Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2016 Travels and What is Next for 2017!

It has been wayyyy too long. 
I have not really blogged in about 6 months ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I dropped the ball. To be honest, I was not sure where I want this blog to go. I do know that I started the Healthy Vita 5 years ago when I was 22 years old. It has always been off and on for me. While I love it, I think it is time to push forward. To evolve is a part of life right? 
I will probably keep this blog as it is, but focusing more on yoga. I love recipes and creating, but I think my calling is to offer what I learn in yoga in this little space of the internet and I think that will be my focus in the new year. I'm by no means an expert, but I think the joy of blogging is documenting your journey through life. I hope to change the name of the blog to my actual name and make it a place for not only readers but for my yoga clients. I hope to place my schedule and different yoga sequences on here. I'll be working towards that soon, but for now I've been soaking up the holidays and just for once in my life taking it slow. This year has definitely been one for self-reflection and working on being present. We traveled quite a bit in the last 6 months so I thought I would give you a quick recap ๐Ÿ˜€
At the end of May we went to London and Dublin! I'm half Irish so seeing Ireland has always been a dream of mine and it did not disappoint! We also wanted to see London on the trip so we spent 10 days in Europe. Here's some of the photos from that trip!

In November, Matt and I celebrated 4 years of marital bliss ๐Ÿ’“
I'm so grateful to be married to my best friend! He is an amazing hard-working and supportive guy. I can't imagine life without him! We decided to book a quick trip to Colorado to celebrate!
I have never been to the Rocky Mountains and I fell absolutely in love with Colorado Springs. Pike's Peak was freezing, but absolutely incredible. It was so nice to finally take a trip for our anniversary!

We feel so fortunate to be living the life we are living. Our next vacation will be you guessed it...Europe! We scored $500 roundtrip tickets (I know!!!) into Paris and out of Amsterdam at the beginning of May! Paris is my favorite city that I have had the privilege of visiting. 
I dreamed of visiting Paris since I was 7-years-old when I received a souvenir key-chain from the City of Lights from a family friend. It is why I planned every detail of that trip and paid a photographer to snap pictures of us dancing and waltzing in front of the Eiffel Tower. These pictures will be pictures I hope to show my children and grandchildren (see more photos here). It was a special and unforgettable experience and we feel so grateful that we get to go back and spend three days there only two years after our first trip! We also plan to see Zurich, Munich and end our trip in Amsterdam, so if you have any travel tips for those cities I would be glad to hear them! ๐Ÿ˜€ 

I hope to do a couple posts before Christmas and New Years, but if I get caught up in real life, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 photo sig_zpsp9it5z2l.png

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Recap of our Trip to Washington, D.C.

Happy Monday! 
We got back from our trip to D.C. over a week ago and I have been busy ever since! 
In the beginning of the year, Matt and I set one of our goals to be to take more spontaneous trips. I'm addicted to checking Kayak and Groupon Getaways and month ago I saw that flights were a great price so we used our miles to book our flights! Matt is able to access a last minute travel site through his work and we were able to get an absolute steal of a hotel right near D.C. with a view of the National Monument! Neither of us have ever seen the sights of D.C. and it was so just really nice to get away for a weekend and see our nation's capital!

I know it sounds weird, but I plan a lot of our trips around food...so since we were staying right across Key Bridge from Georgetown we dropped our things in the room and headed straight for Georgetown cupcakes! The line was crazy, but we only waited 20 minutes and I had the most delicious vegan carrot cupcake I have ever had. I was literally speechless! 

We grabbed vegan pizza from Pizza Paradiso and the walked all the way to the National Mall. 
We were then photobombed at the Lincoln Memorial! 

Of course I struck a yoga pose in front of the monument!

Thankfully the cherry blossoms were in full bloom at the Tidal Basin and they were absolutely beautiful even though it was overcast :)

We grabbed lunch at The Protein Bar which is in the center of D.C. it was inexpensive, vegan friendly and delicious! I grabbed the superfood salad with a Kombucha. 

The second day was my favorite day! We managed to visit all of the Smithsonian museums. I'm a huge museum nerd! It is on my bucket list to see all of the world's major museums. 

One of the most important of the day was the Museum of the American Indian. While I wish it was a little bigger and specific to each tribe, I was so happy and proud to see a museum highlighting my Native American heritage. It was an emotional, but worthwhile visit for me. 

Matt was excited to see the Air and Space museum. He works for Lockheed Martin and he was proud to see some of the planes his company made on display. 

We loved the natural history museum and the American history museum as well! 

I was so excited to see this new exhibit at the American History museum. It is the actual lunch counter from Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. where four black college students staged a sit in on February 1st, 1960 to protest segregation. I was so happy to see it on full display as soon as you walked into the museum. 

I then had a craving for something sweet after lunch in China Town so I grabbed a vegan Orange Chocolate Gelato from Pitango! It was so delicious, probably the best gelato I have had since Rome! I love how Washington D.C. was so veggie-friendly. 

 The National Gallery had some amazing pieces and I'm really glad we had a chance to stop in. 

The most emotional part of our visit was the Holocaust museum. I feel that the museum was curated very well and respectfully done. There are three floors and you travel through history from before Nazi Germany, to the camps and then to the floor of the final solution. 

Of all of the sites I've seen, this was one of the most profound. Below are the shoes of men, women and children who died in the Holocaust. 
When I saw the exhibit of the Nazi propaganda, all I could think about was how we are beginning to see similar information in our media today. It is easy to blame others who are "different" for the problems we face. We hear officials suggesting the registration of Muslims, we blame the poor for taxes or for being "free loaders," we blame people of color for the violence they receive, we deny the LGBTQI community of their rights all because we only choose to see a piece of who they are. We forget that we are all human beings and we're in this together. 
All of these shoes belonged to a human being with a family, dreams and a future that was stolen from them simply for who they were. When a human or an animal dies it matters. The owners of these shoes were normal people just like you and me, who wanted the same things for their families just like you and me. We all have stories and history. I hope to never lose the ache in my heart that I felt that day. 

There was a poem on the wall at the end of the exhibit and it was incredibly profound and rang true for our current events.:
๐Ÿป️๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฟ"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." -Martin Niemรถller

After a full and incredible second day, our last full day started off at the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence. It was incredible to see the founding documents of our country!

After lunch, we walked to the Vietnam Wall memorial which was incredibly moving and emotional. There were individuals leaving teddy bears and pictures for their loved ones. We were also really humbled to see a man sketching the name of his grandfather from the wall...needless to say, my eyes were not dry by the time I made it to the end of the wall. 

We then ended our day sightseeing at Arlington cemetery. What an incredibly beautiful place for our nation's soldier's to rest. It was very powerful and emotional. As far your eye can see their are white tombstones... I also loved the women's memorial at the front of the cemetery. 

We were also lucky and fortunate to walk up on the changing of the guard ceremony for the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

We spent the last night in Georgetown grabbing vegan pizza and walking around. We then grabbed a bottle of wine and watched the travel channel from our hotel room :) 

We caught an early morning flight back and got back to our little fur babies. We have our big London and Dublin trip in June and NYC in October. 

We also were able to add another Starbucks mug to our collection!

I hope you have a great week!
 photo sig_zpsp9it5z2l.png

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why I do not give Nutritional Advice as a Fitness Instructor.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"
-Carl Sagan

I read the above quote in the "Yoga for Medicine" book. I found it very profound especially when considering the current health and wellness industry. I'm always hearing about a new "get fit" gimmick or exercise/nutrition plan led by someone who looks fit or thin, supposedly has is all together making money off of people who are vulnerable. It kind of makes me sick...especially because it happens all the time. As a nation we're spending more and more on health and wellness, but we are getting sicker and sicker. Usually these nutrition or training plans-are expensive, nothing really new, lack empirical evidence or they are dangerous. 

I haven't talked about my diet recently because well, the older I get the more careful I am in influencing people's food choices. I just do not feel qualified to give out advice. The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. I try to listen to others and try not to put a label on their diet or mine. If you have a label for your diet, then I support you in your choices! 

Also, FYI: "Only a licensed dietitian/nutritionist can provide nutrition care including: assessment, goal setting, counseling, or advice" (http://www.nutritionadvocacy.org/florida). Something I had no idea about until this past year while I was in my 200-hour YTT. In my own opinion, I think it is okay to make generalized statements such as "we all need more vegetables." However, the legal line can be blurry and I like to tread carefully. I do not charge people for advice, because it is wrong and it is outside my scope of knowledge. I also do not teach classes that I'm not certified in (happens a lot in studios and gyms!) because again you're liable if someone gets hurt. I do not want that on my conscience...

I want to encourage you to really investigate these "holy grail" diets and "health gurus" and have a healthy dose of skepticism. Ask yourself: What makes them qualified to tell me how I should feed myself and my family? It is easy to throw claims out there when you're not qualified to do so and those who are vulnerable will listen when there is a dose of good marketing and hype. Also, are they really doing anything new? I think it is pretty clear that no matter what new gimmick or snake oil is out there: The science says moving more and eating more vegetables is not changing and it is pretty solid. 

Marketing is powerful and people can deceive you into thinking that they know what is best for your health. However, no matter how well-intentioned they are, if they're not qualified to do so, then you could be affecting your health negatively. I read or see a lot of people working in this field giving advice based off stuff they read off the internet or a trendy health book. Or they charge you for advice consisting of blanket statements that may not work for everyone's body or family. It is important anytime you are hiring a professional for any service, to research their qualifications before you open your wallet and most importantly, place your health in their hands. A lot of certifications or health coaching is a weekend training or Continuing Education Credits (CEU) that while they can be great for personal development, they mean very little as a working professional without a medical or nutrition science degree to back it. Furthermore, the nutrition advice it provides is very basic (from the programs I have researched) and are for-profit and unaccredited-meaning they do not have a degree or licensure to provide nutrition counseling (aka illegal). 

That is not to discredit health coaching or someone cheerleading you on to lead a positive life- we all need more people like that! There are ways to tread the line when giving nutrition advice, because fitness and eating healthfully go hand in hand. However, nutrition and your body is individualized and may need scientific and evidence-based advice that they do not have the education to provide that for you and it is unethical to charge you for it in my opinion. 

I have also met a lot of people who struggled with an eating disorder and while I can empathize from personal experience, I'm not an expert simply because I experienced an eating disorder. I have people email and confide in me and I'm so humbled and honored with that information, but all I can offer is support and encouragement to seek professional help. I am not a expert in eating disorder recovery just because I am in recovery. Every person has a unique experience that is complex and requires professional care and each person’s recovery is different and complex requiring a personalized treatment plan for him or her. I have a social science degree, but even those with master's degrees have to get specialized training to treat eating disorders-since each DSM-5 diagnosable disorders are not thoroughly covered in the Master's level, unless someone does legitimate graduate research on a specific disorder.

I have had numerous people in the past reach out to me for nutritional advice. I have tried in the past to give advice at the time because I wanted to help. However, my scope is yoga and the certifications I hold...I'm really not in a position to give out advice to you because I'm figuring this health thing out like everyone else.  I do not create nutrition plans for anyone, I have tried while in college (because I did not know any better) and it did not sit well with me. 

I have only been a yoga teacher for three months and while I continue to read and research all the time, I'm still a beginner teacher! Sri Dharma Nitra said "you're a beginner if you have been practicing yoga for less than 20 years." That is not to say that I do not feel confident in my training, but Sri Dharma Nitra reminds us to always keep learning and remain a forever student. Even though I love yoga and want it for everyone-I always remind students to communicate with their doctor before they practice yoga. 

While I know medical professionals do not always have a lot of fitness/nutritional knowledge, I sure as hell know that they understand anatomy, diseases and body chemistry more than I do and definitely more than a lot of these trainers who got a certification because they had a free weekend and a check book. 

I want to be clear that I do not say any of this to bash the whole of the fitness industry or any trainer. I know a lot of teachers and trainers who like me, love what they do, want to help their clients, are properly certified and individualize their exercise plans for their students. My point is to seek those trainers/teachers out. People who admit their limitations or when they do not know something. Teachers and trainers who stay up to date and have legitimate certifications or degrees and follow the laws of their state.

Ask for proof and copies of certifications. Research the institutions or studios who issued their certifications or if they apprenticed. Ask about their experience and read testimonials if they are available. Also, check if they are CPR certified-very serious and important! 
Try to remember that just because someone meets society's limited standards of beauty does not make them qualified to charge you.

I'm still going to provide recipes, because I love cooking and sharing them! Will all my recipes be right for you? Maybe not! It is up to you to find out what is right for you and your health. I had not made it public, but Matt and I completely cut out meat and most animal products about 6 months ago. I found a combo of vitamins and a diet that works best for me and I feel healthier and happy. I feel that plant-based aligns with my values and is great for the planet. This is not to say that that is right for you. This way of life and eating works for me and my body and I have worked with medical professionals to make sure I stay happy and healthy.

Rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true ;)


 photo sig_zpsp9it5z2l.png

Monday, March 14, 2016

No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Pi Day! 
I never make pies, because well...I always screw them up and I can be a bit of a lazy baker...I get so anxious when I'm dirtying up the kitchen and I end up covered in flour and chocolate so for Matt's my sanity. Its just better that I keep it simple...

And this pie is literally fool proof. All you need is a blender with a handful ingredients. I found the pie filling recipe from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie and just improvised the drizzle. I had everything in my pantry for the filling and I'm sure you could make your own pie crust using one of the 100s of amazing recipes out there, but I like the Wholly Wholesome Pie Shell. The one I used is Whole Wheat but they also sell white whole wheat, gluten free and spelt options. 
I hope you enjoy :) 
Vegan No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

by Whitney Davis (Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Prep Time: 10 Min.
  • 1 Cup All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 3 Medium Bananas
  • 2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tbs Agave Nectar
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Virgin Coconut Oil
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender on high speed. Pour the filling into your prepared pie crust or into a pie dish-this can be easily made without pie crust! Free the pie until firm. This pie needs to be kept in the freezer because it will melt. Thaw before eating for a mousse-like consistency.

For the Chocolate Drizzle:
I mixed 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder, 2 Tbs agave nectar, 2 Tbs melted coconut oil and drizzle on top of the pie before freezing.
Powered by Recipage

 photo sig_zpsp9it5z2l.png