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.
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:
- Hard to stomach: Animal protein is tough to digest and can reek havoc on your internal organs. From hypertension to clogged arteries
- Meat & Cancer: The high fat content of meat increases hormone production, increasing the risk of hormone-related cancer
- Leaves you feeling sluggish: Animal protein takes a massive amount of energy to break down, thus your body feels drained, bloated, just sluggish.
- 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
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
Lemon Hummus Salad Bowl
2 organic carrots, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced
1 cup of spinach, kale, or dark leafy greens
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
2 large avocados
¼ red onion, diced
Chopped organic tomatoes (depending on the season, canned may be better)
Shredded lettuce or spinach to garnish
Scoop both avocados into a large bowl
Add diced onions, juice from 2-3 lime wedges
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!