Holiday Greetings

May your holidays be full of love, peace and happiness.  Merry Christmas–or Happy Hanukkah–to you and yours.   Cheers for the New Year!

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Here’s One for the Runners…

I find this hilarious.  Maybe it’s because I train for fall marathons in the height of spring and summer and have smelled a myriad of different aromas wafting from nearby restaurants, bakeries and the like while on my long runs.  Foods that I would never typically eat seem like manna from heaven sometimes!

Anyway, when on my training runs, the thoughts don’t always connect in a linear fashion.  They “sound” a little like this post.  Enjoy!

 

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An Active Girl’s New Best Friend!

I’ve heard of dry shampoos before, but I’ve never tried them.  The topic recently came up again, so while I was out at Target, I decided to check them out.  Someone had mentioned that they tried a couple different brands but actually found that the Suave brand worked best.  Intrigued, I picked up a can… FOR UNDER THREE BUCKS!

While I’m not one to go completely unkempt, my days can get pretty crazy.  So when the opportunity to give this product a whirl came up, I broke out the can and was pleasantly surprised!  It doesn’t look like you are wearing a powdered wig, nor does your hair look like it’s experiencing product overload.  It doesn’t look fresh-from-the-shower clean, but it certainly won’t look like you neeeeed to hit the shower…. like, now.

So, busy girls: grab a can and throw it into your overnight bag, gym bag, or desk drawer. Keep it in your purse or in your bathroom.  Because during these busy seasons, you just never know when you’ll need it!

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Yes, Another Food Post

Since December has arrived, so have the decadent coffee drinks.  You certainly can’t miss the signs and smells of the holidays if you go within walking distance of coffee shops in the Seacoast!  Indulging every now and then may not have detrimental effects on your waistline, but imbibing regularly might.

There are 460 calories in a grande eggnog latte from Starbucks.  If you go to Einstein Brothers Bagels and get one, you’ll be adding 530 calories to your day.  Sure, the “skinny” or non-fat varieties are less calorie-dense, and sugar-free options are out there as well.   (A grande skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks nets out at 120 calories.)

Since we got our amazing coffee maker–a Jura Impressa–I don’t grab coffee on the road much anymore unless I’m going with friends.  I’ve been incredibly spoiled by this machine!  However, I have occasionally been caught by the aroma of espresso wafting on the air while out and about.  Especially now that the holiday lattes are on the menu.  If you are like me, you probably want to enjoy the taste of these offerings with minimal guilt.  So, you find ways to cut the calories or fat.  But sometimes that means sacrificing taste.  I know…  I know…  It’s the old adage of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right?!  Not anymore.

I bought So Delicious Coconut Milk “Nog” today.  After steaming it in preparation for a sort of Egg Nog Latte, I deemed this organic beverage tasty enough without the addition of espresso or coffee!  With only 90 calories in half a cup, it’s a winner!  Give it a try!

 

 

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Do All Things With Love… Indeed.

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A Healthier Version of Pumpkin Pie

Do you love pumpkin pie but feel guilty after having your second or third helping?  Sure, maybe you only have it once or twice a year.  And yes, sometimes those occasional holiday indulgences aren’t THAT bad.  But what if you could both enjoy the flavor of pumpkin pie with less bad fat, sugar and calories and get to enjoy it as often as you like?  Enter the pumpkin pie smoothie.

I’ve seen two different recipes for the same shake.  Feel free to try them both and let me know what you think!  The first is a gluten-free, low-sugar version that includes coconut oil for healthy fat.  The second is similar, but uses raisins as a sweet fiber source.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Serves 1*

  • 4 to 6 ounces water
  • 4 to 6 ounces unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 serving vanilla or plain whey protein from grass-fed cows, or a dairy-free protein powder
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • Half a frozen banana cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 4 ice cubes
  • A little raw honey to taste (optional)

Add all ingredients into blender and blend till smooth and creamy.

Post-run Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie**

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

Blend it all together and top with flax seed for an extra health kick!

* Dr. Frank Lipman   ** Lululemon blog
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Backbends Make Me Smile

Backbends are awesome.  They can make you feel both energized and vulnerable.  They open your heart while shifting your perspective.  Here are some of my favorites:

Iggy Pop

Madonna

John Frusciante

Yoga Jolie 🙂

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It’s Soup Season!

As the seasons change here in New England, I find myself wanting soup for dinner more and more. Fortunately for me, we get fresh, organic vegetables delivered to the house every week! Now that fall is upon us, we’ve seen more squash and root vegetables–perfect for soups and stews!

I’m a busy girl (my occasional blogging breaks can attest to that!), so making fresh and wholesome food needs to be manageable for me. If it takes too long, it gets filed for another time.  The soups I’ve been making lately have involved winging it to the greater degree.  Each time, they are a little different, but delicious nonetheless!

Here’s what you’ll need to make my simple fall soup:

* Base vegetable – squash (like Delicata, Acorn, Butternut, etc.) and sweet potato are my favorites.  If you use squash, you’ll need 2-3 Delicata, 1-2 Acorn, or 1 Butternut.  Sweet potatoes vary in size, so I’d use at least 4 medium.

* One medium onion

* Two stalks of celery and two carrots

* Vegetable broth (32 oz).  I prefer low- sodium and organic varieties.

* Salt, pepper, tarragon, bouquet garni, etc.  The options are limitless, but these are my “go to” seasonings.

The steps are pretty simple, and I really don’t measure anything.  The flavors are delicious and since this calls for so few ingredients, you don’t have to worry about messing anything up!  It turns out every time!

1) Add olive oil to the bottom of a big pot or Dutch oven (do not put on heat yet).

2) Peel squash or sweet potatoes (seed squash) and cut into cubes–I usually make them fairly small, like, 1/4″, so they cook faster.  Put into pot and turn heat up to medium, stirring to coat vegetables.

3) Peel and dice onion and add to pot.  Continue to stir occasionally.

4) While veg and onion cook/roast, chop celery and carrots into similarly sized pieces and add to the pot.  Stir and let cook for a few minutes.  You don’t want the veg to get too soft, so watch for the colors to deepen.  When they do, add the vegetable broth to the pot.

If the broth doesn’t cover your vegetables, add water.  You can also add pepper, bouquet garni, tarragon in this step.  I usually wait for the soup to cook down a little and add salt to taste.  Cooking the liquid down a little will also give you a thicker soup.

Once your veg are fork tender, turn the heat off.  If you want to have some chunks of veg in your soup, drain a couple of ladles full and set aside.

5) With either an immersion blender or a high speed blender, puree your soup.  *Caution – if you use a standard blender, do not fill it more than half way with hot soup.  Blend in stages.  Add solids back to pot with smooth puree and season to taste.

We love this with pepitas sprinkled on top and a delicious, crusty bread on the side.

If you make it, let me know what you think!  It’s a hit here, and because you can mix up the base veg, every pot tastes a little different.  Bon appetit!

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Guaranteed Transformation… If You Want it

During his 7-day workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tanya Lee Markul (a blogger and yogi) had the fortunate opportunity to squeeze in a café Americano (times two) with level-2 authorized Ashtanga yoga teacher, David Robson.

They discussed Ashtanga yoga and some of the statements are thought-provoking as well as educational.  Here is the link: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/guaranteed-transformation–if-you-want-it/


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I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself!

When people find out that I’m an Ashtangi, the conversation often turns to yoga and sometimes includes opinions and notions about the style I love so much.  It can go from a declaration about what a kick ass workout it is, how some of the asanas look like something out of Cirque du Soleil and “can you do that?!” often follows.  But then there are the folks who find the repetition of poses in a particular Series to be monotonous.  And others still who blame Ashtanga for a series of injuries that so-and-so had after practicing.  Admittedly, Ashtanga has gotten a bad rap in the injury department.  It is an athletic form of yoga, and often attracts the Type A personalities who like to work their edge–no matter what the endeavor, yoga or otherwise.  But that same person will likely get injured no matter what style they practice!  Pushing yourself too hard to get into a pose that your body isn’t ready for can result in injury whether it’s Ashtanga, Anusara, Power, or Hatha.  (In fact, I know someone who stopped going to Ashtanga because of a hamstring injury… and she later was injured in another class, in another studio, because she pushed herself past her edge.)  But I digress.

Why do I love this style of yoga?  I love the challenge of it.  Yes, the sequence of Primary Series is the same every time I do it, but my experience changes each and every time.  I never tire of the practice because it truly does become a moving meditation.  I don’t have to make my brain think of what to do next.  My body knows.  It humbles me to see the way the most amazing garbha pindasana one day can turn into a big ol’ mess of hands mashing through lotus another day and then morph once again during another practice.  It has made me listen to my body in a way that I never had before.  It can sometimes be easy to disconnect and push through something–running, cycling, weight training, etc.  But with yoga, the inner voice can speak loud volumes (if you listen).  The beauty in that is the way the inner voice can continue to speak while running, cycling, weight training… 😉

I can go on and on about my love affair with Ashtanga… and maybe I will sometime.  But until then, enjoy this blog post that I found from Karmela Johnson:

http://karmelajohnson.com/2010/09/22/top-10-reasons-why-i-love-ashtanga/

photo credit: Gosia Janik

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