Good morning! We made it through Monday! Anyone else a little too excited by that?
I have the promised “feared veggie dinner” coming right up…
But first a little chat about emotional yoga!
For the vast majority of my life, I never was much of a crier. (I was definitely more of a screamer and door-slammer, but that’s a different matter entirely!) Throughout high school and college, I rarely cried. I can probably count on one hand the number of tears I shed prior to 2010. I had a lot of unhealthy ways of dealing with stress, and I realize now that I internalized far more emotions than I should have.
Fast forward to now. I cry a fairly good amount. I have realized that it’s a healthy way of letting out some of the frustration, sadness and irritation that would otherwise be floating around in your body as all sorts of ugly negativity. I don’t necessarily like crying – to me, it still feels awkward and dramatic – not to mention I am not a dainty crier. I’m talking Rudolph nose, swollen face, mascara dripping everywhere as I blubber…cute, huh?
Regardless, crying happens. I don’t mind letting myself let go of being scared or upset and crying it out.
Cry it out is exactly what I did…last night on my yoga mat. Twice.
Working on our ugai breathing, the instructor has us breathe in aspects of the person we wanted to be and breathe out the negativity and the labels that didn’t serve us any more. He asked us to use our breath to smooth out our insides. While I’ve never been one for the calming/spiritual/mind-body aspects of yoga (as opposed to the physical side,) I found myself really getting into the breathing exercise, welcoming in positive adjectives and pushing out the disparagings labels that I’d fought with for years. Chubby. Not good enough. Not talented enough. Not pretty enough.
Although I am blessed to have worked through the self-esteem issues that haunted me and caused my eating disorder, thoughts like that are always able to sneak back in. Moving beyond an eating disorder does not mean that you will magically love yourself every minute of every day. Sure, you may no longer allow insecurities to trigger self-destructive havits, but on some level, there’s always the opportunity to harbor less-than-loving thoughts towards yourself.
In yoga yesterday, as I pushed out all of the ugly words that I didn’t even realize I’d been holding on to, the emotions came rushing out. I was good enough. I realized that I have never been anything less than enough, and that all along, I have been strong, pretty, intelligent, ambitious…I am good enough. Not just me, though: every single woman in that room, in this city, on the other end of the computer screen…we are good enough.
And just think – a simple little breathing exercise unlocked all of that in my brain! Who says yoga isn’t therapy?
After an emotionally intense practice, I was quite ready for an easy, delicious meal by the time I got home. Luckily, there were leftovers from Sunday’s dinner!
Do you have time for another antecdote? I’ll make it quick, I promise. As a kid, I was forced to eat a ridiculous amount of Brussels Sprouts. (Who wasn’t, it seems?) In my seven year old mind, they were NASTY. Bitter, slimy, weird-textured…and although I don’t remember much of a flavor, my parents were quite fond of frozen veggies straight from the bag, so I’ll go ahead and guess there was little taste to the odd green balls of veggie-ness.
As I became a vegetarian, I became a much more adventurous eater. Things I never cared for or outright disliked found their way onto my plate – mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, you get the picture…except for brussels sprouts. I was still convinced that they would be GROSS.
After finding a great sale on them at my market, however, I had to give them a go…childhood aversions or not!
Thankfully they were drop. dead. fantastic.
Lemon Butter Gnocchi and Brussels Sprouts
Vegan, Serves two
- 1 bag whole wheat potato gnocchi
- 10-12 large Brussels Sprouts
- 4 cups water
- 4 tbsp Smart Balance Light (or other vegan butter substitute)
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
- Cut your brussels sprouts into quarters (or halves if you would prefer larger pieces)
- In a large pan, warm the olive oil and drop in your brussels sprouts, sauteeing until lightly browned.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add in your gnocchi, cover, and reduce to medium heat. Allow the gnocchi 3-5 minutes to cook; once they float to the top, they’re ready!
- Drain your gnocchi and add to the saucepan with the brussels sprouts.
- Stir in your “butter” and seasonings – serve warm!
This dinner was the perfect fresh, tangy, spring-y plate of deliciousness packed with vitamin A, C and K…not to mention a hefty dose of folate and fiber!
Folks…you have just witnessed the official Brussels Sprouts conversion in the Lovely as Charged kitchen.
Perhaps…just maybe…they’re so delicious that I could cry?
Have you ever cried during yoga?
Do you have any foods that you swore up and down you would hate until you tried them? What about a food that your childhood ruined for your grown-up self?
The best thing about yoga is that there is no “right” or “wrong”, no mistakes and no apologies. Your body is strong enough to carry you through exactly what you need to do, and in the end, your best is more than enough.
At the end of a long day, sometimes a good level three power yoga session is exactly what you need. I utilized my second class at Shine On Yoga for a fabulously sweaty hour and a half. I walked in feeling like a rock and walked out feeling like a rock star. That, my friends, is the marker of a good class.
Pre-class: Breakfast for dinner!
You really can’t go wrong with a scrambled egg + toast combo. It’s substantial enough to power you through a workout due to its combination of protein, fat and carbs, but it doesn’t weigh you down.
This morning, I had sweets on the brain. Luckily, I’d made a version of overnight oats inspired by chocolate chip cookie dough.
My version was extra chewy from using steel cut oats (rather than the traditional rolled variety).
Technically, I cooked these beforehand and simply allowed them to chill/absorb overnight, but does it truly matter in the grand scheme of things? It still yielded a cool, chewy breakfast that was ready to eat straight out of the refrigerator!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Steel Cut Overnight Oats
Vegetarian (Vegan, depending on protein powder used), Serves One
- 1 banana
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Tera’s Whey)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup chocolate chips
- Bring water to a rapid boil; add in oats and banana. Cover pot and remove from heat. Allow the oats to set for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in protein powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract.
- Place pot (on a hotpad) in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, dish up and top with chocolate chips.
So simple, so delicious! Although I must say, it was a bit odd eating cold oatmeal!
Off to do the work thang. Hang in there, kiddos, it’s almost Friday!
What is your favorite thing about yoga? If you don’t practice, what is your favorite thing about your workout of choice?