Vegan Ice Cream

It’s been a hot summer and the temps are still pretty high. A great way to cool off is with ice cream, but who wants all that fat and sugar? Try this recipe for a vegan ice cream using frozen bananas. You can alter the recipe by adding different toppings or add ins. The basic recipe is frozen banana and vanilla extract. You can try a strawberry ice cream by adding frozen strawberries, or add cocao powder to make chocolate ice cream.

Don’t be Deceived by Food Labels

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I’ve had several conversations this week about beverages. My friends in my Summer Health and Fitness Challenge group on Facebook have asked about the beverages they like to drink. I’ve had questions about Gatorade, Diet Coke and even flavored waters.

I like to eat (and drink) as clean as possible. I’m not saying that you have to drink just water all day long, all the time. There really are so many other and healthier options, but any type of soda, in my opinion, is a big “NO!” always. I advised my friends to find beverages not so loaded with sugar and chemicals.

Now let’s talk about flavored waters. Taking a look at the label on the flavored water above its seems great right? Words like “natural flavor” and “essential vitamins” just jump out at you! But you really need to learn to read the ingredients and the label on the back of the bottle. Let’s take a look.

FullSizeRenderLooks good, yes? No calories, no sugars, no carbs etc. Take a closer look at the ingredient listing though. A list of ingredients for water shouldn’t read that long!

  • Sucralose – otherwise known as Splenda is a chlorinated version of white table sugar. Although approved as safe by the FDA, some studies have shown that it may cause damage to blood cells, and the liver and kidneys
  • Yellow 5 – used to add coloring is an approved food dye by the FDA, but is banned in most European countries. Studies have shown that this food dye can cause hyperactivity and ADHD in children, migraines, and blurred vision
  • Blue 1 – another food dye banned in most countries but approved in the US. This dye is also linked to instances of ADHD and allergies.

It might just be me, but when I choose a water to drink, the ingredient list shouldn’t be as long as a Harry Potter novel. It should just read WATER. Maybe “natural flavorings”.

So what are some healthier beverages to drink? How about water, green tea, or natural fruit juices. I actually love to make my own naturally flavored waters. Grab a big pitcher and fill it with water and add some freshly cut fruit. I love to make flavor waters and you can do many different flavor combinations: cucumber slices and mint, lemon and lime slices, fresh berries, etc.

It’s been a hot summer, so the thirst is real, but make smart choices in the beverages you choose!

Wellness Warriors

Wellness-Warriors-Version-2I’ve been really focused on growing my tribe; a group of people that I connect with and we can come together to share a common goal and interests. I’ve found my small tribe, but I’ve been struggling with what we should call ourselves (if anything). We come together to inspire and motivate each other to reach our health, fitness and wellness goals. Everyone in my tribe has the main goal to be #healthyandhappy.

I’m currently running a Health and Fitness Challenge group on Facebook for the month of July. I had a request to extend the challenge a little while longer as everyone was enjoying it. I was trying to think of a clever name for the group of rag-a-tag misfits that we are, and put a call out to the group. I got a response with the word “warrior” and it immediately clicked for me.

Then I had this thought about calling the people I work with, my tribe if you will, “Wellness Warriors”. This, to me, just says so much in two simple but powerful words. So as I sat with this today I thought “Well, what is a Wellness Warrior?”

  • A Wellness Warrior is someone who is active in working towards living a healthy life and inspiring others to live a healthier lifestyle. We are inspired to live lives that are happy and healthy.
  • A Wellness Warrior strives to achieve calm and balance in their lives by reducing stress through physical activity.
  • A Wellness Warrior is a person focused on living a more sustainable lifestyle and makes choices that are environmentally and socially responsible. We realize that we need to protect our planet for future generations.
  • A Wellness Warrior makes small steps everyday to create a long lasting and greater impact on their diet, health, fitness, wellness and lifestyle goals.
  • A Wellness Warrior nourishes their body with real food and believes in eating as clean as possible.
  • A Wellness Warrior engages in holistic health therapies such as massage, acupuncture, Reiki, etc.
  • A Wellness Warrior believes in magic and that life is better with a little sparkle. We believe in fairy tales and happy endings.
  • A Wellness Warrior lives with passion and everything they do for themselves and for others comes from a place of love.
  • A Wellness Warrior lives a life full of compassion for themselves and every living creature on the planet.
  • A Wellness Warrior dances like no one is watching.
  • A Wellness Warrior realizes that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Are you a Wellness Warrior? Ready to join our tribe? Sign up in the email contact form to join our tribe of people passionate about creating a healthier lifestyle.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

quote-Benjamin-Franklin-by-failing-to-prepare-you-are-preparing-573I’m currently running a Facebook group for the month of July with some friends to help motivate and support them on their health and wellness goals. This past week was the first week, and a few of the members struggled. I heard comments like “I had a rough day and emotionally over ate” or “I didn’t have time to grab a healthy breakfast so I went to McDonald’s instead”

It’s hard to stay on track towards your health goals if you don’t set yourself up for success. I shared with the group some of my tips to set yourself up to stay on track, and thought I would share them here as well.

1. Plan and prepare all your meals ahead of time this week. Then you have healthy options ready to eat and you won’t resort to unhealthy fast food instead. I’m making mason jar salads today. I make enough to have one ready each day for lunch. I just shake and eat!

2. Keep healthy snacks on hand. I have grapes that I put in individual baggies and have them when I’m craving a snack or something sweet. Even better, freeze them! Frozen grapes are a great snack on a hot summer day

3. Plan out AND SCHEDULE your workouts like you would schedule any appointment. And invite a friend (an accountability buddy). You will be less likely to cancel on a friend and skip your workout. I often schedule my Pilates and Yoga classes online and pay for them. That way I won’t skip taking class, because if I cancel or don’t show I’m losing money.

4. Pick a workout that is fun, and change it up. This week I’m mixing up my normal workout and making this week’s workout will be dancing. I’m going to use my Wii to play Dance Party. Shake that booty and burn some calories! Plus I can do it at home any time that I have the free time.

5. Reach out for help. Call a friend and let them talk you down from the ledge…or away from the doughnut counter. Most people over eat or make unhealthy choices because of having a stressful or emotional day. Just talking through your day can ease some of the stress and clear your mind to make the healthy choices you need to make your goals.

Leave last week behind you. Start this new week off on a positive note and get ready to kick some ass!

Book Review: “Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement” by Katy Bowman M.S.

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Title– Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement
Author– Katy Bowman, M.S.
First published– 2014
Edition– First Edition
Format- Paperback and Digital
Pages– 243

Review-

Bowman takes the most followed and interesting topics she touched on in her book “Alignment Matters” and dives deeper into them in this book. She asks the very important question “Are we how we move?” Are some health issues brought on by how we move or don’t move?

Bowman asks and covers the following questions and helps to create a movement plan for great health.

  • “Is sitting the new smoking?”
  • “Are standing workstations helpful or harmful?”
  • “What’s the safest way to move toward minimal shoes?”
  • “Are kegels and core exercises solving problems or creating them?”
  • “Do we really need cardio exercise”
  • “Does DNA predetermine our health as much as we are led to believe?”

In “Move Your DNA” there is less of the humor that was sprinkled through “Alignment Matters” as this book dives deeper into how we move. I did miss the humor of her other book, but this book had way more useful information that is laid out in an easy to follow format.

The book starts off explaining load and how it affects our bodies. Bowman clearly sums up loads by quoting Lena Horne, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s how you carry it.” You are how you move. The weight you carry, how and where you place it, and how you carry it effects your body down to the cellular level.

Our ancestors carried load differently than we do today: squatting to wash in the river, hunting and gathering, preparing food by a fire etc. Now most of the loads we carry today are passive: sitting at desks, slumped over steering wheels etc. Can we improve our health by making tiny adjustments in how we carry load through out our days?

One of the concepts that Bowman covers in this book that I loved is the difference between movement and exercise. The average person who does workout tends to do so in a short burst. The average person’s movement through the day looks like this: wake up, have breakfast, drive an hour or so in traffic, sit at a desk all day long, drive home for an hour, maybe they hit the gym for an hour and do some intense workout like running, then go home and sit on the couch all night.

Bowman suggests that maybe we don’t need cardio, but need to just move more throughout the day. Move more; get your blood flowing more throughout the day. Instead of running 5 miles a day on a treadmill at the gym, spread that 5 miles out over the day by walking around more.

Bowman covers not only when to move but also goes into more detail with some great exercises in how we should move. Such as walking over different terrains, foot and leg stretches, stretches to release the psoas and how to stand, squat and sit as you move through your day.

The first half of the book is really about explaining load, how we move currently, and how it is affecting our health. The second half of the book goes more into detail of various exercises and smarter ways we can move throughout our lives in order to be healthier, find more vitality, and relieve ailments like low back pain.

There is so much useful information in this book that I can’t go into great detail on it all in this review. I do recommend this book for everyone. It’s not about moving your body; it’s about moving your body in smart ways. Following Bowman’s lifestyle plan that is laid out in this book can help us all to move smarter, feel better and help to relieve aches and pains in the body. Definitely a buy for all movement professionals

Yoga for Back Pain and Spinal Mobility

As I mentioned in this post, the number one complaint most people have coming to a Yoga or Pilates class is low back pain. Low back pain is often brought about by inflexibility and stiffness in the spine. The video I posted last week focused on Pilates moves to help improve spinal mobility and reduce back pain and stiffness.

Below is the other video I mentioned, which contains a gentle sequence of Yoga based moves to work your spine in all of it’s planes of movements. This sequence will help you to move your spine and release any tension you may be holding. Take your time in each move and remember to really focus on your breath. Breathe deeply through each exercise.

Share, Comment and Like the video! Namaste

Pilates for Back Health and Spinal Mobility

sawI’m always trying to turn my friends and family onto Yoga and Pilates. I want to share what I love about both of these types of movements with the ones I care about. The number one thing I hear back from friends is “What I can I do to alleviate low back pain?” or “What exercises will help with my back stiffness and pain?” My answer of course is always “Yoga and Pilates!”

In fact the number one reason or complaint that people have when beginning a Yoga/Pilates practice is stiffness in the low back, and often accompanied with low back pain. One of the major causes of lower back pain is lack of flexibility in the spine; as some areas become stiff or immobile. The demands of modern life mean that we spend far too much time in a flexed-forward position (such as sitting at computer desks all day).

Joseph Pilates said:

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old.  If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

Both Yoga and Pilates help to restore a more natural range of movement to your spine, and unload some of the strain that today’s sedentary lifestyles place on it. By working on spinal mobility and restoring natural movement patterns you can lengthen and strengthen your spine, gaining better posture and back health.

So due to requests from several friends this week I have created two videos that focus on Back Health and Spinal Mobility. Now I believe that pretty much all of Pilates will help with spinal mobility, but I created a short video that can be done anywhere and anytime you have just a few minutes. I do suggest a regular practice with a certified teacher though to see the greatest benefits.

The first video below is “Pilates for Bach Health and Spinal Mobility”. The second video which I will post later this week is some other (non -Pilates) Yoga based exercises you can do to help increase spinal mobility and flexibility.

And don’t forget we are in the second week of the Pilates Every Damn Day Challenge, and there is still time to join us!