theHouseofHealthy

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Travel Time!

Hello, hello! We are on the road, well really up in the air, taking it across country for the next few weeks. On Thursday, we drove to Atlanta to stop in and see some family. Eaaarly Friday morning, we left for the airport, and flew out to Seattle, Washington. We are staying here for a few day and then hopping back on a plane to head to Kauai, Hawaii. We will be living it up there for about a week and then heading back home. Of course, we figured we would make a stop and stay in Las Vegas for a few days. Then it’s back to Atlanta to catch up with family again, and home sweet home to Charleston, SC.

What’s the reason for all of this?? Good friends and a wedding! Not our wedding (that was almost 4 years ago!), but some of our closest friends are getting married in Hawaii. We decided to take the opportunity to visit another good friend in Seattle and then to try out Vegas on the way back.

While we both love traveling, it can be extremely hard to find healthy food on vacation and in the airports. Especially when we have decided to go “plant-based” since the last time we flew anywhere for a vacation. Usually in the car, we have unlimited space, so we can pack food and stop at Whole Foods for lunch. No such luck at the airport. I knew Seattle would have a plethora of places to reenergize from, so I packed some snacks for the drive to Atlanta and our flights across the US. I focused on tasty, easy to travel with, not-too-perishable, and able to fit into my gigantic purse (along with my wallet, our camera bag, and a few other miscellaneous items). Here is what we packed:

 The dried seaweed snacks are crispy, light, and very tasty. Seaweed is full of vitamins and minerals, which make it a fantastic travel snack. We also packed some lightly sweetened naturally-dried mango and papaya instead of jerky, a little sparkling water instead of soda, and some roots vegetable chips instead of regular chips. Ok, ok, I know the chips aren’t really healthy, but they are a little better than traditional chips (more fiber and more flavor).  The ginger chews are to help with nausea because I have a tendency to feel a little yucky in my tummy when I travel.

 So the main tips to keep it healthy when you travel:

1)      Hydrate! Drink lots of water and limit the caffeine and sugar. It will help you to stay awake and keep your digestive tract in check.

2)      Pack your own snacks. Make space in your bag to bring your own food in case there isn’t anywhere you are going.

3)      Sleep! It sounds like a foreign concept sometimes when we are on the road, but try to get a little shut eye. It keeps your mood and your digestive tract in check.

4)      Take a few moments of downtime. Carve out 5 minutes to sit and simply breathe. Shut your eyes, focus on your breath, and let the somewhat fast-pace of traveling and catching flights/rides slowly fade for a few moments.

 

Stay tuned for travel updates as we check out all Seattle has to offer for the health-conscious traveler. I’m sure we won’t be let down.

 

Peace, love, and travels,

 

Jessi

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My Fitness Approach

I have a little different take on fitness than some.  As I stated before in the “fitness” section, I am a yoga teacher and group fitness instructor. For me, I have always been interested in fitness, but I’ve was not what you would call a coordinated or athletic child. My nickname was “Grace”, mostly for the irony. Running was not my thing, I fell off my bike a lot, and I was not exactly the most graceful ballerina. Baseball scared me – running, hitting, and throwing were foreign concepts for me. I enjoyed reading books, writing stories, and doing homework. But even so, I was still interested in fitness and classes.

When I was a little kid, my Mom worked in the school and would go to aerobics “jazzercise” classes after school with all of the teachers. I was always given a choice to stay for the class, too, or go home with my older siblings. I usually chose to stay. In middle school, we belonged to a gym, so I would often go and learn the weight machines with my parents. In no way was this ever forced. It was always purely fun to me. In high school, I wasn’t one for sports (running, catching, hitting – not my thing at the time). I did, however, enjoy the tae-bo craze. And in college, I learned about the elliptical and the stationary bike. They were very easy to use while reading for class 🙂.

I also learned about pilates at this time. This was the first exercise that helped me understand body awareness and how to use muscles instead of momentum to strength and increase that awareness. Pilates lead me to my love affair with yoga. I was looking to switch up my routine a little, and gave yoga a try. I loved the connection between the breath, movement of the body, and the concentration of the mind.  It became so much more than an exercise for me; it became a way of life. In yoga, I learned to pay attention to the body and as well as the mind. It helped me to concentrate and notice the day-to-day changes between the postures.

I practiced yoga for years, started running in college, and still enjoyed pilates classes. Even after becoming involved in yoga and teaching classes, I still enjoyed “fitness” classes, but with a more focused approach – incorporating the alignment of pilates with the principles of yoga. This approach to fitness fit in so well with what I knew to be true – in our fast-paced world, we over work ourselves, not just with our occupations, but with our fitness goals, and we become just that – over worked.

I learned that if we slow down our workouts and take a more yogic (aka mind-body) approach, we can get better results that leave us feeling MORE energized instead of depleted.  We can use exercise to create more energy, rather than drain it.  This is what I try to incorporate in each yoga, Energy Flow, and Energy Barre class I teach.

Here is a sample routine for you to try – all you need is 5-10 minutes for a simple, energizing boost.

1) Start with a basic plie – standing in a wide stance with toes turned out to the side. Hands on your hips, spine nice and tall (think a wide squat without leaning forward). Bend the knees and plie up and down for a count of 16.

2) Travel your plie – take your plie to the right and left. Plie through the center, then as you come up step to the right and bring your heels together. Step back out to your wide plie and step the heels together to the left. Continue 4 full rounds and then hold with the heels together on the right.

3) From here, reach your arms out to the side, keeping the shoulders away from the ears. Kick your left foot forward, to the side, and behind you keeping your foot flexed. Remember to keep your core engaged to keep you stable.

4) Then step back out to a center plie, hands to the hip, and start over on the opposite side.

It’s stretch, strength, and cardio all at once, with a little concentration work for the mind.  When your work out with the intention to create energy, it becomes fun and you are more likely to come back to it.

Hopefully I’ll be uploading some videos for you soon – it will be a little easier to follow than the written instructions 😉  Enjoy working out!

In a few hours, we will be heading out across country for a two week trip! As you can tell, I tend to ramble a little late a night. Thanks for bearing with me 😉  Look for some travel updates and tips on healthy snacking and eating while traveling.

Peace, love, and energy,

Jessi


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Ginger – The Spice of Life

Once a week, my husband and I usually meet friends for sushi night. Being that our current diet is mostly plant-based, we stick to veggie rolls and seaweed salad. One of my favorite flavors on the plate is the ginger slices. They have such a fragrant, almost flowery taste. When eating sushi, it is used to help cleanse the palate, but ginger also has many other great benefits.

In Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicinal practice, ginger is used as a medicine to help stimulate the digestive system and amp up the absorption of nutrients. Since digestion is believed to be the key to health, ginger is seen as one of the main spices for optimal health. The spicy, fiery quality of ginger stimulates the digestive enzymes and triggers the digestive process to begin. Ginger is also great for relieving nausea. The enzymes released help to tame an upset stomach and ease the “sick” feeling we get when we are nauseas. Drinking ginger tea or adding ginger to food when cooking is an easy way to incorporate it into your daily routine.

There are four ways I like to use ginger:

1)      Slices of pickled ginger: As I mentioned before, this is one of my favorite parts of eating sushi. I add a little ginger to the top of my sushi roll, place a slice in my soy sauce, and even eat it alone.

2)      Dried ginger: I love ginger in my tea. I use a blend of dried ginger and dried lemongrass, and sometimes green tea leaves in the morning. I place these in a French press or loose leaf holder, add hot water, a little lemon and brew.  Another great way is chai tea – black tea with a plethora of spices, including ginger.

3)      Ginger spice: You know, the stuff you put in pumpkin pie! Powdered ginger can be added to many baked goods for a nice, warm taste. The benefits of it aren’t as strong, but there are some and it does taste great.

4)      Fresh ginger: I add this to stir fry and soups. Chop off a chunk of fresh ginger root (a little goes a long way), peel, chop or grate, and then add to the dish while cooking. The fresher the ginger, the higher the digestive benefits.

As you can probably tell, tea is my favorite and most frequent way to use ginger.  It’s great after a meal, when I have an upset stomach, or when I just need some tasty tea.

Here is  how I like to brew my lemongrass ginger green tea:

Scoop your tea leaves into the french press (about 1-2 tsp), then add hot water. Let it brew for 3-4 minutes. You can add honey and cinnamon to your cup if you’d like. Press the leaves down and pour into your mug. Enjoy!

Coming up this week, my approach to fitness as well as some travel news!

Peace, love, and ginger spice,

Jessi


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5 Favorite Drinks

As a kid, I loved kool-aid. As a teenager and early 20-something (and late 20-something), I loved diet soda – specifically diet Dr Pepper, it tastes just like the real thing but with no calories!! Unfortunately though, none of these options as very healthy. Kool-aid is jam-packed with sugar and diet soda is jammed packed with chemicals among other things. Here are a few healthier options I am digging these days.

1)      Herbal or green tea – Tea has so many wonderful benefits and so many varieties, which you can drink hot or cold. When I was little, we would drink hot black tea with a little milk and sugar. Now, I prefer green tea for the extra anti-oxidant boost with a little agave nectar, and lemon ginger herbal tea for the digestive benefits (more on that topic next week!). One of the best things about tea is that with so many different herbs, most teas can be consumed with just simply some water to brew it.

2)      Kombucha – One of my more recent favorites, I had heard about it before but had never tried it until a year or so ago. Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea. It has a slight wine taste to it, and does contain trace amounts of alcohol. The healthy part about it is the fermentation process.  The culture used to ferment the tea eats away at the sugar and probiotic enzymes. These enzymes aid in digestion (much like yogurt) and overall support of the healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Kombucha is quite tasty, and is also thought to be medicinal beyond the digestive aid. Many people who use alternative health practices drink kombucha daily to either prevent or diminish diseases.

3)      Water with lemon- water is of course the hydration king, but as I have previously posted, add a little lemon and the benefits go way up. Lemon adds digestive fire, Vitamin C, and many other benefits. Also, who doesn’t like a little flavor to their water? Next time you grab one, squirt a little lemon juice (or any citrus) and enjoy.

4)      Zevia or sparkling water – sometimes, you just need a little fizzy drink. Soda is most people’s go to, but no matter what kind, it is just not good for you. If you need some bubble sin your life, try sparkling water. It is light, refreshing, and can satisfy the soda craving. Once in awhile, I need a little something more though, so I go for an all natural “soda” sweetened with stevia extract from the stevia plant. It is also a great alternative to the harsh chemicals and colorings in both regular and diet sodas.

5)      Coconut Water – natures electrolyte water. Sports drinks are a fabulous idea at heart – take water, add electrolytes, make it tasty and help people stay hydrated. The down side is the huge amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavorings.  Luckily, nature has given us an alternative. Coconut water is slightly sweet and contains the electrolytes needed to replenish the body after intense sweating.

So there you have it, my five favorite drinks. Go ahead and try one this weekend – branch out and try something new. After all, what is life but an adventure?

Coming up next week, I’ll be posting about our upcoming travel plans and how to stay healthy on the road, how to spice up your life with ginger, and my personal approach to fitness.

Happy weekend to you!

Jessi


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Healthy Travels in Charlotte, NC

Earlier in the summer, my husband and I took an impromptu trip to Charlotte, NC for the day. Originally, it was a Saturday work trip for the hubby, with the plan to work in the morning and then head back home. I decided to tag along(after much coaxing once I heard we would have to wake up early) to keep him company, and then we could grab some lunch and see the city. The drive from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC is about 3 hours total. As it turned out, when we got there at 10am, the parts for work were still in Indiana (ugh), but now we had a free day ahead of us. We googled a vegan restaurant for lunch and found a place to eat in an area called Southend. Southend has tons of restaurants and shops. As it turned out, our restaurant choice was ideal! It was next to a yoga-inspired gym, featured Raw Vegan food, and was also next to a mini-farmers’ market. Beautiful.

The hubby, Barry, at Southend

The restaurant was called Luna’s Living Kitchen and it was amazing. Their philosophy is to serve raw food, plant-based of course, to ensure the live enzymes in the food. When we consume raw food, we are able to consume more of the enzymes in it, which helps us to absorb more nutrients and digest the food easier. They also support local, organic farmers for the produce on the menu, which makes extra sure the food is fresh and flavorful.

The menu had so many mouth-watering choices. I was starving, so I decided on the Classic Veggie burger and the Hubs decided on the raw Lunasagna. Each came with a side salad of mixed greens from a local organic farm.

I also ordered a house-brewed Kombucha. I had the ginger flavor to up the digestive properties. It was spicy and delicious.

The yoga place didn’t have any classes scheduled when we were there, so after lunch we hit up the Atherton Mill and Market farmers’ market. At the farmers’ market, we found some organic, homemade dog treats, lose leaf organic green teas, freshly roasted nuts to make trail mix with, and freshly juiced muscadine grapes, from none other than Ryan Philippe’s aunt and uncle. No joke. And for all of you Charlestonians out there – they informed us that Reese Witherspoon is NOT from Charleston, SC (they were very adamant about this) – she is from Kentucky and just loves our city.

The dog treats were made from real ingredients, and are actually edible for humans too. We just didn’t try them because they contained eggs, but the dogs sure did love them. Our trai mix came from a company called Chosen Roaster. The company freshly roasts nuts, but uses the essential oil of the nuts instead of adding additional oils. Then at the market, you can add a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and seed to make your own trail mix. OUr was delicious and we polished it off before we even got home. We also grabbed some loose leaf teas from Urbana teas and tonics. The price was exceptionally good, and the teas came in a variety of flavors – all organic. We chose lemon ginger, Moroccan mint, and pearled jasmine. They were quite tasty and I wish we still had some left! It was a great little getaway, even for just a few hours. After the farmers’ market, we headed back to the car and drove around the city for a few minutes. The city itself was very pretty, and very clean. I hope to go back for a longer visit soon. After our driving tour, we jumped back on the highway, ate our trail mix, and headed home.

Where do you go to eat good, healthy food when you travel? Leave some comments below or on Facebook and feel free to share with your friends!

Peace, love, and safe travels,

Jessi