Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of grabbing a vegan post workout smoothie after a good workout session. Once I realized how easy they are to make at home, I started whipping up different variations in my kitchen that I can’t wait to share with you guys! There really are so many benefits to eating within an hour of working out and making sure to consume a good balance of protein and carbs.
Why it’s important to eat after a workout
+ Your body needs to replenish the glycogen, electrolytes, and fluids that were depleted in your body after a tough workout.
+ Consuming protein within an hour of working out helps repair and build muscle (see those guys drinking protein shakes at the gym?)
Why I love drinking vegan post workout smoothies:
+ I like to use vegan protein powder because I’m a little lactose intolerant and whey protein powder, which is derived from milk, can be hard for my stomach to digest. I’m not vegan, but if you are, know that this variation is safe for you to consume and filled with protein!
+ I love smoothies because they’re so fast to whip up and easy, not to mention if you’re really pressed for time you can make smoothie packs ahead of time by zip locking all of the ingredients for one smoothie into a bag in advance.
+ Smoothies are failproof to make, you can use as much or as little of whatever ingredient you have on hand and chances are it’ll taste good. I also prefer smoothies to juices because you keep the fiber from the pulp of whatever fruits and vegetables you blend : ).
Here’s my current favorite variation, I’ll add or subtract ingredients depending on my mood and what I have in the kitchen.
Blueberry Almond Butter Vegan Protein Smoothie Recipe (inspired by Earth Bar)
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder (I really like Vega)
Blend together, adding more milk or ice until you’ve achieved your desired consistency. I like mine to be a little thicker, which is why I like using frozen fruit and adding more ice cubes.
** Extra add-ins if you’re feeling crazy – chia seeds, kale, spinach, greens powder, any superfood powder.
Almost the weekend!! I’ll be taking this one easy… brunch, maybe a visit to a Korean Spa (dying for a body scrub!!), lots of reading, a weekend detox… what can I say, I’m a grandma : ). If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I spent last weekend in Mexico City, consuming my fair share of really, really delicious food and too much mezcal to count. It was definitely “letting loose” relative to my typical day to day lifestyle, and while it was totally worth it, I always feel a little sluggish after an indulgent weekend. After a long weekend, I try to be a little more conscious of what I’m putting into my body and focus on eating whole, clean foods and drinking a ton of liquids. I don’t do juice cleanses or extreme detoxes, but I do try to pick out certain ingredients that have detoxifying benefits and help get your body back to normal. Here’s what goes into my mini weekend detox and how it helps you get out of your weekend slump.
What I’m sipping on:
+ Kombucha – satisfies my craving for something fizzy, not to mention is so beneficial to your health. Kombucha helps with digestion, boosts your immunity, and is claimed to aid with energy and weight loss.
+ Fresh juices – even though the juicing craze has died down a bit, fresh juices are still a great way to drink more liquid and get more fruits and vegetables easily. Making your own fresh is the best, but it can be time consuming and messy – when I’m on the go, I love Kreation, Beverly Hills Juice, and Juice Served Here in LA.
+ Water – duh! If you’re struggling to get enough water, you absolutely need a water infuser in your life! This one has totally changed my life – it makes water taste SO much better. My favorite combination is cucumber, lemon, and mint, but you can use a variety of fresh fruits and herbs to flavor your water. Water is essential for a weekend detox.
Detoxifying ingredients to look for:
+ Tumeric – anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, which boosts your immunity. If you haven’t tried a turmeric latte yet, you need to do so!
+ Activated charcoal – flushes toxins out of your system. I love charcoal lemonade, but if you can’t find it nearby you can also take activated charcoal pills. Just be sure to drink lots of water with it!
+ Ginger – also an immune system booster and helps with inflammation and may even help prevent cancer.
+ Lemon – warm water with lemon in the morning has been shown to improve digestion and detoxify the body. None of that master cleanse BS.
+ Cucumber – another hydrating superfood that is full of vitamins and antioxidants. Yum!
+ Apple Cider Vinegar– adding a little bit of ACV in your beverage may help with weight loss and digestion.
Happy Valentine’s Day!! I’ll admit it – I’m a total sucker for love. But rather than focus on the kind of love we give to others, I wanted to focus on the kind of love we give ourselves today. In other words, loving yourself. Regardless of your relationship status at the moment or thoughts on Valentine’s Day as a holiday, I think it’s a great reminder to take a minute and give yourself some major love. Take a minute today and write a little letter as a reminder that you should always be loving yourself first. After all – there’s no relationship in the world that is more important than the one you have with yourself.
We talk all the time about empowerment. How important it is to empower and support those around us. But what about empowering ourselves? We put the needs and wants of others constantly before ourselves. It’s time to love ourselves. Put yourself first. Be the selfish (the good kind!).
I just finished I AM THAT GIRL by Alexis Jones (HIGHLY recommend!!) and I absolutely LOVED her message on self love and putting yourself first. Alexis says:
“Learning to listen to yourself and knowing what you need and when you need it is step one to becoming the good kind of selfish. Asking for it is the next step… when you put your needs last, you’re like a plant without water that’s worried about providing enough shade for others. But if that plant doesn’t have water to grow, it will shrivel up and die, providing no shade or comfort for others anyway.”
Whoa. That is so spot on. Think about it this way: how often do you commit to something because you want to be a “yes woman,” only to realize later on you over-committed yourself or didn’t want to do that thing to begin with. You know that friend that always flakes? Or the times you’ve flaked on your plans because you realize at the last minute you totally overwhelmed your schedule with too many plans and commitments? If we learn to be honest with ourselves and set realistic expectations for what we can do and how much energy we can exert, we’ll be better people for it. She goes on to say:
“Remember your time is precious, as are you, so start acting like it. Your time is important, your energy is finite, and your attention is precious, so value who and where you spend it accordingly. You are the only one who can set those kinds of expectations and teach people how to treat you. Be selfish, and I promise everyone will benefit.”
Start by taking some me time. A little bit every day. You deserve it.
Call me a romantic, an optimist, or delusional, but I think love should be celebrated every day. Especially love for ourselves.
Take a moment for yourself today and say thank you to yourself. The practice of self-love doesn’t always feel natural, but over time it will feel good. At the end of the day, the way you treat yourself sets the standard for how you treat others.
Whatever your plans are today, make it a good one – and be sure to spoil yourself rotten, even if it’s just with a little self-love, gratitude, and me time!
Sounds silly, I know. BUT. Hear me out. In case you didn’t already know, sleep is V IMPORTANT. I know I sound like a snooze (ha, ha) but the older I get, the more I have come to appreciate sleep and everything it does for your body, mind, and soul. In college and my early 20’s I would stay up late, wake up early, pull all-nighters, and do all sorts of other things that completely wrecked my sleeping schedule. I figured: you sleep enough when you’re dead. I knew sleep was good for you, but I never fully processed how vital it is to performance and basically every human function you do.
[ If you’re one of those superhumans that can function off of 4 hours of sleep a night, no need to continue reading. I am officially very jealous of you. ]
Why sleep is important
+ Improves learning and brain function – when we sleep, our brains go to work. Sleep allows our brains to store memories and learn through memory consolidation. So the smart thing to do in school would be to study consistently and get enough sleep the night before an exam, not stay up all night. Noted.
+ It keeps you healthy – when you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system suffers. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that I am so much more likely to catch a cold when I’m sleep deprived. And when I am under the weather, getting some extra hours of sleep do the most for my recovery.
+ It’s good for your appearance – it’s not called beauty sleep for no reason. Turns out getting enough sleep has been shown to improve skin texture, blood flow, and overall appearance.
+ It helps your body recover – if you’re working out on the reg, chances are getting enough sleep is helping your muscles recover and grow! And if you’re not getting enough, just know that sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain due to increased levels of cortisol, which increases your appetite – eek!
Even though at times it seems like being sleep deprived is worn as a badge of honor and a reflection of how hard we work, sometimes the hardest thing to do is simply disconnecting and shutting down. It’s not always easy, but I feel a noticeable difference in my mood and energy when I get at 7 or 8 hours of sleep, not to mention how much clearer my skin is. Fortunately, even our technology seems to agree.
Tips for getting more sleep
+ Utilize the night shift and bedtime settings on your phone. I have an iPhone, and I LOVE the “night shift” setting (mine is set from 9pm to 7am). This setting shifts the color settings on your phone to minimize the bright blue light that your smartphone emits, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night. You can also set alerts on your phone to remind you when it’s almost time for bed.
+ Disconnect completely. 30 minutes to an hour before bed, put away all electronics. I’ve been trying to read more before bed and honestly, this has been the best thing to help me fall asleep (ha!).
+ Create a sleep schedule. This one is hard. It’s best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, but it doesn’t always happen. I’m working on this one, but it’s easy to get off track, especially during the weekends.
+ Drink tea. I don’t do this every night, but when I remember I like to drink something warm before I go to sleep. Did you mom ever tell you to drink warm milk before bedtime? It’s kind of like that. I especially like Calm and Sleepytime Tea with honey.
In the spirit of getting enough zzz’s, I’m taking the pajama very seriously and literally in this set by L’academie. Full disclosure: I don’t actually wear this to sleep although I’m sure you could, as it was intended for that use. I usually like to mix and match them as separates rather than as a set – I think you could get away with the blouse at work (the ribbon tied around the waist doubles as a scarf) with a skirt or jeans, and I really love the return of the track pant. You’ll definitely get some looks when you wear both at the same time. But hey comfort is key, and who cares what other people think?
Bonus: this set is on sale now! (End of winter sales in January are always SO. GOOD. No better time to stock up on all those cold weather essentials).
Does anyone else just love spending time by themselves? Go to restaurants and movies alone? Take long walks by themselves? Stay at home on weekends and not make any plans? (I know, I’m a total grandma). In my opinion, there’s nothing better than some “me” time. It took a while, but I finally learned how to be alone (and kind of love it).
To be fair, I’m not alone all the time. I do live with my boyfriend and we spend a lot of our free time together. However, he travels a lot and is gone often. I’ve also been in almost 4 years of long distance relationships in the past, so I’m more than familiar with the feeling of being together but apart. It’s a strange feeling/totally sucks (a post for another day?).
I’m a firm believer in learning to love being alone. I know this isn’t easy for everyone, especially for my more extroverted friends that love being around people 24/7. Me? I love some time alone to cook a good dinner for one, read a book, catch up on trashy TV, and write. It wasn’t always so fun and easy, though. For a long time, I hated being by myself. I hated being in a long distance relationship. I hated being apart and having to spend time alone. #needy?
But over the years, I have come to really appreciate and cherish those moments – especially because I’ve never lived on my own (unless you count living in a hotel half of the week during my consulting days?). I love my relationship, but I also love spending time by myself. It’s liberating to have a night or a week to myself and do whatever the hell I want to, whenever I want. As you know, I am all about self love. The best way practice this is to spend time by yourself! Go to a cafe or wine bar and read by yourself. Go out to meals alone. Take walks. Find new hobbies and learn a new skill. There are so many things to do alone and who knows, you might even learn something new about yourself.