Guts & Core: Day 5 of the #ckyogachallenge

I’ve been traveling this week, which can make sticking to a routine a bit tough. But not impossible and certainly not a valid excuse to get off track. The first few days of the #ckyogachallenge have gone smashingly, so I hope you’re enjoying it as much as Katie and I are. Yesterday kicked off Day 4 and began our Core Segment. Having had to travel and being in almost back to back meetings, I wasn’t able to write a blog post detailing the day’s Yoga Pose (Boat Pose) or talk about the crucial importance of hydration (yesterday’s nutritional tip). But, today’s a new day, so I’m getting a head start on my core!

So, beyond the six-pack abs strengthening your core with exercises such as Yoga improves your over-all health. How so? By strengthening the muscles surrounding your spine, you’re ensuring balance, better alignment and less likelihood to develop chronic back pain.

Today’s pose (Day 5) incorporates yesterday’s pose, Boat Pose, and adds the oblique muscles.

Crunch It

There are several different variations to the Yoga Crunch, so try a few different variations. Check out my Instagram post for one variation. If you have back problems, make sure your lower back is constantly supported here and if there is any pain, stop!

How Healthy is Your Gut?

How Healthy is Your Gut?

Today’s Nutritional Tip delves into tips that can help support a strong core (or gut). Chinese & Indian medicine focuses on the health of your gut – many of our ailments can be traced back to your gut! So, here are a few tips to help strengthen, heal, and maintain your gut health.

  1. One of your guts main jobs is to prevent foreign objects from getting digested into the body. Anything that the body can’t use or is considered harmful, will go straight out. If you’re having stomach issues, take note of what you’re eating (and what’s not serving your gut!)
  2. If you have gut issues, try to avoid beans and grains, as they are high in fiber and may be impacting your gut reaction. Stick to veggies, fruits, soups.
  3. Adding fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi) can help with your probiotics. These help to regulate gut health, plus pull metals from the body. Win-win!

Your health begins in your gut, so be aware of what’s not making it feel great. Take care of yourself, your body and your well-being.

Happy Core Strengthening!

Day 3 of the #ckyogachallenge

Happy Tuesday & welcome to Day 3 & our last day of Balancing poses for the #ckyogachallenge! Which one’s been your favorite? Don’t worry, we kick off Day 4 with Core (rhyming is fun!)

Today’s pose is one of the most beautiful, elegant, and challenging balancing poses in my humble opinion. When done correctly, this pose takes strength, stamina, flexibility and of course, balance.

My girl Katie will give a beautifully described run-down of this pose over on her Mamaste Yoga page, so go check her out.

For the nutritional nugget for Day 3 of the Balancing portion of this challenge, I’m listing a number of balancing tips for your internal goings on.

  1. Balancing your PH levels can be done through a diet of leafy greens, essential vitamins, and low glycemic fruits. PH levels are important for digestive health, skin wellness and if your levels are off, inflammation can occur. Vitamins B-12, B-6 and folic acid can help maintain your PH, along with eating alkalizing foods.
  2. Balance your digestive track first thing in the morning by consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (raw). In the raw form, apple cider vinegar gives you a quick energy boost, gets your digestive track going, and is an alkalizing agent.
  3. Balance the absorption of calcium with magnesium. Without magnesium, calcium isn’t fully utilized.
  4. Balancing recovery of your body from a nutritional perspective is often missed. You need to replenish the essential nutrients, protein, and vitamins you lose when you sweat and workout. Electrolytes, sodium, water, to name a few.

Happy Balancing!

Balance: Day 2 of the #ckyogachallenge

Today is Day 2 of the #ckyogachallenge and the theme is Balance. Such an important area to shed focus on, both in your physical life and your nutritional life. Keeping a well-balanced physical life will not only help you atheistically, but will help strengthen your bones, release endorphins (happy chemicals!), increase your flexibility, help decrease your risk of diseases (heart disease, dementia, hypertension, type II diabetes just to name a few). The benefits list goes on and on! That being said, pairing balancing exercises with flexibility/strength exercises is just as important. Stretching after a long run, alternating which muscles you’ll work one day verse the next, holding yoga poses to work on stamina.

Today’s pose, Half Moon & Revolved Half Moon, takes balancing to the next level. Not only are we focused on lifting our legs in this pose, we’re raising our arm and opening ourselves. It’s quite the balancing act between balance & flexibility. Check out my Instagram account for my Philly Half-MOon. Head on over to Mamaste Yoga’s page for a great explanation of this pose; she’ll give a step by step on how to properly balance here.

Eat more Greens! My Bryn & Dane Green Smoothie

Eat more Greens! My Bryn & Dane Green Smoothie

Nutritionally speaking, balance is essential in your diet. I’m going to focus on the balance of animal verse plant and how limiting the latter and increasing the former helps balance more than your health. It’s no secret I’ve given up eating land animals and while I would never try to convince anyone to follow in my footsteps, I do like to point out the amazing benefits of adding more plants to your diet and in turn, decreasing animal consumption. Again, it’s a balancing act that has far greater benefits than people may realize at first. What are those benefits, you ask!? Well, let me just name a few:

  1. Hard to stomach: Animal protein is tough to digest and can reek havoc on your internal organs. From hypertension to clogged arteries
  2. Meat & Cancer: The high fat content of meat increases hormone production, increasing the risk of hormone-related cancer
  3. Leaves you feeling sluggish: Animal protein takes a massive amount of energy to break down, thus your body feels drained, bloated, just sluggish.
  4. Huge Carbon footprint: While this doesn’t have anything per-se to do with nutrition, the environmental impacts of meat production are massive. Meat production produces more emissions than all other modes of transportation combined.

And I won’t even discuss the cruel conditions the for-consumption-animals are kept in. Promise, I’m not preaching!

Strictly health-wise, adding the veggies, legumes, fruit, nuts, seeds in place of the meat can make huge improvements. Since it’s Meatless Monday I thought I’d bring some balance to your table and tip the scales in favor of the plants. So, here are three recipes (breakfast, lunch & dinner) to nosh on that incorporate the plants, not the meat.

 

Avocado, Sunflower & Pumpkin seed Toast

Raw sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
1 Avocado
Whole wheat/gluten free bread

Toast a piece or two of your favorite bread (avoid the processed, enriched white flour breads)

Half an avocado & spread on your toast – top with raw sunflower & pumpkin seeds
Happy Breakfast!

 

Lemon Hummus Salad Bowl

2 organic carrots, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced
4 radish
1 cup of spinach, kale, or dark leafy greens

Hummus
1 can of Garbanzo beans
2 cloves of garlic
Juice from 1 lemon

Combine all in a food processor or blender.

Put greens in a bowl, top with carrots, cucumber, radish & hummus and enjoy! You can serve with pita chips or rice cakes for added crunch.

 

Brown Rice & Black Bean Tacos with cilantro & lime Guacamole

1 can vegetarian black beans

Brown rice (cooked as directed)

Package of corn tortillas

Bunch of cilantro

Lime wedges

2 large avocados

¼ red onion, diced

Chopped organic tomatoes (depending on the season, canned may be better)

Shredded lettuce or spinach to garnish

 

Guacamole

Scoop both avocados into a large bowl
Add diced onions, juice from 2-3 lime wedges
Mix

Drain the can of beans, then heat on the stove – add cilantro to taste
Cook rice as directed

Assemble tacos with beans, rice then top with guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce/spinach & guacamole. Enjoy!