Starting the New Year right!

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s when I get to relax with my hub and enjoy all the wonderful tasty treats we’ve been gifted by family & friends.

This year we received so many yummy gifts — bottles of red wine, Erik’s favorite Omaha Steaks, a tasty basket of goodies from Harry & David, and a unique gift from Zabar’s in New York, a Babka & Rugelach Crate. Even with the large crowd we had for Christmas, we’re still up to our eyeballs in treats — luckily much of this can be frozen and pulled out at a later date!

‘Tis December 31st and the night before January 1st. Uh-oh.

I’ll admit two things —

One: I don’t like resolutions, I prefer goals …

Two: Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a few too many Hershey Kisses amongst other things (I’m looking at you snickerdoodles and gingerbread lattes).

It’s time to give my system a break, reset and recharge.

I’m no stranger to cleansing or as I prefer to call it clean eating (less scary, right?!). Cleansing is an excellent opportunity to slow down and focus on YOU for a moment! This is why I was beyond excited to receive my February copy of Whole Living featuring a clean eating 21 day action plan. This plan is fantastic as it includes a number of recipes to help keep you on track throughout the 21 days and … it begins January 2nd — no excuses. Can you say perfect timing or what!

The Cleanse

The No’s (I’m good at this word now, see puppy)

Just say NO to processed foods & beverages, sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol for 21 days. Stick with it! Crankiness may ensue but trust me within days you’ll be feeling better and will be glowing from the inside out!

Week 1: eat lots of fruits, veggies & plant-based fats (nuts, seeds, oils). For me this will mean green smoothies for breakfast and veg heavy salads for lunch and dinner. I’ll probably also treat myself to some of the delicious juice recipes included in the clean eating plan like this grapefruit, carrot & ginger juice — delicious!

Week 2: add back in seafood, beans & lentils.

Week 3: add back in gluten-free grains and eggs.

Some advice to keep you on track!

Stick to the perimeter of your market — everything you need for the next 21 days is right here.

H2O — drink it — lots of it! You’re going to be moving a whole bunch of toxins through your system and will want to flush them out quickly. Water will also keep you hydrated as you increase your fitness routine.

Recount & Reflect. Journal your food intake as well as set some fitness goals. Make reasonable goals like taking the stairs or drinking an extra glass of water. Jot down your ups and your downs throughout the 21 days. What was challenging? What surprised or excited you? Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up — just get back on track. Paper journaling is great or try a website like calorie count, an excellent and quite accurate online resource. Bonus — it’s free!

Tell everyone that is important to you that you’re cleansing! In fact, let everyone in on your secret — tell them why you’re glowing! Those around me have always been incredibly supportive in honoring my eating/exercise plan. Remember, these are the people who know how hard you’ve worked on your goals and want you to succeed. Rely on your biggest cheerleaders — I’ll bet many of them join in.

So … who wants to join me?

On that note, have a safe & enjoyable NYE!

I wish all of you the best for an amazingly fit & fabulous 2012!

Thank you for reading my little blog — it truly does mean the world to me. 



Healthy Holiday Tips!

I’ll admit it, I love all the rich dishes and cut out cookies the holidays bring. In fact, I love them so much that I have to remind myself not to sabotage all the hard work I do throughout the year. While the temptations might seem endless (I’m talking about you peppermint bark & pumpkin pie), I’m positive a balance can be struck. This year, I have a game plan in place so I can indulge without the added bulge!

Workout. I know, I know … However, I refuse to go to hell in a hand basket this year and spend my winter break fitting back into my skinnies. Yoga is my mainstay and I enjoy my weekly run club, but, it’s easy to “oversleep” on the holiday or punt due to day after coma. While I’m not advocating a massive workout session, use this opportunity to take a walk with a loved one and enjoy the fall foliage or join a local turkey trot like this one. Not only will you feel better for it, that pumpkin pie will taste all the more sweet!

Eat a healthy snack. I already know I am going to be tempted to pile on an extra spoonful of my mother-in-law Mia’s fantastic mashed potatoes that are reserved specifically for Thanksgiving. Chances are good I’ll make a few fruit kebabs like these (minus the mini brownie, though I LOVE that idea) to throw in the car for my husband and I to snack on before dinner. If you don’t want to snack before dinner, a few tall glasses of cool H2O should do the trick!

Bring a healthy dish. If you’re worried that Thanksgiving dinner may be a bit too rich for you with all that butter and cream, bring a healthy dish with a bit of decadence like this acorn squash. I like that the author includes a savory option as well as a sugar & spice version. Your host will appreciate the contribution to the dinner table and you can feel good knowing you contributed a healthy touch to the day.

Remember if you overindulge one or even two days, it’s okay. Don’t beat  yourself up and don’t use your overindulgence as an excuse to fall of the wagon for the rest of the holiday season. Just get back to your healthy eating habits the following day and move forward. Feel like you need a jump start? Try replacing one or two meals with a healthy green smoothie. They’re incredibly filling and super nutritious!

Let the festivities commence!

I love a good challenge!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Christmas on the horizon, and in between a family wedding, holiday parties, a birthday and finals, November and December are quickly filling up. Did I mention we’re getting a puppy?

I love this time of year for how wonderfully busy and exciting it can be. I get to reconnect with my family and friends, decorate the house and enjoy Christmas music that I wait all year patiently for and don’t officially bust out until after our family Thanksgiving meal is done.

What I failed to mention is fitting in my regularly scheduled workout. Fitness along with a healthful diet is often forgotten when we get busy with holiday preparations. Having a good fitness routine in place as we move into the holiday season is so vital not only for our mental well-being, but also for keeping our immune system strong during this time of year; as joyful as the holiday season ultimately is, sometimes stress can get the best of us.

That’s why I was so excited my yoga studio, CPY initiated a yoga challenge. Basically any yogi who averages 4 classes a week now through 12/14 will be entered into a raffle to win prizes. Who doesn’t love prizes?! Honestly, for me, it’s all about the neat sparkly star sticker I proudly get to add next to my name. Fun, right?! New folks get a free week of yoga, too. Check it out!

What are you doing to stay calm and healthy this holiday season?

Tri Something New

Yep, that’s right, TRI SOMETHING NEW!

I will admit, I am quite happy with my routine. I love my yoga practice, but, have recently decided to kick up my workout a notch. I have started taking kick-butt sculpt classes when my schedule allows as well as also enjoy the high energy Ryde classes offered at my yoga studio, which compliment my yoga practice nicely and are an excellent cardio blast!

This Friday, I’ll be at the Title Nine Store in Berkeley to dust off my running (err jogging) shoes and TRI Something New. Lacey Calvert, yoga instructor extraordinaire, has teamed up with Title Nine to lead a 3 mile run followed by a short 15 minute bike as well as some light yoga to finish off the morning workout. I have been assured this workout is geared toward all fitness levels. While I’m totally nervous (running in a group and totally biting the dust is one of my biggest fears!!), I’m also really excited to push myself out of my comfort zone and maybe surprise myself.

For more info or to RSVP, check out Title Nine on Facebook or email Lacey at Ladies & Gents are both welcome to participate! 8 am folks!

What are you all doing to push yourself these days?

Healthy Goal Setting

We all know making healthy food choices has a tremendous affect on our overall health. Eating healthy helps us manage our weight as well as reduces our risk for disease. Due to the increase in food related illness, educating the public with comprehensive nutritional information is now more vital than ever before. However, it’s not just what we eat that matters.

Food and fitness work synergistically. So often we separate food and fitness into their own categories. To maintain our health, we eat everyday, so why aren’t we exercising on most or all days of the week. Think about how good we would all feel if we were taking care of our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise. When we eat a balanced diet full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and engage in regular physical activity, we boost our mood and build self-confidence.

Therefore, I challenge you to set two healthy goals to finish out these last few months of the year healthy, strong, and confident!

Need some new ideas?

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. You should aim for 3-4 cups every day.

Water? Hydration is so incredibly important. You should aim for 6-8 glasses each day (more if you exercise). Try adding a slice of lemon or your favorite fruit like raspberries or grapes to add a little flavor.

Eat Breakfast!

Get moving! You should aim for 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. Remember, it doesn’t all have to be at once. Take the stairs at the train station or park your car out a little further at the grocery store. Take a walk with your family after dinner.

Remember, small changes add up over time!!

What do you do to encourage others around you to make healthy choices?

Two Awesomely Good Events!

This weekend is sure shaping up to be a good one! Check out these two unique events happening this weekend in the SF Bay Area. I’ll be there, will you?!

Saturday, September 24th

Check out Slow Food’s first annual “Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference: Boots on the Ground.”

As a dietetics student, I’m thrilled to be able to attend COBA. For me, this is a fantastic opportunity to gain a better understanding of the issue as well as meet key professionals in the health and wellness fields. I’m especially excited that Slow Food has rounded up a well-diversified group of speakers including representatives from Shape up SF and the Contra Costa County Wellness City Challenge.

Members of the general public are encouraged to attend. Tickets are available for purchase through Eventbrite.

For more information, check out Slow Food’s website.

Sunday, September 25th

It’s no secret I love yoga! I have a unique group of outstanding yoga instructors that continually challenge me as well as provide an encouraging and positive atmosphere in which I’m quite blessed to practice. With all that said, my yoga studio also has an amazing teacher training program set in place. This Sunday, recent graduates will lead a special 75 minute class fusing together two amazing yoga styles, Hot Power Fusion and Power Yoga. Both inspiring classes aim to work the entire body through a series of poses set to music that will leave you feeling detoxified and energized!

This group of dynamic instructors has put together this class with the intention of raising awareness and donations for the Art of Yoga Project, a unique organization that brings yoga to at-risk young women in the juvenile justice system. Early intervention really is the key and through yoga, these young women will gain confidence and self-respect that ultimately will lead to healthy lifestyle choices. The class is free, yes FREE, but donations will be accepted! Please come out on Sunday to support a great cause and practice with CorePower’s newest grads!

For more information on CorePower Yoga, click here.

For more information on the Art of Yoga Project, click here.

Karma Yoga Class for the Art of Yoga Project
Sunday at 2:00pm
Corepower Yoga Berkeley

Goddess Pose

I was very fortunate this past summer to have an incredibly free schedule which meant lots of yoga and freedom to move my body. Now that school is back in session, sitting for many hours a day has begun to take a toll on my body. Even though my school schedule affords me a good deal of flexibility, I still need a little extra stretch here and there to keep my muscles and joints feeling great!

Tip! Sitting for any length of time, creates undo stress on the body. Do your body a favor and set a reminder on your cell phone or work computer to get up and take a stretch every now and then. You’ll not only feel better, but, your body will thank you!

Lately, I’ve been exploring hip opening poses in my yoga practice. As individuals, we tend to hold our stresses within our hips, causing them to feel tight and uncomfortable. The goddess pose (or Utkata Konasana) gently helps to open our hips and chest, releasing muscle tension, and, as an added bonus, strengthens and tones the lower body. While hip openers can feel extremely challenging while holding them, they also provide us with a great sense of satisfaction upon completion.

Here’s how to do the goddess pose, which in English translates to fierce angle pose.

Stand with your feet roughly 3 feet apart and turned out toward the corners of your mat. Bend your elbows to shoulder height, palms facing forward. Gently exhale, look straight ahead and begin to squat, bending the knees over the toes. Begin to press your hips forward and the knees back. Drop your shoulders, sliding the shoulder blades down your back and together, keeping your arms active and engaged. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 good honest breaths. To move out of goddess, upon inhalation, straighten the legs, reach fingertips to the ceiling, and exhale arms to the side. Fierce, right!

What are some of your favorite hip opening exercises?

Photo Credit