Vegan Menu Plan

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Going from paleo last week right in to vegan is an adjustment. But we think it’s important to try different food lifestyles, to get a good idea of what you like and don’t like; what works and doesn’t work for you.

Most people are familiar with the vegan rules of eating-no animal products. No dairy, meat, or eggs, and some vegans avoid honey, silk, products with beeswax, etc.

So there is the list of “no”, but a great list of “yes” too- yes vegetables, yes fruits, yes grains and legumes, beans and herbs, nuts and seeds. So many yummy “yes” foods 🙂

If you want to try it out, check out our week of Vegan Menu plans and shopping list here.

Our Pinterest page has a board with all the recipes we use, divided by week.

We are excited to delve into vegan eating, and hope we can learn some new principles that we adapt into our eating lifestyles. Dive in and join us! Try it out for a week and see what you feel and think.

{Past food weeks include Mediterranean and Paleo.}

Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan

Ready to try out the Mediterranean Diet, but don’t know where to start? Here’s where. Right here.

We have made a week of very simple menu plans, to help you get a feel for this kind of eating and diet, to see if it would work for you.

All of the recipes we are using are on our Pinterest Page. Make sure to follow us there, and see the “Menu Plans” board. Take note–any substitutions we make to recipes (for ease, or diet related), are in the captions, so make sure to read there.

We also have a really handy menu plan for each day, and a shopping list. Feel free to save a copy and adjust servings as needed for your family. The week of food is meant for 2 people, with some recipes for 4, so you can have leftovers for lunches. Make sure to toggle over to Sheet 2 of the excel sheet, to see the shopping list.

For some good information on what to look for on this diet, here are some guidelines:

Basics of Mediterranean diet

  • Lots of plant based foods-vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes
  • Focusing on fats from olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, etc. Less animal source fats like butter (less saturated and trans fats).
  • Increase spices and herbs, to decrease salt
  • Red meat no more than a few times per month
  • Fish and poultry several times a week
  • Low fat dairy
  • Limit processed sugar
  • Plenty of exercise
  • Optional: Red Wine. If you don’t drink alcohol, you can get the same effects from an unsweetened fruit juice like grape juice, pomegranate juice, or cranberry juice.

Med Diet

Food Feels

Me and food have had an interesting relationship over the years. I would not have called my five year old palet refined, I distinctly remember melting cheese in the microwave for a snack. My teen self would eat very little in front of others, because teen boys don’t like girls who eat right? College Kristin would bounce between eating way to much junk and then next to nothing diets to counter act the pounds that accompanied the junk food.

We come now to present day. I have done some soul searching over the years and I determined that what I want more than anything is for my life to be lived for me and my family. A big part of that is finding ways to balance my life (hence the “Balance Project”) and food is a big part of that. With the fun theme this month of “live like a French woman” I have been doing a lot of research into the lifestyles of past and current French woman. One common thread that I have noticed is that French women seem to have a very healthy relationship with food. There is a thoughtfulness in the way they prepare and eat food.  I am by no means the expert but here are five things that I have done to improve the way I view food and myself:

  1. I remember that the longest relationship that I have had is with my own body, I need to respect that.
  2. I eat my meals (whenever I can) at my kitchen table.
  3. I have learned to enjoy cooking.
  4. I have learned to respect where my food comes from.
  5. I don’t let one bad day (or carton of ice cream) get me down.

I am not perfect, and I never will be. But I have come a long way from the girl who did not want other people to know that she eats food (I literally now have a Pinterest board titled “I love food”). Above all we need to be kind to ourselves and a bit of chocolate every now and then to tell our bodies thank you does not hurt.

 

P.S. I went to an adorable local store called Honey Bee Produce Company and let me tell you I was in local cheese, fruit and honey HEAVEN!

Putting My Best Face Forward

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my skin for years. Off and on I’ve had acne, and have gone through the big treatments for it. I’m currently in a good spot for that particular problem, but years of acne have left me with some scarring. My dermatologist said he thinks it mostly all will fade over time, but I got impatient the other day, and went to see an aesthetic dermatologist for some options to quicken the process. Sadly it wasn’t the greatest experience, as the provider looked at my skin for about 7 seconds, and then quickly rattled off $3000 worth of treatments that would take a year or more, and boom, the provider was gone within minutes. The treatments certainly sound like they would help, but they came with side effects, time off of work, and a big price tag. Not to mention, I didn’t really feel like a person in her office. So, I humbly returned to my original dermatologist’s suggestion to be patient and do some simple things at home to help with the redness and minor scarring. I can be patient! (my constant mantra, as I am always working on it ;).

 

rachme, unedited, in all my glory 😉

I have recently made a plan to my skin, which if I am dedicated to, should help keep my skin looking and feeling healthy. I have found that consistency is key to see these results (just like with most things in life).

Here is what I’m currently doing to keep my skin looking as good as I can (talk to YOUR dermatologist before starting anything though):

  • Wash face daily–duh. Depending on the season and how my skin is, I swap between oil washing, and an organic facewash from Avalon Organics (you can get them at some grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, or on Amazon).
  • A topical antibiotic cream i was prescribed (usually every morning, or when I have little breakouts).
  • Retin-A. This I try to do nightly. It should help with light scarring and redness, and fine lines/wrinkles. Those sound like good outcomes; don’t mind if I do. It is not an overnight fix though, and should be continued long term.
  • Mandelic acid peels. I do a light version I get from MUAC. I love it. You do have to make sure to stop topicals like Retin-A a day or two prior. Don’t want to over do it on your sensitive facial skin! For me, mandelic acid keeps things clear, and gives me a fresh glow as it uncovers a new layer of skin. It’s not as harsh as some peels, and there is no downtime. I’m a fan.
  • Once every 2 weeks or so, I do a face mask. I like the masks from Eminence Organics, or sometimes I use a random one I picked up on a trip somewhere. Currently I have a stock of “snail juice” masks from a Korean beauty company, that I picked up in Thailand (random haha).
  • For moisturization, I currently am using Colonial Dames Vitamin E Cream. It is very thick and works well for my super dry Winter skin. The vitamin E in it should also help fade scarring. Sometimes I add a drop of pure lavender oil in it too, which is awesome for healing.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. And a hat.

 

I have done most of the above interventions for a while, but haven’t been as consistent as I need to be. This month seems like the perfect time to really take the time and effort to care for my skin. After all, it will be with me for life.

 

begoodtoskin

 

 

Simple Yoga Mat Spray

At our Yoga and Cheese party last month, we had all the supplies out for people to make their own Yoga Mat spray. It was a simple and fun project, and one anyone can do at home! Here’s what we did:

 

1 Part Witch Hazel

1 Part Water

5-10 drops essential oil (we suggest lavender, orange, or peppermint)

 

Mix in a small spray bottle, spray on mat and wipe.

spray ingredientssprays

You are welcome to use the labels we made for your bottles (right click and save to print):

orange

lavendar

peppermint

 

7 Ways To Make Yoga A Lifestyle

YogaLifetyle

I still consider myself a “novice yogi” (that is a total oxymoron). I am by no means an expert, and yoga is something that should be constantly practiced and improved upon. It’s a lifestyle, and one that I want to try to adopt, rather than just “doing yoga”. This month is a refresh and restart on my yoga and goals, to hopefully find a good middle ground, where my yoga practices becomes second nature. This will require a few things on my part, and for anyone looking to bring yoga into their everyday life. Here are 7 ways to make yoga a lifestyle, not just “a thing you do occasionally”.

  1. Make a special place for your practice. This can be as simple as a corner in a bedroom were you roll out your mat, or a dedicated room full of yoga and meditation equipment. Wherever you practice, make sure it a clean, calm, and comfortable. See my little yoga space here, and Kristin’s here.
  2. Find a teacher that you connect with. This can be a small local yoga studio teacher, someone at a large complex, or a youtube guru. Everyone has a different style and speed. Find someone that works with you and your lifestyle, and you are more likely to stick with it.
  3. Integrate meditation into yoga practice. This might not seem like it is everyones cup of tea, but meditation is an important part of wholistic yoga practice. Taking a few extra moments in shavasana, taking a “time out” for 5 minutes in the middle of a busy work day, or reciting a dedicated mantra for 10-15 minutes a day can be the key to bringing yoga inward, and feeding the soul (the soul gets hungry and needs nourishment!).
  4. Try to do yoga every day. I know, this doesn’t seem very balanced to have to do something everyday, but doing yoga for a shorter amount of time every day is better than doing hours of yoga at a time, but not very often (in my opinion). I am a fan of short 15-20 minute yoga practices when I don’t have a lot of extra time, or even just a quick sun salutation flow on a Sunday when I usually would rest from extra activities. Consistency breeds habit.
  5. Find a yoga friend. We all know that having a friend to support you in a goal makes things easier. You don’t have to do yoga together every day, or ever ever, but taking about it and sharing experiences can be enriching.
  6. Keep a journal of the benefits you see from practicing. Writing down how you feel, changes in your body, changes in your mindset, etc will be motivating to keep moving forward. Find a pretty notebook, or just open up a new note in your phone. Either one works!
  7. Take yoga off the mat, and into everyday life. What you do off the mat is just as important, if not more so, than what you do on it. Practicing mindfulness, being kind to yourself and others, forgiving, protecting your body, being happy with what you have, and finding inner strength, are all positive aspects of yoga to practice off the mat.

 

These are just the beginning in a of a myriad of ways to implement yoga into your life. Yoga is very personal, so get on your mat, start, and make it your own.

 

-Rachael

Welcome to January’s Challenge

Yoga and Meditation are the name of the game this month. Official challenge name: “Chillin Out Maxin, Relaxin All Cool”.

This is the perfect way to begin the year; yoga and meditation work hand-in-hand to unite body, mind, and spirit. It also just feels freaking great. If we can get into good habits of daily yoga, and figure out how to implement meditation in an attainable way, then the rest of the year will undoubtedly go smoother. That’s just one of the many benefits of yoga — it centers you.

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Here are a few of our favorite resources we are starting this month with. More to come as we continue to research and learn more!

YouTube–Yoga with Adriene-She is a yoga goddess, so approachable, with high quality and free videos. Try her 30 day of yoga challenges! They are a fantastic way to build your practice, and get in the habit of daily yoga.

Apps- Headspace and Smiling Mind. Both are guided meditation apps we have used and enjoyed. Again, approachable to the “every day” type person.

Videos-My personal favorite is Rodney Yee abs videos. So good for the core!

Did you know that many yoga studios in your community will offer one or more free classes for you to try before buying a pass, or more classes? This is a great way to find a fit before you commit.

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We will write a full post of resources later this month, to let you know what we have discovered and learned. We love to hear your favorites too, so comment below and let everyone know! We want this to be a community of sharing, and learning from each other.

Happy 2018, and happy meditating! (and Yoga-ing? 😉

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