Fuel for Super-Yogis: 7 Foods for Optimum Health and Fitness

healthy foodEating healthy is a must to feel healthy!

Yes, some of us would like to just ‘do our yoga’ and be done with it, however, food is at least 80% responsible for how you feel and excercise is about 20%!

Isn’t it time to supercharge your amazing yogi body with the foods it needs to grow and thrive to the fullest?

Health expert David Zinczenko says

“Research shows that the vitamins, minerals, and active compounds specific to certain fruits, vegetables, and even chocolate and red wine have an immediate and lasting impact on your mood, your health, your fitness — even your sex life.”

Sounds good to me!

Here are 7 Foods he recommends for fueling your body…

1. 1 Cup of Low-Fat Yogurt or 2 Tbsp of Mixed Nuts

Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids — lysine and arginine — or a placebo and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid–fortified public speakers were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine; nuts pack tons of arginine.

2. Green Tea

Catechins, the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, are known to stoke your metabolism, making it burn hotter and torch more calories. A study by Japanese researchers found that participants who consumed 690 milligrams of catechins from green tea daily had significantly lower body-mass indexes and smaller waist measurements than tea-totalers (i.e., they avoid the stuff).

3. A Handful of Trail Mix

Raisins provide potassium, which your body uses to convert sugar into energy. Nuts stock your body with magnesium, which boosts metabolism and improves nerve and muscle function. (When magnesium levels are low, your body produces more lactic acid — the same fatigue-byproduct that makes your muscles ache at the end of a workout.)

4. Blueberries

Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage, which could decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and improve cognitive processing. Wild blueberries, if you can find them (or grow them!), have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the cultivated variety.

5. Ginseng Tea, Hot or Iced

In a Canadian study, people who took 400 milligrams of ginseng a day had 25 percent fewer colds than people who popped a placebo. Ginseng helps kill invading viruses by increasing the body’s production of key immune cells.

6. Eggs and Whole-Wheat Toast

Eggs are a great source of protein, and having them for breakfast sets you up for a perfect day of eating. Saint Louis University researchers found that people who eat eggs for breakfast consume 264 fewer calories the rest of the day than those who eat bagels and cream cheese.

7. Dark Chocolate

The cocoa in chocolate contains stimulants that increase your body’s sensitivity. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that can give you a slight natural high. And Italian researchers found that women who often eat chocolate have a higher sex drive than those who don’t. Make sure your chocolate has at least 60 percent cacao.

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Community


Lately I have been really thinking a lot about community, otherwise know as “organisms inhabiting a common environment and interacting with one another” (thank you Wikipedia)

As many of you know I had an injury last year that had me modifying my practice pretty dramatically for a good month and a half. So there I was at home with my dear little mat doing a very modified home practice. Sure, I missed my “full yoga practice”, but I realized it was more than that; I missed the “community” that comes with being in a group class. (Who knew I could wax sentimental over not being able to go a hot, intense, vinyasa flow class and hang out for 90 mins with a bunch of other sweaty people?) To my delight and surprise I received some” get well soon” notes from fellow yogis from class, asking me where I’d been, and wishing me a quick recovery!

This got me thinking about the importance of reaching out to one another, and how we need community in our lives. I think we humans have become almost too successful at building a world around us that allows us to be self sufficient, and capable of surviving on our own.

Not having to depend on our neighbors for survival is for the most part a good thing. However, I think for a lot of us that means not bothering to get to know our neighbors at all. There is something miraculous and wonderful about belonging and being a part of a “tribe” or “group”. We may not need each other to survive in a physical sense of the word, but we all do need others to spiritually and emotionally to encourage us and lift us up! Yoga means to yoke or “union” and it truly does bring us together. I am so amazed at the strong bonds of friendship and community that it has brought into my life!
Today as I arrived at my yoga class I marveled at the swarm of yogis coming and going from the studio greeting, hugging, laughing. I sat there feeling so incredibly blessed!
I encourage, and challenge you to get to know the yogi on the mat next to you; they may just turn out to be a lifelong friend.

Adjust and Choose Life


Today in class I marveled at the grace and beauty of my students as they practiced. I delighted in the ease of their transitions and obvious comfort in their postures.

One of my students has been nursing a shoulder injury and she modified the poses that needed to be modified without me having to urge her to do so.

To me this is the mark of a seasoned practitioner. She understands that she must take care of herself… and so she does. She understands the difference between giving up and adjusting to take care of herself. (Aha!The key to making life easier!)

Life is a series of adjustments to oneself. Notice I did not say compromising or giving up because that would suggest a weakness of spirit and fortitude or not getting what it is you want. (You should get what you want by the way, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise)

Adjusting to adapt to the different changing pressures, realities and circumstances does not imply a shortcoming at all, in fact, quite the opposite! It shows a marvelous amount of strength, courage and wisdom.

It is interesting to watch how advanced practitioners LOVE hands on adjustments from their teachers. They can’t wait for their teacher to throw a little nugget of wisdom their way. They get excited for an opportunity to adjust their bodies to the reality that is proper alignment.

You see, sometimes a student is less than thrilled with the adjustment. Perhaps I told them to wait on doing a pose that their body was not ready for and they looked at me like the mean person that has just taken their new toy away.

The translation to them perhaps is “You are just not good enough”, “You can’t have it”, or many other self-defeating inner dialogues. They feel personally attacked and resent what feels like an intrusion on my part.

Okay, so maybe that person has been me, or you. Maybe not in the yoga room, but in life. Maybe you are going along one fine day and boom someone or something intrudes upon your reality and ruins your perfectly laid plans. What do you do next?!

Do you fight it with all your might like a salmon swimming upstream? Or, do you make a adjustment?

In some cases adjusting may just save your life!

In the news not long ago there was a story about a hiker who got stuck with his arm trapped behind a rock boulder. Seeing that he could not free his arm he surgically removed his arm with a pocket knife to escape. (Talk about an adjustment!)

Clearly, this is a man who understands the difference between giving up and making an adjustment! He said later when interviewed, that he kept thinking “I choose life”! How incredibly powerful are those words?!

You may have to adjust your path, but it does not mean you are losing sight of the goal. You are in fact making reaching the goal possible!

Choose life, adjust, let go of outdated beliefs systems that no longer serve you. This is the choice of the yogi.