Be Kind

BeKind

My day started with someone (a complete stranger) saying something rude to me. It was just an offhand comment, not a big deal, but it really put a damper on my Monday morning (as if Monday mornings aren’t already damper-ed enough. Ha!) I know that I can be overly sensitive at times, and that this person probably was just having a bad morning, maybe a bad weekend, or dealing with their own issues at home or at work. There are a million ‘excuses’, but none of them make it okay. I shook it off and eventually got over it- but it made me think of how much we can effect people without even thinking about it. I highly doubt this person gave a second thought about the not-so-nice thing that they said, but I spent a good part of my morning feeling bad/sad about it. Bummer.

It was a good reminder to notice the kind things people do everyday- and appreciate them more. For this one rude comment, I got many other friendly greetings and smiles. I have a bad habit of remembering the insults and taking them to heart,  and conversely forgetting the compliments or disregarding them- I’m working on that.

It was also a good reminder  to be kind to others, as much and as often as possible. I do try my best and I think for the most part I’m a pretty nice person, but I know I can be more mindful about the words I use and what I say to and about others. Words are very powerful. I will try to not take things out on others that are usually just a reflection on how I’m feeling about myself. On that note, be kind to yourself too.

So, moral of the story, be kind because you never know when you’ll end up on one of the Mean Tweets sketches. And because Monday mornings are rough enough.

Summer in the City

Long days, warm weather, sunshine and sunsets, everything feels just a little more easy breezy in the summer, even waking up at 5am for work like I did this morning! I kicked off the summer with a 2 week vacation to France last month, and was a little worried that after that the rest of the summer might feel a little anti-climatic after that. So far, not true!

France was incredible. The romantic city of light (Paris), the highest mountains in the Alps (Mont Blanc), lavender fields for days (Provence) and swanky beaches (French Riviera). The museums, shopping, sites, the food and the wine. And the creme brulee. That needs it’s own food category. It was seriously the vacation of a lifetime.

After 2 weeks though, I was ready to come home though. One of the great things about traveling is how much it makes you appreciate home. I missed our dog, I missed our condo, I missed friends and I even missed my job (especially teaching yoga)!

I’m finding that for me, nothing beats summer in the city (our city). We are just a short trip away from visiting beaches and mountains when we do need an escape, and this weekend’s date night (at the Navy Yard Bistro, our favorite!!) Stand-up Paddle Boarding Adventure on the Charles River, a beach day in Rockport, grilling out on our patio and doing some home improvement on our new condo was *almost* as good as sipping champagne on top of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe not as glamorous, but certainly as much fun.

Cheers to your summer, enjoy the heck out of it, wherever you are!

Cheers

Keep It Simple Stupid!

“Simplify, Simplify, Simplify” -Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau was on to something here, and it wasn’t just living at Walden Pond. I’m realizing how often I over-complicate things and make things so much harder than they need to be. At work, with relationships, even with my food! I thought eating more Paleo-ish and cooking with a lot of whole foods would be difficult, but it’s actually so much easier! Most of the recipes have very little ingredients. Take for instance my banana pancakes this morning. Here’s the ingredient list:

BananaPancakes1

-1 Banana, mashed

-2 Eggs

-Lots of cinnamon (my only cinnamon measurement)

-Coconut oil for the pan

Mix together the banana, eggs and cinnamon in a bowl, throw it on the the pan heated with coconut oil and that’s it! The pancakes came out a little crepe like, but oh so delicious! I topped them with a little peanut butter and sliced strawberries. OMGood. This is what Jack Johnson’s songs are all about.

BananaPancakes2

4 ingredient banana pancake

Now just for comparison, lets look at a Bisquick ingredient list real quick:

bisquick

Don’t forget you still need to add the milk and eggs! This isn’t just about the pancakes. There are probably lots of things I’m making unnecessarily complicated when it could be easier (and better). Keep it simple stupid (or keep it stupid simple). Can you think about anything else in life you can simplify, simplify, simplify? Food for thought.

K.I.S.S.

-Megan

Strawberry Moon

Full Moons- Despite all the chaos they tend to bring with them I find there is something lovely and calming about a full moon in the sky. I’m really hoping the weather clears up over the city tonight so I can catch a glimpse of some of the June Strawberry moon that is upon us. It’s also known as the Honeymoon. Either way it sounds delicious!

I think most all yoga practitioners are aware of the strong connection between the practice and the sun. Sun Salutaions (Surya Namaskars) are fairly standard in most of the classes I take and teach, but Moon Salutations- not so much. Then there is the whole Ashtanga belief in Moon Days- taking a break from practicing on days with both full and new moons.

I’m feeling a little more mellow than usual with this cold, dreary June weather. I tend towards the hot, firey chatarungas but In the class I’m teaching tonight (no moon holiday for this Vinyasa teacher!) I’m thinking something a little more chill, meditative & moon-like.  If you can’t make it to class here’s and easy practice-at-home moon sequence/mediation to follow.

strawberry-moon-chakrology

(Image Source)

Vacation Countdown

6 days. By this time next week, I’ll be in Paris. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! Trying to do my best to stay present though, since there is a lot to get done before we go! Lots of work & teaching (Mon-Sat this week, basically working right up until my flight leaves) and also packing and prepping. Mostly I’m trying not to think about how sad I am to have to be away from our little Mango for 2 weeks. I wish we could bring him with us, but I know he’ll have a great time with family down the Cape for 2 weeks (and he’ll have his own private beach… lucky dog!)

We got so many helpful travel tips from friends and family and random strangers. I don’t know what I would do without you guys! Now if someone only wanted to come over and pack for me and also buy me a whole new wardrobe, since non of my yoga pants seem chic enough for Le Paris, that would be le great.

It’s also a countdown to my diet sabatage 😉 I know full well my new ‘diet’ (or should I say nutritional lifestyle?) will be going out the window when in Europe, I’ve been still really feeling better and staying pretty much grain-less and limiting sugar/dairy/processed foods without stressing as much about it as I did in the beginning of the nutritional challenge. I’ve been giving in a little more with the sweets & treats (you gotta live a little) and made these REALLY good paleo coconut flour brownies last night.

Tour de France

The countdown is officially on for our tour de France next month! Oh lal la!  I am already dreaming about wine & cheese, and have added French to my DuoLingo app. If you haven’t tried this language app yet, I definitely recommend it! It’s fun, it’s educational and it’s free! I used it a lot before our most recent trip to Costa Rica, and it definitely helped me out there.

With learning a language (or learning almost anything) it’s amazing what just a little bit of practice each day can do, consistency is key! I also really don’t want to be THAT American in France that can’t even say ‘hello’ ‘thank you’ or, most importantly ‘more wine please’.

Unfortunately I am probably going to be THAT American walking around in flip flops and sneakers the whole time, because all my fancy shoe money is going directly to travel. #priorites

This is going to be our first trip to France, and there is sooo much we want to see and do! Although 2 weeks sounds like a long time, I have no doubt it is going to fly by! Our itinerary has us in Paris for 4 days, then over to the Alps and then down to the South of France. I’m trying to research places/itineraries but there is just SO much. If anyone has any recommendations please send them my way!

On another note, I had to get my passport re-newed for this trip because of my  recent name change, even though my old passport still had 2 good years left on it- such a pain! Even worse than having to pay to re-new it early, is losing all my current stamps/visas and getting to show off what a bad-ass world traveler I am… But THE WORST is having had to take a new passport photo. Man, those things are REALLY not flattering. Maybe the US government will get hip and start allowing selfies?

PassportPhoto

Spring Clean Eating

Hello and Happy Spring! It’s been about exactly a month since I started on a Nutrition Cleanse run by a nutritionist in the Crossfit program at my gym.

The last 30 days very closely followed the Whole30 eating model. Basically eliminating foods that typically cause trouble: Processed Foods, grains, gluten, dariy, legumes, added Sugars, alcohol, etc. I stuck pretty close to the diet for a much as possible, though I did cheat a little bit here and there (traveling to California for a week-long work trip definitely tested all of my self-control, hunger and blood sugar levels).

Sure the California Coast off Highway 1 is beautiful, but I'm still HANGRY!

Sure the California Coast off Highway 1 is beautiful, but I’m still HANGRY!

I did eat  more whole foods (think veggies, fruits, eggs) than I’ve probably eaten in  the past 5 years of my life combined- no joke. I generally consider myself a pretty healthy eater, but boy was this eye-opening!! I really didn’t realize how much I deferred to/ depended on  processed foods and junk food until I tried to cut it out. I had to cook, to wash pots and pans, to peel an orange (why is orange peeling SUCH a big thing for me? I can’t even begin to explain the amount of motivation I need to muster in order to peel an orange most days). The first week I had a headache that no amount of Advil could cure (I blame this mostly on cutting out coffee cold-turkey. I have since brought caffeine back in, but normally opt for green tea or iced tea, and do not need coffee to function in the morning. This is a big breakthrough and my stomach can not thank me enough).

In addition to my stomach feeling great, my workouts have also been feeling more energized. I’m running a little faster (PR’d in a 5k this weekend!) and feeling stronger and more flexible during yoga practices.

That being said, this sort of cleanse is not for the weary. It takes a lot of time to food shop and prep, and also as we all know healthy foods are not always cheap -though I buy on sale whenever possible, if you’re really eating clean, eating sustainably/organic is also very important. It also caused me to have a little social panic when it would come time to go out to eat or eat at someone else’s house (how awkward is it to BYOD – Bring Your Own Dinner).

I’m relieved that the 30 days is over and that I survived, but I’m also a little nervous not having this strict regiment to follow! What I do know is that I will no longer be a slave to simple carbs/excess sugar/caffeine, and that I will continue to eat a sweet potato and eggs for breakfast over a bagel with cream cheese (almost) everyday.

PaleoBfast2go

I ❤ Sweet Potatoes

Baby Steps

I’m not afraid of running uphill. In fact I kind of enjoy it. When I run uphill, I take baby steps. I shorten my stride, slow down my speed a little, but I don’t stop moving forward. Keep moving in the right direction, and eventually you’ll make it to the top, right?

I need to incorporate this thinking into other aspects of my life (I’ve noticed so many times how running and life things overlap. If only life was really as simple as running.) I really like this idea of breaking big challenges down into baby-steps. I don’t stop at the bottom of each hill, just staring at the top (where I want to be) and worry/wondering how I’ll get there. I just keep moving, and then eventually I’m there.

I’ve noticed that unlike running, before starting sometimes I tend to stop and worry. What happens if I fail? What happens if it’s not perfect? What if I fall down? The only surefire way not to make it up that hill is if you just stop at the bottom and give up.

Since we’re on the topic of baby steps, I’ll also share some photos from my friends baby shower this weekend! Her shower was in gorgeous Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Even though the drive there and back by myself on Sunday felt long, it was worth it to..

Celebrate with her at her fantastic shower:

Shower

Take in the gorgeous coastal Maine views (the way life should be…)

balloons

And last but not least.. worth it for the CRAZY GOOD cupcakes (note the pink frosting. It’s a girl!!!!)

cupcake

Oats of Steel = Abs of Steel?

My newest food obsession is Steel Cut Oats. I have been an oatmeal fan forever, but always opted for the instant oats since, they were quick and easy and well, I am lazy!

I knew that the ingredients in the instant flavored oatmeal aren’t necessarily the best, and that there is often times a lot of added sugar. Recently I decided to put on my big-girl kitchen apron and whip up some Steel Cut Oats. My first experience with them was making a crock-pot full. In the crock-pot, there was enough for breakfast for a full month (not kidding!) These babies are sooo filling.

In addition to the oats and water, I added in milk, a little vanilla, cinnamon & brown sugar into the crock-pot and when it came time to heat-up/eat I would add a scoop of peanut butter and some berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or all 3). There are tons of easy recipes online for the crock-pot oats- I think I used this one.

The next few times I have just made it on the stove top or in the microwave following the directions on the bag . Each time has been super delicious, and so filling. Normally after eating oatmeal, I’ll crave another snack or early lunch within a short-time, so the fact that this kept me satisfied for so long was really interesting!  It turns out that our bodies do not digest all oats equally, and since the steel ones take longer to digest, it keeps us fuller for a longer period of time and keep the metabolism on point. Good to know!

I’ll still love instant oatmeal and really all oats in general, but definitely looking forward to incorporating more steel-cut into the diet. Remember folks, abs (of steel) are made in the kitchen!!

Nourish