Friday, January 29, 2016

Flavorful Friday: Do you taste your food?

Hi friends!!

Can you believe this is the last week of January?!  I sure can't!!

With working a full time job as well as creating new programs for TheYogiRD, time seems to slip by all too quickly.  As a matter of fact, as I am typing this, it is coming to my attention that I could use some mindfulness in my life.  I recently watched a video about being mindful in your daily life.  Really living in the moment and paying attention to the task at hand, instead of thinking about everything else you need to get done.

That is where my yoga practice comes in.  Every time I am on my mat, I am mindful.  It comes more easily on the mat (more challenging at home compared to at the studio...).  I have just now noticed that this practice of mindfulness has not quite been integrated into my whole life.  Sure, when I don't have a super busy schedule, I am more aware and mindful.  But it is during those intense moments in life that being mindful is most important.  During the crazy running around trying to keep everything together moments is really when we should stop. and breathe. and be present.

So, naturally it is difficult, but if you and I work at it, those want to pull your hair out crazy moments will be more bearable because we have learned to clear the chaos and allow ourselves to seek and find an answer.

So, what does this have to do with it being "Flavorful Friday"?  Well, everything actually!  Mindfulness is eating and choosing what we eat is a major part of a healthy lifestyle!  When you take the time to smell, taste, feel, hear, and see the food you are putting on your plate and in your body; you are more apt to make increasingly healthy decisions.

Think about the last time you really took the time to use all of your senses in preparing and eating a meal.  It made the meal so amazing, didn't it?!  If you've never tried this, I challenge you to try it this weekend. (Then be sure to let me know how it goes!!)

Whether it is preparing a meal or eating a meal, take some time to be mindful:

  • Think about the ingredients
  • Taste each ingredient in each bite
  • Chew each bite at least 20 times and notice any flavor and texture changes
  • Notice the temperature of the food.
  • How does the food smell?  What does the smell remind you of?
  • How does the food sit in your stomach?
    • Are you still hungry?  Overly full? Or just right?
Let me know, in the comments, your thoughts on mindfulness/mindful eating!  If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe! 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: LOVE is all you need!

Hi Friends!

What a week it has been!  Talk about a crazy winter storm!! If you live on the East Coast of the United States, I hope you are staying dry, safe, and warm!  

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about love.  There are so many different types of love, it is surprising that the English language uses only one word.  Sanskrit, an ancient language used in yoga; Hinduism; Buddhism; and Jainism, has over 200 words for the word "love".  Not to mention all the phrases one can use "love" in as well!

What a beautiful thing!

Think about all the different ways you could say "love" to someone.  To your partner, your dog or cat, your child, your friend, the world, the earth, the trees, your eyes, your belly, your hair, your thighs.  The list goes on and on.  And I'm sure some of you cringed at at least two of those words...

Ok, be forewarned, I am going to go off on a little rant...but keep reading as it will make sense in the end.  I promise!!

Rant time:  In case you are one of the many people who are either A) disgusted by certain body parts that are not up to your "perfect" standards or B) not completely in love with your physical self for whatever reason, then hear me out.  Your belly and thighs (and all of you for that matter...) should be loved as well!  Those parts in particular (which are the one I hear about most as an RD and yoga teacher) digest your food, protect your spine, carry and support you throughout your day.  What would you do if they were no longer able to do those things?  Would you really love them more if they were thinner, more muscular, or more toned?  You might say yes, but really think about it.  Picture yourself with your perfect belly and thighs.  Would that make the rest of your life easier or better?  My guess is no.  Toned abs and legs can't give you the things that matter most in life like love, laughter, and friendship.

Now, I am not saying you should stop exercising!  Far from it, actually.  I am saying that it probably should not be the end all be all of your life's goals.  Having a strong core and legs can make the rest of your life easier by giving you the strength to climb mountains, swim oceans, and go on adventures with loved ones, but it should not be the basis for determining how much you love yourself.

"Know that you are beautiful!"

Keep up this week's mantra and really feel it.  Believe it, Live it. Share it!!

Think of all the different ways you love each day.  Whether it is a person, animal, phrase, etc. let me know in the comments something you love!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mantra Monday: Natarajasana

Hi friends!

This week's mantra is all about self love!  As we come to the end of January and beginning of February, we are constantly bombarded with red and pink everything every where.  Whether its ads on TV or online, we are constantly reminded of the fact that Valentine's Day is just around the corner.
Whether you are in a relationship or not, this "holiday" can be overwhelming.  I have never truly enjoyed Valentines Day simply because it puts pressure on people to buy yet another gift.  If we want to give a gift to a friend or loved one, why wait for a holiday?  Just buy them the gift and give it to them.

Instead of indulging in more consumption, I would like Valentine's Day to truly turn into a day of love.  You know how during the holidays, everyone seems to be in a better mood?  Why don't we carry that love and merriment more consistently throughout the year?!

That is why, this week, I have devoted the Mantra and Asana to love and fun.  Life is too short to be grumpy all the time.  Lighten your heart with some play time this week (see the pose below) and remind yourself that it is good to smile and be happy.  The yoga pose below is meant to lift your spirits and evoke a sense of play and fun!  The key to this mantra, though, is to actually believe it!  And from personal experience, even if you don't really believe it at first, the more you say it, the more you start to truly believe it!  I can tell already how beautiful you are!!

So...go...right now...look in the mirror and let yourself know how beautiful you are.  Give yourself some of this love and then pass it along to a friend or loved one!  Tell them how beautiful they are, and then let them know to pass it along as well!  It can't hurt, the world needs more love anyways :)

This week's Mantra:

This week's Asana:  Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose)

From standing, lean your weight onto your right foot and gently bend your left knee so you can hold on to your left foot behind you.  If you can not comfortably hold onto your foot, use a strap, belt or towel to loop around your foot for extra length.  Breathe.  When you feel balanced, lift your right arm up towards the sky, then gently start to lean forward; bending at the hip.  Press your left foot into your left hand (or strap, etc.) and breathe.  Keep your gaze forward, your chest lifted, and both legs strong and steady.  Stay here for 5-10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

 I would love to see your pictures!!  Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @TheYogiRD

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flavorful Friday: What I Ate Today

Hi Friends!

In respect to living a more simplified life (as noted in Wednesday's post), and reducing the amount of "stuff" I have so I can have more time and space to experience, I am giving you a What I Ate Today.  I eat a very simple diet, but I love it!  My hubby and I definitely splurge every now and then, but it is always within reason and it is rarely more than once per week (unless it's the holidays, then I feel like we are always eating out... but, I digress...).  So for your enjoyment (hopefully, because I feel like what I eat is fairly boring), I've taken pictures of my breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner from today to show you!

Now, I do want you to realize that I actually at more than pictured (as I describe below each image) and that this is not exactly what I eat every single day, although the amount it very similar.

Before we get too far:  Please let me know in the comments if this is something you'd like to see more of (I promise I can take better pictures...)!!

Note:  I'm hoping this becomes a regular thing because I can see it being very fun!

What I ate today:

I love my spotty bananas, they digest so much better than fully yellow or green ones.  I like to take my morning meal in doses as I enjoy a larger breakfast and I don't have much time in the morning. So, I had 1 banana while I was getting ready, then polished off the rest once I got to work with a big cup of tea.  I had about 5 bananas total (they were probably between a small to medium size).

Some more tea and a Clif Bar between 10:30 and 11am.  I like to snack this close to lunch because on Mondays and Thursdays, I go to a yoga class that runs right through noon.  I always start to get hungry around 11 anyways...

My hubby and I take leftovers from the previous night's dinner for lunch.  At 1pm, I enjoyed my rice with lentils.  I would have liked to get more veggies in, but produce right now is not the greatest and most of it is expensive because it is not in season right now.

I typically leave work at 4 and when I get home, I'm hungry.  So, I usually much on either more bananas, other fruit, or some raw veggies.

At 5:30 pm, Andrew and I sit down for our dinner together.  This is a bowl of millet with kale, onions, and carrots.   I ended up eating 2 bowls of this!  It was delicious!

Total Calories:  1976
Total Fat: 32 gm
Total Protein: 54 gm
Total Carbohydrates: 357 gm

I nearly met or exceeded all vitamins and minerals (although I do take a Vitamin D and B12 supplement once per week).

Would you like to see more of what I eat in a day/week? Let me know in the comments!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Show Recap!!

Hi friends!

I would like to start off this post by sharing some insight from a new blogger who I am loving at the moment; Erin from Dynomadic Life.  She is blogging her Tiny House journey with her hubby and she inspires me with each post.  Her latest post was very good timing because I have been going through a lot of my possessions and am trying to seriously downsize.  This is a very hard thing to do for a sentimental person, such as myself, but I am slowly learning and understanding that these things are just physical items that represent meaningful memories.  It is the memories I need to hold on to, not the "things".

That brings me to today's post...a recap of my first bridal show!  If you caught last week's Wedding Wednesday post, you've seen that I have recently attended my first bridal show for TheYogiRD!!

Now you may know that being part of a wedding can be fun but there is also so much materialism that goes with it.  Think about all the things you are told you "must have" for a wedding!  It is honestly ridiculous!

My goal with the Bridal section of TheYogiRD is not to add another "thing" to a bride's already massive to-do list, but rather to enhance and help her embrace the peace and love that comes with planning a wedding.  This is a time to enjoy, laugh, and love.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that goes by way too quickly.  My job is to help brides (or anyone really) take time to slow down, enjoy the process, and nourish both body and soul.

We already live in a world bombarded with advertisements, to-do lists, and constant motion.  Let's take a step back, breathe in some fresh air, and be reminded that every day is a gift to be treasured!

Much love!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mantra Monday: Ardha Chandrasana

This week's mantra:  When life gets tense, take a break and have some fun!

We all have stress in our lives. It is up to us to decide whether or not to make that stress beneficial or harmful to our lives.  Remember, you can't control what other people do, but you can control your reaction.  By reacting in a positive way, everyone's day becomes a little bit brighter.  This week, think about using this mantra to bring some more positivity in your life by finding that silver lining around any negative or stressful event.

This week's Asana:  Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

  • Begin in a standing position.
  • With your feet hip's distance apart, begin to take a forward fold.
  • If you can not touch the ground, use a block or chair so you have some support.
  • When you feel comfortable, begin lifting your right leg off the ground.  Breathe and find your balance.
  • Next, begin to stack your hips and reach your right arm towards the sky.  Breathe and find your balance.
  • After 5-10 breaths, slowly return to standing and try again on the other side.
Let me know how it goes in the comments!  I'd love to see your pictures on Instagram as well!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Flavorful Friday: The link between Obesity and Sleep

Hi friends!

I come to you today with another study.  This time, it is about the link between obesity and a lack of sleep (if you didn't catch that in the title...).

All joking aside, the link is real. In this study, published on December 11, 2015, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers were looking at the values between reduced sleep (less than 7 hours per night) and obesity.  Wheat they found was that a lack of sleep led to increased mindless eating and drinking.

In my own dietetics practice and personal life, I have definitely noticed that a lack of sleep seems to be a trend among many people. Think about the last time you got less sleep than you are used to. How did you feel the next day? Were you tired, more cranky, or more easily agitated than normal? Maybe you had different eating habits or drank more caffeine? If any of these scenarios sounds like you, you are not alone! Not too many people get the required amount of sleep their body needs. As a species, we are constantly going going going and doing doing doing.

But sleep is for the weak!

Well, I am here to let you know that this is just not true. As a matter of fact, it may even be the exact opposite is true. As seen in the article, sleep plays a large role in our health, whether we want to believe it or not. You may feel just fine after a few nights of little sleep, but your body is doing more work than you know to make up for it.
Picture Link
If you are one of the many people that has a hard time getting to sleep, here are some of my suggestions:

  • Have a night time routine- This really helped my husband, who has insomnia. By having a routine, you are basically telling your body that it is time to unwind and relax. The more routine and monotonous, the better.
  • Sip some herbal tea- As part of your evening routine, there is something comforting and calming in a cup of tea.
  • Eat a good meal 3-4 hours before you go to bed. This will allow enough time for the meal to at least partially digest before you go to sleep. Sometimes, the process of digestion is what keeps people up at night.
  • Listen to calming music, maybe even do some light yoga or stretching. Both of these activities help to calm down tense muscles and over active minds.
What things help you to sleep better? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: My First Bridal Show!

Hi Friends!

I have some very exciting news to share with you!!

TheYogiRD will be attending a bridal show this weekend at Parkway Banquets!!!

You can not even begin to imagine how excited I feel (well, maybe you can with the increasing amount of exclamation points...)  This banquet hall is actually the same one that Andrew and I had our wedding at back in May 2015.  After I got TheYogiRD off the ground, I reached out to the owner and he invited me to his bridal shows!!
So, that being said, I have nothing but amazing things to say about this banquet hall.  They are professional, well-rehearsed, timely, and they have great food (even accommodating to our vegan lifestyle!)  It is really a one-stop-shop with Parkway Banquets as well, especially if you visit the bridal shows.

They hold several bridal shows throughout the year, and include complimentary drinks and samplings of their food while you get to look at all the lovely offerings.

I still can't believe I will be one of those tables this year!! So many wonderful experiences!

I will be sure to take loads of pictures, and if you are Bride in the Chicagoland area maybe stop by and say Hi!! I would love to meet my readers!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mantra Monday: Navasana

This Wek's Mantra:  A solid foundation keeps my body strong

Building a solid foundation in you life, whether it be physically, mentally, or socially; is one of the most productive ways to give yourself the strength to become your best self.  Think about your home for a moment.  Now, take away the solid foundation it was built on.  It may still be standing for awhile, but sooner or later, the earth will shift beneath it and the walls will begin to crumble.  This same scenario plays out in all aspects of our lives.  In the following bullet point, I will point out how it can affect our social, nutritional, and physical lives:
  • Social:  This type of solid foundation means loving relationships.  Humans are social creatures.  Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, or somewhere in between, you need human love in order to grow.  So, find a support team.  It can be family members, great friends, or even an online community.  No matter how many people are part of this support team, as long as you have one, you will be better able to grow as an individual.
  • Physical:  With "toned" and "shredded" bodies being in fashion now, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype of wanting a single digit body fat percentage.  Let's be realistic here for a moment though, ok?  There is no doubt that having a strong abdominal wall is healthy.  Your "core" supports you in everything you do from sitting to standing and every extreme between.  This is your body's foundation.  When you strengthen it, you are also protecting your spine and organs as well!  And no, it is not necessary to have a 6 or 8 pack in order to have a strong core...key things to focus on are balance and pulling the navel in and up to support the spine. (See Navasana below)
  • Nutritional:  Ah nutrition, I love it!  Having good nutrition is your foundation to a long and healthy life.  Enough said.  But seriously, eating loads of fresh fruits and vegetables never hurt anybody.  It fuels your cells with all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to not only survive, but thrive!  So, here's a challenge for this week:  Try to strengthen your nutritional foundation this week by getting AT LEAST 5 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables into your belly every day!

This Week's Asana:  Navasana (Boat Pose)

Be sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes.
Start in a seated position, with your knees bent and feet on the ground, and palms on the ground behind you, fingers facing towards you.  Lean into your hands, lift your toes off the ground, either keeping your knees bent or straighten your legs.  When you feel comfortable, bring your arms forward, palms facing toward you.  Keep lifting the chest, and drawing the belly in.  Hold for 5-10 breaths (or as long as you feel comfortable).

Friday, January 8, 2016

Flavorful Friday: Climate Change

Hi Friends!

In these Friday posts, I plan on posting everything from light hearted and delicious recipes to heart-hitting hot topics of the time.

That being said, this first post is going to be about climate change.  Climate change- have you felt it this year?  I know, here in Chicagoland, it is very obvious.  We've hit record highs, and it didn't even feel like "winter" until the end of December/early January!  Typically, we experience coold and at least one snow in October or November! I am by no means an expert, but this topic is very near and dear to my heart.  I want a world that my grandchildren's grandchildren can live in safely and healthfully (and without assistance from wearing a space helmet).

The reason climate change is so important to me is because there are many ways each of us can take a role to help the planet.  Even if you think it is a simple minuscule event that won't make a difference; guess again!  Think about it.  If each individual around the globe recycled one plastic bottle instead of tossing it in the trash, that would be 7.5 billion plastic

In December 2015, there was an article about how climate change can impact global  food security.  I highly suggest you give it a read!  That being said, I'd like to share with you my top tips for reducing waste and saving the plant:

  1. Eat more plants!!!  Whether you are 100% vegan, or a Meatless Monday kind of person, more plants are good for no only your health, but your wallet and the planet as well!
  2. Turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use.
  3. Recycle glass and plastics
  4. Use reusable produce bags, instead of those clear plastic bags lining the produce isle
  5. Use reusable grocery bags for more than just groceries (clothes shopping...etc)
  6. Walk or bike instead of driving; or if you must drive, carpool!
  7. Use old t-shits/fabric for wrapping gifts 
  8. Buy from second-hand stores; this will save you money and reduce the already high amount of circulating fabrics
  9. Buy only what you use and use only what you buy
  10. Did I say, eat more plants??!! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Winter Bride Nutrition

Well hello there!

In the past, I have shown you some of the information contained in my Winter Bride Guide.  Just so you know, this is a guide that I go over with all of my Bridal clients (catered to each season) as an overview to some of the things we might discuss during a nutrition consultation session.  The picture below is a nice summary of a broad checklist we would cover as well:

My #1 Wedding Tip!!:

My biggest tip here is to stay as relaxed as you can and delegate as much of the work as you can.  Stress can do some crazy things to our bodies, so it is important to keep it at bay as much as possible (but don't stress over stressing too much!!)

If you or someone you know might be interested in shedding some pounds before the Wedding Day, or is interested in learning how to get a beautiful and healthful glow, please head over to my website and send me an email.  I am also running a special New Year's promotion in which I am giving    20% off nutrition packages from now until the end of February!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mantra Monday: Sukhasana

Hi Friends!

For this New Year, I am going to continue writing regular posts!  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you'll be able to open your inbox and read about all things yoga, nutrition, and bridal.  To start things off right, let's get to the first post of 2016!!

Each culture has its own time for celebrating the New Year.  January first marks the beginning of the year for many countries (although I feel spring is a better time for me personally but more on that in March...)

If you are one of the many people who sets up a resolution for each year, but that resolution somehow seems to disappear in a couple months, you are not alone!  This year, I would like to encourage you to take a different approach to a goal (specifically if it is health-related).

So, let's begin with a mantra.  A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat over and over to yourself.  It can be inspirational, soothing, energizing; really whatever you need for the time being.  I am no guru, but each Monday, I will be offering mantras that I use along with a yoga pose to help guide you through the world of yoga.

Today's Mantra:  New Year, New Me.

This is for you to realize that your past does not have to define you, it simply shapes who you are.  Take this new year and use it to become a better and more developed YOU.  This can mean different things for different people, but as long as you always keep an eye open for new opportunities of growth, you will be on a perfect path towards greater health.  If you have mala beads, this is a prime opportunity to use them!

Today's Yoga Pose:  Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Simply sit in a comfortable position and breathe.  Take deep breaths and sit in stillness.  This pose is wonderful for the new year as it allows you to feel every inch of your body and mind.  Notice the way you feel.  Are you comfortable?  Do you feel any aching muscles?  Is it hard to stay seated?  Do your thoughts tend to wander or start making lists?  Any and all of these (and more) reactions are 100% normal.  The object of this pose is to be able to sit with them and deal with them.  Soak it all in, each feeling that you have and say your mantra.