Eating With the Season

Hello, winter.Eatwarm This cold front has me craving some serious comfort food and I know I’m not alone. If we can’t warm up out there, we’ve got to warm up in here (our kitchens, our bellies, our souls.) Luckily, with the right foods, we can.

As soon as the leaves turn color, the days shorten, and the temperature drops, those cravings for lite, raw, refreshing eats are replaced with desire for warm, hearty, comfort foods. Our bodies are naturally in tune with the changing seasons, as they should be. Our vitality directly depends on how we fuel our bodies, from our taste buds to our immune systems, (no sniffles!) and everything in between.

Eating with the season means fueling our bodies to align with our environment…and satisfying our souls too. With less sunshine, we’ve got to eat our Vitamin D. With an abundance of in-season produce, focus on the season’s freshest foods, like squash, kale, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Sauté your greens for heartier salads, roast your veggies, and load up on warming herbs and spices. Transform your green juice into a sweet smoothie or even a light soup. Cure your afternoon sweet tooth with cooked apples (baked, roasted, or even microwaved.) Utilize healthy fats, like olive and coconut oil, and slightly increase whole grains. It takes energy to keep warm and good carbs provide good energy. Most importantly, listen intuitively to your body’s cravings, even when it calls for nothing but sweet indulgence. There’s a healthy upgrade for everything, from cupcakes to pancakes, pumpkin pie to brownies, even cake, doughnuts (what!) and peppermint bark! Once in a while, go all out with the real deal and savor every single bite. Yes, allow for occasional indulging, but never forgo the veggies and continue to build meals around seasonal produce, lean protein, and good carbs.

Warm up in other ways by sweating in the gym, hot yoga, warm baths and showers, bundling up, snuggling under blankets, and lots of tea by the fire. See, maybe winter does have it’s perks.

FullSizeRender(5)One Healthy Breakdown: Beat the heat…with how you eat!

Run the Summer: Summer Running Tips

Whew…it’s hot out there! Here are a few tips to keep cool and run on all summer long!

portrait of a mid adult woman jogging in a park

  1. Commit. Summer running is not easy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Make a plan to run as often as you would like this summer and hold yourself accountable.
  2. Drink water. Lots of water. The most important factor in summer running is staying well-hydrated. Dehydration is dangerous and miserable. Dehydration while running is double bad. Prevent it by carrying a water bottle everywhere, don’t go an hour without sipping throughout the day.
  3. Run earlier in the morning before the sun has heated things up, temps are a lot cooler. Plus, early morning runs are often quiet and more serene before the rest of the world has awoken. If you’re not an early riser, wait until evening when the sun has dropped. Longer days means more daylight, just try to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
  4. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the SPF if we aren’t hitting the beach or pool. The sun is just as strong when we’re moving outside, so lather up every morning you’ll be outdoors and find a good, breathable running hat for sunny days.
  5. Let your body adjust. At first, you may slow your pace and shorten your mileage. Running in high heat can be really difficult on the body. Ease into it and increase your pace and mileage so that you slowly adjust to the heat in the safest way.
  6. Dress accordingly. Running will heat the body almost instantly and body temperature only increases with every mile. Plan ahead and wear minimal clothing while remaining comfortable. Loose, light, and moisture-wicking is best.
  7. Run through sprinklers! Do whatever you can to keep yourself cool. Channeling your inner child and running through sprinklers or pouring water on your head is totally allowed…and extra fun.
  8. On that note, ENJOY it! If you don’t enjoy running in the first place, you really won’t enjoy running in high heat. Make yourself a kick-ass playlist, switch up your route, enjoy your surroundings, get a new running outfit, or do whatever you do that makes those miles enjoyable!

One Healthy Breakdown: run the summer, don’t let the summer run you when you can run the summer!

One Healthy “Baked” Oatmeal

photo 2I love weekends. I love breakfast. I love oatmeal. I love oatmeal almost as much as I love pancakes. Why do I feel the need to express my love for oatmeal? It’s just such a classic, timeless, never-gets-old, filling, healthy, energy-packed, adaptable breakfast! Here’s an adaptation you may not yet have tried. Even if you’re not a fan of oatmeal’s soft, thin, texture, you WILL be a fan of this crunchy, nutty baked version. Plus, it takes THREE minutes to make, can you swing it?!

One Healthy Baked Oatmeal: (makes one serving)

  • 1/4 cup oats (old-fashioned, steel cut, or both!)
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl. Either pop in the micro for 2.5 minutes or, if you’re really patient, bake in oven in pan for 20-25 mins. This one’s sweet enough to enjoy solo, but feel free to add your fave oatmeal toppers. Dig in!

One Healthy Breakdown: The perfect way to get “baked!”

Warming Herbs and Spices

Well, the weather outside is (again) frightful. Until spring hits and we begin to defrost, there are things we can do to keep a little bit warmer. Here’s a list of herbs and spices to add to your next meal, soup, or even smoothie, to turn up that internal temperature. Plus, as if warmth isn’t reason enough, they all pack a powerful metabolism-boosting punch as well!

fire

  • Tumeric
  • Wasabi
  • Basil
  • Shallots
  • Carob
  • Rosemary
  • Ginger
  • Dill
  • Nutmeg
  • Star anise
  • Black peppercorns
  • Garlic
  • Miso
  • Cardamom
  • Fennel
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginseng
  • Allspice
  • Coriander
  • Chile Peppers

One Healthy Breakdown: Turn the heat up and warm from the inside out

Hot Damn. Hot Yoga.

photo 2Looks like your typical yoga studio? Well, it’s not. It’s HOT in there…at Hamptons Hot Yoga (Bridgehampton.) No, like really hot. I guess that’s the typical response of a hot yoga first-timer? Shock? Shock initially, gratitude to follow. It’s not instant gratification, but it is gratification. I’ve been wanting to try hot yoga for a long time now and I’m so glad I did. I find that there is nothing quite like the benefits of yoga, especially for a body tired from spin, TRX, running, body combat, etc. Hot yoga combines each of the benefits of these other exercises (cardio, endurance, strength, agility, warming the body) plus stretching, lengthening, and challenging on a whole new level. While I love a good group fitness class, I despise feeling tight and compact afterwards. I love the post-yoga high that brings that sensation of long, lean, stretched muscles as well as a good sweat. Hot yoga brings the term ‘good sweat’ to a whole new level.

As unsafe, unnatural, and unpleasant as exercise in extreme heat seems, the class is conducted in a very specific manner, making safety the top priority. The precise rules, sequence, structure, suggested routine before, during, and after class, (LOTS of water, no food, no caffeine) all make the practice safe and beneficial for all. So, what are the benefits?

photo 1Benefits are countless. While the high heat allows the body to move and open more fluidly, excess sweat quickly removes toxins from deep within. Hot yoga is the perfect cleansing activity, it will leave you feeling renewed, rejuvinated, and pure. The postures and the heat works every part of the body; muscles, bones, organs, and even skin (our largest elimination organ.) Hot yoga claims to actually work 100% of the body. That makes 90 minutes pretty worthwhile doesn’t it?

Other benefits include; enhanced body processes (like metabolism, detoxification, mobility, circulation, oxygenation, and endocrine function.) Hot yoga also decreases stress, regulates blood pressure, improves immune system, and provides an overall ‘feel good’ vitality.

de467a032bb8ed4734e57c550e4e11aa_bigIt was great to see that the class was mixed, age, gender, ability, etc. It really speaks to the fact that anyone can do hot yoga, although I don’t think it’s for everyone. Anyone can experience this class, anyone can rest whenever they want, and anyone will feel the benefits for hours and hours after class. I was truly amazed at how I felt after class, with a new appreciation for the crisp fall air, my body, and even my simple daily routine outside of that oven.

You’re going to sweat. A LOT. You’re going to feel dizzy (at first, I’m told this sensation goes away after a few classes.) You’re going to want to guzzle water. You’re going to want to run out of the room. You’re going to daydream about ice cubes and stillness. But, you’re going to feel immense gratitude as well.

Hamptons Hot Yoga offers two variations; Bikram Hot Yoga and Hot Vinyasa, both open-level and all-inclusive. I gave the 90 minute Bikram class a try and plan to go back for more soon. There is not one downward dog and the class is the same every single time, a calculated sequence with exact purpose. This gives participants a chance to constantly improve their practice. Each of the 26 postures are performed twice with a few seconds rest in between. The first round sets the correct form and alignment, so your body knows where to go. The repetition allows you to push, go further, improve flexibility, and get the full benefits of the pose. The key, as with yoga in general, is to get the foundation down before pushing the body. Some of the poses are to be held for 30-60 seconds. This was a challenge. In the heat, it was a HUGE challenge. With sweat dripping down on the mat, focusing on the breath (and the rewards) is really all that keeps you going.

Vinyasa, meaning flow, is more of a fast-paced practice packed into a shorter (still 75 minutes) class. Vinyasa focuses on strength, balance, flexibility, and most of all: breath. Lienette, the studio director at Hamptons Hot Yoga, is very welcoming and informative. She clearly knows her stuff, as she walks the class through each and every posture with her words, not just telling you what to do, but how and why as well. And, even better, Hamptons Hot Yoga offers local a free week of classes so you can try it out!

One Healthy Breakdown: Hot yoga is like nothing else. I imagine the only thing it has in common with other workouts is the love/hate relationship. The benefits outweigh the burdens, if you can take the heat.