Super Quick and Easy Core Workout

I’ve been slacking on the gym these past few weeks. Been trying to balance it out by doing a lot of walking/running with my dog. With the new raw lifestyle I’m trying to incorporate, I still feel great and look great despite the lack in exercise. Though I intend on incorporating more into my daily life.

On Thursday evenings I usually attend a Yogalates class at my gym. The instructor is amazing! She has to be in her 50s if not 60s and is in incredible shape. All long, lean muscle.

She incorporated a core workout this past Thursday and was fast and simple with an incredible result.

Begin in in the yoga position Plank. This is a push up position.

Plank- yogajournal.com

From here touch your right knee to your right elbow without lifting your hips or twisting your body. Alternate between right knee to right elbow and left knee to left elbow for as long as you can. I do about twenty before I feel like I need to collapse. Make sure you stay in the Plank position and don’t shoot your hips up into a midway point between Plank and Downward Facing Dog. Move from this position to Child’s Pose and really stretch it out for a few moments.

Child’s Pose- aumaromas.com

Back up to Plank. Now its the same thing but crossover. So right knee to left elbow, left knee to right elbow. Again, go for as long as you can. I also do about 20 of these. Finish with a stretch in Child’s Pose.

This is an awesome workout for the entire core. It does the abdomen, both sides, as well as your back, shoulders and legs. I love it! I try and do this every morning and evening. Takes no more than 5 minutes. Try it out!

Ooo, Tasty!

Caution: This is not a recipe nor do you I recommend you make it at home. It is merely a concoction of the random bits of produce I had in my fridge.

Just made a surprisingly delicious salad with the strangest ingredients.

Salad:

Romaine, carrot, celery, pepitas, strawberries, pomegranate seeds

Dressing:

Horseradish, tahini, little bit of left over pomegranate juice, splash of apple cider vinegar

Horseradish and fruit may sound strange, and it kind of is, but the sweet and spicy balanced out nicely. It turned out to be almost savory and quite filling.

The only thing it really needed was a bit of crouton, the raw version being some raw cracker (chia or flax). These can be made in a dehydrator (which I don’t have) or purchased. Definitely would have added some nice substance.

The morale of my interesting salad, experiments are fun. This is the first dressing I have ever made and it came out quite good. I don’t particularly care for tahini on its own, but when mixed up in a dressing it creates a nice flavor. It is also important to mix different colors and make your food pretty. A good looking meal always seems to taste better. The carrot added some bright orange and the strawberries and pomegranate, a succulent red. While my plating for the picture wasn’t ideal (I’ll work on my photography for the next creation), the salad still looks pleasant and the thickness of the dressing is very appealing.

Overall, a good meal considering it only took about 4 minutes to piece together. Yum!

Island Escape on the Rise

I’ve casually mentioned this in a few other posts, but on Thursday I will be flying out to Hawaii to meet my boyfriend who is on leave for two weeks.

We’ll be staying at the Hale Koa on Waikiki Beach for a few days, renting a cabin near the volcano for a bit, then spending the last few days back on Waikiki beach. A total of two weeks on the island.

I have never been to Hawaii and cannot stop shaking with excitement. It is starting to get very cold here (60 degrees is cold in my book). I keep checking the weather in Honolulu and everyday it has been 85 degrees and sunny. Plus, the ocean is calling my name. Poseidon wants to caress me.

The hotel is on 72 acres and there are a bunch of nature parks nearby. I’m an avid outdoor person, despite my usual lack of outdoor adventure, when the time comes, I’m all in. I can’t wait to explore the tropics and seek out that hidden lagoon with the waterfall cascading down. I fully intend on dragging Kyle to a stable so we can go horseback riding on the beach. His first response was the whole romantic aspect of it, which I completely ignore. I merely enjoy riding and would love to make fun of him struggle.

In regards to my new food lifestyle, I plan on maintaining vegan the entire trip. I’m getting good at that. Hawaii also grows an abundance of delicious tropical fruits. A friend of mine gave me a good location to go to for farmers markets. I want to get high on dragon fruit. Basically, my goal is as many raw fruits and veggies as humanly possible. Maybe throw in some juice here and there if I can find a place and keep everything 100% vegan. Got to think about the animals.

Enough of what I plan on doing. In preparation, I’ve been trying to drop a few pounds and for some reason it just won’t come off. I’m also going nuts doing laundry and dry cleaning to ensure I have everything I could possibly need to pack cleaned and ready. I’m leaving a few animals home with my parents, a turtle, hedgehog, and my dog, Darby. All their necessities need to be prepared. Even more importantly, I’m missing two weeks of school and am working my butt off to try and get as ahead as possible in order to keep myself up to date with the topics covered in class. I don’t want to stress about class while on vacation. I also don’t want to be studying and reading everyday. Getting everything done beforehand is burdensome now, but it will allow me a much more free and relaxing vacation.

My boyfriend needs to destress. While his deployment has been “cake” (his word not mine) on the work and violence aspect, he has had a few issues with leadership as well as health issues from the condition of the country and from the malaria pills as well as his diet. These two weeks are a great opportunity for him to detox and live the island life for a bit. It will also be wonderful to reconnect after not seeing each other for 5 months.

Back to studying. 🙂

Juicing Continued

I have officially given up calling what I’m doing a juice fast as it seems I’ve cheated almost every single day for the past week by either nibbling on a piece of bread or enjoying a salad or the delicious eggplant tomato tower I had for lunch today.

The consistency this week has been the amount of juice I’ve consumed. Roughly 40 oz per day, not as much as most people drink on a juice fast and maybe that’s why I feel the urge to eat. However, these 40 oz comprise at least 90% of my day. If I do munch, it has been mainly salads and fresh fruit. Excluding the piece of pie I had on day one and a few bites of bread here and there, I’ve stuck to a raw plant based diet this week.

I do feel wonderful. Loads of energy. Even when I’m standing still, I want to jump up and down and run around in circles. It is a great change from the sluggishness I would always feel after eating as well as the need for a nap everyday and to sit down and rest after meals. I used to get the worst cases of food coma.

Since this is no longer a legitimate juice fast, I’m going to stick to a plan that fits my body’s natural rhythm a bit more. Basically the juice for 2 meals then some fruit or a salad for the third meal. This way I’m not diving for the wrong things because I get desperate. I’m going to try and make the food part of my day around lunch time. It naturally wants to fall into the 4pm lull, but I’d rather my system be as clean as possibly as the evening winds down.

I’m going to stick with this until Thursday. Thursday afternoon I have a flight to Hawaii. Can’t wait!

My Favorite Little Kitten

8AM – Out of bed and dressed ready for a day of running around Manhattan. Brought with me lots of water and a big glass container of Green Juice I made yesterday. Pretty good concoction of kale, broccoli, bok choy, celery, cucumber, cilantro and apple. Sounds like it would be nasty, but I find it super yummy. When I began drinking green juices, I found them bitter and repulsive. My palate has begun to adjust to the taste and now they seem almost sweet and succulent. I did get a few comments trekking around with my green drink and my Vibrams Five Fingers. I have the TrekSport model and absolutely adore them. I run, hike, swim… basically do everything in them.

10AM – Spa appointment at Vada Spa on Avenue of the Americas right by Washington Square Park. I have a weird relationship with this place. I started coming because my friend recommended it, but I continued because they not only did a good job, but are super, super cheap especially when booked through Lifebooker. Today was great, but I’ve been there before where you sit and wait even if you have an appointment and the women at the front desk usually have a tendency to be a bit rude and ignore you. This didn’t happen today. They were very attentive, maybe because it was first thing in the morning. Regardless, I don’t always fully enjoy my experience, but I keep coming back, probably because its so cheap and its familiar at this point.

I always go to the same woman. Liza. She is from Georgia, the country not the state, super friendly and knows a lot about the weirdest things. She used to be a midwife in her country and she actually gave me a breast exam midway through my wax today. Kind of strange, but I found it awesome. Just an overall great person, plus she knows how to wax.

I finished up around 11 and had about 45 minutes before meeting up with Caitlin, my favorite little kitten, at Columbus Circle. It took me about twenty seconds to contemplate hopping on the subway, about a 15 minute ride up and waiting for them, OR to enjoy the bright sunny day and cool breeze flowing through the streets by walking the 55 blocks uptown.

I went with walking.

Full of green juice and in comfy shoes I power walked up 6th Avenue moving at a ridiculously fast pace. I stumbled onto the fair on 6th Ave (14th to 23st) which I completely forgot about. It occurs every October and basically has the same things on every block, pashminas, zeppoles, gyros, random bits of clothes, makeup and knick knacks. There is probably only one unique tent on every block, whereas the rest is just a lot of cheap Chinatown type things. The air was filled with the smells of onions being friend and meat sizzling on the open flames. So tempting for a recently converted vegan who STILL can’t seem to randomly stop cheating every few days.

islandwoo.com

Along the way, I ducked into a Sephora. My eyebrows were one of the many body parts waxed this morning. They tend to react horribly to being waxed and get super red and angry. Being silly me, I neglected to bring a concealer. I always feel guilty for using stores like this, but I popped into the Sephora simply to touch up my makeup so I didn’t look like someone smacked a ruler across my brows. This gorgeous sales associate with super hot, bright purple lipstick approached me to ask if I needed assistance then again to ask if I would like a foundation skin matching consultation. Any other time I would have been so appreciative for the assistance, but I was just using them. I hustled out of there so fast. It’s the same concept as Starbucks being NYC’s public restroom. I went in merely to use the bathroom and didn’t bother even getting a tea because the line was out the door. I feel a little guilty, but I’ve put enough of my money into these places to be granted the luxury.

12PM – Finally arrived at Columbus Circle, legs a bit tired from the speed walking, but otherwise feeling on top of the world! My little kitten was waiting for me next to the elephant with two of her friends in from Boston. One of which is about to embark on an epic adventure down the coast and across the country to San Francisco and back. Ryana and I planned a similar trip, but due to work and money it was unfortunately postponed. I will be insisting on doing it summer 2012 regardless of finances or time. I’ll make it work.

We ate at the Flame Diner on Columbus and 59th. I managed to stick to my veganism and enjoyed an eggplant and tomato napoleon with pesto and balsamic vinegar. So yummy! After some lovely conversation we parted ways, her and her friends headed towards the Central Park Zoo and myself off running errands.

I won’t go into graphic detail on the errands, but I did stop and this cool place I learned about through The Renegade Health Show, Organic Avenue. I don’t know how I never noticed them before, but they sell freshly made juices, chocolate treats, granola, and bars, as well as some prepared meals. Everything is organic as well as primarily vegan and raw. This place was really cool. Not cheap, about $10 for my green juice (tasty, but mine was better). Next time I’d like to try one of their fresh fruit juices. I was going to get this small thing of chocolate and goji berry truffles, but they were $16 so I passed. I’ll splurge on a treat when I control my cheating.

This concluded my day. Ended up home around 4pm and in desperate need of a nap and a massage. I’ve yet to have either. Regardless, fun day with lots of studying to look forward to tonight.

Have a lovely evening.

How Not to Open a Coconut

I picked up a coconut a Whole Foods the other day, a really heavy juicy one, and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to open it.

After venturing onto Youtube, most people simply whacked it with a meat cleaver until it cracks. I don’t have a meat cleaver, so I decided to be creative.

I used a screw driver to pop two holes into the top of the coconut to drain the coconut water. It was delicious! Super fresh and tasty. Then I tried to use a regular knife to whack it. It didn’t really work and I was afraid of breaking the knife so I quickly forfeited that and searched for alternatives.

After trying various kitchen methods and failing miserably, I searched my garage for a power tool. Found none, but I did come across an old hand saw. Not the cleanest way to open a coconut, but after sawing for about twenty minutes I cut through about half of it.

Eventually, the sawing got a bit tedious and I just threw the coconut on my driveway and it smashed into a few big chunks.

Destroying various tropical fruits is definitely a pleasure of mine.

In the future, I think I’ll stink to the young Thai coconuts. Apparently they’re a bit easier to open. Regardless, it was a delicious treat and definitely worth the effort involved.

Juice Fast Days 3 and 4

This whole idea of juicing is very new to me and I’ve been doing some research. A few goods points I came across are the following:

– Drink a gallon of juice a day. Yes, a GALLON. This is a lot of juice and a lot of produce to make said juice. I have not been drinking anywhere near this much, probably only four 8oz juices a day. Which is fine for me, but I can feel my body get hungry for more. Drinking a gallon is supposed to keep you full and hyper energized.

– At home enemas. Gross right? If you don’t know what an enema is, Google it. I won’t go into details, but its a nice little colon cleanse. While it may sound a bit disgusting and intense, it actually seems quite simple. I won’t have the opportunity to try it any time soon, but I definitely intend to.

Enemas are great to cleaning the body and removing old waste that can build up and slow us down. Plus, its even better to do them daily during a juice fast to really scrub your system out and hydrate the body. It only takes about 45 minutes and at home kits can be purchased at your local pharmacy for less than $20. There are a bunch of different kinds, coffee (special enema coffee), peppermint, chamomile, some people use a bit of Dr Bronner’s lavender Castile soap, others simply use plain water. I really want to start getting into it as there are a lot of benefits to having a healthy, hydrated colon.

– Since I haven’t mentioned it, the entire point in juicing is to flush out your system. It provides your body with plenty of micro nutrients, or nutrients found in foods straight from the earth rather than processed, refine, or already used (such as meat). You may not be eating food, but you’re feeding your body’s needs. Some people juice for a few days, some have juiced for 60 days. Check out the documentary ‘Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.’

Anyways, back to me. My day 3 went fairly well. I stuck to juice and water but I did end up having some apple crisp when I got home. Just a bite… It’s homemade, was technically raw when I ate it, so I don’t feel too guilty. Anyways, today was much better. I had a HUGE glass of carrot and red beet juice with fresh mint. This was very tasty and refreshing, it did however turn my mouth and teeth pink.

The sun was shining, there was a refreshing breeze blasting its way through town, my morale was very high. I decided to take my dog Darby out for a walk. Then I ran a few errands around town and did some school work, pretty dull, before downing another HUGE glass of juice. Kale, cucumber, cilantro, parsley, zucchini, celery and apple. Very good. This was delicious. Surprisingly. Not as tasty and the beet and carrot one, but for all the kale involved, it was very pleasant. The cilantro kind of rounded it all out. Now I’m filling out paperwork for my new job starting in December.

Some upcoming events to look forward to, spa trip on Saturday and lunch down in Greenwich Village with the lovely Caitlin (I’ll try and get some photographs) and I leave on the 27th for a two week trip in Hawaii. So excited! I’ll write more about that later, plus post tons of photos!

In the wise words of Dara, “Get your Greens on!”