By Sara Stevens
Fall is here and we start going into hibernation mode by starting to grab for heavier food that makes us feel warm and happy but can often times lead to our clothes fitting a little more snug. Now instead of turning all grizzly, we can still eat the comfort foods of fall that we are used to, but the healthier versions of them that won't make our waistlines expand as much.
There are so many diets out there that it is hard to figure out and determine which one you want to move forward with to maintain a healthy lifestyle that is best for you. What we are going to focus on is going to be the vegan diet.
Veganism is often misunderstood as too expensive or too much work and that there is no way that it can be maintainable or enjoyable, because it is so limiting. But... that is not true, because with any diet and lifestyle, you just have to know how to shop smart and do your research on what you can and can't have and then just be prepared ahead of time. In this blog, there will be a few tips and tricks to be a money savvy vegan and a few recipes that can get you through the fall season so you don't feel like you are missing out!
There are many reasons that people decide to go vegan. One of the main reasons that people usually say right off the bat is "for the animals." A lot of people feel much better knowing that they are not contributing to animal cruelty. The more widespread answer though is that people decide to go vegan for their health. With a vegan diet, when it is done healthily, your energy levels increase (who doesn't want that), your skin clears up because you are no longer eating or drinking dairy, which causes inflammation often showing up as acne, and often you lose weight on a vegan diet. Also, future you will be very happy because Vegans have a less likely chance of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure so not only are you saving the animals, you are saving yourself! If you are not already leading a vegan lifestyle, maybe give it a go for a month and see what differences it makes in your life.
Saving Money on a Vegan Diet
Fancy Packaging - I don't know about you, but when it comes to pretty packaging, I am a complete sucker. There is nothing wrong with choosing a more fancy packaged product that is pretty much exactly the same as the plain one on the shelf right next to it, but if you want to save a few dollars then I advise you put the pretty package down and go for the one right next to. There is no other reason than you will pay extra money for packaging that you are just going to end up throwing away anyway, you aren't necessarily getting a better product.
Organic Produce - It can be quite expensive to shop organic, but it doesn't have to be. There are a few ways that you can get your organic goods without spending too much money, the trick is where to go. You may not know this, but you could try places like Target, Walmart, and Costco to get a good deal. They are known for their low prices and a lot of people don't think to look there, but "warehouse" type of stores are a hidden gem. Obviously you need to make sure that quality is good, but you will more than likely get a great deal in these stores. Costco is awesome because you can also buy in bulk, which in the long run will save you more money! You can also check out Trader Joe's, they have an amazing selection of organic products at a smaller cost. One of the best options though is to go to your local farmer's market and make a day of it! Farmer's markets are a ton of fun, with so many different things to see and try and it is also great because you are helping support local farmers and going local is one of the best options when you are buying fruits and vegetables.
Bulking up - One of the best tips for saving some money is to buy in bulk. This is going to save you so much more in the long run, and you also won't have to go shopping for some key pantry items as often. Now, not all goods can be bought in bulk but there are a lot that can be. You can get nuts and seeds in the bulk Isle, they take forever to go bad and also they are very good on the go snacks. (A DIY tip: if yo ego pumpkin picking, take the pumpkin seeds and roast them yourself... can't get more savvy than that!). Also, spices are a great thing topic up in bulk as well as herbs if you don't grow your own. Different kinds of flours are great to stock up on and also grains such as rice, oatmeal, and barley as these will probably be a staple in your diet. Also, buy dried fruit in bulk, it won't go bad for a long time and it is also a good on the go kind of snack. You could make your own dried fruit, but often times it is just easier to buy it since it can be a long process.
A Couple of Tips
When you decide to go vegan, it isn't going to be an overnight success story, you are more than likely going to hit a few bumps along the way which is normal when trying anything new. With that being said, here are a couple of tips to help you keep going:
Stay Positive - If you are feeling like you are about to give up, just refocus and remember why you started your journey in the first place, something as simple as that can keep you going and re-motivate you. Also, don't think of it as all of the foods that you are missing out on but all of the new foods that you get to try... and remember there are sooooo many plant-based versions of the non-vegan dishes that you love. You really aren't missing out!
Meal Planning - It is not always possible to be able to cook all of your meals at home, but the more you plan them out and cook at home, the less you have to worry. When going out to eat, unless at a vegan restaurant, there can be some things that you order that have sneaky animal products in them but if you cook and prep at home, you have control and know exactly what is going into your food. There is nothing wrong with going out to eat, other than it can get expensive if you do it everyday but f it something that you often do, you can still plan! An easy way is to look at the menu before hand and know what is there that you can order that is healthy and vegan, when going out it is easy to be swayed by the more indulgent choices, but try and save those for special occasions... remember just because it is vegan doesn't always mean that it is healthy! Another option that is a little more pricey but super convenient is using a meal delivery service, there are plenty that are out there that will portion your foods and make sure you are getting what you need and they will cater to your plant-based diet. Never fear, there are options!!
Don't get Discouraged - You are more than likely going to mess up in the beginning and throughout your vegan lifetime, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to start somewhere and learn along the way. If you eat something that had butter in it, it won't be the end of the world. The best thing to do is just accept it and move on and maybe ask the next time someone has made something or is going to make something if there is anything in it that is not vegan friendly. You don't want to miss out on anything but still want to remain as close to your diet as possible.
Fun Fall Recipes
Pumpkin Spice Latte
What you'll need:
2 tbs Pumpkin Purée
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups of non-dairy milk (almond, soy or coconut)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat and whisk until it starts to steam.
-When steaming, slowly transfer the ingredients into a blender and blend for about 20 seconds.
- When finished, pour a half cup of coffee of your choice and then pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it.
- Enjoy every basic fall moment of your PSL!!
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
What you'll need:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup Ground Buckwheat
2 cups apple juice
2 cups water
1/2 apple diced
Ground cinnamon to taste
-Put dry oats and Buckwheat in medium pot over medium heat for about 6 minutes, you want them toasted.
-Meanwhile, combine liquids and cinnamon in a separate sauce pan and heat until hot.
-When hot, pour mixture into pot with the oats and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.
-Wait until liquid is absorbed and then serve.
-Feel free to add the diced apple on top and more cinnamon!
Fall Couscous Salad
What you'll need:
1 1/2 couscous
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 diced shallot
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 1/2 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeded and diced)
3/4 cup cried cranberries
1 1/2 cups apple juice, reserve 1/4 cup of cooked juice
1/4 cups canola oil
3 tablespoons red wine vingegar
salt and pepper
-In a medium pan, bring water to a boil and add couscous. Bring back to a boil and then lower heat to medium, cook for around 8 minutes or until tender.
-Drain in colander, set aside to cool in a mixing bowl.
-In a large sauté pan, set to medium heat and add the shallot for 1 minute.
-Add diced fennel and cook until soft.
-Add butternut squash, cranberries and apple juice and cook for 15 minutes or until butternut squash is soft and the most of the apple juice has cooked down.
-Season with salt and pepper, transfer mixture to bowl with couscous, and reserve the rest of the apple juice for the vinaigrette.
-In small bowl, mix apple juice, canola oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to tast. Add to the couscous and add parsley.
-Let couscous sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. This allows the flavors to combine.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
What you'll need:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt to taste
1 15oz can back beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chopped spinach
3 cups quinoa
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
4 bell peppers, cut in half down the center.
-Preheat oven to 375
-Add oil to large sauté pan, add onions and cook until soft over medium heat
-Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and add salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
-Add black beans, spinach, quinoa, and tomatoes and mix together. Cook until heated through.
-FIll peppers with the stuffing. Put in baking dish and cover with tinfoil.
-Bake for 25 minutes.
By Sara Stevens
Edited by Tony Lin
It is getting to be that time of year again, when hot summer days are turning into cool autumn nights. Soon, the sound of school bells and children playing in the school yard will be heard again and the smell of the cool, crisp air will be a reminder that the season is changing. Any time is a good time to get active, but the fall is a time to shape up and get back to class!
Autumn has always been special to me, possibly because it signals an end, but at the same time, gifts us with a new beginning. Between the changes in weather, the vibrant colors surrounding every corner you turn, and pumpkin spice everything, it is hard not to fall in love with this season. I usually feel inspired during this time of the year, almost as if I'm going through a metamorphosis because there are so many changes and opportunities to get me moving. With BellaVita, we have many great options for you to get started on your fall fitness journey!
Some of the options that our Bellas and Bellos will have the opportunity to take advantage of are:
BellaVita offers some great Zumba classes, with some amazing, up-beat instructors leading the classes. If you want to really get your adrenaline pumping and those endorphins going, Zumba is definitely the class for you! With rhythmic beats ranging from Latin American music to hip hop, there is always a variety that constantly keeps the classes fun and unique. One of the best things about Zumba, besides getting in shape from dancing, is that you can take the moves you learned out of the classroom, and on to the dance floor, ultimately, impressing everyone with your new moves. How fun!
Zumba is not only fun, but has many benefits as well!
Burning Calories: Since this class changes from slow and controlled movements to high intensity, it keeps your metabolism at a higher rate for a longer period of time. With your metabolism being kicked into high gear, it results in an extremely efficient fat-burning mode of weight loss.
Improves Confidence: Since Zumba is a social fitness experience, you get the chance to connect with other people while having fun and getting into shape. Not only that, but the experience to be able to improve your dance moves in a fun environment can give your confidence a huge boost and make you more comfortable with your body.
Increases Coordination: Whenever I try to get my friends or family to take a Zumba class with me, usually the first thing I hear is, "I don't think it is for me, I have two left feet!" But the thing is that you have to start somewhere! With time, things start to make sense and honestly even the most experienced Zumba participants will go left when they should be going right, but that is part of the fun. The truth is that the older we get, the more we should stimulate the part of our brain that is responsible for coordination because it is one of the first things to diminish as we age. With Zumba being a multi-task activity with changing movements throughout the class, it ensures that we stay in shape but also improve our coordination.
BellaVita takes pride in its yoga classes and we have wonderful instructors to lead you through your yoga flow. With summer coming to an end and the reality of getting back into the swing of things, yoga is the perfect class to take. It will help you center yourself and be able to deal with your day-to-day tasks at hand with a calm and collected state of mind.
Almost everyone knows that yoga is good for you, but these are a few reasons why you should take advantage of our yoga classes:
Relieve Depression and Anxiety: With the stress in today's society, it is more than likely that everyone at one point has fallen into some sort of depression or have been hit with anxiety. There are ways to be able to control that though. It has been found that those who practice yoga have a considerable increase in their serotonin level and a decrease in their cortisol level, which can contribute to a greater sense of happiness and encourages a positive immune function.
Improves Flexibility: Yoga can be intimidating to someone who has never practiced it before or claims to have limited flexibility, but similar to everything you try, you have to start somewhere. If you keep coming back to our classes and practicing, you will notice that after a few sessions, you will be able to touch your toes when you initially couldn't a few weeks or days before. This is a result of your muscles gradually loosening, which is great because it can aid in reducing all of the aches and pains that you may feel on a daily basis. Plus, it is kind of cool to know that you can do some poses that you would've never imagined yourself capable of doing!
Improves Focus: Practicing can help you focus, because a key goal in yoga is to have you focus on the present and only think in the here and now. The benefit of the meditation in this class is that it can improve your coordination over time and it can also improve your memory. Yoga helps the mental building blocks in solving problems and to be able to better recall information. Distraction is a major hindrance in our world because we have so many gadgets, and things, or thoughts going on that we never really take a step back and just focus on the present.
Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle: A consistent yoga practice helps you burn calories, because you are always moving and this results in a higher heart rate. You are also equipped with an open mind during and after the practice that can lead you to take the steps to dig deeper into your eating habits and maybe take control of any weight issues you may have. You will be able to understand yourself on a deeper level and that may be a kind of therapy that will open you up to being more aware of what you put into your body.
If you are looking for a more challenging workout that includes the benefits of yoga, then Pilates is the class for you!
If you are thinking about taking this class with BellaVita, you won't regret it.
"What will I gain from Pilates?" Well, I'm glad you asked...
Amazing Abs: Pilates is a core-focused class. Throughout every movement, you are focusing on your core and making sure that you are using it the whole time maintaining balance. What does this mean? It means that throughout this class you will develop a stronger core that is elongated and toned, which means a flatter belly. Sign me up!
Relieves Tension: We have all been tense at one point or another in our lives due to everyday stress, but we have become so used to it that often we don't even notice the signs anymore. Tension is not fun because it causes muscles to tighten, leading to muscle spasms and tension headaches. Through Pilates, you will be able to gently stretch and condition your muscles, which will lose you up and lessen your stress so it conditions you both mentally and physically.
Increased Confidence: Someone who is confident often stands out in a crowd. Would you believe me if I said that the way someone holds themselves has everything to do with it? One of the most important concepts to take away from Pilates is that your posture is everything. With this class, you are aligning your body and elongating it, which will in turn make you look taller. When you stand tall, often you feel tall and that will lead to gaining a sense of confidence. Embrace it and be proud of yourself, you've earned it
If any of our Bellas or Bellos are looking for more of a personalized fitness experience, we offer one-on-one training. Some of the private sessions that we offer are yoga, Pilates, one-on-one weight training. We also include nutrition plans and guidance, everything is personalized and fitted to meet your needs and fitness goals. This is definitely a great option if you want to get a little bit more out of your workouts.
We are excited to announce our next event!! Bring your dancing shoes and your positive energy because we will be hosting a "Back to Class" Zumba Bootcamp! It will be a combination of Zumba dance moves and High Intensity Interval training. We would love for you to join us and get back into the swing of things! Can't wait to see you there!
by Sara Stevens
We LOVE working with Stonehenge because their resident lifestyle platform is like no other! The Olivia couldn't have been a better fit for last night. The location was great, the views even better, and the people were amazing. There was truly a magical feeling and it was all because of the Bella's & Bello's that attended. You could feel the positivity radiating off of the rooftop!
The event started off with a brief intro by Carla & Izabella, followed by meditation and a motivational speech by the one and only Natalie Taly Elisha! Natalie is a force to be reckoned with, and truly such an inspiration! As a young teenager Natalie was hit by a car in a drag racing incident as she was walking home. The accident was life changing as the doctors were bracing her parents for the worst, but she pulled through and never looked back. By the age of 24, Natalie had graduated college completely debt free and became an attorney. Even more inspiring is that she established her own law firm dealing with estate planning and probate by the age of 26. To top everything off Natalie has added a Best Seller title to her resume with her first book The Millennial's Guide to the Universe: How to Live the New International Dream. This girl seriously makes you feel that whatever you want to achieve, you can. We couldn't have asked for a more amazing person to speak at our event, making all who were there feel unstoppable, and for that we would like to thank her for joining us!
After Natalie's speech, our spirited yoga instructor Elbert led all of our attendees through a fun yoga flow while DJ Macho set the tone with his beats. Everyone was united and moving together through the class and it was really a magical combination of people and environment. At the end of the session, it was clear to see that everyone felt refreshed and more inspired.
To make the night more special, we had a wonderful group of sponsors that joined us. Just Salad provided all of our guests with delicious after workout snack of avo toast that was raved about. Recoup beverages & Pure Brazilian Coconut Water helped keep everyone hydrated. Schweiger Dermatology Group joined us for the festivities by participating in a fun raffle for all of our clients. Pop!n, which is a mobile fitness app that gives clients with an unpredictable schedule a flexible fitness solutions also came by for the event. To all of our sponsors, we would like to say a huge thank you, without you this awesome event wouldn't have been the same!
Check out official event photos here
Last week our very own yoga teacher and certified life coach, Kristen, presented at our Self-Care workshop. She talked about the spectrum of self-care activities, identifying personal stressors and triggers, and using self-care to reduce the negative impact of stressors. Now she's back to give you some more tips to incorporate self-care into your every day life.
4 Tips to Improve Your Self-Care Game
I can hear you now: Self-Care... Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Let’s be honest, most people only have time to grab a coffee on their way out the door and MAYBE they’ll eat a bagel (if anything at all) for breakfast. The idea of taking hours for “yourself” is never going to happen- you’ll be lucky if you even leave the office at a reasonable time.
Or maybe it’s your family consuming all of your time- they need you to do everything or else nothing is going to get done. You are lucky if you can even make time for a shower.
I hear you. I get you. I was you (the overly stressed part, not the mom portion…). Your responsibilities (work, family, relationships, whatever yours may be) are consuming your to-do list and there’s little time left for you to even sleep at night.
But here is a truth bomb: how present are you really for your responsibilities right now?
Are you finding yourself losing your shit on a regular basis? Are other areas of your life suffering due to your time-consuming/stress filled responsibility? Are you getting sick more often than you think is normal?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you may be physically present, but you’re not really performing at your best. Your all-consuming responsibility is only getting half (at best) of you. Like you may have heard before: if you keep refilling everyone else’s cup but never go back to refill your own, then eventually you’ll stop being able to even fill other people’s cups (or something like that).
“I hear you, but how the hell do I make time for this self-care crap if there is no time to spare?”
If you’re new to the self-care game, or have neglected yourself for a while, taking even a little time for yourself can seem overwhelming. I’m someone who quit a well-paying corporate job in order to incorporate more self-care into my every day routine. I am an extreme self-care aficionado, but self-care can be quite simple. Any task that you would do to take care of someone else, but you do for yourself is a self-care activity.
2. Make time for yourself. Like I said earlier a lot of people have this idea that self-care takes A Lot of time. This is just untrue. Preparing meals in advance so you can eat well even when you are super busy is self-care. Taking a 5-minute mental break from work, or people, is self-care. Even watching tv to give yourself something to focus on without using much mental capacity is self-care. My biggest advice for making time is change your mindset that self-care needs to take a crap ton of time and plan ahead for situations you know will be more stressful.
3. Keep a log of ALL of the self-care activities you complete. Make a mark on your calendar, create a list, or if your kind of type-A create a spreadsheet. The more you can visibly see that you are taking even small amounts of time for yourself the prouder you will be for doing so.
4. Reward yourself for effort not success. Life is not perfect and stress is impossible to completely eliminate. You can make a goal to do x amount of self-care activities but something may happen to prevent you from doing so. That’s okay! I even consider being willing to change plans around your circumstances as a self-care activity! Celebrate you and your willingness to take care of yourself more.
Check out more photos on our Facebook page!
Yin and Yang doesn’t only exist in polar opposites such as hot and cold and up and down, it also exists in Yoga! Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. This is true for Yin and Yang Yoga.
Mental health is just as important if not more important than physical health. Many people have a hard time combining the two. Yoga, especially Yin yoga, is great for clearing your mind, meditating and improving your flexibility. This specific type of yoga is ideal for allowing you to sit longer and more comfortably as it stretches your joints. Being that Yin Yoga helps ease your mind and perpetuating your joints, it is a great solution for people of all ages and athletic ability.
Key Focal Points of Yin Yoga
Yin yoga focuses on Stillness. This calms and balances both the mind and body. Often poses are held for 3-5 minutes and sometimes as long as 20 minutes. During these postures, time is spent in meditation. The long stretches involved in this type of yoga reduce stress and anxiety.
Circulation and flexibility
In Yin Yoga, poses are held for several minutes and these poses stretch the connective tissue around a joint. When in a relaxed position, the body is allowed to stretch the connective tissue that would not typically get stretched in Yin Yoga. This leads to an increase in circulation, improved flexibility and greater joint mobility.
Yin Yoga, commonly referred to as Daoist yoga, helps regulate the glow of energy in the body. Fascia, a web like matrix that surrounds and attaches to all structures within the body, is released throughout the body. Our body loses Fascia pliability during emotional and physical trauma. Fascia affects our flexibility, stability, and is a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
Yin Yoga helps the mind and body in a way that Yang yoga cannot always provide. Like the Yin and Yang there should be a small about of the other in the heart of the opposite.
Bella's & Bello's!
Spring has sprung and that means new beginnings, a time to refresh & revive (as always take BV classes & discover healthy foods)! Speaking of NEWNESS have you checked out BellaVita's latest feature in the Huffington Post!?! Read below and check out the full article here! *Hint* you might even see yo'self!!
Welcome to BellaVita News! We will keep you updated on everything wellness! Enjoy your stay :)