Quick Healthy Tip: Soak Your Food

For proper digestion (and easier blending) always remember to soak your nuts before consuming them. Nuts have a high number of enzyme inhibitors making them difficult to digest. Enzyme inhibitors are what allow nuts to remain in your cupboard for months without becoming spoiled, not exactly something you want in your digestive tract. When you soak nuts before eating them, the enzymes become neutralized making them much easier on digestion. Soaking your nuts (or seeds or grains) before eating them will also make their proteins readily available as well as important nutrients and vitamins.

Soaking nuts is extremely simple, you take purified or distilled water, pour it over the nuts (about 2:1 ratio water to nuts) and allow to soak for a few hours to overnight. Cover your class container with cheesecloth and keep at room temperature until you’re ready to use them. Obviously the harder or larger the nut, the longer it will take to soak. Small grains and seeds will take much less time. Once you’re ready to use the nuts, rinse them to assure they are clean and you’re ready to go! You can always buy a dehydrator (unless you have one already) if you want to eat the nuts nice and crispy, instead of blending them.

Another great thing to soak are dates! Many healthy smoothies use dates as sweetener in delicious desserts. I enjoy blending dates with banana, 100% cocoa powder, peanut butter and soaked almonds with water for a delicious dessert smoothie. Without soaking the dates beforehand, they rarely blend unless you have a strong high-speed blender, leaving large date chunks behind.

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Quick Healthy Tip: Turn Workouts into Play Time

Today’s Quick Healthy Tip may seem like a no-brainer but it bears repeating; find a workout that you love! We know there are numerous benefits to regular exercise; increased energy levels, better sleep, improved mood, better self-esteem, boosted immunity, the list goes on and on… So why aren’t you exercising regularly? Maybe it’s because you aren’t motivated by your workout!

Visvamitrasana - Om Shanti Life

Visvamitrasana – Om Shanti Life

If you’ve read my “about me“, then you may know that I grew up figure skating competitively. However, when an injury took me out of the game, my health, fitness and self-esteem took a plummet. I toyed around with so many different workouts knowing that I had to start moving my body, but not knowing what I wanted to do! I tried HIIT, zumba, kettlebells, weightlifting! Anything and everything I could think of that may be fun, guess what? I hated all of it. I had been practicing yoga regularly at a beginner level and realized how much I loved it, so instead of practicing the same routines and the same asanas, I decided to begin pushing myself. One day I woke up and decided I was going to work on headstand, so I brought my mat to the wall and did a headstand. That was the spark of my true love for exercise re-igniting.

Enclosed Egg Headstand - Om Shanti Life

Enclosed Egg Headstand – Om Shanti Life

Look for clues from your childhood, what games or sports did you like to play? Once I started practicing daily, I realized how natural of a fit yoga was into my life! The main components of the physical yoga practice are balance, strength and flexibility all the same important components of my daily figure skating! Make this work for you! Did you love playing soccer growing up? Try signing up for a neighbourhood league. Did you enjoy karate? See if your local gym offers muay thai! Not everyone loves lifting weights! And if you do, that’s okay too! Find what works for you!

Natarajasana Variation - Om Shanti Life

Natarajasana Variation – Om Shanti Life

Once I began regularly practicing yoga, I realized it was time for me to add cardio back into my routine. Inspired by friends who always seemed to have just come back from a jog, I decided to try running… I loathed it! I pushed myself to run for 6 months before I knew it was time to start something new, so I looked into spinning and fell in love. Like yoga and figure skating, I loved that spin class intervals were similar to the sprints I would do in middle and high school track and field.

Side Plank Variation - Om Shanti Life

Side Plank Variation – Om Shanti Life

Play around with exercise and turn it from a chore into something that you look forward to! Do not be afraid to try different classes (many gyms and studios offer discounted rates for first-timers), to get sweaty or to look silly, that’s what makes it fun! When you find yourself humming in anticipation for your next workout and you’re smiling despite working hard, feeling workout discomfort and sweating like a pig, then you know you have made the right choice! There is no one size fits all! Find what you love, practice often and reap the rewards!

Let me know what you’re favourite exercises are!

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Morning Meditation

I’ve already talked about one of my favourite Quick Healthy Tips; Morning Yoga! If you have started a morning yoga practice, perhaps it is time to add a regular morning meditation to your daily routine!

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You may know that meditation is incredible for the body; physical, mental and spiritual. Regularly meditating encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases self-awareness, improves sense of self and confidence, lowers high blood pressure, reduces anxiety and increases overall happiness, among countless other benefits. One might think that because of all these incredible health benefits, a regular meditation practice would be difficult to start but it isn’t! I began my meditation practice by carving out the time in my mornings, before the activity of the day could sweep me off my feet and distract me! 5 minutes is all you need! You may think that it will be difficult to meditate and simply do nothing but focus on your breath for 5 minutes will be boring or challenging and that’s why I suggest starting for such a short period of time. Eventually you will be able to work up to 10, 20 maybe even 30 minutes of uninterrupted meditation, but that’s certainly a daunting place to begin! You will find that once you’ve begun practicing daily, you’re 5 minutes of meditation will fly by! You will begin craving that time just for yourself and will find yourself adding a couple more minutes to your meditative practice here and there.

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I added meditation to my morning routine in an effort to make every day start on a positive note. That is why I complete my meditation after at least 10 minutes of morning yoga, and bookend my meditation with a warm mug of lemon water and Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. I stumbled upon this book after a yoga class, when the instructor read one of Beattie’s daily meditations to close the class. The words were so inspiring and relevant that I immediately ordered the book to include in my morning routine. I include this book in my Quick Healthy Tip because you can use these daily meditations or mantras as something to focus on while you are meditating if you prefer to chant than to focus on your breath. I also strongly believe that starting your day with inspiring words, introspection and physical movement will help you wake up every day on the right side of the bed feeling beautiful, creative and radiant. Your light will shine outwards and warm everyone around you!

Do you take the time to meditate in the morning? Do you have a favourite morning routine that gets you energized and excited for the day ahead?

Namaste.

(Note: I purchased Journey to the Heart with my own money. All thoughts and opinions are my own, I was not asked to or paid to mention this wonderful book!)

Quick Healthy Tip: What are you Grateful for Today?

One of the favourite changes I have made in my life this past year is ending my day by listing what I was grateful for that day and I would definitely coax you to do the same! Grab a journal and end your day by writing down and taking into account anything and everything that made you feel grateful, happy or warm and fuzzy inside that day! These Gratefulness Journals are great if you do not have a daily diary because instead of writing paragraphs about your day, you just jot ideas! I personally like to write grateful “lists”. Your list may have more on it one day than on another and that is okay! One day may be filled with big moments (I ran a 5k! I conquered an advanced yoga pose! I baked a pie all by myself!) or filled with small moments (I had a nice cup of tea! I talked to my Mom! I read my book!) and all of these moments are valid and important.

Gratefulness Journal - www.omshantilife.wordpress.com

Gratefulness Journal – http://www.omshantilife.wordpress.com

I use a pink “Princess” journal because I associate happy memories with it (my Grandpa called Princess when I was a young girl) so I encourage you to choose a journal that makes you feel happy and excited to open! Maybe decorate your journal with favourite pictures from a magazine or pictures from your life that you enjoy and inspire you to open your journal and think about the little things that make you happy every single day!

Since ending my day in this positive way, I have seen numerous changes to my life and general outlook. I have found that even on the seemingly “worst” days there is always something that I can feel grateful for, sometimes there are even several things! I have learned to appreciate the little things, to savour each moment and understand that even if there are storm clouds eventually the sun will come out (even if it’s just for a moment!)

Do you keep a Gratefulness Journal? Have I inspired you to end your day on a positive note? Let me know in the comments below! I’m grateful for this blog and all of you lovely readers!

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Morning Yoga

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Quick Healthy Tips; Morning Yoga.

We spend much of our lives hunched over screens, whether at work or at play, we can become reliant on constant distraction and can easily become stagnant. One of the best ways to combat this is to start a morning routine that doesn’t involve immediately turning on the tv, scrolling through Instagram or checking email. My favourite way to do this is with a quick morning yoga routine.

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Starting your day with a little light yoga can really benefit you in ways you will not realize. Starting off with stretching, using your muscles and focusing on your breath can shift your focus and mindset into something positive. There is no such thing as the “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” if you wake up and take the time to yourself. Morning yoga isn’t the time to work on your hardest arm balances or deepest stretches, it is the time to move with your breath and be mindful.

When practicing morning yoga, you can choose to create your own routines or you can search “Morning Yoga” on YouTube and sift through the videos until you find a favourite. The videos range from 5 minutes to over an hour, meaning that you can find something no matter how much time you have! I love using Yoga with Adriene‘s channel to find morning videos and especially love her Travel Morning Routine for an under 10 minute routine to start my day!

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Do you have a regular morning yoga practice? How does it help you start your day? Start today and let me know how it goes!

Namaste.