As the weather gets colder outside, It's nice to indulge in some of our favorite comfort foods! Here's a little twist on one our favorites!
Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese
1 (375g) box whole wheat or other macaroni of choice (about 3 cups dry)
1/4 cup butter (we use unsalted)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 1% milk or any alternative milk option of choice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (we use low-sodium)
1/2 teaspoon salt (recommend leaving this out if you are not using low or no sodium butter & broth)
2 cups (plus 1 cup for topping) shredded cheddar cheese (low fat if desired) (we personally use the regular whole cheese)
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs (great seasoned w/garlic and herbs of choice!)
NOTE: This is a great basic recipe. We often add caramelized onions, veggies that we love, tuna or salmon, a touch of fresh garlic just to name a few! Enjoy playing and making this recipe your own!
Looking for a holistic and effective way to elevate your mood, purify the air you breathe and improve brain function? Consider diffusing essential oils!
Therapeutic-grade essential oils affect the brain in positive ways and it goes way beyond smell alone! The brain is protected by a membrane called the blood-brain barrier, which separates it from the blood circulating around the brain. This barrier blocks damaging substances from getting to the brain and into the cerebrospinal fluid. The American Medical Association did some research on whether or not positive agents could cross the barrier to help treat certain diseases and degenerative conditions that affect the brain. They discovered that sesquiterpenes, found in some essential oils, had the ability to go beyond the blood-brain barrier. These sesquiterpenes increased oxygen in the brain, which in turn increased antibodies, endorphins, and neurotransmitters.
The easiest way to to put oils in the air for inhalation is with an aromatic diffuser. Cold-air diffusers work best because they do not alter the chemical makeup of the oil. The cold air breaks the oils up into an oxygenated microfine mist that improves the quality of the air. When diffused, essential oils reduce airborne bacteria, fungus, mold, and chemicals.
Depending on the mood you want to create or the health issue you want to address, there are endless essential oils you can choose from along with making your own unique blends!
Here are some tips for choosing which oils to diffuse:
CoreQuest Yoga & Spa Essential Oil Page
Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 11, 27, 639–42.and excerpt from Abundant Health
I enthusiastically signed up for my friend's glass pendant making class with absolutely no reservations. She is an incredible artist, a patient and talented teacher, I was excited to tap into my creative side and try something new PLUS she had assembled a wonderful group of women, many of whom I am fortunate to call friends. THIS IS GOING TO BE AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!
Then it happened, shortly after listening to the instructions, meeting the tools of the trade drooling over all the beautiful glass options and eyeing pendants already completed that made my heart race with gleeful expectation of my own unknown creations that I began to score my first piece of glass. ...CRACK! Oops, grabbed a second piece to score...YIKES crooked...We need 5 even pieces....Let's try again....ahhh YES! Nice straight score, Let's break this baby and make some jewelry...CRACK AND CROOKED...seriously!!...are you kidding me?.Why can't I get this? WTF!! I could hear other directions being called out in the fog of my concentration and then quite by surprise, I felt it coming...the trolls of my mind were trying to take over the drivers seat Oh no...as I was running out of glass to score my mind was happily filling the void with all kinds of creepy crawlers like self doubt, expectations, disappointment, failure, nerves, comfort zone alert, low confidence meter, perfectionism radar on overdrive and a "You suck at scoring" thrown in for good measure!
My mind was trying to throw a giant road block down one by one....No more creating for you...you're out...hasta 'la vista baby....you're no artist...walk away. I actually stood there for a few minutes doing nothing as everyone else around me was busy creating. I was at the ROADBLOCK of resistance... a minds standstill. OMG, This was very unfamiliar emotional territory for my usual "go with the flow" mindset AND THEN, in that pause of a breath, that one quiet moment, I saw it for what it really was...A pack of.LIES that stood between my beautiful new creations, the road to regret and the experience of the day. Yep, I could see clearly now what had to be done....I needed to use my muscle of kick-assery and take that roadblock down for the count!
Looking your feelings right in the eye is the first step to knowing who they are, As soon as I did that and chose...not today my friends... the "emotional sunshine" began to flood back in. I asked my friend to score a few for me (love how that sounds) and off I went happily creating in my own unique one-of-a-kind artistry way. Just as I had imagined, it was indeed an experience of a lifetime I will remember and cherish. It was such a fun class with creativity swirling about, laughter in the air along with squeals, moans and other noises of pure engagement while we ALL learned something new! .
LESSON: So often, we fail to take that pause and ponder what we really need, what we really want, what we really feel. We let the demons of our emotions stop us in our tracks too many times. I teach self-empowerment, I study embodied mindfulness and yet in moments of frustration or even anger our lesser selves, will often prevail in our human-ness over the quieter whispers of the loving, creative mind and heart. Do not let the trolls, demons and creepy crawler into your minds drivers seat. They are always happy to steer you in the wrong direction!
FAVORITE NEW QUOTE:
Learn to use your muscle of "KICK-ASSERY"
The muscle of kick-assery is like any other muscle - you have to use it or lose it.
Keep moving, keep growing, keep pushing through obstacles, keep evolving. You break through at one level, arrive at the next, and take another step up. Each time you grow, you get to learn something new, which basically means you have to get uncomfortable again because when you arrive at a level you've never been at before, you're faced with the challenges you've never experienced before.
It's the willingness to keep pushing through new challenges, not shrink from them back into your comfort zone, that separates the successful from the unsuccessful." And I might add the happy from the unhappy.
TAKE PAUSE and don't be afraid to use a little mind muscle every now and then to keep the REAL you in the drivers seat!
Special thank you to Katie Gruber. This blog may not have been had it not been for your private message. Also a BIG "heart" to J.D. for being the best art teacher EVER!! You have found your true calling by inspiring others, C.H. for offering to make me a ring at the end of class that didn't require me to score a single piece of glass...You rock! And finally to ALL the ladies I had the opportunity to share this time with. I was so impressed with the beautiful creations that kept unfolding. Excerpt Quote above from "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero.
This picture hangs in our hallway at home. A beautiful gift from my mothers that reminds me that every day is a gift, that dreams are meant for living and to cherish the support from family and friends...they will keep you from falling! The poem below is one of my favorites and exemplifies this perfectly. ENJOY!
Put your hand out and ask life to dance with you!
It is never too late, you are never too old, too sick or too anything to be who you are meant to be! “Life is a difficult assignment. We are fragile creatures, expected to function at high rates of speed, and asked to accomplish great and small things each day. These daily activities take enormous amounts of energy. Most things are out of our control. We are surrounded by danger, frustration, grief, and insanity, as well as love, hope, ectasy, and wonder. Being fully human is an exercise in humility, suffering, grace, and great humor. Things and people all around us die, get broken, or are lost. There is no safety or guarantees.
The way to accomplish the assignment of truly living is to engage freely, richly, and deeply in the living of your dreams. We are made to dream and to live those dreams.” – SARK
Wellness tip # 2: How does balance in your life, love, eating, moving and thinking look like? I can tell you what it doesn't look like and that is with a controlling 100% effort! To find balance in any area of your life you have to drop the hard grip on the things you are trying to control and get busy living out loud, listening to your inner wisdom and what actually works in YOUR real life with more ease and less effort! That looks more like 80/20...NOT the "set myself up for deprivation, dissatisfaction, frustration and ultimately failure of a 100% mindset. ACTION PLAN: 80% of the time you are invested in living, eating, moving, learning, loving and taking actions that nourish you. The other 20% you are allowed to fall off the "healthy, empowered, and balance seeking" wagon and smile about it because it is part of your nourish and grow LONG TERM plan toward re-inventing balance in your life! Sorry guilt...you don't win this time!! SHARE SOME OF YOUR TIPS ON YOU FIND BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE!
WELLNESS TIP #1:
Assessing Relationships, Is it time to let go or get busy?
(Get your action plan exercise at the end)
Is it time to re-assess the time and effort you put into the relationships in your life that don't fill you up...in fact, they often leave you feeling empty? Take a look at what I lovingly call "lip service" friends, people that don't support or lift you from a place of friendship and love unconditionally. People in your life you call friends but in reality they rarely show up in your life unless it's convenient for them or there's an agenda/ expectation. It can be an energy sucking, guessing game, emotional roller coaster ride that sadly takes time away from your healthy relationships. How do you spot them?
Assess: Who calls or texts you just to say hello? Who invites you to share time together with no agenda attached?, Who shows up to support you when you're down as well as celebrate your "ups" with you? Who loves you, flaws and all, just the way you are? Who makes the effort in this friendship? Does it feel imbalanced to you? Does the relationship feel like work? Do you feel included or often left out? Listen to your gut....if that friendship continually burrows a hole in your heart...it might be time to look at it a little closer and decide how much time you really want to invest in it and how much space you allow your heart to occupy for it and in some cases, it may be time to just let go trusting that the new space you've created will naturally invite abundance back in, attracting new relationships that fill you up!
BUT WAIT...What about you? If you just identified YOURSELF as a "lip service" friend to someone you care about...,lucky you...it's probably not too late! HERE'S A MANTRA TO HELP YOU OUT: I will nurture and take time for the important relationships in my life....a FAB 2015 goal!
HOMEWORK: Call or text 3 people in your life today and let them know how important they are to you! BONUS: Make a friend date, no agenda....just FILLING!
By Guest Blogger Krista Chase
What is clarity of purpose? What does that look like or feel like? How do you find it? Sometimes as I learned, you find it by living in the space of pain, unhappiness, recognizing for sure what you do NOT want...and feeling powerless to change it and wondering how did this happen and how did I get here? Clarity of Purpose, has a way of smacking you right in the heart to jolt your spirit into action. A life saving soul intervention to finding self.
My clarity came in the silence of stillness to finally hear that my greatest wish is to be of service to others, to positively impact any person’s life I come in contact with, to show love in every choice and action I make daily…. and to always respond to others in kindness. You see my clarity of purpose will continually be in motion then, forever and always. A quote by Oprah Winfrey which is near and dear to my heart summarizes so eloquently my hope for my own life purpose.
“All my life, I have wanted to lead people to an empathy space, to a gratitude space. I want us each to be awake to our full potential, to find our calling, and to summon the courage to live it. Imagine a world where we all lift ourselves up, and then reach out and lift someone else. And so TOGETHER, we RISE!
Ahhhh……Together we RISE! I think that has to be one of the most beautiful quotes I have ever read in my entire life……Lifting ourselves in order to lift others…. Amazing, powerful, achievable! Beautiful......
Have you ever stopped long enough to consciously listen to that tiny whisper deep within your soul? You know the one I am talking about… the one that resonates deep in your heart that you already have everything you need within you to become who you have always wanted to be…..the one that reminds you to trust yourself to take the opportunities you are presented with…opportunities to be humbled, opportunities to be silly, or even opportunities to struggle so you find strength of conviction.
A quote by M.H. Clark, reminds each of us that, “You do not have to see the whole picture before you know it is beautiful…you do not have to understand it all to move forward in faith…..you do not have to know the ending in order to begin.”
So I ask you, are you giving your energy and time to things or people who bring you down? Are you hanging onto people or things who have already let you go? Are you making choices that bring negative energy to your health, to your life, to your soul? Your life is made up of one big canvas that is designed choice by choice by choice. Can you see where you are and how you have gotten here? Is your canvas the color and design you want it to be?
I challenge you right now, in this very moment to make a choice and bravely step forward one little inch toward honoring your own heartbeat and walking the path to your own clarity of purpose for your life. Not the life anyone says you should live, not the life that is safe and small, but the life you were designed for. Remember, each day in every second there is a chance for a new beginning, a fresh experience, a new choice….so take it! Take it because you matter! Take it because you know that whisper in your heart has been urging you to do it.
Let go of the doubt, harness your own strength and start painting your canvas, your beautiful, messy, life canvas that puts you in direct alignment with your highest self. You are allowed to begin in case you forgot or somehow thought you needed permission to do so, so get going… Rise up......Life is waiting! Your life!
Written for CoreQuest by guest blogger Vrinda Eapen. ENJOY!
Once an object is set in motion, it tends to continue. Take off is usually where the grapple begins.
Spinning class. Getting over the anticipation and anxiety of the booming music and the instructor with the pet Tony Robbin’s sitting on his or her shoulder shouting out motivations can be more work than the uphill battle the class presents you.
Still. Some days you find yourself there. You overcame the obstacle and made peace with the opportunity to move.
Maybe you’ll go with each nudge to turn the dial up and engage with the increased physical resistance or you let the mental resistance be enough for the day and ignore the dial. There is no wrong or better choice.
Take your moments from Spinning class into your life.
Now what? Are you launched back into the mundane or are you more aware of the innumerable opportunities and obstacles presented to you?
Are you going to slow down or speed up?
Is your mind going to wander while your physical body goes about it’s routine?
Will you resist the familiar or cycle towards uncertainty?
The somatic re-education you gifted your body with is unfolding the vibrancy of your mind whether you willed it to or not. Awareness of the choices you make in that hour will give you insight into how much inertia you choose over momentum. Again, there is no wrong or better choice.
As you choose to negotiate with the dial on your bike, you choose to negotiate with your mind. The physical body follows like an obedient student. Surrender to the process and let the transformation flow from bike to life.
The only illusion here is to believe that you are simply just working out. Unfold, keep swirling and work “it’ out. Spin to thrive. Take it into your life.
Visit Vrinda's webpage at www.voluptuouswisdom.com
This weekend I joined a group of amazing women in the mud! When I was asked to be part of the team for the Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run, I was very reluctant. The barriers started to go up....I'm not a runner. I'm not sure about the mud, I'm not strong enough to tackle the obstacles. I'm too old for this. What if I hold the team back? What if I hurt myself? My head was filling with "what ifs" and "I'm nots" like there was no tomorrow and WORSE....I was beginning to believe it! Fear of the unknown brings forth all kinds of emotions, judgments, expectations, excuses and doubts for almost all of us at some time or another. Embrace it! That inner voice is not always wrong but also examine it because it is at the juncture of doubt, fear, examination and choice that you get a glimpse of a very special gift; EMPOWERMENT! You can choose to say no because it doesn't feel right and you know you will have absolutely no regrets when you say "Thank you anyway, not for me" OR you can look your small self right in the eye and say, zip it up....I can do this...it's time to live large! As I put on my Dirty Girl Shoes the morning of the race to join Sue, my best friend of 40 years and our fellow teammates, I won't lie, I was nervous as hell and I heard the "live your life small and safe" voice saying "GIRL you are nuts, what are you thinking, can you back out? My reply was...
TAKE ME TO THE MUD!
I’d like to introduce you to a hidden gem in your behind that's begging for your attention. Meet your piriformis muscle!
After teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class at our retreat this summer, I received an e-mail note from one of our attendees that read “Thank you for teaching me the Alpha ball rolling techniques to release over twenty years of awful, limiting hip and glute pain. The weekend positively changed my physical and mental health and inspired me to continue yoga practice!” I was delighted and grateful but not surprised. Yoga Tune Up® has worked on so many levels in my own body and that of my students at our studio that I have chosen it as my primary focus of teaching! Back to your backside...one of the main areas we therapeutically rolled out that day was the piriformis. It’s definitely a muscle I believe we should all get to know a little better to maintain a pain free, “do what we love to do” life! So here goes....
A LITTLE ANATOMY LESSON:
Your piriformis, works uber-hard for you every single day but gets very little attention until you make it crabby by mis-use, over-use and under appreciation. The piriformis is one of your deep six lateral hip rotators located deep under the gluteus maximus muscle. It attaches to the front surface of your sacrum (inside of the pelvic bowl) and inserts onto the greater trochanter on the outside of the femur (thigh bone). The piriformis is joined by a band of connective tissue, or fascia that stretches across the sacrum just above the tailbone which acts as a stabilizer for the sacrum and sacroiliac (SI) joint. THE IMPORTANT PART! It is the only hip rotator whose location overlies the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body and in 15-22% of the population; the sciatic nerve actually passes through the piriformis. The location of the piriformis is important to know because if it gets excessively tight or spasms it puts the big squeeze on the sciatic nerve causing burning pain, numbness and tingling down your leg or foot as well as wreaking havoc in all kinds of other uncomfortable ways through its fascial connections up your torso and lower limbs ie: low back pain, pelvic pain, knee pain and/or a deep pain in the buttock and hips. If it gets really grumpy you might get an unwelcome gift of sciatica or piriformis syndrome. Gifts that nobody wants to receive!
Learn what your piriformis does for you and more importantly what you can do for it to maintain
healthy happy hips
Every single day your piriformis is multi-tasking big time! It's responsible for abducting the leg, lifting the leg away from the midline of your body, while the hips are in flexion (like when you are seated stepping out of your car or when you're riding a horse or bicycle. It is a lateral rotator of your hips. We use it when we run, walk,anytime we shift our weight from one foot to another. It is also used to maintain balance, stabilizing the sacrum and sacroiliac (SI joint) and in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs which is almost all of them! Runners and cyclists need to give extra love to their piriformis due to the repetitive contraction and release use of this muscle. Another thing to watch out for is your body alignment. Many of us have a habit of standing or walking with one or both feet pointing out (external hip rotation) which can chronically shorten, tighten and weaken the piriformis. With all this responsibility it’s no wonder the piriformis gets uptight becoming a pain in your butt and beyond!
Keeping yours happy! Below is a video demo for one of my all-time favorite Yoga Tune Up® exercises called 1/2 Happy Baby Mini-vini regularly taught in our Yoga Tune Up® classes at the studio. Give it a try. I like to teach this a bit slower than the demo here. It's all good!!! This sequence will not only help keep your piriformis happy but it also lights up all the surrounding muscles and tissues as well! I've also included a therapy ball video for you to try. NOTE: I like to use larger PLUS or ALPHA balls for a gentler release either on the floor as in the video or working on the wall which allows more control to regulate the intensity of the massage work. I invite you to join us for a class or workshop to experience the positive effects a full Yoga Tune Up® practice can have on your body! Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are available at our studio.
Curly girl, teacher of yoga, anatomy, lifestyle coaching, facials and fascia. Passion: Teaching people how to find happiness & strength in their analog bodies & souls in a fast paced digital world.