Flexible Warrior - everyone is a warrior at some level
Flexible Warrior is all about the balance of opposites: power and peace; flexibility and strength; willpower and chillpower. Plus, learning how to think, stretch and eat like a warrior. Flexibility is power!
I know everyone loves a burger and a beer to celebrate Memorial Day and the 4th of July, but thought I’d share this fabulous patriotic layered superfood smoothie for a healthy twist on your holiday favorites…
Strawberries and blueberries are among my favorite summer superfoods… They are high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C to help support heart health and ward off disease.
Pomegranet juice is also high in anti-oxidants to protect against heart disease and cancer. Bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium.
Plus adding in superfood boosters like maca, camu and superfood blend supercharges your smoothie with extra protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (recipe below ).
I’m also sharing this short Humble Warrior flow sequence… it’s a great way to open up tight shoulders as well as hamstrings. Hope you can make time to join me (maybe on your front porch with your dogs next to your flag )
This smoothie will take a little more time and effort but it’s worth it
Blend each layer separately and be sure to rinse your blender between blending different layers. I even put my mason jar into the freezer each time I added a layer, to keep it super chilled while I was prepping the next layer. Garnish with blueberry and strawberries. Pick up some fun red and white striped straws for fun!
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and stay flexible, warriors…
I wanted to share a few thoughts on recovering from injury. Last summer I tweaked my shoulder while stretching out a client. At first I thought my biceps, back and shoulders were just a “good sore” – and in fact I even texted my client and thanked him for the great workout (his legs are bigger and more powerful than the average But… by the next day, I literally couldn’t even move my right arm. Ugh.
I have to be really desparate to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds these days (mostly because I took more than my share in my 30’s dealing with migraines and chronic pain after Lyme and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). I destroyed my liver and stomach lining and was then prescribed Prevacid (but that’s a WHOLE other story).
If I only knew then what I knew now…
Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot over the last 18 years about how to take better care of myself. I’m all about self-care, prevention and treating naturally when possible!
When this shoulder thing happened, my first thought was “practice what you preach” and I took an Epsom salt bath, iced up several times a day, rested, ate my anti-inflammatory superfood diet, slathered myself every hour with either Deep Blue rub or my magnesium oil concoction with a blend of essential oils (peppermint, lavendar, lemongrass and frankinsense) …plus I started eating and drinking LOTS of turmeric.
The injury happened Monday. By Tuesday evening I knew I was in trouble. The pain was excrutiating, my mobility was very limited and I didn’t sleep at all that night.
Wednesday morning my husband made me a sling with an old pillow case (I was amazed how much it helped to stabilize my arm and take the pressure off). I was desperate enough to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (naproxen) and I made an appointment to see the best sports medicine doc I know (Dr Andy Tucker at Medstar who is amazing).
In the meantime, I kept on my self-care routine, adding in extra essential oils, gentle movement and self-massage to keep the blood flow and turmeric… lots of turmeric (recipes below).
Thursday I was still very stiff and sore, but I decided to go without the sling and OTC anti-inflammatories but upped my turmeric and essential oils. The doc evaluated me and felt very confident that it wasn’t a torn rotator cuff but rather a strained bicep tendon. Phew.
I continued on my self-care routine and by Friday I was feeling 50% better (which to me seemed crazy since two days earlier I couldn’t move and had to do everything with my left arm).
By Saturday I was 75% better and could once again put my hair in a ponytail (instead of having my hubby do it )… And by Sunday I was 80% better and could even put on a sports bra (and every athletic woman knows that’s a challenge even with healthy shoulders!)
SO… the point of this blog is this… THIS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY Superfood diet, essential oils and self-care thing WORKS!!!
Now, we’ll never know what would have happened had I eaten the standard American “inflammatory diet” (SAD) full of sugar, gluten, dairy, fried and processed junk food, pumped my body with OTC meds, not rested, not practiced self-care and used Icy Hot instead of Deep Blue and magnesium oil… ???
My guess is my healing would have been pushed back days if not an entire extra week. But, there’s no way to know for sure.
I do know the body WANTS to heal. Sometimes the best thing we can do is nourish and rest it, and let it do it’s thing!
I’m a big believer in circulation too. Ice, heat, sauna, massage, acupunture, etc. Here’s a 10 Minute Self-Massage Myofascial Release & Recovery Stretch…
Quick 10 minute self-massage and stretch for tight hips and shoulders. - YouTube
Self-Massage (with myofascial release balls to keep the rest of my body limber and circulation flowing during recovery)
Essential Oils (Frankinsense, peppermint and lemongrass mixed with magnesium oil in a roller bottle – I use doTerra and am happy to do a free 30 minute consult with you if you’re interested to learn more about the healing power of essential oils).
Deep Blue Rub (also a doTerra product I LOVE LOVE LOVE)
doTerra Deep Blue supplement with Turmeric and Frankincense (or try this Turmeric Force)
Kevita Turmeric Tonic (available at grocery stores and evenstores like Target these days)
Have you tried turmeric yet?
Turmeric is a bright yellow plant in the ginger family and is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant with lots of healing properties. I believe wholeheartedly that food is medicine and turmeric has helped me immensely with my aches and pains.
Warning! Turmeric will stain your clothes, your kitchen towel, etc. When you brush your teeth after drinking it, your tooth brush will be yellow (don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)) but the benefits are worth it!
Turmeric Ginger Peach Smoothie
1 peach (or 1/2 cup pineapple, mango or an orange)
1 teaspoon turmeric
ginger (I used a drop of essential oil but you could use a thumb-sized chunk of fresh or a teaspoon of powdered ginger)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond or hemp – plain, unsweetened)
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or raw organic honey (or 1 drop stevia)
pinch black pepper
Hydrating Turmeric Tonic
1 cup coconut water
1 drop ginger essential oil (or 1 teaspooon ginger powder)
1 Tablespoon raw honey or coconut sugar (or 1 drop stevia)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Golden Milk (heat milk and add other ingredients)
1 cup nut milk (almond, coconut or hemp)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar, raw organic honey (or 1 drop stevia)
Cherry Turmeric Smoothie
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen or fresh cherries (organic if possible)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 – 3 drops ginger essential oil (optional)
Superfruit powder (optional but great booster to add extra vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties)
Turmeric Spice Superfood Bites
1 cup oat flour (make flour with gluten free oats in high speed blender)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 T turmeric
1 t cinnamon or all spice
1 t ginger powder (or 3 – 4 drops Essential Oil)
1-2 drops cardamom essential oil (optional but awesome)
pinch fresh ground pepper
pinch Himalayan salt
1 T raw honey
1/4 cup almond butter, softened
1 T coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Blend oats on high speed until flour-like texture. Add in walnuts and dates and blend again until fine. Add in spices (turmeric, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, cardamom, salt and pepper). In separate bowl mix together almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Roll into bite-sized balls and refrigerate.
Bottom line… you have an important choice… Choose products, foods, activites and thoughts that will speed your healing and support your recovery… or choose crap that will slow your healing and hold you back from being your best.
Again, I have no way of knowing what would have happened if I had chosen to eat crap, not rest, load up on pain killers and not listen to my body. But, I do know that I was in a sling and a lot of pain with no mobility on Wednesday and by Saturday I was 80% better! I still need to be super careful for another week or so until I’m fully healed (that’s the hard part!!!)
I always say, as a warrior, we need to honor and protect ourselves first – otherwise we can’t be 100% there for others when they need us. Remember, injuries while frustrating, can be our greatest teachers. Our bodies want to heal and they know how to repair themselves. Sometimes the best thing we can do is support the healing process and let the body do it’s thing.
I often think that we should celebrate the “new year” in April. With longer days, warmer weather, more daylight, new life and flowers blooming… it just seems like the right time to clean the slate and begin again.
Each January, instead of setting resolutions, I choose one word to shape my year (based off the principles in the book “One Word”), co-written by a friend of mine, Jimmy Page.
The first year my one word was “joy” (because I can tend to be pretty serious – all about work, work, work)… That was an AMAZING year btw so “joy” was clearly a good choice
Year two I chose “light” (mostly because I love the meaning behind ‘Namaste’ – the light within me honors the light within you). That was the year I ended up in nutrition school to become a health coach to become part of the ‘ripple effect’… to share and spread the light and be part of the healing of our world )… Very good choice…
Year four, my word was “free” (mostly because I wanted to be free from migraines and the chronic pain that was holding me back from joy, spreading the light and creating and YES, thankfully I took a HUGE step towards FREEDOM from pain, and I met Erin Knight from Association for a Migraine Free World… Coincidence? I think not.
Last year my word was LAUNCH (because I tend to be a thinker and a planner, but taking action and doing is what matters most! Sometimes I get stuck in the thinking and planning mode). I launched my first online challenge, the Spring Supercharge Yoga, Superfood and Self-Care Challenge It was a ton of work, but like most things, I’m so glad I leaped and took action, even when I didn’t feel ready. As Amelia Earhart said, “the best way to do it, is to do it.”
This year, my word is a little random … it’s FUN! Well, I’m turning 50 this year and as I mentioned earlier, I can tend to be a workaholic and I probably don’t often let myself have fun as often as I should. One of my favorite mantras is “don’t postpone joy”. We often put off things until the timing is perfect (which never comes). My dad died when he was 50 … I was 17 at the time, and thought 50 was old. But it’s SO YOUNG! Perspective. So, yes, FUN is my word. It may sound shallow but I truly think if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing something right. Right? So less stress and more fun is on tap (more about that in a future post).
So today, I just wanted to check in with you, my fellow warriors…
How is your year going so far?
So often, we put off our health and wellness until the timing is perfect. But that “perfect” time never comes. People often tell me they want to do yoga, but they don’t have time. Or, they want to eat healthier, but they don’t know where to start. I get it! I was there just a few years ago. But now, I do 10-15 minutes of yoga most days, and I have incorporated lots of nutrient-dense superfoods into my diet and I feel so much better! And when you join my Spring Supercharge 14 Day Yoga, Superfood & Self-Care Challenge, I’ll share all my secrets with you.
Spring Supercharge 14 Day Yoga, Superfood & Self Care Challenge - YouTube
If you got a little off track, NOW is the perfect time to reset your intentions for the year.
Spring is about new beginnings and fresh starts. Begin again. Clean the slate. Start over. Spring clean.
Pause. Breathe. Stretch. Do more of what brings you joy.
Hi Wellness Warriors! Spring is the perfect time to do a little cleaning, especially if you’re suseptible to spring allergies.
When I say “spring cleaning” I’m not talking about your garage or home, although cleaning house and getting rid of “stuff” feels super good for mind, body and spirit too…
I’m talking about cleaning up our diet and getting back on track after a long winter!
What does diet have to do with allergies? Quite a lot, actually. I would have never believed that what I ate effected my seasonal allergies… until I experienced it.
As I ramp up for my Spring Supercharge program, I keep saying that weight loss is a “side effect” of adding yoga, self-care and superfoods to your life. Meaning, weight loss isn’t the focus of my program, it just HAPPENS naturally when you focus on self-care.
Same goes with reducing allergy symptoms…
For years, every spring my eyes would get puffy and itchy and I’d sneeze my brains out. Then, I’d go to the doctor and he’d give me a prescription allergy medication, which surprise surprise would then make me feel even crappier. This went on for years, to the point that I almost dreaded spring, which used to be my favorite time of year.
About 4 years ago, I started to clean up my diet in an attempt to improve my energy, digestive issues, acne, hormone issue, migraines and other chronic muscular pain flare-ups leftover after having Lyme and an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
I had exhausted every other way I knew to solve these problems, had seen dozens of doctors, tried different meds and had tried every kind of alternative therapy I could think of including acupunture and chiropractic (both of which I love, but only got me so far).
The one thing I hadn’t yet tried was cleaning up my diet… I was in denial in thinking the coffee, sugar and processed foods I lived on to give me “more energy” could actually be making all my health problems worse. I did not want to give up my precious coffee, wine and chocolate…
But, as I started to make healthier choices and little adjustments to my self-care routine and diet, little by little my migraines, chronic headaches and muscle pain lessened, my energy increased, my skin got brighter with less breakouts and my digestive and hormonal issues improved greatly…
And, as spring rolled around, the dreaded allergy symptoms lessened! Honestly, the symptoms didn’t entirely disappear, but they got SO MUCH better, to the point I have never taken an allergy medication since! And I stopped taking my daily dose of Exedrin Migraine years ago (yikes).
Turns out, the anti-inflammatory, superfood diet that had helped lessen my migraines and muscle pain also…
Boosted my immunity through the change of seasons (when I normally got a flu or cold)
Helped clean out my liver (which filters allergens as well as toxins)
Reduced inflammation (which reduced the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies)
Needless to say, reducing aches, pains and allergy symptoms are one of the MANY reasons I love Yoga, Self-Care and Superfoods :))
My Top Anti-inflammatory (Anti-Allergy) Superfoods:
Pineapple: high in bromelain, which naturally reduces inflammation
Ginger: natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histimine
Leafy Greens: collard greens, kale and spinach are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to boost immunity
Flax seed: high in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammatory response in the body
Sweet Potatoes: lots of vitamins + minerals to boost immunity /reduce inflammation
Lemons: Vitamin C and anti-oxidants to boost immunity and cleanse the liver
Green Tea: high in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory + anti-histimine properties
Apples: high in quercetin, a natural anti-histimine
Garlic: a natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotic with immune-boosting properties
Probiotics: help to repair digestive health and boost immune system
Coconut or Almond Milk: replace cow’s milk with nut milks to reduce mucas
Coconut or Almond flour: a gluten-free diet can reduce allergy symptoms for some people
Raw Local Honey: can help your body build a tolerance to local pollen
1 cup oat flour (make flour with gluten free oats in high speed blender)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 T turmeric
1 t cinnamon or all spice
1 t ginger powder (or 3 – 4 drops Essential Oil)
1-2 drops cardamom essential oil (optional but awesome)
pinch fresh ground pepper
pinch Himalayan salt
1 T raw honey
1/4 cup almond butter, softened
1 T coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
To prep: Blend oats on high speed until flour-like texture. Add in walnuts and dates and blend again until fine. Add in spices (turmeric, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, cardamom, salt and pepper). In separate bowl mix together almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Roll into bite-sized balls and refrigerate. Enjoy!
Other allergy-reducing tips:
take a shower before bed to rinse off the pollen from the day
use a neti pot to rinse pollen from nasal passages (I use my neti pot with essential oils like eucalyptus, frankinsence or Breathe blend)
tri a daily ginger shot (juice an apple, ginger, lemon and pineapple
I’ve also recently discovered the amazing benefits of using essential oils both topically, in a diffuser and even taking as a supplement! Essential oils along with eating anti-inflammatory superfoods and yoga is a powerful combo!
Essential oils I use for Allergies:
Breathe respiratory blend (in my diffuser)
Tri-Ease supplement (lemon, lavendar, peppermint)
ginger oil (in my green tea, smoothies and matcha lattes
OK warriors! That’s my quick summary of spring cleaning for less sneezing…
If you’d like to boost your energy, reduce stress and feel lighter, more balanced and resilient, join me for the Spring Supercharge Yoga & Superfood Challenge... 14 days of short, effective yoga segments, superfood recipes and self-care tips to boost immunity, increase energy and reduce stress…
Oh, and the “side effect” is you may drop a few pounds and reduce your allergy symptoms
For me, every day without a headache is a serious blessing.
I’ve struggled with headaches and migraines since I was in high school, over 30 years ago. I’ve lost many days of my life lying in the dark in a fetal position, vomiting, shaking and in tears (these are not the moments that make it to Instagram).
I also get “regular headaches” – the annoying kind where I can still work and go about my day, but the dull pain is a constant reminder that something isn’t quite right…
In addition to the headaches, I get muscular pain (which started after I had Lyme Disease) that typically accompanies the migraines and can last for weeks post-migraine. Most people look at me and think I am super healthy, but the truth is, I struggle quite a bit and the reason I have chosen a healthier lifestyle is to prevent and heal from chronic pain and fatigue that has plagued me ever since I was diagnosed with Lyme and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease that presented itself after Lyme).
I began to embrace that my body was trying to tell me something… That I needed to change in order to heal… But I didn’t know where to start. Maybe you can relate?
For years, I went to many neurologists and headache specialists and tried various different pharmaceutical drugs. I’ve had scans of my brain and was even told by one doc that the only treatment left to try was removing part of my skull (yikes)… and after resisting more pharmaceutical drugs, another doc said I was clearly ‘not in enough pain’.
One night, the migraine was so bad, I was vomiting, shaking and I couldn’t eat or drink anything for over 24 hours …my husband was so concerned, he forced me to the urgent care clinic. Although I barfed in the car and cried most of the way, the nurse at the clinic gave me a shot of Toradol along with nausea medicine, which to my surprise helped more than I expected.
But I wasn’t right for days afterward that episode… the “migraine hangover” is brutal in and of itself and was affecting my life on all levels. I’d have sore spots in my skull and muscular pain for 2 full weeks post-migraine.
As a health coach and yoga teacher, I was embarrased and frustrated… How can I help my clients if I can’t help myself… and how can I be there for my friends and family if I’m sick and in pain?
SELF CARE IS THE OPPOSITE OF SELFISH
We must practice self-care first and foremost… And self-care is the opposite of selfish, because the more energy, health and strength we have, the more we can give to others!
After that Urgent Care Clinic episode, I knew I had to do more to prevent and heal… The bandaid approach clearly wasn’t working.
I began to understand that chronic pain and disease is not the enemy… it is the messenger that there is an underlying imbalance in the body.
After years of living on coffee with Advil or Exedrin to survive, I realized these temporary “cures” were only making my headaches and muscle pain worse.
I started to open my mind to finding the root cause…
I began researching more natural ways to prevent and heal from migraine pain. I was willing to try pretty much anything from Botox for migraine treatments to giving up my beloved coffee, chocolate and red wine.
I started adding in more yoga, self-care, anti-inflammatory superfoods and essential oils.
Little by little, my headaches and pain did get significantly better and so the journey began to explore and experiment with more non-traditional approaches for migraine prevention.
I came across The Migraine Freedom Summit and The Association for Migraine Freedom. The summit reinforced that I was on the right path to healing and prevention and to continue the journey towards migraine freedom. See my recent interview with Erin Knight below…
Migraine Freedom Coaching - YouTube
Migraine, chronic pain and disease is the messenger not the enemy… that the body is communicating the need for change and healing.
I do still get migraines on occasion (mostly hormonal at this point – and at 49 years old, I’m hoping they pass after menopause – now THAT’S something to look forward to )
In the meantime, I wanted to share a few of the techniques that have helped lessen the frequency and intensity of my migraines and pain episodes. We are all different, but in general, decreasing stress and toxic load, adding in more self-care and eating an anti-inflammatory superfood diet creates an opportunity for the body to heal…
Yoga, Self-Massage and Stress Management – one of the most inexpensive and beneficial things I did for my overall health was to incorporate more self-care into my life and reduce stress levels. 10 minutes of yoga a day, self-massage with myofasical release balls and choosing activites and relationships that reduce stress.
Anti-inflammatory Superfoods – I cut back on processed, inflammatory foods like diet soda, coffee, sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol and adding in more nutrient-dense, healing superfoods like raw cacao, chia seeds, turmeric, maca, yerba mate, spirulina, hemp seeds and goji berries, just to name a few. Eat more fresh, organic veggies and fruits and less junk.
Essential Oils – the oils that have helped me the most are peppermint, Frankincense, Copaiba, and doTerra blends Deep Blue and Past Tense. You can order oils HERE or if you want more information about how essential oils can support your health, you can schedule a consultation.
These little changes, among many others, have helped me reduce the frequency and intensity of my migraines and pain flare-ups. If you need support on your journey to migraine freedom, I offer personalized, one-on-one Migraine Freedom consultations. You can find out more HERE and book a 20 minute consultation HERE.
Or, join me for the Spring Supercharge 14 Day Yoga, Superfood & Self Care Challenge to boost energy and immunity and reduce stress and chronic pain. CLICK HERE for more info…
Blessings to you on your journey to freedom from migraines and chronic pain…
Spring is around the corner and many more runners are ramping up and training hard for spring marathon season!
Training consistently is of course key to fitness and a successful race day. But since everyone is so busy, runners often skimp on stretching, cross-training and eating healthy. There is only so much time in the day! Juggling kids, full-time jobs and a logging miles is no joke!
That’s why superfoods, smoothies and yoga is so great for runners …
Both yoga and smoothies are fast, efficient and super effective at helping runners boost energy and recover faster. And like running, yoga doesn’t require any equipment. All you need is 10 – 15 minutes plus consistency, commitment, showing up and doing the work. A yoga mat is nice, but not a necessity.
As for smoothies, all you need is a blender, superfoods in your fridge and pantry, an open mind, and about 10 minutes. If it’s new for you, it may take some extra time, but as you gain experience you’ll be in and out of the kitchen faster than a drive-through window and WAY healthier. Pour your smoothie into a mason jar and off you go… it’s delicious, healthy fast food to go!
If you’re really motivated, get your post-run smoothie prepped before your run, and drink it during your post-run stretch! That’s my kind of mulit-tasking.
WHY YOGA & SUPERFOODS?
Adding both Yoga & Superfoods to your training schedule will take about 20-30 minutes a day and will reap you a ton of benefits… increased energy, endurance and core strength, decreased inflammation, pain and chances of injury, improved flexibility and performance and even weight loss and a faster recovery! Even if you only do yoga and add a smoothie 3 – 4x a week, you’re likely to see and feel the benefits.
Superfoods are the perfect nutrient-dense fuel for warriors and are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. I’m a big fan of an anti-inflammatory superfood diet because it decreases inflammation in the body (which can lead to pain and chronic health issues along with a slower recovery) and it can boost energy, stamina, immunity and speed recovery.
Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory superfoods for runners are coconut oil, ginger, turmeric, lemon, avocado, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, raw cacao, himalayan sea salt, bean sprouts, pumpkin seeds, kale, bananas, blueberries, maca, matcha and goji berries (I could go on and on).
As you add in superfood smoothies, it will help you “crowd out” and limit unhealthy inflammatory foods like sugar, artificial sweetners, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, soda, processed meats, dairy, and gluten.
Weight loss is often another nice “side effect” of incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet
WILLPOWER VS CHLLPOWER
The Flexible Warrior approach is all about the balance of opposites. Do hard things that require willpower, perseverance and determination and balance it out with what I call “chillpower” to recover, rest and recharge. Superfoods and Yoga are both great ways for runners to incorporate more self-care and chillpower into a busy training schedule and hectic life.
My favorite chillpower yoga pose for runners is called “legs up the wall” (Tarah Willson picture left – Yoga for Runners at CCR Timonium). This pose helps to restore tired legs and feet.
Be sure to add Legs Up The Wall pose to your post long run / race day recovery routine. Again, no equipment required. Stay in the pose for about 5 minutes. Breathe, relax and recharge.
I also encourage runners to take an Epsom salt bath and / or use a topical magnesium oil to help tired muscles rejuvinate, relax and recover. If you don’t have time for an Epsom salt bath (or if you’re in a hotel or no access to a tub), try magnesium oil on the bottoms of feet before you go to bed. Add a few drops of lavendar to the magnesium oil to support a restful and rejuviating nights sleep. Many athletes are magnesium defficient so supplementing can be beneficial too. I use Natural Calm.
TIME TO STRETCH
Taking 10 – 15 minutes at the end of your run can make a big difference over time. Again, the beauty of yoga is you can do it at home! I have a Youtube channel with lots of free segments and Charm City Run hosts free Yoga for Runners classes frequently in their stores.
Here are two post run stretch routines to try (the first one is a little more basic and the second is a little more advanced so go at your own pace, honor and protect your body and give them a try)…
Flexibility for Warriors - YouTube
post run stretch - YouTube
POST RUN CHOCOLATE BERRY SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE
This smoothie is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, protein and healthy fats to help you rehydrate, refuel and recover.
Optional, top with cacoa nibs and extra goji berries and chia seeds (beware, chia seeds will stick between your teeth – don’t say I didn’t warn you )
To make: place goji berries and coconut water in the blender and let soak about 10 minutes to soften. Add all the other ingrediants and blend well. Add extra water or ice to desired consistency. Enjoy while stretching (hint hint )
Healthy Sports Drink Recipe!
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for performance and overall health. Instead of grabbing a florescent green sports drink that’s full of artificial colors and sweetners, you can make your own natural sports drink Coconut water is natures sports drink and has electrolytes and potassium, but by adding a few extra ingredients to your coconut water, you can truly make your own healthy sports drink to rehydrate and replenish the body. Just combine all ingrediants in a mason jar, shake and store in the fridge…
Interested in learning more about how yoga, superfoods, self-care and essential oils can help boost your performance and support your recovery? Join me at Charm City Run Timonium for a fun 90 minute class. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER…
Or, really dive in and take it to the next level with a 14 day Spring Supercharge Yoga, Superfood & Self-Care Challenge! CLICK HERE for more info…
Here are some testimonials from previous program participants…
“As a runner and a busy Mom, I’m so glad I invested in Karen’s Spring Supercharge program. I know I should practice self-care and eat better but I never actually did it… until I enrolled in Karen’s program. She is all about “progress not perfection” and that was such a good fit for my busy life. Learning how to approach my self-care with a sense of calm, balance and acceptance was as beneficial as learning about the superfoods that ‘fuel my prana’. I am proud of myself for making these positive changes in my lifestyle and I’m already signed up for the Core Yoga & Superfood Smoothie Challenge.” – Katie Heyl, Running Coach & Busy Mom
Karen’s Willpower / Chillpower approach and Spring Supercharge program affirm the benefits of home yoga and self care. As a runner, I log a lot of miles that really tax and tighten my body. I have learned from Karen about the importance of balancing my running and cross-training routine with flexibility and recovery. She always promotes and reminds runners that consistency is the key and that it is not about being perfect in yoga poses. Her short 10 – 15 minute sequences fit in great pre or post-run and really keep me feeling limber, strong and able to keep going… And learning the myriad of benefits of Superfoods has been dramatically beneficial to my energy and recovery… Without even trying to lose weight, I had less bloat and more leanness! – Gaby Fishpaw (follow Gaby on Instagram at @gfitfishpaw)
Hi Warriors! February is a perfect time to “pencil yourself in” and up your self-care practice.
I am a big believer that you can’t give from an empty cup. My clients and family benefit when I take the time to eat healthy, exercise and get quality sleep. I’m of no good to anyone when I’m burned-out, runned-down or sick!
That’s why I feel like self-care is the opposite of selfish. And BTW, you’re much more likely to get a cold or flu when you’re exhausted and eating junk-food.
Three of my favorite self-care techniques to boost energy, immunity, health and mood…
Yoga, Chocolate and essential oils!
“Healthy chocolate” might sound like a contradition in terms but raw cacao is a superfood that’s high in vitamins and minerals like magnesium (which is beneficial for the heart, brain and muscles) and is the highest plant-based source for iron. Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberres and is naturally energizing and mood-enhancing! And yes it tastes fantastic, especially when blended with a few drops of high-quality, food-grade essential oils (meaning, don’t just pick up essential oils at your grocery or big box store where they can be toxic!)
One of my #1 go-to essential oils in winter is On Guard protectice blend because it helps support the body against all the nasty cold and flu bugs going around this time of year. And there is nothing sexy about having the flu on Valentine’s Day … so I have On Guard hand-sanitizer in my purse and car, flowing through my diffuser in my yoga studio and living room and I just discovered that blending it into my superfood ball recipes is pretty spectacular (it has a clove and cinnamon taste which I love).
Try these immunity-boosting Chocolate On Guard superfood balls…
6 – 10 drops On Guard Protective Blend Essential Oil (optional but recommended :))
6 – 10 drops Wild Orange or Lemon essential oil (again, optional but fabulous )
Combine dry ingredients. Melt coconut butter and oil and add in honey, vanilla and essential oils. Mix all ingredients well. Roll into balls. Refrigerate to keep longer but the coconut butter hardens when cold, so warm to room temp before eating.
Yoga, essential oils and raw cacao all have benefits to boost health and vitality. Combine all three and BAM it’s naturally energizing, uplifting and immunity – boosting…
improve energy and vitality
reduce chronic aches and pains
support healthy weight loss and overall wellness
create a sense of “calm energy”
lower blood pressure
reduce stress and anxiety
… and most of all, they help bring us back to natural cures and our truest self to create a sence of inner peace, flexibility and warrior strength (you know I whole-heartedly believe we ALL have that warrior spirit on some level)…
Sometimes we just get so stressed, runned-down and caught-up in our hectic lives that we forget our true nature and warrior-spirit. But with a little commitment and self-care, that warrior spirit will SHINE again. Start by penciling yourself in and putting yourself at the top of our list.
I’m a big believer in practicing yoga 10 minutes a day consistently, using essential oils plus fueling your body with easy-to-prep super foods … these small, easy changes can make a big difference. This simple combination helped me find my Flexible Warrior spirit again, after being diagnosed with both Lyme and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in the same year.
So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, pencil yourself in, carve out some time to practice a little yoga and try this recipe to boost energy and immunity…
Here is a short Valentine-inspired Heart Opener Yoga segment you can practice at home…
Heart Opener Sun Salutation - YouTube
If you’re interested in more information about essential oils or one-on-one health coaching click here or for a free 30 minute consultation.
A Flexible Warrior is adaptable, open, resilient, balanced and free.
He or she can bend without breaking, calmly respond to stressful situations, and turn obstacles into opportunities.
A Flexible Warrior is all business, but has a sense of humor. He works hard and digs in when he needs to… but he also knows how to chill out and recharge.
Warriors have great strength, endurance and willpower, but when their minds and bodies are balanced with recovery, flexibility and chillpower, they are even stronger, more powerful and resilient.
Terrell Suggs is a Flexible Warrior. Are you?
I can’t take any credit for Terrell Suggs. His genetics and work ethic make him the amazing athlete he is.
I started teaching Spinning, foam rolling and yoga for the Baltimore Ravens in 2004, the year after Terrell was drafted. I remember lots of players in class … Ed Reed, Will Demps, Jarrett Johnson, Mark Clayton, Kyle Boller, Tony Pashos, Matt Stover and of course the always entertaining, enthusiastic and energetic Bart Scott (still one of my all-time favorite Ravens
But I honestly don’t remember Terrell in the first few years I taught for the team … Probably because I don’t think Terrell was a big fan of yoga or stretching in those early years …and yoga was not mandatory for the players, so he likely opted for an early lunch. Hey, I don’t blame him!
But in the years that followed, Terrell got more open to doing whatever it took to help his body stay recovered and his career more longevity.
Now heading in to his 15th year at one of the toughest physical positions, amazing stats and a seven-time Pro Bowler, Terrell is clearly doing something right!
I see Terrell most weeks to help him stay recovered. Here is a short video with 3 Questions with T-Sizz on recovery…
3 Questions with T-Sizzle - YouTube
Although I don’t remember Terrell from his rookie year, I do clearly remember the first time our paths almost literally collided…
It was August and knee-deep in training camp. I was walking down one empty corridor at the training facility (all the players and coaches were out on the practice field) and I heard this loud, pumped-up voice yelling some excited expletives down the other corridor. I couldn’t see who it was, but I knew it was the one and only T-SIZZLE.
A few steps later I was face to face with Terrell Suggs and he said “Oh, excuse me Ma’m” (apologizing for the words he used to get pumped-up and ready for practice when he thought no one was listening).
I laughed and said, “Are you kidding?! Don’t be sorry! I LOVE IT!” He smiled and ran out onto the practice field, carrying all his contagious energy and enthusiasm with him (although it definitely rubbed off on me that day).
The next day, I saw him in the cafeteria and he asked “you got anything for my hammie?” (which was evidently bothering him). And I said, yup, come on back and I’ll mash it out.” He said, “you’ll what?” I said “I’ll walk on it.” And he looked at me, shrugged and said “ok, I’ll try it”… and later that day I mashed and stretched his hamstrings, hip flexors and quads. The stretch and mash session must have helped, because we’ve been doing sessions together ever since. And I consider myself so blessed to get to work with Terrell. He is amazing.
Yes, of course I love Terrell Suggs for his competitive, passion and talent on the field. But it’s his kind, gentle spirit (yes I said gentle), his commitment to his self-care and recovery, his integrity and his sense of humor that makes him a true “Flexible Warrior”.
Being a fearless warrior who knows how to fight and win is one thing, but it’s the warriors that also know how to be humble, kind, relaxed, generous, compassionate and respectful are the kind of players I love to cheer for. You can bet I’m cheering loud for T-Sizzle every game.
It’s an honor to be part of TEAM SIZZLE!
In fact, having worked for the Ravens organization for 12 years, I can personally say we are blessed in Baltimore to be able to cheer with our whole heart for an amazing team of both talented, great guys.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to be a warrior. And you don’t have to practice yoga hours on end to be flexible.
Whether you’re a recreational runner struggling with aches and pains, a corporate executive who deals with job stress and making time for workouts, or a busy stay-at-home mom, trying to be health and strong for your kids… If you are committed to doing hard things in order to be your best, you’re a warrior. My job and my joy is to help strong people also stay flexible and resilient.
I’m in the midst of the January Jump Start – 5 Day Yoga & Superfood Challenge, so I am stoked on superfoods! The word “Ka Pow” comes to mind So I just wanted to take a moment to share with you the Rise & Shine Sun Salutation yoga segment from day 1 of the challenge, plus a yummy yet nutritious (and easy to make) superfood pudding recipe…
Rise & Shine Yoga - YouTube
I incorporate superfoods into my diet, because for me, nothing helped transform my health more than yoga and nutrition. Pomegranates and chia seeds are two of my favorites
“Let food by they medicine and medicine be they food” – Hippocrates
Last night I made this chia pomegranate pudding for dessert. Yum! But it’s so healthy I ended up having the leftovers for breakfast today (love it when dessert is so healthy you can eat it for breakfast too). Although, come to think of it, thousands of people have sugar-laden lattes, protein bars or doughnuts for breakfast. Ugh.
But Flexible Warriors know to eat like a warrior and fuel their bodies with prana-rich, nutrient-dense superfoods! So this recipe is lightly sweetned with raw honey or maple syrup and to packed with fiber, vitamin, minerals and antioxidants…
I once heard that chia seeds were fuel for Aztec Warriors, who ate the tiny seeds to sustain their energy during battle. These ancient warriors didn’t have packaged protein bars, so they’d put handful of seeds into satchels to carry with them.
Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are naturally gluten-free, high in anti-oxidants, loaded with fiber, protein, anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients. They have more Omega-3’s than salmon and more anti-oxidants than blueberries!
Pomegranate seeds are loaded with vitamin C to boost the immune system and anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce joint pain and athritis symptoms. They are also knows to help lower blood pressure, fight cancer, boost libido, improve heart health and fight bacterial infections! I often use Goji Berries instead of Pomegranate (which are also high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
The combination of these two superfoods is very powerful for breakfast or a healthy dessert! Plus it literally takes minutes to make.
2 cups coconut milk
½ cup chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup or raw honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (you can buy the whole fruit and seed it yourself, purchase them fresh or frozen… or if you can’t find them, use goji berries or blueberies instead – blueberries are a powerful superfruit as well.
Place all ingrediants (minus the pomegranate seeds) into a bowl and blend 1 – 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Put into a glass bowl or mason jar for storage. Top with pomegranate seeds. Put it in the fridge for 2 – 4 hours until it firms up. Enjoy!!!
PS Chia seeds send to get stuck in my teeth. But it’s worth it! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
In January most people have detox, weight loss or fitness on their to-do list (or all of the above).
It seems a little unfair, since winter feels like the time to eat comfort foods, lounge by a hot fire and pack on layers of clothes (if not an extra layer of fat) to keep warm. Plus, it feels extra brutal to muster up the willpower to pass up leftover holiday cookies and treats.
The New Year should really be in the spring – That would be so much easier! Right?!
But, alas… here we are, in the dead of winter, doing everything we can to kick off the new year healthier…
Eating superfood soups, winter smoothies, superfood oatmeal, and lots of clean veggies and fruits is an amazing way to boost your immune system and detox your body any time of year, but sometimes we need our little “pick-me-ups” to help get us through a cold, winter detox day.
How we start the new year matters so much, but how we start each day matters even more…
Yes coffee is hot and there is a huge following of Bulletproof coffee fans, but coffee gives me migraines, so it’s definitely not detox-friendly for me (more like kryptonite). Plus, coffee is dehydrating and for people who are already anxious or stressed, it can have a negative effect on adrenals. Plus often coffee tends to be accompanied by lots of sugar and other unhealthy additions, making it more like a cupcake than part of a healthy breakfast.
But if you’re a coffee person, it can be a brutal break up. It took me 5 tries to finally give it up (even though it triggered migraines) But the temporary “high” I felt from coffee was so hard to let go of, despite the negative effects (that, my friends is called addiction).
The final motivator came when my husband started calling coffee “migraine juice”. He’d say… “yup, go ahead and drink you’re migraine juice.” It would make me so mad, but I knew he was right and was trying to help me. That association started to affect my choices and now, years later, I never even crave coffee, which was impossible for me to even imagine 5 years ago.
Coffee, along with Diet Coke, are both things of the past for me. I’ve found much healthier drink options including green and herbal teas, kombucha, fruit infused water, smoothies or hydrosols (water with a drop of essential oil like peppermint, ginger or lemon).
But I’ll admit, in the winter, I crave HOT little concoctions to warm me up and pick me up, especially during a detox
HERE are 4 HOT & HEALTHY DRINKS TO INCORPORATE INTO A WINTER DETOX:
HOT LEMON WATER – This little magical drink is hydrating, helps to support liver function, kills bacteria, supports immune system, jump starts digestion and is great for detox (can you say that about your coffee?) Recipe is basically: the juice of a half or whole lemon, 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup + hot water and a pinch of cayenne pepper or ginger essential oil.
TURMERIC TEA / GOLDEN MILK – turmeric is known to boost your immune system and support digestive health. It has natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Turmeric is packed with anti-oxidants. Just purchase organic turmeric in the spice section of your grocery store. While you’re there, pick up cinnamon as well (I like the combo of the two). I typically use about a teaspoon of turmeric (watch out, it’s VERY orange and can stain clothes), a dash of cinnamon, add hot almond or coconut along with raw honey or maple syrup to taste (you can use Stevia instead, but I can’t stand the taste). Often I’ll add a drop of ginger essential oil – mostly because I love ginger, but it is also great for digestion).
GINGER LEMON – This is just a variation of Hot Lemon Water with all the same benefits: the juice of a half or whole lemon, 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup + hot water and a drop of ginger essential oil (or you can grate up fresh ginger and steap it overnight so it’s ready to use first thing in the morning – you’d just add the lemon and honey to the ginger water to make your tea. The key with using fresh ginger is doing it the night before so it’s fast and convenient in the morning – or just use the ginger essential oil, but make sure it’s therapeutic grade! I only use doTerral essential oils.
MATCHA LATTE – Matcha is concentrated Japenese green tea and is high in antioxidants, boosts energy and endurance without the jitters coffee tends to give me and known to have anti-aging benefits because it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
1 tsp matcha powder
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup vanilla almond, coconut or hemp milk
1 tsp raw honey, monk fruit sweetner, coconut sugar (or stevia)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or MCT oil
1 scoop collagen peptides
1 – 2 drops peppermint or ginger essential oil (optional)
Put matcha powder and collagen in mug an add hot water. Stir well. Heat the milk, sweetener and coconut oil. Mix together. I prefer blending everything in my Vitamixer so it’s frothy and smooth. Add essential oils (optional). Stir well and enjoy!!!
Also, I like an occasional detox tea like Yogitea Detox which has a blend of detoxifying herbs like sarsaparilla, ginger, licorice, dandelion, burdock root, cinnamon, clove and cardamom.
You have to find the flavors and concoctions that suit your taste buds and goals. Keep experimenting! But definitely increase your fluid intake during a detox to help flush out your system and rehydrate your body.
A detox isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s so worth it. ENJOY the process of letting go of foods, thoughts and habits that no longer serve your best self. If you need support during the detox process, consider hiring a health coach to keep you accountable and help you create positive change.