Yoga, Sake, and a Night Club, Equals A Workout Party

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A couple of weeks ago I had a friend send me a link to a pop-up yoga event in the city wanting to know if I would be interested in checking it out with her. Upon looking at the title I saw pop-up vinyasa yoga followed by sake tasting and in less then a minutes I had already RSVP yes! My two favorite things in life, sweating and drinking together, well how could I resist.

The event was run by a VinyaSF, a group who hosts pop-up yoga events at various bars around the Bay Area. As their website states they are “An underground pop-up power yoga movement in San Francisco. Our goal is to create balance, fun, and community through awesome power yoga classes that change locations throughout the city a couple of times a month.” Personally I love this concept. There is something very liberating about bringing fitness to an unexpected place you would usually not associate with health, aka a dance club or bar. It reminds me of events my girlfriend back home used to do where she would teach yoga classes in Breweries. Which we named”Bend and Brew” after a night of brainstorming on good micro-beers.

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The event was on Wednesday night, which was perfect for a mid-week pick me up. Usually by Wednesday I am itching to do something with friends, but don’t always want to go out to dinner or drinks. Doing a yoga event with a friend was that perfect balance of still being healthy, but also getting some social time in. The class started at 6:30 at a bar in the SOMA district called Audio Night Club. I made sure to arrive a little early to get a spot and have time to catch up with my friend. Upon arriving I was greeted by a few very friendly ladies who signed me in along with giving me some free swag from Luna (chapstick and granola bars.) I am a sucker for free stuff and took this as an omen the event was going to be good. I headed up the stairs to the night club section with my girlfriend as we picked out a cozy spot on the dance floor to setup our mats.

The yoga class was 1 hour and 15 minutes, which I was nervous might feel like an eternity. We started off in typical fashion on our mats as the DJ started to get the music going. I have to say I ended up loving the music in this class. It was not the typical yoga mellow music where the goal is to make you relax and focus on being stress free. Instead it had an upbeat to it, which made you feel more suited to be in a dance club. The lighting was also a big selling point as they kept the red flashing lights going, so not the full on party mode of the club, but a nice change of pace.

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The class itself ended up being a pretty good yoga class with a perfect mix of strenuous moves balanced out with stretching. After having already worked out on the morning, I was not looking for a workout to completely kick my butt so this ended up being exactly what I had wanted. Our instructors were a couple of different girls who alternated giving us instructions throughout the class. Every now and again they would throw in a joke or something light hearted to make sure everyone was having fun and not taking themselves to seriously. As they said “In a few hours someone will be drunk right where you are doing your downward dog.”

I also really enjoyed the sense of community which was built throughout the class. The teachers did this by having us at one point reach out to one another and put our hands on each others shoulders as we lifted one of our legs behind us while trying to stay balanced. Something not typical, but it did make you feel connected to everyone around you.

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As we wrapped up I felt relaxed and at ease, however also ready for a drink! We made our way downstairs to the bar and proceeded to get our sake tasting on. Of course with everyone coming down all at once it ended up taking a while for us to get our drink. So by the time we were done with our first round of sake we were ready to call it a night and go home to eat dinner. I was starving and had started to fantasize about food during our last bit of stretching.

All in all I loved the experience! There is another event in May, which I might have to attend. One of my favorite things about living in San Francisco is exploring the new. Hopefully this is just one of the many new fitness experiences to come.

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 04/12/15

The Psychology of Healthy Facebook Use: No Comparing to Other Lives– It is hard to believe social media has been around for over a decade now. I remember signing up for my facebook account in college before any of my friends had one. Now it seems like everyone has an account, but what is social media really doing to our generation? “What these two studies reveal is that the underlying mechanism is social comparison. That’s why the more time we spend on Facebook, the more likely we are to feel depressed.”

Being a Night Owl May Be Bad for Your Health– After taking the test within the article I was surprised to find I do not have a particular sleeping tendency. Although I was at the highest number you could be in this bracket, almost to the Rise and Shine. I for one used to hate the morning, now I love it! It is interesting how you can change your bodies internal clock if you work at it. “Men who were night owls were significantly more likely to have diabetes, and women night owls were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome — high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal lipid readings.”

Out With The Caraway, In With The Ginger: 50 Years Of American Spice Consumption– I personally loved this article. I love to cook and over the years have found spices make all the difference. So of course it is not surprising that spices would be as trendy as other types of foods. This article talks about some of the top spices and their trends over time. “it details the availability of various spices every year from 1966 to 2012, data that can serve as a proxy for consumption, according to Jeanine Bentley, the USDA analyst who put the data set together.1 While it doesn’t tell us the exact amounts ingested in a year, it does provide some clues about trends over time.”

Tips for eating well when you are not at home– With getting ready to go on a vacation myself I thought this article was fitting to post. It is short, but spot on. When I go on vacation I try to enjoy myself, but also not get off track. This includes a morning workout, which is always shorter and less intense then if I am at home in my normal routine, a lot of walking, ensuring I eat something green every day, and picking one vice a day, aka either alcohol of dessert. By doing this I have never come back from a vacation having gained weight, but I also still feel relaxed and that I was able to enjoy the time I spent.

Does Wanting To Be Thin Make You A Slave To The Man? “Feminism often gets into an unappealing cul-de-sac where there’s this set of practices or beliefs that you have to be part of to be a good feminist. Interestingly, that’s not very different from more conventional forms of social policing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking care of your body. I just want to know you’re feeling beautiful and important at whatever weight you want.”

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 04/06/15

Why Comfort Food Comforts– We all have those foods that make us feel cozy and warm. For myself it is a big bowl of oatmeal on a cold day or Baskin Robbins sorbet when I am sick. However does comfort food really make us feel more comforted? “Measuring food intake against self-reported levels of isolation, the study authors found that people with strong emotional relationships were more likely than others to reach for comforting foods on the days that they felt lonely.”

Protein Pick-Me-Up: 10 Smart Ways to Get a Midday Boost– I like this article because it is simple and has some really good suggestions. I am a big fan of greek yogurt, hummus, and roasted chickpeas!

Why Your Commute is Bad For You– There is nothing earth shattering about this article, but it does give some good tips on how to off set some of the bad health implications with sitting for extended periods of time. “All those hours spent in home-work limbo can have physical and mental health implications, as well. Here are five ways your car, train, or bus ride to the office can affect your wellbeing, plus what to do about it.”

How to Break Out of A Food Rut-“Perhaps you’re trapped in a pattern where you want to eat better, but can’t find the motivation to take action. Regardless of what has you stuck, one tactic that could help turn things around is to literally upend your current habits and try the exact opposite. In this season of springing forward, a fresh new perspective can make all the difference.”

Nuts Are a Nutritional Powerhouse– I am one who used to avoid nuts like the plague during weight loss due to their high calories. Even now I always have a little guilt when I eat them. However I can’t help it, I am addicted to them! It is good to know my guilty pleasure is not so guilty after all. “The study found that the more nuts people consumed, the lower their death rates from all causes and especially from heart disease and stroke.”

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Photo From Huff Post

 

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein Recipe

 

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Life has just been busy lately! After a new and exciting promotion at work my days are now all consuming with very little time to rest. Then my evenings have been packed with fun events like birthday celebrations, concerts, yoga dates, etc. What does all of this mean? Well my nights have not been filled with cooking robust meals. It has been easy, quick, and healthy dinners like eggs with veggies, stir fry’s, or an open faced sandwich. However last week in spite of all of the madness that has been my life as of late, I was able to take a moment to myself and cook a recipe I have been wanting to try for a while.

I found this recipe looking through Pintrest. The moment I saw the picture I knew this dish was going to have to be made. What also sealed the deal on it was I already had most of the ingredients at home, so it also made it an easy week night dish. Overall the dish was pretty easy to prepare, although the longest part was backing the spaghetti squash, which takes about 40 minutes. I made a few changes to the recipe based on what I had around, however I have indicated what changes I made below.

Preparation was quick and when it was all done, I filled up a bowl for me and one for Dustin. By the end of the meal my bowl was pretty much licked clean. This dish did not disappoint! It really did taste like chow mein, however without that heavy gut feeling after eating an entire bowl of the real stuff. This recipe is healthy and delicious. I have to say t is a must try , especially if you are craving some Chinese food. Next time I might add some shrimp or chicken into it to get a little extra protein. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I used Braggs Liquid Amino Acid instead. This is a staple in our household for cooking)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed (I used honey since I was out of brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (I used powdered ginger as that is what I had at home)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I cut this down to 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

Directions

Cut a spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side up in a 13 x 9 dish and pour about 1/2 inch of water into the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh becomes tender. When done scoop out the flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; then set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery cooking until tender, which is about 3-4 minutes. Add in the cabbage mix at the very end for about 1 minute.

Next stir in spaghetti squash into the large skillet and pour the  sauce mixture over top. Stir everything for a minute or so to make sure it is all combined. Then you are ready to eat!