Doga (doh- guh), Ashtanga Practice

This morning I had a very special partner for my yoga practice – my dog, Oppa.

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Today I went with a beginner Ashtanga Yoga class from Lesley Fightmaster.

I was reading up on the various types of yoga out there and Ashtanga sounded right up my alley based on my goals:

Ashtanga yoga metaphorically focuses on eight limbs. Considered a form of power yoga, Ashtanga is fast-paced and intense with lunges and push-ups.

  • Purpose: To help improve one’s spiritual self
  • Benefits: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss
  • Good for: Fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina, and those who want to get in touch with their spiritual side

Dailycupofyoga.com has a great breakdown of 5 common styles of yoga which you can find here.

I found this practice pretty challenging since parts of me were a lot tighter than I realized.  I’ve decided to rock this practice out every other day until I can nail every pose just as Lesley does in the video.  Oppa is a natural and was breezing through the whole routine, taunting me the whole time.  I would have been upset, but how can you get mad at this face?

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FroYo Cashew Berry Smoothie

I love me some frozen yogurt, but while a lot of these frozen yogurt places are really good (16 Handles is the best ever, btw), there is some mystery as to what exactly is in that “healthier alternative to ice cream.”  There’s also something kinda gross and fast food salad bar-like about the do-it-yourself toppings station.  Here’s a smoothie to satisfy your fro-yo craving without leaving you wondering what the hell is in it.

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1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries

1 Cup Frozen, Sliced Cantaloupe

1 Handful Raw Cashews

1 Tablespoon Sun Dried Goji Berries

1/4 Cup Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt

1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk

Food Key

– Blueberries: vitamins K & C, manganese, fiber and copper

– Cantaloupes: vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, C & K, potassium, folate, copper, fiber and magnesium (STACKED!!)

– Cashews: copper, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, zinc and protein

– Goji Berries: amino acids, fiber, vitamin C, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium (STACKED!!)

– Yogurt: vitmains B2 & B12, protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium and probiotics (good bacteria that boosts the immune system and helps digestion)

Classic Kale, Apple, Carrot, Ginger Smoothie

I call this classic because it’s one of the first smoothies I ever made with my Vitamix.  You will also see this “formula” in just about every smoothie bar anywhere.  Why not make it yourself and save some coin?

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(Makes 2 Smoothies)

1 Cup Organic Kale

1 Cup Chopped Organic Carrots

1 Organic Sliced Apple

1 Piece Organic Ginger

2 Cups Organic Water 🙂

Food Key

– Kale: vitamins, A, B6 &C, potassium, copper, folic acid, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and zinc (MEGA-STACKED!!)

– Carrots: vitamins A & B6, folic acid and magnesium

– Apples: potassium, vitamin C and pectin (helps control cholesterol and blood sugar)

– Ginger: stimulates digestion, combats flatulence (NICE!) and is effective against colds 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time Oatmeal Smoothie

I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches.  I make oatmeal smoothies on the regular.  This was meant to happen.

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1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

1 Frozen, Sliced Banana

1 Tablespoon Organic Peanut Butter

1 Scoop Soy-Free Vegetable Protein Powder

1/2 Cup Steel Cut Organic Oats

1 Cup Dark Chocolate Almond Milk

Food Key

– Blueberries: vitamins K & C, manganese, fiber and copper

– Bananas: vitamin B6 and potassium

– Peanut Butter: protein, potassium, fiber, vitamins E & B6, and magnesium

– Oats: fiber and protein

PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!!!

Cool It Now Papaya Banana Smoothie

This cool, refreshing smoothie is perfect for these hot & humid days that are now upon us.  Frozen fruit is a great alternative to using ice and it keeps your smoothie from getting watered down.  I chopped up some bananas and froze them to use as”ice” cubes for my smoothies.  My friend gave me a papaya the size of a small watermelon last weekend, so I was pumped to get some smoothie action out of it.  I also threw some raw cashews in ’cause I’m nuts like that.  Enjoy!

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1 Cup Chopped Papaya

1 Chopped, Frozen Banana

1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1 Handful Raw Cashews

Food Key

– Papayas: vitamins C & A, folate, fiber, magnesium, potassium and copper

– Bananas: vitamin B6 and potassium

– Cashews: copper, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, zinc and protein

Everyday I walk her home from school…

Cold Pressed Juice Head

While I was in Boston a couple weeks ago, I was feenin’ for a smoothie.  You’d think with all the runners and cyclists all over that city, there would be smoothie or juice bars everywhere.  Well, there isn’t.  I even tracked down this coffee shop that according to Yelp, served smoothies only to get there and find out the closest thing they had to fruit smoothies was bottled orange juice.  I had pretty much given up when I came across Pure Cocobeet Organic Juice Bar a couple blocks from Faneuil Hall.  I had never had cold pressed juice before, but I was hooked after my first time.  I went with the Battle Axe, which consisted of Pear, Cabbage, Kale, Cucumber, Garlic & Turmeric.  It was one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve ever had.  On top of a great variety of cold press juices, Pure Cocobeet also sells some delicious desserts.  I grabbed a vanilla berry chia pudding that blew me a way.

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My Cold Pressed Juice experience was still fresh on my mind a week later when I visited a friend who just happen to have a Cold Press Juicer.  He made me a straight wheatgrass shot, and while I wasn’t expecting much flavor, I was really surprised at how good the shot was.  He also broke down for me how the cold press or slow juicer worked and how it differed from a conventional or centrifugal juicer.  The thing that stood out most was that cold pressing retains more of the nutrients.

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I found a more detailed comparison on Huffington Post:

The Breakdown

Centrifugal Juicer Slow Juicer
Nutrient Retention Not so great. The high-speed spinning creates some heat, which can break down nutrients. High. This process produces no heat, thus maintaining more of the ingredients’ nutrients.
Ability To Process Leafy Greens? Less efficient. Far less of the juice is able to be extracted from greens. Quite efficient. Great for fans of green juice.
Ability To Process Nuts? No Yes — great for making your favorite almond or cashew milks
Noise Level As loud as a blender Very, very quiet (you can hear the television while you’re juicing)
Speed No advantage — the two juicers, run side by side, juice at the same speed No advantage
Pulp Some A lot
Price Lower Higher

The gist:

Buy a centrifugal juicer if:
— You use the juice mostly for cooking, baking or other processes where heat will eventually be applied
— You’re not picky about getting maximum nutrients
— You’re trying to save cash

Buy a slow press juicer if:
— You’re into cleansing, making nut milks and green juices, and you like fresh juice
— You want to pack the most nutrients into your body as possible
— You don’t mind spending a few extra bucks

Happy juicing!

Hangover Helper Smoothie

This past weekend I got a request from a good friend for a smoothie to help with hangovers.  We were drinking whisky at the time, so he was probably looking towards his immediate future.  Through my extensive internet research, I surprisingly found that many of the ingredients that helped with hangovers were things I used pretty regularly and usually have in stock.  Bananas are loaded with potassium which helps replenish nutrients.  Berries help the body metabolize any alcohol left in your system after a night (or day) of boozin’ and almonds help keep that awesome nausea in check.  I also threw some spinach in there because you gotta get your greens.  Try this out next time you wake up regretting having those last 2-6 drinks.  And don’t drink and drive.

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1 Cup Baby Spinach

1 Handful Raw Almonds

1 Cup Mixed Berries

1 Banana

 1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk

Food Key

– Spinach: vitamins A, B1,2,3 &6, C, E & K, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, fiber, phosphorous, zinc, protein and selenium (SUPER STACKED!!)

– Raw Almonds: magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, copper, niacin and zinc (STACKED!!)

– Strawberries: vitamins C & B5, potassium, folic acid and magnesium 

– Blueberries: vitamins K & C, manganese, fiber and copper

– Raspberries: vitamins C & A, potassium, magnesium and fiber

– Blackberries: vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper

– Bananas: vitamin B6 and potassium

Back 2 Back Back Routines

The amount of back and neck injuries I’ve sustained is actually quite staggering when I think about it.  Herniated disk in lower back, hit by car crossing street (3X), injured back lifting weights, fractured neck training jiu-jitsu…it’s a wonder I’m allowed to even leave the house.  Due to all these disasters, I’ve tried just about every back strengthening exercise there to try to keep myself right.  These two videos implement some of the better back exercises I’ve come across as well as some I’ve never tried before.  The first, from Tyler McCoy is a straight yoga practice for increasing back strength.  The second, from Ali Kamenova, is a yoga-based bodyweight exercise routine designed for back injury rehab.  Do them back 2 back (pun intended) for a low impact, yet still challenging workout.

Yoga for a Strong Back with Tyler McCoy

Back Injury Rehab Yoga Workout From Ali Kamenova

 

MY NECK, MY BACK…MY NECK & MY BACK

Apple Pineapple Green Smoothie

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2 Small Chopped Apples

1 Cup Chopped Frozen Pineapple

1 Cup Spinach

1 Cup Chopped Celery

1 Cup Coconut Water

Food Key

– Apples: potassium, vitamin C and pectin (helps control cholesterol and blood sugar)

– Pineapples: vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folic acid

– Spinach: vitamins A, B1,2,3 &6, C, E & K, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, fiber, phosphorous, zinc, protein and selenium (SUPER STACKED!!)

– Celery: potassium, folic acid and vitamins C & B6

– Coconut Water: improves digestion and metabolism, supports immune system