Friday, January 18, 2013

Is Yoga Enough?

So many of us yogis believe that yoga is all the exercise we need. Is it true? Yes and no. First of all, it depends on the style of yoga you're practicing. If you are exclusive to yin yoga for example, you will need to certainly add some cardio, balance, and strength training of some sort to your schedule. But since yin yoga is only one kind of yoga, and a bit on the extreme end of the relaxing and stretching part of the spectrum of yoga styles, it's not the best example. Most styles of yoga that have you at some point in your practice standing on one foot, doing standing asanas, and also some asanas that you are bearing weight on your arms (e.g. chattaranga, downward facing dog) are excellent for strength training and balance. Styles that have sun saluations or even 'vinyasas' are good for your cardiovascular health too.

That said, unless you are going to do multiple consecutive surya namaskara vigorously for 30 minutes 5x/week, you are not getting enough aerobic exercise. So no, for your body at least, yoga is NOT enough. The good news is that yoga is amazing for you in so many other ways--please, in my professional opinion DO NOT DROP YOUR PRACTICE!

You might consider adding another activity to your regular routine. It doesn't matter what it is, it can be free or join a class. Walk, hike, run, bike, swim, run up and down the stairs, play an aerobic Wii game, Zumba, whatever just get your heart rate up. My personal favorite? Turning on the music and dancing around my house like a lunatic. Whatever your thing is, make sure your intensity is appropriate. You can figure it out by self monitoring and checking in periodically.

The recommendation is to get your heart rate up within the target range for 30 minutes 5x/week. It involves taking your pulse and knowing where your target heart rate is. You can learn about your target heart rate and how to measure it from the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Baking Season

Winter is defined by spending time indoors and keeping warm. I can't think of a better way to spend these months than baking. I don't bake much year-round. But cold weather has me craving a proper dessert. December is all about baking and sharing your favorite Christmas cookies...but this month I'm baking other treats.
For New Year's dinner I baked a delicious blueberry pie from the frozen blueberries in the freezer. It's easy to bake with frozen berries. The trick is to NOT thaw them. Just 'pretend' that they're fresh and expect that the baking time is going to be significant longer...which you won't mind because the oven will keep you toasty.
Today I found myself with some extra free time after being sent home from work. I decided to make a dessert for dinner--apple crisp!
I wanted to do something special with the Mountain Rose apples from the CSA. This variety is pink on the inside and they say that the color holds with cooking.
I made the crisp in a clear dish so you could see the pink. I didn't have quite enough apples, so I added some other white-fleshed varieties, but primarily it was the Mountain Roses. I don't peel my apples. They are organic and the peels will add a little extra fiber to make the dessert "healthier".
I add a splash of apple brandy, a little sugar, and some cinnamon to the apples.
A good tip is whenever you make a crisp topping, make a double batch. Freeze half of it in a quart size ziploc. I was lucky this time and had a bag in the freezer, which I could just throw on top.
Dessert will be served after a lovely dinner of beet salad, sauteed greens and butternut squash soup tonight.
Crisp topping recipe:

1 2/3 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
6 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T white sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pieces

Mix the dry ingredients well. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture comes together and is crumbly. Frozen will last ~2 months.
This recipe will work with any fruit. Add a little sugar to all and about a tablespoon of flour to juicy fruits before topping. Bake at 375 until golden brown and bubbling ~50 minutes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coming soon...2013

I am going to be much better about blogging now that school is finished. I also got a new phone with a decent camera, so hoping to post some pictures on here. My old phone went kaput years ago, so not many images made it to the blog for the past few years. Expect some yummy local food goodies to come. Starting here this year.