GONE YOGI-IN’!

That’s right! The time is finally here… MY YOGA VACATION!

My mom and I are leaving bright and early (ooph!) tomorrow to head to the Bahamas where we’ll be for the next week! The program is 5 days long and the other two days are for travel, basically. All I really know so far is that we do a class twice a day and have chanting and meditation. I’m still a bit nervous about the chanting and meditation, but my mom assures me that I will enjoy it.

I have been looking forward to this for so long and I feel like my renewed commitment to yoga and other health ventures will set a nice foundation for this trip. On top of all that, it will be totally relaxing🙂 I’m sure I’ll have so much to write about once I get back. Until then, good luck with your own practice and have a great week!

Namaste!

Spring is in the Air

Well, I am less than four weeks away from my yoga vacation! Weeee!!!

I finished up my five weeks at CorePower Yoga and I had a great time. I love hot yoga–it’s so detoxifying, I feel amazing afterwards. This studio was super popular, but I found that on weekdays right after work it was a good amount of attendance–enough to feel like you’re not sticking out too much but enough room to move, breathe, and fall. I wish hot yoga wasn’t so expensive. I always end up getting Groupons for different studios whenever I can. Oh well, it’s always a nice treat.

Unfortunately, I’ve been slacking the last week or so, but I am definitely going to get back on track. Especially now that I got a brand new mat for my birthday that is super awesome (thanks, Mom!). I am thinking about revisiting Yoga Journal’s 21-Day Challenge again in preparation.

My juice cleanse ended wellI actually bought a (cheap) juicer to see if I could get in the habit of keeping it up and it turns out… I CAN! It is, however, an expensive habit to maintain. As you would expect, veggies like celery and cucumbers juice wonderfully and leafy greens like spinach, well, not so much. I’m sure I could get a bit more juice if I had a better juicer, but I’m sure it would still be hard to get much–right now I get between 6-8 ounces of juice out of one bag of spinach! Crazy! Why does being healthy have to be so expensive?😦 I’ve been drinking about 8 ounces of veggie juice a day, whereas I was kind of hoping I could do 16, but I just don’t have the funds. Every bit counts, though!

On my cleanse, I lost about 6 pounds and then had gained about 3 back over that next week. But the cleanse wasn’t about loosing weight, it was about detoxifying, which definitely happened. I felt really really great and I wish I had the will power to always live that well and clean–absolutely no sugar, no gluten, etc. but alas, I am only human! I have still continued to cut back on my wheat, which is still hard, but I think I’m doing a good job. Once again, I wish I had the will power to cut out all gluten, but I’m just not there yet.

The weather has been wonderful in the good ol’ ‘burbs of Chicago and The Boy and I have been taking walks often, which is both refreshing, reenergizing, and provides some nice bonding time🙂 And on that note, I will bid you adieu!

Namaste.

Juice Cleanse: Day Two & Three

On Tuesday morning I woke up feeling good. Not amazing like I had Monday afternoon, but still really good. I had a cup of decaf green tea while I got ready for work to quiet my rumbling tummy. That actually did the job for a couple hours, to my surprise. I gathered up all of my juices for the day and I was determined to try to stick to the one-every-two-hours schedule that I couldn’t keep up with on Day One.

I opened up my first green juice in the car and took sips at stop lights to get a head start. To my surprise, I actually wanted to keep drinking. My tastebuds had acquired a little bit and suddenly I was gulping this drink down (in comparison to Day One). I finished it in about 40 minutes as opposed to the hour and some-odd minutes it took me yesterday. I was feeling great.

I had told a few people at work I was doing this, or some people figured it out, and they were curious to how it was going. I told them that I felt totally fine–no mood swings, no desperate hunger other than when The Boy was eating a delicious dinner while I drank my juice, and no “bathroom troubles.” I was even starting to like the beet and ginger juice that I was sure would be the death of me on this cleanse.

This trend would continue into Day Three. The juices got more and more appealing to me and started to taste really great. I was able to drink them all in about 30-40 minutes. In between every juice, I would drink decaf green tea or hot water with lemon to warm myself back up again.

To my surprise, I still hadn’t had any of those side-effects that every advice blog or medical website would give me. Not that I was complaining!😉 But I was a little worried that I was “doing it wrong” or something. I wish Day Two and Three could be a bit more interesting, but that’s really about it. I felt amazing, the juices were really starting to become a routine and I was loving how they tasted and I could feel the positive effects they were having on me.

I honestly think I could’ve gone another couple days on it. I am actually thinking about buying a cheap juicer off of Craigslist or something. The trend I’m hearing with a lot of people is that they juice pretty solidly for a month and then stop, so I’m not going to shell out a ton of money until I know I’m going to keep up with it.

Any suggestions for a juicer? What are some of your favorite juice recipes?

I promise my post-cleanse entry will be more interesting… thanks for checking up on me!🙂

Namaste.

Juice Cleanse: Day One

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I woke up yesterday morning genuinely looking forward to cleanse. I was curious to try the juices and see what they’d be like as the extent of my vegetable juice drinking goes as far as Bloody Mary’s😉

At 6:30, my tummy started rumbling. I had a cup of decaffeinated green tea and it calmed down for a little while. The handy How-To guide that came with my juices said that I was to drink one juice every two hours, so I wanted to start promptly at 8:00 am. This idea kind of scared me because that would mean my last juice would be at 6:00 pm… How would I survive the rest of the night?!

At 8:00 am, I had my first green juice, which was a blend of leafy greens, ginger, and lemon. This juice was loaded with chlorophyll and all 5 servings of vegetables AND fruits for the day! Talk about a super juice! The verdict…It wasn’t terrible! it was actually very refreshing–I could definitely taste some parsley in there. the best way I can describe it is that is tasted like a salad–with no dressing or extra veggies in it haha! After I finished the 16 oz at about 9:30, I felt really great. Energized, alert, bright, and light. Shortly after, I got a mild headache but it only lasted a couple minutes. My tummy started rumbling at about 10:30, just in time for the next juice.

I had been hearing about that crazy lemonade with cayenne pepper and maple syrup concoction for years and I always had mixed feelings about how that would taste. And now I had one in my hand ready to be drank. This was definitely interesting. It tastes like lemonade, but there is a sharp bite from the cayenne after you swallow. It’s very odd. I was a little afraid about the maple syrup being in my drink, but I really couldn’t taste it at all. After that one, I was feeling pretty good.

I was surprised at how full I felt. And I was especially shocked by how much I was not obsessing over the food I wasn’t eating. If I got a little hunger pang between juices, I would just drink tea or hot water with lemon in between. I was feeling on top of the world! But then, at 11:00 our building manager refilled our candy bowl with Twix, Snickers, and M&Ms. And then someone put a cookie cake in the kitchen. And then a group of people ordered Chinese food food for lunch–one of my favorite things! The smell was intoxicating… So I ran away! I went out for a little errand running during the lunch break and when I returned, the smell had just about subsided. And I had conquered the cravings! Don’t get me wrong–I love food. LOVE IT. But in those few hours, I learned that I don’t need to give in to every offering of food presented to me. If this were any other day, I would have had a couple candies, a slice of cookie cake, and been a part of that lunch order, all before noon. I felt even better after that🙂

Then came the trying moment. The red juice is the worst one for me, I learned. It’s a beet juice with carrots and watermelon, but the beet juice is definitely the most prominent. And I hate beets! Ugh. It took me about an hour and a half to drink it, I’m not kidding. I had flashbacks to my mother trying to get me to take cough syrup or finish my last bites of food I didn’t want: “Ok. Now take four sips. GOOD GIRL! Now take a break. … Ok, now FIVE sips!” How embarrassing! I rewarded myself with my new favorite thing: hot water with lemon! I seriously feel like an old lady saying that, but it really is perfect. It’s light and refreshing and totally warms you up! So good.

It was at this point that I realized I had been drinking my juices too slowly. I was supposed to have four while I was at work and I ended up only drinking three–I had my fourth in the car on the way home. But then I had to have another red juice in about an hour. By this point, it was already 7:00 and I was still full–and I still had my cashew milk, the light at the end of the red juice tunnel, to go! The cashew milk was heavenly–smooth, rich and creamy with some cinnamon and nutmeg. It was a very sweet and protein-rich end to my day. I wish they sold it by itself because I’d drink it all the time!

By 10:00, I had finally drank all of my juices. Overall, it was a great day. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I felt great all day and if I ever craved food–usually when someone else around me was eating something awesome–the craving would subside with in a few minutes anyway. I feel like everything around me is somehow clearer–my head and my vision are more focused and clear. I never felt tired or irritable. I felt like my usual self all day, just a better, healthier version. I felt very clean!

Now that all this is said and done, we’ll see what is in store for my next two days… I hope I didn’t jinx myself!😉 Wish me luck!

Namaste.

Juice Cleanse Prep Day

As I mentioned a little while ago, I am all signed up and ready to do my first juice cleanse! It’s a simple 3-day cleanse that I purchased through a reputable juice bar in the Chicago area, Peeled. Between a few birthdays, holidays, and a yearly bar crawl over this past month, I thought this week would be the best time to detox and hit the “reset” button.

Now, I’ve done my research about how to prep and survive for my juice cleanse, but last night I got an extra dose of pre-cleanse help and insight. My boyfriend’s mom hosted Easter last night and she invited her friend over, who just happens to be a juicing expert! She’s done a ton of different cleanses throughout her life and she gave me a few important pointers:

  • Listen to your body–this is the overlying theme through out the tips she gave me
  • Each cleanse is different–sometimes you’ll feel great the whole time, sometimes you’ll feel crappy the whole time; sometimes you’ll fluctuate
  • You can exercise, but only if you really feel like it and only do as much as you can–don’t push it
  • Drink caffeine free tea or hot water with lemon–because the juices are cold, it’s important to have some hot fluids through your day  to help your body stay warm and let your organs expand
  • You may want to take chlorophyll pills for extra nutrients
  • Eat vegetarian and clean for at least one day before and after the cleanse

I am really curious to see how this goes. It’s hard to plan everything since I don’t know how I’ll react, body- and mind-wise. I have gotten into a really nice groove of hot yoga after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I may not be up for that intense of a work out on just juice. So, I’m doing a class after work today to get a good, tough class in pre-cleanse and then I may take some Yin Yoga classes on Tuesday and/or Thursday night–or not at all, I’m definitely going to play it by ear and just live in the moment!

Wish me luck! Have you ever done a juice cleanse? How was the experience for you?

Namaste.

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes with Chocolate Chips

I am all kinds of messed up today: I made my recipe for Meatless Monday on Saturday and now I’m posting it on a Tuesday! Better late than never, I suppose😉

I woke up on Saturday morning really craving pancakes. But since I’ve started reading Wheat Belly, I’ve been trying to cut back on the wheat (ie flour). I’m doing a pretty good job, but there are some things that I just haven’t been able to commit to yet–like beer and the small amounts of wheat that are found in salad dressings and sauces, for instance. (My appreciation and awe goes out to those who are completely wheat- or gluten-free by choice and especially to those who have wheat or gluten allergies.)

Luckily, I had seen a recipe somewhere that made pancakes with oats and my morning was saved! (Side note: oats are not always gluten-free, but they are wheat-free) I took to the internet immediately and managed to find a recipe that included ingredients I already had in my house. Hooray!

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I used this recipe from tastykitchen.com which calls for:

  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I was somehow out of baking powder, so I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (which I left out at request of the Boy, and it tasted just fine!)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I have no idea how much I used–I just sprinkled them on top and stopped when I thought I had enough ;-))

The recipe is very simple. First, you blend the banana and almond milk.

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It smelled and looked so good! It was really hard to not abandon this project and just make a smoothie, but it was definitely worth the waiting🙂

Next, blend the oats and baking powder (or soda) and salt (or not) until it’s all combined. I left mine a bit chunkier than the original recipe.

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Let it sit for a minute or two so it thickens up, and then you’re ready to start cooking! Spoon some batter onto a hot griddle that’s been greased and wait for those air bubbles to start popping!

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Sprinkle those chocolate chips on and get to flippin’! I somehow accidentally deleted the only picture I had of my finished product😦 But it’s probably better this way because I am not good at the flipping aspects of cooking–pancakes, omelettes, you name it. No good!

Anyway, these pancakes were FANTASTIC! I have to say though as a warning, they did not taste like typical pancakes. They were not light and airy and they did not taste like plain pancakes. As you could imagine–given the ingredients–they tasted like banana bread. But they tasted like the best banana bread you could ever have! They were absolutely delicious! They were dense (but not heavy) and moist and so so flavor full! The added chocolate made it feel like a decadent splurge.

I personally felt that they didn’t need any kind of topping, but the Boy liked his with maple syrup and the website suggested peanut butter, which I think would be SO good as well! I guess I just wasn’t ready for that much awesome all at once😉 Now all I have to do is figure out a way to reheat pancakes effectively so that I can make huge batches at once for weekdays! Any suggestions?

Happy Meatless Monday Tuesday!

Namaste.

Ooph.

Wow, do I need to get some Spring Cleaning done. I’m one of those people who can’t function to my full ability until my environment is where I need it to be. I need to clear out the clutter in my room and my office and then my head will be able to be clear as well. I read an article about starting a blog once and it said to not ever write that “oh my gosh, I never write here anymore” post–so I’m not going to. Ha! This entry won’t be pretty, but I have to do it or I’ll fall into a bad habit that I don’t want to get in to.

I started a free trial week at a CorePower Yoga studio near my work last week. The first time I trekked out, it was a Saturday morning and it was SO crowded. Uncomfortably so. I’m all for allowing as many people as possible in the space, but come on! When I have to alter my correct positioning to not hit someone, then I’m not able to get the full benefit of the practice. Luckily, though, the next two times I went the classes were a perfect size. Enough people to fill the studio but not be cramped. It was like a big open-mouthed breath out!

The studio was nice. I had the same teacher for two of my classes and she was great. Her sequencing and visualization techniques were very effective. I’m glad I have another month worth of classes there (I got a Groupon a little while ago) because as much as I enjoy doing yoga with my podcasts and DVDs, I mostly enjoy being in a class with a teacher there to make sure I’m all good. Also, I love hot yoga. Especially now with all the cold days we’ve been having lately!😦 COME ON SPRING!!!!

I’m also going to start a 21-day meditation program soon. Again, I say soon because I need to get other things in order before I can get my brain in order. But it will come.

On another note, I bought a Groupon (love it!) for a 3-day juice cleanse and I’m starting it April 2nd–plenty of time to mentally prepare haha! Have you ever done a juice cleanse? Any tips on how to prepare, survive (ha!), and recover?

Wish me luck on my cleaning cleansing!

Namaste.