Messy Grain Bowl 

During the throws of a semester, an everyday sort of lunch that I pack for myself is one of my favorite all-time meals: MESSY GRAIN BOWLS. This usually looks like a quinoa or other complex carb oh top of kale with zucchini and/or mushrooms, with beans and/or tofu, avocado, and my favorite dressing. It is super simple, super fast, super easy, and you can prep it early in the week. 

The most important part of this bowl is the first word: messy.  It is supposed to be tossed together, not look perfect, and definitely should be made with anything in your fridge. This is particularly great for any veg that you have small or awkward amounts left over after the weekend or even week.  This bowl is health and delicious, so there’s no need to stress about your lunch. 

 Here’s how to do it.  

Messy Grain Bowl

2 handfuls of greens
(try kale, spinach, spring mix, romaine…) 

1/2 cup grain of choice
(quinoa is my fav, but brown rice is always a close second) 

1/2 cup veggies
(try zucchini and onion, bell peppers, cucumber, tomato, asparagus, mushrooms…) 

1/2 -1 cup beans of choice
(garbanzo, black, kidney…) or protein source (tempeh, tofu, or other sustainable meat source) 

healthy fat source
(1/2 avocado, a handful of sunflower seeds, 1-2 Tbsps chia seeds…) 

Other toppings/seasonings: 

  • Nutritional yeast (if you haven’t put this on salad, TRY IT. You will thank me) 
  • Oregano, thyme, cilantro, basil
  • Spirulina, Chlorella, wheatgrass powder (though if you are new to these, try a tiny spring at first because these flavors are very strong!) 

Dressing: 1-2 Tbsp of your favorite dressing, lemon juice, simple apple cider vinegar and olive oil, or even try a mix of salsa and hummus (which can take the place of beans!) 

Empty out your fridge and give it a try! And remember, it is especially important to take care of yourself when you are facing more stress and less time in your day.  Show yourself that you love you by planning ahead to pack a great lunch you’ll appreciate when you are feeling overwhelmed. 

Loving yourself is a practice! 

Love, as always, 

Leaving meals uncomfortably full? Here’s what to do! 

Have you ever left a meal uncomfortably full and thinking “when on earth did I get so full?”  This happens to me many times around the holidays. My family shares my love for food and all things related to it, and so we have many foods we like to make and enjoy when we get together for special occasions. It doesn’t help when your entire family is full of great cooks. When eating, I am so focused on how good the food is that suddenly the meal is over and I feel stuffed and ready to slip into a food coma.  The best way I have found to help feeling great after eating a meals is simply mindfulness. So here are my favorite ways to easily incorporate mindfulness into your routine. This is for anybody who wants to practice more mindful eating and investigate their own satiety cues. 

7 Ways To Listen To Satiety Cues

  1. Eat slow.  Taking the time to chew your food allows to you really taste what you are eating and have time to respond to your stomach telling you it’s full! Try putting your fork down between bites and take a full breath between each. 
  2. Take Deep Breaths. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, or the “rest and digest” system, that tells your body to focus on the meal at hand.  Being able to focus on your meal (i.e. not stressing!) helps you digest your meal better, enjoy it more, and leave you more satisfied afterwards! 
  3. Eat until you are 80% full. This gives you a window to work with 
  4. Sit up straight. I find that It’s easier to be in touch with your stomach when you are already more in tune with your body and conscious of how it feels to be aligned. 
  5. Unplug. Whether you are trying to keep your work with you through your lunch break or you want to relax during your dinner to your favorite TV show, technilogy distracts you from how full you are. I know this is difficult, but try…
  6. Eat in company of your favorite people. No need to be plugged into technology when you are connectin with a friend! 
  7. Eat with your non-dominant hand.  It makes you eat slower, focus on the food that you put in your mouth, and appreciate every bite a bit more because of the extra effort.  Plus, it is fun to see how well you can use your nondominat hand and how much you rely on your dominant hand. 

These tips are super easy and fun for virtually anybody searching to feel completely and comfortable satisfied after eating.  

Now I want to turn it into you.  Do you have a helpful tip to walking away from the table satisfied but not overly full? Let me know in the comments below! 

As always,


SHAME. Here’s how to let it go

I never thought I’d say this, but I recently had a breakthrough during meditation: I realized that much of my unnecessary stress stems from simply adding a shameful tone to my thoughts.  Have you ever experienced this?

It happens when I set goals for myself and don’t reach them, no matter how small or insignificant. Like if I said I would do homework and ended up 2 hours into a Netflix streak or when I said I wouldn’t that day (whether it was most of the bar or even just a couple squares of dark chocolate!).  Usually what follows the realization of failing to meet this goal is an automatic response of self-inflicted shame.  And it wasn’t until I was mediating early this week that I realized shame was even present at all.  How hurtful and unnecessary this tone was to show up so uninvited!

But this shame is self-inflicted.  Buddhist teachings call this the “second arrow”, or the pang we hit ourselves with after an actual event. (The first arrow being the event of not reaching a goal, the second being the shamefulness targeted at the self.) The way to turn off the shame is by bringing it to the light!

Imagine it: when you start sinking into a darker place in your mind (literally!), the shame can sneak around easily without you being able to see what it truly looks like or where it is. You may have that uneasy feeling of its presence and you start to doubt yourself or freak out.  But BAM! Once you turn on the light, you see exactly what that shame looks like, why it’s here, and how it is trying to get to you. It looks so silly and insignificant when you can see it clearly.

Personally, my shame comes trying to steal that self confidence and self appreciation that is locked away. It wants me to feel bad for going to bed 30 minutes later than I had planned for. (Because THEN it will have shown me!) But really, how silly does that sound? Would you tell your best friend that she should be ashamed of herself for shutting her eyes a number of blinks later than she had aimed for? Of course not! That’d be silly. You love your friend and admire that she set a goal and went after it, no matter the outcome.

IMG_6287You would appreciate and applaud your friend for making strides toward her goals and listening to herself, no matter how far she got.  And this is how you should treat yourself too.

Since I started identifying my shameful thoughts and putting a spotlight on their true shape, they have stopped showing up as often.  So Now I want to turn it back to you.

How to Combat Shame
1.  Give yourself a minute or two to just sit and think of times you have felt shameful or uneasy about something. And let yourself sit with it.  This is where the personal growth can happen.

2.  Put a name to the shame. Identify where and when the shameful feeling comes up. Why might the shame be there? Where do you experience it in your body? Once you can spot times it might show up and why you don’t need to believe it, you can dismiss it more easily when it wants to visit again.

3.  Recognize that you don’t have to listen to that shame or second arrow, because it isn’t you and it isn’t true.

4.  Appreciate yourself.  Appreciate that you want the best for yourself and thank yourself for everything that you do anyway, no matter how small.

Bonus! Physically feel the freedom that comes with letting go of that voice’s hold on you.  How does it physically manifest itself? Maybe energy runs from your feet to your core or your shoulders are able to relax more and drop that tension you might not have noticed before. If you still have trouble letting go of shame’s grasp, still imagine how you would feel without it.  Next time you see shame trying to creep up, try to remember this physical response of letting it go.

Remember, you are always worthy of love.