Early Bird Special

I’ve reconnected with my old love of running.  Back in the day, I used to run half/full marathons for fun (seriously) and I would wake up super early to run countless miles without hesitation.  I totally burned myself out and left running all together and focused more on yoga.

Early this year, I began taking short runs to be outside and break a sweat while getting some Vitamin D.  And then my husband decided to sign up for his first full marathon.  As I began to get him encouraging books from the library and talk to him about the best training programs, etc., I noticed a shift in myself.  I was feeling the running bug again. So, we made a pact to wake up at 5:30am to exercise.   Even though we both had been down this road before, we’d become quite lazy and the thought of doing anything that early in the morning was daunting.  But after trying it one morning, I felt a serious surge in energy. I thought for sure that I would be tired later in the day but it never happened.  My mind felt clear and I was ready to tackle the day.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some sacrifice with our bedtime and in order to feel fully rested we have to be in bed by 9:30-10:00.  But after a few days of waking up early, my body was begging for sleep at that time.  By the weekend, we were ready to go bright and early.  It’s like we flipped on our early bird switch and reconnected with our circadian rhythm. 

If you are thinking of starting a workout routine in the morning whether it be running, yoga or maybe joining a gym, here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Get your clothes/equipment ready the night before.  This simple action gets your intention set for the next day and helps get you mentally prepared to wake up early.
  2. As soon as the alarm goes off, sit up in bed and do some easy stretches (neck rolls, wrist/ankle rolls, knees to chest) anything to get the blood flowing.  Ease into it.
  3. Drink a full glass of water.  As I mentioned in my last post, you need to hydrate from fasting all night.
  4. If possible, exercise outdoors. It gets a little tricky since it’s dark in the morning but try to find a well-lit path or purchase a head lamp with reflective gear.  If you have a patio or balcony, take your yoga mat outside to practice.  Connecting with nature, breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of the early morning enhances your experience.  Seeing the sun rise is also a cool bonus.
  5. Set an intention.  I always like to dedicate my run or yoga practice before I begin to something I’m working on personally or someone who needs some positive thoughts sent their way.  Getting out of your head in the morning frees up space to just be in the moment.
  6. Bonus tip: a little goes a long way. Don't get so hung up on doing 30 minutes or more. If you are first starting off, just put in 10 or 15 minutes.  Be easy on yourself. Eventually you will work your way up. 

If you Googled why you should exercise in the morning, you will find that there are numerous studies/articles to support the benefits.  Not only will it help you physically, but your overall demeanor and mental strength will improve as well.

I hope this inspires you to start you own early morning routine.  If you already exercise in the morning, what are some of the tips you use to get moving every day?

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Our Morning Routine

When life gives you lemons, juice them!
— Me :)
I have to give my husband so much credit. As I’ve radically changed my diet and lifestyle throughout the years, he’s been a quiet observer doing his own research and finding what works best for himself. Luckily, we’ve found a food groove, if you will, that really works for us. Part of that routine is drinking 16 ounces of lemon water first thing in the morning.  In May, I became certified as a Detoxification Specialist and I learned the tremendous benefits of eating a raw fruits/vegetables diet and how this can radically change the health of your cells (I’ll be writing more about this soon). I also learned about fasting. Maybe you’ve heard of the Master Cleanse fast where you mix purified water with lemon, cayenne pepper and maple syrup and drink only that for 3, 5 or 7 days (sometimes longer).  The basic idea behind any fast is that our bodies require so much energy to digest food that it doesn’t have much leftover to do much else (i.e. heal what ails us).  So, by shutting your digestive system down and drinking the Master Cleanse mix, you pull toxins from your body and allow it to rest and heal.  Our morning routine of drinking lemon water is a simplified version of this idea.  After sleeping for 8 hours, your body is dehydrated and needs to be replenished in order to get your day started with some energy.  The water helps with hydrating and the lemons go to work by extracting toxins from your liver, purifying your blood and balancing your PH levels.  I always joke with my husband that as I drink my lemon water I imagine little minions cleaning out my insides ;)  And to be completely honest, the best benefit of all from drinking the lemon water is that it gets the pipes moving, if you know what I mean.  That’s how you know it’s really working.  Getting that digestive system going is very important and adding this simple drink to your morning routine will work wonders. Before you grab for that morning coffee, slice a lemon and squeeze half of it into a cup and fill it up with purified water.  Try it out for a week and see if you notice a difference.   If you already drink lemon water in the morning, how has it made a difference in your life?

I have to give my husband so much credit. As I’ve radically changed my diet and lifestyle throughout the years, he’s been a quiet observer doing his own research and finding what works best for himself. Luckily, we’ve found a food groove, if you will, that really works for us. Part of that routine is drinking 16 ounces of lemon water first thing in the morning. 

In May, I became certified as a Detoxification Specialist and I learned the tremendous benefits of eating a raw fruits/vegetables diet and how this can radically change the health of your cells (I’ll be writing more about this soon). I also learned about fasting. Maybe you’ve heard of the Master Cleanse fast where you mix purified water with lemon, cayenne pepper and maple syrup and drink only that for 3, 5 or 7 days (sometimes longer).  The basic idea behind any fast is that our bodies require so much energy to digest food that it doesn’t have much leftover to do much else (i.e. heal what ails us).  So, by shutting your digestive system down and drinking the Master Cleanse mix, you pull toxins from your body and allow it to rest and heal. 

Our morning routine of drinking lemon water is a simplified version of this idea.  After sleeping for 8 hours, your body is dehydrated and needs to be replenished in order to get your day started with some energy.  The water helps with hydrating and the lemons go to work by extracting toxins from your liver, purifying your blood and balancing your PH levels.  I always joke with my husband that as I drink my lemon water I imagine little minions cleaning out my insides ;)  And to be completely honest, the best benefit of all from drinking the lemon water is that it gets the pipes moving, if you know what I mean.  That’s how you know it’s really working.  Getting that digestive system going is very important and adding this simple drink to your morning routine will work wonders.

Before you grab for that morning coffee, slice a lemon and squeeze half of it into a cup and fill it up with purified water.  Try it out for a week and see if you notice a difference.   If you already drink lemon water in the morning, how has it made a difference in your life?

Rawesome Carrot Cake

Leave your drugs in the chemist pot if you can heal the patient with food.
— Hippocrates
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I’ve recently been on a raw food kick (less packaged/processed, more whole foods). I’ve been dealing with some gastro issues and after every test done under the sun, the doctors say I have IBS and acid reflux.  Which I find hilarious because I don’t sit down all day eating chili dogs and corn fritters.  I try to make healthy, conscious decisions with each meal but sometimes I get in a rut and find myself eating the same things over and over again (ahem, beans) and maybe the lack of variety in my diet is causing all of these issues.

So, in search of new recipes, I’ve stumbled upon a number of really great raw vegan blogs. Why raw?  There’s a lot of science behind eating raw and getting the optimal nutrients out of your fruits and veggies but that’s another topic for another blog.

I’m just a sucker for creatively styled food and one blog in particular does not disappoint. After all, you eat with your eyes first, right?    It’s called This Rawsome Vegan Life.  Her carrot cake recipe was stuck in my mind for days until I tried it out this weekend.  I was totally skeptical but I’m quite adventurous when it comes to trying new food.  And it was pretty good.  The essence of carrot cake is definitely there with the combination of finely diced carrots, pineapple, dates and coconut.

I can never make a recipe just as it’s written. I always think of things to add/remove so I have a few disclaimers:

  1. I added a handful of walnuts to the filling and a touch of orange juice cause the mixture was a bit dry. Probably because I added walnuts ;) Maybe next time I’ll add fresh pineapple instead of dried to give it more moisture.
  2. For the icing I added some orange zest and a little bit of OJ to give it some extra flavor.  My husband wasn’t crazy about the orange flavor but I think it worked out.

A word to the wise, let the cake settle overnight in the fridge. I made the mistake of cutting it up right away and the cashew icing didn’t hold up well. 

Get daring this weekend and try something raw. Let me know how you like it.

Carrot cake with cashew cream cheese frosting, pistachios & walnuts
from This Rawsome Vegan Life

Cashew frosting:
2 cups cashews, preferably soaked for a couple hours
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
Water, as needed 

Cake:
2 large carrots, peeled
1 1/2 cups oat flour or buckwheat flour
1 cup dates
1 cup dried pineapple (or more dates)
1/2 cup dried coconut 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

To make the frosting: blend all ingredients in your high speed blender until smooth, adding as little water as possible. Taste it - mmm. Put in a bowl and set aside.

To make the cake: cut the carrots into small chunks. Then throw all the ingredients (including the carrots) in your food processor and pulse until it's all in really small pieces and sticks together. 

Assembly: Press half the cake mix into the bottom of an adjustable spring-form pan, mine was about 6 inches. Then spread on about 1/3 of the frosting. Put it in the freezer until the layer of frosting is hard. Then press on the rest of the cake mix. I let it set in the fridge overnight, then frosted the whole thing, but you can do it right away if you want. Take it out of the pan and use the remaining frosting, cover with whatever garnishes you like. Enjoy!

The Case For Organic Food

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Health is not simply the absence of sickness.
— Hannah Green
Happy New Year everyone:)  I can still say that, right? Even though we are almost done with the first month in 2014! So, I know that I've been missing in action on this blog but it was a much needed break to deal with some personal family issues.  I had to re-prioritize a lot of things in my life and unfortunately the blog had to take the backseat.  I also realized that just like I teach in my yoga classes, breathing life into your body and mind aren't just for the times on your mat...it's also for those difficult moments where you need to create space in order to face whatever life has dealt to you.   With this in mind, I have decided to make this blog more organic by posting whenever I am inspired to write or share things with all of you.  I'm not putting myself under the pressure to post at least 2-3 times a week. It's OK to take a step back on things that you enjoy doing to allow more freedom in your life. We are usually our worst enemy by forcing ourselves to always do the right thing or what we think we should do, even if it creates more stress or chaos in our lives.  Take a moment to think of one thing that you can give up or eliminate that would allow more freedom or space in your life. Trust me, it's truly liberating.   In the spirit of being more organic (see what I did there ;), I came across this incredible chart that outlines what happens when you choose at least one organic product out of every 10 items you purchase. My husband and I try to eat almost all organic especially with our fruits and veggies so I was pleasantly surprised to see how much benefit comes from buying organic. I know that many people feel that it's too expensive but a good trick is to start buying those items on the Dirty Dozen list. I have this chart on my cell phone and I refer to it whenever organic food prices are high. Although if you find a local farmers market or health food store, the cost of organic veggies and fruits are sometimes comparable or cheaper.


Happy New Year everyone:)  I can still say that, right? Even though we are almost done with the first month in 2014! So, I know that I've been missing in action on this blog but it was a much needed break to deal with some personal family issues.  I had to re-prioritize a lot of things in my life and unfortunately the blog had to take the backseat.  I also realized that just like I teach in my yoga classes, breathing life into your body and mind aren't just for the times on your mat...it's also for those difficult moments where you need to create space in order to face whatever life has dealt to you.  

With this in mind, I have decided to make this blog more organic by posting whenever I am inspired to write or share things with all of you.  I'm not putting myself under the pressure to post at least 2-3 times a week. It's OK to take a step back on things that you enjoy doing to allow more freedom in your life. We are usually our worst enemy by forcing ourselves to always do the right thing or what we think we should do, even if it creates more stress or chaos in our lives.  Take a moment to think of one thing that you can give up or eliminate that would allow more freedom or space in your life. Trust me, it's truly liberating.  

In the spirit of being more organic (see what I did there ;), I came across this incredible chart that outlines what happens when you choose at least one organic product out of every 10 items you purchase. My husband and I try to eat almost all organic especially with our fruits and veggies so I was pleasantly surprised to see how much benefit comes from buying organic.

I know that many people feel that it's too expensive but a good trick is to start buying those items on the Dirty Dozen list. I have this chart on my cell phone and I refer to it whenever organic food prices are high. Although if you find a local farmers market or health food store, the cost of organic veggies and fruits are sometimes comparable or cheaper.

I hope these charts give you a little food for thought next time you are in the grocery store. You could also buy organic frozen fruit and veggies and save money that way.  We buy organic frozen food all the time and use them in our morning smoothies.   I wish you all a wonderful year  filled with laughter and good health.  

I hope these charts give you a little food for thought next time you are in the grocery store. You could also buy organic frozen fruit and veggies and save money that way.  We buy organic frozen food all the time and use them in our morning smoothies.  

I wish you all a wonderful year  filled with laughter and good health.  

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