Wednesday, August 26, 2015

September Yoga Challenge

Hi friends!

The first day of fall is on Wednesday September 23rd this year and I had this idea to challenge myself and you guys to a 30 day yoga challenge to kick off the fall season!  During this challenge, I will be posting both here and on my instagram page

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter with #SummerYoga

Here is a list of the first 5 postures we will be practicing, but make sure to warm up before attempting.  As always, be mindful of how you feel, each posture should feel good so if there is any pain either back out or skip that asana:

September 1st: Chair pose (Utkatasana)

     Start in a tall standing posture, arms resting at your sides.  On an inhale, slowly reach your arms up to the sky while keeping your shoulders drawing down and away from your ears.  Inhale, grow tall through your spine.  As you exhale, bend your knees, dropping your hips, and keep the belly pulled in strong.  Take 5-10 breaths.

September 2nd: Revolved chair pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

     From Utkatasana (chair), inhale as you lift your chest and twist to the right.  Bring your left elbow towards your right knee.  Gaze at your knees to make sure they are in alignment.  As you take your next exhale, press the elbow into the knee and gently deepen your twist.  Take 5 to 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

September 3rd: Star pose (Trikonasana)

     From a standing position, widen your stance past hip distance apart.  On an inhale reach the arms out and up towards the sky.  Draw the belly in and move your gaze up.  Take 5-10 deep breaths.

September 4th: Bow pose (Dhanurasana)

     Lie down on your belly (if you are pregnant, skip this posture as it is not safe for the little one).  Reach your arms forward.  On an inhale, bend your knees and reach behind you to find your toes.  If you can not reach your toes, use a strap or towel to hook around your feet for some extra length.  Exhale here. On your next inhale, press your feet up to the sky, roll your shoulders back and away from your ears, opening your chest.  Take 5-10 breaths here.

September 5th: Camel pose (Ustrasana)

    From a kneeling position, knees hip distance apart, inhale and reach your arms up to the sky.  Exhale and place your palms on your lower back with your fingers pointing down to the earth. In hale and squeeze your shoulder blades together and open your chest.  As you exhale, slowly lean back, pressing your hips forward.  Take any variation you'd like as long as it feels good.  Stay here for 5-10 breaths, then tuck your chin to your chest and slowly return to kneeling.

Now,gently lower yourself to child's pose and rest for a few minutes.

Make sure to comment on your favorite asana so far and tag me on Instagram with your daily postures!!

I will be posting weekly pictures with the sanskrit and english names along with guidelines of getting into and out of the postures.

Again, I can not stress enough to be patient with yourself even if you are a seasoned yogi.  Sometimes asanas are easy and sometimes they are not.  The most important part of the posture is a comfortable breath.  Be sure to take slow, deep breaths and there should be no pain.

Follow me on Instagram for daily picture uploads!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Veggie Fest Recap!...And my overdose of sun...

Hi friends!

Can I just say that I am so proud of myself for actually having something to say every Wednesday morning for you?!  I hope you are enjoying reading my thoughts as much as I love writing them!

Ok on to the good stuff that is Veggie Fest!  It was a beautifully hot day, the sun was beaming down (I got some raccoon eyes...), and it was a perfect day to walk around and be outside!


This year's Veggie Fest was held in Lisle, and I got the joy of sharing it with a dear friend, Gabriella.
We had tons of samples from some amazing vendors, but also had just enough room for some good eats as well.  On the left side above, I (the one with the bracelet) had vegan sushi with tofu pockets and Gabriella had veggie fried rice with Meatless Chicken strips.  Both were outstanding, but we had to have some dessert...On the right, I had raw vegan mango cheesecake and she had vegan lemon cake.  Again, both outstanding!

In the spirit of my favorite time of year (and Holiday), I had to share this picture with you all!

Above is just one of the many vendors that had great samples for us to try.  Here, we tried several varieties of spiced nuts and granola; all raw and vegan (and much more, according to the sign).

It was a really great day, so great, we ended it with a shot!
Yes, mine is green juice and hers is turmeric's the way we do it :)

I had so much fun wandering the grounds, sharing stories, catching up, and enjoying good food.  Have any of you been to a festival like this?  If so (or even if you'd like to go), let me know in the comments where you went and what you enjoyed most about it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

5 Easy and Tasty Back to School Lunch Ideas

Hi friends!

Well, it's that time of year when everyone is gearing up for back to school sales!  Ahh, the smell of new folders, crayons, pencils, and supplies.  I don't know about you, but this has always been my favorite time of year (even though I haven't bought those things in several years...).  

To me, it's like Christmas.  The air starts to get cool and crisp, the humidity drops, and the sun is still shining long into the evening.  New adventures are just around the corner as harvest comes into full swing and everyone's workload gets a little more full before the depths of winter.

So, with all of that going on, how do we still keep our bodies healthy?  We barely have time to sit down to a meal, let alone prepare something at home!  Well, I've put together 5 tasty vegetarian recipes (that can be easily altered to suit anyone's palate) that are easy to make, quick, inexpensive, and can be made days in advance.  How much better can you get?!  Not much, in my opinion...

So, without further adieu, there are my recipes; feel free to modify them in any way to suit you or your families preferences.  Whatever you make though, be sure to let me know and share a picture on Instagram with #KBLunchBox

Three Bean Salad Wrap

    • Mix together a can (or a cup of frozen, thawed) of low sodium black beans, green beans, and garbanzo beans. Stir in 2 tablespoons of your favorite homemade dressing.  Lay a whole grain tortilla on the table and line with romaine lettuce (or other dark leafy green) and add in ½ cup of the bean mixture inside.  Roll and wrap in a sealed bag for freshness.

Double dipper
    • Hummus
      • 1 can garbanzo beans blended with ½ teaspoon cumin, 1 T lemon juice, and enough water to make the consistency you like (I use 1/4 of the can of water)
    • Guacamole
      • 1 avocado, mashed with 1 small tomato, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T cilantro, 1 T chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste
    • Pair these dips with your (inner) child’s favorite veggies (like carrots, cucumber, green pepper, etc.) and whole grain pita bread

Upgraded Ants on a Log
    • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed.  Put hummus or a plant-based yogurt dip into the center of the cucumber and top with shredded carrots and raisins.

    • Pack a whole grain tortilla in a sandwich bag, then in a separate container, chop up some veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes! In one more container, pack a few spoonfuls of pasta sauce, vegan cream cheese, or hummus to use as "sauce".
    • When you or your child is at work/school, you can then assemble your own pizza! Just like the (not so healthy) ones that you might have eaten as a kid!!

Noodle Salad
    • Leftover noodles mixed with tahini dressing
      • 2 Tablespoons tahini mixed with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon cumin.  Mix with water until desired consistency.
    • Add in fresh chopped veggies for extra color and crunch

That's all I have for now, be sure to leave a comment and let me know if you would like more recipes!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

High Protein Vegan Salad

Hi friends!

Whether you know it or not, I am not one to count calories or protein needs.  From my studies in nutrition, and several other resources like here, here, and here, protein is a macro-nutrient that is found everywhere and we don't seem to need as much as we think.

Nevertheless, as a vegan, I get asked the most infamous question more often than I'd like; "You don't eat meat?! Well then where do you get your protein?!"

That is why I am writing this post...The average adult human body needs only .8-1 gram of protein per KILOGRAM of body weight...that's kg not pound...which comes out to roughly 50-70 grams per day for the average healthy adult.
     Disclaimer:  Certain life stages or diseases do need more or less protein, but I am just speaking for      the general population here.  I am also not prescribing how much one should consume, just stating      the facts.

Now, to put that into perspective, here's a little chart for you: (The information below was found at the USDA's nutrient database and the)

FoodGrams Protein per 100g of Food
Bacon bits, meatless32
Bacon 12.5
Black beans8
Ground beef, 70/3024
Broccoli, raw3
Collard greens, raw3
Yellow Corn9.4

Just think about how much broccoli or black beans you would get for 100g, and how little beef or other meat!!!

As you can see, animal flesh is a very dense source of protein (and saturated fat and cholesterol) and 3 ounce portions are the recommendation.  Yes, you read that right...3 ounces...that's about the size of a standard deck of cards or the palm of your hand.  From my experience, most Americans consume 3-4 times that at each meal!

Wouldn't you rather get to fill your plate/bowl to the rim with plants?!  Well, I certainly would.

Now for the good stuff, and probably what you came here for in the first place:

High Protein Vegan Salad:
You will need:
  • 2 cups of cooked beans (if you are using canned, be sure to rinse)
  • 1 small zucchini, diced 
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded and roughly shopped
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • 1/2 of a fresh jalapeno (optional)
  • herbs and spices to taste
Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve over a bed of fresh greens (spring mix and kale are my favorites).

Nutrition Facts:
You can enjoy this entire recipe with no guilt!  Check it out, the whole recipe is 520 calories, 34 g protein, 31 g fiber (that's the recommended day's worth), and only 3 g fat!!

High Protein Vegan Salad
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 full recipe (620g)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Let me know how it goes if you try this recipe!