Best of show: Expo West 2017

Just like every other year before that, I am here with the Best of show from Expo West!  This year, I was looking for products that would make my lifestyle easier. I was looking for products that were high in protein, without dairy, gluten, nuts, low in sugar, that are easy to pack and go. The products at expo did not disappoint! Here are my favorites from this year's show - Links to shop available at the bottom of the page:

1) Bonafide Provision Drinkable Veggies: For a while I have been making soup using only bone broth and butternut squash. It is delicious and a great winter staple. Bone broth is full of collagen, protein, and good for you fats. However, soup is not the best pack and go item... Well, Bonafide Provision hit a home run by creating the Bonafide provision drinkable veggies - veggies like red pepper, green veggies, and tomato blended with bone broth. It is delicious, has virtually no sugar, and it is so easy to travel with. I will be buying lots of these... 

 

 

2) Epic Pork Rinds: I was recently in Costa Rica with my son and ate lots of pork rind whilst I was there. I love the snack, it reminds me of childhood in Brazil, it is high in protein, and easy to pack and go. However, I am guessing the pork rinds I was eating were not antibiotic free nor fried with good fats. When I was on vacation, I was hoping something similar came out in the american market, but fried with better fats  and antibiotic free. Well, it seems epic read my thoughts because they just came out with these amazing Pork Rind snacks as a part of their whole animal concept. This concept aims to bring food waste to zero by utilizing the entire animal - skin and all. Epic snacks are amazing and they utilize a combination of organic, pastured, non-gmo, and antibiotic free skins. It is a low carb snack, paleo-friendly, has high levels of protein, collagen and it is preservative free!

3) Laird Superfood and Turmeric creamer: I love to drink my bulletproff morning in the morning, but carrying your blender and coconut butter with you on an international trip may not always be convinient. Laird superfood creamer (and their turmeric one too) are diary free and provide a portable, dairy free, bulletproof coffee experience. It is full of good fats from coconut butter and oil, and red palm oil. This means this baby is full of vitamins A, D, E, and K providing great nutrition and long lasting energy! Make that caf

4) Rythm Superfoods Beet Chips: Watch out Kale Chip, there is a new superfood chip in town. I take kale chips whenever I travel, they are easy to pack, high in nutrients and antioxidants, and have tons of fiber. I am always looking for a similarly unprocessed chip I can take with. This beet chip fits the bill. It tastes great, it has lots of iron, and it is easy to pack and go. 

 

 

Posted on March 13, 2017 .

Sugar free, Gluten free, Dairy free chocolate cake

Ingredients for the cake portion of the recipe

  • 1 1/2 Cups Avocado mashed (360g)
  • 3/4 Cup Monk fruit sweetener (Link to purchase in the bottom)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 6 Large eggs separated
  • 4 Oz Lily's stevia sweetened dark chocolate chips
  • 66 g Coconut flour sifted (Roughly 3/4 cups - but weigh it instead!!! - (Link to purchase in the bottom)
  • 90g Tapioca flour (Link to purchase in the bottom)
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp Sea salt

Ingredients for the Chocolate Cream frosting:

  • Pecans to garnish (Soak your pecans for 8 hours and allow them time to air dry)
  • 1/2 Cup Light coconut milk
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1/3 Cup monk fruit sweetener (Link to purchase in the bottom)
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut cream ( either buy coconut cream or place a can of full-fat coconut milk sit in your fridge overnight. Dispose the liquid and use the remaining cream)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Sea salt

Directions

How to make the cake portion:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil (up the sides) and set aside. I prefer using a convection oven as the moisture will create a really moist cake. 

  2. Place the avocados in a food processor and process till smooth. Transfer the mixture into a bowl

  3. Add the monk fruit sweetener, vanilla and egg yolks into the avocado bowl. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl. Beat the avocado mixture until creamy and well mixed. 

  4. Place the chocolate chips into a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is melted. Add the chocolate into the avocado mixture and beat until well incorporated.

  5. In a separate small bowl, stir together the coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and salt.Stir it into the avocado mixture until mostly mixed in. Then, beat it with the hand mixer until totally mixed.

  6. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks, which takes about 4 minutes.

  7. Gently place the whipped egg whites into the bowl with the cake batter and GENTLY fold them into the batter until no white streaks remain.

  8. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature in the pans.

How to make the frosting:

  1.  place the coconut milk and egg yolks in a medium pot and whisk them together. Set the temperature to medium heat and add in the coconut sugar, coconut cream, honey, vanilla and salt. Whisk constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, and is JUST about to boil about 6-7 minutes.)

  2.  Place into the refrigerator for 20 minutes to let it thicken.

  3. Once the mixture has thickened, frost away.

  4. Refrigerate overnight to harden.

These are the hard to find  products I used in this recipe:  

Posted on January 19, 2017 and filed under Recipes and Nutrition.

Advent Week 2 Meditation Audio and Script

In this second week of Advent, let’s take the time to prepare our minds and souls and to make room for His presence. Take five minutes of your day to stand in his awareness and love. This is a season when we may get lost and anxious amidst Christmas gift shopping, but have you stopped to meditate on the gifts God has given you? These are the gifts that truly matter because they tell you your mission in this world. 

 

 

 

 

Take a seat somewhere comfortable. This could be a yoga mat. If you are on a yoga mat get into a comfortable cross legged position. Otherwise sit with both feet on the ground. Gently close your eyes. Draw the crown of your head towards the heavens as you draw your shoulder back and down. Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.

Start deepening your breath to help you connect to the Holy Spirit. On the day of the Pentecost, the Holy spirit came from heaven like a rushing wind. So, Let the Holy Spirit fill you with each breath. Visualize the Spirit filling you with joy, kindness, peace, and grace. Visualize a beautiful golden light overtaking you with each breath.

As you are doing this, exhale the tension from your body

Feel completely Relaxed.

Bring the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly.

Now let the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

Continue this three part breath by bringing the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly. Now letting the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

God has gifted each of us with unique talents and spiritual gifts. Let us embrace all that beauty and use those to help others and improve our world. Take a deep breath and embrace this verse:

First Peter 4: 10 says: "each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms".

Now let a deep breath out. 

What are some of the gifts God has given you? What are you good at? What do you excel at?

Take in His grace as you meditate on your gifts and take 5 deep breaths.

One more time, Take another deep breath and embrace this verse one more time:

First Peter 4: 10 says: "each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms".

Now take some time to meditate on how you are currently using your gifts. What have you been doing with what you excel at? 

 

Take in His grace as you meditate on your gifts and take 5 deep breaths.

 

One more time, Take another deep breath and embrace this verse one last time:

First Peter 4: 10 says: "each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms".

ased on the gifts you have been given meditate on what is God's mission for your life. What can you do to better explore those gifts and accomplish your mission?

Take in His grace as you meditate on your gifts and take 5 deep breaths

Everyone has a gift. Everyone is unique. Embrace your God given uniqueness, your gifts. In this Christmas season, rather than buying material gifts, be a gift to the world. Give of yourself to others. Build others up, make someone happy, embrace someone, help someone. 

As you rest in His grace for a few last breaths I want you to inhale His Grace

Exhale self doubt

Inhale His Grace

Exhale self doubt

Inhale His Grace

Exhale self doubt

Inhale His Grace

Exhale self doubt

Now open your eyes slowly and feel your feet on the ground. Let's Thank God for this day and to Him be the Glory of your gifts and actions today! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persimmon + Ginger + Mint Paradise Smoothie

The other day I was in the supermarket and saw one of my all time favorite fruits: Persimmon. Though I avoid sugar, my health coach allows me to eat fruit a few times a week. I couldn't resist but buy this sweet goodness that I only see once in a blue moon in Chicago. I whipped up the most satisfying and amazing smoothie with it. I have to caution you that this is a very thick smoothie. So if you prefer a less thick consistency, you will need to water it down a little bit.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! This recipe is a powerhouse of vitamin A and C, B complex vitamins, and Omega 3s!  Here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

1. 1 Persimmon

2. 1 inch piece of ginger

3. 1/4 cup of mint leaves

4. 1 tablespoon of chia

5. Bone Broth Protein - vanilla flavor

6. 2 cups of baby spinach 

7. 1 tbsp sprouted cashew butter ( I buy t

8. 1/2 cup of sprouted Brazil Nut milk (see recipe here).

Directions:

Place all of the above ingredients on the vitamix and blend well. Careful: This smoothie is addictive!

Advent Week 1 meditation: Love is coming

Today's meditation was designed to prepare our hearts for the love that is coming. Jesus birth is the ultimate show case of God's love for us. So as we wait to celebrate the incarnation of light and love into the world, we stop to feel this love. The meditation was based on 1 John 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. The idea is to practice love by becoming grounded in love as we see in 1 Corinthians 13. I hope you enjoy it! The script is also available below in case you would like to share with students, friends, or family members! I hope this meditation blesses you! 

 

Love is coming Script: 

As we enter the season of celebration of the incarnation of light and love into the world, it is easy to get lost among shopping, preparation, and family gatherings. With so much to do, it is easy to forget to stand in the presence of He who longs to be known, but never demands. So today let’s take the time to stand in his presence and love. Let’s prepare as we experience the wonderful joy and peace given to us by He whose name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. Take a seat in a comfortable position. This could be in a chair or on a mat. Feel free to cross your legs if you are on a mat or to sit with your feet on the floor if you are on a chair. Draw the crown of your head towards the heavens as you draw your shoulder back and down. Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.

Now Start deepening your breath to help you connect to the Holy Spirit. On the day of the Pentecost, the Holy spirit came from heaven like a rushing wind. So, Let the Holy Spirit fill you with each breath. Visualize the Spirit filling you with joy, kindness, and peace. Visualize a beautiful golden light overtaking you.

As you are doing this, exhale the tension from your body

Feel completely Relaxed.

Bring the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly.

Now let the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

Continue this three part breath by bringing the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly. Now letting the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

1 John 4:8 says Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. So today I want you to experience this love. The love that came. The love that is. The Love that is to come again.

I want you to visualize yourself. Tell yourself:

I am grounded in God’s love. I am patient and kind, I do not envy or boast. I am not arrogant or rude. I do not insist on my own way. I am not irritable or resentful, I do not rejoice at wrongdoing, I rejoice with the truth. I bear all things, I believe all things, I hope all things,  endure all things. God’s love for me never ends.

Visualize yourself surrounded by God’s great love, by this beautiful cloud of light and energy. Feel the warmth of His great embrace.

Now I want you to visualize someone you deeply love. This could be a partner or loved one, a child or sibling, a friend, or relative. Tell this person:

You are grounded in God’s love. You are patient and kind, You do not envy or boast. You are not arrogant or rude. You do not insist on your own way. You are not irritable or resentful, You do not rejoice at wrongdoing, You rejoice with the truth. You bear all things, You believe all things, You hope all things,  endure all things. God’s love for you never ends.

Visualize this person surrounded by God’s great love, by this beautiful cloud of light and energy. Let this person feel the warmth of His great embrace.

Now I want you to visualize someone you feel neutral about. This could be someone you just met or just know in passing. Tell this person:

You are grounded in God’s love. You are patient and kind, You do not envy or boast. You are not arrogant or rude. You do not insist on your own way. You are not irritable or resentful, You do not rejoice at wrongdoing, You rejoice with the truth. You bear all things, You believe all things, You hope all things,  endure all things. God’s love for you never ends.

Visualize this person surrounded by God’s great love, by this beautiful cloud of light and energy. Let this person feel the warmth of His great embrace.

Now I want you to visualize someone you have a troubled relationship with. This could be a anyone whom you may have had an antagonistic relationship with. Tell this person without judgement:

You are grounded in God’s love. You are patient and kind, You do not envy or boast. You are not arrogant or rude. You do not insist on your own way. You are not irritable or resentful, You do not rejoice at wrongdoing, You rejoice with the truth. You bear all things, You believe all things, You hope all things,  endure all things. God’s love for you never ends.

Visualize this person surrounded by God’s great love, by this beautiful cloud of light and energy. Let this person feel the warmth of His great embrace.

Now stay grounded in God’s love for your for a few more breaths. Feel the warmth of his hand over your. Dwell in his protection and love.

Breathe in love

Breathe out fear

Breathe in Joy

Breathe out sorrow

Breathe in peace

Breathe out disharmony

Breathe in Tolerance

Breathe out intolerance

Breathe in Kindness

Breathe out selfishness

Breathe in goodness

Breathe out meanness,

Breathe in faithfulness,

Breathe out doubt,

Breathe in gentleness,

Breathe out harshness,

Breathe in self-control

Breathe out impulsivity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Meditation Audio and Script

Bow before your savior today!

Bow before your savior today!

Today is the perfect day to show gratitude. So why not meditate and thank your Savior, the one who has performed the ultimate sacrifice? This meditation uses visualization techniques to take you closer to Jesus and in a place of gratitude for his sacrifice. Play the audio below to get started. If you would like to share this meditation with others the script is also available below: 

Thanksgiving to the cross meditation script: 

Take a comfortable seated position. Place your hands on your knees. Draw your shoulders back and down and close your eyes. Turn your attention to your breath. Notice the quality of the air - is it cold, warm? It the air dry or moist? Notice how you are breathing…. Is your breath shallow or deep?

Without judgment breathe in and out.

Bring the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly.

Now let the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

Continue this three part breath - breathing deep into your belly. Feel your belly raise as you breathe.

As you continue to do this, feel all of the tension leave your body

Feel completely Relaxed.

Bring the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly.

Now let the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

Bring the breath to your chest, then upper belly, then lower belly.

Now let the air go from the lower belly, upper belly, and finally the chest.

Jesus cured ten lepers, but only one came back to show his gratitude and he was blessed. Today we will do a gratitude and kindness meditation to thank God, yourself, and others for all they have done for you.  As we continue to breathe deeply we will first focus our attention to God.

I want you to visualize the face of your savior. Imagine Christ our Lord present before you upon the cross, the sweat and blood dripping upon his face. Visualize the pain he felt giving up his own life for you. Notice the large nails on his wrists and feet. Notice his wounds. As Jesus slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along his fingers and up his arms. You see Him pushing himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, placing His full weight on the nail through His feet. I want you to see Him. Really look at your Savior, giving his life for you and begin to speak to him.

I want you to say to him:

I offer my gratitude for being saved by Your grace.

I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this life I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given. 

Take five deep breaths as you visualize a beautiful light connecting your savior and you. Feel the gratitude for him, Feel the gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He has made.

[pause]

Slowly open your eyes. Jesus tells you: Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.

 

I hope this script and meditation bless you as much as it has blessed me!

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!

Izabel

 

High protein, sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free 1 minute brownie

If you have a sweet tooth, but don't want to jeopardize your clean eating, I highly recommend you try out this brownie recipe. As I cut all of the sugars from my diet, I had to find new ways to satisfy my sweet tooth. This was particularly difficult during competition prep, when my coach wouldn't even allow me to eat fruit! This recipe uses ingredients that have a high protein content (eggs and protein powder), does not contain sugar, gluten, or lactose. This brownie is completely safe to eat - even during contest prep!!!! I promise you'll want to eat this brownie for breakfast... Except you won't be feeling any guilt!

 

Ingredients:

A measure of protein powder (the product I use called bone broth protein - it is high in collagen and does not contain dairy - see link below)
A TBSP of coconut flour (I like Bob Red Mill's, see link below)
2 TBSP of monk fruit sweetener (My favorite sweetener! Tastes like sugar - see link below)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cup cashew milk (or any other 'milk' alternative soy, almonds, etc.)

Optional ingredients: 1tbsp of nut butter, and 1 teaspoon of Lakanto chocolate powder. These ingredients make the brownie extra yummy - but it depends if you can afford the added fats or not. 

How to:

Mix the egg and the cashew milk in the mug. If you are adding peanut butter start mix it in with the egg mixture. It won't dissolve completely, but that's ok. Mix in the dry ingredients in the mug till you achieve a homogeneous dough. Microwave it for anywhere between 60 seconds and 1 minute and 20 seconds (some microwaves take a little longer - you may have to play with yours and see).

Enjoy!!!!! 

Hacks to travel fit during the peak week of your bikini competition

Sometimes travel just happens. Even, in the middle of peak week. It may be work related, a trip you scheduled before knowing about the show date, an emergency... Life happens and it doesn't care about your competition diet. Well, in those cases you may have no choice, but coming out of house arrest and traveling during peak week. But, how are you supposed to survive in the real world when you cannot eat any fat? How about staying within your macros? Don't worry! I can share with you the creative hacks I used to travel fit and keep those unwanted inches away.

If you are traveling domestically, you are in luck! You can actually prep and pack all of your meals and then place it in your checked luggage. TSA allows you to travel with some food in the carry on, just not 3 days worth of it. So pack your food into large containers - don't worry about portioning them till you get to the hotel... It will save you some space and money - since you won't need to huge pieces of luggage. Just make sure you freeze your food and pack your cooler with ice packs so that your food doesn't spoil en route. Also, you may want to favor veggies and meats that travel well.... Chicken and beef travel well, fish not so much... trust me... Also some veggies travel better than others - think spaghetti squash, eggplant, onions, celery, cucumbers, peppers.... Zucchini turns into a watery mess - so stay away from veggies that get too watery after cooking.

Here is how I traveled clean and and still rocked my bikini on my way back:

1) Pack all of your food! Seriously. I pre-cooked and packed all of my meals for the three days I was out of town. This means you have to call the hotel in advance and request an empty fridge in your room. In some hotels, this incurs a charge, but it is well worth it. Then, I packed all of my veggies and protein into a cooler and placed it in my checked baggage with a TSA approved ice pack. Attention - not all ice packs are TSA approved. Check that yours is. Then I brought my trusty six pack bag that I love so that I always had my meals in hand for the day. I know it is expensive, but I am obsessed with my super cute 6 pack fitness bag. It is well worth the cost... 

 

2) Bring your mini crock pot: You are already being super restrictive with your diet, so the least you deserve is the comfort of warm food. I cannot stand eating cold food. YUCK! Since not all hotels have microwaves, I recommend you get a mini crock pot, like I did. This tiny wonder heats up your food in about 15 minutes so that you still feel like a human while restricting your macros. It will make you feel right at home with your warm, home cooked protein-filled goodness :)

 

3) Bring your measuring tools: If you want to save space in your luggage, instead of packing your food into meals, bring them in bulk containers. Then pre your meals in your hotel room with your mini pocket scale and collapsible cups. It saves a lot of space to do it this way. I have done it both ways - taking pre organized meals and bulk veggies and meat and then separating. The second scenario saves so much space. On top of that you will be able to rbing your tools to a restaurant in case you decide to splurge and go out for a meal. 

4) Monk  fruit sugar: I cannot survive without my monk fruit sweetener.  I am not a big fan of stevia because of the bitter after taste. Monk fruit sweetener is calorie free, all natural (comes from a fruit), and has the same taste as sugar. Oh! You also use the same number of tablespoons too! I like to bring it with me in case a craving hits and I need a tasty glass of 'sweet' tea, coffee , or hot tea. It feels luxurious and calorie ladden, but is calorie free :) 

5) Bring your Tea: I highly recommend you bring some tea along. When we are far away from home, we are more likely to be hit by cravings and need a sense of comfort. A warm beverage like tea will give you a series of benefits like antioxidants and make you feel comforted. For, me there is nothing quite holding a hot mug of tea. It may be silly, buy whenever I have a craving for sweets at the end of a day peppermint tea simply kills it. It is sweet, helps with digestion, and makes you feel calm. Try it! I love the brand traditional medicinals - it provides you with a high quality of tea in sachets that are easy to transport during travel.

 

I hope my hacks will help you as much as they helped me! If you have any questions or comments, write them down and I will answer!

God Bless you!

Izabel

Parenting and Faith: Having trouble with a child? Tap into the supernatural

Parenting is not always easy. Parenting Christian kids, in an unchristian world is even harder. I was blessed with a smart child. A VERY smart child nearing a genius IQ. So telling him to believe in God just because wasn't cutting it anymore now that he was in his teens. My son is a deep thinker. He has a tendency to over analyze every situation and probably has a better understanding of many things I don't bother to even think about. So, as he grew older, he also grew less faithful and more doubtful. Many times, my son questioned His existence altogether. This was extremely difficult for me as I never had. I had always believed in God and the supernatural. I grew up in Brazil, a place where the supernatural pretty much slaps you on your face everyday. It is hard not to believe in God when you grow up as I did. When I got to college my Anthropology professor gave us an exercise where we couldn't believe in God for a week. I caved after a day because it made me feel so... vulnerable. I couldn't and can't bear the thought of an inexistent God. It is simply not possible for me.

But now, how was I to convince my son of His existence? It was so obvious for me I didn't know what to do, I did not really understand the thought process that led to his doubt. Then one day, I watched a sermon where the Pastor illustrated the bible as the book of the supernatural.  The preacher said he didn't understand why people would seek psychics when they had a manual of the supernatural right a home. After all, Jesus brought people back to life, seas were opened, lions were silenced, walls came down with music, and prison cells were broken. The pastor defended the idea of tapping into the supernatural we see in the bible. That day it hit me that if anything could prove the existence of God to my son, it would be something completely supernatural that was beyond his deep thoughts and analytics. 

So, how do we tap into the supernatural? I wasn't quite sure, but I did what I could. I began to pray that God would open my son's heart, that he would open the eyes of his faith. I asked for my son to see many miracles in his lifetime, to see God's hand acting in his life. I begged God to open his eyes to the unseen. I asked, and asked, and asked for 7 years. Yes, 7.

Little things started happening, but Gabriel would brush them off as coincidences. For me it was clear that God was personally closing and opening doors for him, but he insisted in not seeing it. It was frustrating. So, in my prayers I started to ask God to give him more personal sings - maybe through dreams. So, the signs started getting more personal. My son had a dream he was dating a girl. One year later, he was dating that girl. I reminded him... Hmmmmm remember you had that dream... I think that was the moment when things started changing. I started noticing he would lift his hand in worship. My prayers then asked for visions, and messages from God. I kept begging God to awaken him. The signs started getting stronger and stronger. One day we came to a revival service on a Wednesday. A random guy I had never seen before called us to the side after church. He said: God asked me to talk to you guys. There were 5 of us, but he pointed to my son. "And the message is for you." I started getting goose bumps. I personally did not understand the message, but Gabriel did. And, it was the confirmation he needed. He bawled his eyes out all the way home. After that, Gabriel started having visions. God started talking to him and the next week another random person we had never seen had a message - for him again. 

So, if you are in a similar position, I hope this article finds you. The first step to take is: Do not despair. Bend your knees and tap into the supernatural. And be prepared to wait... My prayers took 7 years to come to full fruition. Sometimes, knee mail is not the fastest kind of mail... But, it is the most perfect and effective kind. Ask God to move, to act supernaturally and He will. Keep this message in your heart:

Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

 

Kids Holy Yoga: Classes and Resources to teach John 15

Today's lesson plan explores the story of Lazarus' ressurection. I used a few books that are noted with links below. The entire plan for the flow is found below. You can also watch the class on Vimeo

The girls rocked the Vine pose! 

The girls rocked the Vine pose! 

Class on John 15 – I am the true vine

Intro

Look for something that needs electricity to work. I used a fan. Ask a kid to turn the fan on, but unplug it first. Why isn’t it working? Let them know it is not connected to the source of energy. Compare that situation to Jesus and us – we need his spiritual energy to thrive.

Warm Up

Son Salutations

 Flow:

 The story from today is told right before Jesus is crucified. [From mountain pose open hands into a cross]

Jesus said: “I am the Vine, you are the branches[Go into eagle pose]. When you’re joined with me and I with you, [Go into eagle pose on the other side] the the harvest is sure to be abundant. [Step into victorious pose with prayer hands]

As Jesus was going to be crucified [Come into Half moon pose on a side cross]  wanted us to know He was not going to desert them [Hold onto your feet and don’t let go like Jesus – [come into utita hatha padangusthasana] , even though they would no longer enjoy His physical presence [Come into Mountain pose]. [REPEAT ON THE OTHER SIDE] Jesus wanted us to know that, even though we cannot see Him, we are as closely connected to Him as the branches of a vine are connected to its stem.

He said that no branch can even live [Come into bound wide angle pose], let alone produce leaves and fruit [Come into bird of paradise] by itself. Cut off from the trunk [go back to wide angle feet on floor] , a branch is dead.  [ then cartwheel hands into lizard pose  repeat other side]

Just as a vine’s branches rely on being connected to the trunk from which they receive their energy to bear fruit, [Come into tree than standing compass] We depend on being connected to Him for our spiritual life [repeat the sentence and do the other side]

The fruit we produce is that of the Holy Spirit—love, [Hands to heart] joy [jump for joy] peace [tree pose], patience [tree pose on the other side], goodness [Come to kneeling and do reverse prayer pose with hands], kindness, gentleness [come into child's pose], faithfulness [Bring your torso up and do prayer hands], and self-control. 


Take away: "I am the vine [Squat with prayer pose]; you are the branches [open arms wide and once to standing]. If a man remains in me and I in him [Eagle pose], he will bear much fruit [come into warrior III]; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (NIV)

Repeat other side.


Meditation: Thoughts to make your heart sing: John 15:15 (p.118)

Tell the kids to let their body melt like ice cream and slowly lay down on the floor. As they lay in savasana ask them to stay still and resist any urges to move. Read p 118 from thoughts to make your heart sing.

You can watch this class here:

 

 

Posted on August 12, 2016 .

Kids Holy Yoga: Class and Resources for John 11

Today's lesson plan explores the story of Lazarus' ressurection. I used a few books that are noted with links below. The entire plan for the flow is found below. You can also watch the class on Vimeo

Jesus is the Ressurection and the Life!

Jesus is the Ressurection and the Life!

Lesson Plan

Warm up.

Alternate nostril breathing – Imagine you are sick and your nose is stuffed. This is how Lazarus Jesus’s friend felt when he was sick. So let’s breathe like Lazarus: Cover the right nostril and breathe in through the left . Now cover the left nostril and breathe out. Let’s do that five times. Now our other nose is stuffy, so let’s cover the left and breathe in through the right. Good job! Do you feel calmer? This kinds of breathing is great for when we are feeling anxious, so if you are you should practice breathing like Lazarus!

Son salutations.

Now let’s prepare for the yoga flow by saluting the son of god. Who is the son of God? Let’s reach up to the sky and say hello to Jesus. Now bow down to your Savior.

Flow:

Adapted from I am (See the book below). Story I used is called: The resurrection and the life on p. 174

 

            Jesus started walking among people [mountain climber] and He started making miracles[Jump into a burpie and reach up to the sky] Repeat a few more times emphasizing the miracles Jesus made. The miracles made most people happy [Jump again for miracle then transition into an upward facing dog for happy ] But some other people were mad because Jesus called himself the son of God. [Transition into a downward facing dog for sad]

They wanted to arrest him, [take child’s pose and cross hands for arrested] but Jesus slipped away and went to Bethany [Go into mountain climber]. While Jesus was there a messenger came [Runner’s lunge] The message was from his friends Mary and Martha:[Runner’s lunge the other side] “Our brother, Lazarus, the friend you love, is very sick”.

Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters.[ Side lunge with hand on the heart] They were his friends [Other side lunge with hand on heart]. Jesus knew Mary and Martha wanted him to come heal Lazarus right away, but he didn’t go.[Transition into a wide legged forward fold]  He stayed where he was for two more days. [ Come up and take one forward fold, one day, then a second forward fold saying the second day has passed] Then he said to his disciples: “It’s time for us to go back.” [Come up from the forward fold]

“But Jesus, [Transition to a seated position] the leaders in Jerusalem want to arrest you” [Take bound marychiasana a] the disciples said.  If you go they will arrest you [Take bound marychiasana A on the other side]

“Our friend Lazarus is dead.” [Lie down and take savasana] Jesus said. “Let’s go to Bethany”. [transition into a top of a push up] When Mary and Martha heard that Jesus was coming, Martha hurried to meet Him on the road.[Take a mountain climber]  “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died. “ She said. [Lie into savasana]

“Your brother will rise again.” Jesus told her. [Jump into standing from lying down]

When Mary saw Jesus she said: “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” [Transition into savasana] Mary was crying, and so were the friends who were with her. Jesus cried too because they were so sad. [Come into child’s pose]

“Where is Lazarus?” He asked. [Come into hero pose]

“take away the stone Jesus said.”  [Take a side lunge like you are moving the stone away]

They moved the stone it was very heavy [Take a side lunge to the other side ]

"Didn’t I tell you”, Jesus said kindly, that If you believe, you will see God’s glory? [TRANSITION INTO VICTORIOUS POSE AND TAKE HANDS UP TO READCH OUT TO GOD’S GLORY]

So the stone was rolled away. Then Jesus prayed. [Come into prayer hands still in victorious pose] Father let the people here believe that You sent Me. And He called in a loud Voice: Lazarus Come out. [Reach to grab the foot and bring foot off the floor into pose]

No one moved. No one even whispered. What was going to happen?

Suddenly everyone saw Lazarus standing near the front of the tomb! [do the other side] The man who had been dead was alive

Unwrap him, Jesus said, and let him go

Take away of the week with poses:

Jesus told Martha: I am THE Resurrection and the Life. [From Savasana roll over and open your heart to jesus : I am the ressuraction] , I am the life [bow pose]

When we believe in Jesus, we have new life that lasts forever.

Meditation

 Thoughts to make your heart sing: Dying, waking p.105

Imagine you are in a beautiful garden - the garden of Eden. It is green, the air is warm, the sun is warming your skin. You can smell the flowers all around you [use lavender oil]. God meant us to live forever in this beautiful garden. But Eve is tempted by a beautiful apple. It is read and juicy. And satan wants her to take a bite...  Sin has broken everything and now we cannot leave in the garden.

Jesus came to destroy death. He died on the cross and was buried – but death couldn’t keep him dead. On the third day he burst out of the tomb.

And now death can’t keep us dead either.

Jesus has turned the tomb into a bed. We die to wake up in his arms.

We will still die. But after we die, we will wake – as if from a refreshing night’s sleep—and Jesus will lead us by the hand into Life that won’t ever end. 

 

Posted on August 4, 2016 and filed under Kids Holy Yoga.

Kids Holy Yoga: Class and Resources to teach John 10:11

The Shepherd looked for his sheep behind the tree! 

The Shepherd looked for his sheep behind the tree! 

This week in Vacation Bible school at the New Life Community Center, we explored the parable of  the Good Shepherd through our bodies. Here is the lesson plan and resources in case you would like to use them yourself! The drawings to tell the story are downloadable at the end of the page!

Warm up

Tell the story one time using the drawings at the bottom of the page. Each link is downloadable.

Now, shall we tell this story through yoga? 

 Shepherd breath: Let's start with some shepherd breath. The shepherd has to stop to count his sheep, doesn’t he? So in shepherd breath we hold our breath for two counts so that we can count our sheep! Breathe in to a count of 3, pause to count your sheep for two, then breathe out for a count of 3, and again pause to count your sheep. We will repeat that a few times.

Son salutations - Who is the son of God? So, to start our class let's warm out bodies by saluting the son of God.

Flow with Poses (text adapted from the Book I am: The good Shepherd)

People of all kinds came [MOUNTAIN CLIMBER]  to hear Jesus teach about God[RUNNER’S LUNGE with the right leg]

People who had always loved God came. [RUNNER’S LUNGE with the left leg].

People who thought they weren’t as good as other people came. [SIDE LUNGE RIGHT]  They were surprised that Jesus sat down to eat with them and paid attention to them.

People who thought they were better that others also came. [SIDE LUNGE LEFT] These people complained that Jesus paid attention to sinners.

So Jesus told them a story about Shepherd who had one hundred sheep. [COME TO STANDING]

The shepherd [WARRIOR II] watched over his sheep carefully everyday [REVERSE WARRIOR] and every night [half moon pose]

To make sure that none of the sheep wandered away [cartwheel your hands] from the rest of the flock, he counted them [take a pushup position].

One sheep [PUSH UP], two sheep [PUSH UP], three sheep [PUSH UP], four sheep [PUSH UP]… all the way to a hundred. [PUSH UP]

But one day when the shepherd counted one [PUSH UP], two [PUSH UP], three [PUSH UPS], he had only ninety-nine.

One sheep was missing. [ STAY AT TOP of PUSH UP]

One sheep had wondered off and could be in trouble. [MOUNTAIN CLIMBER]

The shepherd wanted to find his lost sheep right away [JUMP FEET TO HANDS AND COME TO STANDING], so he left this flock in a safe place in the mountain [MOUNTAIN POSE] and he began to search for the sheep that wondered away.

He searched up hill [SIDE PLANK RIGHT]

He searched down hill [SIDE PLANK LEFT}

He searched under bushes [ TREE POSE RIGHT]

He searched behind tress [ TREE POSE LEFT]

 He searched behind the lotus flower [LOTUS POSE]

He searched down by the bridge [BRIDGE POSE]

He listened carefully… and finally he heard a faint baaaa baaaaaing [come to your knees and place hands by ear like you are listenin]

The sheep was worn out and hungry [TAKE CHILD’s POSE]

The shepherd picked up the lost sheep and put it around his shoulders [CAT COW]

Then he started his journey home [MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS]

When he got back to the flock, he cared for the lost sheep giving him food and water [TAKE CHILD’S POSE TO REST]

Remember God is like that shepherd. He rejoices over those who always at His side, but He celebrates even more when someone lost is found. [STAY IN CHILD’S POSE]

TAKE AWAY OF THE VERSE WITH POSES:

John 10: 11 says:

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD [hand to heart then go into warrior II]

THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP [warrior I, then cow face pose with prayer hands]

Closing Meditation:

Adapted. from thoughts to make your heart sing p. 97

Imagine you are a little sheep. The world is big. You are defenseless. Afraid. But then you look up and you see your shepherd. He says: I’m your good shepherd. You have everything you need. When you’re hungry, I’ll feed you. When you are thirsty. I’ll give you water to drink. When  you are tired, I’ll bring you to cool shade where you can rest. I will rescue you. Protect you. Love you.

Drawings to download and tell the story:

Drawing 1 (Shepherd Counting Sheep)

Drawing 2 (99 sheep)

Drawing 3 (Looking for sheep)

Drawing 4 (Found Sheep)

 

Kids Holy Yoga: Class and Resources to teach John 10

Kids at VBS Yoga at New Life Church Community Center in Chicago

Kids at VBS Yoga at New Life Church Community Center in Chicago

I have been having so much fun this Summer teaching VBS yoga at the New Life Community Church Center in Humboldt Park. I am happy to share my resources here so that you are able to use them with your own children or classes. This particular class teaches the message in John 10 and the takeaway of the class is that Jesus is the gate, and only through him we can make it to the father. The video, class script, and all resources I used are below.

Warm up:

Class today is surrounds the concept of Sheep! What do you know about Sheep?

  • Sheep wander
  • Sheep are weak
  • They need their master to protect them
  • They only respond to the voice of their master 

Show kids the following video to exemplify the idea that sheep only respond to their masters:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e45dVgWgV64 

Jesus tells us that we are also his Sheep. Why do you think so?

Breath Exercise: What sound does a sheep make? Now we are going to try to breathe like sheep. Take a deep breath in making your belly grow into a balloon, then breathe out like a sheep as long as you can.

Son salutations

FLOW (Script)

If a person climbs over [mountain climber] or through the fence of a sheep [sheep pose (cat)] pen instead of going through the gate [gate pose], you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler!

The shepherd [mountain pose] walks right up to the gate [standing Gate pose -( tree)]. The gatekeeper [warrior II] opens te gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice [Warrior I].

REPEAT WITH THE OTHER SIDE

The shepherd [mountain pose - reach to the sky to your sheperd Jesus] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [Dancers] When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice [warrior III]. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

REPEAT THE OTHER SIDE

I am the gate; [gate pose]  whoever enters through me [super man] will be saved [kneeling lunge] They will come in [child’s pose] and go out [lift up into kneeling], and find pasture [camel pose – open your heart to God].

Now what's the take away of today's class in pose form?

Jesus (reach for the sky - mountain pose)

Loves me (reach for your toes - forward fold)

He died in the cross ( bring both arms out to the sides)

He is the gate (gate pose)

He is the light (gate pose on the other side)

Final Meditation

Now let’s slowly come to a lying down position and imagine that you are melting. Like ice cream in a hot summer day. Just let your body sink into the floor and I want you to close your eyes and imagine in your head what I am about to say.

Meditation Script:

Imagine you are lying down on a beautiful green pasture. The grass is wet, the sun is shining. It is the most beautiful sunny day. You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. The warmth of the sun relaxes your head and neck…. Your shoulders…. And your arms. Your hands feel heavy and relaxed resting in on the grass. Around you sheep are roaming the grass. They wander, but they walk together. You see a little boy trying to call the sheep and move them. But they don’t move. The sheep don’t pay attention to them. The sheep continue to wander mindlessly. They eat the grass. They admire the day. But then all of a sudden they hear the sound of his master. Their shepherd call and little by little every sheep on the pasture looks at him. He calls again and every sheep follows their master. Anyone can call the sheep, but they will only obey their true master. That is how it should be with us. At the sound of His amazing grace. Our heads must turn. At the sound of His amazing grace. Our eyes should open. Now slowly. Open your eyes.

 

 

 

 

Refreshing Summery Detox Juice

After having spent time in France and Italy and eating too much cheese and drinking too much wine, my body was begging for a detox. My digestion came to a halt and that feeling of puffiness came over me. I was feeling inflamed and in need of a cleanse. So I stopped the dairy madness that was started in Europe, abandoned the newly purchased French wine in my fridge, and started to clean up my diet. Cleansing is not always fun, but it is easy to do if you have the right foods in hand! I upped my intake of herbs which makes everything more delicious and amazing. And, I have my favorite detox juice in hand because.... Well, because it is Summer. This juice is my all time favorite drink and it helps when I have a craving because it is sweet, delicious, summery, and refreshing. So, without further ado, here is the recipe....

Loca4Yoga Watermelon Detox Cooler (makes 6 glasses)

Loca4Yoga's delicious detox cooler!

Loca4Yoga's delicious detox cooler!

1) 1/2 Large watermelon

2) 1/3 cup of lemongrass (the green part not the stalks - go visit your local farmers market to buy fresh herbs that are in season!)

3) 1/3 cup of Lemon Balm (leaves only)

4) 1/3 cup of mint (leaves only)

Blend in a high powered blender and enjoy. Seriously.... You will thank me for this one!  Please be aware that this juice will make your digestion work... So don't be surprised if you go to the bathroom a few times.... 

How weight training changed my yoga practice (and free workout from Lung fitness)

Weight training can be yogi's best friends.

Weight training can be yogi's best friends.

For about two years all I did was ashtanga yoga. I was completely obsessed and would not engage in any activity that would "mess" with my flexibility. I would wake up early, not eat (except for coffee) and practice in an empty stomach like the tradition mandates. This practice completely changed my life. But, at some point I became conflicted. I knew that ashtanga yoga was keeping me flexible, strong, and cardiovascularly healthy (I did the machu pichu trail without a problem), but I wanted to do more.

Maybe it was something about the cold Chicago weather, but my body needed movement and heat. I felt like I needed to feel that runner's high again. Since a year earlier, while practicing with Nancy Gilgoff, she said that we shouldn't run till we were on the second series, as soon as I started to second series I started looking for a trainer. My teacher, the amazing Alexia Bauer, highly recommended her own trainer: Jeffrey Lung from Iron fitness.

We started my workouts with the goal of getting me running again without injuries and without impacting my flexibility. Despite my reluctance, Jeff had me start a complete weight training regimen. He also taught me to stretch after each workout so that I wouldn't lose any of my flexibility. I dedicated myself and started working out religiously - always followed by an exrta ten minute yoga practice at the end to undo any damage that could have been done.

Well it worked. I will confess that some days after workouts I am a bit tighter. But, I quickly regain my flexibility the day after. Even though I started with the goal of running, the weight training regimen made me so much stronger than I used to be. All of a sudden jump backs and jump throughs became a possibility, and I get some hang time in my handstands - right now I am up to ten seconds. My core is working and I feel so strong in my body.

Somedays I will even tell him the exact pose I want to be able to do and he will help work out muscle groups so that I am able to achieve the pose. All of a sudden these impossible poses became quite possible with Jeff. Weight training under his guidance has been truly a blessing to my practice. So without further ado, here is a sample workout created by Jeff Lung from Iron Lung Fitness ( This is where you can find him)

Sample Workout:
 

Interval Section (can also be used as a warm-up)

20 seconds of work with 10-20 seconds of rest in between intervals

Repeat 2-5x depending on fitness level

  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Single Leg Burpees
  • Squat Jumps
  • Lunge
  • Jump Lunge (jump transition from one lunge to the other)

Strength:

2-4x each set with 8-12 reps of each exercise

  • Push-ups
  • Bent over dumbbell row
  • Single Leg Squats (or Single Leg Sit-to-Stands)
  • Turkish Get-Ups
  • Cable or Band Axe Chops
  • Jane Fondas (aka Lateral Side Leg Raises)
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl into Shoulder Press
  • Single Leg Calf Raises
  • Dumbbell Anterior Deltoid Raise
  • Dumbbell Lateral Deltoid Raise
  • Donkey Kicks

Core Work:

  • Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Penguins
  • Crunches
  • Hip Raises
  • Roman Twists
Posted on June 2, 2016 and filed under Yoga Flows.

Yoga in the Sauna: Improve your flexibility part I

I have always considered myself pretty flexible, but now that I have been taught eka pada Sirsasana, I have realized I have super tight hips. As I have been struggling with hip flexibility since supta kurmasana, I decided to employ a plan to hopefully loosen my hips and make all of the leg behind the leg poses achievable. My plan is three-fold: 1) Yoga in the sauna, 2) Diet and supplements, 3) rolling and massage. Today I am going to tell you what the first part of my plan - which includes stretches and yoga in an infrared sauna. 

An infrared sauna is different than a regular sauna in that it uses infrared light to heat your body. Also, rather than heating the air around you, the infrared sauna targets your body directly, which means it will produce heat in your body at lower temperatures. The infrared sauna has a wide range of benefits, but its claims on aiding an increase in flexibility have been backed up by scientific studies. For example, a study from Auburn University compared stretching in a sauna and at room temperature. The group that stretched in the sauna saw significantly greater improvements in flexibility.  The heat of the sauna flushes out lactic acid, which in turn loosens tight muscles. 

Excited by these results, I started stretching in an infrared sauna after my regular yoga practice. I also started stretching after running as this activity could potentially affect my hip flexibility. I am lucky enough to have an infrared sauna in my house, however if you don't, there are places where you can go to spend some time in an infrared sauna. Just take some light clothes and get down to business (But please, wear something! Your neighbor does not need to see your naked bits doing yoga!). Below are the exercises that I have been performing to improve my hip flexibility. Note that I do these exercises after my regular practice... Not before.

Exercises

                                                                                               

Seated Pigeon in the sauna

Seated Pigeon in the sauna

1) Seated pigeon

I start with this easier stretch. It gets on my hips without being too aggressive. Try keeping your hips square and bringing the foot as close to chest as possible.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

2) Kurmasana

Kurmasana

Kurmasana

Bring the soles of your feet together and scoot your butt back - this is not badda konasaa. Then fold forward, tilting your pelvis down and bringing your chest as close to the seat as possible. The pelvic tilt will make this stretch more powerful so work on bringing your bootie up like beyonce and your chest down .  Stay 10-15 breaths.

 

3) Baddha Konasana 

Badda Konasana

Badda Konasana

In the same position as the pose before bring your feet closet to your pelvis. Before bringing the chest down activate the pelvic tilt forward (beyonce bootie!) and bring your chest to the floor. Again, the pelvic tilt helps your hips stretch even more. So instead of a rounded back try to keep your back as straight as possible.  Stay 10-15 breaths.

 

4) Full pigeon

Full Pigeon

Full Pigeon

This is probably my favorite pose of all time because it gets deep at the hips. Set up for pigeon pose by bringing your chin as parallel to the wall in front of you as possible. Then slowly bring your chest down trying not to round your back.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

5) Preparation for leg behind the head

Leg Behind the head prep I

Leg Behind the head prep I

Now we are getting close to the actual leg behind the head pose. Seated with your left leg straight, keep your hips squared and then bring your foot as close to your face as possible keeping your knee parallel to the front wall. Work on getting your making your back straight as you tilt your pelvis forward. This small movement will guarantee you get deeper into your hips.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

Leg Behind the head prep II

Leg Behind the head prep II

 

6) Second preparation for leg behind the head

The second prep pose keeps the legs at the same position, but bringing the foot towards the ear.  Again, try to maintain your back as straight as possible by tilting the pelvis forward.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

7) Leg behind the head

Now from the prep, try to take the leg out and the further back. Reach lower in your back with your foot. try to keep your back straight. Stay 10-15 breaths on each side as you work on straightening your back and moving the pelvis forward.

This is my sauna sequence for tight hips. I have been doing it everyday and hopefully you will see results soon! At first it may seem that your hips become tighter as you are over extending them in the sauna. However, stay faithful in your practice, activate the forward pelvic tilt in each downdog, and you are bound to see great results. This worked for me, but you may want to consult your physician before starting any new health regimen, including this one.

Next week, we will discuss how diet affects your practice and flexibility!

Have a blessed week!

Yoga in a pinch: A practice for those days you just don't have the time

For the past month, I have been in the process of moving. Then came my daughter's birthday party. Then travel, and before I knew it I had no time to do anything - including yoga. Since yoga is such an important part of my day,  I had to adapt my practice to fit the time I had.... Or lack thereof... That meant a short, fifteen minute practice early in the morning before my baby would wake up. 

If that is your case and you are looking for a short sequence that will keep your practice strong in the least amount of time... Then this post for you. Watch the video below and practice with me. 

Green Shake to Get your Diet Back on Track!

I have been off track lately... Running makes me want to eat more and because I know running burns lots of calories, I end up eating way too much sugar and fat... I find myself over-indulging often and my body is not taking it well. The worst part about over-indulging is that your body becomes addicted to the excessive amounts of sugar and fat and stopping the sugar/ fat madness is pretty hard... No wonder clinical experiments show sugar is more addictive than cocaine... (chek this article out: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719144)

But, the excess sugar and fat has some really terrible side effects... I have been waking up puffy and feeling bloated. I decided, it was time to break away from this sugar addiction I developed in the past few months... And, the only thing that helps me get out of a sugar slump is.... a Green shake.

Green shakes are a nutritional powerhouse. When you nourish your body, your cravings diminish because your body does not need to search for particular nutrients that may be missing in your diet. When you feed your body properly, you eat less. 

But let's face it... Who wants to drink a green shake instead of ... say... a plate of pancakes or french toast in the morning? I had to create a drink that would taste so delicious, I would not be tempted to reach for a waffle with peanut butter and banana. Well that is when I came up with a recipe so good, my picky toddler thought she was eating ice cream.... 

After a week, I started diminishing the sugar in the shake by taking away the dates and slowly bringing my body back to a more strict diet. Hope it works for you!

Recipe for Green Breakfast (almost) ice cream

  • 1 large Fiji apple
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 4 dates
  • 2 scoops of Green Protein Alchemy  (see product link to the right)
  • 4 cups of power greens ( or spinach)
  • 1 Cup of water 

Blend well and drink! This smoothie is so good even Bella was drinking it like there was no tomorrow...

Good Night yoga for your toddler

When I was at expo west this past weekend, a publisher gave me the book Good Night yoga when he found out I was a kids yoga teacher... I was so excited to try to tell this story to Bella through yoga... The book has beautiful illustrations that take you through a calming flow. It ends with a guided meditation that will lead your child to sleep. I didn't do the guided meditation because Bella is too little, but she loved the Good Night yoga flow...

If you are a parent and yogi, I highly recommend buying this book to share with your child (Link to the right). It allows you to introduce your child to your favorite activity in a friendly and soothing way!

If you would like to see how it went with Bella, the video is below:

Stay Blessed!

Izabel

Expo West: Best New Plant-based Products

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to Expo West, the largest show for organic and natural products in the world! While I was there I found some amazing plant-based products that should be part of your diet! Drum roll please... here are the best new plant-based products in the market....

1) Follow your Heart Vegan Egg : Yes you heard me correctly! Follow your heart has developed a vegan egg substitute! I ate it at the show and it is so yummy! It has the same consistency and flavor of egg, but it is made from algae! Earthy friendly and oh so good for you!

2) Veggemo Vegetal Milk: Almond milk is not good for the environment, and soy can wrack havoc on your hormones. What's a plant-based girl to do? Now, she can buy veggemo, a veggie milk made from pea protein, potato starch, and tapioca. What's even better? It has 4 grams of protein vs 1 gram in almond milk.

4) Hamona Coconut: There is nothing I love more than young coconut water and my favorite thus far has been harmless harvest. But those little bottles add up and are so bad for the earth... If only there was a more earth friendly option... Well now there is! Hamona coconut are premium coconuts that are shaved down so much that you can use a straw to pierce them! And then afterwards you can open it using only a spoon.... No machette necessary!

5) Bee Panacea: There are so many super foods to be had.... maca, pollen, spirulina, chlorella... How in the world are you supposed to eat all of that? Well, Bee panacea takes the best superfoods and adds raw honey so that you can get all your nutrition with just one teaspoon a day! Did I mention it is also delicious and Victoria Beckham is eating this like it's going out of style?

6) Buttery Coconut oil from Nutiva: Love butter in your popcorn, but your plant-based lifestyle is cramping your movie time? Well, nutiva has created an amazing buttery coconut oil that tastes exactly like butter! Just lather on top of your popcorn and add a movie.... 

7) Burma Love: Eat your tea: If you don't love drinking green tea, now you can eat it! Burma love are green tea leaves that are gown in Burma and then fermented. The result is an earthy addition to salads and other recipes. I highly recommend it. 

8) New Barn Almond Milk ice cream: If you have ever had the pleasure of trying New Barn Almond milk, you know they are the best out there. If you haven't tried it, I recommen you find a store that carries it and try! It really tastes like homemade almond milk and now they are using their amazing milk to create dairy free ice creams! This is probably the cremiest almond milk ice cream I have ever tasted... But beware, some of the flavors have eggs....

9) Kor Shots: If you know me, you know I am all about health shots - specially ginger and turmeric... It seems Kor shots has commercialized that idea adding great ingredients like activated charcoal to rid your body of all those toxins! If you are pressed for time, I highly recommend these shots. They are delicious and really healthy!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the best of new plant-based products from Expo West! 

Stay Blessed!

Izabel