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Tips to Keep Up Your Holiday Workout Game

Check out my mom's dog admiring my new running shoes :)

Check out my mom’s dog admiring my new running shoes!

Who’s going home for the holidays? I know that a lot of us are taking vacations and leaving our everyday routines to join feasts full of honey-baked ham, eggnog, potato pancakes –you name it. And don’t get me wrong- there is always room for mindful holiday indulgences.  But if we’re going to take part in these holidays traditions, let’s not leave our fitness routines by the wayside. Here are some tips to keep up your exercise game during the holidays.

Glam Your Winter Workout Gear

If you’re a runner, this is the time where your workout routine is likely to lag. Even if you’re not a runner, the walk in the cold to your local gym/yoga/dance studio might feel like a trek. My solution? Invest (or drop some gift-giving hints…) in getting warm workout clothes that you will enjoy wearing. I personally just bought myself some super warm running pants and hot pink sneakers. Don’t mind me while I run in style!

Try a Winter Sport

Embrace the cold! It’s the one time of year where you can go snowboarding, ice-skating, snowshoeing, and snow skating.  A full day of one of these activities will give you more than your fair share of exercise. If you haven’t tried one of these before, try taking a lesson with your significant other, parents, siblings (I’m talking to you, David!), or children. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while also staying active.

Do it Indoors

If outdoor sports or going to the gym in the winter isn’t your thing, there is still no excuse in today’s electronic age! Try out a new DVD or online routine. Circuit workouts are especially effective in getting your heart rate up and staying in shape. Some of my favorites are Jillian Michaels 30 day shred (can purchase on amazon or itunes) and Body Rock TV.

Refuel Deliciously 

Winter may mean chilly weather, but it also means delicious warming foods that are perfect post- workout. Why not use your workouts as an extra excuse to try some new winter  recipes like my pumpkin butter with grain-free toast or some of the amazing recipes featured over at Aloha… I’m especially feeling their superbee fruit plate!

Remind Yourself of the Benefits of Exercise – Other Than Weight

Let’s be honest, you’re probably going to be eating some foods that will make weight loss – well let’s say – a little more difficult. If you think about exercise as a tool to lose weight during this time, you will likely be more susceptible to either overdoing it or to give up altogether, thinking there’s no way you can burn off more than what you ate. Instead, think about how exercising will help you enjoy the time that you will be spending with your loved ones. Here are just a few non-weight related benefits of exercise:

–       Improves mood
–       Increases focus
–       Increases energy
–       Reduces Stress

Convinced yet? Just think about how much better your holiday will be if you are happy, focused, relaxed, and energized. Now let’s get to it!


Winter Pumpkin Recipes


Hey all!

I don’t know where you are, but it is COLD here in New York City – Winter has definitely not come to an end here, for better or for worse. Lucky for us, there is one benefit to the Fall and Winter seasons: WINTER SQUASH!

I absolutely LOVE pumpkins. There are so many things you can do with them. Here are a bunch of delicious recipes that will keep you warm and full – all using one pumpkin!


Pumpkin Pasta

Olive oil
1 head of broccoli
The guts of half a pumpkin, taken out with a fork or grapefruit knife
Adobo (I put this on almost everything! Make sure to get the Frontier’s brand which has no preservatives)

Sautee broccoli and garlic in olive oil on low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until done. Boil the stringy guts in hot water for 15 minutes. Mix together and top with salt, pepper, and Frontier’s Adobo.


Sivin’s Seeds 
This is a recipe that my Grandfather taught my dad, and my dad taught me – and now I’m sharing it with you, with a little bit of a twist.  It’s so simple and fun to do with kids!

Pumpkin seeds
Adobo (of course 😉
Dulse flakes
salt and pepper

Put seasonings on the pumpkin seeds. Bake in oven at 325 degrees for about half an hour, or until toasted. 


Pumpkin Butter 


The other half of the pumpkin meat
tablespoon of nutmeg
tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup of coconut nectar
1 tablespoon of raisins

Blend ingredients together in a food processor. Serve with toast or as a side dish. 


Lunch at Hu Kitchen




New Yorkers, have you been to Hu Kitchen yet? I just stopped by there today for lunch and let me tell you, this place is a hit. Nearly everything—from the almond milk to the vegan lasagna— is made in house and to die for. On top of that, it’s affordable. And listen up fellow students: we have finally found an organic restaurant that offers student discounts!


For lunch today, I had the “grandmaster veg”—a grain free, vegan lasagna made with cashew cream and vegetables. My friend Priya had a veggie bowl with roasted mushrooms, quinoa, and fresh sweet potato. Both dishes were amazing and left us wanting more. Afterwards, we each tried some treats from the Hu “mash bar,” which is the owner’s healthful alternative to frozen yogurt. The bar offers four bases—chocolate chia pudding, vanilla chia pudding, banana cashew cream, and coconut cream—and several toppings, from gluten free cookies to raw granola. So delicious!


On top of it all, everyone who works there is friendly and emanates an obvious passion for health. I asked a ton of questions and everyone was more than willing to chat with me. I will definitely be back!

My Favorite Dairy Alternatives


I used to be a huge milk and cheese lover.  And let’s be honest, dairy products are pretty yummy. But just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that taste—or at least something very close to it! Here are some of the dairy alternatives that I consume regularly.


Nut Milks

Almond milk can usually be found at most grocery stores. But if you don’t like the taste of almond milk, or if all the extra ingredients in it (carrageenan, added sweeteners, etc.) freak you out, you can make nut milks in a matter of minutes at home. All you need is a fine strainer, a blender, some water, and your favorite nuts of choice. Place 1 and ¼ cups of nuts in a blender and fill the rest with water–you can even use coconut water if you like your milk super sweet. Blend well and then strain in order to make delicious nut milk. I like to also sweeten with vanilla extract and stevia.


Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is rich in b vitamins and vitamin b-12, which usually is difficult to get for vegans. It has a cheesy taste that is great to put on salad dressings or as a topping to gluten-free pasta or pizza!


Dr. Cow’s Nut Cheeses

These are a bit pricey, so I only get them once in awhile, but they are so delicious. They are dairy-free, gmo-free cheeses that are made with cultured nuts, sea salt, and probiotics. Most store-bought cheese alternatives like daiya and tofu-cheese have tons of additives and “natural flavors” (which really means chemical flavors) and usually leave me with an aching stomach, but Dr. Cow’s cheeses have four ingredients max and are easy to digest. They come in several flavors, like macadamia, hemp, cashew, and brazil nut. I recently used the aged cashew flavor to make a vegan, gluten free pizza and it was delicious!


Homemade Parmesan Cheese

If you’re looking for a quick way to make parmesan cheese to add to the top of your salad or a pasta dish, you can simply blend garlic and brazil nuts or pine nuts in a food processor. So simple, yet so delicious!

Vegan pizza made with Dr. Cow’s nut cheese. Yum!