Awareness in Eating

This is part 3 of a 4-part series about healthy eating as it relates to yogic principles, designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's May Challenge. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 4.

When it comes to eating, hunger can derail the best of intentions. Who hasn’t made a 3-o’clock trip to the office cookie jar after skipping lunch? That’s because when your blood sugar is low, your cells send a message to your brain that they need fuel - and quick. This translates to a primal craving for simple carbohydrates like sugar … and a biochemical response that makes willpower and mindful eating nearly impossible.

Snacking is the secret weapon that will help you stay on track and maintain awareness in all your eating choices. It sounds counterintuitive: eat more, weigh less. But it works because you end up making better decisions (read: you’re more aware) when you aren’t famished.

Of course, snacks have to be healthy to be helpful. This week’s recipe provides complex carbohydrates to satisfy your cells, but also offers plant protein and healthy fats that will keep you satiated for longer.

Plus, these things are delicious! Enjoy your third week of the May Challenge, and have fun testing your ability to maintain mindfulness on the mat and off.

Homemade Snack Bars

2 c. nuts your choice (almonds and cashews work well)
1 c. dried fruit of your choice (I like apricots but feel free to get creative!)
½ t. Spice of your choice (optional, but I love cinnamon and allspice)
2 T. coconut oil, melted (more or less depending on your nut choices)

Place first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse until pulverized. With the food processor running, slowly add as much coconut oil as you need to make the mixture congeal into a batter-like consistency. Roll out batter to ½” thick on a silpat or other flat surface. Use a pizza cutter to slice into bar shapes. Carefully wrap bars in parchment or wax paper and put in the refrigerator until they’re set. Enjoy!

Hungry for more? 

Eating for Respiratory Health

This is part 2 of a 4-part series about healthy eating as it relates to yogic principles, designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's annual May Challenge. Click to read Part 1Part 3, or Part 4.

You’ll be breathing a lot this week, so take good care of your lungs! Here’s how:
  1. Take a deep breath before you eat: this shifts your nervous system into a parasympathetic state ("rest & digest"), crucial for optimal digestion. Yep, that's right: your lungs help you digest!
  2. Pump some iron: Iron is essential for transferring oxygen in your blood from the lungs to the tissues and storing oxygen. Spinach is a great plant source of iron.
  3. Stop the sneeze: Just like pollen, allergenic foods can have respiratory effects. The Big 8 allergens are wheat, dairy, corn, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy. In addition, inflammation from eating foods like refined carbohydrates (flour, sugar) and alcohol can negatively impact lung health.
  4. Add antioxidants: counter the oxidative effects of air pollution and smoke by consuming antioxidant-rich foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
Support your lung health with this antioxidant-rich, hypoallergenic smoothie bowl.

Smoothie Bowl

It’s amazing what you can throw into a smoothie! I like to add whatever I have lying around that may not get used otherwise: carrots, ½ avocado, ½ apple, nut milk, nutritional yeast, seaweed flakes… the list goes on!
½ c. filtered water
½ banana or mango
½ c. frozen organic berries
Big handful organic spinach (baby spinach is OK too!)
Small handful nuts of your choice (omit if
1 T. chia seeds
Top with shredded coconut, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or nut butter

Place water into blender. Add next 5 ingredients and puree to desired consistency, about 15-30 seconds. Pour into a bowl, add toppings, and enjoy!

Hungry for more?