Solar Eclipse Smoothie Bowl

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It turns out that the earth revolves around smoothie bowls; during this morning’s ‘solar eclipse’, you’ll see the sun temporarily blocked by, not the moon, but this colorful dish (safe to view with the naked eye) .

We used to call it ‘smoothie ice cream’ back in the day, whenever our too-thick fruit and vegetable blends were just easier to eat with a spoon. Now you can find them quite a few places, including fresh-juice establishments such as Native and Zest (if you’re in Columbus). Or…how about making your own?! It’s easy and there are so many ways to add variety, you’ll never be bored with breakfast again!

Prep time: 5 minutes, more if you want to have fun and take pictures

Ingredients

1 bag, 10oz of tropical fruit (strawberries, mango, banana) from Whole Foods
8oz of cranberries
1-2 cups of spinach
water to desired texture

Toppings – cacao nibs, walnuts, and shredded coconut

….but again, this is what we did; if you want to use chia seeds, sliced bananas, fresh blueberries, or almonds,  do so. Try your own smoothie bowl adventure!

Instructions

Put all ingredients (minus toppings) into blender and blend until desired thickness. Pour smoothie into bowl and top with your favorite fruits, nuts, or seeds.

My 30 Min. Morning Routine

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Good morning, Adrienne here. We’ve had quite a few clients and friends relay both a desire to exercise and a frustration that it just never seems to get done, with their plan to walk or get to the gym being usurped by other duties or unforeseen issues.

I wish I had the willpower of my neighbor/best friend/former President who got up every morning to exercise.”

“The problem is that I don’t have time, with all of the work and running around in the evenings, my best intentions to exercise fall apart. I’m just too tired in the evenings.”

I don’t like to exercise, but I know I should do it.”

What does obstacles with exercise have to do with a morning routine? Glad you asked – everything. Particularly as a solution for all of the obstacles listed above. A hot yoga studio instructor once shared this maxim: “at 6 A.M., the only obstacle standing between me and my workout is ME; by 6 P.M. all sorts of obstacles exist to prevent me from working out.” We’ve taken this to heart and pushed our perfectionist tendency out of the way in order to create a personalized morning routine that works.

How we Started

You may remember our Experiment in Early Rising & Exercise during which myself and a couple of associates woke up early in order to get our 6am boxing class in. Even with the tremendous benefits of better energy and feeling accomplished with having knocked out our exercise, it wasn’t sustainable for us. Why? Well, the day doesn’t often end to where being in bed and sleeping by 9pm is very feasible. Waking up at 5am and not being able to eat much before a strenuous workout and driving to and from the gym, especially in the cold weather, make it oh-so-unappealing. Sure, we got past it a few times, with the help of short-lived WILLPOWER, but it didn’t last and it wasn’t long before staying in bed longer won out. At the same time, I set up all sorts of good intentions to exercise in the evenings. Riiiight.

Typical story, right? We’re all human. We rationalize and make promises and tell ourselves “the diet/exercise starts on Monday, for real this time.”

What’s the Solution?

Well we learned about all sorts of fancy morning routines from CEOs of companies like Virgin to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins…and some of these were 2-3 hours long(!!) – definitely not reasonable for most of us. So I created my own ‘perfect,’ flexible morning routine. Here’s what I’ve been doing for over the past month in the 30 minutes between waking up and being ready to go:

At 7am – alarm goes off, do morning hygiene routine
7:05am – without allowing myself to think about this for long (and find excuses), I begin with my strength-training routine. On this day it was the following:

  • 25 squats
  • 12 full push-ups
  • 35 sit-up combo -as seen in this video

I did 2 sets of these. It took less than 6 minutes; I no longer have any excuses not to do this.

On this day, my hair was an easy fix and so I washed my face, did a hot towel scrub, and applied my favorite face cream. (4 minutes)

7:15am – let face cream soak in as I meditate for 5 minutes
7:20am – gather water bottle, purse, work bag, and breakfast and/or lunch
7:30am – ready to go

Variations

Though I’m generally now an early riser, I frequently adjust my wake time to 30 minutes before I need to leave the house.  So if I get to ‘sleep in’ until 7:30am or even 8am, I’ll adjust waking time accordingly.

I have my basic skincare routine & hair routine down to a science. Skincare routine is 3 minutes (washing face and applying my favorite face cream); my current haircut works with my hair and so a basic combing may be all that is needed. I seldom wear makeup anymore but this would add another 3-5 minutes.

Hot towel scrub versus a shower; determine which you need on any given day. For me, a shower is a 10-minute affair. To ensure still leaving on time, I’d have breakfast prepared the night before.

Breakfast; if I have time to eat at home, I will. Otherwise I typically make a smoothie or prep muesli the night before to bring with me. For when I have an extra glorious 5-10 minutes and the ingredients on hand, I might have avocado toast….or even moka pot coffee.

Weekdays vs. weekends. This is generally my weekday routine; my weekend one can stretch to about 2 hours, especially with some reading involved and freshly-made breakfast.

Conclusion

Now that I’ve created a customized morning routine, I’m sad I didn’t begin it earlier in life (oh, to have missed out on the frantic running around looking for keys, skipping breakfast and/or lunch, and road aggravation at the drivers in front of me who were ‘blocking my way’ to getting to somewhere on time). Peace, my dear friends and clients, is a gift we can give ourselves with a morning routine.

The key is making your morning routine work for YOU. If you need 45 minutes or an hour to incorporate a leisurely breakfast, straightening your hair, or reading an inspiring text, do it.

Have you started your own morning routine? How does yours run?

Curious and want to capitalize on your mornings? We’ll help you build your own morning routine, whether in a future session or upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

Watermelon-Lemon Electrolyte Drink

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Summer’s heat demands a refreshing drink and our Watermelon-Lemon Electrolyte Drink delivers! Why bother with a sugary sports drink when you can get your minerals in this refreshing and beautiful beverage?

Plus, electrolytes- it’s what plants crave.

Prep time <5 minutes

Ingredients
Watermelon, cubed
Lemon, sliced
Mint sprig, fresh
Rosemary sprig, fresh
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan)
2-3 tablespoons honey (we used raw)
Pure, filtered water to fill the container
16 drops trace mineral (i.e. Concentrace), optional

Instructions
Place watermelon cubes, fresh sprigs of mint and rosemary in container. Add sea salt and honey, then fill to brim with pure water. Allow flavors to meld a bit and enjoy immediately or store in fridge until at desired coolness. Keeps in fridge for about 1-2 days. Use: sip during workouts or long days in hot weather.

Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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For a moment it seemed like we were putting TOO much chocolate into this recipe. Then we realized how ridiculous of a thought that was – there’s almost never too much chocolate :D. This amazing zucchini bread will tame any chocolate craving with its brownie-like texture. Bonus: it’s gluten-free!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut or date sugar
1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
3.5oz dark chocolate bar, chopped
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 organic eggs
1.5 medium zucchini, chopped
3 small apples, chopped
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or organic butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease loaf pan. In a large bowl add almond meal, flour, sugar, cacoa/cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, baking soda & baking powder, and salt. Combine & mix well. Melt coconut oil or butter. Boil apples in water, enough to cover bottom of the pot) and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Once cooled, put apples into high-speed blender with chopped zucchini and blend. Discard cooking water.

In a smaller bowl, add eggs and beat with whisk. Add apples and zucchini, coconut oil or butter, and vanilla extract. Combine ingredients by mixing and then fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Store bread in air-tight container in fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze bread if desired.

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Halo Top Ice Cream: Health Halo?

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We may not actually scream for ice cream (we’re all adults here), but, to be honest, there’s usually a squeal of delight involved.

While visiting the beautiful land of Italy, we neither confirm nor deny placing an equal importance on finding the very best gelateria as visiting all the historic landmarks. We have priorities though and are happy to say we found the top-source gelato in Rome.

This is really to say that we love ice cream. Love it. From putting it in coffee at breakfast to having it as a meal (yes, you read that correctly), it’s pretty much a perfect treat for whenever.

However, anyone who has indulged on a regular basis knows that nothing seems to add on some poundage faster than this creamy delight. So, when our very favorite non-dairy ice cream was discontinued from Giant Eagle Market District, there was a mix of disappointment and relief. Then, curiously, Halo Top emerged into and around the space instead. Eventually we took the mint chip version home and found it to be very light (more air incorporated into the product) and, frankly, delicious.

So what’s in it? Here’s ‘the scoop’ on the mint chip flavor ingredients:

Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

How do they keep the calories low? Part of the reason why they can do this is because they use three different sweeteners: erythritol (a sugar alcohol), organic cane sugar (really just a fancy way of saying white sugar), and organic stevia. The erythritol contains less than .5 calorie per gram, sugar has 4 calories per gram, and stevia is a no-calorie sweetener which is a couple hundred of times sweeter than sugar.  The other reason is that the Halo Top ice cream is physically lighter (a 1/2 cup serving weighs in at 64 grams vs. about 95 grams for other ice creams). With more air incorporated, you’ll have less calories and ice cream in general.

The calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar content for Halo Top are less than traditional ice cream, while providing fiber and protein. This does not replace vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and fat sources in the diet, but, as far as ice cream goes, it’s a pretty decent choice.

That being said, this product still has dairy (so if you have issues with milk products, beware) and, for some people and in generally higher amounts, the sugar alcohol can cause digestive upset, headaches, gas, and diarrhea.

There is likely to be a bit of a health halo effect with this product – with less calories, it can be very easy to over-consume. Remember to exercise portion control and enjoy it mindfully.

Trauma: An Awakening to Resilience

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No one is free from trauma, even those who eat goji berries. One need not look further than the biblical story of Job or into the Buddha’s insights with the Four Noble Truths to see that suffering is indeed part of the human condition. Avoiding confronting painful events is like holding a beach ball under water. Sure you can do it, but it takes a lot of energy and it’s still likely to fly out of the water anyway (usually when you least expect it). It takes courage to examine these painful experiences and to follow a healing path, knowing that recovery is possible.

Dr. Peter Levine defines trauma as a result of instinctual resources of self-protection being overwhelmed, possibly as a result of perceived life-threatening experiences. We often think of trauma relating to soldiers returning from war, victims of severe abuse (including neglect) and violence, or those who’ve suffered catastrophic loss, accidents, or injuries. However, Dr. Levine suggests that trauma doesn’t have to originate from a single, major catastrophe; in fact, routine invasive medical and dental procedures, illness, birth stress (for mother and baby), natural disasters, or even minor car accidents can be traumatizing.

Childhood Trauma

Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are strongly correlated with the development of a wide range of health issues throughout a person’s life. Even if not a major event- for small children, just their parents yelling, thunder, or even a toy that scares them (i.e. a jack-in-the-box) can overwhelm their self-protective resources. Each person has their own resources and experiences that will influence whether something is exciting and fun or horrible and fear-inducing.

Effects of Trauma

Trauma can have debilitating after-effects in both mind and body. Unresolved trauma can be devastatingly life-altering and affect our thoughts, beliefs, habits, relationships, and decision-making abilities. For some, it can trigger physical pain and symptoms, even years later.

One of the wide-ranging ways trauma can effect us is by loosening the connection to ourselves, family, and even the outside world. We constrict our choices as we avoid certain places, people, and feelings. This can cause us to feel less energized and to lose opportunities for fulfilling our dreams and goals.

Begin your Healing Path

A gradual healing process can be helped by body-workers, therapists or psychologists, friends, family, life and health coaches, and more. This is a time to treat yourself gently and engage in extreme self-care. You may feel weak upon beginning your path, but your strength and your resilience will slowly build.

The good news is that we have within us the ability to master and transform trauma into triumph. May your inner journey help you recover a deeper sense of wholeness.