Stocking a Vegan Pantry

Sticking to a nutritional  plan and focusing on your health and wellness goals can be a lot of work. I am a huge believer in setting yourself up for success. When following any nutritional plan, be it clean eating, paleo, vegan, etc, its important to set up your kitchen pantry properly. Being fully stocked with healthy food  options will help you from bingeing on junk.

In this video, watch how we stock and set up our vegan pantry. We share some essentials that we keep on hand and what we use them for.

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!

Save the Knees! Just Keep Moving!

3526926_origI recently started reading “Alignment Matters: The First Five Years of Katy Says” by Katy Bowman, M.S.* Katy is a biomechanist (she basically studies the structure and function of the human body and how it moves) and the book is a collection of short essays that she wrote on her blog Katy Says. The book focuses on proper alignment of the body and how to move naturally. For someone like me, who makes their living off of conducting people through movement, it’s a wealth of information.

In a section that I recently read Katy cites a research study that basically concludes “Excessive mileage and impact forces are contributing to the increasing levels of osteoarthritis, knee surgeries and knee replacements in the United States”. Basically high activity and high impact exercises are causing damage to the joints, knee cartilage, etc. This is something I’ve always said, and which is why I prefer to move my body through gentle, low impact yet strengthening exercises like Yoga and Pilates.

I know I’ll get grief for this one, but this is one of the main reasons why I’m not a fan of high impact exercises like CrossFit. I’ve watched CrossFit videos and people doing it for years and have always just sat and shook my head. I’ve always said that they may look fit now, but what kind of damage is taking place inside the body? How will the health of their bones, joints, etc be in a few years as they begin to age? Now this recent research is proving what I’ve been saying for years. Not to mention that practically everyone I have known who has done CrossFit has had some sort of injury.

BUT, this post isn’t about CrossFit, it’s about the health of our bones, joints, etc! Katy sums this all up pretty well…”Firstly we need to keep in mind that while “movement” is a physical requirement to physiological function, “exercise” is a modern creation designed to deal with the waning health of our immobile population. Cramming a day’s worth of movement into a one or two hour long intense bout has the same physiological impact of starving yourself all day and then following it up with a 2500 calorie meal. Your body doesn’t work that way!”

Think about it! Most of us spend all day sitting at desks, sitting in cars driving in traffic, then we come home, sit at the table (MAYBE!!) and eat dinner, and then we sit on the couch vegging out on the computer or watching TV. And maybe, just maybe, for a small portion of the population, somewhere in there we squeeze out an hour or two workout. Just think about all that sitting. Your knees, hips, spine, chest, head, etc are all pretty much in the same cramped position all day. Then you go and do a quick workout where you force them to move. Is it any wonder that we have knee, hip, back and neck issues?

I agree with Katy in that we should continue to move throughout the day and in smaller increments and movements. Just keep moving! “It is much better for the health of joints (and surprise surprise, your metabolism) if you move throughout the day as opposed to all at once. The weight loss effect of exercise is the same (in fact, it’s actually easier to lose weight by getting your movement in smaller doses but more often), and your joints have the time to adapt to the loading. Imagine your knees, completely unloaded while you sit in your desk chair/car/recliner and then all of a sudden you get up and start jamming the bones into the cartilage at 3-G forces. Not very considerate”

Find ways to continue to move your body throughout the day. Greet the day with Sun Salutations, take little walking breaks throughout your day at work, take a Pilates class, walk the dog or take a walk as a family after dinner, instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, get on the floor and move. I must admit that I’m a bit of a TV junkie, but I move while watching TV. I lift light weights, do squats and lunges, or I’m on the floor doing Pilates or core work.

Just keep moving!

*Bowman M.S, Katy, “Alignment Matters: The First Five Years of Katy Says”, First Print Edition, 2013, Propriometics Press

OktoberFIT

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Forget about Oktoberfest this year and get into OktoberFIT. This is a 31 day Total Body and Soul Transformation that I’ll be holding through social media. Every day in October I will do a Fitness, Wellness or Health related post here on this blog, on Twitter (@Om_Boy1), the OktoberFIT Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/OktoberFIT/ ), and on the Nourish: Body and Soul Facebook Page.

The goal of this is not to have a huge weight loss or anything like that, but to make small, healthy changes to your lifestyle everyday this month. The posts will feature exercise tips, workout videos, clean eating recipes and more. Do them all everyday, or pick and choose the ones you want. Every little healthy change you do will reap big benefits for your body, mind and soul.

OktoberFIT is all about YOU, taking care of YOU! We run around so much these days taking care of others (children, pets, spouses, aging parents and grandparents) that we often neglect ourselves. Then in comes bad eating habits, lack of exercise and then we just feel run down and stressed out! Think about when you are flying on an airplane and they say “before administering oxygen to anyone else, administer it to yourself first.” That’s because you can not properly take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself first.

The OktoberFIT Facebook group is yours, it’s a safe place for you to vent, ask for support from others, or just share your journey so far. I advise you to join the group, and follow me on Twitter and the Nourish: Body Soul Facebook Page so you don’t miss out on anything. If you share anything just use the hashtag #OktoberFIT so we can find each other.

Now lets get into the thick of it here on Day 1. Set a goal for this month, write it down and share it with others. Goals could include anything healthy like weight loss, sweat at least an hour a day everyday, drink only water, meditate everyday, pick up a new workout this month like Yoga, Pilates or running. Whatever change you have been wanting to make in the past, commit to it now for this whole month. Share what it is in the OktoberFIT group.

If weight loss is one of your goals, then set your starting point. You can’t always follow and trust the scale, so I find the best way to track progress is with pictures and measurements. Dedicate a journal to OktoberFIT and in Day 1 add your starting weight, and the following measurements: Neck, Chest, Waist, Hips, Arms, Thighs and Calves. Then take a picture of your front and side and save these all till the end of the month. Weigh yourself at the same time and day of the week (and only once a week) throughout the challenge. You will take the second set of measurements at the end of the month to see how you did.

Now get ready, get into it, get happy, and lets get healthy! Lederhosen optional of course!

 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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A Facebook group that I am part of is having an Eat Your Veggie” contest for the month of March. Each week we are given two different vegetables that we have to eat and post the recipe to the group page. Being Vegan, I don’t have trouble getting in enough veggies, but I do find myself going back to the same ones/recipes each week. I love Brussel Sprouts more than the normal person, and do a roasted Brussel Sprout dish every week it seems. So I thought joining this challenge would push me outside of my veggie box so to speak.

This week the veggies were asparagus and Spaghetti Squash. I have never in my life cooked a Spaghetti Squash so I had to do some recipe research. It seemed every recipe was calling to use the Spaghetti Squash, well, like you would Spaghetti, as a low cal noodle like base covered in a meat sauce. I wanted something different and decided to go for a Spaghetti Squash Casserole. This dish was super easy to make, made 8 decent sized servings, and each serving comes in at a whopping 100 calories. So it’s great for anyone looking to jazz up their weight-loss/diet plan or try something new.

Spaghetti Squash is a seeded variety of winter squash, and is usually yellow or orange in color. The darker the color (orange ones) are higher in carotene. It can be baked, steamed or microwaved, and it’s seeds can be roasted. Even though it is extremely low in calories it is high in folic acid, carotene, potassium and Vitamin A.

Here is the recipe I used for the dish:

1 medium to large Spaghetti Squash

4 On the vine Tomatoes

1 Package of Cheese (I used a mixture of Galaxy Nutritional’s Mozzarella and Daiya’s Pepperjack Vegan Cheeses. If you use a non Vegan cheese, pick a lighter, low-fat version to keep the calories down)

1 Bunch of Fresh Basil

Salt, Pepper and other seasonings as you like (I also added Garlic Salt and Oregano to mine)

1. To prepare the squash, punch a few holes in it with a knife all around the squash. Place on a plate or paper towel in the microwave and heat for around 13 minutes or so. Keep checking it because you don’t want it to over heat and explode in your microwave. When it’s ready it should be soft to the touch, and give a little when you press into it with your finger. Take it out of the microwave and cut in half. Using a spoon scrape out the seeds and everything in the center and toss (or save the seeds to roast), then using a fork scrape out the flesh of the squash into a bowl. It should come out like a small noodle like texture. Scrape all the way down to the skin of the squash

2. Preheat oven to 375. Grab your casserole/baking dish and spray with a light coating of cooking spray. Slice the tomatoes into small slices. Assemble a small layer of the squash, then a layer of the tomatoes, then basil, salt, pepper and other seasonings. Top with a layer of cheese (using about half of the bag), then another layer of squash, followed by the tomatoes, followed by basil and seasonings. Then finish with the top layer being all cheese.

3. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes until it is bubbling around the edges, and the cheese is melted. Take out of the oven and let cool then cut into 8 servings. Enjoy