Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Vegan Banana Bread!

Let's talk FOOD!! 
Who loves banana bread? Better yet, who DOESN'T love banana bread? I don't know That I have ever met somebody that said no to a delicious banana bread. This one is sweet, delicious AND cruelty-free! 
I would almost consider this banana bread a cake as it turns out so moist. I added in the chocolate chips for some extra sweetness, and because I love chocolate, but I've made it without and it's still yummy. Well that's enough of my blabbing, onto the recipe!

This recipe came from thewellnessjess.com 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread:

Things You'll Need.
  • 1 Loaf Pan.
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Small Mixing Bowl
  • 3 or 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 1/3 Cup Almond Milk or Cashew Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Pure Cane Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 "Flax Egg" (1 Tablespoon Flax Seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons Water)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/3 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
  1. Gather all of your ingredients, bowls and measuring cups, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep your "flax egg". Mix 1 tablespoon of flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. With your large mixing bowl, begin mashing the ripe bananas with a fork. Mix in the melted coconut oil and sugar, and mix well.
  4. Add in the flax egg, vanilla extract and milk. Mix well.
  5. Take your small mixing bowl and combine the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and flour.
  6. Combine the dry ingredients into the large mixing bowl, starting to mix in.
  7. Once the dough has started to form, add in your chocolate chips and nuts, and mix until completely combined. Try not to over mix.
  8. Pour into the loaf pan, and bake from 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. I have done as less as 25 and as most as 40 and I have found that 30-35 is the best time frame.
  9. Let sit for 5 minutes or so, and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pizza, bacon, cheese fries, OH MY!

Here are a few tips to start eating a healthy, balanced diet.
  1. Cherish your fruits and veggies!! Seriously. I can't say this one enough. When you take a look at your plate next time you go to eat, what seems to be overpowering it? Is it the protein, or the veggies? More often than not, if you go to a restaurant especially, the protein will take up more than HALF of the meal with a tiny portion of veggies. It really should be the opposite. Half a plate of veggies, and a quarter plate of protein.
  2. TREAT YOSELF! Yep. I said it. Treat yourself. I absolutely love chocolate, and there is no way I am ever going to give that up. I still eat dark chocolate (quite regulatory actually), I still make banana bread every few weeks, I still eat bagels, I still order pizza every now and then and I still make homemade french fries. This is where "everything in moderation" comes in. People who claim to "eat clean" because they are following a strict diet and never eat anything that is anything less than "healthy", are only depriving themselves and will most likely end up binge eating junk food afterwards. The trick is, to find healthy alternatives. I'm not talking about the "reduced fat" stuff (we will talk more about this later), but maybe having dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, having whole wheat bagels instead of regular, or making french fries at home rather than getting them from a fast food place. 
  3. Stay away from processed. Try to eat as whole as possible. I still struggle with this one but I do my best to stay away from it as much as possible. So, back to this "reduced fat" situation. Many people think if they are getting reduced fat wheat thins, or reduced fat yogurt they are doing themselves a favor. Logically yes, I can definitely see why you would think that. But the problem with these foods is that they may take away the fat, but then they just dump in the sugar- which generally causes more problems for the average person than fat does. 
  4. Don't overthink it. Most diets end up failing because people are so concerned about sticking to a specific way of eating that they end up binge eating on whatever the diet isn't. That is why it is SO important to eat balanced, to treat yourself, and to cherish your fruits and veggies :)
Pizza, bacon, cheese fries, donuts, OH MY!... I know. Your mouth is probably watering.

When I was in my teenage years, I pretty much ate whatever I want. I had a relatively skinny frame and it was pretty hard for me to gain weight. During my senior year of high school I was at taco bell 3 or 4 times a week... Seriously, that wasn't a joke.

As I grew older, the eating habits didn't stop, but the way my body reacted did. Around my 21st birthday was when I really started to see some major fluctuations in my weight, some reshaping that I wasn't very fond of.

I went to the doctor for my yearly checkup and realized that I had gained a whopping thirty pounds within the year, and I knew that I had to do something.

I tried my hardest, with all of my might to eat healthy. But to be honest, because I had never really been taught... I didn't even know what "eating healthy" really was.

Honestly, most of our society had become so accustomed to the way Americans eat, many of us really don't know what eating healthy really is. Many people believe if you eat bread you get fat. A lot people believe if you drink diet coke you can lose weight. TOO many people believe that "reduced fat" anything is good for them. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, far too many people believe that "clean eating" is the way to go...

What I mean by people believing in "clean eating" is sticking to a strict diet. The new "fad" lately is meal prepping. Which if that is your thing, then go for it. But eating the same food every single day, not giving your body (or taste buds) any variety, is a concoction for failure. Not giving yourself some much deserved treats every now and then, and cutting out every single little thing that could be the slightest bit unhealthy, is almost depriving. We all want to succeed when it comes to health and wellness, so lets set ourselves up for success with a balanced, dominantly whole food diet. 

Yep. It's really that simple. Balancing out what we eat and reducing processed foods; rather than focusing solely on one problem, one food, one "sugar"- and letting ourselves eat a variety of foods in moderation.

Everything in moderation. This is something that has haunted me my entire life. I totally understand if you feel the same way, because it seems as a society we have a big problem with this. America is all about "Go big or Go home!" and when it comes to food, this isn't the best choice.

What I have learned through my on-going journey to a healthy lifestyle; is that the more vegetables, fruits, starches and whole proteins you eat- the more satisfied you will feel. In a good way, too. Without feeling like you need a wheel barrow to roll you around because of how uncomfortable your tummy feels. The more satisfied you feel, the less you will crave the unhealthy foods that no longer have any purpose for you. The crazy part is, my PALLET has even changed! I enjoy fruits and veggies now more than I ever have. Once your body gets used to the feeling of being healthy, and taking in healthy foods, it starts to crave them- rather than craving the fatty fried foods that surround our streets and stores.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Three things your yoga instructor wants you to know.

By Jessica Jayne
One of my favorite ways to phrase what I do for a living... Is I share yoga with others. I don't particularly like to use to word teach, or instruct. Obviously that IS what I do... But, I don't like to think of myself as higher than my students. I always tell them that this is THEIR practice, I am just there to guide them. I didn't quite understand that when I first starting practicing, I put my teachers on a pedestal that was ridiculous and unfair. Now that I am a teacher myself I try and stress to my students that I am just like them- practicing on my own mat and breathing with my movement. I am just here to make sure it stays safe and serene. There are a lot of things that as yoga teachers, we really want our students to know. But we may not know how to word it, or aren't sure if we should even say it.

1. We stay on our own mat. 
I actually say this in class all of the time. There is nothing worse than feeling the eyes of somebody else on you when you are trying to practice, or feeling like you aren't keeping up with your neighbor and worrying that others are staring as you fail. I know this because I have been there, but as I furthered into my practiced I realized suddenly one day that nobody was paying attention to me. Nobody was seeing how much I could keep up with the person next to me and nobody was seeing how I looked in my wheel. I found that once I was able to let go of that fear of everybody watching me, I was able to fully let go into my own practice.

2. We are all on our own journey.
This is another thing I say in probably every single class. I know it sounds cliche, but I think its important. Not only in yoga, but in LIFE. Every single person you meet has struggled with something that has changed their life. Every single person you meet has gone through something physically or mentally that has scarred them. In the classroom, and in life- we must practice kindness and compassion. This is including ourselves. If you are having a rough day, and feel like you need to be in child's pose the majority of the time, then DO that. We are all on our own journey, I am not here to dictate, I am here to guide.

3. None of us are perfect.
This isn't something I openly speak about in class, but I will throw little hints at. I always set an intention at the beginning of every class and its usually something I feel I need to work on at that time in my life. Whether it be gratitude, compassion, balance, etc. I want my students to know I am not enlightened, I am not perfect and I still struggle. Sometimes as students we see our teachers as these beautifully zen beings, which is wonderful and flattering. But it's also important to realize that we are humans too, and we too are on our own journeys.