We hope your week is going super well. Today, we are so excited because we are sharing with you a recent interview we did with Jen Udashkin aka The Clean Eating Goddess. If you have not checked out this blog yet, you are missing out big time! On her blog, Jen shares delicious seasonal recipes (often gluten-free and dairy-free and sometimes vegan) and insight into eating clean and how what we eat affects our overall health. She also provides recipes with beautiful photos and clear instructions, so even us non-chefs can master her Cornmeal Berry Cake – so YUM!
Today, Jen is giving us the inside scoop on how to lose our clean eating “V” card, what are the best foods to eat now and of course, what it means to be a Goddess!
1. Eating clean has become somewhat of a "trend", which can be misunderstood among all the health and wellness talk- vegan, gluten-free, paleo, raw food diet etc. What does clean eating mean to you?
It is funny how when we speak about diet today, it is almost always associated with weight loss. Diet in fact, is simply the way one chooses to eat. For me, eating clean means choosing foods that are closest to nature as possible. Clean eating is about fuelling your body to function at its maximum potential by feeding it wholesome, nutrient rich foods. Although I am not always perfect, I do try to buy both local and organic products and steer clear from packaged foods whenever possible. When it comes to my diet, I believe that buying top quality ingredients is key to having a healthy and most importantly, delicious meal.
2. If someone were a clean eating virgin, if you will, what are some small changes or things they could do to get them started?
I actually get this question a lot. People are so overwhelmed by the vast information that is available that often, people just give up altogether. The first thing I tell people is that any small change is AMAZING! The first change is the start to a potential of many more changes to come. I think the easiest way to start eating clean is to get into your kitchen! Eating less packaged, processed and take out meals will help anyone start their clean eating journey. The process of going into the grocery store and being mindful ;) of what ingredients you are putting into your meals is an amazing start. I’m not talking everyday here. Start with one meal/week and work from there. People are often surprised how well they can actually cook if they put their mind to it!
3. Why is it so important to eat local?
I think it is important to eat local/seasonally simply because it is better for your health. Foods that are in season are at their peak of freshness, which means they have the most nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc…) that we are looking for when eating fruits/vegetables. Year round available produce that you get in your grocery store is coated in chemicals and preservatives to ensure shelf life, as they are most likely imported from places all over the world. Although they look pretty and shiny, they won’t taste great and are not the best for you. It’s also great to be a part of your community and support local farms!
4. What are the best local products to eat NOW in your area?
I have recently started to order from Lufa Farms, which provides amazing local produce and products from around the Montreal area. I also love going to the markets! Both Jean Talon and Atwater markets offer amazing food to take home and eat there! These days I have been eating lots of apples, plums, pumpkin, beets, broccoli, kale, sweet potato and squash!
5. What will you be making with these products?
I recently made a yellow beet salad, which was delicious! I forgot to take pictures, but I will make it again to share with my readers. I also just made pumpkin pie blondies, YUM!
6. What is your all-time favorite food experience?
I am so blessed to have traveled around the world and to have eaten AMAZING food. One stand out experience was in Tuscany where a local family made my family and I a homemade meal with lots and lots of wine! It was a magical. I do have to say however, that my most memorable food experiences, are the ones right in my kitchen with family and friends. Nothing gives me more pleasure than making my loved ones happy with the food I create.
7. What food can you not live without?
Tough question! Honestly, I really love salad. It sounds boring, but my salads are always really delicious. I pack them in with loads of super tasty ingredients and balanced flavours and textures. Salad bowls allow for endless possibilities and I love that! After a not so healthy meal, they allow me to bounce back to my regular lifestyle in the tastiest way possible! These days I have been adding roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and broccoli to my salads. Very seasonal, and so good!
On another note, I don’t think I could live the rest of my life without having french fries. Its not something I order often, but I might steal a few from my man’s plate from time to time. Life is all about moderation!
8. What is something you would never eat?
9. What makes someone a goddess?
So happy you asked this question! People often associate the word goddess with appearances. To me, a goddess (or god) is someone who is authentic, honest, and confident. Being a goddess means that you inspire simply because you live a life that is true to your values, opinions and goals. A goddess focuses on self-awareness, acceptance, and positive thoughts. By being honest, aware, accepting and positive about my allergies and lifestyle I have been able to truly feel like goddess, inside and out!
Follow @cleaneatinggoddess on instagram for images that will make you drool! And, for ridiculously cute pictures of Jen’s French Bulldog, Lucy. You can catch her on Facebook.
We hope you all had an amazing weekend! On this #MindfulnessMondy, we are tackling the second Niyama (Personal Observance) of the Yoga Sutras, which is Santosa, and to us this is a BIG one! Santosa means contentment and it is about being happy with what we have, and not being unhappy with what we don’t have. It is about possessing a degree of modesty to understand that we are where we are meant to be. It is about accepting the rulings of Karma and understand that all things have a purpose.
We are sure this is not new information to you. We have all heard “everything happens for a reason”, “look at the glass half full, not half empty”, “take lemons and make lemonade” and while those statements are well known, they can be hard to apply and even accept. However, when we operate from a place of Santosa, of contentment, then we can see the positive in every situation. We can say to ourselves, “this is where I am, this is what I have, how can I be happy about it? What are the positives?” We know, we know, when you are upset about something, specifically the bigger things, these words can be infuriating! This is why we have to practice Santosa at all times, for the “awesome, there’s no line at the grocery store” time and “shoot I missed the bus” time, so that we are ready to employ it in the more serious times.
We have a moderate personal example. This week, a member of the #MM team was feeling sick over the weekend. She had big plans to run in a race on Saturday and to do a major closet clean up on Sunday. She also had family in from out of town, who she couldn’t see in the end because she was feeling so yucky. This sucked. However, on the bright side she got to catch up on a full season of The Newsroom (love this show, so sad it’s in its final season) and spend a day in bed, which has not happened in forever and probably would not have happened had she felt fine. So, the moral of the story, being sick sucks, but sometimes it forces us to take some needed R&R.
This is a basic example, perhaps oversimplified, but it can apply to all matters of life. In our world, we have control over few things, the most major one is arguably our attitude. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control our attitude and our reactions and by doing so, we ultimately can control the outcomes. So, as difficult as it is, try to trust the universe. Try to accept that everything happens for a reason and approach every situation with an attitude of contentment. When you smile the whole world smiles with you!
We hope your week is going very well! We are excited to share with you that this Saturday October 25th from 1-3pm, Samara will be hosting a workshop at Union Yoga. The theme of this 2 hour session is “Dig Deeper” and the goal is to help you learn how to go deeper into postures with proper alignment and learn how to assist yourself and others in getting there. Samara will guide in how to train your brain to help your body move most efficiently to get the most out of a pose in a safe way.
If you are looking for a sweaty flow class with hands-on alignment training, this is for you! Spots are filling up, so sign up here: http://www.unionyogastudio.ca/events/
We look forward to seeing you on your mat!
Good Monday morning! Did you miss us last week? We took the Monday off from blogging to enjoy some R&R on Canadian Thanksgiving. This week we are BACK and we are excited to share with you the second limb of the Eight Yoga Sutras, Niyama. Where the Yamas are the codes of universal morality, Niyama are personal observances we undertake to live with integrity and purpose. Like Yama, there are five Niyamas, so today we will talk about the first one, Saucha.
Saucha translates to purity or cleanliness and it implies a purity of mind, body and soul.
Firstly, we can seek purity through asana (posture) and pranayama (breath). By practicing yoga postures and deep breathing we rid our bodies of toxins. Twisting is an amazing way to release toxins, so try Uttkatasana with a Twist for a powerful pose, or Supta Matsyendrasana for a passive twist.
Secondly, we can purify our minds by Turning. Them. Off. We know it is not as easy as flipping a switch, but by practicing meditation, or even just deep breathing we can clean away some of the clutter in our minds and begin to clean it up.
Thirdly, we can purify our souls or our spirits. Sounds like a tall order right? Here’s the thing, it is really more simple than we think. Whenever you act with sincerity and good intentions, your spirit is pure. At its very core, saucha emphasizes the purity we can find in our hearts. So, be kind, be true, be disciplined and be loving and then ultimately you will have achieved saucha.
#TGIF! I don’t know about all of you, but we are in need of some serious unwinding and rejuvenating this weekend. With crazy busy schedules it can be hard to find the time or the best way to chill. So, on this Friday we wanted to share with you Five Things that help us relax, unwind and re-energize.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana): Nothing is more calming than Child’s Pose. When we take our head to the floor and begin to deepen our breath we are able to calm the mind, relieve stress and gently stretch the body. Sit in Child’s Pose for 1-3 minutes tonight to get the weekend off to a peaceful start.
2. Buddha Walks Into a Bar: Looking for a way to integrate a “spiritual practice” into your life that includes wine, sex, chocolate and a boss who doesn’t understand you? Look no further! Buddha Walks Into a Bar by Lodro Rinzler offers the opportunity to be real, while being thoughtful about life without taking the spiritual journey so seriously. Pick it up for an amazing boost of inspiration this weekend.
3. Aloha Fold-Over Legging: It is getting chilly here in Toronto, so bring about tropical thoughts with our Aloha Fold-Over leggings! Head out to a yoga class or on a walk in this bright pair and you are sure to feel energized and happy.
4. Pompeii: This Bastille song gets our toes tapping and our fists pumping Every. Single. Time. And, the message reminds us that although we have dark times, we must find the positive and choose optimism. It is a choice after all. When we choose to see the rainbow, we somehow forget about the rain.
5. Awaken Sea Salt Scrub: Indulge in a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home! Arbonne’s Awaken Sea Salt Scrub exfoliates skin leaving it illuminated and glowing and it smells diviiine! Glow from the inside out.
Have an amazing weekend everyone!
Good Monday morning, I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend. It is Monday, so it is time for another #MindfulnessMonday post. This week, we will share with you the last three Yamas, or codes of conduct for universal morality, of the Yoga Sutras, which are Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha.
Asteya literally translates to non-stealing. When talking about codes of universal morality, it makes logical sense that we would be advised not to steal, however, when applying Asteya, we are referring to not just not stealing people’s possessions, but not stealing their energy, their ideas, or their moments. As we have noticed with the other Yamas, it is much more about our inner world, than our outer world, for ultimately, when our inner world is aligned, we will naturally project that outwardly. One of the best ways to make an effort to practice Asteya is to make an effort to be present; to be aware of how our mood, our feelings and the things we say and do affect others. Notice if your actions might be stealing the light from others. Only once we become present and take notice can we make an effort to change our actions, so that they are giving, rather than stealing.
Brahmacharya is the fourth Yama and it means to exercise a sense of control in correct sexual conduct. In the most literal translation, Brahmacharya implies celibacy. Devout yogis have practiced celibacy in order to conserve energy and focus to deepen their practice. We understand the logic behind that and respect everyone’s personal choices…and we will leave this one at that!
The final Yama is Aparigraha and it orders non-possessiveness, non-hoarding, or non-greediness as the last code for universal morality. Generally, this means to limit possessions to what is necessary or important. However, what is necessary and important to each individual is different. Therefore, when making an effort to practice Aparigraha, take stock of all the material and immaterial things that we possess and establish how they serve us and how our feelings of attachment to them serve us. And it is okay, if the way our designer handbag serves us is that we love it and it makes us smile- that works! It is not complicated to follow the Yamas it just requires a commitment to no one other than yourself. So, be good to yourself.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.