Featured on Naturally Magazine!

This Winter Naturally Magazine interviewed me to find out how I carry light for other people. I told a personal story about my mother being diagnosed with cancer and leaving a secure job to move home to help her out. Take a look at the article below. Thank you Naturally Magazine for the love. <3 

Surfer's Stretch

Stretches for people with tight shoulders and chests. Since I've been out in California for a few weeks now, I've been surfing a few times a week, (lucky me!) and have been having some tightness in my shoulders, chest, and back. These stretches will alleviate that discomfort, and help you increase your range of motion for bigger/deeper paddle strokes. And lets be real, its not only surfer's who have tight shoulders. If you sit at a desk, hunched over for most of your day, this will help you too! 

Surfer's Stretch:

  • Crescent lunge twist. Repeat on both sides, making sure to breathe and exhale as you twist. 
  • Thoracic Extension Exercise: let your head hang heavy, and just chill. Breathe. 
  • Wall Angels: try to keep your back and forearms connected to the wall behind you as you move your arms up and down. Move slowly.
  • Supine Twist with arm half circles: Repeat on both sides. Try to keep your finger tips connected to the ground as you move your arms.  

For an even deeper chest and shoulder opener, try this advanced move below. Move with caution! It hurts so good. 

How to Start Your Day Like a Do Something B*tch

Originally published by Jezebel.com

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

 

It’s early morning and you’ve already hit the snooze button twice on your phone. Finally, you not-so-gracefully wipe the crust from your dry lips, pick it up, and look at it. The CNN alert says the world is about to end, but you don’t have time for that, so you unlock the screen and immediately check your email. Then you check Instagram. Then Twitter, followed by the 10 other apps you for some reason feel the need to check first thing every morning. Only then do you notice the time. During your three-minute shower, you think about how few likes the photo you posted last night garnered. Dry off, throw on some clothes, grab a big mug of coffee and if you’re lucky you remember to grab a granola bar on your way out. You run out the door already knowing that you’ll be at least five minutes late for work.

Full disclosure: this was my morning, for years. And then I got a much-needed job as a superhero-motivational-high-intensity fitness instructor, so I had to make some changes in order to teach my 6 A.M. classes. I realize I am not totally normal when it comes to this shit, but if my old morning routine sounds at all similar to yours and you’re not happy with your day, I got you. Here are some seemingly-obvious (but worth reiterating) changes you can make to your morning that will increase your chances of being a Do Something Bitch like Ronda Rousey by 50%. (That is not a fact, but probably should be.)

  • Use an alarm clock. Do not use your phone as an alarm! The temptation to start browsing through every app as soon as you wake up is too great. Separate from your phone. Really.
  • The moment after you wake up is one of the most vulnerable times in your whole day. Start it off by thinking about yourself. You can’t make a difference in anyone else’s world unless you take care of you. So focus on you for a moment, not what other people are doing on social media (because we know it’s all a lie anyway). And don’t think about what other people are thinking about you. YOU think about YOU.
  • This is a great time to do some meditation. I know, I know. Even if you don’t know the first thing about meditation, try this: Sit up on your bed, legs crossed, breath in and out slowly counting each inhale and exhale as 1, and then count all the way to 10. That’s it. It helps to reset your mind, calm it down, and organize your thoughts.
  • This might sound dumb, but it’s been proven to reduce stress and increase performance: tell yourself one great thing about you, and believe it. You have really great eyebrows.
  • Get out of bed. Just do it. Take a quick moment to stretch. Touch your toes. Pop those hips. Move your head side to side.
  • Before any other type of food or drink, have a glass of water with a slice of lemon in it. Lemon water gets your metabolism going and gives you nutrients your body needs including, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, to name a few.
  • Eat something real, with nutritional value. Try consuming carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Try oatmeal with fruit. Here’s an easy cold oatmeal recipe you can make the day(s) before so it’s ready to go in the morning when you’re still tired. If you have a blender, make a smoothie or juice. You want foods that will keep you feeling full for longer or have high satiating power. Protein, dietary fiber and water have high satiating power, as well as carbs like whole grain bread and oats. (Processed carbs like the ones found in baked goods have a low satiating power.) Eating good carbs and protein will fill you up, and fiber will also help keep your shit regular. Literally.
  • Give yourself enough time to get to where you’re going. Try saying “no” to that extra thing you want to cram into your day. Running around and rushing to every place that you go can be exciting, but it also gives you anxiety, and my guess is you probably need less of that. 

Doing all of these things at once may seem like too much work, or too much change. But if you do at least one of them at first, and then slowly add them all in, it can be a smooth transition. You, too, were brought into this world to do more than just fuck millionaires. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)

 

Overnight Cold Oats

This is definitely one of my favorite breakfast foods. Its delicious, and so convenient and easy to make! You can make a bunch of them and save them in the fridge for the whole week, making it super easy to just grab one and head out the door. Here's my recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of regular oats
  • 1/2 cup of almond/coconut/soy milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
  • Handful of cut up fruit: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peaches, anything you want!
  • Fun additives as well: honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, etc.

Mix it all together in a glass mason jar with lid, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. It'll be ready in the morning. That's it. Enjoy!

Smoothie Season!

One of my favorite parts of spring, besides the weather being awesome, are smoothies! I recently bought a Nutri Ninja, which has made smoothie making so much easier, cleaner, and fun. Yes, I said fun. I feel like I could put anything in that thing, and it would taste delicious. But I've narrowed down my technique and this is what I've learned makes a good smoothie:

  • You need at least one thing that is sweet. I usually use a banana, or an apple.
  • Something creamy. For that I use either yogurt, or an avocado.
  • Something frozen. I will use frozen fruit, which is usually my second sweet ingredient (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.) Or just a few ice cubes.
  • Something hearty, fibrous, that thickens. For this I like to use some kind of vegetable: kale, spinach, carrots, but you can also use some oats or almonds.
  • You need a form of liquid: soy, almond or coconut milk, orange juice, or coconut water.
  • And then for some extra goodness here's a list of things that are great additives that make your smoothie extra special: almond/peanut butter, fresh ginger, fresh mint or basil, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg, goji berries.
  • Lastly, a good thing to remember is less is more. Pick a good 5 ingredients with confidence and stick to that. I've gotten weird and tried putting 10 different things in the blender... it didn't taste very good.  And now have fun!
Kale, banana, blueberries, goji berries, plain yogurt, and coconut milk

Kale, banana, blueberries, goji berries, plain yogurt, and coconut milk

 

Crockpots are the SHIT.

There's been a crockpot (slow cooker) in my kitchen for about 5 years now, covered in dust. I just fell in love with it. Here's why: 1. Its easy. 2. You can make a lot of food at once. 3. Its really hard to screw it up. 4. Its easy.

NOTE: Before you use your crockpot, wash the dust off.

Here's my go-to recipe I've been making for a few weeks now. Its an ever-changing recipe, that just keeps getting better and better.

Sweet shredded chicken w/ T&P (tomatoes and potatoes)

Cooking time: 6hours on low, 4 hours on high.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1-2 lbs)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (or diced tomatoes with green chilis)
  • 1 large baking potato and 1 large sweet potato cut into wedges
  • medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 inch fresh ginger cut into rounds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin/ 2 tsp cinnamon/ salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (optional)

In large skillet heat cooking oil (olive or coconut oil) on medium/high heat. Coat chicken thighs with cumin, cinnamon, salt & pepper. Cook chicken, until golden, for 3 minutes on each side.

In slow cooker put onions, ginger, garlic, potatoes, (and any other veggie you want to try -- in the photos above I added some baby bell peppers.) Add the chicken. Then top with tomatoes and the liquid. (Don't worry the liquid is not suppose to fully cover the chicken.) Add the raisins. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4. When its ready take a fork to the chicken and shred.

Enjoy!

Sugar No Mo'

I've been told I eat a lot of sugar. By roommates, boyfriends, friends. And I was pretty defensive at first: "I mean I onlyyyyy eat chocolate when I'm PMSing." Or, "So what if I eat a pint of ice cream at night, I exercise for a living!" (not every night, but ya know...) And then I'd constantly be complaining about having weird stomach aches. My skin was so inconsistent and would break out "randomly." My energy was low. I have serious cravings for chocolate, often. And just weird ailments that doctors or I could never figure out. In my opinion, when a physician doesn't know whats wrong with you, its probably related to diet.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't just eat junk food. I actually eat really well, despite the amount of sugar I consume. I have oatmeal in the morning; However, I dump spoonfuls of brown sugar in it. I drink green tea, but I put 3 Tablespoons of honey in every cup. I snack on granola bars, protein bars, all packed with sugar. I eat a lot of fruit -- sugar. I crave something sweet after dinner: a few cookies, ice cream, maybe a spoonful of Nutella... (Whatever its made with nuts!)  Anyway, even writing this now its hard not to get defensive about my sugar eating habits.

What first made me even consider cutting sugar out of my diet was when a friend told me she was trying the Whole30 diet. You basically cut out all sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes, for 30 days. I literally stopped listening to the list of foods she was saying because I was stuck on SUGAR: "You're not eating ALLLLL sugar for 30 days? WHAT?" And then I started doing my research. Sugar causes diseases. Sugar gives you low energy. Sugar is bad for your skin. Sugar is in almost every food, and you aren't even aware that you're eating it. I don't like being fooled, so this started to piss me off.

So I'm cutting out all sugar from my diet. Except for fruit. Because I need fiber, and I'm not trying to torture myself, I'm just trying to be aware of how much sugar I consume. After a few days of not eating any sugar I watched the documentary Fed Up. If you haven't watched it, I strongly encourage you to. Watch it here for free!  It talks about the rising obesity problem in children and how food corporations are strategically putting sugar in everything!  People are only getting sicker, fatter, unhealthier at younger ages. It was a perfect time to cut out sugar, for me. Enough is enough. I could only imagine how much better I would feel if I cut it out of my diet. 

I plan to share some no-sugar recipes and a few updates on how I'm feeling through the next 30 days.  Also, there seems to be A LOT of interest from friends and family regarding this decision of mine, and many people are joining me in this 30 day challenge! (Thank you!) So I hope to share lots of recipes from other people who are also cutting sugar out from their diet. We're all in this together, so lets go!

 

Sidenote: If you're interested in the Whole30 diet, read my friend Amy's blog as she documented her 30 day challenge. http://wholespiely.tumblr.com/