Recipe

What to Eat (or not eat) Before Yoga Practice

[wp_ad_camp_1] Just imagine what would happen if you ate a super rich dairy based breakfast, bacon and eggs, or a cheeseburger and fries before coming to your yoga class. How about a large coffee and sugary muffin right before a vinyasa flow class? What do you think the effect would be on your mind through practice, not to mention your stomach as soon as you jump back to chutaranga or hang upside down in downward dog!

On the whole, yogis are known for not getting too close to any form of junk food, so it is safe to say that most experienced practitioners know which things to avoid from a health perspective nowadays. But what are the foods that make us feel exceptional? I mean those foods that really, really get us fired up and ready to go out into the world and have a fantabulous and incredible yoga practice? How much of these things should we eat, how often, when exactly, and most importantly why?

As yogis, we know that our bodies are our temples and we should treat them as such. It can be tough at times, but with the right information it is super easy for us to eat delicious and nutritious meals, most of the time, (after all we are all human, so everything in moderation), that make us feel kick-ass amazing each and every day. The more we learn the more we can start to fine-tune our meals and snacks to help our yoga practice to also become out of this world amazing too!

There are some guidelines out there that suggest that yoga should be performed on an empty stomach. However if you didn’t eat all day and do a strenuous yoga class in the evening, you are starting from a place of low blood sugar, and you may start feeling dizzy and lightheaded as your body is working hard and looking for fuel that is not there. You won’t have the energy you need to try that new arm balance or inversion that your teacher shows you, not to mentionthe potential crankiness that often results from an empty belly.

On the other hand eating a heavy meal right before class isn’t a good idea either, or you will be feeling it (read “tasting” it) each and every time you move through your vinyasa, twist, or bend, or come into downward dog!

 

Healthy food choices = healthy mind and body      

Rather than keeping the stomach empty, I prefer to think about eating before yoga in terms of portion control and common sense in terms of my food choices. Remembering of course, what works for me may not always work for you!

When it comes to nutrition and keeping it real (read “simple”) what we need are foods that keep the body light, and the mind focused. As well as foods that give us sustainable energy and balance.

 

Two simple things to remember:

Focus your energy on foods that have a low glycemic index, these foods will help fuel your performance for longer periods of time.

Then, on the other extreme, try to avoid eating simple sugars (fizzy drinks, sugary sweets, sports drinks, power bars) or any foods with a high glycemic index. They may leave you feeling exhausted and light-headed before you even really get going with your practice. I will add more to this later.

 

What about timing?

A good suggestion for a small meal is one that holds anything from 200-300 calories, and contains a protein and carbohydrate. This can be eaten up to 2 hours before your yoga class without terrible consequences.  If you are taking your lunch or light dinner in the liquid form then you can probably get away with drinking this a little closer to yoga time.  Light snacks such as a piece of fruit or nuts can be consumed an hour before class.

 

Foods that should be included in any fabulous yogis diet every single day

Whether you’re practicing intense power yoga or slowing it down with Hatha or Yin, a healthy diet is key to having both the energy and the focus to make it through your practice. It’s important that your diet is balanced and full of nutritious foods high in fiber, vitamins, healthy fats, and even natural sugars to keep you satisfied and grounded

I like to eat small portions, often throughout the day making selections from the fabulous list of yumminess and healthiness that I will tell you more about below shortly! I try to not eat too much before class, and the closer to class I eat, the less I try to eat.

My top food choices: 

1. Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is incredibly refreshing, delicious, and constantly changing with the seasons. They’re good for your health and a great way to satisfy hunger during the day. Thanks to their natural sugar content, fresh fruit provides a boost of energy without the crash of refined sugars. I like to create a beautifully colourful platter of as many different kinds of fruit as I can for breakfast or in my smoothie, or for an afternoon snack sprinkled with a couple of different types of nuts and seeds for my ultimate protein boost J Let’s look at a few more specifically as foods to munch on shortly before your yoga class:

Avocados: Most yogis love avocados. They contain critical electrolytes like magnesium and potassium (60% more than a banana), which contributes to proper cell and muscle function. Avocados are nutrient-dense and don’t have a lot of volume, so you feel full for longer, light in triangle and strong for your handstand. Most of the fat in avocados helps to lower bad cholesterol and promote lean muscle growth. What's not to love?

Bananas: This sweet fruit is potassium-rich, which makes it a great pre-workout snack. Potassium interacts with sodium and keeps your body properly hydrated. The magnesium prevents cramps and bloating. It's the perfect snack for your Vinyasa class.

Berries: Oh how I adore berries, just their fabulously glowing and vivid colors catch my attention and make me want to fill huge bowls full of them and throw them into every single meal I plan to eat!

Their bright colors are a strong indicator that berries are high in disease-fighting antioxidants, and they’re a wonderful addition to your smoothie or juice. Since they’re also high in fiber, berries can help keep hunger at bay and keep everything moving. The natural sugar in berries will help you get through your practice without crashing like high-sugar snacks can do.

Apples: High in fiber, natural sugar and vitamin C. They hydrate, give a little sugar jolt, and they clean your teeth. They are also a great source of vitamin C, and contain fiber.

Melon: Melon is a water-rich fruit that is also low in acid that can help you stay hydrated and energized (sans heartburn) during your warrior poses.

2) Almonds

Grab a handful of these little superstars before class to boost your energy levels and keep hunger at bay. They contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E, helping you to stay hydrated and giving your muscles staying power to hold those challenging yoga poses just a little bit longer. Just make sure that you eat the plain and unsalted version for maximum health and nutrition.

What to Eat (or Not Eat) Before Yoga Practice - www.YogaTravelTree.com

3) Nut Butters

Nut butters are a wonderfully great way to satisfy hunger, boost your energy, and keep you powered up until it’s time for Savasana. They are super high in protein and contain the good fats to keep you healthy. The thing that I love most about nut butters is that there are so many ways to enjoy nut butters. I love to use them as a dip for apples or bananas, or raw peppers, celery, cucumber, or carrots. Or try them spread on yummy brown seeded bread with sliced strawberries on top – divine!!

4) Anything Green!

From kale to spinach to arugula and more, dark leafy greens are brimming with an amazing spectrum of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, E and K, iron, fiber and calcium, and so much more. I love to throw my leafy greens into absolutely anything and everything - try them in a salad, or a smoothie next time with your other fabulous fruit and veggies.

5) Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is great for keeping your blood sugar levels in check and increasing the blood flow to your brain. Eating a little bit before class will boost your concentration and the ability to focus. It also contains caffeine, which stimulates and enhances alertness, without getting the shakes that unnatural sugars can give you.

7) Smoothies

To create an incredible glass of deliciousness, simply blend all or a selection of the five fabulously top ingredients above (bananas, almonds/walnuts, avocado, nut butter, leafy greens, and chocolate) with regular or coconut water. I like to go natural with my combos but you can choose to add superfood or protein or green powders if like you. This will set you up for getting the most out of your practice without fail! Plus liquid meals can be consumed a little closer to a yoga practice.

Examples of less than ideal food choices before yoga:

  •  Orange Juice or any other high-acid juice
  • Sweets, candy bars, ice cream
  • Salad/vegetables with heavy or oily dressing
  • Soup
  • Anything spicy
  • Anything heavy
  • Pizza
  • Cheeseburgers – actually any kind of burgers
  • Anything pan-fried or sautéed
  • Coffee or tea

Everyone is unique

Listen to your body, find out what works for you and what doesn’t. What allows you to experience just the right amount of sustained energy and stamina without feeling full and weighed down? If you don’t eat, does it have terrible results? And if you do, does it work for you. Play with it a little and then go with what makes you feel the most awesome!

 

Images via: @wholegood

Gluten Free Morning Glory Muffins

[wp_ad_camp_1] When you're gluten-free, finding healthy, on-the-go snacks can be difficult—or expensive. I can't remember when I discovered the recipe for Morning Glory Muffins, which first appeared in a slightly altered form in Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organics Cookbook, but they've been a breakfast, snack, and sweet present go-to ever since.

The beauty of these muffins is you can add or subtract ingredients as you'd like and they'll still be delicious. Looking for a low-glycemic alternative? Use coconut flour instead of your typical rice-heavy gluten-free mixes. Want to go egg-less? Check out these alternatives.

Make this recipe your own, then enjoy, and best of all—pass it on!

Ingredients:morning glory muffin

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix (I use garbanzo bean or coconut flour, but if your mix contains xanthan gum or guar gum don't add the additional 1 teaspoon gum to the recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots (approximately 4 large carrots)
  • 1 large peeled and shredded apple
  • 2 bananas, diced
  • 3/4 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 c. gluten-free granola or 2 tbsp. flax seeds for topping

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes

 

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. Grease standard muffin pan or line with paper muffin cup liners.3. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, gluten-free flour blend, guar gum OR xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use a whisk or fork to thoroughly combine.
4. In a separate large bowl combine shredded carrots, apples, bananas, raisins, coconut and nuts. Stir to thoroughly mix.
5. Add the fruit, vegetable, nut mixture to the dry ingredients followed by eggs, oil, and vanilla. Beat the mixture to thoroughly combine ingredients.
6. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. If desired, top each with a sprinkling of gluten-free granola or flax seeds.
7. Bake in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: About 2 dozen standard size muffins

Images via: @kmspin

Eat Like a Yogi: The Perfect Macro Bowl

 

The Macrobiotic Diet

A macrobiotic diet consists of eating grains and vegetables and avoiding animal products processed foods. It is also about achieving balance. It incorporates local foods and a positive mental outlook. A macrobiotic diet is supposed to keep you healthy by decreasing imbalances in cooling yin and hot yang forces. But you don’t need to change your entire diet to get the benefits. Macro bowls are an easy way to slip in extra vitamins and minerals. This flavorful bowl contains grains, vegetables, greens, beans, and seaweed. Top with a tahini dressing and you have yourself a quick, nutritious, detoxing meal.   When I visited Indonesia last summer, I couldn’t get enough of these. I actually ate them for breakfast every day I was there! If you want to make your own macrobiotic bowl, here are some ideas to get you started:

[bctt tweet="Macro bowls are an easy way to slip in extra vitamins and minerals."]

The Makings of a Macro Bowl

20% Grains - Choose one, prepare as directed

  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • cous cous
  • bulgur wheat

25% Vegetables - Choose as many as you like, lightly steam, or use raw

  • carrots
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • snap peas
  • cauliflower
  • avocado

30% Greens - Choose one, leave raw. If using kale, massage with olive oil

  • spinach
  • kale
  • arugula
  • basil
  • sprouts

20% Beans - Choose one, prepare as directed

  • edamame
  • chickpeas
  • adzuki beans
  • tofu

5% Seawood - Choose one, prepare as directed

  • nori
  • wakame
  • kombue

6. Tahini Dressing: Combine the following

Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Combine ingredients 1-5 in a large bowl, drizzle with Tahini Dressing and enjoy! What do you put in your macro bowls?

Image via: @emspearson

4 Healthy Snack Recipes for the Yogi on the Move

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The Dreaded Energy Crash

It’s happened to all of us. You are sitting at your desk when 3:00 rolls around and that salad from lunch just isn’t going to cut it. You start to feel sluggish and your stomach starts to rumble. Or you’re rushing off to yoga class and you need a little energy boost to keep you full until dinner. Instead of reaching for prepackaged high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks, bring your own! Prepare snacks at the beginning of the week and store in ready-to-go airtight food storage containers to grab a healthy snack when you’re on the go throughout the week.

Save money and stay healthy with these easy homemade snack recipes.

 

1. Hummus

Ditch the expensive store-bought hummus that’s been sitting on the shelf for a week with this easy to make recipe. I like to pack it up with sliced cucumbers or other veggies for a quick vitamin-rich snack on the go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1-2 cloves roasted garlic, optional
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. lemon
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Blend everything together in a blender or food processor. Or, if you want to make it chunky, mash the chickpeas with a pastry cutter or fork until mushy. Mix in the other ingredients.

 

2. No-bake Coconut Energy Bars

  • ½ c. packed dates
  • 1 c. cooked quinoa
  • ¼ c. shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ c. cashews or almonds
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ c. chocolate chips, optional

Mix everything but nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor until well blended. Add in the nuts and chocolate chips and pulse several times to get them spread evenly. Spread into a small pan. Refrigerate or freeze until cold. They stay soft so it’s best to store them in the fridge until they are ready to eat, but I guarantee they won’t last long!

 

3. Banana Seed Bread (Vegan and Gluten Free)

This seed bread makes for a quick, nutritious breakfast.  I make it at the beginning of the week, throw it in the fridge, and grab slices when I’m on the go. It is also great for afternoons when you need a quick energy boost or before yoga class. It is full of protein, fiber, and iron and has no refined sugar, wheat, dairy, or eggs.

It can be frozen ahead of time too!

Each slice is 220 calories and packs in 5.1 grams protein, 4.0 grams dietary fiber, and only 3 grams sugar.

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. ground flax
  • ¼ c. buckwheat flour
  • 1 c. oats
  • ½ c. brown rice flour
  • ¼ c. almond flour
  • ½ c. sunflowers
  • ¼ c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ c. vegan margarine, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Combine the ground flax with 6 T. water and let sit.  Meanwhile, mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, combine the bananas, flax, and margarine.  Add in the dry ingredients and combine until batter is well mixed, but still lumpy. Do not over mix. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

 

4. Fruit Leather

These aren’t your typical sugar-filled fruit roll ups from your childhood.

All you need is:

  • 1 package frozen mangos, thawed, or 3 mangos, diced

Preheat the oven to 175. Blend the mangos until they form a smooth puree. Spread the puree evenly (about 1/8 inch thick) onto 2 large baking sheets. Bake for about  3-4 hours, or until dry to the touch.

 

What are your favorite quick snacks? Share with us in the comments below!

Images via: @vickmichal

7 Surprising Ways to Eat an Avocado

 

If you’re like me, you rarely go a day without eating avocados. The delicious fruit (yes, a fruit!) is extremely versatile and can be used to make smoothies, salad dressings, dips, breads, and more!

The recommended serving size is 1/5 of the fruit, or about 1 oz. A serving has 50 calories and is packed full of 20 vitamins and minerals.

 

Why they're Awesome

Fiber: Half an avocado has 7 grams of fiber.  That’s more than ¼ of the daily-recommended amount.

Potassium: Half an avocado has as much potassium as a banana!

 Protein: Half an avocado has 2 grams of protein, the most of any other fruit.

Good fats: Don’t steer clear of avocados because of their fat content.  Yes, they do have a lot of it for a fruit, but it’s mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (the good fats!).  These fats help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

 

7 Unconventional Ways to Eat Avocados 

 

Pasta Sauce

avocado pasta sauce yogatravetree

Blend an avocado in a high speed food processor, or mash with a fork. Mix in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Use with your favorite pasta.

 

Orzo Salad

Add 2 cups dried orzo to 3 quarts boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, or until the orzo is softened, but still chewy. Drain the orzo and mix with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, and 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Add in 1 medium avocado, diced. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Smoothies

avocado smoothie recipe yogatraveltree

  1. Blend together ½ diced avocado, ½ soy or other non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon lime juice. Add 1 teaspoon of agave syrup or honey if desired.
  2. Blend together ½ diced avocado, 1 cup blueberries, ½ banana, and 1 cup orange juice or water.

 

Sushi

avocado sushi recipe yogatraveltree

  • 1 c. sushi rice
  • 1 ¼ c. water
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 4 sheets nori
  • wasabi paste (You can buy wasabi powder and prepare the paste by mixing with water.)
  • soy sauce
  • avocado, diced

other fillings: matchstick carrots, cucumbers, diced sweet potato, baked tofu, fish

  1. Prepare the sushi rice according to the package. Add the vinegar and sugar to the rice and stir. Set aside.
  2. Set up a work station by placing the fillings in different dishes so they are easily accessible when you start making the rolls. Working with one piece of nori at a time, place the nori on a rolling mat and spread a thing layer of rice onto it. Spread to cover all the nori except one edge. Place the fillings in a row at the bottom of the nori on top of the rice.
  3. Starting with that end, roll the sushi until all the nori is used. Wet the end with water to form the roll. Top with additional garnishes if desired. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.

 

Guacamole

  • 2 avocados, seeded and peeled
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 T. minced jalapeno
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. cumin
  • salt and pepper

Mash the avocados in a bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

 

Avocado Bread

avocado bread recipe yogatraveltree

  • 2 large bananas
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 3/4 cup cashew milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 2 T. ground flax mixed with 6 T. water (can use 2 eggs instead)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ c. white flour
  • ¾ c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mash the avocado and bananas in large bowl. Stir in milk and flax. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Put in a greased loaf pan and bake about 40 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

 

Salad Dressing

avocado salad dressing recipeLast week I posted anorange juice with other citrus like lime or adding cilantro or other herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 T. lemon
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix all in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

 

Tip:

Need to ripen an avocado quickly?  Throw them into brown paper bag with a banana or apple. They release ethylene gas, which will help the avocado ripen faster.

Did you know:

An avocado tree can produce between 150 and 500 avocados a year.  That’s a lot of avocados!

Have any other ways you like to enjoy avocados? Let us know!

 

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Megan McGowan is a yoga teacher, student, vegetarian food lover, world traveler, and avocado fanatic from Chicago.  Her love for healthy food has instilled a passion for cooking since she was a child.  When she’s not on her mat or in the kitchen, you can find her exploring the city or playing with her bunny Lola. Find her at www.meganmcgowan.com or on Facebook.

Images via: Lovin the Oven, Healthy Happy Life, The Veggie Couple, Citron Limette

6 Simple (Not Boring!) Spring Salad Recipes

Eat Your Greens!

If you’re like me, then even a glimpse of warm weather has you thinking about summer foods. Summer means lighter, more nutrition-dense foods that will give you energy for those warm-weather bike rides and outdoor runs.

Dark green leafy vegetables are some of the most nutrition-packed foods per calorie. They are rich in vitamins such as B, C, E, and K and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These low-calorie and high-fiber vegetables will aid in digestion and help keep you strong and healthy.

 

Eat More Greens!

Unfortunately, most people don’t eat enough vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens. The good news is there are many ways to get more greens in your diet. Try adding them to smoothies and stir-fries. You can even toss them into baked goods or make pasta noodles with them! One of my favorite ways to eat them in the springtime is in salads, but not those boring lettuce and red onion salads.

Ditch the nutrition-less iceberg lettuce and store-bought dressing and opt for one of these salads instead!

1. Spinach

spinach

Strawberry Spinach Basil Salad

  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ c. pecans
  • Basil Vinaigrette

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl.

Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 1 c. basil leaves
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 3 T. white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

2. Argulua

arugula salad yogatraveltree

Arugula Brie Salad

  • 1 c. arugula
  • ½ diced apple
  • ¼ c. chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 oz brie cheese
  • creamy balsamic dressing

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl.

 

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

3. Spring Mix

Okay so spring mix isn't actually a green, but I included it because it is a lot of greens! The best way to get all your vitamins and minerals is to eat a variety. Spring mix usually includes Romaine, Spinach, Chard, Red Leaf, and more!

Classic Spring Salad

  • 1 c. Spring mix
  • ¼ c. matchstick carrots
  • ½ c. chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. roasted chickpeas
  • Avocado Citrus Dressing

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl.

 

Avocado Citrus Dressing:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 T. lemon
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix all in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

 

4. Cabbage

Japanese-style Spring Salad

  • 1 c. Spring mix
  • ½ c. cooked Edamame, deshelled
  • ½ c. chopped cooked tofu (optional)
  • ¼ c. matchstick carrots
  • ¼ c. shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ c. shredded red cabbage
  • ¼ c. toasted sesame seeds
  • Sesame Ginger Dressing

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl.

Sesame Ginger Dressing:

  • 1 t. minced ginger
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 6 T. sesame oil
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 t. soy sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

 

5. Romaine

romaine salad yogatraveltree

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

  • 1 c. Romaine lettuce
  • ¼ c. crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ c. walnuts
  • Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing:

  • -2 red peppers
  • -red wine vinegar
  • -olive oil
  • -salt & pepper
  1. Preheat the broiler. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds. Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the red pepper skin is blackened. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to let them steam. Once cool (about 20 minutes), remove the pepper skins.
  2. Place the peppers in a food processer and blend with ¼ c. red wine vinegar and ½ c. olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Kale

kale slaw yogatraveltree

Asian Kale Slaw

Check out my recipe here!

Share your favorite green salad recipe below!

 

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Megan McGowan is a yoga teacher, student, vegetarian food lover, world traveler, and avocado fanatic from Chicago.  Her love for healthy food has instilled a passion for cooking since she was a child.  When she’s not on her mat or in the kitchen, you can find her exploring the city or playing with her bunny Lola. Find her at www.meganmcgowan.com or on Facebook.

 

Images via: @kimberlycandy, Pink Lady America, Savior Faire, Shutterbean 

Go Green and Leafy: The Perfect Healthy Breakfast

The power of a Healthy Breakfast. 

 

One the best things you can do for your health is include plenty of green leafy vegetables in your diet, and a great way to get them in is first thing in the morning. Rich in important vitamins, minerals and health promoting antioxidants, these nutritional powerhouses are one of the most nutrient dense foods around.

6 Crazy-good Benefits

 

  1. Consuming green leafy vegetables regularly as part of a healthy well-balanced diet will help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye conditions, osteoporosis and even type-2 diabetes.
  2. These veggies are also an excellent source of B vitamins, including, folate, B6 and B12.
  3. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables can help lower homocysteine levels in the body, a natural compound that can contribute to clogged arteries and heart disease if it reaches high levels. The body uses folate, and vitamins B12 and B6, to keep homocysteine levels under control.
  4. They contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that act as powerful antioxidants that protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as having cancer-protective properties. Antioxidants such as these, act by neutralizing damaging free radicals before they harm the body.
  5. They are also rich in calcium, needed for strong healthy bones. A cup of dandelion greens contain more calcium than ½ cup of milk. There are some varieties however, such as swiss chard, collards, spinach and beet greens that should not be relied on for their calcium content as they contain high levels of oxalates, compounds that block calcium absorption.
  6. Many green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and swiss chard, are good sources of iron, used to produce red blood cells and transport oxygen around the body. Green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps regulate blood clotting, and may help protect the body against osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and inflammatory diseases.

 

Sneak them in!

go green with the perfect healthy breakfast yogatraveltree

A great way to get all the benefits from green leafy veggies is to hide them in your morning smoothie.  Weather you love the taste of kale, or if green drinks creep you out, there's a smoothie out there for you. The fruit included in the smoothie overpowers the taste of your leafy greens, so you get a hydrating, nutritional boost that you won't even know is healthy. Try the following recipe for a great start to the day, or for a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon.

Super Green Juice Smoothie

  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cup Kale
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Pitted Cherries
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 20oz Water, Almond or Hemp milk
  • 1Tbs Cinnamon

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend until creamy.

This delicious smoothie is packed with green goodness. It is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants so it will help alkalize the body, reduce inflammation and boost immune function. It also contains sulfur compounds that help support healthy liver detoxification, which will help cleanse and protect the body from toxins. It also contains magnesium to help calm and nourish your nervous system, and iron to help improve energy levels and help transport oxygen around the body.

Go green!

go green with the perfect healthy breakfast yogatraveltree

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Lisa Guy is a respected Sydney based naturopath, author and passionate foodie. Lisa owns a clinic called 'Art of Healing' and has a particular love for treating babies, children and helping support women through pregnancy and beyond. Lisa writes for a variety of health magazines, websites, and newspapers and has written books including 'My Goodness: all you need to know about children's health and nutrition, 'Heal Yourself' and 'Pregnancy Essentials'. Visit her website and find her on Facebook

Images via: YogaStage,  Tattooed Martha, @xociah

Holiday Vegan Stuffing

The holidays are upon us again and for us vegans it can be a tricky time to navigate. Dodging questions from grandma about why you don't eat meat or having a "know it all" member of the family go into this long speech about how you can't possibly survive or be strong while being vegan(even though your overall health and strength is alarming better than said family member)  so here's a simple and delicious vegan stuffing recipe to stick into their mouth when the conversation gets turned on your eating habits!

  • 6 toasted pieces of Ezekiel bread, cut into small squares
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium red apples, diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 1/2 cup Red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Start by sautéing the onions, apples and fennel for a few minutes on medium high. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350*, cut bread into small pieces and rinse capers.

After onions begin to brown add in fresh herbs, spinach and quinoa. Sauté for about 5 minutes then pour into a glass oven pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs and capers on-top then pour vegetable broth over.

Bake for about an hour, or until quinoa is soft. Place on the Christmas table and watch everyone enjoy!

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Heidi Templeton is a 200 RYT Ashtanga Certified in the Tampa Bay Area. She started practicing yoga 8 years ago after being diagnosed with a spinal condition, quickly fell in love with the practice and started teaching in 2010. Along with vinyasa flow, she teaches pre and post natal yoga, aid recovering addicts through yoga at Footprints Beachside Recovery and Stand Up Paddle Yoga. Teaching has been one of the biggest blessing in her life and was a true “ah ha” moment, when she started teaching. She felt that she had found her purpose, and strives to keep herself inspired through her own practice and keep others inspire by their practice. In her spare time she enjoy being outside whether on a paddle board or riding bikes, reading inspirational books to deepen her practice and philosophy, creating new and funky flows for classes, being with her husband, John and their dogs, in the kitchen cooking up vegan meals or writing health and wellness blogs. 

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Raw Avocado Truffles

 

Never eat a candy bar again. That sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

While I can’t control the candy bar industry, what I can tell you is that after eating these truffles, you won’t want to reach for that candy bar again. These truffles are smooth, velvety rich, and satisfying. They incorporate healthy ingredients and they don’t leave you with a sugar high (or sugar crash later). And, they’re easy to make!

Depending on your ingredients, this recipe can be gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, and vegan.

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup avocado

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 - 1/4 cup raw, unfiltered honey (if vegan, use another sweetener of your choice)

To get a little fancy, add some vanilla, cardamom, or cinnamon.

 

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until sticky. Form into balls and roll in cocoa powder.

Makes 12-15 truffles.

raw avocado truffles blend yogatraveltree

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Carrie Vandelac is a holistic health coach and wellness blogger at www.CarrieVandelac.com. She’s on a mission to make whole foods simple and to help people find lasting healing through food. After suffering from ulcerative colitis for seven years, Carrie revamped her diet and is now symptom-free, medication-free, and oh-so-happy. Carrie believes in real food, a good night’s sleep, and laughing until you cry. You’ll find her reading, hiking, belting out a tune, or performing in a local theatre production. Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, or her blog.

 

Image via: @mitchleepro

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