice: location, location, location. Find a space where you can sit by yourself where there are no disruptions. Meditate if necessary. Whatever thoughts that float into your mind become useless. Acknowledge them as neither good nor bad; simply thoughts...then come back to your breath. Temporarily forget that "to-do" list...or even the fact that your best friend snap chatted you the most hilarious picture that you need to respond to. Apply discipline and discernment to your practice. This special time is for you.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

"Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice." - Jules Renard

Happy Fourth of July!

May today be a day of celebration, love, and happiness between family and friends. Today, we acknowledge and appreciate the country in which we live. I enjoy holidays because it is as though the population is practicing awareness as one...and that is a beautiful thing.

Today is also a day of eating things that may not be the healthiest things for our bodies! I know, I know...splurging is needed sometimes. BUT, try not to let it get so out of control that you end up regretting it in a few hours. You don't want to back track on all the fabulous work you have put forth!

Try managing your portion size if you plan on indulging. There are also many alternatives to foods such as portabella mushrooms as a replacement for hamburger buns. There are many websites that give you insight on substitutions. Try "A Healthier You," for example.

Speaking of the red, white, and blue...Make sure you add some color to your plate today. How about something that looks a little like this:
I call this the power veggie scramble. The variety of veggies give it so much flavor and is incredibly filling. Want to make it at home? 

To recreate this scramble, you'll need these food items:

  • 2 cups organic spinach (completely forgot to put that in the picture...hah!)
  • 1/2 cup of yellow squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you can sub with coconut oil)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 10-15 mushrooms (add as many as you like!)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 yam
  • 1 beet
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt (do not need to add if you are watching sodium intake)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-4 egg whites (you can use whole eggs if you'd like)
  • 1/2 cup baby tomatoes
Step 1
Bring some water to a boil. You are going to want to have the beet cooking while you are preparing everything else. It takes about 25-30 minutes for it to become soft so you'll want to get that out of the way.

Step 2
Go ahead and chop up your garlic, green & red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion. Have your olive oil (or coconut oil) handy.

Step 3
Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil) on medium heat. Give it a couple of minutes before adding your veggies.

Step 4
Add your mushrooms, garlic, onion, and peppers to the pan. Stir it up and let them sauté until soft. Look at all those patriotic colors of health :)

Step 5
Chop up the yam and prep the spinach, cumin, and paprika. Do this while your beet and other veggies are cooking.

Step 6
Add the yam, spinach, paprika, and cumin to the veggie mixture. Let everything cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the yam becomes soft.

Step 7
Did I mention that there's quite a bit of chopping for this recipe? Haha. Go ahead and take that beet out of the pot. It should be soft and ready to go! Peel off the exterior skin and chop it up. Your hands will get quite red. Then, chop up the squash and zucchini. Lastly, take your 1/2 cup of baby tomatoes and cut each of them in half.

Step 8
Take that last batch of veggies and add it to your mixture. Stir everything together, cover the pan, and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Step 9
As your pan of veggies is cooking, grab those eggs and separate the whites in a bowl. You could always use the entire eggs if you'd like. If that is the case, take a fork and whip it up as if you are about to make some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Once you have your eggs, add them to the veggie mixture and stir it all up. Have the hot veggies cook your eggs for about 3-5 minutes.

Step 10
Grab a serving spoon and scoop that scramble onto a plate. You could always wrap it in a tortilla and make it into a burrito...or pair it with some brown rice. If you are a meat eater, perhaps you'd like to grill up some chicken or fish beside it.

Step 11
Enjoy your healthy Fourth of July meal! :)

This entire recipe serves 5-6 people so after factoring in serving sizes, 1 portion is equal to a whopping 150 calories per serving!!! That's incredible!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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Monday, July 1, 2013

"Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first." -Josh Billings

Hello beautiful people! 
I've been a little MIA lately because I was visiting family in Italy for the past two weeks. It's such an incredible place. Every time I go, I feel like transformed. The path towards becoming a bodhisattva felt a little easier. I mean, how could you not constantly practice awareness in a country that revolves around love, indulgence, and appreciating the simple pleasures in life? 

Speaking of indulgence, I definitely ate every food possible. So, now that I am back in the wonderful USA, it's time to get back down to business: eating and living healthy. Let's begin with the most important meal of the day, BREAKFAST :)

Helloooooo delicious. This fruit filled delight is a breakfast energy bowl. I created this recipe for those of us who want something light yet filling in the morning. Seriously guys, I was full for a majority of the day from just eating half of this. 

To recreate, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp organic goji berries
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 small organic banana
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries
  • 3 organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp raw agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water

The measurements above will make 2 servings. So, once you've made your bowl, split it in half and save the rest of it in the fridge!

Step 1: 
Measure out your 1/2 of nonfat greek yogurt and place it into a bowl. 

Greek yogurt is phenomenal for you. It contains a higher amount of protein than regular yogurt and clearly doesn't contain fat. It contains probiotics, which are healthy active cultures that aid digestion. Greek yogurt also contains other nutrients such as phosphorus, which helps to maintain a normal pH in the body and generates energy.

Step 2: 
Measure out 1/2 cup of rolled oats and place them in a separate bowl. Go ahead and add 1/4 cup of water to the rolled oats and place the bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds. This will make the oats soft and warm. Let the oats cool a minute and then combine the oats with the Greek yogurt. YUM
Rolled oats contain a specific type of fiber known as "beta-glucan." This type of fiber has been proven to lower cholesterol levels and helps in preventing heart disease and breast cancer. Oats contain an incredible amount of antioxidants as well as magnesium and selenium, which help your keep your immune system healthy!

Step 3:
Measure out your flaxseed, chia seed, and goji berries (all 1 tbsp each) and add on top of the oats/Greek yogurt mixture.
Flaxseeds help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. They contain omega-3 essential fatty acids (aka the "good fats"), lignans (plant estrogen and higher antioxidant value than any other fruit or veggie), and fiber (aids digestion, lowers cholesterol, maintains blood sugar, healthy weight).

Step 4:
Measure out your 3 strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 1/2 banana. Add them on top of your bowl.
Strawberries, blueberries, and bananas are so amazing for your body and soul! The list of nutrients goes on and on: B-complex, Manganese, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin C, Phenols, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B-6 are just SOME of the health benefits of these wonder fruit.

Step 5:
Top off your bowl with 1 tbsp on raw agave nectar...and voilà! You are done. 
Agave nectar is a low-glycemic natural sweetener that is similar to honey. It is derived from the plant that is used in making tequila and can be used to sweeten both food and drink. It is an ideal alternative to sugar and offers health benefits from weight loss to wound healing.