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yoga

25 min Yoga for Happy Hips

Hips – they don’t lie! Do you feel tight in your hips? Ask yourself:

  • Can I sit comfortably cross legged on the floor?
  • Can I sit in a chair and cross one ankle over the opposite thigh, keeping my back straight?

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and should be able to move in all directions.  Most of us who have tight hips find sitting cross legged uncomfortable or impossible.  Many chalk it up to old age but this isn’t true! Just like strength, flexibility comes with practice and is an ongoing journey. It is incredibly important for injury prevention. I really like to use the slip and fall example – if you suddenly slip and fall you’re more likely to recover quickly or reduce/prevent injury because your body has been stretched that way before. One of the many many reason why YOGA is so good for us!

This 25 min hip flow targets all muscles layers of the hip (there are several!!). It may feel difficult the first few times, especially if you are particularly tight in the hips. Repeat it daily for a week and stick with it, you will be surprised at how your body responds and how good it feels to open up those hips.

recipes

rice bowl – Indian inspired

Rice bowls and Buddha bowls are widely popular right now, and it’s no wonder why – they are usually loaded with delicious ingredients and really hit the spot when you’re hungry.

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load up on fresh ingredients!

Be sure to make extra if you want leftovers for lunches the next day!

Start with a cuisine you’re craving and create your toppings around that. For example, this bowl was Indian inspired so we used lentils (think daal) and spices such as cumin and turmeric. If you were going with an Asian flare, you could use soy, garlic, ginger, and green onions. Mediterranean could look like olives, oregano, dill, honey, lemon, and feta. You get the drift!

Indian Inspired Rice Bowl; garlicky lemon green beans, quick lentil daal, saucey black beans, shredded raw carrots, cilantro & lemon wedges

*If you like heat, you can add a pinch of cayenne or fresh red chilies. I did not include it because of my little ones.

makes about 4 servings

garlicky lemon green beans

  • ~500g green beans
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I use grape seed oil)
  1. Wash and clean green beans. Roughly slice them on a diagonal angle.
  2. Finely chop garlic.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, add oil and garlic. Once it is fragrant, add chopped beans and sauté, about 2-3 minutes, just until tender but still has a bite (not soggy).
  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and toss with lemon juice.

quick lentil daal

  • 1 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • water
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Rinse lentils.
  2. Put lentils in a pot and fill with just enough water that it covers the lentils by 1″. Put the lid on.
  3. Bring lentils to a boil then reduce heat to low, cooking until semi-tender (about 3-5 min).
  4. Add spices and salt, stir well then put the lid back on and simmer another 3 minutes. If it seems too watery, you can simmer with the lid off for a little longer – just keep an eye on it so the bottom doesn’t burn.

saucey black beans

  • ~1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small onion (either red or yellow is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I use grape-seed oil)
  1. Dice the onion. Roughly chop the tomato (keeping the juicy seeds).
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat oil on medium – high.
  3. Add ginger, onion, and cumin. Sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add black beans and tomato and cook until everything comes together, about 3-5 minutes.

Rice 

  1. Cook up your favourite rice (we used a mix of short and long grain white rice, and red rice). Follow instructions on the rice package, but in general it’s 1:1 for rice to water ratio. In a covered pot, bring it to boil then turn down to simmer until water is all absorbed.

shredded carrots: wash and peel 2 carrots, then use a grater to shred them.

cilantro & lemon wedges: for final garnish

How to serve:

Place every item in a different bowl or serving dish. Place rice at the bottom of your bowl and top it with desired toppings, mix it all up and enjoy! Or, if you like things separate (like my kids sometimes do) – enjoy each one separately. ENJOY!

recipes

lemon curd

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Doesn’t this gorgeous lemon colour just say Spring?! It’s like the sunshine! With Easter coming up this weekend, make ahead dessert is a great way to prep. Lemon curd is super easy and keeps in the fridge for several days. Spoon it onto anything like mixed fruit, plain yogurt, or a slice of sponge cake. It makes an every day thing just a little more special.
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what you need:

  • 2 or 3 large lemons
    • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs

what to do:

  1. Thoroughly wash lemons.
  2. Using a microplane, zest the lemon (avoid white pith) until you have about 1 1/2 tbsp zest. Set aside.
  3. Cut lemon in half and juice until you get 3/4 cup.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, whisk sugar, lemon juice and eggs over medium heat. Whisk until thickened (when it coats the whisk) – about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add zest and butter and salt. Whisk until butter is melted.
  6. Pour through a fine strainer to remove random egg bits and zest.
  7. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
  8. Serve cold with fruit, cake, yogurt, or even dip cookies in it…ENJOY!
recipes

caesar kale

I love a good tangy caesar salad dressing – and yesterday I discovered so does my 6-year old! Piepie even took some leftovers in her school lunch today, and we threw in some chickpeas and cucumbers to make it a little heartier. Definitely a win!DSC_0353

Kale is a great substitute to romaine lettuce because it holds up to the dressing, you can enjoy it a few hours later or even the next day.  It also has a lot more nutrients, such as Vitamin K (in general, the darker green the leaf, the better).

caesar kale:

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  • juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1 lemon
  • equal amount of light tasting oil (e.g. grape seed oil) to your lemon juice
    • you can always add more oil if you feel it’s too tangy / sour
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup finely grated fresh parmesan
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • shaved parmesan for garnish

Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigourously. Taste and adjust if needed! I recommend taking a kale leaf to dip and taste – sometimes the dressing on the spoon on it’s own is intense but it’s different with the vegetables.

  • Remove kale leaves from stem and wash thoroughly. Tear into small bite size pieces.
  • Toss in a large bowl with dressing, allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Overnight works too!
  • When you are ready to serve, top with crusty croutons and shaved parmesan. ENJOY!
workouts

Tabata 101

If you’re a busy mom and you haven’t tried Tabata… you’re missing out!! This is an awesome way to get your cardio and strength training in all at once, it only takes 20 minutes, and all you need is you! (Well you do need the app or a stopwatch for timing yourself).

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Basically in a traditional Tabata workout there are 4 rounds of 8 repetitions of an exercise.  Each rep lasts 20 seconds, with a 10 sec break between reps, and 60 sec break between rounds. Do as many reps as you can safely in the 20 secs. Below is an example of what your Tabata workout could be:

Example:

ROUND 1 – burpees

  • 20 secs – burpees
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 7 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 2 – squats

  • 20 secs – squats
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 7 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 3 – V-sits

  • 20 secs – V-sits
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 7 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 4 – Lunges

  • 20 secs – lunges
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 7 more times
  • 1 min rest

As you can see, the traditional method can be very hard to push through 8 reps of one exercise, especially if they are really difficult (like the burpees!). It also limits your workout to only 4 exercises, so you have to choose ones that are pretty challenging to actually get a full body workout in.

What I teach in my fusion classes (YOGATA) and do regularly on my own is a modified version of Tabata. Instead of one exercise per round, we alternate 2 different exercises, therefore getting 8 different exercises. It’s definitely more achievable and still gives you that feel good muscle burn! Remember, you want to do as many reps as you can safely in the 20 seconds.

Below is an example of what your modified Tabata workout could be:

ROUND 1 – burpees & squats

  • 20 secs – burpees
  • 10 secs – rest
  • 20 secs – squats
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 4 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 2 – V-sits and lunges

  • 20 secs – V-sits
  • 10 secs – rest
  • 20 secs – lunges
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 4 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 3 – planks and swimming (active shalabhasana)

  • 20 secs – plank
  • 10 secs – rest
  • 20 secs – swimming
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 4 more times
  • 1 min rest

ROUND 4 – push ups and high knees (run on the spot, knees up high)

  • 20 secs – push ups
  • 10 secs – rest
  • 20 secs – high knees
  • 10 secs – rest
  • repeat above 4 more times
  • 1 min rest

I can guarantee if you push yourself during all your reps, you will sweat and feel all your muscles working. If you have time – try to sandwich your workout with yoga. Begin with a short yoga flow (pick any short 5-15 min flow) and end with a good 5-10 min flow. Happy TABATA-ing!