5 reasons we all need yoga right now
life in 2017… it’s interesting, right? the world is a really, really crazy place right now.
there’s lots of change happening and many of us are getting caught up in the moment of everything… we keep scrolling through the comments of those truly awful facebook posts [i’ve literally lost all faith in humanity doing this]… we’re cutting people out of our lives when their opinion doesn’t align with our own… sometimes, we’re just curling up into a ball, crying our eyes out, and telling ourselves that we should just give. the eff. up. that it’s all a waste of time and we have no control over where anything is going.
it’s easy to forget the big picture. it’s easy to feel hopeless. it’s so easy to be afraid of what’s ahead. but does feeling this way help us rise above the bullsh*t and continue to move forward, both on a personal and societal level?
i’m guilty of feeling all of the things i outlined above. i go through periods where i feel paralyzed by my anxiety… moments where giving up seems like the best option, because why fight a losing battle, ya know? and this applies to my feelings on my personal goals, my professional goals, and where i wish society would go as a whole.
my anxiety pretty much encompasses everything. it’s not picky. if i can worry about it, i most likely will, sooner or later. but there’s one thing that always, without fail, snaps me out of it. one thing that brings me back to the present moment, brings me back to my power…
probably not very surprising, considering that yoga works wonders for a lot of people, and i’ve talked about what it’s done for me personally here many times before. but sometimes, we do need that friendly reminder to put us back in our place.
a few years ago, i wrote an article for elite daily titled “5 reasons why all millennials would benefit from practicing yoga” that really hit home for me when i was writing it… and i think it resonated with others too – it was shared almost 300 times!
i wanted to share it here today, because i think all of these points are still valid… for everyone, not just millennials [although they may hit a little closer to home for us than other generations].
… and then go hit the mat… and take this little piece of yogi wisdom with you…
blue apron got me feelin’ like a chef!
after i tried hellofresh [and really enjoyed it!] i decided i wanted to give some more of these “meals on demand” services a try. i love cooking, but haven’t been doing too much of it lately, and what better way to get back into it than with healthy meals made from whole foods delivered right to my doorstep? next up, blue apron!
my friend, and fellow healthy lifestyle blogger, alexis, saw my hellofresh post and suggested that i try blue apron [and gifted me with a free week of meals!]. obviously, i immediately took her up on the offer, picked the pescetarian box, and dove right in!
the setup is very similar to hellofresh [i mean there is only so many things that can be done with this kind of service, right?] but i do have to say that hellofresh has a much nicer presentation than blue apron does. with blue apron, all of the ingredients for all three meals are just thrown into the box, where with hellofresh, each meal was packaged into its own individual box within the delivery box. but, minor details! don’t judge a book by its cover, right?
i do have to say, while these meals were pretty easy to make, and i’m not a total amateur in the kitchen, they turned out so well that i felt pretttyyyyy damn good. they make it easy, but the meals they put together look and taste like they require a much higher skill level to pull of than they actually do… don’t you love that?!
here’s the lowdown:
crispy cod + yuzu-shoyu soba
okay, this was absolutely my favorite of the three meals for a few reasons: 1) it was quick and easy, 2) it contained noodles and i effing love noodles, and 3) it. was. bomb. all of the flavors came together so well, especially the sauce made from ginger, mirin, and yuzu juice with the added kick of the spices.
vadouvan chickpea burgers
after the epic fail that was the smoky black bean cakes from my hellofresh box [read more about that disaster here] i was a little nervous about how this was going to go. luckily, it seems like blue apron had all of their measurements right, and the patties came together perfectly. this was much more labor intensive than both of the other meals, but i can’t complain too much… i got a pretty good arm workout in mashing all of those chickpeas up! i really loved the curry flavoring, yogurt-based sauce and the sweet potato side dish, too.
zucchini + parmesan quiches
these mini quiches were pretty good, and the side salad was a nice touch! the parmesan cheese was a plus, but i do wish there was maybe one more vegetable included… like mushrooms or tomatoes, just to add a little more flavor to the mix.
i almost feel like this is a cop-out because i gave hellofresh the same rating, but…
4/5 bananas for blue apron!
honestly, if it wasn’t for the packaging, i would have given them a 5/5… the meals were just that good. maybe they’ll step up their presentation one of these days.
do you guys know of any other services like this? i want to try them all! let me know in the comments below or email me your suggestions at email@example.com.
if you’re asking yourself “what in the eff is hellofresh?” … allow me to fill you in:
there’s a new trend in the food world that i like to refer to as “meals on demand” … and the concept is pretty simple: a company ships you a box of ingredients and the recipes for pre-chosen meals… all you have to do is the cooking.
when these companies first started popping up, i was a little skeptical. it seemed to me like they were just encouraging laziness, but really, the opposite is true. i mean… think about it! while yes, this does eliminate the trip to the grocery store [which is where the word “lazy” came to my mind… i mean… it’s not that big of a deal] it also is encouraging cooking with real, whole foods over ordering takeout/delivery or popping a frozen pizza in the oven.
for many people, this means:
- no more having to search endlessly for recipes that don’t involve 47,000 ingredients and 3 hours of your time
- no more wandering aimlessly through the grocery store trying to get creative and come up with something to cook on your own
- no more guesswork on what’s good for you and what’s not
… all you have to do is place your order online and boom! meals delivered right to your door!
so, when hellofresh ads kept popping up on my facebook feed [they’re doing great with the targeted advertising apparently] i decided to see what all the buzz was about.
hellofresh sent me three meals, each of which produced two servings… since i live alone, this meant i received nearly a week’s worth of meals… and only had to do the work involved for three… talk about a win/win! [also worth noting: they offer a vegetarian box. yea, buddy!]
the three meals i received were:
ultimate springtime salad
loaded with veggies and a ton of flavor, this was hands down my favorite meal of the three! from the carrots to the fresh mozzarella, and from the roasted potatoes to the pesto, there was nothing about this dish i didn’t like. not too heavy, but not so light that it left me feeling hungry… it was also the fastest and the easiest to prepare. this is one i’ll definitely be making all spring and summer long.
asparagus + mushroom risotto with fresh parsley + lemon
this dish was pretty damn good… but also extremely labor intensive. the recipe [which was a little confusing in some places] said it would take about 45 minutes to prepare… when in reality, it took about an hour and fifteen minutes. making risotto is not for the faint of heart! with that being said, the end result was ultimately worth the blood, sweat and tears.
smoky black bean cakes
so… i have the biggest bone to pick with hellofresh over this one. again, the end results was delicious, but the process here was… a little frustrating. the bean cakes were supposed to be served over a bed of arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar… but by the time i got around to making this [2 days after my box arrived] the arugula had gone bad… and i mean really bad. no big deal though… i mean, this happens when you’re cooking with real, fresh ingredients. but, for the life of me, i could not get this mixture to form into cakes. i tried, and tried… and tried, but it just was not happening. the solution? i basically just turned it into a bean and corn salad topped with avocado salsa and sour cream… which was still pretty damn delicious.
overall, i really enjoyed the experience of having nearly all of the ingredients for a week’s worth of meals sent right to my door. the individually packaged boxes organized everything so well in my fridge, and really helped to simplify and streamline my week… something i think we all can use these days! i could definitely see myself using hellofresh again [esepcially if i know i have a busy week coming up] and would recommend them to friends and family.
the final verdict?
4/5 bananas for hellofresh!
what’s your favorite meals on demand service? which one should i try next?! let me know in the comments section!
healthy snacks + why they’re so important
eating well is obviously the foundation of good overall health, but as always, it’s much easier said than done. so many things get in the way of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, and for me one of the biggest obstacles has always been … snacks.
often, my day goes a little something like this: healthy breakfast: check. healthy lunch: check. 3 o’clock hunger pains: check. eat a healthy snack: check. still feel hungry 15 minutes later and proceed to stuff my face with anything i can get my hands on: check check check. you see where i’m going with this.
anyone who is a regular over here at bananas + bellinis knows that over everything, i believe that balance is the most important aspect to being healthy and happy. and with that being said, i don’t think there is anything wrong with having a cookie or some chips as an afternoon pick-me-up every once-in-a-while, but the majority of the time, your snacks need to be as healthy as possible for a couple of reasons:
1. the type of snacks we eat will determine how we function for the rest of the day. the food we eat not only affects the way we feel, but the way we think, too. if we eat something that’s loaded with sugar, we’ll do the old “crash and burn” not long after, both physically and mentally.
2. how we snack determines how we eat our major meals. if we eat a snack that leaves us feeling hungry, we’re much more likely to overeat at our next meal, or end up having a late night snack, than if we were to eat a snack that fills us up with the good stuff [healthy carbs and fats, fiber, and protein].
3. unhealthy snacks mean processed ingredients [aka alien food] and lots of [empty] calories. most packaged snacks that we find in grocery stores, bodegas and vending machines have tons of ingredients in them that we can’t even pronounce, let alone determine what exactly they are, and those types of ingredients come with calories that serve no purpose in fueling our bodies.
so, to sum it all up, eating healthy snacks is just as important as eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. not only do healthy snacks set you up for eating healthfully throughout the day, they also keep you fueled up in the right ways so that you can be as productive as possible while staying focused and maintaining high energy levels.
the key to being able to consciously snack throughout the day is by making sure that healthy snacks are easier for you to get your paws on than the unhealthy ones are. so plan ahead! find some options that you’ll easily be able to take with you on your way out the door each morning. having healthy snacks that you can get to by mid-day without much thought will reduce the chances of you heading out of the office at 2:30 for some sh*tty pre-packaged cookies from the bodega on the corner.
need some ideas for healthy snacks that are easy to take with you on the go? check out this post from the snacknation blog: 42 health experts reveal their top healthy office snacks … my personal favorites? cashews, hummus and veggies, dark chocolate, and finally, half of a banana with almond butter and honey!
photo courtesy of the scent of oranges
guest post: how to eat healthy on a budget
eating healthy is already challenging in and of itself for many people, and unfortunately, it often costs more to eat nutritiously than it does to eat unhealthy food, only further discouraging people from really making lifestyle changes. ever wonder how to eat healthy on budget? ith the proper planning and strategy, it’s possible to do just that!
by utilizing the following five techniques, you’ll be able to eat well and save money in the process:
1. buy packaged items in bulk. whether you shop at a membership warehouse store like costco or sam’s club, an organic market or a traditional grocery store, it’s almost always cheaper to buy in bulk. this is especially true for packaged items such as brown rice, quinoa and protein/snack bars.
while buying organic and higher quality packaged foods is generally more expensive, you can offset some of the cost by buying in bulk. for example, getting a large box of organic cereal with healthy ingredients is often cheaper [per ounce] than buying those single serving cups of lucky charms.
2. don’t buy pre-packaged produce. purchasing pre-washed bags of greens or packages of sliced pineapple might be more convenient, but that convenience comes at a significant cost. pay attention the next time you go to the store and you’ll notice the dramatic price difference between buying unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetables and those that are already packaged.
if you’re really busy and can’t make time to prepare your own fruits and veggies, stick to produce that doesn’t require any preparation, such as apples and celery. they offer nutritional value while requiring little effort to prepare.
3. grow your own herbs. a great way to enhance the taste of food without turning to potentially unhealthy sauces and dressings is by adding a few herbs. it’s amazing the difference a little fresh basil, oregano or sage can make on an otherwise bland dish. unfortunately, buying fresh herbs can quickly take up a large chunk of your budget. thankfully there is a solution: growing your own herbs.
unlike other fruits and vegetables, many herbs don’t require a garden, or even any outdoor space, in order to grow. this makes them ideal for homeowners and apartment dwellers alike. you can buy the seeds and soil inexpensively at a store like home depot, get a few small pots and you’re good to go! just set them on a windowsill so they can get sun exposure and water them regularly. give it a few weeks and you’ll have plenty of fresh herbs at a fraction of the cost.
4. snack on inexpensive natural foods. one category of foods in which the healthy option is actually cheaper is snack foods. doritos, cheetos, and other potato chips, for example, are really quite expensive. sunflower seeds, raisins and air-popped popcorn are much better alternatives to traditional snack foods at a lower price. if you really want to get creative, you can bake your own kale chips or pop your own popcorn!
5. invest in a blender and make your own smoothies/juices. juicing and drinking smoothies is one of the best ways to sneak some extra nutrients into your diet without having to eat something you may not like. once again, however, your budget is likely to get in the way of being able to consume store-bought juices or smoothies regularly.
investing in a high-end blender such as a blendtec or vitamix might be worth it, but with a $400 price tag, may not be an option for everyone. luckily, most of the less expensive blenders are able to get the job done just as well!
employ these five strategies the next time you head to the grocery store … your wallet will thank you!
this post was written by jason feller, the director of marketing for dealspotr.com, a site dedicated to helping consumers find the best prices on everyday items.
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