Setting New Years “Intentions”

“Exercise is for elevating your spirit, not just your heart rate.” -Dr. Mark W. Cochran

My words of wisdom on setting intentions (or Resolutions) for the New Year:

  1. Remember Rome was not built in a day, you did not get to this place overnight and if your desired outcome is big change, you will need to be patient with yourself along the journey. Start small, most of us know our biggest 1 or 2 obstacles for success. For me it is wine and chocolate on the weekends. When I started this journey 150+ pounds ago, I knew these were a problem, but I never chose to totally cut out these obstacles. Once I finally came to this place of awareness that these were the obstacles holding me back, and I took the first step to cutting them out (yes completely, I know it sucks, I’m sorry, but you are going to get out what you put into this effort), I finally started to see the changes I wanted in my body.
  2. When setting intentions/resolutions, please don’t just say, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” These types of resolutions are why resolutions, typically leave you right back at the end of December with the same old 10 pounds to lose, feeling defeated and shameful. Change has to be about more than a number on the scale if it’s going to have lasting effect. How about ask yourself why you want to lose weight, or finish your college degree, or learn a foreign language or run a 5K or a marathon or climb a mountain or write a book? Maybe you want to be able to bend over and comfortably tie your shoes, carry a laundry basket up the stairs without getting winded, wear a dress to your daughter’s wedding and feel good about yourself or pull your kids in a sled without passing out. Having tangible goals of how it’s going to feel along the way gives you much more to look forward to, versus an anticlimactic and irrelevant number on a scale. What does that number mean and is it even attainable? If you’re looking to weigh the same as you did as a high school cheerleader, you’re probably not being realistic. Setting mini goals such as, ‘I want to do 10 push-ups.’, or 25 sun salutations or a 30 second plank. Where are you at right now and what is a good mini goal for 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
  3. Surround yourself with people who nurture and support you as well as push you forward. Look around the table at your next dinner party, are these the people who are kind and supportive, yet challenge you to be a better version of yourself without judgement or shaming? Who in your life helps move you forward? Does anyone in your life hold you back from the progress you would like to see in yourself? Some of these are hard questions. Ultimately all of these choices will be ours to make but if we have a good network of support, our personal growth will be exemplified that much more.
  4. Lastly, find something that You LOVE. If Yoga’s not your thing (insert sad face from me, no seriously I will try my best not to take it personally), then try a kickboxing class or pole dancing or TRX or rock wall climbing or snow shoeing or paddle boarding or sailing. Maybe you want to make a quilt? Or learn to tap trees and make into syrup or the art of beekeeping or wild ricing. Whatever it is, have a passion for it so you can sustain your newfound passion for the long haul. What brings you Joy? What do You LOVE to do? How are you going to Carpe Diem the heck out of 2016?

With that, I wish you Peace, Health & Prosperity in the New Year and beyond. Namaste my friends, with LOVE & LIGHT….Julie

#NewYearsResolution #2016 #LivingWithPurpose #SettingIntention #Yoga #YogaOffTheMat #CarpeDiem

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Libation station: Chaga What???

Chaga you say? Don’t you mean chakras you crazy Yoga teacher? Or cha-cha? Maybe even chalupa? Sadly I’m guessing more people probably know what a chalupa is versus chaga. But I’m preaching to my choir now aren’t I? Chaga, Inonotus obliquus (latin), is a medicinal mushroom formed on the outside of a birch tree. As a birch dies in the forest, it releases its immune system in this large ugly, blackish/brown growth.

Don’t fear the ugly! This ugly growth has amazing health benefits, its antioxidant power is said to be the highest scoring antioxidant on the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) and you can find it yourself in the woods. Research on the health benefits of chaga has shown that extracts of it can hamper the growth and proliferation of tumors as well as have positive effects on the immune system. Laboratory studies on extract of chaga mushroom has indicated possible future potential in cancer therapy, as an antioxidant, in immunotherapy, and as an anti-inflammatory. Plus it is super yummy with my afternoon favorite, chai tea.

Where to find? Get out your hiking boots, we’re going for a walk in the woods. Look in an area with mature birch trees, if you see a large blackish/brown growth, grapefruit size or larger on a live birch, grab your hand saw, cut it off and take home this immunity gold mine. If you can’t find it in the woods, or diy is not your thing, you can find it locally at Harmony Foods co-op.

To prepare for use as a beverage, you need to get your chaga in small enough chunks to grind. I use a hammer to chunk it up in small pieces. You may want to save some bigger chunks to add to roasts, stews or soups. Put small chunks in a stainless steel hand grinder to turn your chaga chunks into what looks like “coffee grounds” in texture. Place your ground chaga on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour at 100 degrees (or lowest heat setting), this is just to remove moisture so it doesn’t mold in storage. Do not scorch or burn, meaning know your oven and don’t go running off too long. You have just enough time to do some Yoga By Julie. 🙂

After cooled, I put in glass ball jars for storage. It looks beautiful on my pantry shelves.

To use in beverages, add 1 tsp to a tea ball or infuser along with your favorite earthy tea. I like Good Earth’s Wild Chaild. Sweeten with some birch syrup (yes that’s a real thing, I’ve made this as well but I’ll have to tell you about it in another episode), or use local raw honey, or stevia. You can reuse the chaga approximately 3 times, but you’ll need a new tea bag every cup of tea for best flavor.

Thank you to my amazingly talented, brilliant, and inspiring friend, Sunny Savage for introducing me to this antioxidant power house a few years ago. Her philosophy is eat one wild food every day, it’s a good challenge. Check out her cable TV show, ‘Hot On The Trail with Sunny Savage‘ or her TedX Maui talk for more information and ideas regarding wild foods foraging.

Enjoy the connection to nature and all of its bounty in this rewarding process earth lovers!

Clean grass-fed beef meatballs

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There are so many different variations on the classic meatball, here’s my clean eating variation. These are also great to make a big batch and freeze for clean freezer meals. To do so, simply double, triple or quadruple the recipe for however many extra meals you would like to have on hand. Great for a party. I will be serving these Christmas Day as I have guests in and out during the day so people can just graze without guilt!

You can serve these meatballs so many different ways, on their own as an appetizer, with an “un-noodle” option such as kelp noodles, spaghetti squash, sautéed bell peppers (shown above) or zucchini noodles, or if you’re going traditional grab some spaghetti sauce. Tap into your Italian roots. Buon Appetito!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed beef
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (also called brewer’s yeast) (I found this locally at Harmony)
  • 1 locally raised, cage free, free range egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (more if vampires are near) 
  • Big handful of flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano (I like my spice, if you don’t tame this down by ½ or ⅓)
  • Himalayan sea salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare baking sheet by lining with unbleached parchment paper.
  3. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl, roll up your sleeves, take off your rings and prepare to get your hands messy.
  4. Mix all ingredients well, I use my hands, call me a Neanderthal if you wish, but I find it works best. You’ll be using your hands to roll the meatballs anyway, so why not.
  5. Grab a nice “meat-bally” sized portion of meat mixture, place in your palm and roll into a ball.
  6. Place meatball on parchment lined baking sheet. Space meatballs approximately ½” apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  8. Serve plain, with spaghetti sauce or with an “un-noodle” option discussed above.