Ways to Take Control Of Your Mental Health Through Movement

A new year signals the chance to ease our way into routines that support healthier and more balanced lives. Dr. Danielle Richardson is helping people do just that through feeling-focused yoga classes and wellness retreats. The Los Angeles based optometrist and founder of Fierce Clarity supports busy women as they envision more holistic lives. She defines Fierce Clarity as a declaration of design. 

DrRSkyMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

Richardson’s own journey into wellness began in 2014 when she found herself overcome by burnout and sickness. “I wasn’t taking care of my body, my priorities were out of whack, and I was completely disconnected from myself. I was under constant stress, barely sleeping, and skipping every meal possible. My body started to fall apart and I began to have severe IBS,” Richardson said. That’s when her doctor recommended that she try yoga to decrease her stress and symptoms. Fast forward to 2015, two days after she finished optometry school she packed her bags and went to Bali, Indonesia on a month-long vacation where she was fully immersed in self-care, from messages to taking yoga classes. A month away revealed the need to heal on a soul level in order to improve her physical health. She dove into healing via yoga, energy therapies, Balinese medicines, massages, radical self-love, and self-care. The trip completely changed the course of her life. She eventually signed up for a yoga teacher training program to help others tap into healing and elevated sense of purpose through movement. 

While everyone may not be able to take a soul-searing trip to Bali for a month, Richardson is employing some of the approaches to self-care that she learned in her own yoga and wellness practice. “People feel like these experiences are sort of unobtainable. And that is sort of the genius of Fierce Clarity bringing that experience that I had, that experience of full healing and self-healing really to other busy stressed-out women like myself,” she said. Now she’s offering virtual feeling-focused yoga classes. She shares some of the approaches she has incorporated in her daily self-care, as well as tips for bringing a yogic practice into your life. 

Don’t Wait Until You Burnout To Take A Break 

DrRBridgeMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“For me, it was a lot of headaches, a lot of digestive problems, a lot of mood issues, irritability, pessimism, and cynicism. I just felt deeply unsatisfied and miserable. I was changing cities, changing as much as I could change about my life, yet I still felt miserable. I think that for me that was kind of a key sign that there was truly a misalignment happening in my life.” 

Get Acquainted With Your Natural Energy Level 

DrRArmsMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“We all have our own natural circadian rhythm and our own natural sort of biological clocks, so some of us wake up with energy in the morning, and others of us build energy throughout the day. If you are a person who has a lot of energy in the morning, maybe your self-care is working out in the morning. Maybe it is getting up early, maybe it is that morning routine that is 90 mins long because you have an additional 2 to 3 hours every morning.

If you are a person whose natural energy level isn’t highest in the morning, maybe that morning routine will not serve you in the same capacity. So I think understanding your natural energy level is important because then you can understand what practices will fit within your natural rhythm to be most supportive of caring for yourself.”

Put Together A Selfcare Toolbox  

DrRSeatMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“You should have a self-care toolbox that you can consult, so you can pull things out based on your energy level for that day. I am an early bird, so I wake up at 6:30 AM everyday and I usually lay in bed until 7:30 AM, but then I work out. If I don’t workout first thing in the morning I’m going to get tired, I’m going to make up a bunch of excuses, but I know that it’s important to workout because it supports my digestive health, It supports my mental health, and it allows me to add structure to my day. I think encouraging people to explore tools that they can put in their self-care care toolbox and understanding that we are not stagnant people so your self-care practices should not be stagnant either is important.”

Introduce Yoga To Your Routine 

DrRLegMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“I recommend everyone start by finding a local studio and do their beginner introductory special. They will always have one. It’s usually between $30- $50 a month and you can take unlimited classes.

Yoga is a living, breathing practice so it lives and breathes differently through each teacher. So you have to explore different teachers to find a style that you resonate with and to find a practice that you resonate with. While it can be intimidating to see handstands and splits all over Instagram there are a lot of teachers who focus on beginner to intermediate students, where the practice is made more accessible. You also have to have the beginner’s mind, every class is not going to be your best yoga class. It’s like letting go of that experience and understanding with anything the more you practice yoga the more comfortable it feels in your body and the easier it becomes.

Many times people can’t feel their bodies, because they are so disassociated, so it kind of feels weird to move in a particular way. Giving yourself a few classes allows you to get back in your body, start feeling things again, open up some of those energy channels, and those energy blockages.”

Identify A Practice That Meets Your Needs 

DrRFloorMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“The style of yoga I teach is feeling-focused, so the classes are divided based on feeling, which I think is focused on beginner to intermediate students, so it makes it super easy. The classes are relaxed, which is a relaxing class. Refresh, which is a class you take when you want a fresh burst of energy. Refocus is when you want to focus and want to be challenged. Reconnect is a more soul focused class. Subscribers can pick a class based on their mood. We aren’t stagnant, so we don’t want to do the same thing every day, so having some variety there.”

Photography provided by Myai Anthony. Blog content provided by Priscilla Ward.

 

Snacking Tips from HOKA NJNY Track Club Nutritionist Amy Stephens

My name’s Amy Stephens, team nutritionist for the HOKA NJNY Track Club, and this is my first post! Our club is coached by legendary coach Frank Gagliano, Tommy Nohilly and John Trautman, and comprises an elite group of mid-distance runners. I’ve been practicing nutrition for over 20 years in NYC, specializing in diabetes and sports nutrition. When I’m not serving the team, I’m running marathons and ultra marathons. After having four children, time for exercise became more precious.

I’ve discovered how important the right food is to: help you run fast, facilitate recovery, and move on with your day. On-point fueling for short and long runs has become my specialty. As the field of nutrition continues to evolve, I’m excited to share the latest updates and find the best strategies that work. Fortunately, I work with a great group of athletes that enjoy hearing about it! Here’s an inside peek at how our HOKA track team keeps energy levels high with great snacks tailored for athletes or simply suited for one’s everyday diet.

Food

Snacks to up your energy levels
Whether you’re logging 60 miles a week or working long hours, the right snacks will keep your energy up and your ability to concentrate sharp. Snacks will prevent an energy crash and keep glycogen stores fully stocked. When working with the NJNY Track Club, we discuss snacks as an opportunity to eat more high quality nutrients.

Timing is key
The best time to eat snacks is in between meals when your blood sugar is dropping. Snacks give you the added boost of energy to get you through to the next meal. Our bodies are constantly using up energy even when we are sitting. Snacks are a great way to keep energy levels up.

Protein + carbs are best
The best way to keep energy levels stable is to eat foods that have a
combination of protein and carbohydrates. The best snacks are low-sugar, high in protein, with some healthy carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are digested and converted into usable energy at a fast rate. However, protein is the key to longer lasting energy because it’s digested more slowly, allowing the release of energy to be slow over a longer period. The pick-me-up-effect of combining carbs and protein will last longer than sugary foods alone. Sugary foods and caffeine will give you a quick burst of energy, followed by a crash. This is not ideal if you’re planning to work long
hours or hit the weights for a double workout.

Food-label

What’s in a label
There are many snacks to choose from; what separates them is on
the label. I look at labels for grams of sugar, fiber, and protein. Sugar content needs to be low (less than 10 grams is ideal). Too much sugar can cause energy peaks and crashes. Fiber is an overlooked nutrient, though very important. Fiber in food slows down the digestion process and keeps energy levels up for longer, which keeps you going longer. Look for snacks with >3 grams fiber per serving. Fiber is mostly found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Protein will slow digestion of carbohydrates, so choose snacks with more than 5 grams of protein per serving. Fresh foods without labels are even better!

Energy boosting vitamins and minerals
Keep up your stamina: don’t let yourself get tired! Make sure you eat a variety of food that includes these vitamins. While all vitamins and minerals are important, I’ve highlighted a few that have a big impact on energy levels.

  • Iron is an element found mostly in animal proteins like beef, chicken, whole grains and fish. Low levels in your blood can leave you feeling tired all the time.
  • Vitamin D can easily be obtained from the sunlight, eggs and dairy products. Low levels can cause fatigue and low energy.
  • B vitamins (B-12, B-6 and folic acid) are involved in many energy producing reactions. If you’re running more than 50 miles per week, you need more! B vitamins are mostly found in fish, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry and fortified cereals. Vegans/vegetarians can use nutritional yeast to obtain B-12.

Snacking tips before you dig in:
1. Keep snacks handy – prep snacks ahead of time.
2. Portion control – if you’re afraid to overdo it on the snacks, portion out pretzels, chips, and nuts in a bowl or small plate. Don’t eat out of the bag.
3. Plan ahead and add your favorite snacks to each week’s grocery list.

Snack like the Pros!
Here’s what our HOKA NJNY pro runners choose:

PC: Jay Benlin
PC: Jay Benlin

Katy Kunc looks for snacks that are easy to grab, offer high nutritional value, and are low in sugar. Her favorite go-to’s are: dried mangos (unsweetened), Larabars , Greek yogurt with granola, pretzels or bell pepper with hummus, mixed nuts / nut butters, and popcorn.

PC: Jay Benlin
PC: Jay Benlin

Cecilia Leeper rotates different flavors of hummus like everything bagel, roasted red pepper, garlic, chocolate and classic hummus. Some of her
favorite foods to dip are: carrots, snap peas, celery, peppers, pretzels or pita chips.

PC: Jay Benlin
PC: Jay Benlin

Rob Napolitano loves homemade energy bars in between workouts. They provide a big boost of energy without causing an upset stomach.

Here’s a full list of snacks to kick up your energy and keep you energized. Adjust portions based on your activity level that day. Portions are particularly important!

  • Celery with peanut butter (try sprinkling a few
    chocolate chips)
  • Apple slices + peanut butter
  • No-Bake Energy Bites – click here for the recipe
  • Tortilla chips with mashed avocado or salsa
  • Hummus with carrots or cucumbers
  • Saltines with peanut butter and jelly or tuna salad
  • Hard-boiled egg and multi-grain crackers
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese with almond butter and sliced banana, sprinkle with chia seeds for added fiber
  • Yogurt with slivered almonds, berries + salted almonds
  • Roasted chickpeas – paprika or cayenne pepper, or Hippeas
  • Edamame
  • Sliced fruit + almonds
  • Frozen cherries + cashews
  • Toast with ricotta sliced peaches
  • Applesauce + handful almonds
  • Pistachios + handful blueberries
  • Pumpkin seeds with sea salt + sliced apple

Stay healthy and stay energized…Time to Fly!

Fast Food: HOKA Athlete’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Turns out that even though brussel sprouts are collectively hated by 10 year olds around America, they are a Thanksgiving favorite for HOKA Athletes. Try Sage or Steph’s favorite brussel sprout recipes and see if your kids change their mind this year. If there’s no hope for brussel sprouts, try Cecelia’s fun take on asparagus wrapped in bacon and puff pastry. These Thanksgiving favorites are quick, delicious, and good enough to fuel our athletes.

Sage Canaday’s Cranberries and Brussel Sprouts Caramelized with Dates and Balsamic Vinegar

sage-sandy

4-5 cups Brussel sprouts (lightly steamed first so they’re not totally raw)…chopped into quarters

2 cups cranberries

1.5 cups chopped and pitted dates (we use Medjool dates)

1 small sliced sweet onion

1/2-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey (optional) or a sprinkle of sugar (if one has a sweet tooth!)

Salt to taste 

Other options for more volume/veggies: add 2 cups of broccoli florets (or diced up pieces) as well.

Mix everything together in a bowl, making sure the veggies and fruit are coated in the vinegar. Spread out evenly on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 25-30min at 375 until golden brown.

Cecilia Barowski Bacon Asparagus Twists

(inspired by Buzzfeed)

cecilia

1 sheet puff pastry

6-8 slices bacon

12-15 asparagus spears

1 egg

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the puff pastry into thin strips. Slice the bacon in half lengthwise. Wrap a strip of bacon around an asparagus spear. Wrap a strip of puff pastry around the asparagus in between the bacon spiral. Repeat. Place the wrapped spears on a lined baking tray. Brush them with egg wash, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden. Serve!

Steph Schappert’s Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

steph-s

1 Butternut squash- peel, remove the core, and chop into cubes

Brussels sprouts- trim the ends and cut in half

Olive oil

Real maple syrup

Salt

Optional: pecans and dried cranberries (but I truly think these are a must!)

Line baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts and butternut squash in olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for about 25 mins (halfway through I toss in the dried cranberries and pecans).

Fast Food: Breakfast Acorn Squash Two Ways

Grocery stores are filled with beautiful squash varieties this time of year, but it can be overwhelming figuring out how to actually use them. Here are two easy and unique ways to enjoy acorn squash for breakfast. A Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts for those of you with a morning sweet tooth, and a Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash for those in need of a hearty breakfast.

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts

(serves 2)

sweet-squash

1 acorn squash

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of salt

1 cup vanilla yogurt

ingredients-1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Slice halves into wedges. Place wedges in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare wedges by rubbing with coconut oil, and sprinkling on salt and cinnamon. Bake wedges for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While wedges are baking, prepare filling by mixing walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Remove wedges from the oven, and spoon mixture onto squash. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly crispy. Be careful not to burn the walnuts. Top with your favorite yogurt, and a drizzle extra maple syrup on top if desired.

nuts

Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash

(Serves 2)

savory

1 acorn squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper for seasoning

2 large sausages (Italian style vegetarian sausage also works well)

1 tomato

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup cheese

2 eggs

1/2 avocado

ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Place halves in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare squash by rubbing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Bake halves for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While the squash is baking, prepare the filling by sautéing sliced sausage, spinach, and chopped tomato. Remove squash from the oven, and place filling in the halves. To create more room, you can scoop out some of the squash and mix it with the filling. Top with cheese, and crack one egg on top of each half. Return to the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the egg has cooked to desired consistency. For a more cooked egg, finish off cooking with your broiler. Remove from oven, and top with fresh avocado.

sausage

Fast Food: Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Halloween may be all about the candy, but here is an equally festive way to enjoy the holiday while sneaking some veggies in. These jack-o-lantern inspired stuffed bell peppers are half the mess of a traditional pumpkin, and simple enough for your kids to be involved in the preparation.

Our filling is an easy no prep involved burrito style. We know how busy Halloween on a Monday night will be. However, you can be as fancy as you want with your creation. Cooked ground meat with taco seasoning would be a great addition to up the protein. Salsa, sour cream, and avocado would also make delicious toppings.

peppers

Here is what you will need to make your own Jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

3-4 orange bell peppers

1 small can black beans

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 package pre-cooked Spanish rice

peppers-before

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut tops off of peppers and remove seeds. Carve peppers with desired jack-o-lantern style faces. Layer spoonfuls of rice, enchilada sauce, black beans, and cheese in the peppers. There will likely be room for two layers. Finish with cheese as the top layer. Replace tops of peppers. Place in an aluminum foil lined tray, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until peppers have softened and cheese has melted.