A Rainy Run and Spring Cleaning

Happppppppy Saturday! I don’t have a ton of fun photos for you today, but I do have a couple of food photos to share from yesterday.

Once again, I used the NutriBullet to whip up a smoothie. I’ve made this one before. In the mix was: banana, kale, almond milk, chocolate egg white protein powder, peanut butter, and aloe vera juice.

smoothie

Lunch: Quinoa, cheese, and peas. This was actually really good despite it being so simple. Sometimes simple is best. It was cooked quinoa, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, and peas.

quinoa and cheese and peas

Dinner: My favorite salmon!

salmon

 

 

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I keep forgetting to mention that Dana and I have registered for a 10K race coming up at the end of April! My runs have become few and far between, and I’m going to blame that mostly on the weather. I know, lame excuse. Every time I am out for a run I feel fantastic, and every time I am done I always say I have GOT to do this more often. I wish I could bottle up these good endorphins and release them under my nose when I’m not feeling up to a run.

Now that I have a race to look forward to, I will be hitting the pavement more often again and am really looking forward to it.

Furthermore, the weather is really turning around here which makes it that much more enticing to run outside. Yesterday it was in the 50′s and today it is in the 40′s. The snow is melting super fast and I am loving it. Spring is officially here.

Can you spot the cardinal?!

cardinal and backyard

Dana, Moose, and I headed out for a rainy run this morning. We tried a new loop in our neighborhood and covered 4.7 miles. Despite it being wet, rainy, and a little chilly, it was still a GREAT run! My endurance and stamina felt wonderful and I am confident I will be just fine for the 10K in April.

My hands are struggling to type right now because they are still pretty chilled but my body is so happy. :smile:

Moose hung on through the whole run but he isn’t quite used to runs longer than 3 miles after the winter months. His back paws got a little scraped up and he was bleeding at the end of the run. It’s time to build up those paws again! We covered his wounds with socks and he is now fast asleep on the carpet. Poor guy!

moose

 

Since it is rainy, we have decided that today is SPRING CLEANING DAY! I am off to dust, windex, vacuum, and mop! Fun, fun, fun. Kidding, but it will feel really good to do a deep clean on the house.

I hope you all have a FANTASTIC Saturday! xoxo

Go Green Tropical Smoothie

HAAAPPPY GOOD FRIDAY! This week really flew by for me and I’m not complaining about it one bit.

melanie

 

We are going to have one VERY relaxing Easter weekend! We already celebrated Easter with Dana’s family last weekend, so this weekend we will be celebrating with my family on Sunday. Tonight we have zero plans, and tomorrow we are going to do some spring cleaning! Yes, I’m excited about it. I’m hoping it’ll be nice enough that we can open the windows and let the “winter air” out of the house.

I’ve been loving my new NutriBullet. I whipped up another smoothie and have been having fun mixing in different veggies and finding combinations that keep my taste buds intrigued Yesterday’s was a tropical-ish smoothie.

smoothie

Go Green Tropical Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 small-medium ripe banana
  • 2 small celery sticks
  • 1 big handful of kale
  • almond milk**—as much or as little as you would like to reach desired consistency
  • aloe vera juice (optional)

**Coconut milk would be a GREAT substitute.

A little lunch action…mixed greens with tomato, guacamole, and an over-easy egg alongside a leftover almond biscuit and a juicy apple. Perfectly satisfying.

egg over a salad

In the afternoon I snacked on some walnuts and raisins to give me a quick energy boost.

Afternoon Workout

I pulled up YouTube on our Apple TV and flipped through some workouts and found the ToneItUp girls arm workout. I completed their arm workout and then went right into Insanity’s cardio abs routine. After that I headed down to the treadmill and cranked out a half hour walk. I felt a little guilty that I didn’t take the pup out for a walk outside, but it is SO muddy and I just didn’t feel like dealing with that yesterday. Sorry Mooser. Maybe next time.

Dinner

I roasted a large handful of Brussels Sprouts in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. While those roasted, I cooked a couple of mini turkey patties on the stove, along with sauteed onions and mushrooms. Once everything was done cooking, I plated up the sprouts, then the turkey patties, onions, and mushrooms, and I finished the dish off with some shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese.

I ate a couple spoonfuls of cooked quinoa while I waited for this to come together.

veggies and turkey burger

veggies and turkey burger

Talk about taking a trip to flavor town! The only seasonings I used in this whole dish were salt, pepper, and olive oil, but the foods all took on their natural flavors and it tasted absolutely delicious.

I spent the evening sobbing over  watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I read these books a long long time ago, and watched the movies, but it has been so long. Oh how I love a good chick flick! For an evening snack I had a handful of dates with pb; definitely my biggest weakness lately.

Okey dokey, I’m off for the day! I hope you all have a fantastic Good Friday!

Do you celebrate Easter? Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

A Hungry Morning

We are half way through the work week! How about that?! I hope everyone is having a great week.

Yesterday was one of those days where my body just couldn’t get enough to eat. I think I did a pretty good job of listening to what my body was asking for and feeding it lots of healthy foods. The morning was a feeding fiasco. :wink:

It started off with a bowl of gluten-free Erewhon Buckwheat and Hemp cereal with homemade almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and banana. I had to remind myself to slow down as I ate this but it was SO good I couldn’t help myself! cereal and fruit

I really want to try other Erewhon cereals. They have strawberry crisp, raisin bran, crispy brown rice, and more. They all sound fantastic! I haven’t had cereal in forever.

cereal and fruit

For my workout yesterday I turned on Apple TV and found a ZUMBA workout led by a young male Zumba instructor who was a really good dancer. It was fun but not as fun as actually being in a class with other people dancing with me. After Zumba I completed a 15-minute intense ab workout.

Many snacks proceeded the workouts. I ate walnuts, dates and peanut butter, a banana, celery, and an energy bite. I’m probably missing something else in there.

walnuts

After all of the snacking, it was only about 11:00 am but I figured since I was still hungry I may as well make lunch.

I sautéed onion, green bell pepper, and mushrooms. I then added a splash of bone broth, leftover chicken and black beans. I topped off this concoction with avocado and salsa. NUM!

sauteed vergis

After “lunch” my belly was finally feeling satisfied. The hunger staved off for a while after that!

Later in the afternoon I took the pooch for a 3-mile walk around the neighborhood. It is extremely messy around here these days. The snow is definitely melting and we are left with very muddy grass, wet sidewalks, and a dirty dog, but I’ll take it because that means spring is really here!

Moose

More snacks happened in the afternoon.

Dinner was light because I had done the majority of my eating throughout the day and wasn’t super hungry, but still wanted some nutrition. I threw together a lazy salad with mixed greens, red bell pepper, peas, olives, pickles, avocado, sunflower seeds and a dressing made with Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. It was simple but tasty.

I am pretty much convinced that I could put avocado on anything and it would taste good. The avocado really stole the show last night.

salad

 

The rest of the evening was pretty quiet and relaxing!

Question of the day: What is your favorite cereal?

Have a great day!!

 

5 Slow Sweaty Miles With No Boredom!

Thank you all for the sweet and supportive comments yesterday! It’s definitely an exciting milestone!

It’s time to catch you up on the rest of the weekend.

Saturday

We were out of bananas so I couldn’t have my typical pb and b breakfast, but settled for a piece of almond bread with peanut butter instead.

Eventually I made my way downstairs to the treadmill where I got warped into Dance Moms and ran a slow pace for 5 miles. It felt great to get sweaty and was one of those runs where I felt like I could just keep going, going, going. I didn’t experience the treadmill boredom one bit that day. I can’t believe I just admitted I was watched Dance Moms. 

Lunch was completely random—it started with a fail of a smoothie. I tried adding broccoli and I just couldn’t get past the flavor and texture it added, so I had to dump it. I hate wasting food so you know it had to be pretty bad. Next I made a simple protein drink with almond milk and Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein powder. I gave it a mix and drank it up. It was okay but nothing was tasting great.

So I made lunch a snacky deal. It involved an apple, some veggies, almonds, peanut butter, dates…you name it and I probably snacked on it. :wink:

Moose got a belated Christmas gift from us (clearance right now at Petco) which he absolutely adores.

moose

For dinner we had plans with Dana’s family. For Christmas we told them we wanted to buy them dinner from one of our favorite restaurants (and also the restaurant we had our groom’s dinner), Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, and bring it over to their house and watch our wedding video with them.

It was a feast and it was so incredibly delicious and veggie-packed. We had tabouli, hummus, baba ghanoush, kabobs, gyros, greek salad, falafel, and more! med cruise cafe

After dinner we cozied up by the fire and watched our wedding video. It is SO fun to relive the wedding.

 

moose and sue

Sunday

Sunday was pretty lazy but we did manage to get to the grocery shopping and totally stock up on produce. It’s hard to see in the photo but we now have: baby cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, mini bell peppers, lettuce, blackberries, apples, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes…

fridge

…mushrooms, black beans, onions, bananas, and that’s not to mention what’s in the freezer! I think we are set for a while.

fridge

 

Dinner was BBQ crock pot chicken. I placed two large chicken breasts into the small crock pot, slathered in BBQ sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder and ground mustard, set it on low and covered for about 4 hours and voila. Dinner was ready!

This is one of my favorite homemade salads and I am always reminded of Famous Dave’s  pulled pork salad when I try to make this: mixed greens, corn, avocado, pickles, cheddar cheese, and pulled BBQ chicken. Seriously num.

 

salad

 

I’m making this post nice and short and sweet for ya’ll today. I have a few things to do this morning and I gotta get ready. Have a great Monday friends!

More Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp Please

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I don’t know about you but I am feelin’ SO good in 2013 so far. :smile: This morning we finished the Polar Dash 10K in St. Paul. It was a blast! Look out for a recap coming your way shortly.

First, let’s talk some New Year’s Eve business. Guess what we made a couple of days ago?! Two loaves of nutty gluten-free bread! Although we were a little short on the Greek yogurt so had to use 1/4 cup of almond milk. I actually think it turned out better this time!

Breakfast: Almond bread with pb and honey.

IMG_1264

We visited some friends in the morning. It was great catching up and visiting and playing charades with the kiddos. :smile: I enjoyed a Lime Perrier sparkling water on the way. I liked it a lot, but not as much as the grapefruit flavor.

IMG_1265

Lunch was a bowl of fat-free cottage cheese with peas, tomato, avocado, pepper, and chia seeds and it was VERY good.

IMG_1267

Mom and dad stopped over in the afternoon to say hi and wish us a Happy New Year.

Then it was time to make dinner…..drumrolls please.

DSCN6319 DSCN6320 DSCN6321

Crab, lobster, shrimp, and caesar salad.

DSCN6322 DSCN6323 DSCN6324

I wish seafood wasn’t so expensive because I enjoy it oh so much. It was slightly sweet and buttery and tender. LOVE IT.

We finished off 2012 watching the movie New Year’s Eve (I know, very cliché of us) and sipping on some hot cocoa. We stayed up until around 11:00 so we were able to see the ball drop in New York. Then it was time to get some shut-eye before our big race in the morning.

Super crazy NYE 2012, right? It was the perfect.

I am going to continue relaxing on the couch in my big comfy fleece pants and soak up every last bit of Christmas vacation. Tomorrow, back to reality.

I am very excited for 2013. It is going to be one heck of a year. Catch up with you all very soon!

Love,

M

It’s Peanut Butter Giveaway Time! {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Hi friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was very low-key and pretty darn fabulous. I have an amazing giveaway to announce, but I would still like to catch you up from the weekend so…..

The last time I left you was Friday morning, so I’ll take off from there.

Friday

I had a few appointments, one being a hair appointment. It was time to brighten up the golden locks. The last time I had my hair highlighted was in February, and it was starting to look dull, so I figured it was about time. It’s amazing what a simple change to your hair can do for your spirit. :smile:

Before and after:

Melanie hair

melanie hair

                                                                          You know what else helps lift my spirits? A box of pita chips from Wild Harvest delivered right to my door. They have recently come out with natural pita chips and sent me a few samples to try! They sent sea salt, parmesan garlic, and cinnamon sugar flavors. The sea salt ones were opened this weekend and I am VERY happy with them. They have a slight buttery taste to them and just the perfect amount of saltiness. I’m excited to try the other flavors.

Wild Harvest Pita Chips

I only had a few minutes for lunch but managed to whip up a tasty plate of shredded chicken with avocado, feta cheese, and pepper.

chicken avocado feta cheese

Dinner was protein-packed and simple: a Morningstar Garden Veggie patty with a runny egg on top.
morningstar with an egg

After dinner, Dana and I hopped into our warm car and made our way around town looking at Christmas lights. It’s a tradition we started last year which includes a trip to Dairy Queen and gawking at lights like little kids. I LOVE IT!

Christmas lights

Saturday

It was raining and 35° on Saturday morning, so our plans to run outside were deviated. We headed to the gym and ran out 5.5 miles on the treadmill. It was miserable to be perfectly honest. The boredom factor was at an all-time high, BUT we made it through.

My pre-run breakfast of banana with Parkers Farm peanut butter, cinnamon and honey…

parkers farm pb and banana

The afternoon was spent deep cleaning our house. Dusting, mopping, windexing, shining up the stainless steel appliances, catching up with the laundry, washing the drapes….I mean deep clean. Such a gratifying way to spend a rainy Saturday!

What adds to the gratification? Knowing that a pot roast would be ready in the crock pot at dinner time after a day full of crazy cleaning.

pot roast

The pot roast came out a little tougher than usual and I’m blaming that on the fact that I tossed it into the crock pot completely frozen, but it was still good! I used this roast recipe from the last time I made it, except minus the beef broth (because we didn’t have any) and I substituted with water instead.

Later in the evening I dominated a game of Skip Bo while Moose snuggled by my side. Kidding, he literally sat by me for 5 minutes before moving elsewhere, but I still thought it was sweet.

moose/skipbo

Sunday

The usual Sunday morning ritual of reading the paper, cutting coupons, and going grocery shopping, then home around noon for a sweet lunch…

Mixed greens, strawberries, avocado, black beans, mandarin oranges, and poppy seed dressing.
sweet salad

I made my way downstairs to the treadmill for a 40 minute walk, managed to wrap some presents, and clean the kitchen, but besides that, it was a pretty quiet and very relaxing day. I really needed a weekend like this. I am well-rested and have a very clean house. I hope you had a great weekend too!

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Now onto the realllllyyy good stuff…

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Parkers Farm, a Minnesota-based company, makes the most phenomenal peanut butter, one that you see throughout many of my posts (including this one actually). They also make other products like salsa and cheese spreads. Because I am such a huge peanut butter lover, I am stoked about this giveaway.

They are offering a case, which is 12 jars (16 ounces each) of their peanut butter to ONE lucky reader. The winner can choose between 1 of 3 varieties: creamy, crunchy, or honey creamy!

The peanut butter is perishable so this giveaway is only open to continental U.S. residents only (sorry to all of my other readers!) and no P.O. Box addresses please. The PB can be frozen for up to a year so no need to worry about not being able to use it all right away although in my house it wouldn’t be an issue. :smile:

To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to eat peanut butter. Earn an extra entry by tweeting or posting on facebook “I just entered to win @ParkersFarmInc peanut butter from @NuttyMelanie http://wp.me/p2J5VV-1lF.” Just be sure to leave a second comment on this post with your tweet or facebook post. I will randomly pick a winner on Thursday. Good luck!

Winter Running Gear

Happy Saturday! I’ve fallen a little behind so the plan is to quickly catch you up to speed annnnnnnddd here we go!

Thursday evening

After work I suited up and hit the road for a quick two-mile run outside before the sun went down. The temperature was in the 40′s so the weather was decent, but the run didn’t feel good to me at all. I really don’t appreciate afternoon runs and neither does my digestive system. I am definitely more of a morning runner person.

For dinner I whipped up a quick banana and egg pancake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana
  • cinnamon
  • blueberries
  • toppings: apple butter, peanut butter, and banana slices

Then Dana and I headed out for the night to do some volunteering for the Salvation Army. By the way, I am really feeling the holiday spirit lately. I LOVE Christmas!

Friday

Breakfast was a chocolate covered strawberry smoothie.

Ingredients:

I asked for more Jay Robb egg white chocolate protein powder for Christmas. I really really like it. Earlier this week I made another peanut butter chocolate smoothie for breakfast but added kale into the mix and I swear it tasted even better. Thanks again Shannon for the suggestion. NUM.
Fast forward to the evening…there were some major comforts happening around this house. Fire in the fireplace, sweatpants, puppy, hubby, Christmas decorations….

And a meat and cheese platter for dinner which included Nut Thins Pecan crackers (love), amazing havarti cheese which I do believe is my favorite cheese, turkey sausage, and crispy green beans with marinara dipping sauce.

For the beans: I dipped the beans into egg whites, then rolled in almond flour, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I placed them onto a lightly sprayed pan, sprayed the tops with olive oil, and broiled on low for about 7 minutes until the beans were golden on top. I really enjoyed them! I had to sneak some veggies in somehow so it was the perfect little side.

The rest of the evening was spent addressing holiday cards and watching Glee from last week. It feels so good to get the holiday cards all done and ready to mail. The way we had our assembly line set up reminded me a lot of writing out thank you cards after the wedding. This went a whole lot faster though!

Saturday

Now here we are on Saturday. This morning I woke up at my leisure, ate my usual pre-run breakfast, banana and peanut butter, and layered up for our Saturday run. This Saturday was our 4.5 mile run. We are still sticking to our 10K training plan!

It was about 25°F outside; here is what I wore:

  • Leggings
  • Sweatpants
  • Long-sleeve wicking top with t-shirt over it
  • Fleece zip-up
  • Normal socks and running shoes
  • Fleece mittens
  • Cotton hat

The verdict: I was actually too warm. I ended up running without gloves for the last third or so of the run. I would much rather be too warm than cold though so I was okay with it.

Each run has been a trial in trying to figure out the best apparel and layers to wear for the given temperatures and the way my body reacts. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I hope to before January 1st!

My feet and bottom of my pants were soaked at the end of the run, but that’s to be expected after running in the snow.

Overall, it was a good snowy run. That was the furthest I have ever run in the snow before. It was like running on wet sand and was definitely more challenging than running on pavement.

Alrighty, I’m off to run a bunch of errands and get some stuff down around the house. I hope you are all having a great day so far! XOXO

Question of the day: Is there any must-have winter running gear that you’ve found to be helpful?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Happy Wednesday to all!

So a while back, Dana and I attempted making a gluten-free pizza crust. We struggled with finding the right time and temperature in baking the crust, and also failed to put parchment paper under the crust which resulted in a very stick-to-the-pan crust. It still tasted good, but I didn’t have a recipe to share considering it was a partial flop.

We learned from our last trial, and on Monday night gave it a second shot and have succeeded in our attempt. It’s a little time-consuming but so completely worth it especially if you are a pizza lover who can’t tolerate gluten or if wanting to watch the waistline.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400° F. Rinse one large cauliflower head, cut off the stems, and toss them into a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender. Let cool slightly so that it is comfortable to handle.

Step 2: In a thin kitchen towel place cauliflower in center and fold up all edges to meet in the middle in a big clump. Over the sink, gather the edges and twist together so that the liquid drains out of the cauliflower (try to keep your hands away from the hot liquid). Continue twisting until liquid is removed. Open towel.

Step 3: Place cauliflower back into bowl. Make sure that it is slightly cool at this point. Add one egg, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.

Step 4: Line a baking pan with parchment paper (**important step**) and use fingers to flatten cauliflower into a thin crust. I flattened mine to about 1/2 inch thickness. Spray lightly with cooking spray or olive oil.

Step 5: Place on the middle rack in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. Then turn the broiler on and broil for 5 minutes until top of crust begins to crisp up and turn golden color. Remove from oven.

Step 6: Add tomato sauce, shredded cheese, parmesan cheese, and toppings. Place back into oven and broil on low for 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Slice into squares and ENJOY!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Print

Recipe type: Grain-free
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • Toppings:
  • pizza sauce
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • favorite pizza toppings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Rinse one large cauliflower head, cut off the stems, and toss them into a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender. Let cool slightly so that it is comfortable to handle.
  2. In a thin kitchen towel place cauliflower in center and fold up all edges to meet in the middle in a big clump. Over the sink, gather and twist the edges together so that the liquid drains out of the cauliflower (try to keep your hands away from the hot liquid). Continue twisting until liquid is removed. Open towel.
  3. Place cauliflower back into bowl. Make sure that mixture is slightly cool. Add one egg, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and use fingers to flatten cauliflower into a thin crust. I flattened mine to about ½ inch thickness. Spray lightly with cooking spray or olive oil.
  5. Place on the middle rack in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. Then turn the broiler on and broil for 5 minutes until top of crust begins to crisp up and turn golden color. Remove from oven.
  6. Add tomato sauce, shredded cheese, parmesan cheese, and toppings. Place back into oven and broil on low for 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

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Catch Up from Tuesday

Dana and I have been following our 10k training plan and have been lucky so far with the weather. Yesterday we bundled up and took Moose out for a 3 mile run around the neighborhood. I wore a tank top, two long-sleeve wicking shirts, pants, normal socks, light gloves, and ear warmers. The run was still pretty chilling given my layers but not painful at all. It was around 32°F when we went. Unfortunately, I think the cold-cold weather has finally arrived. This morning the thermometer says 16. I foresee adding on more layers in my next run.

My motivational level on a scale of 1-10 last night for making dinner was a 3, so I went the easy route and threw together a BBQ chicken salad. There were slim pickins’ on salad toppings that actually went with the chicken so I went with dill pickles, peas, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing. Random, but good.

Speaking of random. Anyone else been watching Elf every time it’s on? ”The only way to spread the cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.”  I had that saying all day in my head at work yesterday. I am loving all of the Christmas movies!

That is all for today….I hope you all have a fantastic Wednesday and are enjoying the holidays!

Question of the day: What is/are your favorite Holiday movie(s)?

My favorites are: Elf, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Holiday, and Home Alone (to name a few).

The Benefits of Yoga {Guest Post}

A short while ago, I was approached by a fellow blogger named Carolyn. She asked if she could write a guest post for my blog to help spread the word on yoga and its many health benefits. Considering I have been getting more into yoga myself, I thought it would a perfect opportunity to collaborate.

She put together a wonderful post and included research studies to support her findings. Here is her article…enjoy!

Psychologist Recommended: Yoga Promotes Mental and Emotional Health

I’m not going to lie …when I first decided to give yoga a try it wasn’t because of the possibility of inner peace that I could gain. It was because it seemed to be a great way to get a workout in that works all parts of the body and was something that I could do either at a studio or at home (which is always a bonus seeing as how I tend to come up with excuses of why I “just had to go home and couldn’t make it to the gym”). However, since starting yoga to now, I have realized that there is waaay more to yoga than toned arms and the ability to actually be able to touch the ground flat with my hands when I bend over!

Yoga has a far greater impact on people’s health than I originally believed (and, probably a lot of other people out there share my original assumption). Experts are finding that practicing yoga can support not only physical health, but promote mental and emotional well-being as well. Many clinicians recommend yoga as a complementary therapy to psychotherapy; yoga can make it easier to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, anger, and fatigue.

Yoga and Mood

The world is a stressful place. Many people experiences stress, tension, low energy, sleep difficulties, and numerous obstacles that keep them from experiencing optimal well-being. Yoga can positively affect people’s lives by helping them effectively deal with negative feelings.

A study published by Harvard Medical School involving emotionally distressed women found that three months of regular yoga classes had a significant impact on the participants’ moods. The women reported feeling 50% less depressed and 30% less anxious. In general, they experienced a 65% boost in perceived well-being.

Another study conducted in 2005 on patients with mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, severe depression and bipolar disorder, also reported improvements from yoga practice. The yoga participants said they had a significant drop in levels of anger, fatigue, tension, depression, and anxiety.

Yoga and the Stress Response

Yoga appears to aid mental and emotional health by helping to manage the body’s natural response to stressors. When the body perceives a threat, the heart starts to beat faster, blood pressure rises and stress hormones are released. Yoga may modulate stress response systems to reduce physiological arousal, thus resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate.

By changing the response to stress, people can enhance feelings of calm. A reduced stress response can also increase pain tolerance. People with stress-related disorders are usually hypersensitive to pain; there is a correlation between stress and perceived pain. MRIs show that yoga practitioners experience low amounts of activity in the areas of their brains associated with the pain response. Better management of stress can lower the brain activity in this area and increase tolerance to pain.

Yoga Types and Physical Benefits

People looking to begin a yoga program should begin by deciding what type of yoga they wish to do. In the western world, the word yoga applies mainly to the physical yoga styles. Although there are other types of yoga, in the US and Europe, yoga typically refers to the physical styles identified mainly as Hatha, Ashtanga (sometimes referred to as “power yoga”), Bikram, and Lyengar. The term “hot yoga” is also used, generally to describe yoga classes conducted in heated rooms.

Generally, Hatha yoga classes are slower paced and emphasize gentler poses than some other styles. Asthanga yoga is more physically challenging and faster paced. Bikram yoga takes place in rooms heated to between 95 and 105 degrees and is designed to relax the muscles. Lyengar yoga emphasizes structural alignment and the use of yoga props.

All styles of yoga may improve muscle tone, as well as increase endurance, aerobic endurance and breath control. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glenn Axelrod explains how useful yoga is for improving overall strength, balance and flexibility, so much so that yoga is even used by many professional athletic teams as part of their training.

Anything that is being used to get professional athletes into shape but also allows me to do it within my own house is a plus in my book!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/

Namaste.

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A quick little teaser of what’s to come later this week…

Happy Tuesday my friends!

 

Comfy Belly Soup

After yesterday’s morning run to test drive my new shoes, the verdict is in. The Brooks are keepers! After 3 trips to Marathon Sports and a lot of patience from the staff, I finally found a shoe that is comfortable, supportive, and lightweight.
I had made the decision to run inside on the treadmill versus outside so that I could test out the shoes and keep them in good shape just in case I didn’t like them and needed to return them.
From here on out, the majority of my runs will be outside so that I can prepare my lungs and my body for the coldness that will be at the 10K I’m running on January 1st.
No more shorts until next year. Sayonara!
Speaking of cold, even though it’s been pretty darn chilly around here, I am still making myself a smoothie now and again for breakfast. Yesterdays was particularly amazing and it was suggested to me by my friend and fellow blogger Shannon.
In this smoothie:
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
1 ripe banana
1 large scoop of Parkers Farm PB
1/2 packet of Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein powder
Shannon usually includes spinach in hers too but I didn’t have any on hand so I omitted it this time.
The result…a smoothie that tastes like a peanut butter cup. It doesn’t get much better than that. I ate it with a spoon to make it last longer. :smile: I LOVE the chocolate flavored egg white protein powder.
This bad boy held me over for a very long time. It’s the perfect combination of carbs, fat, and protein.
Moving on to dinner.
On Monday I started preparing for what would be leftover turkey and veggie soup. I saved the remains of the turkey (aka the carcass but I don’t love that word) so that I could try my hand at boiling it to make broth. This was my first attempt at making soup from leftover turkey btw. We didn’t have a pot quite big enough to house our 20 lb’er but I was still able to plunk some of it into a hot water bath.
As it bathed for a while, it softened a bit and I was able to push it down into the water a little more. I let it simmer on low for about 2 hours, then removed the turkey from the broth and placed it onto a cutting board. I placed the turkey broth (covered) in the fridge after it cooled down and it sat there to cool overnight.
On the cutting board, I began working on my turkey; salvaging any non-fatty pieces of meat on the bone. Being that I’m not a huge meat person, this job was a little on the gross side for me, but I made it through. Once I gathered my turkey meat, I gave it a chop, and refrigerated it for the night.
Don’t forget to save the wish bone!
Next, I chopped 1 cup of carrots, onions, and celery, and 2 cloves of garlic, and sautéed them lightly for about 5 minutes. I added 1 teaspoon of sage and some cracked black pepper during the last minute of saute time. I then let these cool and placed them in the refrigerator overnight.
Come Tuesday morning I removed the broth from the fridge. The fat had gathered on the top of the broth and hardened so that it is easier to scoop out. I scooped out the majority of it using a slotted spoon, added in the prepared turkey and veggies, popped in a bay leaf, covered it and let it simmer for an hour. I then added 1 cup of frozen green peas, a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. I let the soup simmer for 5 more minutes.
Soup is on! Not the most attractive photo ever; I miss my natural light in the evening!
Such a healthy bowl of soup to comfort any belly. It really adds a lot of flavor to make your own turkey broth. We had a ton of leftovers so I froze the soup in individual serving size bags for another day or for when we’re feeling under the weather. If you wish you could add in whole wheat pasta or brown rice to add a little more “staying power” to this soup. I enjoyed it just as is but did end up needing a snack later in the evening.
I am happy it’s Wednesday. I didn’t sleep too well last night but have a lovely cup of jo by my side as I write who is really helping me perk up. It’s not that I need coffee in the morning, I just really enjoy it and am comforted by it. I look forward to it every morning.
Have a great day my friends! Catch up with you soon.