6 Stretches You Should Do In Bed To Energize The Rest Of Your Day

6 Stretches You Should Do In Bed To Energize The Rest Of Your Day

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Many of us start the New Year with plans to pretty much revamp our entire lives, and while it’s  great to have lofty goals for ourselves, sometimes it’s useful to start with making a few small and practical changes. You might think it doesn’t get any easier than stretching, but it does… how about stretching right from the comfort of your own bed??  :)  

When your bed is as comfy as mine, you may just not want to get out. Some of you guys know that we have an Endy mattress, it's been almost a year since we purchased it. We decided to make the jump from a Queen to a King sized bed and I am so glad we did. The mattress is super comfortable and holds well with our very active little monkeys jumping and flipping on it all the time. So I can def attest to the fact that it will hold up to the stretches below.

Try these moves first thing in the morning and you’ll be reaping the rewards for the rest of your day.  It’s such a simple yet effective way to to get your blood flowing, wake up your muscles, and centre your breath, body, and mind, so you can go about the rest of your morning with more clarity, calm, and focus. 

1. Elevate legs against wall/bed frame

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2. Seated spinal twist

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3. Full stretch to knee hug   <click right for carousel>


4. Bridge hold (bring arms together underneath your body)   <click right for carousel>


5. Plank to Downward Dog   <click right for carousel>


6. Cat/Cow stretch   <click right for carousel>


7. Cobra stretch   <click right for carousel>

Hold each stretch for about 30-45 seconds. As you hold the stretch, don’t forget to take nice deep breaths into your belly and diaphragm. Try to feel your stomach expanding and contracting as you breathe.

Also keep a water bottle by your bedside every night so you can easily drink some first thing in the morning to start your day hydrated.  Not only does this jump-start your metabolism and help flush out toxins, but it also helps wake you up! I definitely feel more alert once I’ve had 1 or 2 glasses of water to start the day :)

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Be sure to give these a try!  :)

 

 

Turmeric Latte

Ok, so in case you haven't noticed, the thermostat has been creeping downwards in these parts.  That means we all need a little something to keep us warm & cozy on those dark and cold nights, amiright? 

This beautiful Turmeric Latte is just the thing to leave you feeling relaxed and toasty all over. I love it's  gorgeous golden colour and it also smells divine, with notes of fresh ginger, honey and cinnamon.

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I've been drinking a version of this milk since I was a little kid. Every time I got sick, my mom would bust out the "Haldi" milk, warm it up to just the right temperature, and I'd sit down on the couch, feeling very grown-up sipping it out of my big person mug :)

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As always, mom knew best.  This delicious drink has so many immune boosting properties (something we can all use this time of year) and it's also great for helping to relieve achy muscles.

Turmeric is a true wonder spice. Coming from a root similar to ginger, it contains curcumin which is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties (not to mention it helps to promote healthy & glowing skin!).

Ginger also has so many healing benefits and is super friendly on our digestive system. If you’re feeling nauseous, a little ginger might be the cure. With natural cold-fighting properties, it helps with congestion, while boosting immunity.

Cinnamon is warming and calming, while also balancing blood sugar levels and stimulating digestion. There's also a small pinch of black pepper in this latte (it's crucial to help get maximum absorption of the curcumin in the turmeric, but don't worry, you won't taste it!). 

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So here's what you'll need:

  • 1.5 cups Milk (any type)

  • 1 tsp Honey

  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric, ground

  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, ground

  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, ground

  • 1 small pinch Black Pepper
     

Method

Heat milk in a sauce pan on med-high. Just heat it to a simmer, do not boil. After it's heated through you can add all the ingredients and whisk the honey until it's melted and everything is well mixed.

Another method is to pour the hot milk into a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend till combined and frothy. This is the way I like to do it, just be careful when handling hot liquids in your blender.

I'm so excited for you to give this a try!

Yours in health,

Zehra   :)

 

How To Skip (Like A Boss)!

If you’ve ever watched a video of someone skipping and thought to yourself “There’s just no way I can do that”, well think again.  Jumping rope isn’t some magical talent that only certain people are just born with. It’s a skill, and (just like any other skill,) the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Outfit: Hyba activewear

Outfit: Hyba activewear

I’ve been skipping ever since I was a kid and it’s something I’ve always loved coming back to so I do have a fair bit of practice. At the same time though, I’ve also had clients who’ve never skipped before in their life, but once they learn the basics and practice a bit, they find their groove and soon they absolutely love doing it.  It’s definitely worth trying out, since skipping is such a great cardio and conditioning exercise, helping you strengthen and tone your upper and lower body at the same time.  You can literally do it anywhere, and it torches calories at about twice the rate as jogging (a 10 minute skipping workout can burn 150 calories).  

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So if you’ve ever wanted to skip (like a boss), here are a few of my tips to help you get started:

1. Length of Rope -
 It’s really important to make sure your rope is the right length for you. The best way to measure the rope is to place the centre of the rope under one foot, stand straight up and bring both handles straight up. Ideally, the top of the handles should end at your armpits.

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2. Holding the Rope Properly - Grip the handles at their midpoint somewhat firmly.  Keep your elbows in (close to your body), and stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Turn the rope mostly using your wrists (and your elbows to a lesser extent).  Avoid swinging your entire arms in giant circles, as that will give you less control and actually makes the timing of the jumps trickier.

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3. Jump low to the ground - a common mistake that beginners make is that they jump too high (since they feel they need to clear the rope).  Remember, the rope will actually be hitting the ground each time your body jumps over it, so you actually only need to jump a little bit to clear it. If anything, jumping higher will only raise the height of the rope, making it more likely for it to hit the back of your legs. Keeping your feet low to the ground will help you maintain more control throughout the entire movement.

4. Get into a Rhythm - Think of skipping like a dance and find your rhythm. You can either do this to the beat of a song, or to an internal count in your head. Jump on the balls of the feet (the front part), and try to focus on staying light on your feet.  Finding your rhythm is one of the toughest parts, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away.  Just keep practicing, starting at a pace where you feel you have control and then slowly increase your speed from there.

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5. Practice-Practice-Practice - As I mentioned before, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Don’t worry if you keep tripping up, remember that you’re still getting in a good workout and burning calories even if you’re pausing every time you make a mistake.  Consistency is key, try to practice a little bit each day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes) and you’ll see steady improvements in no time.

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You can track your workout in one of 2 ways.  One approach is to skip for time (aim for 1 minute to start, and see if you can increase it by 30 second intervals every few days... if you can get to two sets of 5 minutes straight that’s quite an achievement).  The other approach is counting the number of skips you make (either in total, or the number you can get in a row without tripping up).  Try to aim for 10 at first, and see if you can get to 100 skips straight.  

And remember to always wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you to move. These Joggers have extra stretch and this long sleeve top are great, they allow me to move but still keep in place with all my jumping!

So don’t be shy, just grab a rope, find some space, and give these tips a try. Happy Skipping!!

Outfit details: Hyba Activewear

 

Cashew Milk

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If you’ve ever wanted to try making some kind of Nut Milk at home but don't know where to start, then let me suggest you try Cashew Milk (even if you don't like the taste of cashews!). I’ve made Almond Milk a couple of times now and it’s turned out pretty good, but Cashew Milk has taken my love of nut milks to a whole other level. It’s so creamy and delicious, doesn't have too strong of a nutty flavour, and it’s super (I mean like, super duper) easy to make. No straining of pulp, it blends into a beautiful creamy frothy milk and once you've soaked the cashews you can literally make it in less than 5 minutes.

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Cashews are packed with all kinds of healthy nutrients like Vitamins B6, E, and K, along with minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, copper, phosphorus and zinc, all of which are important for maintaining a healthy body. They are however high in calories, so having them in milk form (where much of the milk is made up of water) is a great way to get all of the health benefits of cashews but with less calories.

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So here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Cashews (raw) 

  • 2 Medjool Dates

  • 1 tsp Vanilla

  • pinch of Sea Salt

  • 4 cups Filtered Water

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Method:

Soak the cashews in a large bowl of water for 3-6 hours.  
After soaking, rinse cashews well and drain.
Place soaked cashews in a blender and pour in the filtered water.
Add in dates, vanilla and sea salt.
Blend on high till the mixture turns into a creamy off-white colour (roughly 1-2 minutes).
Pour into an airtight jar and keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

 

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You can drink the Cashew Milk as is, or use it as a base for smoothies, lattes, or as a milk substitute.
 

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Give this a try, and let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Enjoy!
Zehra  :)

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Halloween may have come and gone, but we can still celebrate the amazing flavours of the fall season.  After all, we only get to enjoy pumpkin season once a year, so might as well embrace right?

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To be honest, I didn’t cook with pumpkin very much growing up (it’s not really a part of Indian/East African cuisine), so this year when Ahmed (who’s a Halloween baby) asked me to bake something with pumpkin, I decided to accept the challenge.  His only request was that we add chocolate chips. I figured I could make these muffins healthy enough that a few chocolate chips sprinkled on the top would be just fine  ;)

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One of the best things about these little babies is that the muffin batter is made entirely in the blender, so Ahmed was basically able to make the whole thing himself … I was more like his sous chef  ;)   Aside from a couple of overflowing cups of oats and smudges of orange pumpkin puree on my white counters, I’d say he did a pretty damn good job!

 

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These turned out so amazing, soft and chewy on the inside, naturally sweetened with a lovely hint of cinnamon and also a great source of fibre.  Most importantly, they got 2 thumbs up from each of my 2 most important critics  :)

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So grab your aprons, get the family together and get baking!

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Healthy Pumpkin Oat Muffins with Chocolate Chips

 

What you’ll need

  • 1 cup, pumpkin puree

  • ⅓ cup, pure maple syrup

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract

  • 4 tbsp, almond butter

  • 1-2 medjool dates (pits removed, and dates soaked in water for 10-15 minutes)

  • ¼ cup, unsweetened almond milk

  • 2½ cups, rolled oats

  • 1 tsp, baking powder

  • ½ tsp, baking soda

  • ½ tsp, salt

  • 1 tsp, cinnamon

  • ½ cup, dark chocolate chips

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin tray with coconut oil. Place all ingredients in blender in the order listed (wet ingredients first, then dry). Leave out the chocolate chips until the end (or do what we do, which is eat half of them while we’re making the muffins!). Blend all the ingredients, you may need to stop and push ingredients around to help out the blender. Once the batter is a nice smooth and thick consistency, you can add in the chocolate chips and stir them into the batter. ( Note: sometimes the batter gets a little hot in the blender, so it’s a good idea to let it cool down a bit before adding in the chocolate chips, so they don't melt into the batter).

Pour the batter into the muffin tray and bake for 12-15 minutes (till you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean).  Let cool for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long) and enjoy.

The kids love these as an after school snack, treat after dinner, or even in the morning. You could swap out the almond butter for a seed butter so they would be “nut free” and school friendly   :)

 

Enjoy!

 

Zehra