Waste not

Our refrigerator is completely empty. We still didn’t have time to go to the grocery stores tonight so I made a shmorgasbord of veggies with some shrimp and quinoa on the side. Our big bag of spinach from Trader Joes started going bad and smelling a little weird so I took the liberty of plucking out all the fresh leaves. I absolutely hate wasting food especially fresh produce. It makes me so upset when I go to people’s houses or apartments and they have delicious food that went bad.

20130122-213340.jpg

Our dinner was fresh and so filling. I love quinoa. I’m not a big gluten or rice person (the occasional whole wheat or brown I can do) but usually they make me feel a little too full. I would much rather eat spaghetti squash than real spaghetti and I would rather just eat the vegetable topping because I think that pasta tones down the robust flavor of tomatoes and mushrooms. Same goes for rice. I would rather eat the veggies then fill up on rice as well because I like how veggies taste more.
I love sushi and I probably eat wheat everyday but in a perfect world I wouldn’t. That’s why I love quinoa so much. It has such a hearty flavor and is full of fiber and protein. I never feel bad after eating it. Definitely gotta work that grain in more.

20130122-214020.jpg

Advertisements

Shaved ice

 

I love frozen yogurt. I always have and always will. When I pass a Yogurtland I’m one of those who goes in just for the samples and leaves (except I’m not as pro at sampling as my little sister Lee). But fro-yo makes me feel a little sick and usually ends up being just too much dairy and sugar concentrated into that tiny cup. At first I thought frozen yogurt like Red Mango was “pretty healthy” but now I’m realizing its just glorified ice cream. I still eat it, but I know its bad for me. Over the summer one of my Korean co-workers told me about the shaved ice place “Blockheads” in West LA which is right alongside some of the best ramen shops I have heard of, I knew I had to go.

This shaved Ice is unbelievable. People describe Blockheads’ in particular as “snow cream” – its similar to the texture of snow, but creamy and delicious. The four flavors are usually original, strawberry, green tea and sesame and they are pretty mild. You choose one flavor, one topping (extra toppings are $0.50) and a drizzle (the typical is condensed milk). The servings are big but when I finish I feel like I could eat 10 more. Not too dairy heavy at all. Also they have punch cards so you can get a free one after 10 cups! Took me about 2 months to fill up this bad boy.

Anyone else who is a fro-yo nut, try shaved ice. If you live in Los Angeles, they opened up another one on San Vicente (its called Sweet Crush and they have non-dairy flavors as well) and you should definitely try it out. Once you do, you will find an even better replacement to your fro-yo with less sugar and density. I go to blockheads at least twice a month but would probably go a couple days a week if the line wasn’t so long and I had the time.


20130122-123653.jpg

Headstands and Yoga Journey

One of my new years resolutions this year was to be able to do a headstand. Before, I was doing the for-arm variation where you clasp your heads at the base of your head before lifting your feet up. But Becky showed me an easier version, with your palms on the ground (tripod variation) which is SO much easier. I lifted my legs up and after a couple seconds of holding it I lost balance and hit the floor hard.. This past week I’ve been trying to do headstands after all of my workouts. I realized at Wooden its really easy to do a headstand on a squishy mat so after I lifted weights I did a couple of them. I felt so invigorated and proud of myself.

I am a little intimidated still to do them in yoga class  but I think by the end of the month I should be able to. So I made a new resolution – pull-ups. Still cannot do one. I did some assisted ones yesterday after my long run and today my armpits are so sore I’ve never felt a soreness like this before. I’m gonna try and do those a couple times a week and hopefully I’ll be able to use the pull-up bar and look super bossy.

Today RYAN came with me to his FIRST yoga class ever. I practice at Core Power Yoga (they have a ton of locations all around the country) and at the studio on Wilshire, I love a lot of the teachers. They all have different styles but all the classes are tough, fun and HOT. I love the loud music and shortened times (60 minutes) so I am able to go at least 5 times per week. This past quarter I started waking up before my day started and getting in a yoga class at 6am. Its been great. There was also a Core Power studio at home (Chicago) but the teachers in the suburbs were nowhere near to the caliber and energy of the teachers here in Los Angeles. When I first started going to Core Power me and my girlfriends would only go to the C1.5 which is in-between C1 and C2. Now, I have graduated to only C2 classes and hit usually 4 of these a week, and maybe 1 or 2 Sculpt (yoga with weights) or Pilates classes. They also have hot power fusion, but HPF is a little too slow for my taste (kinda similar to Bikram).

So today Ryan came with me. He has recently been going through a lifestyle change and has been really motivated to exercise a lot and eat healthy. Taking someone to their first yoga class ever really made me realize how much my practice has changed. I started going to yoga when I was a freshman in high school and went to the same studio for all 4 years. Niyama Hot Yoga was my favorite class but I never did a downward dog. It was a lot of warriors, triangles, lunges and balancing. I absolutely loved it. The studio is owned by this goddess Mac McHugh. I practiced with her for all of high school and even a couple times here in LA when she taught at Maha Yoga in Brentwood for a little.

The Amazing Mac

The Amazing Mac

My sister credited the classes for helping her lose almost 10 pounds one summer. Once I came to UCLA I started doing power yoga classes at Santa Monica Power Yoga. Me and Becky were roommates freshman year, and we fell in love with the instructor Rudy. He was so funny and knew exactly what to say at all the right times. Everyone in the crowded room (I would guess at least 70 mats) would be laughing throughout the entire 90 minutes. They were strenuous and also very enlightening. The first couple months of my Chaturangas I had to keep my knees on the floor until my biceps and core got strong enough. Santa Monica Power Yoga always has a large variety of students – there are people who are doing moves I cannot even imagine being able to do, and people who are struggling in the downward dog. I kept going though and really started to love yoga. I began incorporating my breath a lot more into the poses which deepened my practice.

Rudy Mettia at Santa Monica Power Yoga

Rudy Mettia at Santa Monica Power Yoga

Last year I started going to Core Power and after my first week (free!) I was a little skeptical. Niyama Hot and Santa Monica Power Yoga were both 55/60 minutes of standing posing and 30 minutes on the mat. At Core Power it was more like 35/40 minutes standing, 5/10 minutes of abs and some stretching at the end. The music was loud and a couple instructors were more like drill sergeants. I remember thinking that my friends who loved it didn’t know what real yoga was. This was more like a cardio party, not the spiritual classes I had grown to love. A fluke in the system gave me a second free week, and this is when I fell in love. I found some truly great instructors who I now go to on a weekly basis. I have been paying for a monthly membership probably for the past 7 months. It’s a little pricey ($99) but by the end of the month it evens out to somewhere between $3-$4 a class which I would easily shell out.

Amazing Marxel at Core Power Yoga

Yoga has completely changed my body and mind. I have always loved exercising and yoga helped me become more flexible, reduced my injuries and stay toned. I blew out my hips last year running too hard/much and because my core was so weak. I began practicing yoga much more when I was unable to run which helped me stay in shape. When I hit the pavement again after about 4 months of not running, I was able to run slightly faster (not as long yet) and I felt like my form had improved. Now when I run, I can feel my abs engaged and hard the entire time which was something I never felt before. My arms and legs are much stronger and my mind is a lot less stressful. Today watching Ryan do his first downward dog, I realized how the past 7 years of yoga has really payed off. I remember being adjusted in my first Warrior 2s and never thinking that my knee would open up to the point that it is today. I know that the adjustments that I still need to make will come gradually. Its a total journey and so fun. I get more and more excited every time I do hold a new pose or twist deeper, and at the end of the practice during Shavasana I feel more and more relaxed.  I hope to practice as long as I am active. I bet by the end of the decade I can do a handstand and maybe incorporate it into my chaturanga.

Los Angeles Saturday


Today was a classic Saturday.

We got mimosa brunch in West Hollywood then discovered the hidden gem of the Roosevelt Hotel’s pool – accessible, luxurious, food-ie, absolutely beautiful. We just need to get their earlier next time.

Then headed to a random sushi restaurant in West LA which featured a track around the entire (small) place on which the sushi chefs placed the rolls they had just prepared so you can see before you pluck.

It wasn’t that good.

I like my sushi fish to taste really fresh, light and almost refreshing. My favorite place is Sugarfish, where the pieces are light, simple and easy. Here, the sushi rice was a little too sweet and each roll was very dense.

Tomorrow is farmers market! Can’t wait.

This week I want to cook a lot of fresh vegetables – zucchini, squashes, sweet potatoes, kale, brussel sprouts, purple cauliflower etc. I am going to try out the Beverly Hills market first, hopefully its a hit.

I live with my best friend Becky and we have a pretty ideal set-up. We eat the same things and cook dinner for just the two of us every weeknight. Every Sunday we go to the Trader Joe’s and get staples – greek yogurt, Kashi GoLean, cranberries, almonds/sunflower seeds, frozen edamame, frozen shrimp, frozen blueberries, chia seeds/flax seeds, low-carb tortillas, kale, spinach, mixed greens, mushrooms, apples, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes (we eat these every night), canned tuna, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, steamed lentils/beets, lemons and limes.

Then we go to Whole Foods our favorite place and buy whatever vegetable is on sale (usually brussels, but we have gotten purple cauliflower, white asparagus, random mushrooms, peppers etc.) and some frozen salmon and tilapia fillets. Frozen comes out to about $5/night which isn’t bad at all. Usually we eat a piece of fish, some sort of carb (usually sweet potato fries) and sautéed or steamed veggies. Our dinners are repetitive but delicious.

I have a lot of opinions on what I buy at the grocery store and exactly why. I did all the grocery shopping for my family of 7 as soon as I had my license so know all the tricks of the grocery store – what’s a good deal, where I can find the sale and how to pick good produce (for the most part). Its amazing the number of college students (and graduates) who have NO idea how to move through a grocery store and that an avocado for $2.50 is a waste of money. Makes me laugh.

Off to sleep.

Keep it real