Amanda Kraft Wellness » A guide to living an Unboxed Lifestyle

Many folks just see Yoga as another exercise routine. Some stretching, strength, and flexibility. But it’s much more than that. And it took me FOREVER to want to embrace the idea of adding yoga into my workout schedule! Thankfully, a new program called PIYO was released a few weeks ago and I have found myself hooked (more on that later!)

What I quickly discoverd, Yoga is about connection. It’s finding the warmth & light inside yourself, and letting it radiate all day long. It’s self love. Confidence. Balance. And at the same time, Yoga is a wonderful workout. It’s strength, flexibility, cardio, and stretching all in one. Developing a daily (or even every other day) home-practice can do wonders for your body, your mind, and your spirit.

The word Yoga literally means “to yoke” in Sanskrit. To join body & mind in a blissful union. To recognize the connection, and to learn to bring it with you wherever you go. To breathe in, and breathe out. Practicing Yoga with mindfulness & attention will help you to balance your daily life, make decisions, and stay strong, lean & lovely.

The postures in Yoga are designed to align your chakras, or the “energy channels” of your body. That’s why when you settle into a pose, you feel instant relief. A subtle radiation of joy. A release of tension, both physically & mentally.

Establishing a home Yoga routine is easy. You just need a little space, a mat (or a blanket!), and a sequence of postures. As a newbie in the world of Yoga I have been enjoying PIYO. The best way for me to describe PIYO, would be the crossfit of yoga.  I’ve tried yoga in the past of holding poses and breathing, for me that was okay for the first 5 minutes, but any longer than that I found myself with a wondering mind. PIYO on the other hand is always challenging me, with movement combined with yoga/pilates poses.  

That’s what I love about health, wellness, and fitness – it’s all customizable to your needs!  There isn’t a one size fits all option.  

Most importantly, once you are deeply connected to your body you will be able to recognize what is needs.  More often than not, it’s simple movement! 

While I am the last person to say that I am good a Yoga, in fact, I am far from it. However, being able to hold a side plank and go into in a bend was a big moment for me. One, that I was completely happy to celebrate!

A bit of housekeeping news:  If you haven’t picked up your copy of my 60 Day Grain Free Transformation Guide, do so by signing up for my newsletter at the top of the website.
Also, there are still plenty of spaces available for my 21 Day Healthy Living Bootcamp.  Now is the perfect time to take back control of your health and wellness before the holidays arrive.  Did you know that it’s not uncommon to gain 10 – 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have set the same old resolution to take back control of my health and wellness in 2015. I want to do it NOW!!!!
 

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Did you know that green veggies are the foods most commonly missing in modern diets?  Have you had your daily dose of greens yet? Chances are you haven’t and honestly your salad full of iceburg isn’t cutting it!  It’s time to reinvent your relationship with greens to include dark, leafy greens into your diet.  They are essential to establishing a healthy body and immune system.

Think of greens as your own internal rainforest, strengthening the blood and respiratory system.  Plus, when you add greens into your diet regularly you begin to crowd out the foods that are making you sick!  For all of you urban dwellers it’s really important for you to consume leafy greens as they are a high-alkaline food and help with those who are exposed to higher amounts of pollution.  The alkaline minerals in our bodies are used to neutralize acidic conditions caused by the environment. Green veggies will help to replenish our alkaline mineral stores and continue to filter out pollutants.

We often associate green with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Traditional Chinese medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.
Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.

Although choosing organic is recommended, eating non-organic greens is still preferable to not eating any greens at all! Some of the proven and possible benefits of consuming dark leafy greens are:

With no shortage of options there are plenty of greens for you to try!  Do you play it safe and often stick with your green go to’s like iceburg, spinach, and broccoli? Let’s shake things up a bit and expand to bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other dark, leafy greens.

Green cabbage is great cooked or raw, or in the form of sauerkraut.

Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but get creative and try new ways to prepare these greens!

Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of the calcium these foods contain.

Rotating between your  green veggies is always a great idea so your taste buds don’t get bored!

 

Cooking Greens

Think beyond raw consumption!  Give steaming, boiling, or sauteing in coconut oil a try.  Of you would give pickling a try! 

Keep boiling under a minute so that all of the amazing nutrients within the greens aren’t lost in the water.   Steaming veggies is my favorite way to prepare and eat my daily dose of greens. Making your serving of greens more fibrous and tight, which helps you feel fuller, longer.  It’s a great way to curb your appetite! 

Of course raw salads is always an easy grab and go option, plus eating raw foods is refreshing and cooling and chalked full of live enzymes! 

Resources:
 Kelsay JL. Effects of fiber, phytic acid, and oxalic acid in the diet on mineral bioavailability. Amer J Gastroenterol. 1987. 82(10):983-6
 Avoid vegetables with oxalic acid? www.drweil.com. 2011
Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011). Energy density and weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories. Mayo Clinic: Weight loss, Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/NU00195

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I’m a sucker for a devil’s food cake donuts and being paleo, it makes enjoying these little devils few and far between.  My husband, Patrick also shares the same love for a devil’s food donuts as I do and thought these would be a nice treat for the weekend.

Let me go on record to say that that the texture is far more like cake than a donut, but beggers can’t be choosey! 

Allow yourself about 30 minutes and you can have fresh hot donuts at home tomorrow morning instead of running out to the drive thru/bakery where it will take you 20 – 30 minutes anyway!  Instead use the time to enjoy a cup of coffee, read, or just relax on your deck/sunporch while these little guys bake!

Okay, enough about what to do while you wait for the your donuts to bake…

 

 

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When we first decided to transition to Paleo everyone asked us what we were going to eat.  At first they had a look of concern that we would be foraging for tree bark and gathering bugs in our backyard.  In order to ease their worries I rattled off a list of items that would soon fill our kitchen cabinets and their expression eased. We keep our pantry, refridgerator, and freezer well stocked so we have plenty of meal options throughout the week.  After a year of trial and error we have a pretty good idea of what works for us and what doesn’t.

Below is a printable copy of our Pantry Guide and Refrigerator/Freezer Guide

 

Again, my disclaimer!  Everything listed above supports our version of the Paleo/Unboxed Lifestyle.  If it works for you great, if not, that’s great too!  Take what you want and leave the rest.  All of the items above we personally eat.  Majority of what we purchase is done in bulk and has cut our grocery bill down significantly. Plus, we follow the 21 Day Healthy Living Bootcamp principles for portion control and clean paleo eating.

 

 

 

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My husband loves a good Cuban Sandwich. After college he moved to Central Florida with a handful of friends and discovered the Cubano sandwich.  Apparently, the 7/Eleven’s make a mean one and you even get to use the press.  Honestly, I think that is his favorite part.  After seeing the soon to be released Chef, I was inspired to make a Paleo-ish version of a Cubano.  We opted to use smoked pork loin instead of roasted pork for our latest attempt and the outcome was unreal.  The smoky pork loin, melted swiss, ham, and pickle was an incredible combination.

As I mentioned before that these are Paleo-ish – you could omit the cheese and make your own roll, but we didn’t have time for that this weekend and truthfully,  we were in the mood to indulge.

 

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