Eating Smart

4 Surprising Reasons Why Drinking Tea is Great for Your Health

Some people drink tea on a regular basis and others claim they are not "tea people." There is a huge selection of types, flavors, and strengths of tea with a large selection of health benefits. Once you learn some of the proven health benefits and hear the claims of health, happiness, and wisdom touted by avid tea drinkers, you may decide it is in your best interest to venture into the world of tea. Black, white, and green tea are the most pure and natural forms, but there are countless types of herbal teas touting all sorts of health benefits.

Increased Mental Clarity and Focus

Extensive research has proven that tea increases mental clarity, memory, and focus. A combination of caffeine and theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, black tea, and white tea, help increase overall mental awareness. Some even claim that the mental benefits of tea are so far reaching they can help reduce the risk of heart disease in regular tea drinkers. Try to sip a cup for your mental wellbeing before your next big meeting or study session.

Decreased Cancer Risk

Different types of teas contain a variety of antioxidants containing polyphenols. Antioxidants are responsible for helping eliminate cancer-causing free radicals from your body. To receive the highest cancer prevention benefits, choose whole leaf, non-processed tea. Even processed tea still contains some polyphenols, but many are damaged and eliminated during processing. Many suggest that white tea, uncured and unfermented, is most beneficial in preventing cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory

Tea has many anti-inflammatory benefits to the body that lead to reduced swelling, decreased pain with arthritis, increased cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, weight loss, and lessened water retention. Decreased inflammation due to the flavonol quercetin helps allergy sufferers by limiting allergic response and diminishing swelling. Add some locally sourced honey to your tea bought with Discountrue coupons for an added anti-allergen response.

Reduced Risk of Neurological Disorders

Studies suggest that regular tea consumption helps reduce the effects various neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Green tea contains very high amounts of EGCG, a powerful polyphenol. This phyto-chemical aids in keeping the neurological synapses of the brain healthy and functioning properly. Many people enjoy the soothing aroma and taste of tea, but are unaware of the numerous health benefits. Next time you cozy up with a hot (or relax with a cold) cup of tea, do so not only for your enjoyment, but for your health as well!

10 Simple Kitchen Rules to Live By

With all of the information about food constantly coming across our news feeds, how are we to know what to do in the kitchen? We want to make healthy food choices, but we just can’t keep up with the ever-changing trends and best practices. 

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom,” said E.O. Wilson. And while we can certainly argue that this nugget applies to many areas of our lives, the overabundance of information about food has led many of us into a state of confusion in the kitchen.

The best approach? Return to simplicity. And when you can’t be luxuriating in the beauty of a wellness retreat, here are 10 simple rules to keep things healthy- and delicious- at home in the kitchen.

 

1. Fill your kitchen with foods and ingredients that you understand- and can pronounce.

We know what beets are. And brown rice. Ready-made mixes and sauces can be helpful in a pinch, but do your best to keep things in their most basic form: whole.

2. Get friendly with your spices and condiments.

Food is supposed to be a sensory experience that goes beyond just filling a function. So play around with vinegars, tamari, lemon and lime juice, and all of the many spices you can find at a well-stocked store to take a simple vegetable dish to the next level of tasty.

3. Choose a single-sourced oil.  

Olive oil, coconut oil, and other seed oils can be extracted just with pressing or extracting naturally. Vegetable oils often have to be chemically removed and treated to become the odorless final product, making it one of the sneakiest processed foods around.

4. Plan to shop regularly.

The thing with good, fresh foods? They’re best eaten good and fresh. So although it takes a little more time to shop regularly, your food will taste better and be more nutritient-rich if you stock up a few times a week.

5. Shop smart.

If you have the pantry space, 10 pound bags of brown rice, quinoa, or oats are usually cheaper and will mean one less step on your next… ten shopping trips. Or more.

6. Conduct a regular clean-sweep, without the guilt.

If it’s been hanging out for a while, and you haven’t eaten it? Trash it. At least once a month: if it’s non-perishable, donate it. If it’s been hiding in the corner of the refrigerator, good riddance. It’s probably lost most of its nutritional value anyway.

7. Focus on adding in more good stuff, rather than vilifying the undesirables.

When you add in more veggies, more fruit, and more whole ingredients, you’ll have less room- literally- for the processed stuff, and it will naturally be crowded out of your kitchen… and your meals.

8. Eat sitting down.

Take time with your food. Enjoy it, taste it, experience it. And give your digestive system a chance to do what it does best, slowly.

9. Make it colorful.

Rather than constantly worrying about getting enough vitamins A-Z, focus on a colorful, varied diet. If your plate is really a work of art, you’re likely taking good care of your nutritional needs.

10. Rules are meant to be bent.

We all strive to eat as healthily as possible, but there will be times when time constraints or resources say otherwise. So as in all things, every meal should be served with a side of compassion and topped with love.


 

Kai Woolner-Pratt is the editor at Retreat Guru [blog.retreat.guru]. He practices Ashtanga yoga, is grateful to his teachers, and counts himself lucky to have been in retreats. His home is Nelson, BC, Canada. You can find him on LinkedIn 

Best Morning Detox Routine for a Healthy Life

  There is undoubtedly an overwhelming flow of advancements in medical fraternity that aims to heal and cure sickness; however, it seems to me that our society is sicker than ever. You have to understand, toxins affect us daily. These harmful toxins are present everywhere from the air we breathe, the food we consume, white goods we use, and so forth. The point is, living without a toxic buildup is impossible. But, we can surely develop an effective detoxification process to help our bodies’ release toxicity within.

Luckily, there are several known detoxification protocols who claim to provide you with the natural cleansing. If I were to recommend, I would encourage you to employ the below mentioned morning detox routine for a healthy life.

Start your morning with warm lemon juice

In order to clean the system and have healthy digestion of foods, it is strongly advisable to start your mornings with a glass of warm lemon juice. Unlike, regular lemon juices, this is a bit unconventional as it involves a few cups of warm water and not cold water. So start your day by squeezing the juice out of a lemon into warm water, and drink the lemon juice before having your breakfast. Stick to this warm lemon juice schedule for at least a month before you start seeing the results.

Exercise and Detox Yoga

It is a good idea to exercise for at least an hour every morning. We are not talking about just any form of exercises, but instead, exercises that make you sweat. Perhaps hitting the gym, walking uphill, hot yoga or boxing should be considered. 

Hop onto your yoga mat and start doing some detox yoga poses. By performing these yoga poses every morning, you are letting yourself have a wonderful start to your day. Yoga detoxifies and cleanses your entire system remarkably well.  You can start doing “Side Boat Pulses”, “High Lunge Twist Repetitions”, “Seated Twist”, “Shoulder Stand” and “Seated Heart Opener”.  All these detox yoga poses will help you eliminate toxins from your body and give you a thorough cleansing of your body from top to bottom.

Get your breakfast right

Breakfast is going to be the first meal of your day and it better be right.  Wholegrain is known to be the best to help in the detoxification process. Moreover, you can also think of adding asparagus in your breakfast menu since asparagus contains prebiotics and probiotics, which are pertinent to maintaining a healthy digestive tract.

In juices, you must include a green juice or a smoothie as it can help you in fetching essential nutrients required on a daily basis.

Detoxifying the mind

Enough said and done about detoxifying the body, now let’s focus on the mind. Just like the body, your mind too needs a lot of detoxifying and removing of clutter. One of the best ways to help your mind detoxify is by meditation. All you need is a 15-minute schedule in the mornings for meditation.  Or, you could even try breathing exercises. Acquire the right breathing skills and follow this technique consciously every morning. Breathing and meditation only for 15 to 20 minutes in the mornings will immensely help your mind.

Dry brushing your body

You cannot forget skin detoxification as the skin is the largest organ of the body. Dry brushing has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Dry brushing involves brushing your skin in a particular pattern with the help of a dry brush, generally before taking a shower.  You brush your skin toward the heart, start brushing from the feet and hands.

Dry brushing is known for improving blood circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system and for overall rejuvenation of the nervous system. In addition, it is also useful in treating or at least reducing cellulite.  

Clearly, in the beginning, our skin is not used to feeling the roughness of brushes. But, over time, it will get used to dry brushing and will start producing enormous results.

 

The process of detoxification can be overwhelming, and rightfully so! It takes time and efforts to cleanse the toxic build up of so many years. However, don’t give up and wait for the results to finally start showing. Your efforts for detoxifying the body and mind will, slowly and gradually produce impeccable results. Start slow and consult a qualified health care expert to guide you at every step of your detoxification process.

 

Author Bio:

Hi! I am Jorge Gonzales. I am a blogger, sports lover and a fitness enthusiast who believes in healthy living. Through my write ups, I share my knowledge about health, fitness and muscle-building too.

Maximize the Effects of Yoga through Diet

  Yoga is an excellent way to combat stress, keep bones and muscles strong and restore balance and inner peace even on the most hectic of days – but if not accompanied by an adequate diet, its effects can in some cases fall short of the target. For instance, a yogi diet low in protein will not prove conducive to building muscle, while an insufficient intake of minerals and vitamins with heavy exercise routines in the mix can sometimes lead to chronic fatigue and increased sensitivity to infections and colds. So, which foods can get you the most out of every yoga session in terms of stamina, health and muscle strength? Take a quick look at the dietary choices listed below if you want to maximize yoga results.

 

Nuts and seeds

High in protein and amino acids, nuts and seeds offer quality muscle fuel and keep blood sugar in check. Seeds and nuts contain complex carbs, not simple sugars, so a snack full of walnuts, almonds and quinoa will provide lasting vigor instead of a quick but short-lived energy fix typical of sweet and fatty food. Rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and iron, nuts will also help minimize muscle recovery time after heavy yoga sessions, while antioxidants found in most seeds will efficiently prevent the premature aging of tissues, allowing you to get a sexy figure with no stretch marks or flabby skin.

 

Fish

Another excellent source of protein, fish should be consumed by yogis at least 2-3 times a week for optimal muscle growth and recovery. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines contain high amounts of leptin and omega-3 fatty acid so they function as a metabolism booster which keeps weight in check and supports the immune system, preventing increased sensitivity to viruses and infections that often go hand in hand with intense training.

 

Vitamin C

Available from fresh fruits or dietary supplements, Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of amino acids, collagen and hormones, and it is critical for preserving stamina stability and seamless functioning of the immune system. Vitamin C also prevents cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure, ensuring regular blood flow into the heart and other vessels, which is highly important for yogis. The RDA for Vitamin C totals 500-1,000 milligrams, and you should use supplements to make up for the missing vits in case you cannot cram enough citrus fruits and fresh veggies into your plate.

 

Legumes, grains and beans

A go-to for fiber, proteins and complex carbs, beans, grains and legumes will keep hunger at bay longer than any sugar-laden snack or protein bar. Adequate intake of fiber guarantees smooth digestion, and well-balanced ingestion of proteins and carbs helps the body repair tissue damage, build muscle and recover from tough yoga sessions. Proteins and carbs also play a major role in healthy sleep cycles, ensuring you get a decent shuteye necessary for your body to rest and be ready for a food recharge after the workout.

 

Water

Proper hydration during and after workouts is important, but drinking water during a yoga session can in fact hamper progress and contribute to yogic under-performance. According to some yoga teachers, water cools down the body and hinders the flow of prana, so avoid hydration in the course of a yoga class whenever possible. Nevertheless, water consumed before and after yoga practice helps the body cleanse itself from toxins and wasteful substances, so do not cut your daily intake down – just time it properly.

 

For best yoga class performance, follow the rule of three:

  • make sure you eat at least two portions of fish a week;
  • enrich your plate with fresh fruit and veggies (or use them as smoothies), and
  • mindfully time your water intake.

 

Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life.

The Benefits of Whey Protein to Yogis

  If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you probably know a few things about the recommended diet for different yoga styles. However, what you probably don’t know is that whey powder holds numerous benefits for a yogi’s nourishment and overall well-being: simple to use, easy to digest and packed with muscle- and bone-building nutrients, whey protein may be the final piece in the yoga diet puzzle your body needs to thrive with every new stretch and Asana and recover from strenuous workout sessions. Here’s a short list of whey protein upsides for yoga practitioners, so check it out before spicing up your next workout.

 

Protein drink as after-class refreshment

After a tough training, your organism needs lots of liquid and proteins to make up for the lost calories and H2O. Rich in protein and low on fat, whey powder can considerably improve post-exercise fluid balance so you can use it to whip up a tasty smoothie or shake that will replenish your stamina fast and with minimal digestion effort. After a vigorous yoga routine, a whey-based protein drink will provide quick, tasty refreshment – plus, your stomach will like it more than a granola bar or chocolate cookie. Take a look at this list of great recipes for light protein shakes!

 

Whey protein builds muscles and bones

Proteins are building blocks for muscles, bones, hair, nails, skin, blood and cartilages. One of the best supplements to promote muscle growth and bone strength, whey protein can rapidly up levels of essential amino acids in the bloodstream and facilitate creation of muscle protein. For best yoga results, follow up on the exercise with a protein shake made with whey powder – your muscles and bones will love it!

 

Counter muscle inflammation with whey protein

Thanks to its high amino acid content, whey protein can reduce risk of muscle soreness and inflammation after an exceptionally intense yoga session. Studies show that whey protein helps counter excess C-reactive protein, which is considered to be one of the key markers of ongoing inflammations in the organism. Whey-based protein shake a day may as well keep muscle aches and soreness at bay.

[bctt tweet="Whey protein can reduce risk of muscle soreness and inflammation after an intense yoga session"]

 

Whey protein absorbs quickly

The human body can quickly absorb whey protein and with minimal energy waste to digestive processes. Liquid food is the easiest form of energy for the stomach to process, which is especially convenient for athletes and yogis on demanding exercise regimens. Intense workouts may hamper digestion and reduce appetite, so whey-enriched protein drinks are a perfect alternative to solid food after yoga sessions that leave you feeling starved but too tired to eat.

 

Whey protein helps boost immune system

Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants produced in the human body that ensures seamless functioning of the immune system. Intense aerobic exercises reduce glutathione levels, which is why adequate diet supplementation is necessary for prolonged periods of increased physical activity. Since it’s extremely rich in amino acids necessary for glutathione creation, whey protein can help boost your immunity and prevent bacterial infections, inflammations and viruses.

 

Whey powder has a range of health benefits so if you’re a yogi, you should definitely give a whey protein shake a go after your next workout. You’ll be surprised with just how much yoga goodness can fit in a single whey powder bottle!


Kate is currently living the expat life throughout Eastern Europe, cycling, sailing, and drinking lattes. You can follow her work on HighStyleLife.

Image via: Harold Navarro

Eating Healthy On The Go

  Oh Summer, the season of beaches, swimming, the ocean, meeting up with family, and oh yes, driving.  More often than not, people on Summer break or vacation end up on the road more than usual whether they are day tripping to the ocean, driving 5 states away to visit family and friends, or on a plane traveling to a different continent.  If you are already conscious about what you eat and you have a fridge stocked of your lean proteins, fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, etc, your kitchen is your home base…your comfort zone.  But when we travel on the road, it can be difficult to stay on top of your nutritional A game (especially when exit after exit only offers a McDonalds, Taco Bell and Cinnabon)!  Here are some tips and tricks you may not have considered for your travels no matter where your adventures lead you:

By Car

Driving your own car gives you the amazing power of choice.  Your hands on that steering wheel determine how you will nourish yourself, and they will ultimately decide whether or not you “fall off the wagon” while journeying across country.  The easiest and quickest option is to pack meals or snacks for your journey.  Thank goodness for tupperware!  Take a little time before you head out on your trip to pack some healthy sandwiches, a salad or two, and plenty of fresh fruits and bags of crisp, crunchy veggies.  Another option if you are too busy to make food ahead, is to stock up on some natural, whole food or snack bars.  Now.  Lets say you completely blew it on that pre-packing situation.  You worry your only hope is to give in to a McDonalds Burger or those all-too-evil munchies from a gas station rest stop.  Don’t fret, because my next piece of advice might blow your mind:  Hit up that gas station!  Here’s the thing:  It being 2015, most rest stops and gas stations are finally realizing their customers are interested in foods other than Slim Jims, Slurpees and Twinkies.  Sheetz, a gas station chain located on the East Coast is one of the best options for satisfying your healthy cravings.  Simply walk up to one of their touch screen ordering computers, and you are free to create your very own gigantic salad, homemade with fresh veggies and lean meats.  You can also order your own sandwiches, subs or wraps made your way.  In addition, all Sheetz gas stations have fresh fruits and veggie trays to stock up with, as well as an aisle devoted to healthy wholesome snacks.  More gas stations are catching on nowadays, so before you decide to inhale that double quarter pounder, remember that there are more options available at the nearest rest stop gas station!

By Plane

This can be more challenging.  Since you are on a flight, most of us tend to pack as little as possible into our carry on bags.  You might have space for a few granola bars or pieces of fruit, but what if you’re on an 8+ hour flight?  Thankfully, Airlines are cracking down on junk food as well.  If the typical meals of salisbury steak, fried chicken, or fish don’t appeal to you (Let’s face it, will anyone every eat fish on an airplane again after this movie came out)?  In addition to hot meals, you can almost certainly find healthy snack boxes or drinks that provide a wealth of options to satisfy your healthy cravings while mid-flight.  In these snack boxes, you’ll typically find a bag of mixed nuts, beef jerkey, whole wheat crackers, spreadable cheese, and perhaps some dark chocolate or dried fruit to satisfy your sweat tooth.

If you’re still in the dark about what to pack, here are some ideas that will get you from A to B without sacrificing your healthy diet:

California BLT

  • 2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
  • 2 Strips of Turkey Bacon
  • Half an Avocado
  • 2 Tomato Slices
  • Lettuce
  • Hummus

Spread Hummus on both slices of bread.  Then, top one piece of bread with lettuce.  Slice your avocado and layer on top of lettuce, followed by the strips of turkey bacon and tomato.  Finally, top with your other piece of bread, cut down the middle and wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil or place in a tupperware container!

PB and J Sushi

  • 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap
  • 2 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp Natural Organic Grape Jelly (or other homemade jam)
  • ***Optional add ins:  Chopped Bananas, Dark Chocolate Chips, Chopped Nuts

Spread out your tortilla, spread with peanut butter and jelly, feel free to add mix ins and roll it up!  Then slice into bit size pieces, toss in a tupperware container or plastic bag.

Yogi Date Balls - Click for recipe!

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Image Credit:  Amancay Maahs

Is it OK to eat before yoga? Favorite 5 Pre-yoga Foods

A lot of people ask if it is ok to eat before yoga. The answer is yes it is OK to eat before a class, but you want to eat at least 30 minutes before the class and make sure you eat foods that are easy to digest. Here are some of my favorite healthy snack recipes to enjoy before a yoga class that give me to energy I need for the class without digestive issues.

1. Bananas

Bananas contain lots of fiber which will keep you feeling full and regulate the speed at which sugar is released into the blood stream. Bananas are considered a low glycemic fruit so they don’t have a big impact on blood sugar levels but have just enough sugar to keep you going during a yoga class. They also have the added benefit of potassium which works with sodium to keep the body hydrated and magnesium which helps prevent muscle cramps.

2. Almonds

A handful of almonds is a great pre-yoga snack to keep hunger away. Raw unsalted almonds are easy to digest and contain a good balance of protein and fat that will keep energy levels high during the class.  They also contain fiber, energy boosting vitamin B2 and antioxidant vitamin E.

3. Oats

A very small serving of oatmeal before a yoga class is a great way to keep you going during the class. They are a slow digesting complex carbohydrate that will keep you feeling satiated. Oats are full of fiber and stabilize blood sugar.  They are also super high in magnesium which supports bone health.

4. Date Bliss Balls

Enjoying a date bliss ball as you are running out the door to a yoga class is a great way to make sure you don’t get light headed half way through the class. They are packed with protein and fiber to provide fuel throughout the practice. The sugar in the dates will slowly release and keep energy levels up. Get the recipe here.

5. Simple Green Smoothie

Enjoying a small simple green smoothie is a great way to get a quick energy boost before doing yoga. Make sure to use a simple smoothie without too many ingredients to keep it easily digestible. I recommend using ½ cup electrolyte balancing coconut water, a small handful of bone supporting spinach, ½ cup antioxidant rich berries and 1 Tbsp energy boosting chia seeds.

If you eat these tasty snacks before your next class they will keep hunger at bay so you can enjoy a mindful practice.


Jesse Lane Schelew 550x

Jesse Lane Schelew, BSc, CNP is a cheerful Holistic Nutritionist, motivating speaker, cookbook author and wellness writer. She is the founder of JesseLaneWellness.com, a web based holistic nutrition practice and holistic recipe resource. Jesse Lane is passionate about nutrition helps positive and vibrant individuals unlock the incredible healing power of food and reclaim their health. She works with clients via Skype and in person at Yellow Gazebo Natural Healthcare in Toronto, Ontario. Jesse Lane is a co-author of The Holistic In the City 21 Day Smoothie Guide, a fantastic eBook that will jump start your smoothie habit. She is also the co-founder of BhojanaYoga where she offers holistic nutrition and yoga programs.

Recipes We Love: Yogi Date Balls

I find that having a quick snack about 30-60 minutes before a yoga class helps to boost my energy levels for a great class. Yogi Date Balls are one of my favorite snacks because they are easy to make ahead of time, store in the freezer, and then grab as I’m running out the door. They are naturally sweetened with dates and are packed with protein and fiber to give you fuel throughout your practice. The best part is that you can make them in less than ten minutes with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! Yogi Date Balls are raw so there is no baking required, and the nutrients in the ingredients will stay intact.

Ingredients

2 cups (roughly 250g) pitted dates 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water 3/4 cup oats 1 cup coconut flakes 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 1/4 cup + 1Tbsp chopped almonds
 

Directions

Place dates and warm water in a food processor and process until smooth.  Scoop the creamed dates into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients, with the exception of ½ cup coconut flakes. If the mixture is soggy then slowly add more oats, if the mixture is too dry slowly add warm water.  Shape balls between 3 to 4 cm in diameter and roll them in the reserved ½ cup coconut.  Enjoy right away or place on a baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.  Enjoy Yogi Date Balls straight out of the freezer for a quick pre-yoga burst of energy!


Jesse Lane Schelew 550xJesse Lane Schelew, BSc, CNP is a cheerful Holistic Nutritionist, motivating speaker, cookbook author and wellness writer. She is the founder of JesseLaneWellness.com, a web based holistic nutrition practice and holistic recipe resource. Jesse Lane is passionate about nutrition helps positive and vibrant individuals unlock the incredible healing power of food and reclaim their health. She works with clients via Skype and in person at Yellow Gazebo Natural Healthcare in Toronto, Ontario. Jesse Lane is a co-author of The Holistic In the City 21 Day Smoothie Guide, a fantastic eBook that will jump start your smoothie habit. She is also the co-founder of BhojanaYoga where she offers holistic nutrition and yoga programs.
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How I Lost 100 Pounds in College

My entire childhood and teenage life was spent being "the fat kid".  Always picked last for sports in gym class.  Always the butt of any fat joke.  Always the one who must have farted in class!  I was a fan of midnight burrito runs with my friends, and I always took seconds and thirds around dinner time.  Never once would you catch me on a treadmill, in a gym, or godforbid a yoga class!  (funny how that changed...)
I think the main reason I stayed overweight for so long was due to how overwhelming and complicated losing weight seemed.  When I began noticing my weight affecting more than my appearance (I was on the fast track towards juvenile diabetes) I tried the first thing that came to mind.  At the time, slimfast was rising in popularity, so I began substituting meals for these chalky, weird tasting nutrition shakes.  Needless to say, this didn't do much in the long term.  I graduated high school in the dark about what I could possibly due to shed the excess weight from my 302 pound self.
 How I Lost 100lbs in College - www.YogaTravelTree.comHow I Lost 100lbs in College - www.YogaTravelTree.com
If I could go back in time, I wish I could give my high school self a no BS summary on how to lose 100 pounds.  There's so much crap out there today, what with all these magic pills, weight loss programs, special diets, crazy fitness contraptions...Losing 100 pounds was the easiest and the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  I'm gonna give you the secrets to how I managed to go to a Big 10 University, party like a rock star, eat greasy dubs (GO GREEN) at 3 in the morning, and at the same time go from 302 pounds down to 190 in about a year and a half.  No special diet BS.  No special p90x crossfit mango tango routine.  After I lost this weight 4 years ago, I've since graduated college and am in my first career.  I feel like I have a whole new life ahead of me and you know what?  It feels pretty damn awesome.  Here we go.

1. REALIZE that this is't going to happen overnight.

 It just isn't.  Sorry.  But I'm being REAL with you.  You need to understand that if you're carrying 50, 60, 70 pounds or more of excess weight, that stuff took years to pack on.  If you're determined enough, anything is possible.  I had about 110 pounds of excess weight on me.  I was eating crap food for as long as I can remember, and I never exercised.  Once I changed a few things in my life, I had lost all excess weight in less than a year and a half.

2.  Make small changes.

 When you lose 100 pounds of excess weight, it's not due to some Hollywood fad diet, Dr. Oz pill or magic workout system.  It's due to pure, simple, LIFESTYLE changes.  The changes you need to make to get rid of that weight need to be changes you are prepared to commit to for the rest of your LIFE.  How do you do that?  You make these changes small, simple, and easily attainable.  For example:  When it was time for me to embark on this voyage to a new life, the absolute first change I made was that I was going to eat an apple and a banana before every meal.  Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.  It all started with an apple and a banana.  Thinking back, the only reason I did this was because I thought fruit was healthier than some of the other dining options available in the mess hall.  Now that I dig deeper, I've realized that the fruit I was eating was filling my stomach with healthy fiber and carbohydrates thaHow I Lost 100lbs in College - www.YogaTravelTree.comHow I Lost 100lbs in College - www.YogaTravelTree.comt were going to fill me up and keep me energized, so I didn't need to eat as much other food afterward.  The other small change I made was that I was going to get more active.  No, I'm not talking about joining a gym or purchasing a fitness DVD (although later on, those are incredibly valuable tools).  I made a promise to myself that I was going to start jogging 4-5 nights a week.  No speed goal.  No distance goal.  Just get out and go for a jog.  Once I began jogging, I started to challenge myself and go further each week.  The first jog I ever went on must have been for 3/4 of a mile.  By the end of my journey, I was running 4 miles a night, 5 days a week.  Start small, and dream big.

3.  Consistency is KEY

 This is by far the most IMPORTANT point.  If you want to change your life for the better, you need to COMMIT to it.  So you just got invited to a party Thursday night, and you know that the cute girl from your Biology 110 class is going to be there.  Guess what?  You're going to arrive to that party a half hour late.  You have your jog to fit in.  Nobody is going to go anywhere.  The party will not stop because you aren't there, trust me.  Maybe you have a jog scheduled for Saturday, but you just know that the football game and tailgating is going to take up most of your day.  Guess what?  Set your alarm clock baby.  Get up a half hour earlier and get your jog in, or walk, or whatever you may be starting out with.  You have to be consistent.  On the flip side, you also need to know how to enjoy life.  If you get invited out for pizza or wings, get on out and go enjoy.  But be mindful.  As long as you aren't eating that stuff day in and day out, a little splurge once in a while is healthy and fine!  Just get back on track with your new lifestyle the next day.
That's it folks.  A new life doesn't happen in one week.  Or one month.  You WILL however start noticing a difference in your body, mind and spirit after you commit to these small changes.  A week into your new lifestyle, you'll start to feel more energy, and maybe a month in you realize clothes start to fit better.  It's an incredible experience.  What are you waiting for?

   

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All Levels Yoga Sequence for a Post-Christmas Detox

  Does your belly have the post Christmas Blues? Jump start your metabolism with this short yoga sequence.

1. Kapalabhati or Cleansing breath

 breathe

Begin by sitting in a comfortable crossed legged position on a blanket or two so that your spine is upright. Take a few relaxed breaths. Take an inhale then exhale and draw your abdomen in. Concentrate on taking 20 short, forced exhalations as your abdomen continues to draw in and up. With the last inhale pause at the top and hold for as long is as comfortable without strain. Exhale slowly and take several relaxed breaths.

 

In Kapalabhati, each exhale is aiding in the elimination of the metabolic wastes from the lungs. The heat created from the forced abdominal breaths will begin to stoke the digestive fire, Agni, massaging the internal organs and prompting them for elimination.

 

2. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Seated Spinal Twist

 twist

From your crossed legged position, draw your left foot closer to your groin and cross the right leg over placing the foot on the floor. Take an inhale and reach your right arm overhead and place it on the floor behind you. Keeping the spine straight cross your left elbow over the right knee and gently twist to the right on exhale. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, twist from the belly revolving the torso to the right. Repeat for several breaths. Unwind and repeat on the other side.

 

In twists, always begin with your chest opening to the right and then follow with the left side. This will stimulate the ascending colon then the descending colon, which will move the contents of the intestines in a clockwise fashion to help promote proper elimination.

 

 3. Surya Namaskar A or Sun Salutation A

Sunsalute 

Come to a standing position at the top of your mat with your hands at your heart. Take an inhale and reach your arms overhead as you gaze between the hands. Exhale and hinge from the hips as you forward fold. Inhale and lengthen the spine as you come up half way with your hands on the floor or props. Exhale and step back into plank and slowly lower the body with control to the ground with the elbows drawing into the body and the legs strong. Inhale and open the chest as you straighten the arms and root through your feet for upward facing dog. Exhale as you press your hips up and back for downward facing dog. Take 5 breaths here. Inhale and come high to your toes and exhale step or jump the feet between the hands. Inhale, bring the chest up half way again and exhale forward fold. Inhale with a flat back reach the arms up to the sky and exhale the hands back down to the heart. Repeat for 5 cycles.

 

Sun Salutations are a great way to build the heat in the body and get the cardiovascular system working in the body. Coordinating the breath and the movement will further help to eliminate metabolic wastes from the blood and lungs.

 

 4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge pose

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Lie down on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and your place your feet hip width apart and parallel. Press down into the mat through your feet, hands and shoulders as you lift your hips off the floor. Interlace your hands and walk each shoulder blade underneath you so that you’re not resting on your cervical spine.  Lengthen your tailbone to the back of your knees and spin your inner thighs down. Breathe here for 5 breaths then release the hands and slowly lower down.

 

Bridge pose is a great tool for stimulating the thyroid which is responsible for boosting your metabolism. With the backbend you will also tone the kidneys aiding in further elimination of wastes from the body.

 

5. Salamba Sarvangasana or Supported Shoulderstand

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Place 2 blankets with the folded edges on the end of your mat. Fold the end of the blanket on top of the blankets for traction. Lie down with your shoulders on the edge of the blankets and the head on the floor. Hold the edges of the mat with your hands and bend the knees drawing them into your chest rolling your hips off the floor and placing the feet behind you. Place your hands on your lower back and walk the shoulder blades underneath you. Press down firmly into your elbows and lift one leg at a time to the ceiling.  Stay here for several breaths then lower your legs to the floor and slowly roll the spine and hips back down. Inch back off the blankets until your shoulders are off and the arms have a little bend in cactus arms. Take a few breaths here and then remove your props and rest in Savasana.

 

Inversions are a great way to assist in the venous flow from the lower limbs and internal organs to the heart and lungs. Metabolic wastes are removed from the blood via the lymph nodes and the exhalation of the lungs.  Shoulderstand in particular also will continue to stimulate the thyroid for increased metabolism, just as in bridge pose.