Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ok friends, it's almost the Fourth of July!!  Can you believe it?...Me either.  Time flies when you're having fun I guess.

Between teaching yoga, taking a night class, and doing my own research, I have been working hard on my next upcoming book!  I'm actually working on 2!  But, 1 more than the other ;)  I'm not going to give it away, so I'll just leave you hanging there and fill the void with a tasty recipe for the holidays!!

Since going 90% low fat raw vegan, I have begun to explore so many beautiful ways raw food can be put together in pretty ways.  Although eating food in its raw, living form is beautiful enough, sometimes it is fun to release the left side of my brain and get creative!

  • 5 bananas
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 2 pints strawberries (or any other red fruit like raspberries!)
Skewer the fruit starting with the strawberries, then banana, and finally blueberries until you reach the end of the stick.   Continue until all the fruit is used up, then enjoy!

Please feel free to leave a comment, letting me know what your favorite July 4th recipe is.

Luana ola!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

108 Sun Salutations

Last spring... I completed 108 sun salutations in honor of the change of seasons from winter to spring.  This is a tradition in yoga for many different reasons (listed below) and are done at the beginning of each season, so the next one will be in September for the vernal equinox (first day of fall).

On June 21st, 2013 I completed my second round (first being spring) of 108 sun salutations at Essencia!  It was so empowering, made me feel strong, and every muscle in my body was sore the next day!  Did you ever think you can get sore from yoga??  Well, you definitely can!

The reason for doing 108 sun salutations, according to Yoga Inside Out, is the following:

- 108 is the number of “Upanishads” comprising Indian philosophy’s “Vedic texts”.
- 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).
- 108 is the number of names for Buddha.
- 108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan “mala” (prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
- 108 is twice the number 54, which is the number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, one set of masculine (shiva) and one set of feminine (shakti).
- 108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation
- 108 is the number of Sutras in the Yoga Sutras
- 108 connects the sun, moon and earth as the average distance  of the sun and moon to earth is 108 times their respective diameters

What is a sun salutation?  Well, it sounds complicated, but when you actually go through the motions, it is not so bad.  Below, I have listed the 7 different postures (but 10 steps)to complete 1/2 a salutation.  A full sun salutation is once through, starting with the right leg, and once through, starting with the left.

  1. mountain pose
  2. forward fold
  3. high lunge
  4. plank
  5. chaturanga
  6. upward dog
  7. downward dog
  8. high lunge
  9. forward fold
  10. mountain pose
Try it out!  But, start with 3-5 sun salutations.  This is what we normally use to warm up our bodies in yoga, so 3-5 is usually good.  When you become more advanced, 10-12 is really good.  Save 108 salutations for each season as it can be quite taxing on the body if done too often.

Enjoy and please leave a comment below, letting me know how you felt after a yoga class!

Also, I'm doing a giveaway soon and working on my youtube channel, so let me know what you'd like to see!

Luana ola!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Continuing On...

I am posting today in honor of all of us.  We all go though tough patches many times during our life and sometimes it just feels as though the world is out to get us.

Without getting too personal, I wanted to share with you my own experience recently.  After taking 4 years of college and 1 year of my dietetic licensing program, I'm on a roll with anatomy and all things health.  Loving practically every minute of it!  During this summer, I planned on taking 2 courses to get myself just a bit more ahead so I could slow down the cramming during the coming semester.  Anatomy/Physiology 2 and Finite Math were the two courses I signed up for at my community college (cheaper than Dominican, less drive, you get the gist).

During this past week, I attended the A/P class and lab every day and each day the professor reminded all transfer students that they needed to submit their transcripts to her so that she could make sure the prerequisite for this class was met.  Why we were allowed to register without proof is beyond me.  I spend the first 3 days of the week trying to get ahold of my unofficial Carthage transcript.  Once I finally got it in my hands today (the last day of class for this week), my professor told me that I did not have "Human Anatomy" and could therefore not take the class due to the fact that I did not meet the prerequisite.  So a BA in Exercise Physiology means that I can not take a basic A/P course?

So after a bit of yoga, meditation, and calming myself by talking to friends, I came to the conclusion that this is life.  Sometimes, life throws us curveballs.  Sometimes those curveballs are coming at us at 200mph.  When this happens, it is crucial for us to do possibly the hardest thing in the world...take a step back, assess the situation with a rational mind, and make the best of the situation.

Now I'm sure you're reading this and thinking, "yeah right!".  I know, I've been there on several occasions, but I'm here to tell you that it works!  Now I did have my fair share (about 2 hours worth) of freaking out, being angry and wondering "why me?  why now when I am this close to being done".  But once I gathered myself and realized that it was causing more pain and agony to insist that the universe was turning against me, I sat down and let my thoughts go.  Doing this allowed me to see from an outside perspective and made me realize that it is ok for plans to not go a certain way.  Who knows, maybe by taking this class during the school year I will learn more that I ever could know.

Whatever crisis you might have in your life at this moment.  Breathe.  Just breathe into it and look at it from the outside.  I promise this too will pass and you will feel so much better in the end.

Please enjoy this life as much as you possible can!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week 2

Today was my first official day of summer classes.   Needless to say, I am very excited and my first class went very well.  I think it will be really nice to refresh my memory on anatomy physiology this summer!

That being said, I will be reducing my posts down to once or twice a week (probably Monday nights and maybe Fridays as those are my two least hectic days).

So let's do a quick recap of my first week during this was tough, but not too tough.  Yes, I had cravings for cooked food and I gave in on a couple occasions, but overall I have been feeling VERY good eating 80-90% raw.  My energy levels are up and most importantly, my mood is so great!  I can also attribute my perkiness to yoga.  I have been practicing daily and teaching a few times a week (see for dates/times/locations).  My practice has begun to deepen and I am feeling more connected and balanced every day.  It is so beautiful and amazing when life blooms and comes together all at once despite what is going on in our physical world.

As far as today's meals goes, they really weren't that impressive...except...dinner!  On a huge whim, I ended up making the most delicious, healthful, beautiful, and colorful salad!  It included yellow squash, carrot, green bell pepper, and red cabbage.  All of it was shredded and peeled thin, then drizzled with mustard and agave for dressing!  I must say, I'm a bit obsessed with this new concoction I found!

Luana ola!

p.s. I started writing this post on my iPad on Monday and due to my busy schedule this week, forgot about it until now!  I will do better in the future, I promise :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Days 9 and 10

I apologize for not posting yesterday.  We had a lot going on around here, and I didn't get a chance until right now!  I ate raw until 6pm and then went to Tiki Terrace with Andrew.  They were so accommodating for me and made me a huge raw salad with shredded romaine, cabbage, tomato, carrot, lemon, and pineapple!  Delicious!  The only thing non-raw that I ate were taro chips with pineapple salsa.  However, they were vegan and baked so not too bad.

Today was so great though!  I had an array of fruits with raw chocolate for breakfast, 6 bananas for lunch, and a big salad from Marianos for dinner.

This afternoon, we went to the pond by our library to do some reading and found a family of 5 baby ducks and their momma!  Just wait, it gets more cute...the momma hopped up out of the water and onto the ledge and waited patiently for her ducklings to join.  One by one, they tried and tried again to hop up, but their little bodies were not quite strong enough.  Sure enough, after some serious perseverance each one of them made it up by her.  They all huddled together and took a little nap.

When we got back home, after some snacking on watermelon, we played a little game of ultimate Frisbee with Zak (Andrew's brother), and Andrew's Mom's boyfriend's kids (sorry if you got lost on that one!) Super fun, and I worked up a good sweat!  There is nothing like having fun while getting exercise!

Here's to another great day tomorrow and my summer classes start on Monday!

Luana ola!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 8

Hey everyone!  It's day 8 of the challenege!  I can't believe how time flies.

I have to be honest with you though, I had some serious cravings for cooked food this morning.  I did have some coffee, not for the caffeine, but the warmth and bold taste.  It's so strange how the weather plays with our emotions and food preferences.  It's about 60 degrees and raining...still!!  I am so ready for "real" summer weather to come, you know, 80s-90s sunny and warm!!  Oh well, maybe this weather is for all of our plants to grow big and healthy because if you were in this area this time last year, it was a nasty drout.

Anyways, on to breakfast...watermelon and coffee (with a bite or two of Andrew's pancake...he was going to throw it away and I couldn't resist!!)

Lunch was a blur...mish mosh of dried fruit/veggies...I was feeling pretty blue up until about 2pm.  I blame it on the weather because when I got to Essencia, the sun was out and I was happy!  It could also be because I was surrounded with love and happiness from Jeannine and her beautiful new studio!

I taught my first class in the studio at 4pm and then stayed for the 6pm class, taught by Jeannine.  It was really cool because there was a woman in the class who was 32 weeks pregnant, so I got so see some prenatal yoga/modifications for the belly!

It's 8:30pm and I just got back home to settle in for the evening.  After 4 small apples, some watermelon, and pecans, my belly is full and happy!

I hope you will come visit me at Essencia!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 7

I don't know about where you live, but here in Chicago land, it's cold (50s and 60s!!) and rainy...needless to say, my energy levels were no where near optimal today.

Andrew and I shared a watermelon for breakfast, but neither one of us could finish our half!

I stayed completely full until noon (I ate breakfast at 6:30!), and was still not really hungry, but I knew I needed to eat something, so I basically snacked the rest of the afternoon and didn't have any real meals.

Here's a rundown of what I ate:

  • bananas
  • apples
  • pecans (I didn't eat enough fruit today, so I had a few too many fats...)
  • a cucumber with agave mustard dip
  • some cereal (yes, it was cooked.  I got a taste for cooked food because I did not stay full enough on raw foods.  I will get it tomorrow!)
  • and some raw chocolate

Sugar cravings kicked in this evening before going to lift due to the lack of fruit in my diet today.  Again, the good thing is that I am aware of what I am doing rite and wrong, so I am able to make corrections and modifications when necessary.  The key to lifestyle changes is taking small steps, making modifications to suit you, and remember why you are making this lifestyle change in the first place.

My reason for doing this challenge/lifestyle change:  I felt so full of life and happiness while on the raw vegan cleanse I did a few weeks ago and felt weighed down and heavy as soon as I ate cooked vegetarian foods again.  After doing research about a low fat raw vegan lifestyle, I feel that it can really be helpful in living my best, most healthy long life!

Remember to sign up to receive updates in your email!  I am posting every day through the summer as this low fat raw vegan lifestyle continues and my transformation shines.

Luana ola!

p.s. Would you like to see more pictures? I know I've gotten lazy with taking them...  This blog is for you, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.  Also, would you like to see videos on youtube?  I've been thinking about starting a channel...let me know!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 6

Woke up this morning, not really hungry, then I drank some water and the hunger came!  For breakfast, I had the other half of my melon from yesterday along with some bananas because I was feeling extra hungry!

After a bit of reading, yoga, and checking emails, I went outside to mow the yard.  Now I really don't like to mow the yard because it disrupts what nature wants... to flourish (not to mention the gas)!  Cutting the grass and then infecting it with fertilizer just so you can cut it again is madness!  Don't you agree?

Any who...I cut the grass because I was asked to do so and I found that it was very refreshing to work up a good sweat while doing yard work.  I loved the sun, my music, the breeze, and the smell of the yard for that whole hour it took me to finish (yes, it is a larger yard...)

After mowing, I grabbed a big glass of water and blended up a delicious Milkshake for lunch!  Now now, calm down, this was a raw vegan milkshake make with frozen bananas, a little water, and some cacao.  Honestly, it tasted like a frosty!  So good.

For a snack, I munched on 2 small apples, a bowl full of frozen banana slices, and a couple pecans.

Dinner was a big salad of spinach, tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, and a mustard/agave dressing (my new favorite!)  Speaking of, does anyone know how to make mustard?  I bought some seeds, but am weary of recipes, so I'm on the lookout for a good one!

After Dinner Snack was a cucumber with the same agave mustard, man that stuff is good!

Exercise: 1 hour power yoga and an after dinner walk with Andrew!

Always looking for adventurers to join me!

Luana ola!

Day 5

Breakfast: half of a melon

Lunch: 3 small apples and a banana

Dinner: a whole stalk of celery, 8 large mushrooms, 1 cup of raw sauerkraut, 1 T agave, 1 T raw mustard.  I mixed all of this together as a salad!  So good!!

Snacks: 3/4 of a cucumber, a couple dates, and LOTS of watermelon!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 4

Breakfast:  4 bananas

Lunch: 3 small apples and a handful of carrots

Dinner:  1 head green leaf lettuce, 1/2 cucumber, 1 medium tomato, parsley, a few pecans

Snacks:  frozen bananas, dates, fresh sauerkraut, celery sticks

I was really hungry today.  I'm still getting acclimated to the amount of food I need to consume.  I'm so used to stopping when I'm full that I get full before I consume enough calories!  With that in mind, it is no wonder I had so many snacks before and after dinner.  I'm trying to keep the fat content low, and I started to feel as though I was eating too much fruit today.  I just have to keep reminding myself that fruit is the staple of this lifestyle and should be eaten in abundance and with love!

Please join me in this amazing and life-changing experience!

Luana ola!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 3

I slept so well last night and woke up around 6:30am.  I was really hungry, so while Andrew got ready, I had a bunch of fruit for breakfast (bananas, strawberries, and blueberries...lots of them!)

I had to teach a Vinyasa class at 11:30, so I grabbed a few dates to tide me over.   After we both worked out, we went to Whole Foods for lunch.  I got the salad bar; loaded up with kale, raw beets, peppers, onion, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne pepper, and vinegar!  Andrew had a veggie burger with fruit!

After a bunch of errands and getting Gus (our tortoise) a new tank (ehem...kiddie swimming pool we converted to a tank...), both of us were hungry and devoured some watermelon!

I've been just grazing all evening on some pecans, a little avocado, and dates...I think I craved high energy foods because I didn't eat enough's all good though I've learned and will eat more fruit starting in the morning.

I did have a few cravings for cooked food today (mainly just the popcorn I made for Andrew while I was hungry...)  But overall, feeling great!

Remember, please feel free to join me any time with this challenge for moral support!

Luana ola!

Day 2

Breakfast: big bowl of mixed berries, drizzled in raw chocolate (that I made last night)

Lunch: 2 apples, 3 c chopped kale, 8 dates

Dinner: 2 big salads from Sweet Tomatoes!  I could not believe the energy I got from this meal!  I was talking so much, Andrew told me that he wanted to go fill his water so he could get a break! Haha!  I felt so good, but I was hungry 2 hours later so I had some berries and a date before bed.

Snacks: banana bits while chopping and freezing over-rips bananas and a smoothie of 1 grapefruit and 1 banana with ice and water (I let it freeze for a bit to thicken up and become like a shake!)

Today was so beautiful!  I walked to the grocery store (about .8-1 mile each way) to load up on produce and got so much that I could barely carry the bags home!  I got a good sweat going, that's for sure!  My arms were tired, so I just wanted to get the groceries put away and forgot to take a picture, but here's what I bought and the cost:

  • 1lb dates $5.99
  • huge bag of about 20 apples $1.50
  • huge bag of about 22 bananas $1.50
  • huge bag of about 12 grapefruit $1.50
  • 1 bunch of beets (3 roots + stem) $1.99
  • 3 cucumbers $1
  • 1.8 lb red cabbage $1.79
  • 3 bunches cilantro $1
  • huge bag of baby spinach $2.37
  • 15 lb seeded watermelon $8.40
  • Supreme health from eating these foods...priceless!
Grand total $33.18 (I rounded a few prices for ease of typing in case you are the type to check my know who you are!)

Luana ola!