Chia pudding. For those days when the alarm clock isn’t your friend (always).

This morning, like many of my mornings, I had three alarms set: 5:45, 5:47, 5:50. Yes, as in the morning. When the suns alarm hasn’t even gone off yet. 

On these days, I have work at 6:45 am so I don’t have a whole lot of time to physically make breakfast, so I pre-made these little guys the night before!

I make a big batch so all I have to do is grab a little jar in the morning and take off. I would love to have the luxury of sitting down to a warm meal with a cup of tea, sitting in a wooden chair with a blanket while watching the sun rise… But that’s not my reality right now. I watch the sun rise from inside my work. But my little chia pudding cup makes me a lot happier about it!

This makes three 8 oz servings. Enjoy!

 

Chia pudding pot

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla yogurt (preferably organic)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon real maple syrup or honey

A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

2 sliced strawberries per serving  

1. Mix the yogurt, almond milk and honey/maple syrup until well blended. 

2. Add in the chia seeds and stir until combined. Let sit for 1 hour or over night. After an hour, split them into separate containers with sliced strawberries and a pinch of cinnamon on top!

Matcha… Yuck-a

Today’s my day off from work. Most of my friends have real jobs so they can’t hang out with me when I have free time… So I do a lot of activities by myself. I try out new coffee shops, I go for runs, I spend all day cooking/writing and occasionally binge watching shows like An Idiot Abroad, Game of Thrones or Friends. 

I was that kind of paralyzing bored today where you feel like absolutely nothing can entertain you and you end up just sitting on the couch all day moaning about how bored you are. It’s a vicious cycle. I know it’s a viscous cycle. So on my third episode of The Ricky Gervais show, I forced myself off of the couch and made my way down to a coffee shop the next town over that I’ve never tried. The only cure for boredom is to do something you’ve never done before. Trying a matcha latte would be my thing to do today. 

  

Perfect!! It looks so pretty and it’s so healthy that it MUST taste good too, right?!

Wrong.

I was really excited when I grabbed my pretty little cup of green from the barista. I sat down, took my picture and then sipped away. I was greeted with a chalky texture and earthy flavor. The flavor I actually didn’t mind so much, the texture is what bummed me out.

  

I knew that matcha was green tea powder but I just didn’t expect it to taste like powder. It left a green mustache on my upper lip that I wasn’t aware of for a solid five minutes.

  

Notice my little green ‘stache? My mom did. She thought it was funny to keep me in the dark for a bit while I chatted away, looking like I made out with the hulk. 

After I got past the initial powdery shock, it actually tasted kind of good. Like milky green tea. I still probably wouldn’t order it again, despite being high in antioxidants, trace minerals and certain vitamins. 

But I gave it a go. That’s all I can ask of myself as well as of anyone else. 

  

It really does make for a pretty picture though, doesn’t it? 

Let’s take some shots

I like shots. I start my morning with a shot. Sometimes I even take a shot before I go to bed in order to help me sleep a bit better. Shots are great.

My days of taking VODKA shots are a bit behind me (for the most part). Now it’s all about aloe, ginger, garlic and turmeric shots! Equally as unpleasant to down as 2 oz of tequila, these shots at least give you some awesome benefits depending on which one you shoot.

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Today, I took a shooter of aloe. Aloe is so gross. If you take a piece of aloe and suck on it, it literally feels like you’re sucking on a gummy bear infused with rubbing alcohol. But, unfortunately, it’s also amazing for your body.

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Aloe is known for benefiting your beauty factor. It helps hair growth and can alleviate acne/help clear up your complexion. It also contains a wide range of B vitamins and amino acids as well as helps out with your immune system.

So I take a shot a day. It’s kind of fun actually. I get my friends or family to take a shot with me and the ridiculous nature of it (while also feeling good about making yourself healthy) makes the whole experience enjoyable. You know how when you’re at a bar and you don’t know anyone so you get people involved as a group to take a shot and then suddenly you’re all BFFs? This kind of has the same unifying effect! Sound ridiculous? Try it with some buddies. The worst that will happen is your skin will look great.

Bottoms up, my friends. Let’s take a shot.

(please ignore the terrible picture quality of the video… currently working on it…)

All the unnecessary thoughts floating in my mind while meditating on the beach

Today, I tried to meditate on the beach. I occasionally get bad day to day anxiety and my dad has been insisting that meditation would help with it so I thought I would give it a go. I’ve tried meditation before and I generally enjoy it when I’m able to remove thoughts from my mind, but getting to that point is really hard! Especially when your mind goes a million miles per second like mine does. With practice, I’m sure it will get a lot easier, but today was about 3% solid meditation and 97% random thoughts. IMG_5577 Case in point: While writing the above paragraph, I found it absolutely necessary to pause and take this picture of the beach with the little bird in profile. Jesus. I laid out my towel on the beach, sat with my legs crossed while facing the ocean, closed my eyes and attempted to simply focus on the air entering and leaving my body. The assortment of thoughts that entered my brain were similar to those of a dream. Just random. Jurassic Park entere my mind. Where would I hide from a t rex that was also inaccessible to a velociraptor. WHERE WOULD I HIDE??? While trying to push that thought out, I began to think of backpacks and how much weight I could hold. I mean, my books in college were pretty heavy. My computer weights about five pounds also… At some point my brain was talking in a british accent. I don’t know, maybe it just wanted to test it out? It was all very weird. But during that 3% of successful silence (finally), I felt physically quiet and at peace. There were no problems. There was no past and no future. No dinosaurs to hide from. No backpacks to carry. Just that moment. IMG_5581 My post meditation glow :) I’m going to keep trying to meditate. Hopefully every day. Maybe I’ll get to the point where focusing on my breath and nothing else isn’t so hard. I don’t want to feel panicked or scared anymore for virtually no reason. That alone is enough to make me return to the beach and try to push away images of problems and random thoughts. To me, it’s worth the daily attempt.

It’s SHREDDING SEASON: icy pineapple and ginger smoothie

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It’s bulking/shredding/toning/slimming season, BRO!!!! Time to eat nothing but meat and salad!!!

..or not.

It’s true, right now is the time that everyone’s looking to start getting in shape for summer bikini season. This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate fruit, grains or anything else enjoyable. I mean, yeah, you DO have to limit yourself on some things. Alcohol, refined sugars and grains, sodas, pastries, pizzas, pasta, etc. All that fun stuff that you already know you should be limiting anyway. And you probably do a great job of it.. until 2 am when the bars close and Manhattan Pizzeria is still open. I think that’s a general struggle we all deal with.

One super common misconception is that eating healthy and getting in shape means eating tasteless food and feeling sore 99% of the time. Honestly, if you have had this experience, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Healthy food (not diet food) tastes fabulous. Ever had chicken cooked in red wine sauce layered on top of garlic oven roasted veggies with a crisp romaine salad dressed with a dijon lemon vinaigrette? Does that sound like diet food? Well it’s not typically what people think of when considering going on a diet. But that’s the type of food you should be eating when trying to lose weight.

And if you’re telling me that you feel sore all the time when you workout then you probably only stuck to a workout plan for a week, maybe two. Because after that initial hump is over and done with, you shouldn’t be getting uncomfortably sore anymore (unless you’re a hardcore athlete trying to do a dynamic workout).

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So here’s a refreshing, tasty and (gasp) fruity smoothie to sip on after a sweaty workout. If you really feel like being adventurous, this is also a really good base for a healthy “daiquiri”. This recipe may sound tasteless and kind of strange, but it’s less than 100 calories and actually insanely delicious. Just give it a shot.

Happy shredding season!

Icy Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

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serves 2

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple cubes

1.5 cups coconut water

1 inch of fresh ginger, skin peeled off and diced super fine

2 handfuls of spinach

1/2 cup ice (optional)

1. Make sure to cut off all of the skin from the ginger and then dice it really fine.  Just for a reference, this is about how big of a piece of ginger you should use:

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2. Blend all of the ingredients (besides the ice) until it is smooth. If you plan on adding ice (which I would recommend if you plan on making a drink out of it), then add the ice after blending the other ingredients until smooth. Blend the ice in until you have your desired consistency!

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I couldn’t help but chug mine. Just try and drink yours like a lady/gentleman. It’s not possible.

** PS, this recipe is really great because it incorporates anti-inflammatory ginger in it’s raw state. Your body is inflamed after a workout, so sipping on this drink will help decrease that inflammation and increase your recovery speed.

Staying humble and hopeful

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Sometimes you’re on top. Stay humble. Sometimes you’ve hit a low. Stay hopeful.

A very simple concept that would make everyone’s lives 100% better if they actually put it into use.

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This is the motto for Lokai bracelets. Lokai braceletes were made to remind people of the highs and lows of life and everything else in between. You are going to have a day every now and then when you feel on top of the world or invincible. Extreme contrast, it’s also inevitable that you’ll have days when all of the hope and happiness in life seems like it doesn’t apply to you. And then there’s everything in between. The average days that don’t seem like much, but hold the highs and lows together. The bracelet is a reminder of this by having one bead filled with mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and another bead filled with water from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. The clear beads represent every other day where the highs and lows aren’t present. Together, they form a circle. According to the founder of Lokai bracelets, he says “I brought these two key elements together because life is full of cycles. The rest of the beads are clear because we all have our own story of balance to tell”.

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Finding balance, even during the highs, lows and middles of life is what keeps us sane and ultimately happy. The dramatic roller coaster may be exciting to ride when the lows aren’t too low and the highs aren’t too high, but it can also destroy us without finding that balance. Allow yourself to get lost in those moments and you forget what really matters: family, friends, loved ones.

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Me wearing my Lokai bracelet while on a run.

Finding the balance is really difficult for me. The lows make my physically ill. Most of life’s problems, I can deal with and I’m fine. But when something really knocks me down, I can’t eat or sleep and my brain goes into hyperactive mode while my body refuses to react to anything. The high points are also difficult for me to process. There’s no way to say it… but I get cocky. And arrogant. And I can be a bit of an asshole when I’ve succeeded at something.

Wearing this bracelet helps me find that balance. When I’m feeling cocky and arrogant at my success, I look down at the little white bead and remember that this is just a moment of life. I can be happy for myself, of course. But I can’t let myself think that I am better than anyone. Because we all of our highs. We all have our lows. And this reminds me that today is just my day but tomorrow might be someone else’s day. And that’s okay. If I let my head swell with pride, then when my day turns into someone else’s day, I will deflate and develop jealousy, anger, etc.

Same goes for my lows. Bad days don’t constitute a life. During those times, the little black bead reminds be that this is just one of those days. Flip that bracelet around and the little white bead is there, promising me of great times ahead as long as I stay hopeful and happy.

I highly suggest ordering a bracelet for yourself. It honestly has really helped me with my occasional emotional roller coasters and having a constant reminder worn around your wrist of staying hopeful and humble helps make the ride a little more smooth.

Scraping your insides clean: Cleansing

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The first few months of the new year is the time when people decide to get healthy. Usually this also means that they decide to do a cleanse in order to “reboot” before they (hypothetically) completely change their diet and lifestyle. Cleansing is a great idea if you’re doing it the right way and for the right reasons.

If all you want is to lose weight, DON’T cleanse. A successfully completed cleanse will only allow you to lose up to 3 pounds. If you lose anymore than this in such a short amount of time, it’s because you are literally starving your body and it’s using your muscles as energy instead, causing you to waste away. You don’t want to lose muscle. You want to lose fat. Fat won’t be lost through starvation, muscle will. To lose weight, you have to alter your diet and increase the exercise. Another post on that later.

Today we’re talking about cleansing in order to boost your health. If done properly, a cleanse can help boost your immune system, rid you of certain ailments, help with allergies and arthritis, cure bloating and many many other benefits.

There are many different ways to clean your body out to fit all sorts of lifestyles. I’m actually currently doing a three day cleanse through my job at Kreation Organics. You can do cleanses on your own and make fresh juices each day, but it can be tedious and it might just be easier to buy the juices (organic and raw, please!).

So, back to the types of cleanses:

1. All Juice:

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This type of cleanse generally has 6-8 16 oz juices that you drink through out the day. You drink juice and eat NOTHING. You can have as much (non-caffeinated) tea and water as you want as well. This type of cleanse is great because it gives your digestive system a total rest. Like any machine, if it is in constant use, then it will  break down. In today’s society, we are constantly snacking throughout the day and never really giving our GI tracts a break. A juice cleanse gives the GI tract a rest while still absorbing the important nutrients your body needs. This cleanse is kind of intense for beginners. It’s do-able, but be prepared to be incredibly hangry. PS, don’t do this cleanse for longer than 7 days. Ideally, you would do this for 3-7 days.

2. Juice and Food Cleanse:

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In this cleanse, you will drink 3-5 juices with one meal in the middle of the day. The idea is that you are still giving your body a good 20 hours of rest per day while still allowing yourself some substance. The meals you eat should follow “clean” guidelines. So no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, meat, etc. If you choose to do this type of cleanse and have more questions about what to eat at lunch, comment below or shoot me an email for more information!

This is the cleanse that I’m doing. I don’t want to lose any weight and I am choosing to still lightly work out so the higher calories work better for me. If you are a newbie to cleansing, have an active job or are still opting to work out, then this would be a good choice for you.

Since we’re on the topic of working out… Here are some general guidelines for working out while cleansing:

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1. Keep it light and simple. Don’t do heavy muscle workouts. Don’t run five miles. You’re taking in about half of the calories you normally would. Just use common sense. Workouts like a light jog, walking or yoga are all good ideas. Just don’t go all gym-rat on me and hit the gym at your normal pace. The action of working out breaks down your muscles. Normally, you would have enough protein and nutrients to build it back up. While cleansing, you don’t. So you end up just tearing down your muscle and not rebuilding it. This is not good. Just do me a favor, and keep it light and simple.

2. You should still be at least a little active. I know I said to keep it light and simple, but that doesn’t mean avoid exercise. You should still at the very least be walking about 5.000-10,000 steps.

My Cleanse:

Today is day one of my cleanse. Yay! I’m doing four juices plus a lunch. I’ve done cleanses before and had a terrible experience because I didn’t consume enough juices in general. I was BEYOND hangry the last few times of cleansing. I was the hulk and I was on the verge of smashing everything in sight. But the whole adding food thing really works for me. I’m still cleansing, the juices plus the water I’m drinking really fill me up and I’m not scary, hangry Autumn! I already feel less “icky” inside from this first day. I eat really well on a fairly regular basis already, so I’m not experiencing much of the “detox” symptoms, but some people may. This would be caused from drinking too much alcohol on a daily basis, consuming too many simple and refined sugars daily or depending on coffee to get your day going.

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I’m also taking a probiotic during this time to help restore my gut flora. This is always a good idea to implement into your daily life even when you’re not cleansing. Probiotics are a huge field in nutrition that are linked to curing or aiding in treatment for a wide range of diseases and ailments: Crohns, IBS, depression, allergies, nutrient absorption, etc.

I’ll be posting the next two days about my experience so you can understand what to expect during your own cleanse!

If you have any questions at all about cleansing, just comment below or email me at healthyfoodylife@gmail.com

Happy Cleansing!