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The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Tax Season (and Stress)

February 17, 2015
 

Here Comes The Tax Man. Breathe in. It’s that time of year…again. When we shell our whatever we have left in our savings to satisfy the IRS–or so it feels like. My husband and I found ourselves caught in this trap of exasperation, gasping at our tax man this year. Each year, before I remember that I have to pay taxes, I get really high on thinking my savings account is looking preeeetty cushy. Which means I’m thinking about the next big trip Matt and I can take or saving for that bigger, dreamier condo. Until February. When I realize why I had that savings account in the first place. And then the warm tingly wave of stress rushes through my body and I get really crazy a la Mercury in retrograde. Like making existential declarations when my husband comes home from work, like, “I promise I will give it my all. I am here to provide for this family.” Oyyyyy what a crisis–what a drama. This year, my big ball of stress came and went as fast as I could reach out to one of my favorite yoga instructors, Jodi Carey. Jodi is a real yoga instructor. The kind that actually knows the Mayan calendar and all the spiritual woo-woo that I love to learn about. This is also the reason I look to Jodi for solutions to my problems, because her knowledge is so extensive, so researched, and seemingly she just strikes you as that person that’s so much closer to God. The envy of every spiritual seeker. Or maybe she’s hypnotized me with her deep, knowing amber eyes? We will never know. Either way, the tax season stress is real and alive. Jodi’s putting down the five best poses to help with the financial stress as we all enter into what can be the darkest days of that fun savings account we had.

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The 3 Healthiest Chocolate Recipes Ever

February 10, 2015
 

This Girl Eats Chocolate. I want my chocolate to taste so amazing that with one bite, my eyes roll into the back of my head. I want pure ecstasy–bliss in a bite. If nirvana can’t be achieved at first bite, than it’s just not for me. That’s how I like to eat. And if the recipe is really good, I’ll share it with you guys–like today’s chocolate recipes that are so ooey gooey good that they make time stop. This year, as I plan for Valentine’s Day, I squashed a ritual my husband and I have had since we met. It went like this: I’d buy a special Valentine’s Day chocolate box from my friend’s deliciously addictive confectionary company. The package would arrive at home, mid-day, and of course, I’d open the fragrant package it to make sure the chocolates weren’t spoiled. I would bite every chocolate in half before I could even gift the box to Matt. I know, so bad! I’m glad it’s an annual thing and he’s used to my out of character ways by now. This being true, I’m declaring that this year is different. Matt and I have worked really hard on being very mindful with all of our decisions (food, movement, lifestyle, sleep, health, work balance), while still keeping a healthy balance between pleasure and moderation. Suffice it to say, the big bad (and scrumptious) confections box was not in our cards this year–and we’re actually totally okay with that, though it sounds so crunchy and granola of me. For the first time since we met, our new year’s resolutions on choosing a healthy balance has stuck. And we’re really proud of that. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I knew I wanted to make something crazy delicious–something that’s even more special than a beautiful box crammed full of refined sugars. Something from my kitchen, that’s indulgently heart-healthy and still makes my eyes flutter in the back of my my head.

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#HealthyBellySelfie Is Taking Off (Join the #Belfie Project)

February 3, 2015
 

We Don’t Need Photoshop To Look Healthy.
I think about the 15 year old me often. Like I’m trying to go back in time to fix something but I can’t, really. The only thing I can change is the now. You are about to take part in a revolutionary self-confidence initiative leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Here’s the scoop. In search of some real body inspiration, I Googled: “regular women’s stomachs, normal man’s belly, real stomach, normal belly, regular woman in bra, healthy men without six pack…” All I could find were extreme images. I found thin women, most likely retouched in photoshop, and then I found heavier women squeezing the fat around their belly in contempt. Nothing in between–or at least realistically normal. Like mothers with stretch marks practicing yoga. No thin woman admitting that she’s always judged by her body and rarely celebrated for intelligence. Or a moderately toned women doing something inspiring, like a handstand or finishing a 5k. The Google searches I came across for normal men’s bodies were even more appalling. They were completely a misrepresentation of most of the men I know. The men in the image searches looked like they ate Popeye’s can of spinach right after they came out of a spray tan booth…macho, six pack and tanned dudes in women’s underwear—or was it? And then I found extremely heavy men with bellies so large that they joked about using it as a tray for their dinner plate or beer bottle. Again, nothing balanced really. Nothing “in between,” like the guys I usually see in my yoga studio. Or the men that prefer community sports over the gym. This is what media’s new normal is. Where’s the balance? Is extremism really the only way to get our attention or break the internet? What are we teaching each other? That we can only grow to be depressingly thin or joke about being so unhealthy and making poor lifestyle decisions (and eating off our bellies? Ew.). The 15 year old me would have appreciated seeing a positive change. A viral network of healthy, real people showcasing their belly with no retouching or photo shop. I would have benefitted from seeing a real person with a real body who’s actually healthy. A picture that would say, “I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m normal, and my size is just a number. I’m not afraid to show off my vulnerabilities if it reinforces that I am #BiggerThanMyBody, and you are, too.” A collaborative media push to promote self-confidence and health at every size. That’s what the 15 year old me could have used. She would have wanted us to rewrite the way media depicts healthy.

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You Sneezed on Me (And 2 Immunity-Building Soup Recipes)

January 27, 2015
 

We’re So Over The Flu.
Everyone’s had the flu this year. Sneezing, coughing, sleeping, sweating, freezing. Ugh! After a recent two-week bout with the flu and bronchitis, I reached out to food & wellness expert Mikaela Reuben to get some delicious immunity building winter soup recipes that my husband and I could make from home. We were both sick in bed at the same time, and equally desperate for a quick, easy and healthy recovery. Thankfully, MKOL’s holistic health contributor, Mikaela, could answer our runny-nosed prayer.
Here’s our go-to soup guide for the perfect winter immunity boost and detox to keep the flu and cold at bay. Taking care of your body is an important part of self-love: Take care of it and it will take care of you.
When you simmer foods slowly over low heat, it helps the nutrients leech out of the foods, making the nutritional elements of the ingredients accessible. Soups and broths are generally a mixture of different vegetables and therefore offer a diversity of minerals and vitamins. I love to consume soups and broths throughout the day if I am feeling low in energy or if everyone around me is sick. I focus particularly on ingredients rich in health-boosting properties to keep my immune system strong. Homemade organic soups and broths are the best choice, so that any added chemicals, sugar, dairy, or unnecessary fats can be avoided.
When your body is run down, soups and broths are really beneficial by offering minerals in a form the body can absorb easily, so it doesn’t have to work as hard chewing and digesting to get what it needs. Soups also provide more liquid to the body, contributing to better levels of hydration, which help the body detoxify and flush out unwanted substances.
When choosing ingredients for your immunity building soups, keep the following ingredients and vitamins in mind:

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