Monday, February 29, 2016

Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

I coming at you today with a RECIPE!!

Do you want to know why I am so excited about this recipe?  Well there are a couple reasons:
  1. It is super quick and is a perfect satisfying meal on-the-go
  2. It keeps me full all morning (and it can for you too!)
  3. It tastes over the top AMAZING!!!  Just like brownie batter, no joke! (Andrew, my husband, even agreed...)
Now, before I dive into the recipe, you know I have to give a bit of health information on the ingredients, so bear with me (or just scroll down to the recipe, I don't mind).

The main ingredients here are oats, chia seeds, cacao/cocoa powder, and unsweetened almond milk.  The ingredients in this recipe can be swapped for any foods of your liking, but this is the way I made it and was amazed at the results.

  • Oats- These nutrition powerhouses are loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied.  They are also a whole grain; double bonus!  The type of fiber found in oats is called  soluble fiber and is great for heart health, diabetes protection, weight loss/maintenance, and a healthy digestive tract.
  • Chia seeds- These little guys pack a huge nutritional punch considering how small they are!  Also packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats; chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3s.  Omega-3 fatty acids are typically very low in the standard American diet, but are Essential to great health.  This type of fat can help lower blood triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and reduce your risk of cancer (plus many more...but that will be for another post).  Check out AuthorityNutrition's blog post on 11 proven health benefits of chia seeds for more info!!!
The rest of the ingredients are mainly for flavor and texture, but they all do have some great vitamins and minerals.  Ok, on to the recipe!  All you need are the ingredients, a container with a lid, and 30 seconds to assemble.

Ingredients (makes 1 serving):
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (if you are sensitive to gluten, make sure the label reads gluten free!  Although oats are naturally gluten free, many are processed in a facility that also processes wheat)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (any color will do)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (eyeball it...)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Optional add-ins:
  • powdered peanut butter
  • chopped banana
  • fresh, frozen, or dried fruit
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Dump all ingredients into your container of choice (I prefer a glass jar with a lid).  Shake or stir well, then you have 2 options: 1) If you are doing this the night before, place in the refrigerator and enjoy in the morning.  2)If you are doing this in the morning, pack it in your bag and after about 30 minutes to an hour, it is ready to eat (just in time for when you get to the office).

The great thing about this recipe is (if you don't add any fresh fruit or dairy) it can travel with you in your bag for several hours, so it makes a perfect breakfast, lunch, mid-day snack, or even dinner!

Let me know if you try it and what add-ins you used!!

Question of the day:  What is your favorite topping for oatmeal (cold or hot)?

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Best Exercise!

Hi Friends!!

Spring is coming!!!  The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.  I don't know about you, but I am so ready for this!

Spring is like the New Year to me; new life begins as trees bud and tulips begin to pop out of the thawing ground, winter coats are shed for light sweaters, and more and more people begin to go outside.  The long cold nights of winter are officially behind us and we begin to look forward to the sunny laid back days of summer.

Because of this change in weather, I have begun to notice more joy in my every day life.  I have begun to take extra care to look outside my own life more often and contemplate my lifestyle.  The other day, Andrew and I were talking about this and he came up with a great observation:  We start by taking a good look at our life style. Then, imagine if everyone in the world lived the same lifestyle.  Would society be better?  More efficient?  More environmentally friendly? Etc.  If the answer is yes, we are probably on a good path.  If the answer is no, we think about the ways we could improve our lifestyle so the answer would become a "yes".

This is a very simple exercise that you can do at any time and even with friends or family.  It is actually quite fun if you are in the right mindset as well.  All it takes is an open heart and an open mind.

Now for a little update on TheYogiRD!

Lately, I have been so focused on my full time job, that I have not been taking the time to blog regularly, but I have been working on some really fun projects for TheYogiRD that I will be sharing with you this summer!  If you have not seen already on my Facebook page, I am looking for 10 volunteers to help me test out the beta version of my web-based nutrition program called "Your Life, Your Health".  Basically, for one month you will get personalized nutrition assistance from yours truly.  The difference though, is that because it is web-based, it can be done on your own time, in the comfort of your own home.

If you'd like to volunteer to be part of Your Life Your Health, let me know here!

Question of the day: Do you love spring as well?  If so, what's your favorite part?!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mantra Thursday: Hanumanasana

You caught me!

Yes, these posts are supposed to be on Mondays so they can help you kick off the week on a yogi note, but I slipped up this week.  No post on Monday and a random post on Tuesday...

But, that's life isn't it?

I love to write and journal and blog.  But I also like to live my life outside of a computer screen.  Therefore, I sometimes forget to write down my thoughts or snap pictures while out and about because I get wrapped up in the moment.  It is not until after the moment passes that I realize I should have gotten a picture...Also, after a day at my corporate job, staring at a computer, most of the time getting home to get back on a computer is the last thing I want to do.  (I think that means I need to plan better...) Or, it just means I am human.

Either way, as part of living a healthy yogi lifestyle, it is important to find balance and joy in everything you do.  If this means getting your blogging schedule all messed up, then so be it!  I just hope none of you are mad at me for it...

So, to celebrate the Lunar New Year (that happened on Monday), I am sharing this week's mantra and asana with you now!!  Be forewarned, this is a fairly advanced asana, so be sure to be properly warmed up before attempting.

This Week's Mantra:

The only shoes I wear are my own.

This mantra is a reminder that you are unique, and that is a great thing!  Wear those shoes with pride and never be afraid to be yourself!  Help others, but don't forget that you need to take care of you as well!  Wear only your shoes and try not to take on the burden of wearing someone else's.

This Week's Asana:  Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

It is the year of the Monkey in China, so this week's pose is of course Monkey Pose (aka splits!)!!  Be sure to use a block or pillows to rest your hips on if the full split is not in your practice.  From a high kneeling position, step your left foot forward, keeping both knees bent.  Slowly begin to stretch your left foot forward, keeping the foot flexed.  When the leg is straight, place both hands on the ground or on blocks and begin to slide your right leg back.  Only go as far as is comfortable and make sure to keep breathing slow, steady breaths.

Tag me in your version of Hanumanasana on Instagram!!

Question of the day:  What is your favorite way to spend quality time with friends/family??

Let me know in the comments and don't forget to subscribe in order to get these posts right in your email!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fat Tuesday

Hi friends!

I am coming to you this snowy Fat Tuesday with a special post this week. 

You may already know this, but I love culture.  Food customs, traditions, clothes are all so amazing to me; and the stories that are behind all of these things are even more astounding!  Traditions and festivals can tell so much about a culture, which is why I like to highlight as many holidays/festivals as I can on this blog.  It is important to learn about different cultures so that every individual can appreciate differences and learn along the way.  Learning about culture is like taking a step into the past.  It can show you what people did thousands of years ago!

As a child, I grew up not really understanding the meaning behind Mardi Gras (aka Fat Tuesday).  As you'll see in the following paragraphs, no one does REALLY know the story behind this festival.  We do know, though, that by today's standards, it means lots of food and celebration.

With yesterday (Monday) beginning the Lunar New Year and today beginning Mardi Gras, it is a time for celebration around the globe!  Let me tell you, I have never felt more connected to so many cultures all at once!!

If you'd like a refresher on the Lunar New Year, check out this post I did back in December during my 25 Days of Blogging!
From TheYogiRD instagram!  Hanumanasana (Monkey pose) in honor of the New Year, the year of the monkey!

Now, to dive into Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras is a Christian festival (especially Roman Catholic) that marks the beginning of the season of fasting, called Lent.

The origins of this festival are thought to go back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility.  But many of today's celebrants do not know the true origins of this festival.  One thing is for certain, though, Mardi Gras is known for its vibrant colors, outstanding costumes, and big parties or celebrations!

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras?  What is your favorite celebration? 

Let me know in the comments, and while you're at it, don't forget to subscribe!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Flavorful Friday: I'm Addicted...

Hi Friends!

It's official, I am addicted...

I'm addicted to overnight oats...and coffee...

First things first, let's talk coffee.  I love coffee.  I drink it strong and black, and it has some wonderful health benefits!  The issue I have, is that I do not like having a need to rely on any substance (healthy or otherwise...) to feel good.  By this, I mean "I have to eat/drink X today, or else my whole day is thrown off".  Now, I do know that I tend to overindulge in hot caffeinated beverages during the winter months, but I don't enjoy the caffeine withdrawal headaches.  So here's a little side story for you:

While sitting at my desk yesterday afternoon (approx 1pm), I just finished lunch and felt a little headache in my right temple.  "Hmmm...", I thought to myself, "I must need more water, I did have a high fiber lunch..." (Note:  Yes, dietitians really talk like this to themselves!!!)  So, I walked to the water cooler, filled up my cup and drank it down.  Nope.  Didn't need water.  I then proceeded to begin reflecting on my food and beverage choices:  overnight oats, bananas, and 6oz coffee for breakfast, 2 cups of herbal tea while working, then whole grain pasta with beans and avo for lunch.  Nothing out of the ordinary...but wait!  I usually drink black tea at work, instead of herbal!  It's the caffeine!  And BAM, I instantly got a taste for a hot cup of coffee.

Caffeine addiction is crazy!  Typically, I have 1 cup of coffee and 1-2 cups of black tea while at work.  Guess I was not being very mindful of how much caffeine I was actually consuming...So now, I am going caffeine free for awhile to rid myself of these headaches.

Let me know in the comments if this is something you've gone through before!!

Currently, my go to breakfast this whole week has been my SECRET recipe for overnight oats; and I've been LOVING it!!  In honor of National Wear Red Day to support raising awareness for heart disease, I thought I'd add in some berries.  Not just one type of berry mind you, but two!!  (Mostly because it is from my favorite bag of frozen fruit from Costco...)  This recipe has blueberries and strawberries; but feel free to use any darkly pigmented fruit you'd like.

The darker the fruit/veg, the more nutrients it has!  Berries, specifically, are loaded with antioxidants.  These little guys (antioxidants) help to fight off free radicals that can increase your chances of getting sick.  Think of them as a supercharger for your immune system!  Berries are also loaded with fiber, which helps keep you full and regular.  Another great health benefit of dark, juicy berries is that the antioxidants they house can also help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, inflammation, and eye health!  Talk about getting a lot for your dollar!

Because berries can spoil so quickly, I tend to prefer to buy them in bulk from the freezer section.  This way, I know they were picked at the peak of ripeness, flash frozen, and will stay fresh longer.  They are also typically less expensive this way.

Ok, are you ready to find out my SECRET recipe for overnight oats?!  Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • Enough unsweetened almond milk to cover the oats by a 1/2 inch or so
  • Maple syrup to taste
Now, put all the ingredients in a jar, cover, shake well and let it rest on your counter or in the fridge overnight.  (Note:  because I used thick, frozen strawberries, I left mine on the counter because as the berries thaw, it will keep the mixture cold.)

Sorry for the poor image quality, had to snap this one quickly...

Now all you need is a spoon!! 

I know, I know, this recipe isn't all that secret...but I definitely owe the amazing texture of these oats to my secret ingredient...chia seeds!  These seeds add great texture as well as protein and healthy fats!

What is your favorite berry?  Let me know in the comments!  Mine is definitely black berries, but I really love them all!!

Don't forget to subscribe so you can get these posts right away in your email!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Compassion and Love

Hi Friends!

Have you heard of the word "ahimsa" before?

Well, this is a Sanskrit word meaning "not to injure" and "compassion".  Speaking in general terms, this is why yogis are typically (but not all the time) vegetarian or vegan; bringing that sense of non-harming to their diets (i.e. not eating meat is not harming the animal).

But, this term can be defined in a more generalized term and can include all things like (but not limited to) the following:
  • Ashimsa towards SELF- aka loving yourself, being kind to yourself through your thoughts, actions, and words.  Removing the self doubt, discouraging thoughts, and allowing yourself to look in the mirror and see nothing but beauty.
  • Ahimsa to OTHERS- Treating others the same way you should treat yourself; with compassion, love, and understanding.  We all go through periods of anger, fear, doubt, etc. but the important thing is to breathe through those times and learn from them.  Don't dwell on issues, learn from them and move on.  Not only will this help you grow as an individual, but it may even help grow and nurture your relationships!
  • Ahimsa to the EARTH- This beautiful planet we live on is literally our life-source (food, water, shelter).  Without it, we could not exist.  In bringing compassion to ourselves and others, we realize that the Earth should also be shown some compassion.  Walk with a gentle footprint by eating more plants, reducing waste (garbage, recycle, food, etc.), reducing the amount of electricity and water you use, and walk or ride a bike more often.  These simple steps, if everyone participates, can make a huge difference!

How will you bring more ahimsa into your life?  Let me know in the comments, and don't forget to subscribe!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mantra Monday: Vira III

Hi friends!

Today's post is coming to you a little later than usual because, as you may know if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I had a crazy busy weekend!!

It all started on Friday evening, when Andrew and I went out to dinner with some friends.  It was lovely and great to catch up!  Then, Saturday morning I had a client for a nutrition consult, followed by meeting with another friend for lunch.  After a few hours of talking, Andrew and I went to another friend's house and had a few more hours of conversations (and yoga!!) before having to leave.

Sunday morning, we got up early and went to the gym so I could be there before the volleyball tournament started, as I was the tournament director for the day!

By the time Sunday evening came, I was exhausted my 7pm!  I wish I would have taken more pictures for you guys (I am working on that).  But because I was so wrapped up in having a good time with friends, I completely forgot. 

Any who, are you ready for this week's mantra and yoga pose?!

This week's Mantra:

This week's yoga pose: Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)

  • Begin in a standing pose.  
  • Shift your weight to your right lag, reaching your arms to the sky.
  • Bend at the hip and reach your arms forward, lifting your left leg parallel to the ground.
  • Flex the left foot and keep both legs engaged and strong.
  • Breathe 5-10 breaths before switching sides.
What did you do this weekend?  Do you love busy weekends or prefer staying home with a good book and some quiet time?  Let me know in the comments and don't forget to subscribe!!