Day 7: Yoga is for Everyone

 

There are so many benefits to doing yoga that it's hard to know where to start. Personally, I enjoy and practice hatha yoga, which I consider to be one of the more gentle and relaxing forms. I've tried other types, such as Vinyasa and Yin (Restorative), but I always go back to where I started. Hatha is definitely my type. There are so many variations, one is bound to find a match that is ideal for their lifestyle and level of desired physical rigor. Below is a beautiful (borrowed) infographic that outlines the various types of yoga and specific benefits.

Yoga is ideal for anyone looking to become more internally aware of their body by focusing on their breathing and how different postures make them feel. Personally, I find that yoga improves my fitness performance in other exercise regimens, dramatically improves my posture, flexibility and mental awareness. That's why I think exploring a yoga practice is the perfect lead into the development of a solid meditation practice. 

We are constantly bombarded with noise and information all day. Therefore, lots of people have issues quieting their mind. Yoga can definitely help with both of these things. It sharpens one's focus and opens the mind to the blissful mental stillness that meditation offers. Yoga and meditation go good together. Together they provide the mental agility and peace of mind one needs to lead a happier, stress free life.

  Image via Free Fitness Tips 

 

Image via Free Fitness Tips 

Now that you've had a crash course on the popular types of yoga that's out there, now it's time to put that info into practice. Below is a link to a couple of free yoga resources that are available on YT that I often rely on. When I first began practicing years ago, my goal was to cultivate a regular home practice. I spent years going to weekly classes. However, now I'm completely comfortable with just practicing at home. I suggest trying both, home sessions and studio classes. Most places allow you to take drop-in classes before committing to a monthly fee or bundled class pack. Check your local city paper, Scoutmob, Living Social or other online or print resource for a class near you. It's not unheard of to find community groups that practice together for free, so be on the lookout.

Congrats on making it to day seven! Starting tomorrow we will be switching gear to focus primarily on our spiritual wellness using different forms of meditation, affirmations and mantras. We hope you'll stay close, things are about to get really good!

 

Beginners try this! 

 

 

Intermediate level practice here!

{Tweetable tip of the day}

 

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Day 6: Green Smoothies & Juicing 101, For Beginners

Smoothies versus juicing, which is better?

Well, that depends who who you ask.

Juice from a juicer is basically a concentrated smoothie, sans fiber.

Pros: Juice is super strength liquid goodness. You get all of the nutrients without the bulk of fiber. Although fiber is good for you, too much of anything is... well, you know the saying.

Cons: Juicers are typically a bit more pricy, and cleaning juicers can be a real chore. So, if you're short on time in the a.m., this might not be the ideal option for you. If you leave your machine unwashed for more than a hour or two, you can guarantee it's going to start to go rancid, and fast. Gag-- no bueno. Also, probably not the best way to treat a pricy investment that you might want to have for more than a month.

Alternately, you can juice the night before and sacrifice a few nutrients here and there. Juice is at it's peak freshness in the first 15-20 minutes after it's been extracted.

Smoothies, my personal favorite go-to beverage at home, are also full of nutrients (to a lesser concentrated degree, albeit. but they're in there all the same). Plus, a smoothie gives the sensation of feeling fuller after having one. That's because of all the fiber content.

Pros: You can really bulk up your smoothies by adding ingredients like protein powders, yogurt, oats, flax or chia seeds, nut butters, etc. As long as your blender is powerful enough to blend everything adequately, you'll have quite a few options to mix in. 

Also, depending on whether you use frozen or chilled fruit, the texture can be dense and icy to thick and liquidy. Your choice. 

Cons: I really can't think of one, since smoothies are my fave. Sorry, guys, I'm biased. 

Nevertheless, green juice and smoothies both rock and are the perfect way to start your day with several servings of fruit and vegetables! That's all the tips for now. Tune in for today's broadcast on IG and FB Live! AND sign-up below to get a gift recipe(s) relating to today's topic.

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Day 5: How to Eat More Veggies {and Fruit} Morning, Noon & Night

 

Welcome to day FIVE, feel alive! That's our theme for today's blog post, these vegetables, this life! Look. Feel. Be alive! Especially when it comes to your vegetables. Don't let them overcook and die in your pan sad and limp. The only thing worse than a mushy, lifeless vegetable that's basically devoid of nutrients is that it's sitting up there on your plate wasting your time and money.

That's why today's tip of the day should actually be a national PSA:

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And listen, if you're the type who doesn't like vegetables (or fruit for that matter) let me just say, first of all, it's not that I don't believe you, but I call BS. There is something, one, possibly two vegetables that you secretly love. Okay, maybe not love but you like them. And if you don't like-like them, you will at least deal with them if they happen to be on your plate. This much I know for sure. So, that's the second half of the PSA: Start with fruits and veggies that you already jam with and build your repertoire around that. 

Let me tell you something... broccoli, for the longest time was my Ji-zam! Broccoli with cheese, broccoli with garlic, broccoli salad, hot, cold, raw. It didn't matter. All broccoli errythang! Second to that, my other loves were spinach and different types of lettuce and field greens. Then the heavens smiled on my life the day I met some kale. Obligatory *body roll & wall slide*! Now don't get me wrong, I had zero qualms with other veggies like green beans, asparagus and collards. But in terms of weekly produce I typically stuck to my basics. So here are a few tips on how to (once you find your go-tos) incorporate them into your life, morning, noon and night.

Morning

Fruit is probably the easiest of the easy things to add to your diet, especially in the morning. Just add some berries, peaches or apples in your hot cereal or yogurt, on your pancakes, with your waffles and shazam, your morning just went from zero to 100. Shove some spinach in between that bagel with egg and cheese. Don't want to pay extra? Bring your own stashed in a snack baggie. Give it about a minute and it'll wilt from the heat just fine.

Noon

You probably don't want salad for lunch everyday, and we understand that. Although a hearty salad is the actual equivalent of all the veggies you need for one day (did ya know that?). Add some fruit to that and you'll really be in the mix. It's okay though, have your sandwich, have your pasta, it's cool. Toss a couple of veggies in there while you're at it. They count.  

Night

Go heavy on the veggies at dinner and make them a priority when planning out your meals. At some point vegetables became a random afterthought on people's plates. We're not saying to forget about meat--instead, think about what veggies will enhance the flavor of your protein and bring a beautiful pop of color to your plate. And whatever you do, remember the tip of the day: crisp veggies cooked lightly are the way to slay.

There really isn't much work to be done to up your intake of the good stuff. The secret is that it's just a matter of keeping the the question "what fruit or vegetable can I add to what I'm about to order/eat?" at the forefront of your mind and choosing that option everyday.

Final thoughts and a little mind screw for the day... 

So, look at the pic. below. Here's a real deal snapshot of the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables that a person with an average caloric intake of 2000 should have. Now keep in mind each picture represents one day of all the fruit and vegetables that you need. One day. Now let that sink in. What you're looking at represents 9 days total, okay? Now be honest, based on this, how hard do really you think it would be to meet your daily allowance goals. Easy AF, right? Right. Let's do this.   

 

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Day 4: Hydration. The Good, The bad and the Beautiful

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Tip of the day: Add a little creativity to your water and watch the magic happen.

We all know by now that water is life. But how many of us actually drink enough of it? It's much easier than you may think. 

Get ready to GLOW, here are a few ideas to get you started...

1. Add fruit. This is probably one of the easiest things that you can do to boost the flavor factor. Fill up a gallon of water with a pint of berries, citrus fruit, or even cukes and you've got spa quality water right from your fridge and some added motivation to chug a whole gallon jug. For best results, let the fruit hang out for at least an hour to allow time for the fruit to infuse with the water. This concoction is best refrigerated and and consumed within 24-36 hours.  

2. Some like it hot. It's winter, and any opportunity to warm up from the inside out is a welcomed diversion from the cold. Add a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper and 1/4 of a lemon to an oversized mug filled with hot water and you've got instant heat.    

 

3. Plain sparkling water + fresh cut lemon/lime. Over the summer this was my hands down favorite new way to hydrate late night. It was just something about the bubbles sans artificial coloring or sugar. Ahh, refreshing. If you're into soda, this one might be your jam. 

4. Chlorophyll. Don't let this green dream elixir intimidate you. It is chocked full of goodness for a number of reasons which I wrote about here. I take mines 1-2 tablespoons with 1/4 - 1/2 lemon per 16-20 ounces of water. Now this might be a little advanced for some tastebuds, but start where you are comfortable. 

 

 

Water is easy to love and add into your daily regimen. Which of these tips will you try today?

 

 

Be sure to join us in the Healthy Is The New Sassy FB Group for our daily wellness chat on Facebook Live at 3 PM, EST for tips to avoid unhealthy hydration practices. 

Day Three: 3 Cardinal Rules to Help You Meal Plan and Win

 
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Meal Planning Is Your Friend

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One thing is for certain, if you've recently ventured into doing high-impact workouts, which I know some of you have, be prepared for your appetite to increase. Like, voraciously. That was one teensy little tidbit that no one bothered to tell me when I was hittin' it hard at the gym all the time. I had just given up meat and began drinking a lot of protein shakes and Ensure to make sure that I wouldn't slim down too much due to the lack of meat in my diet. Plus, they really helped me cope with those pesky bouts of hunger when I couldn't get to a solid meal fast enough after working out. I can honestly say I've never quite known hunger as brutal as that post workout-I-feel-like-I'm-about-to-faint variety. That's why planning my meals each week became crucial to both having the stamina necessary to work out 4-5 times weekly, while managing my dietary shift into becoming a pescatarian.

Here are 3 cardinal rules I had to learn the hard way:

1.) Always have a post-workout snack on hand. Scratch that. Always have snacks, period. Stash them in the car, in your purse, in your locker, wherever you can. Healthy snacks on deck. Always. When that hunger hits you like a sucker-punch to the gut, you'll be glad for the extra 30 minutes or so a nutritional snack will buy you. 

2.) Don't get caught slipping and still have to go to the grocery store after working out. Especially, if you haven't had aforementioned snack, and definitely not with out a focused plan or a list. That's the surest way to buy up everything you don't need, and possibly make bad choices for a fast fix.

3.) The best case scenario is to PLAN YOUR MEALS in advance.

Hence, today's tip of the day is:  

As long as I played by these simple rules things worked out pretty well and I was thicker than a Snicker bar, lol. Which was exactly the results I was looking for. Even if you're not trying to bulk up, planning your meals is still critical to helping you stay on track with your goals, whatever they are. In my case, the problem with hunger was that it led to vulnerability. Hunger left me susceptible to reaching for stuff I'd told myself I wouldn't eat, out of convenience {and extreme desperation, quite frankly}. 

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Meal planning can be as simple as you make it. I typically decide before going to the grocery store on 3-4 meals that have similar ingredients, get a grocery list together and jot down quick notes to remind myself which day I'll cook what. This overview also helps to remind me of key ingredients. I like to let my taste buds decide what I'm in the mood for during the week, and sometimes I may even ask my family for their input if I can't decide. I usually cook every other day (I DEFINITELY believe in repurposing leftovers). After the shopping, I put the plan on the fridge. My fam. loves knowing what to expect to eat from day to day. It really cuts out the guess work.

SO, that's pretty much it... for now anyway. Meal planning, although different from meal-prepping (which is next level bawse), is key. Trust me. Join the conversation on Facebook Live this afternoon at 3 PM, EST for a few more tips on how to plan your meals to win. ALSO, get your free Life Map, today's Meal Planner {plus other goodies this week} when you join the Wellness is the New Sassy private Facebook group.