So happy I finally gave this a shot. It was actually a happy accident that I even felt prompted to make granola! I’ve been on an açaí bowl kick (I think I’m lacking vitamin C) and went to buy the ingredients, but failed to pick up something with a crunch to top it with. (I’m all about texture.)
Luckily, I had everything I needed, did my typical recipe searches— to get a baseline idea on how long to cook/ what temp, and threw this together!
One issue I’ve had with buying granola is that it commonly contains SO much sugar. Most companies use cane sugar (usually, in addition to other sugars), making your breakfast contain upwards of 6 TEASPOONS of sugar per serving. (Every 4 grams equals a teaspoon.) And I’m talking refined sugar..which makes an even bigger impact on your insulin, WHICH triggers “fat storage mode”, among other unfavorable things. This is why I prefer the moderate to low glycemic, natural sweeteners AND by making your own, you’re able to modify the amount of sweetness...in addition to adding bonus ingredients like superfood powders: cacao, collagen, etc. and bonus seasoning, nuts, you name it.
*I do like Purely Elizabeth’s granola (she graduated from my school) because she uses brown coconut sugar. But, over the years, I have watched her prices climb to $7-9 a bag. So, if you’re in a bind and don’t want to fix it yourself, that brand is a great option! But it really is so simple, I’m happy to take it on myself for a fraction of the price!
Waking up (the good kind of) sore has become a frequent occurrence since starting Barre last May. I’m not going to lie, the first class was VERY humbling. I usually gravitate towards physical activities that give me a little confidence boost and while I have improved quite a bit, I still have a LONG way to go before I can fully complete each exercise in a class with proper body positioning. (In high school, I worked out at gym associated with a nearby hospital. So, for a while, I was accustomed to feeling like a total champion, working out next to adorable elderly people.)
Growing up in a family of chiropractors, I’m always very conscious that when I’m pushing myself in a workout, I’m not doing anything that will compromise the alignment of my spine or has potential to put excess strain/stress on my body. In Barre, the movements are very small, but successfully able to fully activate specific muscle groups. I have never felt so much isolated burn in my entire life and I’ve tried it ALL. As challenging as it is, each movement is still harmonious with your bodies’ range of movement. So, even though I was extremely vulnerable during the first handful of classes, (I have always had very tight hamstrings and weaker upper body strength), I really loved that there was SO much opportunity for improvement. I was also really psyched that I was able to feel and SEE results so quickly after making a commitment to go consistently. I have real calves, guys. This isn't an easy feat.
The other bonus that comes with participating in a form of movement that is unfamiliar or feels foreign to you is that you're opening yourself up energetically and spiritually. It allows you to exercise not just your body, but the intention to grow.
So, I challenge YOU, if you have a Barre studio in your area, go give it a try! Most studios will have some sort of trial opportunity or introductory offer. If I am sampling a certain service or workout, I frequently utilize resources like Groupon or Living Social, to avoid too much of a financial investment.
Have you tried barre before? Comment in the section below...I'd love to hear about your experience!
I can't express HOW easy meal prep can actually be! These options are two of my very favorite things to fix because they will provide quite a few meals and it's just a matter of dumping a bunch of healthy and delicious ingredients together, letting them sit (soup obviously requires heat and the chia pudding is chilled), and YOU'RE DONE! It fixes itself.
Both are very versatile and you can switch up the ingredients as you see fit! I won't list the soup options because vegetable/ meat/ grain options are endless, but chia pudding can be enjoyed with cinnamon, cooked fruit, raw fruit, cocoa powder, a little honey or maple syrup, (I prefer unsweetened, but with fruit!), shaved coconut...the list goes on and on.
Give meal prep a try! Your future self will thank you for it.
Sure, coffee is the traditional get-up-and-go, it contains beneficial antioxidants, but, for some, it’s a cup of anxiety. Coffee doesn’t actually provide energy, the caffeine just stimulates your adrenals, causing that jolt everyone seems to crave. But when you get that jump, in conjunction with the potential morning stressors, it can sometimes make you boil over.
You’re reading your email and find that you shoulders are tightening, you’re taking audible breaths, maybe even feeling a tinge of anxiety...this all could be caused by fight-or-flight and/or too much adrenaline, which could eventually result in adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a tricky one to come back from because it actually causes you to feel exhausted and lethargic and in order to reconcile your tired adrenals, you’re required to stop caffeine altogether! (Reaching this point usually means coffee/ caffeine doesn’t have its usual kick to get you out of your slump anyway.)
This topic is very familiar for me because, typically, I know that coffee is too much for my system. Depending on the day, it can even trigger an anxiety attack and the unfavorable shakes. I love the taste of coffee, particularly fair-trade organic options that are roasted evenly, so that they don’t harvest mold (a popular issue with coffee beans). I also try to find low-acid options, but even all of those upgrades still don’t change what coffee can do to your adrenals. For me, I start to see the effects of it on my face and, unfortunately, I’m the type of person who sometimes requires signs of visible distress in order to finally put a stop to unsupportive behaviors.
So, the alternatives! Weirdly enough, most people respond much differently to the caffeine found in tea. Some of this has to do with the fact that different types of tea contain different volumes of caffeine (some herbal is caffeine free, white tea usually contains the least, green tea lies in the middle, and black tea yields the highest amount of caffeine, along with green matcha). Also, caffeine has a variety of different strains so, some can be more steadily processed by the body. (Bulletproof coffee claims to have that as one of its perks...not causing you to peak and crash.)
Experimenting with different teas can have a variety of perks. Most boast loads of health benefits and you’re able to access your inner medicine woman, seeking certain types for your particular ailments. During my sister’s pregnancy, I found a way to amp her protein intake (my mom says it’s so important because you’re building a baby brain) by making her hemp mylk lattes with an assortment of different herbal teas. It’s super simple and so delicious. Hemp is an amazing source of protein, containing a whopping 10 grams per tablespoon! That’s about as much as a large hard boiled egg. Hemp also contains the oh-so-healing omega-3 fatty acids, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
To make a hemp mylk latte, your first step is to brew a cup of tea...I like to steep mine a little longer since you’ll be dilluting it with the mylk. In a blender, add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to approximately 1/4 cup of hot water. I like to add pure stevia (like Sweet Leaf) or a little bit of raw, organic, local honey. If you have vanilla bean, cinnamon, collagen protein, or any other health boosters, those are great add-ons too! Last, BLEND. (It also works to pour your brewed tea with the desired ingredients and blend, but you just want to make sure all of the little hemp seeds are blended fully to reach the desired smooth/ creamy consistency.) Once it’s complete, this tea even has a nice froth to it so, you’re not missing a thing!
Another great option is a blended, chilled matcha latte shown below! Not only is matcha delicious, it also comes with a barrel of health benefits!
Note: I DO still drink coffee, but never more than 2 cups a day. I am also very careful to take an inventory of how I’m feeling and what I’m taking on that day. If it’s a particularly stressful time, I just avoid it. I also never drink coffee before a flight or speaking engagements because those already make me nervous so, pouring some adrenaline on that would not be supportive!
Check out this stunning Montessori kindergarten. Obviously the aesthetic is so pleasing, but I think a lot of kids would thrive in a tidy environment, free of too much clutter and stimuli. With the way most classrooms are designed in the U.S., one might assume there's solid evidence that all children would excel in an environment with bold, primary colored banners, posters, vibrant educational rugs, etc.
The Montessori page Wikipedia states that "Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives." "The environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
Sources: design-milk.com and Wikipedia.com
Living in LA and being pretty plugged in to all things "wellness", I have the fun opportunity come across some PRETTY unique health trends! (Food, drink, cleanses, shots, diets, detoxes...you name it.) Many of them are great in theory, BUT they can also be tedious and/or very pricey!
Recently, I noticed a special for a celery juice detox at Pressed Juicery. If you're unfamiliar with Pressed, it was definitely responsible for creating the re-emergence of the juice trend. In 2010, they created a very successful business offering a variety of body-boosting juices and shots, also offering a delivery subscription service to locals. While I love Pressed Juicery, I don't personally subscribe to their juice delivery/ pick-up. On one hand, I LOVE them because they are responsible for also creating my very favorite lifestyle website for the past 6 years, The Chalkboard Mag. This website sparked something inside of me and led me to where I am now. Another pro about the company is that one of the owners also graduated from my school, IIN! Why I don't personally buy their subscription service for juices is because it can be quite pricey and, unfortunately, the produce isn't organic. Now that the back story is out of the way...
Even though I am a huge fan of making celery-based soups, knowing their amazing detoxifying powers, I kind of thought the only reason for marketing JUST celery juice could really only be a smart business move/ margin builder because celery is SO inexpensive, EVEN organic. So, I decided to do a little more research and there is a reason why it's so effective...even just containing one super veggie! I've said it before, but since I don't think it's worth the time re-writing what's already been well written, HERE are the full list of benefits from one of my favorite health sources! Not only have I enjoyed this morning ritual and feel truly amazing by doing so (clearer skin, more energy, flat stomach), I have now gotten quite a few people on this bandwagon who have expressed experiencing benefits including: increased clarity, relief from achy joints, quickly reduced cold symptoms, more effective elimination, etc.
So, if you've been considering implementing a new form of self-care, consider giving this one a shot! They say try it for 5-7 days to really benefit, but many who start don't want to stop!
Really, the only rule is try drinking it in the morning, on an empty stomach, so that you can reap the full alkalizing benefits. If you don't have a juicer, you can also chop the celery and add to a blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth (to reduce the fibrous pulp).
IF you do decide to give this a try, please share your questions and/or experience in the comments below!
Going through the notes on my phone, I recently realized how many "note to self" drafts I have...so, I figured I'd share one! This is from late 2016-- (I honestly don't remember writing half of them).
Most people subconsciously associate eating indulgent foods with moving away from pain.
(Or, in other words, a common solution to upset, discomfort, boredom, discontent, loneliness is eating...and, usually, not the healthiest food.)
BUT participating in this behavior can usually result in the very opposite outcome because most likely, you're choosing food that can cause inflammation, create imbalance, and dilute your ability to feel good— causing pain.
At the end of the day, what feels good to you? What leads you to make one positive decision after another? Once you've found your life's purpose, do what's required to reinforce what is needed to keep showing up each day at your very best caliber. Make sure you're on it! And doing what it takes!!!!
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Don't just go with the flow, go with YOUR flow! Gently enforce (or firmly command) change. By sitting back and letting other people lead, you are essentially giving the blind a steering wheel, leaving you haphazardly along for the ride.
"Maintaining an open mind is essential when exploring the unknown, but allowing one's brains to fall out in the process is inadvisable." - Dean Radin
It takes time and effort to take care of your body. No argument here! But it’s incredibly important to find time to exercise. The benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.
Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.
Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.
1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than you would while sitting passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep itself stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.
2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.
3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Building your dream team during spring training? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the field. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.
4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!
5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”
6. Look for fitness classes close to work or home. Because my LA commute is so lengthy, finding time to get a solid workout in before or after work is very difficult. So, my current solution: find time in the middle of my workday! I took it upon myself to find something compatible with my time restraints and close to my office so that I can go during my lunch break. I have been taking Barre for a little over two weeks-- which is ABSOLUTELY out of my comfort zone, but I am able to get a full body midday boost. I have these great biodegradable cleansing wipes that allow me to freshen up quickly, change, get back to work, and eat a prepared lunch at my desk!
How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!