Category Archives: 28-Day Refresh

Stress-Busting Yoga Moves

Our very own Clare Weber suggested three simple yoga moves you can bust out to beat stress. For each pose, we’ve included a link to Yoga Journal where you can read more, and check out a picture of the pose.

Balasana (aka Child’s Pose)

Description: Kneeling on the ground, with big toes touching, fold forward, resting forehead on the earth, and reaching your hips back towards your heels. Allow your arms to reach out in front of you or relax them by your sides, with your hands by your feet, shoulders relaxing down to the earth.
*Helps to center and ground, relieving stress as it encourages the body to relax
*Gently stretches the hips, ankles, and thighs
*Helps relieve back pain

Uttanasana (aka Standing Forward Bend)

Description: From standing (with feet together or hip distance apart), fold forward from the hip joint, keeping the back flat and long. Release hands down to the earth underneath the shoulders. Take a slight bend in the knees to help release your lower back, or gently start to straighten the knees to target your hamstrings.
*Stretches the hamstrings and back muscles
*Improves digestion, stimulates the spleen, kidneys, and the liver;
*Reduces fatigue and anxiety
*Therapeutic for high blood pressure, osteoporosis, asthma, infertility, and sinusitis.

Viparita Karani (aka Legs-Up-The-Wall pose)

Description: Place one hip against the wall, sitting sideways. Gently fan out the feet and legs up the wall, lowering the back down to rest on the earth. Open the arms out to the sides, then bend the elbows, pointing the fingers away from the wall. Close the eyes, and remain in this pose for several minutes. To release from the pose, slowly roll over onto one side, resting in the fetal position for a few moments before sitting upright.
*Gently stretches the back of the legs, the front torso, and the back of the neck
*Relieves the symptoms of menopause and PMS
*Reduces stress, anxiety, and mild depression
*Calms the mind
*Relieves mild backaches and tired or cramped legs and feet

Quick and Satisfying Grain Salads

Healthy eating can be a lot of work, especially at lunchtime when we tend to be busy & distracted.  You’ve probably already discovered that a little planning gives you a huge advantage when lunchtime hunger sneaks into your busy day.  Grain salads are the perfect solution!

The key is pre-cooking your gluten free grains (quinoa, rice, etc.) ahead of time.  We like to make a big batch of quinoa, keep what you’ll use for the next few days in the fridge, then spread out the rest on a baking sheet and stick it in the freezer.  Once frozen, transfer individual servings to bags and leave in your freezer.

Trust me when I say, these are a quick and easy solution to the lunchtime “hanger” strike that comes over our body when we’ve waited too long to nourish it!

Similar to last week’s salad strategy, here’s a quick and easy formula that takes advantage of whatever you’ve got hanging around in the fridge.

wilted kale & quinoa salad / roasted butternut squash & tomato / miso dressing

grains + veggies + protein + dressing/toppings

  • grains:  They can be a great source of protein and minerals.  If you’re looking for gluten-free varieties, some of our favorites are quinoa, amaranth, millet, and rice (white, brown, wild).  Wanna know why they’re so good for you?  Check out this list of benefits.
  • veggies:  Anything goes. Maybe you have some leftover veggies from dinner, or your Farmers Market haul.  Chop and go raw, or (if you’re thinking ahead) toss them with some olive oil and salt & pepper roast a batch to have on hand.
  • protein:  Fresh fish, chicken breast, turkey, even lean steak are all good options. Don’t forget about eggs (hard boiled works well here).
  • dressing/toppings:  coconut oil, olive oil and avocado will add healthy fat and flavor.  Salsa, a squeeze of citrus juice, or a splash of vinegar will add acid.  Nuts or seeds will add crunch. Herbs will add flavor and freshness.

Here are some of our favorite combos:

  • quinoa // arugula, roasted beets & orange segments // salmon //  a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of orange & sunflower seeds
  • brown rice // grilled onions & peppers  // chicken // avocado, salsa & cilantro
  • quinoa // bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, capers & kalamata olives // a drizzle of olive oil & a squeeze of lemon

white bean, sweet potato & kale korma / toasted millet pilaf

Salad Strategy

Lunches can be hard.  They can also be rather sad.  If you’re trying to squeeze more veggies in your diet, you may already be in the habit of taking a salad with you to work and trying really hard to enjoy it for lunch.  But are you finding that your homemade salads aren’t as good as what you get in a restaurant?  Or do they leave you still wanting a bag of chips?

Well, we’ve got a strategy for keeping lunchtime salads satisfying and delicious.  It’s all about the formula.

grilled shrimp salad / watermelon, corn & cucumber / green goddess dressing

greens + veg/fruit + protein + crunch + dressing

  • greens:  Anything will do, but the darker green you go the more nutrients you’ll be getting.  Use just one type or mix it up for variety (romaine, kale, cabbage, arugula, spinach).
  • veg/fruit:  This one is pretty obvious.  Try to include a variety of color.  This isn’t just to make the salad pretty, but different colors actually indicate different nutrients.  Use whatever vegetables you like.  The ones that are more firm (carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, apples) will hold up well when prepped in advance.  Softer vegetables are best prepped in the morning, or right before you eat (cherry tomatoes, avocado, mango).
  • protein:  Build this into your leftovers strategy by cooking extra chicken/beef/whatever while making dinner.  Or just grill up a bunch at the beginning of the week to have on hand.  Thinly slice beef, cut pork into bite sized pieces, shred or slice chicken, break salmon into chunks.
  • crunch:  Maybe you’ve already included some crunchy veggies or fruit, but another layer of crunch never hurts.  Try toasted walnuts, chopped almonds, sesame seeds, or toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
  • dressing:  Don’t let anyone fool you, most of the bottled dressings you can purchase in the store are loaded with fillers, sugar, and/or unhealthy oils.  (Read the labels and then stop buying the stuff.) If you’re lucky enough to have a bottle of Spoon & Skillet vinaigrette base, you can mix 1 tablespoon of the base with 1 tablespoon of oil to make a quick and delicious vinaigrette.  Otherwise, grab a jar and fill 1/4 of the way with whatever kind of vinegar you like.  Add a little spoonful of dijon (if you’d like), chopped garlic or shallot (if you’re feeling fancy), a squeeze of honey (if you like it sweet) and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Pour an equal amount of olive oil into the jar.  Shake, taste, and continue to add olive oil to your desired taste.  We like a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to oil…but many prefer a 1:2 ratio…and it can vary depending on the type of vinegar.

Here are some of our favorite combos:

  • romaine & kale // diced apples & shredded carrot // chicken // pecans // balsamic vinaigrette
  • shredded cabbage & arugula // diced peppers & mango // salmon // sesame seeds // rice wine vinaigrette
  • spinach // radishes, cherry tomatoes & onion // sliced steak // pepitas // honey mustard vinaigrette

chicken and kale chopped salad 041414 edited