Healthy and Holistic

Month: August, 2012

Crossfit

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Source: http://www.diablocrossfit.com

I tried Crossfit for the first time yesterday.  It seems like everywhere I go someone is mentioning Crossfit and what a great workout it is, so naturally, I had to try it and see what all the buzz is about.  All I can say was ‘what a workout!’

I don’t think I’ve been this sore from a workout ever in my life.  All of my muscles ache…and I kind of like it.  I can see why it’s got kind of a cult following.

If you haven’t heard of Crossfit, it is a strength and conditioning program that varies high intensity, functional movements and typically combines body weight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and with sprinting and weightlifting (kettlebells, bars, medicine balls).  The workout of the day is timed and each person tries to finish the entire group of exercises within a goal time or tries to beat their best time.

The class I took was an hour long and consisted of a warm-up, strength, and workout of the day.  I had heard it was a tough workout and had some trepidation about taking the class, but decided to go for it and I’m glad I did.

I was thoroughly exhausted at the end of class and trying my best not to throw-up, but I felt like I had conquered something.  I had pushed my body to the limits and managed to surprise myself.  I did exercises that I didn’t think I could do, like box jumps, pull-ups and push presses (lifting a weighted bar overhead).

There’s something so satisfying about completing something that is challenging.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and builds your confidence.  I will definitely be taking more Crossfit classes in the future…that is once I can walk again. Kidding, well not really : )

Superfood Trail Mix

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a quick snack that you can eat on the go.  Sometimes you just don’t have time to sit down and have a meal or you’re stuck in traffic or you have back to back meetings at work.

Rather than starve, I always keep something handy that I can reach for when I need a quick snack. In fact, I keep Larabars in my purse…no seriously, I do.

Trail mix is another great portable snack that will fill you up without weighing you down.  Rather than buy one of the pre-packaged trail mixes that are filled with sugar and oil, it’s easy to make your own at home.  Plus, you can control the ingredients and leave out things that you don’t like and add more of the things you do.

This trail mix recipe contains ‘super foods,’ including almonds, cherries, goji berries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.  Read below for the health benefits of these ingredients.

Almonds – Rich in fiber, protein and Vitamin E.  Almonds can actually help you maintain lower cholesterol levels, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Cherries  Contain quercetin and ellagic acid, two compounds that have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors and contain antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Goji berries – Contain all 18 amino acids as well as mega does of Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, and E. They are also rich in phytonutrients antioxident lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important nutrients for healthy eyes and nervous system.

Raisins – Contain oleanolic acid, which provides protection against cavities and tooth decay, and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis and other periodontal diseases. The polyphenolic antioxidant in raisins, known as catechin, provides protection against free radicals, which causes the development of tumors, specifically colon cancer.

Pumpkin seeds – Rich minerals magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.  They also contain the amino acid tryptophan known for anti-depressant qualities, and essential fatty acids.

Walnuts – Rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and contain significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids than any other nut.

Ingredients

  • 2 T. goji berries
  • 2 T. dried cherries
  • 2 T. raisins
  • 2 T. raw pine nuts
  • 2 T. raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T. salted, roasted peanuts
  • 2 T. raw walnuts
  • 4 T. raw almonds

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container

Crunchy (Kelp) Noodle Salad

I’ve always been adventurous about food, so when I was browsing the refrigerated section at Whole Foods this weekend my eyes lit up when I spotted something unusual.

Next to the fresh pickles and miso were several kind of refrigerated seaweed.  I had seen the mixed seaweed salad packs before but this time I noticed a package of kelp noodles.

Not knowing what I was going to do with them yet, I grabbed a couple of packages and starting pondering recipes.

Once home, I emptied a package of noodles in a colander and gave them a good rinse before I tasted a couple of strands.

They kind of look like rice vermicelli and tasted mild with a crunchy texture.  I thought they would be great in a marinated asian noodle salad (the packaging even said “Great in Salads”–so who am I to disagree?)

Completely raw, gluten free and only 6 calories for 4 ounces, they’re a great substitute for regular pasta.

I chopped up a bunch of colorful crunchy veggies and whipped together a quick asian marinade/dressing.

 

I ate some right away–because I was impatient and hungry, but I think it’ll be better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors can meld together.

Crunchy (Kelp) Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 package kelp noodles, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup julienned red bell pepper
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • 2 T cilantro, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 grapeseed oil
  • 1 T low sodium Tamari
  • 1 T Siracha
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add noodles, cabbage, peanuts, carrots, red bell pepper, scallions, cilantro and toss.
  2. Mix together dressing and add to salad.
  3. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours.

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dip

Ever since I’ve discovered that I have egg and diary allergies, I’ve been avoiding anything creamy.  While I’ve found substitutes for most things, like almond milk in coffee and tahini for salad dressing, I miss the creamy herbaceous goodness of ranch dip.

I played around testing a couple of recipes and finally found a winner.  The trick is to use soaked cashews as a replacement for sour cream or mayonnaise which is traditionally used in ranch dressing/dip.

It’s best to let the dip set overnight to thicken and let the flavors meld, but you can eat it right away too if you can’t wait : ) It just won’t be as thick, but you can also add less water to the recipe to fix that.

Creamy Vegan Veggie Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 T. fresh parsley
  • 2 T. fresh dill
  • 2 T. scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add water and soaked cashews and blend
  2. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic to blender and blend
  3. Add parsley, cilantro, and jalepeno to blender and blend
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve with cut up veggies such as carrots, celery, bell peppers

 

Weekend Snapshots

Adorable kittens at the local pet adoption

My morning cup of coffee

Random iphone pic

The harbor at Half Moon Bay

My blogging station aka: desk

Oversized pink Dahlia

A healthy lunch

Feng Shui Bedroom

It’s now been some time since I’ve settled in my new place and I wanted to share some pictures with you.  I’m going to start with my bedroom since I’ve finally got all all the furniture and fixings in place.  I’ll share pictures of the rest of the place soon, I’m just waiting on a few pieces of furniture to complete my living room.

But before I show the pics I’d like to explain a little bit about Feng Shui.  Feng Shui is the art of placement that helps you to arrange your home so that your life is harmonious.

According to Jayme Barret, certified feng shui consultant and author of “Feng Shui Your Life,”

“The Chinese characters for the words “feng shui” represent “wind” and “water.” They are symbols for creating a gentle flow of energy in your environment.  In the same way that blood and oxygen must flow freely and purposefully in your body, so must energy and life force circulate throughout your daily environment.  The rooms and spaces you inhabit influence your well being and your opportunities in life.”

I’ve always been a believer of the affects feng shui can have on one’s life and overall energy of the home.  I noticed a difference right away when I simply rearranged some furniture, my home just felt better and I felt more relaxed when I walked in.  Even those that didn’t believe in feng shui would say how loved the feeling of being in my home.  They couldn’t put their finger on it, but they mentioned that they just had a ‘good’ feeling being in my place and they felt at ease.

While I’m not going to get into an in depth discussion about feng shui (there’s too much to cover in one post), I’m going to share some tips for creating a harmonious bedroom and show you what I’ve done with my new place.

Bed Placement

One of the most important elements of a feng shui’ed bedroom is the placement of the bed.  Ideally, the bed would be on the opposite wall of the door.  Someone in bed should have a clear view of the door, but not have his/her feet in line with it or be  in the door path-this is called the “Command” position.  Being in a command position will create a feeling of power and security for the person sleeping in the bed.  The other thing to note, is that your bed should be against a solid wall and not under a window if possible.

One of the challenges I faced with my bedroom was that I could not place my bed in a ‘command’ position because the opposite wall from the door had a built in vanity and mirrored closet.  The only other solution would be to place it under the window or on the opposite wall where it would be in line with door, neither of which is ideal.

I had asked Elisa Cashiola, a certified feng shui consultant and the voice behind “The Blog of a Placement designer,” what would be the best position to place my bed, given that neither choices were ideal. Her recommendation was that I place my bed under the window, but get a solid headboard from the window energy.

I followed her advice and here’s the result and this is the result.  The picture below was taken while standing in the doorway looking into my room.

I ordered an upholstered headboard, to combine the strength of something solid, while adding softness from fabric.

I absolutely love my bed and feel like I’ve created the perfect haven for me to get restful sleep.

Another thing to note, is that the vanity area had a very large mirror that was reflecting the bed.  Mirrors reflecting the bed are a no no in feng shui as they are energizing and can cause restless sleep.

I removed the mirror and replaced it with two large art prints that I found.  I loved the color and the relaxed french vibe of the paintings.

I also bought some furniture for extra storage.

Unfortunately my closet didn’t have much space to house my shoes  and I didn’t want them to be out everywhere, so I found this wardrobe (Ikea) and shoe rack (The Container Store) to organize them.

Having everything organized and tucked away enables me to keep with a clutter free space.

The last thing I did was to put up some shelves to hold my jewelry and bought a small dresser to store extra clothes.  I’m a girly girl at heart and love having all of my beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings on display.  It also makes getting ready easier and allow me to accessorize my outfits in a snap!

All in all I’ve very happy by how everything turned out.

Before I end this post I thought I’d share with you some quick feng shui bedroom tips.

Feng Shui Bedroom Guidelines

  • Bed placement – Have your bed approachable from both sides, have two bedside tables (one on each side), avoid having the bed in direct line with the door, avoid having the bed under a window.
  • Minimize all mirrors in the bedroom.  If there is a mirror reflecting the bed, either remove it or cover it with curtains or a scarf while sleeping.
  • Avoid having a TV, computer, exercise equipment or bills in the bedroom.
  • Clear out clutter-especially under the bed
  • Choose art work that is uplifting or you want to see happening in your life.  Do not use sad and lonely images in your bedroom.
  • Bedroom colors should consist of skin tones from pale white to warm peaches and tans.
  • Keep all bedroom doors closed at night to allow for the most nourishing flow of energy to strengthen health.
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