What I do When Feeling Blue (and it's not yoga)

As I'm writing this post, I'm feeling totally blah. It's gloomy outside, I sat down to get a crap ton of work done, and can't login to any of my accounts where I do my work. 4 hours of childcare wasted? I'm frustrated. 

But I just drank a green smoothie, so I should be all rosy and full of sunshine, right?! 

And then I heard this:

"People under-estimate the power of exercise on their mental/emotion health, and over-estimate what exercise will do for their body, while under-estimating what food will do for their body". 

In other words, if I want to feel good mentally and emotionally, I need to move my friggin' body.

I'm really good at eating well. I eat a LOT of dark leafy greens. 

But since having my daughter (3 years ago!), I'm really bad at making time for consistent exercise (and I used to be a personal trainer!). 

My excuses?

I don't have time. 

I'm already dressed for the day - now I have to change into gym clothes, get sweaty, then what? Get ready all over again?

Or do I spend all day in my workout clothes, finally workout in the evening, and feel like a slob all day? 

I can't exercise in the morning, I'd have to wake up at the crack of dawn, and my daughter is sure to wake up earlier too (how do they know - in their sleep - that we're awake without them?!) 

And my number one excuse - I eat really well, I don't need that much exercise. 

All of these excuses, especially that last one, are bullarky. And the only person I'm hurting is myself (ok and everyone around me). 

If we want to be the best version of ourselves, beat the blues, perform better mentally, and feel better emotionally, we have to MOVE. 

And the good news is, new research shows that just 10 minutes will do the trick

Which means I can "get ready" in the morning and workout in the afternoon without having to take a shower afterward (a little dab in the pits and we're good to go).

Here's my go-to 10 minute workout (back from my training days) that works the entire body, get's the heart rate up, makes you feel like you've actually worked out, and can be done in the amount of time it would take to drive to the gym. 

I'm leaving my desk to do this RIGHT NOW. High five!

10 Minute Workout

Equipment needed: good music and a set of hand weights

4 minutes of cardio

30 seconds low intensity: jog or walk in place
30 seconds high intensity: high knees in place

30 seconds low intensity: jog or walk  in place
30 seconds high intensity: jumping jacks

30 seconds low intensity: jog in place
30 seconds high intensity: squat jumps

30 seconds low intensity: jog or walk in place
30 seconds high intensity: high knees in place

3 minutes of strength

1 Minute: Squat / Shoulder Press

1 Minute: Lunge / Bicep Curl

1 Minute: Upright Row / Calf Raise

2 minutes of core

1 minute: Plank

1 minutes: Superman

1 minute of stretching

30 seconds: Downward dog

30 seconds: Child's pose

Nothing to eat at home? You can pull off these three meals with an empty fridge.

It happens to even the best meal planners - you open the fridge and there is NOTHING. TO. EAT. 

Or at least that's what it looks like. 

With a stocked pantry (see our list below), there are countless meals that you can pull together - even if you have nothing fresh in the house! 

Here are 4 meals that can be made with pantry ingredients - plus fresh veggies if you have them (or frozen, or none if you're that low).

Say goodbye to the "I have nothing to eat" days. 

Veggie Grain Bowl

Ingredients

1 c. - grain of choice
1/2 c. - beans of choice
1/2 - onion, diced
1 - garlic clove, minced
2 c. - frozen or fresh veggies

Dressing of choice (see below) 

Method

  1. Rinse grains in a fine mesh strainer under cool running water. Transfer to a pot and cover with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 20-40 minutes, depending on the grain. 
  2. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in coconut oil with a pinch of sea salt, add any additional veggies you have on hand. If you have eggs or meat, feel free to cook that up too for extra protein and healthy fats.
  3. In a mason jar, combine dressing ingredients - shake to combine.
  4. Put a scoop of grains in the bottom of each bowl, top with veggies and egg or meat if you'd like, then drizzle generously with dressing. 

Simple Black Bean Soup

Everything you need to make this soup is in your pantry: black beans, spices, onion and garlic, and bouillon cubes. 

Saute 1 minced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt. Add diced carrots, sweet potato or celery if you have it, if not - no biggie! Add 2 cups black beans, 2 t. cumin, 1 t. chili powder, 4 cups water and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then simmer until fragrant and delicious. Blend half the soup if you like it thick and creamy. 

Pantry Soup

Ingredients

1 T. - coconut oil
1/2 - onion
2 - garlic cloves
2 cups - chopped veggies
2 t. - spices of choice: turmeric + black peppers, cumin and dried thyme, mixed dried herbs, etc. 
1/2 c. - lentils, cooked beans, grains or soba noodles or any combination
2 - Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes
4 c. - water

method

  1. In a large soup pot, saute diced onion and mixed garlic for 2-4 minutes, then add chopped veggies and spices; cook another 3-5 minutes with a pinch of sea salt. 
  2. Add lentils, grains, or soba noodles, Rapunzel bouillon cubes and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes. 
  3. Adjust seasoning as needed - maybe add a splash of vinegar, sea salt and black pepper - and enjoy!

Noodle Bowl

Ingredients

8 oz - noodle of choice
2 T. - sesame oil (olive oil works in a pinch)
1 - garlic clove, minced
4 c. - veggies of choice
1 c. - chickpeas
2 T. - tamari soy sauce
1/4 c. - nuts or seeds of choice

Method

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil over medium heat in a skillet, saute garlic and veggies for 3-5 minutes, then throw in chickpeas and cooked soba noodles. 
  3. Splash tamari over the noodle mixture and stir to combine. Top with nuts of choice and enjoy!

Pantry List

GRAINS (START WITH 1-2)

  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Rolled oats

PASTA

  • Soba, quinoa, or noodles of choice

LEGUMES (DRIED AND CANNED)

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Northern beans
  • Lentils

NUTS/SEEDS

  • Almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc. 
  • Almond butter

OILS

  • Coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, or butter for high temp cooking
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil

VINEGARS

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Rice vinegar

SAUCES

  • Tamari (soy sauce)
  • Dijon mustard

SPICES

  • Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Dried herbs (thyme, parsley, rosemary etc.)
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon 

CELLAR

  • Onion
  • Garlic

FREEZER

  • Frozen veggies: broccoli, stir fry mix, edamame, etc.