My Favorite Smoothies

From the Nutribullet cookbook

I’ve really stepped up my smoothie game since I got a NutriBullet for Christmas. Not only is it the best thing since sliced gluten free vegan bread, it comes with a cookbook packed with delicious smoothie recipes. They’re not paying me to write this, I just love it a lot. (If they’re reading this and want to pay me, I’m on board.)

The cookbook is hilarious. It’s full of photos of smiling, active, elderly, white, straight couples enjoying life. It’s divided into sections based on medical or health conditions, with recipes designed to be nutritive and healing. My favorites are the anti-inflammation, digestion and detox sections, since I am plagued by tummy troubles and inflammation (damn you, leaky gut syndrome!).

Below are recipes for 3 of my favorite smoothies (or “blasts,” as NutriBullet calls them). Just add all the ingredients to your blending machine of choice and pulverize them into delicious health food beverages. I didn’t include amounts of liquid. If you want thicker smoothies, use less liquid, and vice versa. I usually drink mine in the car on the way to work and prefer them to be less viscous, so I add max liquid. Enjoy!

Pink Detox Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & HowlPink Detox Blast

Beets and celery are great for a gently detoxing the digestive system, the avocado adds healthy fats and creaminess, and coconut oil is great for your gut. The apple gives you a nice dose of fiber and strawberries are healthy and delicious. This drink’s gorgeous pink color puts a smile on my face, making this my current favorite smoothie. 

1/4 Medium Avocado

1 Stalk Celery

1/2 Strawberries (Cherries are also great)

1/2 Beet

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Coconut Oil

1/2 Apple (Granny Smith is my favorite)

3 Ice Cubes

Coconut Water (I often use water instead)

Belly Bloat Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & Howl

Belly Bloat Blast

The bromelain in pineapple and curcumin in turmeric help to fight inflammation, while the celery and ginger aid in digestion. This “blast” is light and bright and wakes me right up. 

1 Handful Kale (or Spinach)

1 Cup Pineapple

1/2 Inch Ginger

1/2 Stalk Celery

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1/2 Inch Turmeric (dried also works but fresh tastes better!)

Coconut Water (again, I almost always use water)

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Blast, My Favorite Smoothies | Whisper & Howl

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (or Cherries) Blast

This one is delicious and feels like having dessert for breakfast. Instead of the protein blend in the recipe, I use Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder. 

1 Handful Spinach

6 Strawberries (or cherries)

2 teaspoons Raw Cacao Powder (or nibs)

1/4 Beet

1 Tablespoon SuperFood Protein Blend

1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

 

You can find a ton of recipes on the NutriLiving website…or wait for me to pare it down for you. 😉

 

 

Becoming a Morning Person: The Hard Choice

Becoming a Morning Person | Whisper & Howl | #whisper&howl #morning #sadhana #habits #willpower

Oh, is that what sunrise is?

I think it’s time to revisit my quest to become a Morning Person. It seems that my problem lies not in establishing a routine, having the right alarm clock, or lack of desire. My issue, which is applies to so many more things that this particular trial, is in making a choice.

I had a really good stretch of waking up at 7:30 and doing some ayurvedic cleansing practices, cooking breakfast, doing yoga and mantra, showering etc etc. It felt really nice to have this extra time to myself and I felt prepared for my day, relaxed and easy rather than already behind schedule, frantic and stressed. Those feelings were nice. I like them. I’d like to have that again.

Then, my Dad died. It has been much harder to get out of bed. This is not because I feel depressed or am overcome by sobbing (although the sobbing and anxiety has definitely popped up and I have taken a few mental health days here and there). I haven’t really analyzed what is driving me to hit the snooze alarm until now.

I spent this past weekend in Advanced Yoga Teacher Training studying the Bhagavad Gita. This is a text about karma, which means action. We discussed (and will continue to discuss, intensively) sadhana, or practice. Sadhana consists of the wonderful things we do in our daily yoga practice, including asana (the physical movement), mantra, self-study, meditation, and more. In order to develop a steady sadhana, one has to do it every day. This is…hard.

It’s hard to do something every day! It’s easy to get excited about a practice, especially one like asana that makes you feel fantastic. It’s tempting to dive into a practice whole-heartedly and with commitment. It is much, much harder to sustain a practice. It gets old. It gets stale, Excuses are made, alternative acts performed. We skip days. The practice falls away.

This is what I see happening time and again with my morning routine (and my sadhana, but that’s a different story). It’s not that I have grand plans for what to do with the extra time each morning. I don’t know if it would help to have a plan. What is hard for me is making the hard decision every day.

I love lazing in bed. I think my bed is divine. It’s soft, cozy, comfortable, and safe. I feel safe and nurtured and warm when I’m in bed. When I leave bed, I feel the rush of time, the pressure of commitments, the weight of emotions. I need nurturing, safety, support and comfort in my life. It is difficult to make the choice to climb out of the sweet womb of my bed into the chilly, harsh world–even on days when I wake up feeling great. Even when I am excited to go wherever it is I have to be. Even when it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

So, how do I make that choice? What will help me?

Here’s what I’m thinking.

1. Just do it

Oh, gods, that sounds terrible.

We talked this weekend about developing will. I’d never really thought of will as something to be developed. I thought, you either have it or you don’t. My willpower is weak, I thought. I’m just not born with the sort of willpower that creates successful, Type A, morning people.

This is not actually true. What I happen to be weaker in is will development, which I may have just made up. Now I’m thinking that I lack the willpower to develop will. That’s just a rabbit hole of thoughts that I am not trying to climb down right now.

Anyway, how do you develop will? By doing the thing you need to do. By doing it every day. By making the hard choice even though it is hard. By making the hard choice because it is hard. The things that are the best for us aren’t always the easiest. I’ve been told these things become easier with the doing. You get used to making the choice and to the wonderful consequences of making that choice. That’s what they say, anyway (“they” being my teachers and maybe also Lord Krishna).

2. find alternative ways to satisfy needs

I was just typing “making a plan doesn’t work for me,” but I think that’s a little lie. Making a plan may very well work wonders for me if I can just make the hard choice. I don’t, however, think that the plan will help me make the choice. I can review my lovely plans for morning time in my head for many minutes while I lie under my comforter and still choose to snooze for 10 minutes (6 times in a row, which really is not very healthy). But…it could also be that I’ve been going about this the wrong way.

Making a plan has been about finding things that I think would be great to do in the morning, like go for a run, do sadhana, and journal. These are, of course, totally great things, but are there better things?

Let’s look at my list of needs: comfort, support, safety, and nurturing. I also need order and relaxation (as opposed to being rushed, scattered and stressed). Some of those needs are satisfied by lounging as long as possible in the morning, but that behavior also helps to create the feelings of rushing and stress and scattered brain which I do not like at all. Are there alternative practices I can do in the morning that make me feel the way I want to (warm, comforted, rested, and safe)? Am I willing to find out if there are, and to create a lovely morning routine that would fulfill my needs? Could I use these practices as further incentive to make the hard choice, knowing that I can continue to feel lovely outside of my down-filled heaven?

I think so. I hope so. I’m going to try.

Do you have habits that required consistent practice in making a hard choice? Is there one in particular that you feel gave you strength to make more hard choices? 

 

A Week in Witchiness (or, One Witchy Week): 9/9-9/15

I’ve been a good little witch this last week.  With the New Moon in Virgo on Sunday night, my earth-loving, purifying, refining nature has been out in full force. Here are some of the things I’ve done:

5 ways I’ve been witchy since wednesday

Handpainted eyeball gel manicure | Whisper & Howl

Number 1

 I painted eyeballs on my fingernails.  I am obsessed.  When the paint inevitably peels off, I will be so, so sad.

Number 2

I undertook an Ayurvedic cleanse.  I’ve been taking herbs for a while and they seem to be helping, so I decided to do a Fall Cleanse right as the weather decided to drop 20 degrees!  Unexpected bonus: I’ve lost 3 lbs.

NUMBER 3

Because of the cleanse and its morning practices, I’ve been getting up much earlier than usual and am loving it!  I do some cleansing practices, make breakfast, shower and do yoga all before work.  It’s giving me more time in the evening, since my sadhana is already done, and has jolted me straight into a beautiful morning routine.  I’m getting a little closer to becoming a morning person every day.

Eclipse Healer by Mystic Mamma

Number 4

I taught 4 yoga classes last week, including the New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Virgo class on Sunday.  I love teaching the moon classes.  I get to learn all about what’s going on astrologically and impart it to others along with lots of my favorite poses (chandra namaskar or moon salutations is my favorite sequence).

Number 5

I got a book on Shakti mantras and am excited to dive in!  I’m headed to the beach tomorrow afternoon and expect to be reading lots of yoga texts and doing lots of chanting–along with playing cards and board games and watching horror movies with my Mom and sisters.  I’ll be sure and collect some nice shells for my altar while I’m there.

Bonus

This one isn’t witch-related, but I did get my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe figured out and have started transitioning some pieces in.  More info on my process and results will be coming soon.

What have you done to feel like a wild, weird, witchy goddess this week?

Moving Through Resistance

Moving Through Resistance | Whisper & HowlThese past few weeks I’ve been working on creating new, positive habits–specifically, establishing a morning routine.  I’ve mentioned that I want to become a morning person, and I’ve decided that I should be well on my way by my birthday, August 31st.  As of today that gives me 6 weeks to 1) break old habits and 2) establish a new pattern.

I wish this were easier.  It seems so simple and direct:

  • Determine a goal.
  • Figure out the steps required to achieve said goal.
  • Set an intention, move forward with purpose, think positively, yadda yadda.
  • Do it.  Goal accomplished.

That’s nothing, right?  Hah.

Of course, in this case I’m not just adding sweet morning habits to a morning devoid of habits.  I have to make time for them as well.  I have to wake up earlier in order to add these sweet, energizing activities.  I have to wake up and decide to stay awake.  This is the hard part.  This is where breaking the old habit comes in.  This is where the demon known as Resistance rears his sleepy, lackadaisical head, blinks his eyes, and goes back to sleep.  My mornings, therefore, are an epic struggle with this lazy monster who has reigned inside my head for far too long.

Resistance shows up often, manifesting as procrastination, frustration, depression, “I don’t waaaaannnaaaaa,” giving into the snooze alarm.  I remember it well from my childhood.  Although I didn’t know what to call it, I remember feeling a tightening in my chest, an almost physical inability to perform tasks I’d been asked to do such as putting dishes away or cleaning my room.  I felt it in a different way when it came time to practice piano, and I feel it now when I think about picking up my ukulele to learn new chords.  I didn’t know how to deal with this feeling when I was younger and I recall hot, unexplained tears, tantrums and time outs.  Fortunately, there are ways to cope that don’t result in hurling one’s self on the ground and screaming.

What To Do When Resistance Shows Up

1) Acknowledge It.  

When you notice the discomfort of resistance arising, recognize it for what it is.  Name it.  Acknowledge it.  Invite it in for tea. Naming the discomfort and acknowledging it loosens the knots it creates.  (This works for all kinds of discomfort.)

2) Contemplate It. 

Consider where the resistance comes from.  For example, if it’s time for me to practice my instrument and I am overcome with a physical sensation of stiffness in my chest, almost a feeling of anger or even just a dismissive thought that I’ll do it later, I can sit quietly for a moment, check in with myself and ask, “Why don’t I want to practice my instrument?  Am I frustrated by a particular piece or technique?  Am I afraid I will never learn it?  Am I falling short of my own perfectionism?  What happens if I allow myself to sit with the discomfort that arises when I practice, or simply the feeling of resistance?”

3) Move Through It, Gently. 

More often than not, when I sit with the discomfort, I realize its source and I can acknowledge that and move on.  Then the task at hand can be performed joyfully or at the very least, performed.

Through these practices, we can accomplish the goals we’ve been putting off.  In my case, I can wake up and stay awake, arise and begin establishing my positive morning habits.  I may need to program my alarm clock an extra 5 minutes early just to move through the resistance. Perhaps this, too, is part of my routine: step one, the first habit. Maybe this is a lesson in itself, to begin at the beginning.

How does Resistance show up for you?  Do you have any practices for moving through it?

 

Weekend Wanderer

Weekend Wanderer | Whisper & Howl

I start every week with good intentions. I get up on Monday, teach my yoga class, drink a smoothie and head to work. If it’s not too hot, I walk. I wake up Tuesday through Friday to do 5 minutes of pranayama (breath work) and 5 minutes of meditation–a new practice to help me establish the habits that will make up my morning routine--and start the day off with focus and clarity. After work, I walk home to cook a healthy dinner and enjoy the evening by painting, reading, sewing, attending a class, spending time with friends, or vegging in front of the TV (too often, honestly). Around 9 I go upstairs and do 7 minutes of asana, which usually lasts much longer than 7 minutes, perform my evening skin care routine and go to bed, where I do my castor oil pack and read for 45 minutes before I sleep.

I mean, this is ideal. Sometimes I fall off the wagon and eat junk for dinner, plopping down on the couch to pass the evening with Netflix. I think that’s okay. Some nights my asana is just a very long savasana, and some nights I read Tarot cards or meditate and suddenly realize I am staying up way too late. Most mornings, I used to pound the snooze alarm for a long time, although I’m on a mission to change this and have so far been doing pretty well with establishing my morning routine…

Except on weekends. On the weekend, everything slips away and I find myself wandering far away from my path of good intentions. Sometimes it’s because I’m having a wonderful time out with friends and am up way past my bedtime having excellent conversations and drinking too much wine. Other times, I am worn out from the week before or am nursing a cold and choose to sleep late and laze around–and this is totally fine! I’m not rigid. If I were, I wouldn’t be striving so hard to establish some healthy habits. These occasions are totally “allowable,” not wandering so much as being fluid and attuned to the body.

What does bother me, however, is when I stay up until 2 am binge-watching TV. I do this thing where I stay up super late and fall asleep on the couch when my roommate is away. For some reason it feels really indulgent. It also makes me feel like shit. I end up sleeping until 11 or later the next day. I drop my morning routine. My face goes unwashed. I feel like I’ve wasted half the day and I get stressed out thinking of all the things I wanted to do, and how I must now choose. On Sunday evening I have to reset, and on Monday waking up early is more difficult than it should be.

It’s not that I want to impose a structure on my weekends that would make me, you know, super boring. It’s that I want to do more: have more fun, accomplish a mini-goal, be more active, enjoy myself more. When I stay up late and sleep in nearly ’til noon, I can’t do these things. I miss the Farmers Market. It’s too hot to go hiking. I still have chores to do and that interferes with my social time, or I am social and my house remains a mess for the upcoming week. I break out because I’ve neglected my skincare. The list goes on.

What I’d like to do is to maintain a bit of my weekday routine, but to stretch it and be more flexible with it. I used to think I wanted the opportunity to sleep late but now I want the opportunity to enjoy the whole day! As I’m establishing my weekday habits, I need to be mindful of what I want for my time off. How can I live to the max Friday-Sunday? How can I make the most of the time I have? What can I do to become a warrior instead of a wanderer?

What is your ideal weekend like? How do you spend your time currently, and how would you like to change?