Lessons from the yoga mat

I learn something every single time I step onto my yoga mat.  Sometimes it’s an incredible new lesson.  Sometimes it’s simply a gentle reminder.  But it never fails and I always step off the mat more inspired and connected than when I started.  I’m guest blogging each month to share my latest lessons from the mat with Kristin McGee’s community.

I wanted to share what I’ve been learning lately with you, too!

Your body knows what it needs

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Our bodies are so much smarter than we are.  They are designed to find balance and health.  And they are really good at pointing out when something isn’t quite right.  We just need to take the time to notice.  I share 3 tips for listening to your body.

Slowing down will help you speed up

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Slowing down has the ability to expand time.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the form of an extended child’s pose, going to bed early, taking a leisurely walk, or sitting in meditation.    I share 3 tips for slowing down (to speed up).

You are stronger than you think you are

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Strength – true strength – is hidden deep inside of you and is yours for the taking.  You’ll be shocked at what is possible simply by tapping into this endless pool of strength.  I share 2 tips for unlocking your own strength.

Your desire to change is all you need

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Your desire to change is enough.  You don’t need to know all of the steps or even fully believe that it’s possible.  You just need to want it.  I share 3 tips for radical change.

 What lessons have you learned from your yoga mat?


Imagine a workout that lifts your heart rate AND your spirit.

shrinkErin Stutland’s Shrink Session is a high-powered mix of heart-pounding movement, music and mantras.

She will help you blast calories, but more importantly, it helps you bust through any mental blocks holding you back from getting what you want in life. You are bound to see movement in your body and in your life!

Her {FREE} summer challenge – Say It, Sweat It, Get It – begins on June 1st.  Each day, you get a short Shrink workout and some inspiration to move your body. Erin will be giving some amazing prizes away each day!

 

 


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What I’m into this week

My day job is in a college registrar’s office managing all things commencement so the next few weeks are crazytown for me.  I’m working on self-care and stress management like it’s a full-time job and one of the things that I’ve been doing to clear my mind is watching videos on my breaks.  Here’s a peek into what I’m into this week:

This is one of my favorite Danielle LaPorte talks

I’ve been following Heather’s advice from this video and it’s made a huge difference

Best. Gabby. Lecture. Ever.

I’m obsessed with the idea of having chickens and my own little farm so I love seeing Bex’s farm

This is how I make my bone broth thanks to this video

Robyn is always my go-to when I feel like I’m getting sick

I adore Katie and all of her videos

Just for fun

What are your favorite videos right now?


Last week I guest blogged over on Run to the Finish about how to bust through fear.


I was interviewed by one of my spirit junkie pals for her weekly series, the BIG questions.


I just placed my first order on Thrive Market and saved a ton on my favorite healthy items.  Seriously – like 40%!


Robyn Youkilis is a detox-goddess and I’ll definitely be on this {free} call on Wednesday!

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Quinoa Three Ways

I recently asked my IG peeps what topics they wanted me to cover on the blog and QUINOA was requested.  Ask and you shall receive!

quinoa

What’s the big deal with quinoa?

Quinoa is a superstar food.  While technically a seed, it is lumped in with other gluten-free grains and prepared similarly.  Quinoa is a plant-based source of complete protein with approximately 8 grams per cooked cup.  It provides all nine essential amino acids that your body needs.  It is also high in fiber so it fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer.  It is low on the glycemic index so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar quickly.  Quinoa is also a good source of magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron.

In addition to being healthy, it is also widely available and easy to prepare!

How to you cook quinoa?

It is important to soak (or at least rinse) your quinoa before cooking.  That helps to release bitter tasting saponins and allows for better nutrient absorption.  In the morning you can fill a bowl with water, add your quinoa, and you’ll be ready to go when you get home from work.  I also really like to use sprouted quinoa which has already be soaked and dried because it is much easier to digest.  Be sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking.

In general, you want to add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid.  And know that quinoa puffs up once cooked so the volume will increase.  If you are preparing a large batch at the beginning of the week and planning to use it for multiple recipes, I suggest simply using water and a pinch of sea salt.

Basic Recipe

–1 cup quinoa
–2 cups water
–Pinch of sea salt

–Add water and quinoa to pot and bring to boil
–Add salt, cover, lower temperature, and simmer for 15 minutes
–Turn off heat and allow to sit (covered) for 5 minutes or until all water has been absorbed
–Fluff with a fork

Quinoa is so versatile and can be used for breakfast, side dishes, or main meals.  Here are my three favorite ways to prepare it.

Quinoa Porridge

–2 cups cooked quinoa (see basic recipe above)
–1/2 cup non-dairy milk (or more depending on your desired consistency)
–1 teaspoon cinnamon
–1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
–1 tablespoon nut or seed butter
–1 teaspoon raw honey or pure maple syrup
–Toppings: fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia seeds

–Add all ingredients (except for toppings) to pot and warm (adding more milk, if desired)
–Top with anything that sounds delicious to you

Cumin Lime Quinoa

–Use basic quinoa recipe
–Add: 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 minced garlic clove to water
–Toppings: sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives

Quinoa Fried “Rice”

–3 cups prepare quinoa (I like several day old quinoa for this recipe because it is drier)
–1 small onion (chopped)
–3 cloves garlic (minced)
–1 inch fresh ginger (minced)
–Chopped vegetables (I like broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, jicama, peas, and grated carrot but get creative!)
–3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
–2 eggs (whisked)
–Chopped scallions and cilantro to top
–Sriracha and sesame oil for serving
–Coconut oil

–Coat a large, deep wok or pan with coconut oil and heat
–Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent
–Add in firmer vegetables like broccoli, jicama, and red pepper and cook until almost tender
–Add remaining vegetables and quinoa and cook for 2-3 minutes
–Add coconut aminos and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes
–Create a well in the middle of the mixture and add in eggs, stirring to scramble
–Mix everything together once the egg is cooked through and cook for 1-2 minutes
–Serve topped with scallions, cilantro, Sriracha, and a drizzle of sesame oil

What’s your favorite way to prepare quinoa?


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The quote that rocked me to my core

Stress is not a badge of courage. – Kris Carr

Let’s take that in for a minute. Stress is NOT a badge of courage.  I mean…I hardly have words.

I first heard this quote in an episode of Glimpse TV with Kate Northrup and Kris Carr.  Before the words were even out of Kate’s mouth my eyes had filled with tears.  This tiny quote rocked my world.  I stopped the video right there and sat with those words.

I’d always viewed stress as an accomplishment.  The more stressed I was the more I was.  Stress was synonymous with success.  Stress is what fueled me to stay up when I was exhausted.  Stress allowed me to take on one more project when my plate was already full.  Stress motivated.  Stress kept me one step ahead.  Stress pushed.  Stress was my secret to success.  Stress was who I was.  Stress was courageous.  Only the truly brave and dedicated could thrive under so much stress. (Go me!)

And that quote from Kris Carr called bullshit on all of those crazytown thoughts.  It immediately shifted my perspective and was like I could see my life with more clarity.  Since that moment I have been committed to lowering my stress – which is a moment to moment job for a stressaholic like me.  I suddenly realized that I was not thriving but instead drowning under a sea of stress.

Stress is not an accomplishment.  It is not a motivator.  It is not your friend.  And it certainly doesn’t equal success.

Stress hurts.  Literally.  Stress wreaks havoc on you physically and emotionally.  It creates inflammation in your body.  Stress taxes your heart.  It sends your adrenal glands into overdrive pumping out massive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline to keep you stuck in fight or flight mode.  Stress lowers your immunity.  It impacts your memory, energy, sex drive, and sleep.  Stress impacts your food choices.  It prompts you to lash out at your loved ones.

What is courageous about any of that?

So, we are we in a bad relationship with stress and how can we break free?  Stress is a learned response.  Many of us grew up with examples of pushing, striving, manipulating, and existing in chaos.  This is the goal.  Working around the clock, chugging coffee just to function, and being pulled in all directions.  When that becomes your life you have finally “made” it.

Moving with ease, balance and peace is viewed as settling, lack of ambition, or failure.  Seriously…PEACE is a failure?!?  Explain that one to me.

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Breaking up with stress isn’t as easy as just deciding but is starts there.  Stress is engrained in our bodies and we need to be patient while we retrain our bodies and minds.  It is about taking a series of little right actions.  One tiny thought, action, reaction, or practice becomes two become three becomes a life of managing stress with ease.  Here are my strategies for leaving stress in the dust:

1.  Acknowledge that stress is a part of life

It’s not about stopping the world around us but about how quickly we can reach for our tools.  Stress is going to happen.  Probably daily.  Someone is going to cut you off in traffic, your partner is going to push your buttons, work is going to overwhelm you, finances are going to be challenging.  Stress is not the problem, our response is the problem.  Stop trying to fight the stress and learn, instead and how manage it.

2.  Breathe

Our breath is our number one tool when managing stress.  I challenge you to check-in with your breathing the next time you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated.  It’s likely that you are tensed up and holding your breath.  This keeps us stuck in the stress.  We can dissolve stress simply by breathing.  Try this simple one minute breathe the next time you are feeling stress:

–Close your eyes
–Breathe in (through your nose) for five seconds
–Hold your breath for five seconds
–Breathe out (through your nose) for five seconds
–Hold for five seconds
–Repeat this pattern for one minute

3.  Cultivate peace

Dwell in peace as often as possible.  The stronger your connection to peace and ease, the less time you’ll spend in stress-mode.  Peace will become your permanent address.  Fill your home, car and office with images and items that make you feel peaceful – crystals, flowers, photos, quotes, artwork, etc.  Spend more time at peace – meditate, journal, go to yoga.  Get in the habit of squashing stress with peace:

Peace begins with me

–Press your thumb to your pointer finger and say PEACE
–Press your thumb to your middle finger and say BEGINS
–Press your thumb to your ring finger and say WITH
–Press your thumb to you pinkie and day ME
–Breathe deeply as you go and continue to recite PEACE BEGINS WITH ME for 1-3 minutes.

I choose to see peace instead of this

Pause mid-freakout and recite the mantra “I choose to see peace instead of this”.  Only you have the power to break the stress cycle.  You can choose to stress or you can choose peace.

4.  Be grateful

Like attracts like.  The more stressed you are, the more stressed you will be.  The more gratitude you feel the more you will have to be grateful for.  Start a daily gratitude practice.  Every night before bed write out 5-10 things that you are grateful for and why.  Post your gratitude lists on social media to inspire others to feel grateful.  I’m posting a gratitude moment every day for a year over on IG!

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How are you using stress as a badge of courage?

How can you break up with stress and move through life with more ease?


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What’s in my kitchen? {healthy kitchen staples}

One of the questions I get asked the most is:

“What are your healthy kitchen staples?”

I recently offered a workshop on this topic and want to share the information with you!

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Pantry

Freezer (yep – healthy food in the freezer!)

  • Vegetables (I keep bags of frozen organic vegetables for quick meals)
  • Fruit for smoothies (I keep blueberries, mango, cherries, and raspberries)
  • Ezekiel bread (sprouted grains)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (they last so much longer in the freezer!)
  • Portioned out leftovers
  • Wild caught fish
  • Portioned bone broth (use an ice cube tray)

Weekly Items

  • Fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs
  • Pasture-raised, organic eggs
  • Organic/grass-fed meat
  • Avocado
  • Non-dairy milk
  • Fermented foods (vegetables, Kombucha, tempeh, miso)

What are your {healthy} kitchen staples?


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I’m starting a regular video newsletter soon for my email subscribers – get on the list here.


What you wear matters. What you see when you look in the mirror matters. That’s why I love the new #Truthbomb jewelry line from Danielle LaPorte. Elegant, stylish, everyday jewels with soul. The perfect gift – for someone you love, or yourself (most likely, BOTH). See the full line here: http://bit.ly/1MVfDns.


DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate and promotion links in this post. When you click on these links and purchase items, I may be compensated for that sale.  The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own.


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How I’m healing my gut {with a gut healing smoothie recipe}

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For many years my gut was whispering (and then screaming) that things weren’t okay.  My gut was trying to tell me that I was too stressed, I wasn’t chewing my food, I wasn’t breathing, I wasn’t digesting, and I wasn’t caring for myself.  But I didn’t want to hear it so I ignored the pleas until it became unbearable.

A typical day in the life for me involved lots of caffeine, processed foods, little to no water, no movement, and lots of stress.  I was bloated beyond belief, always complaining of a stomach ache, nauseous, constipated, and uncomfortable in my own skin.  Most nights I would be curled up on the couch in so much pain from the day.  I thought that I just couldn’t digest food and that this would be my life forever.

I didn’t connect other health issues like rashes, acne, headaches, joint pain, and constantly getting sick to my gut.

But my gut was talking and it had a lot to say.  Your gut is the center of your overall well-being.  It impacts immunity, clarity, skin, digestion, and your general sense of wellness.  In fact, 60-70% of your immune system lives in your gut!

I’ve been on a gut healing journey for the past two years and have come a long way.  It is a long process to heal years and years of damage and neglect.  And it’s not easy.  There are days when I want to scream, “F-it.  I’m going to eat a pizza and have a beer.” It is hard to let go of your “normal” life and change your habits and diet.  To become the weird one with special foods, habits, and supplements.  I had to mourn the loss of my old life.  Even though I feel so much better now (and look forward to feeling even better in the future) it is still tempting to just quit it all and resume my previous lifestyle.  Because this is work.  There is no way around that.  But it gets easier and just becomes your everyday.

It’s important to note that my gut healing journey is just that – my own.  My issues may not be your issues.  And my solutions may not be right for you.  I’m not a doctor.  I am sharing my personal experience but it’s not meant to be medical advice.  It’s critical that you address your own personal needs and don’t simply rely on a magic pill or solution that read about.  It takes trial and error to find what works best for you.

Here’s what has worked for me:

  1. Hydration is everything – your digestive system needs adequate water to easily move bacteria and waste through it.  The more water I drink, the more things flow.  Be sure to limit water (or any drinks) with meals.  They dilute your natural digestive enzymes and make it harder to break down your food.  Drink before a meal and wait 20-30 minutes after.
  2. Diet changes – I suggest an elimination diet to begin to identify the foods that your body likes and those that it doesn’t.  There are a million and one ways to follow an elimination diet but in general you remove the most common irritants – gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, processed food, sugar, caffeine, and alcoholfor 3-4 weeks.  Then you slowly reintroduce foods one at a time.  For example you could have dairy one day, wait several days to observe any reactions while resuming an elimination diet, and then move on to the next food.  You want to keep track of how each item makes you feel physically and emotionally.  My body is happiest without dairy, gluten, alcohol, coffee, and soy and with very limited gluten-free grains and natural sugars.
  3. Digestive enzymes – Digestive enzymes* are taken with meals and help your body digest food with ease.  It’s helpful to take digestive enzymes if you are working to heal your gut because your system doesn’t have to work so hard to break down your food.
  4. Probiotics – We all know, thanks you endless yogurt commercials, that good bacteria is important!  Probiotics are the good bacteria that your gut needs to be healthy.  For many of us, our ratio of good to bad bacteria can get out of whack from antibiotics, stress, and processed foods.  I take a probiotic supplement every day and add it to my morning smoothie.  I also add probiotic-rich foods into my daily routine.  I love fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi and Kombucha (fermented tea).  Other diet probiotic-rich foods are miso, tempeh, and kefir.
  5. Chewing – my poor digestive system.  I used to make it work overtime on the regular.  I didn’t chew my food.  I averaged 3-4 chews per bite before swallowing and shoveling in the next bite.  This almost always led to overeating.  So not only was I dehydrated but my stomach was so full of huge pieces of food that there was little room for my stomach to do its thing.  This is why I was insanely bloated and doubled over in pain after meals.  We all need to chew our food more.  The goal is chewing until liquid (aka insanely broken down) which typically takes between 20-30 chews.  Start where you are today and try adding 5 extra chews per meal.  By actually counting your chews you will force yourself to slow down and breathe.  You also allow your stomach to announce when it is satisfied instead of eating past the point of no return.  Digestion starts in your mouth and your stomach doesn’t have teeth!  Do your gut a favor and help it out by chewing.
  6. Movement – Moving your body helps keep things moving in your gut!  Physical activity is an important part of gut health. Recent studies have found that exercise can promote the variety and amount of healthy bacteria in your gut.  Movement can also help jump-start your digestive system and assist in toxin removal.  Gentle yoga twists are great for waking up your digestive system and are a lifesaver when things get backed up.  Any movement will do, though.  Throw yourself a dance party, take your dog for a long walk, hit the gym, or go for a run.  Just move!
  7. Bone broth – there is nothing more nourishing and healing than bone broth.  It’s all the rage these days and for good reason!  Bone broth is made by slowly boiling high quality animal bones for a long period of time (usually 24 hours).  Bone broth is full of collagen and gelatin – both work to repair and soothe damage to your digestive tract.  Bone broth also reduces inflammation not only in your gut but your entire body.
  8. Supplements – supplements have been a large part of my gut healing regiment.  I vary between four: aloe vera juice, grass-fed gelatin, l-glutamine, and Natural Calm (a magnesium powder).  Aloe vera juice was crucial when I was starting out to calm my gut lining and reduce constipation.  Gelatin repairs your system while also aiding in digestion.  It absorbs water so it acts like a lubricant in the digestive tract.  L-glutamine in an amino acid that helps repair the gut wall lining and reduce inflammation.  It can also reduce sugar cravings!  Natural Calm is my #1 supplement.  It is referred to as the “anti-stress” drink because it naturally calms the body and mind, including your gut and colon.  In addition, magnesium attracts water so it will not only help you sleep but resolve constipation.

Gut-healing Smoothie

  • 1 – 1.5 cups coconut milk or water
  • 2 cups baby spinach (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen mango (or mixture of mango and papaya)
  • 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (be sure it’s cold water soluble – I use this)
  • L-glutamine powder*
  • Probiotics powder*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

*It’s important to find high quality supplements.  I personally use Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman enzymes, l-glutamine, and probiotics because that is what works best for me.  Innate Response and Premier Research Labs are other great brands.


Have you checked out my monthly feature on Kristin McGee?  My latest post will go live tomorrow!


I’m starting a regular video newsletter soon for my email subscribers – get on the list here.


What you wear matters. What you see when you look in the mirror matters. That’s why I love the new #Truthbomb jewelry line from Danielle LaPorte. Elegant, stylish, everyday jewels with soul. The perfect gift – for someone you love, or yourself (most likely, BOTH). See the full line here: http://bit.ly/1MVfDns.


DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate and promotion links in this post. When you click on these links and purchase items, I may be compensated for that sale.  The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own.


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So…I stopped washing my face

Yep.  You read that correctly.  I’ve stopped washing my face.  At least in the traditional sense.

I’ve always described myself as having “problem skin” – oily, frequent breakouts, scarring, and recently red blotches.  And in an attempt to “correct” it, I’ve spent endless dollars on miracle product after miracle product.  I would scrub my face with abrasive scrubs and harsh cleansers attempting to get that squeaky clean feel.  (No joke, I would scrub and scrub until it squeaked.)  Then, as a result, my skin would be dry and peeling and I’d slather on lotions and potions.  At one point I was using 7 different products on my face in addition to the 4 or 5 additional makeup products.  And I never understood why all of my efforts weren’t working.  (Sorry skin, I haven’t been very kind to you!)

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My experience at Spirit Junkie Masterclass

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Check your ego at the door. You have work to do and we need you.  -Gabrielle Bernstein

Those words so beautifully sum up my Spirit Junkie Masterclass experience. I had the amazing fortune of attending level one in NYC in September 2014 and level two at Kripalu in February 2015. Even now, all these months later, it is still hard for me to put my experience into words. It was deeply personal and sacred and I’ll never be able to capture the full depth of the experience here but I hope to give you a glimmer of the magic.

Spirit Junkie Masterclass was
transformational :: expansive :: cleansing :: inspiring :: life changing

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