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Finding Balance | Good food and Yoga for beginners

I am so excited to welcome our new contributor in the health and fitness department Graci! She is not only a beautiful, smart, strong, healthy and motivated girl, she also happens to be my niece! She is a personal trainer and a health coach among other things, be sure to read about her HERE, and make her feel welcome at Making the World Cuter as she helps us reach our health goals and helps us with finding balance in our lives!

Balance

Good food and yoga: the two things I have been maybe a little too obsessed with lately.

As I pondered what to write my very first blog post for Making The World Cuter on, I decided why not use the two things that make me happiest? There is so much fresh knowledge in my head on fitness and nutrition that is all trying to come out at once, but that would make this post way too long…

So lets start simple. Balance.

I think its safe to say that 100% of people these days that are overweight, stressed, depressed or unhappy are that way because they have no balance in their lives. Well it’s my mission to change that.

Most of us are so darn busy running around with kids, multiple jobs, cleaning, making food, and the millions of other things that we do, that we forget to stop and just breath! So how to slow that down? Baby steps. Each day, wake up with a clear mind and decide what is most important to you that day, what is realistic, what is necessary and what is not. Decide that no matter what happens today, you are going to be happy. Decide that no matter how busy and crazy things get, you will find a moment to take for yourself, to love and appreciate you, because YOU are an amazing person.

Like I said, I’ve been a bit obsessed with yoga, this week especially. I’ve found that if I get even just 5-10 minutes a day to stop, take 3 big belly breaths and maybe just hold 1 or 2 poses, my day runs smoother because I’m more checked in, more at balance and have a much clearer mind. So I decided that I am going post a challenge pose every 3 weeks when I write and it is your job (if you choose) to perfect that pose and slowly find balance and love in every aspect of your life.

Finding Balance

Lets start real easy.

This is called Mountain pose, if you’ve ever done yoga before you know this.

mountain-pose

It’s very simple so everyone should be able to do it. You don’t have to bring your foot up as high on your thigh, just wherever is most comfortable.

Now just stop here and breathe.

If it seems a little easy close your eyes, keep that balance.

Breathe.

Want to go a bit further? Take your foot on top of your thigh, and come down into a toe balance, hands at heart center, eyes open or closed. Take as many breaths as you need to feel clear, balanced and at peace.

Yoga

Oh, and don’t forget to smile (:

There is something about that breath that calms me down and makes me happy.

What else makes me happy?

This fantastic , healthy, nutritious, delicious, filling and not to mention EASY breakfast I made Saturday morning!

Lets be honest, who doesn’t have a new years resolution to eat healthier, lose weight and be more fit? For some reason people have this skewed perception on healthy food like its boring and flavorless. I can definitely prove that wrong.

Gluten-Free (vegan) Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes with a Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Leek Hash

None of the pictures I took did this justice because I barely know how to work a camera properly, but trust me this is amazing.

Some of these ingredients might be new to you. Since I don’t have time or room to explain everything, you can just email me at graci.hewlett@gmail.com if you have any questions. You will most likely need to run to the health food store for a few of the ingredients, but it’ll be worth it.

Blueberry-Pancakes

Gluten-Free (vegan) Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

Yield: 6 (4-inch) pancakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw buckwheat groats (not kasha), ground into a flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium ripe banana, diced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (optional)

 

1. Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

2. In a blender, blend the buckwheat groats on high speed until a fine flour forms. Place into a large bowl. Now whisk in the rest of the dry ingredients (rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder).

3. Pour in the almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk the batter until no clumps remain.

4. Fold in the diced banana and scraped vanilla bean. If using fresh blueberries, mix them in now.

5. Lightly grease skillet. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the preheated skillet. If using frozen blueberries, sprinkle on a heaping tablespoon of blueberries. Cook until many bubbles appear and then flip and cook for another couple minutes. Repeat for the other pancakes.

Top with peanut butter, fresh fruit, unsweetened coconut flakes, and pure maple syrup or pop in the toaster later and eat plain for a delicious snack!

Note: If using frozen blueberries, pour batter onto skillet first and then top with blueberries to prevent bleeding. I also tried subbing the rice flour for oat flour and the pancakes completely stuck to the pan, so I would advise against that substitution.

Cook up a few of those and then whip together these amazing (and healthier) substitute for hashbrowns:

 

Hash

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Leek Hash

Ingredients:

1/2 large butternut squash [or one small]

1 medium sweet potato

1 medium leek

2-3 tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil

garlic salt

ground pepper

Eggs (optional)

Peel, halve and scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash. Peel and halve the sweet potato. By using a medium thick cheese grater, grate them onto a tea towel or other absorbent material to soak up the extra moisture they’ll release. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and set aside for about 15 minutes.

Cut the bottom and top off the leek. Peel the outer layer or two off the leek and slice into thin medallions. In a medium sized pan heat your oil over low to medium heat. Cook them while stirring occasionally until they start to become translucent.

Once the squash and sweet potatoes are done resting, toss them in with the leeks. Add a bit more salt, pepper and garlic granules. Mix together well, add in another dash of oil if necessary and cook on low for about 7-10 minutes. Allow the mixture to brown on the bottom. Stir or flip to brown the other side. Repeat until you’ve found your desired texture.

Add eggs if your heart desires!

Eat slowly, chew your food, and enjoy your guilt free delicious breakfast (or dinner!)

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Graci Hewlett is an 18-year-old go getter. She is a licensed cosmetologist, certified eyelash extensionest, health coach, physical trainer and yoga lover. It's all about having balance. Her education has equipped her with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventative health. Drawing on these skills and knowledge of hundreds of different dietary theories, she works with clients to help them make lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results. She loves good nutritious food and wants to show you just how easy and beneficial healthy eating can be. Visit her on her Websiteor email her at graci.hewlett@gmail.com to get on her newsletter. Follow her on Instagram @gracilynnn

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