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My Daily Springtime Smoothie

If you’ve ever taken a weekend workshop with me, you’ve seen me plunk down in front of the classroom with a dark purple, mysterious smoothie in hand. As you can imagine the first thing I get asked is, “What on earth is in that??”

I’m here to spread the smoothie love and let you in on the ingredients I use, particularly in the spring time when seasonal greens start coming back.

One of my favorite things to put in smoothies this time of year is dandelion greens. Not only are they are full of nutritional benefits, but they are so huge and beautiful in spring, they are irresistible. I especially love getting them from my local farmers market.

Eating dandelion greens also indirectly supports honey bees because to eat them means that people will have to stop using weed killer on their dandelion flowers, which poisons the bees!

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Some of the many nutritional benefits of dandelion greens:

  • They are detoxifying, cleansing, and purifying
  • High in antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • They contain lutein and zeaxanthin – two nutrients important for healthy eyesight. A daily serving of these daily lowers your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, according to the American Optometric Association.
  • They contain considerable amounts of vitamins A and K, both of which positively affect your blood – assisting with the formation of blood clots and supporting new blood cell growth. Vitamin A also contributes to healthy eye function and boosts your immune system, while vitamin K helps keep your bones healthy.
  • Incorporating dandelion greens into your diet will also give you an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as a solid dose of calcium and protein, which will positively affect your bones.
  • Dandelion greens also contain many anti-inflammatory properties and much more!

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Now let’s put those nutritional benefits to work along with the other super food ingredients!

Here’s the Recipe:

2-3 Handfuls of Dandelion Greens
8-12 oz Almond Milk (to desired thickness)
1 Tbsp Goji Berries
½ Cup (or more) Frozen Wild Blueberries
1 Serving of Vega One protein powder – (Any flavor will do – they all are yummy!)
1 tsp Vitamin C (Healthforce Nutritionals)
2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 tsp Nutiva Coconut Manna or Coconut oil
½ Unsweetened Sambazon Acai Smoothie packet
Optional – 1/2 Frozen Banana if you prefer a sweeter taste

Throw it all in and blend!

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I hope you enjoy my daily smoothie as much as I do. I would love to hear which nutritionally packed ingredients you like to toss into your smoothies!

AmyIppolitiSkin

My Secrets for Glowing Skin

At age 45, I am flattered when people write me or comment about my skin. And I get asked frequently about what I do to take care of my skin and make it glow. So, I’m finally putting it all down in writing for you!

Is it vain to care about how your skin looks? Sure it is. But healthy skin also comes from a healthy lifestyle on the inside and a desire for self care as well. Therefore I think there is absolutely no shame in caring about your skin or how it looks.

Getting glowing skin is a combination of external and internal health habits.

Taking care of my skin, or at least “the idea” of it, actually started at a young age, when my mother attempted to impart the virtues of self-skin care to me and my sister. Of course, as with many things our mothers try to teach us, I didn’t really “get it” until I was about 30, when it dawned on me that I was getting older.

AmyIppolitiSkin2So I scheduled my first facial at a Jurlique concept store and spa in New York City.

After the facial, I was high for three hours! (Some of you might remember the yoga class I taught right afterwards…)

Something about the nourishment, aromatherapy, and pampering made me feel like I was on a cloud.  It left such an impression that I was ready to do whatever my aesthetician told me to do to get this feeling on a daily basis. I bought the cleanser, the serums, the mists, the moisturizers, the masks, the eye creams - and I haven’t looked back since!

Ever since that pivotal moment, skin care has been a major part of my day and a lovely ritual. Long gone are the days of just washing my face with soap, putting on a basic face cream, and walking out the door.

For 15 years I’ve followed a complete ritual, which can seem (and is!) expensive and time consuming, but it’s been an investment in myself that has paid off. When you live in a dry climate with 300 days of sunshine a year like I do, the environment can take a toll on your skin. Despite having lived in Colorado for 10 years, I’ve been able to protect my skin and keep the glow with a 5-step daily process.

My Daily Skin Care Ritual:
For this 5-step ritual, I use all Jurlique products which are 99.9% organic, natural, and chemical free. Jurlique is an Australian company that makes an all natural, organic line of skin care products with biodynamically grown ingredients free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.

This line may or may not work for your particular skin, and if it doesn’t, I encourage you to find an organic, chemical free line like Dr. Hauschka, Weleda, or Pangea Organics. As long as it resonates with your skin (no rashes, no breakouts or burning!).

  1. Cleanse with a cream or foaming cleanser (not soap!).
  2. Apply a cream exfoliator and rinse. Do this daily if specified for daily use, if not alternate days. Do this step only in the evenings.
  3. Apply a toner mist (blot into skin with fingers).
  4. Apply serum and eye cream.
  5. Apply moisturizer with sunscreen for daytime (reapply mid day especially if you are in intense sun/altitude); apply night cream before bed.

Tip: your skin benefits most when it has direct contact with your products, so be sure to cleanse first!

In addition to the daily regimen…

  • Exfoliate with a Clarisonic 3x per week in place of step 2. If you don’t have a Clarisonic, just use the exfoliating cream.
  • Once a week, use a detoxifying, hydrating mask. Weekends are a good time to fit this in.
  • Get a monthly facial if possible (let the professionals do a deep cleanse, massage, and treat your skin; a good aesthetician can also help you find the right products for your skin).
  • Considerations for a dry climate – use a facial steamer 1-3x per week and especially before your weekly mask (I like the Panasonic EH-SA31). Run a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep.
  • Remember, whatever you’re doing to your face, you should also be doing to your neck!
  • For lip care, I find that most chapsticks and lip balms actually dry out my lips. The one natural product I’ve found that works to moisturize and protect is Alba Unpetroleum Jelly in a tube or their chapsticks, which are fantastic.

AmyIppolitiAssistAlright. Now you know what I do for my skin externally, but skin care is two fold – what you put in your body also makes a huge difference!  Below are some ways I tackle the health of my skin from the inside out.

Internal:

  • Drink tons of water – use a hydration calculator online to find out how much you need.
  • Green juice daily – suggested juicer Omega VRT 350.
  • Omega 3’s critical – I like using a vegan fish oil equivalent by Premier Labs, called DHA.  As I age, this supplement has made all the difference (not just for my skin, but for my hair, nails, and my memory)! When I am not taking it, my skin looks dry and less glowing. I take a high dose, but as always, check with your health care provider as to what amount is right for you.
  • Welcome good fats into your diet such as coconut, coconut oil, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, sprouted nuts and seeds, etc.
  • A high fiber diet is key too – chia seeds, greens, and fiber supplements help keep the gut clean and moving, which is great for the skin.
  • Many people also find that dairy products negatively affect their skin, likely due to the difficulty in digesting dairy. I’ve been dairy free most of my life.

There you have it! What do you do to keep that beautiful glow? Comment below and let’s continue to share and spread the skin care love!

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Plant Based Love Salad

We know that leaning toward or switching completely to a plant based diet is the single most important way to help the environment. The production of beef and other animal protein consumes huge amounts of water, fossil fuels, topsoil, and destroys our forests, while polluting our water and air.

And don’t even get me started about the worst perils of meat production…Meat production causes more greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry!

So if you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for high protein plant based foods! The good news is, these foods are out there in abundance.

I was thrilled to find a product called Sprouted Mung Beans, by TruRoots, and even more happy to discover that each serving has 10 grams of protein.

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This past Valentine’s Day I made brunch for a friend, and I had a vision of combining the mung beans with quinoa to pack in even more protein awesomeness.

After a trip to the market it was clear what was in season and I shopped accordingly to add some magic to the overall vision of protein combining.

The result is the Plant Based Love Salad! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:
1 Bunch Baby Asparagus
1/4 Jicama
1 Purple carrot
1 Celery Stalk
4 Radicchio Leaves
Arugula
½ Red Onion
1 Cup TruRoots Sprouted Mung Beans
½ Cup Quinoa (preferably TruRoots Sprouted)
Real Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Nutiva Refined Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil or Nutiva Sunflower and Red Palm Oil (don’t worry, it is harmless to orangutans!)
Tessa Mae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing
Lemon (optional)

To prep the baby asparagus, find the “natural breaking point” on each asparagus spear’s end, separating the tender flesh toward the tip from the woody end, wash, and prepare a shallow baking pan.

Place the clean asparagus in pan and coat with Nutiva Refined Coconut Oil or Nutiva Sunflower and Red Palm Oil and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times in the process. At 15 minutes in, salt the asparagus generously.

While that is cooking, dice and combine the following vegetables in a large mixing bowl:

1 Purple Carrot
¼ Jicama
1 Celery Stalk
1/2  Red Onion (sautéed first in oil until translucent)
4 Radicchio Leaves, julienned

And…

Cook the quinoa according to package directions
Cook the mung beans according to package directions and strain

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Once the asparagus is done, chop the roasted spears into 1/3 inch lengths and mix into the other veggies.

Toss the cooked quinoa and strained mung beans into the bowl and add a splash of olive oil and salt to taste.

plantbasedlovesalad2Combine the veggies with the quinoa and mung bean mixture and do a final salting to taste along with a tablespoon of lemon garlic dressing. You can also squeeze fresh lemon on to taste.

Serve on top of a clean fresh bed of Arugula and enjoy!

Makes 4 – 5 servings.

I would love to hear how yours turns out and if you made any yummy variations!

 

SticktoYourMat

How to Get On Your Yoga Mat and Stick to It

I’m writing this because I need to hear it.

With energy to give and technology to help me do things faster, I tend to say yes to everyone and everything until I’m up to me ears in deadlines and emails.

Because I like to keep my word if I’ve made promises, and I don’t function well when the house is a mess, sadly I’ll choose the email inbox or loading the dishwasher over my practice when things really pile up.

I know I am not alone. Most of us have the pressure to put food on the table, pay bills, and if you’re a parent, saving to put your kids through college. So if the choice comes down to working or mat time, work will often win.

Enter the hamster wheel effect, a downward spiral of work dominating your life, your practice going to pot, getting out of yoga shape, and in the end not producing at the level we could be!

We all know that a yoga practice makes us more productive, easier to be around, grounded in our decisions, and guided from a place of deep authenticity. In 2014, the word “haters” was written into the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song – hating has become a phenomenon!  Ahhh, but yoga when practiced regularly (and practiced intelligently), helps us live in our hearts so we can be quite simply, a “liker”. Kindness these days is on the endangered species list and needs our protection!

Despite knowing exactly what a yoga practice will do for me and the people I love, I’ve sometimes chosen what seems so all important in the moment over even the shortest practice.

Yeah, I’ve been addicted to crisis and busyness, and it’s time to shift. Sure, my preference would be to practice for at least 90 minutes or the luxury of even more, but a yoga practice need not be a long, drawn out time sucker – even 10 minutes yields big results. And it’s certainly better than no practice at all.

Here are the steps I’m using this month to stick to my sticky mat!

1. See your yoga mat? Choose a strategic spot to store it that is nearby an open floor space so it can easily be unrolled swiftly and put down on the open space.

2. When you get dressed in the morning, put on either yoga clothes or something as close to stretchy/comfy as possible so you can’t use your outfit as an excuse not to bend!

3. It does not matter what time of day it is. Stop everything you’re doing and roll out the mat. Set a timer for 10 minutes. If you have an iphone you can even tell Siri, “Set a timer for 10 minutes” and she’ll do it. This is literally #stopanddrop yoga except you don’t need to take a selfie – you’re going to do a whole practice!

4. Get on your mat and play for those 10 minutes. Either do your own solo practice, or use the search feature on YogaGlo to cue up a ten minute class (they have hundreds of them but I’ve curated a list of my favorites below)*. When the timer is up notice if you’re in the mood to do a little more and if so, stay a while.

5. When you’re done, give yourself a high five for doing a great practice instead of beating yourself up for not doing a longer session. (Positive reinforcement is key!).  Roll up your mat, and put it back in the strategic spot for tomorrow. When you return to your day, take a moment to notice how the practice has shifted you in your body, your mind, and your spirit.

6. Lastly, make a list of things you can say no to each week and consider politely declining some opportunities to allow yourself more time for you.

In our 30 Day Yoga Challenge on Facebook this month, we’re practicing a minimum of 10 minutes of yoga a day the whole month of January. Please join us if you’re moved!  My hunch is that those 10 minutes will become 12, 15, 20, 30 and eventually 45 minutes or more.

Please leave a comment below to let us know how you stick to your sticky mat!

* Here are some of my favorite ten minute online practices on YogaGlo:

Maintain Your Yoga Shape, Amy Ippoliti
Morning Oil for Tin Men & Women, Amy Ippoliti
Bliss Blast, Amy Ippoliti
Wake Up Rock Star, Taylor Harkness
When You Only Have Ten Minutes, Marla Apt
Short and Sweet, Kathryn Budig
Reboot Your Brain, Marc Holzman
Ten Postures, Ten Minutes, Jason Crandell
Reboot, Mary Taylor

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Follow me on Instagram for photos and conversation about yoga and inspiring change in the world. Hang with me on Facebook and chit chat on Twitter.

Cleansing Autumn Green Juice

As most of you know, I love juicing. I juice every single morning because it keeps me energized and feels like good preventive medicine. I’ve written before about why juicing is so important, and it’s worth mentioning again!

I read once that 98% of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables are trapped inside the fiber capsules of the plant. Our teeth barely access those nutrients when we eat our fruits and vegetables.

By contrast, when you juice, the fiber capsule is accessed, giving you a much larger mega hit of nutrition!

It would take me hours to chew through all of the produce I plunge through the juicer each morning. Nobody has time for that!

I use the Breville Elite 800 juicer (centrifugal and easier to use) when I’m short on time, and the Norwalk (slow masticating) when veggies and time are more ample.

The Norwalk is an industrial juicer and is not for everyone. My recommendation would be to get a smaller slow masticating juicer, or if you’re concerned about time, the Breville Elite 800.

Note: Research has shown that centrifugal juicers can be less nutritious than a cold pressed or slow masticating juicer and you must consume the juice immediately after it’s made. If you want the most nutritious juice, and if you want to store the juice for a few days, go with a slow masticating/pressing juicer.

Williams-Sonoma has both types of juicers here.

In the fall I love to take advantage of the local apples and pears that are abundant this time of year. I am also fan of adding a ton of greens because of the alkalizing effect and the lower sugar content. This recipe, combining fall greens and local fruit is refreshing and tart. Plus it’s great for your liver!

Ingredients*:

2 small cucumbers or 1 large cucumber

6 handfuls of baby spinach or a head of chard or both(which might still be growing in the garden!)

1 stock of celery

1 head of romaine lettuce (optional)

1 apple or pear

1 small lemon or 1⁄2 of a large lemon

*Use seasonal, local and organic whenever possible!

Directions:

1. Put the celery in first and plunge.

2. Put the cucumber in without plunging and fill the space around it with the baby spinach or chard, then plunge. This way the greens get juiced rather than spun out through the juice.

3. Juice the romaine, apple or pear.

4. Juice lemon last to help clean the juicer.

Voila!

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New to juicing? Here are a few useful tips:

• Always drink the juice within minutes of making if you use a centrifugal juicer. The juice begins to lose nutritional value quickly. If you make your juice with a slow masticating juicer and want to store it up to 72 hours, fill a jar up all the way to the top so that the lid touches the juice when you close it – sealing it in with as little oxygen above the juice as possible.

• Sip your juice with a straw if you’re worried about your teeth turning green – I recommend using these glass straws from Coco Jack.

• When you use a lemon, put it in last – it works as an astringent to pre-clean the juicer!