Monthly Archives: March 2014

on embracing more embracing.

when we think about trying to live in a more healthy way, our minds usually head towards thoughts of eating more vegetables, running more, hitting the gym, or even just being more mindful of our hydration levels. One thing that doesn’t usually find its way into that list, however, is taking more time to cuddle up with your sweetheart… but it should! In it’s own way, hugging a loved one can offer just as many benefits to your health as eating kale, and is probably just a little bit more widely enjoyed.

The main major benefit that hugging has to offer is that an extended hug (we’re talking a real hug here – 10 seconds or more of serious, committed hugging… it’s not that hard) raises the body’s oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that lowers our heart rate and cortisol (stress) levels. Fun fact, oxytocin is also the hormone released at childbirth, to make the process a little more bearable and make sure that the new mommas don’t already resent the tiny baby that is causing them so much pain! In addition to lowering your stress and heart rate, the oxytocin released in your body during a hug also works to promote bonding and increased trust with the person you’re hugging. Not surprisingly, studies show that women tend to reap greater oxytocin benefits from hugging than men do, and people who are in loving relationships tend to cultivate even higher levels of this magic hormone during a hug… but that doesn’t mean hugging is a relationship-exclusive thing! Hug everyone, because why not? Spread the love, bonding, and oxytocin.

Another magic hug hormone is dopamine, which most people are familiar with, as it is the same hormone that is targeted by so many addictive drugs. Known as the pleasure hormone, dopamine is released in the brain during a hug… so literally, go for hugs and not drugs! Additionally, holding a hug for an extended period of time can also raise seratonin levels, which causes an elevated mood and increased happiness.

Aside from helping to promote a more healthy lifestyle, giving more hugs can also supplement your already healthy lifestyle – hugging can actually help us recover from that extra-intense workout, since it helps relax the muscles and release tension, promotion extra blood flow to soft tissue, which accelerates your body’s recovery time. Good excuse for more sweaty hugs.The list goes on and on: it has anti-inflammatory properties, can promote skin hydration, and causes an increased white blood cells production, which helps fight off disease. But the main point is this: hugging is literally essential to your health. So today, instead of letting yourself get bogged down by all the things you’re not doing, run out and hug the first person you see. That will give you both all the healing you need.

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for a little more, check out: this, this, this, and this!

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city spotlight: charleston

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Charleston is a city alive with culture, adventure, and a very distinct southern charm, and recently, I was blessed enough to get to spend some time basking in its historical beauty and funky atmosphere. A three-day getaway to this incredible place was the most necessary pause, and since this fantastic city is close enough to make a weekend trip of, I figured I’d share some of my favorites, so you all can go enjoy them too!

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First stop in this incredible city has to be City Lights Coffee, which we stumbled into absolutely on accident (frantic necessity for mate tea after some late-night driving), but was one of the most happy accidents of the trip. The atmosphere is calm and cozy, while still somehow maintaining the distinct feeling of a beachside coffee shop, the building was rustic and beautiful (surprise: it was apparently actually once a brothel, but has been beautifully retouched since it’s past days), the owner was warm, helpful, and wonderful to chat with, and the drinks were superb – hot tea, and freshly squeezed lemonade. I even spotted some gluten free muffins sitting on the corner…

After you grab some tea or coffee at City Lights, although I’m not usually one to suggest caffeine before yoga, the best life choice you could ever make would be to head down King Street a little bit in search Charleston Power Yoga, aka a little slice of heaven. Being the tireless researcher that I am, the second we decided on a vacation location, I was immediately scouring the area for the best yoga spots available, and although I have about fifteen different locations marked down to hit up (in a three-day time period, so realistic), I ended up just making continuous appearances at this amazing Baptiste studio. With a perfect blend of fast-paced, challenging sequences and authentic, positive inspiration, this studio has it all, and is an incredible way to work up a good sweat in between all of the eating and drinking that the city has to offer.

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After working up a good sweat, a nutritious and filling meal is an absolute must, and fortunately, just a few blocks down the street from Charleston Power Yoga sits one of my new favorite lunch spots in the world, Black Bean and Co. Described as “energy food,” this quirky little joint offers just that – fresh, whole foods, with a creative and well thought out combination of tastes and elements… and even some bottles of kombucha in the fridge! Healthy heaven. I ordered a mexican un-wrapped wrap, as mexican food and beaches seem to be a pretty ideal combination, but they seemed to have an extensive sampling of flavors and food styles.I spotted a beet and goat cheese salad that I’m pretty anxious to go back for…

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Further still on King Street was another absolutely needed stop for our trip, and for yours as well – a visit to the local lululemon! As always, it was simultaniously exciting and refreshing to be in another one of our stores – everyone there was, of course, helpful and wonderful, and we got some great tips on spots to hit in the area, while also picking up a brand new chakra mat (!!!). Since we’re still a small showroom, I always love a chance to get to pop into the full stores and see all the colorful goods that they’ve got. At the moment, my favorites that I tried on were these Free Reign Shorts and the Cool Racerback in a soft grey luon light (big time not-buyers regret on these puppies).

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And what would a city guide be without at least a little bit of a scoop on some scoops of ice cream? Shockingly, after days of sun and walking, my sweet tooth began to kick in just a little bit, so naturally the walking led us right to a giant ice cream cone outside of a cute-looking little shop (again, still on King… I promise, we did leave this street a few times during the trip!), which happened to be heaven-on-earth, otherwise known as Belgain Gelato. Yum. My first question was, “okay, how many of these flavors can I get in one cup?” Answer: not nearly enough.

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To prove that we did more than eat while down in Charleston (I swear! It happened!), here are a few shots from the South Carolina Aquarium, which was a delightful surprise – for such a small building, it packs in a lot of incredible animals, AND is doing an amazing amount to support and preserve habitat maintenance and animal protection. Aquariums are something that I always forget how much I enjoy until I’m there, but this was a great one, and definitely another must-visit for anyone planning to spend more than a day or two down there.

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Saving the best for last, if you only pick one thing to do from this entire post, please make it be eating at Scratch Taco Boutique, because it will be the best choice you ever make. Ever. I could have eaten every meal we had down there at this place, and still probably not be sick of it. But really. Lemon thyme margaritas, fresh baked chips with a house salsa, and lettuce-wrapped vegan tacos (but also non-vegan tacos available…!), I think I may have taken the smallest bites of my life just so that the taste of the food wouldn’t have to end as quickly. The menu was super user-friendly (aka, everything was kindly labeled “GF or V” for high maintenance eaters like myself), the taste combinations were superb, and the atmosphere was sophisticated and relaxing, all while maintaining the feel of a little taco spot by the beach. We ate there on our last night in town, and it was the most perfect way to end the most perfect trip.

A few honorable mention activities that didn’t get photographed because of all of the activity surrounding them are: Sullivan’s Island, which is a fantastic beach area, great place for a picnic, and, like most of Charleston, dog-friendly; White Point Gardens, which is only a 15 minute walk away from the heart of downtown (just head straight down King Street until you see the water!), and is an amazing place to work on handstands or read a book; and finally, the Charleston bar scene – pick a bar, any bar, because they are all amazing… at least all the ones we hit up. Maybe next time I’m down there, I’ll post a Part Two: Bar Review!

So should you start craving a sandy mat and some ocean breeze, I highly recommend taking a road trip – spontaneous or planned, alone or with loved ones, down to Charleston. ’tis the season, after all!

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sweet tooth adventures: black bean brownies

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warm vanilla, sweet cherries, and fudgy chocolate… how badly is your sweet tooth aching right now? Good news – this fantastic combination of tastes doesn’t belong exclusively to decadent, sugary desserts, and these incredible black bean brownies are proof of that. All of the taste of traditional, flour and butter brownies, but minus everything that would spike your blood sugar and damage your gut. Awesome. These little guys are the best of all worlds.

One of the things that make these brownies so fantastic is that they require no flour, not even a gluten-free substitute or almond blend, using regular black beans instead as the substantial element. Why is this such a good thing? Well, first of all, flour is nothing more than a filler in most recipes, something to give substance to the flavors involved in the rest of the recipe, and yet it tends to be responsible for a lot of health problems and weight gain, partially because we eat so freaking much of it, in all things and at all times. You definitely don’t have to give up flour completely in order to live a healthy lifestyle, but it is helpful to be mindful of swapping it out for something else when the option is there. In this case, these brownies remove the necessity of something that is not very nutritionally beneficial, and instead replace it with an incredibly nutrient dense ingredient: black beans. In addition to the amazing rich, fudgy feel that the black beans bring to these brownies, they also bring along a wonderful amount of fiber, folate, copper, and a whole host of other valuable nutrients. Thanks to the black beans, these brownies will actually be working to help regulate your blood sugar levels, instead of spiking them like a traditional sugar-filled recipe would. Finally, they’ll be bringing to the table some really wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and who wouldn’t choose to take their dessert with an extra helping of antioxidants?

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So, now that you love them, here’s how to make them!

Ingredients:

– 1 can of organic black beans

– 2 chia eggs (see below for instructions)

– 3 tbsp coconut oil

– 1 cup cacao powder

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 3 soaked dates

– 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

– 2 cups of strawberries, fresh or frozen

– 2 tbsp peanut butter

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Instructions

to make the chia eggs: soak 2 tbsp of chia seeds in 6 tbsp of water for two hours or overnight.

for the brownies: pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. As it heats, combine everything except for the strawberries and peanut butter in a food processor, and process until smooth. Once the batter is finished processing, pull out a muffin tin, and place one or two strawberries into each little muffin space. Stir the peanut butter into the batter, and pour it over the strawberries, filling each space until 3/4 full. Option to top with walnut pieces or some dried, unsweetened coconut flakes. Bake for 25 minutes, and then let cool for 30. I topped mine with a chilled blend of full-fat coconut cream and strawberries, but they’re just as amazing without. Enjoy!

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yoga: the many-hatted vixen

I remember very clearly the first time that I was introduced to the idea that yoga could be more than just yoga: I was in an airport, flying down to Florida for the weekend, and had just started a very, very basic home yoga practice, so I brought my mat down with me, hoping to continue exploring my budding love for yoga. While waiting to board the plane, one of the flight attendants saw my mat and came up to me to talk about yoga… I don’t remember much from the conversation, except that she used a lot of words that I had never heard before, and that it ended with her drawling, “well, I myself am very well-practiced in ashtanga” and listing everyone that she had ever studied under. I’m pretty sure that my only contribution to the conversation was a lame, “oh, yeh, I mean, I really like down dog…”  Needless to say, five minutes later I was planted in my airplane seat, frantically googling “different types of yoga” on my phone so as to prepare for that situation, should it ever occur again. Years later, I can safely say that I have a little bit better of a grasp of the various forms that a yoga practice can take, and would probably not run away in fear if sanskrit were ever to be dropped  in a casual conversation, but that experience has always served as a reminder to me that sharing knowledge is only powerful when done out of a space of love!

That being said, here’s a short breakdown of the main, basic styles of yoga practiced, so that all you lovely yogis and aspiring yogis are well-versed if ever cornered by an over-zealous flight attendant. Namaste.

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Anusara literally means “to step into the current of divine will,” this is a very spiritually-centered style of yoga, and yet one that maintains a good level of physical challenge. There is as much of a focus placed on the proper alignment of the body as there is on the inner-goodness of the individual. An anusara class will certainly make for a beautiful fusion of mind and body, and will also tend to be fun and lighthearted. awesome for: learning proper alignment and putting you in an incredible mood.

Ashtanga – ashtanga yoga is one of the oldest styles of yoga practiced, but it was popularized and brought over to this side of the pond in the 70’s. An ashtanga class is based on six series of postures, which increase in difficulty as the class progresses. It’s a lot like vinyasa yoga, except that it follows a much more structured pattern – definitely still a super-sweaty workout. awesome for: some pretty serious strength building and body toning.

Bikram – translation: super, super, super sweaty yoga. One of the first yoga classes I ever took was a bikram class, and I honestly did not know that my body was capable of producing as much sweat as it did then. Bikram yoga utilizes a series of 26 traditional yoga poses in a specific sequence, and is practiced in a room that is heated to 105 degrees. Note on this: drink more water than you ever imagined consuming, both before and after class. Otherwise, you’ll experience what I refer to fondly as a “yoga hangover.” awesome for: in-freaking-sane weight loss, and a lovely system reboot.

Hatha – the word “hatha” is actually just used to describe the physical practice of yoga, and could be used as a blanket description for most of the yoga classes available today. A class labeled as “hatha” is probably going to be one that focuses more on the perfect forms of the postures, slowly moving from one to another. These classes tend to be a little more calm and gentle, but still provide a wonderful way to step into yoga, or to deepen your practice. awesome for: calming down and de-stressing.

Iyengar – this style of yoga could be summarized in two words: alignment and precision. In an iyengar yoga class, you’ll find yourself holding poses for a much longer time than in other classes… the idea behind this is to shift the focus of the class away from getting from one pose to another, and instead becoming increasingly aware of your muscular and skeletal alignment in each pose. You will also end up using a lot of yoga props, like blocks, straps, and even the wall. awesome for: learning some yoga fundamentals, and toning some beautiful muscles.

Kundalini – a yoga practiced that, according to Yogi Bahjan, is the path to everyone becoming “happy, healthy, and holy” – this style of yoga is a blend of breath, posture, and chanting spiritual mantras. A large amount of focus is placed on the awakening of the energy at the base of the spine, and spreading that energy through the rest of the chakra systems in the body. awesome for: building a beautiful energy in your body, while still staying grounded and focused.

Vinyasa – fun fact, “vinyasa” is actually the Sanskrit word for “flow,” and with good reason. The primary focus of a vinyasa class is to flow through various postures while connecting to your breath. Although the core of this class is breath and rhythm, don’t expect an easy class – vinyasa yoga can be quite a sweaty and intense mind-body workout! awesome for: a calm, focused energy, and a full-body workout.

Yin– yin yoga is a lot more of a slow and mindful practice, a serious exercise in meditation while also challenging your physical body. Yin poses are held for long periods of time (typically five minutes or more), and are targeted towards stimulating the flow of energy through your body. awesome for: meditation and a better understanding of your own body.

 

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what is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? Whatever it is, take this week to get up, get out, seek it out, and push harder for it. Right now, commit to letting go of fear and doubt, and  pursuing your passions wholeheartedly,  living life to the absolute fullest. Identify the life you  would live if nothing was stopping you, and then make it happen! 

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“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself.”
— Alan Alda

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kombucha: the what and the how

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kombucha. First of all, what the heck is it? They have it on shelves at whole foods, you hear chatter about it at yoga class, but you’ve never actually understood what kombucha is. Kombucha is naturally carbonated yeast-fermented tea, a drink that has been around for over 2,000 years and is highly praised for its energizing, healing, and revitalizing qualities. Not surprisingly, as with a lot of alternative superfoods these days, there is a lot of controversy surrounding kombucha and it’s benefits, but there is studied proof that this drink, at the very least, offers large quantities of amino acids, antioxidants, B-vitamins, and probiotics. Beyond that, it provides fantastic detoxification support for the liver (and is therefore my all time absolute preferred cure for one two many glasses of red), a kickstart to your metabolism, a natural, caffeine-free energy boost, and some truly amazing gut-healing qualities. In a world full of unnatural toxins, regularly drinking kombucha is a great way to keep your insides healthy and functioning properly. The only problem is that regularly drinking kombucha is in no way a small investment, with bottles of this fermented drink ranging from 4-14 dollars on grocery store shelves. The good news? Kombucha is ridiculously easy, and fun, to make at home, and once you’ve made it, it’s even more simple to keep it going, allowing it to constantly brew in as large a quantity as you want. I can usually be counted on to have five or six jars of kombucha fermenting somewhere around the house, and have started having to warn people ahead of time, as my friend once asked me if I had a jarred fetus in my bedroom. Oops.

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So, pictured above is all you need to make your own delicious kombucha, except for the mason jar and little cutting of cheese cloth needed to cover the lid. The option is available to buy a dehydrated “mother yeast” online, from websites such as Cultures for Health, but it really is just as easy to get your own started from a bottle of store-bought kombucha, and that way you get to enjoy a bottle as you prepare.

To start off, take a bottle of raw kombucha (I used GT Dave’s brand), and start sipping. As you’re making your way towards the bottom of the bottle, bring a pan with 8 oz of water (or as much as desired – amount depends on the container you have to brew in) to boil, adding 2-3 tbsp of sugar once the water hits a boil. Stop sipping your kombucha once there’s about an inch or two of liquid left.. all that weird stringy stuff that floats around the bottom? Make sure that’s still in there. Remove the boiled sugar-water from the heat, and stir with a wooden spoon (very important – do not use metal!) until the sugar dissolves completely. Next, add a bag of unflavored green tea (or two, depending on the strength you want) and let it steep – at this step, I generally tend to wait a while, so that the tea is strongest. You really only need to wait until the water reaches room temperature, but I’ve left it steeping overnight before, partially because I was getting impatient waiting for the water to cool, and it turned out just fine. Once the tea is steeped and cooled, pour it into your glass jar, along with the remnants of your kombucha drink. Cover the top with a cheese cloth, or another light cloth, so that it is protected from dirt in the air but still has room to breath, and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight. Then comes the waiting part… I usually give mine several weeks to brew, but that’s partially because my house is so cold. A thick film will form on the top of the liquid in your jar (that’s creating a new mother yeast, for your next brewing!), and once that starts to get really thick and sink, that’s a pretty clear indicator that your kombucha is ready to drink (see below – jar of kombucha in mid-brew.)

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Once your kombucha finishes brewing, it’s up to you how you want to prepare it! I tend to make a fruit or ginger juice blend (my favorite is juiced ginger and pineapple), mix that in a bottle with the kombucha, and leave it out to ferment on the fruit juices just a little bit longer. You can absolutely drink it, raw and unflavored, right away though. As for that weird floating brain-like thing in the jar? Keep that guy in there, along with a splash of the finished kombucha, and add another jar of sugar tea in with it to start brewing more!

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Lastly, if you’re looking for a way to mix healthy and hip, I’ve found some pretty interesting kombucha cocktails on the internet, my current favorite being the tequila/cinnamon/kombucha blend at the bottom of this article. Probably not something we’ll be seeing served in fine dining establishments any time soon, but who knows? It can never hurt to add a little splash of probiotic to your cocktail. Happy brewing, lovelies!

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want to know more? Check out this, this, and this!

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your weekend prescription of link love!

whether you’re beach bound for spring break, or simply enjoying a lazy, lovely Saturday morning, here’s some link love to brighten up your morning. Enjoy, lovelies!

this is a really awesome weekend DIY! Simple, easy, photographicable, and fun… also, who doesn’t like vanilla?

– an impending transition into the season of vegetables calls for some quick and delicious recipes. Love these, because they’re tasty and nutritious, but won’t require hours of prep and cooking time to create… always a huge bonus.

wanting this so badly right now. As you should be too, if you’re into cookbooks, food, or health. The Thrive Guidebook was a dietary game-changer for me, so the beautifully photographed accompanying cookbook can only be full of all things wonderful.

– if you’re thinking thoughts of raised beds for your spring garden, here is an article that I found really, really helpful when putting together mine.

– valentine’s day may be long gone, but here are some great reasons to keep up the kissing!

crazy easy. crazy yum. another great way to love chickpeas.

– I can’t tell if reading this made me happier about the cold, or just more cold. A nice as it is to have spring on the horizon, this article helps make the tiniest case for appreciation of the long, cold season we’re leaving behind.

– loved this article on weight lifting for females – really interesting stuff, and crucial information for any fitness lover!

– finally, I can’t wait to try out this recipe. Scary, scary good.

“eat like you love yourself. move like you love yourself. speak like you love yourself. act like you love yourself.” – Tara Stiles

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yoga spotlight: balance your half moon

ardha chandrasana, or more commonly known as balancing half moon, is one of our favorite poses to pop into during practice, and with good reason! Physically, this pose is a challenging one, as your entire body has to be properly aligned and engaged, but it is also a welcome mental challenge, as is any act of balance, both in yoga and in life. Balancing poses require a perfect harmony of breath and concentration, a very clear sense of presence within your body and a full awareness of what is surrounding and grounding you, and this pose is no exception – in my opinion, it requires a much greater sense of presence than some traditional leg balances, because your body is in an entirely unusual and unfamiliar alignment.

Aside from promoting an excellent awareness, balancing half moon pose has a whole host of other amazing benefits for your body: it strengthens your entire leg, ankles and knees included, as well as your core and buttocks. It also works to open up your chest, shoulders, and torso, and spine WHILE stretching your hamstrings and calves (to all you runners, take note…)! Additionally, because the heart is higher than the head in this pose, you get a little taste of those inversion benefits that we all know and love, such as stress and fatigue relief. Lastly, this is a phenomenal pose to take if your digestive system needs a little bit of love.

Now that you’re all loving good old ardha chandrasana as much as you should be, here are a few final thoughts on the pose, to ensure that you’re not in any way hurting your body while trying to reap all of these fabulous benefits: make sure to keep your core engaged in this pose (as in most poses) and your pelvic floor drawn in, so as to avoid any pain in your lower back. If you’re feeling any neck pain in this pose, make sure to keep your head level and try to look straight forward. As with everything, use a block or other modification to make sure that you’re giving your body all of the love that it deserves!

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many thanks to the beautiful Lindsey from Paz Sudios for rocking a snowy half moon for us! 

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food spotlight: chickpeas

announcement: the little chickpea goes so far beyond the world of hummus. Even though chickpeas, both canned and dried, are a pretty consistent staple of my cupboard, I’ve realized lately that most people tend to shy away from this magnificent bean in daily cooking. Hopefully this post will remedy that, because the chickpea, or garbanzo bean, is a nutritional powerhouse, and also a ridiculously easy and filling addition to any meal.

In regards to buying and storing chickpeas, places like Earth Fare do offer dried chickpeas in their bulk section, so you do have the option to cook them yourself, but almost any grocery store will have a good selection of canned chickpeas… I’m not always one to promote canned foods, but in this case, I’m all for it. Whereas a lot of vegetables can lose some of their nutritional value in the canning and storing process, there isn’t really a huge difference in the nutrient profile of canned chickpeas and home cooked ones – just make sure to rinse the canned ones over a few times before using them.

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Now that you know how to get them, here’s a little bit of information on why to get them:

– 1 cup of chickpeas is a whopping 273% of your daily molybdenum needs. What the heck is that? It’s a trace mineral that your body needs to help metabolize fats and carbs.

– chickpeas are one of the highest available food sources of manganese, which helps with bone formation, is needed in the process of turning carbs into energy, and also is a necessary component in the production of the structural collagen in skin.

– in addition to the previous energizing element, they’re also high in iron, which is a key nutrient in energy production and metabolism. So, in a few different ways, chickpeas are a shot booster for your energy and metabolism, two things we’re always trying to boost.

– they’re an awesome source of insoluble fiber. Which everyone always needs more of.

– they’re crazy filling. A lot of times, when I’m in a rush, I’ll have straight spoonfulls of canned chickpeas for a meal-to-go. Studies actually show that a diet that includes garbanzo beans leaves people feeling more full, and therefore consuming less food.

– finally, chickpeas are a great source of both fiber and protein, the combination of which work to better regulate the blood sugar and stabilize the flow of food through the digestive tract.

All great reasons to add more chickpeas into your life. Now… how?

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My current favorite way to get my chickpea fix is to simply throw a few spoonfuls of them into whatever salad I’m making, a la our most recent recipe post, or to bake them with honey and spices for a sweet and savory snack. However, if you prefer something a little bit more substantial, chickpeas also happen to be one of the most versatile foods I’ve ever encountered. Here are a few awesome chickpea recipes that I’ve been loving lately:

– Pumpkin Hummus – 1 can of pumpkin, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp of tahini, 1 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (trader joe’s has a great one…), 1 tsp sea salt, the juice of half a lemon, and a dash of cayenne pepper. to make: simply soak the pumpkin seeds for a few hours, then throw everything into the blender and blend! top with a little extra cayenne pepper, just for an added bite.

– Sweet Potato Falafel – 2 sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp coriander, a handful of cilantro, the juice of one lemon,
1 cup of chickpea flour, a dash of olive oil, and 1 tbsp sesame seeds. to make: Boil the sweet potatoes until they’re soft, and then toss them into a bowl with the chickpea flour. Grate the garlic, chop the cilantro, and then toss everything into the bowl. Mix well, and then form the dough into little balls and place them on the baking pan. Cover with another dash of olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

– Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad – 5 whole carrots, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/3 cup of fresh mint, 1/2 cup of almonds. for the dressing: 1 tbsp cumin, the juice from 1 lemon, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a dash of sea salt. to make: finely grate the carrots into bowl. Place the chickpeas and the almonds on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes at 345, remove the almonds, and then let the chickpeas bake for another 5-7 minutes. Once the almonds have cooled, chop them and place them into the bowl. Chop the dates (if dried, let soak for an hour before cooking) and the mint, add those in as well. Once the chickpeas are slightly browned on the outside, throw them in too. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl, and then add it, stirring everything well.

– Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpeas – and some link love for our final chickpea recipe, Sprouted Kitchen’s amazing take on this little bean. (while you’re over there, check out the pistachio falafel too… it’s amazing!)

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No exceptions.

You can do it. No exceptions.

You can turn your whole world upside down and inside out.

Yes you can.

You can heal and grow and create and manifest miracles.

You can be the change you seek, inspire others and astonish yourself.

Yes you can.

In the very next breath you take, you can begin stepping towards the truth of who you really are with a sense of awesome adventure.

Oh yes you can.

You can make this your year and watch as dreams come true before your eyes.

Oh yes, yes, yes you can.

– Bhava Ram

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