Tag archive for "fitness"

The Results of My 10-Day Yoga Challenge

Fitness, Healthy Living, New York City, Travel

The Results of My 10-Day Yoga Challenge

6 Comments 11 August 2016

Clearly, I overestimated my newly found mindfulness, because on Saturday morning, hours after finishing Day 5 of my 10-Day Yoga Challenge, I looked down at my feet and didn’t recognize the flip flops I was wearing. They did look very similar to the ones I wore to yoga earlier that morning, same color, same style, and they fit rather comfortably. But there was a little pizazz to the stitching that I didn’t remember noticing before. At first I thought, “Wow, look at me honing my focus to such little details. Yoga is really increasing my awareness.” But upon further investigation, I realized that in my post-class reverie, I had slipped on someone else’s shoes. I feel terrible for the person who walked home or hopefully just hobbled to their car barefooted, which they must have done, because when I went back to the closed studio, there were my flip flops waiting for me outside the door.

If you missed my last post, I’m attempting 10 consecutive day of yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo while away from New York for the summer. Why? You’ll have to read that post which covers Days 1-5.

The first 5 days felt eternal. I was constantly sore, every class seemed never-ending, and I couldn’t help but come out of poses early in order to prevent total muscle failure that would have resulted in me collapsing to the floor. After every class I felt relief that it was over and thought that maybe that would be my last class, but as the day went on I started looking forward to the next one.

Days 6-10 were definitely hard, but each day I felt victorious instead of relieved at the end of class. I didn’t just endure and let it happen. I actually did the practice. The soreness started to melt away, and I became less intimidated by certain poses. Sitting in chair pose no longer felt like torture. I started to flow through transitions, albeit while wobbling, from one pose to another instead of seeing each pose as a separate challenge.

On Day 6 I found my people. My people show up on Sunday mornings at 7:00 when the 20-somethings with the cute yoga butts are at home sleeping off their Saturday nights. But Sunday mornings my people show up. They’re the ones who snuck out of the house before the kids woke up. They’re the ones who are squeezing in 75 minutes for themselves before they haul everyone to church and then cook brunch for the family. They don’t have tatoos or the most stylish yoga gear. But these people work hard. On Day 6, we smoked it.

Day 7 needed to happen at the non-summery hour of 6am in order for me not to break my streak. I had a few things scheduled throughout the day, and believe me, if I could’ve chosen another time, I would have. But I’m actually glad I went that early. I liked these people, too. I am these people. They rolled out of bed, just like I did, but now they will head to work feeling like the hardest part of their day is over. That’s exactly how I felt when I taught 6am spin class. After conquering that mountain, I could do anything. Bring it, Day.

What are the chances I can find a 6am yoga class in New York?

Day 8. The reason I had to take the 6am class on Day 7 was that my sister-in-law invited me to a BodyPump class at her YMCA. I adore BodyPump almost as much as I adore my sister-in-law, so there was no way I was going to turn this offer down. I used to be a certified BodyPump instructor and loved teaching it in that terrified love sort of way, but I hadn’t taken a BodyPump class in about a year because it’s not easy to find in the City. If I had kept up with it even as a participant I would not be the weak-armed, 40-something woman that I am today.


If you have a gym nearby that offers BodyPump. GO to it. You will find that strong self that you forgot was there.

I assumed I would feel the way I always feel when I lift weights for the first time after weeks/months of weightliftinglessness. Like Wile E. Coyote flattened at the bottom of a canyon by that huge boulder that inevitably caught up with him. But something incredible happened in that class on Day 8. Power yoga completely erased any potential soreness from Body Pump. I kept waiting for that delayed onset muscle soreness, which happens to my body like clockwork 36 hours after asking it to do something new. It never came.


On Day 9 I started to feel a little panicky. I only had two days left. And after that I’ll purchase another week, and then it will be over! I will be leaving Buffalo and this adorable little studio. I was already starting to miss it. Now that I know about this, how am I going to get on without it?

Day 10 was a powerful class. There wasn’t anything drastically different from what we normally do, but it was a powerful class because I felt powerful. There’s a lot of repetition in power yoga. The flow is repeated, poses are held multiple times, and it’s easy to get lost in the “one more time” mentality. In fact, on Day 9 the only way to keep my mind present was to count the vinyasas. We did 32.

My instructor uses a phrase that I’ve come to love. “You’ve never been in this warrior before…you’ve never been in this chair pose before….” Even though we’ve done it 10 times already today? Even though. This one is brand new. What does this do for me? It gets me out of my head, out of my preconceived notions about what I’ve done before and what I am capable of today. Yesterday’s successes and failures do not define me now. And this reminder pushes me to do my best. Be my best. Open myself up to new possibilities. This is something that I can take with me.

  • I’ve never taught this lesson before.
  • I’ve never run these 3 miles before.
  • I’ve never had this day ahead of me before.
  • I’ve never had this conversation before.
  • I’ve never had this opportunity to love this person before.
  • I’ve never experience this moment before.

If this had been the only thing I’d learned from this yoga challenge it would’ve been enough. But after 10 days of power yoga, here are my other takeaways:

  • Showing up is half the battle.
  • Breath is power.
  • I’m stronger than I think.
  • Being present on my mat spills over to being present in my life.
  • There is no such thing as a yoga body.
  • I need to make yoga a priority in NYC.

And in just 10 short days I’ve noticed these surprising little benefits too:

  • Defined arm and leg muscles
  • Tighter abdominals
  • Better posture
  • Deeper sleep
  • Improved flexibility
  • More positive attitude
  • Increased patience (confirmed by the Husband)
  • Disappearance of “age” aches and pains
  • Brighter complexion
  • A sense of gratefulness

Buffalo friends, give Power Yoga a try! I’ll join you there every time I’m in town!

Readers, dish!

  • NYC friends, do you have a studio to recommend?
  • In what area of your life can you remind yourself that you’ve never done this one before?
  • What positive effects do you experience from exercise?
Summer Goals and a 10-Day Yoga Challenge

Fitness, Healthy Living, New York City, Travel

Summer Goals and a 10-Day Yoga Challenge

7 Comments 06 August 2016

Summer flies when you’re a teacher  Most people think we have 3 months off, but we really only have two. I know. Cry me a river, right? But you really do want us to have two months away from your children. Those 2 months are why we can welcome your kids back to school in the fall with genuine excitement and pour every last ounce of energy and creativity that we rebuilt over the summer into teaching them for another 10 months. By June, we are exhausted and running on the fumes of a distant memory when we passionately decided to change the world one student at a time.

Summer is also time for taking care of things that we let slide during the school year. Things like healthy eating, visiting family, decluttering cupboards, reading books above a fifth grade reading level, lunching with friends, and annual mammograms.

Summer is a great time for setting personal goals. Teachers are required to set goals. We have professional goals that we discuss with our principals, class goals that set tone and expectations, learning goals for each unit, individual student goals that can be educational, behavioral, or social. We are so driven by goals that when I have a few weeks without a goal I feel a little rudderless. I’m really not sure if I could function for two entire months without a goal of some sort.

One of my summer goals is to get back to my yoga practice. I have never been a yogi. When I taught fitness classes, I made sure to attend a yoga class or whip out a Baron Baptiste Yoga in a Box once a week. With all of my spinning, running, BodyPump, and sculpting classes I needed yoga to keep any kind of flexibility. But when I moved to New York, yoga was the first things to drop off my fitness plate. Then lifting weights soon followed. Now I’m lucky if I run or spin 3-4 days each week.

Yoga back in the day

Yoga in my favorite place

So enter this character in the Summer of 2016. Not the character pictured above. Enter a weak-armed, 40-something woman with the memory of yoga being a nice challenge that was pretty great for you. I needed to find a yoga studio.

Each summer we spend about a month out of the city. It’s refreshing to temporarily re-enter suburban life and remind ourselves that there is normalcy in rest of the country. Driving to the grocery store instead of walking seems a luxury. Buying a full cart of groceries, not limiting my purchases to whatever will fit in my backpack and two grocery bags, one for each hand. Wheeling that cart to the car, or better yet, having a clerk wheel it out for me. Then driving the groceries to the house where I unload directly into the kitchen which is 10 steps from the front door. Suburban normalcy.

I expected to have to drive to a yoga studio in the burbs, but to my surprise, there is a Power Yoga Studio literally at the end of the street where we’re staying. So in quintessential NYC form, I strapped on my yoga bag and walked a block to this studio.

They have a new student special consisting of 10 consecutive days for $20. It doesn’t take a Common Core math teacher to figure out that this is an incredible deal. Obviously the deal is sweeter if I go all 10 days. Two dollars per class? You can’t find that in NYC.

Motivated by a good deal, my goal began to clarify. Could I go to power yoga for 10 days in a row? Power yoga translates to hard and fast, and I’m coming from a base of zero. And it’s a 75 minute class in a 90 degree studio. That doesn’t sound too terribly bad, especially when it’s about 95 degrees outside. That’s what I told myself anyway. But I sweat while sitting on my mat waiting for class to start.

Don’t forget that the character in this story is a weak-armed, 40-something woman with the memory of yoga being a nice challenge that was pretty great for you. 

Her memory…


Yoga with a beach view

Well, I started the deal and tentatively set my 10-day goal.

Day 1 was a wake up call. I know that for some reason, whenever I get back into yoga after a period of yogalessness, I have to be careful how much time I spend upside down. A simple downward-facing dog will cause my head to pound so hard that blood vessels burst in my face. I learned this the hard way, by pushing through the discomfort. Pushing through and not listening to your body is very non-yogalike. So I warned the instructor that I’d need to come out of most inversions early. I flowed. I bent. I twisted. I held. I tried not to think about the 20-somethings with cute little butts who made it look so easy. I flowed some more. I wobbled. I warriored. I warriored so many times I wondered if she forgot the rest of the sequence. My face felt like it was going to explode each time I went down, I took breaks, and I made it through. I was so glad that I thought to bring my yoga towel left over from that Groupon package that one month I tried Bikrim. Beads of sweat dotted every inch of my flesh from the start. I left drenched but with my complexion in tact, and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to move the next morning.

Day 2 hurt to get out of bed, as expected. But I went. And it was so hard! I had no idea one’s arms could shake like that.

Yoga Text


And this text pretty much sums up my intention not to continue with my goal.

Yoga Text 2

Specifically the “Bahahahahaha!”

But I went back on Day 3 for Power Yoga Hour. This meant that the class was literally an hour, a 60 minute class instead of the 75 that I had been doing. Choosing this class was the only way I could convince myself that I might be able to make it through the third day in a row. It would be shorter.

There are no clocks in a yoga studio. Why aren’t there clocks in a yoga studio??? For teachers whose days are run by the clock with every minute accounted for, time is a huge part of the day. We are constantly looking and checking the clock. Are we on schedule, behind schedule, miraculously ahead of schedule? Do I need to modify the lesson to get to Gym on time? Are they glazing over because they’ve been in their seats too long? How long have Suzie and Sally been in the bathroom? Even outside of school I’m addicted to the clock. I just need to know what time it is. I do have an uncanny ability to guess within minutes the time at any given moment. But then again it could just be that I checked 5 minutes ago.

There are no clocks in this yoga studio, but because of my ability to feel the minutes tick by I knew that this class was soon coming to an end. It just had to be almost over. I was drenched. I was spent. But it kept going. And I kept going. I reached the point where I wondered if the next chaturanga dandasana would be interrupted by a face plant on my mat, because I had no strength left to prevent it. Each vinyasa became a prayer, please don’t let me hit my face, please don’t let me hit my face. The first thing I did after class ended, after I dragged my limp body out of the studio to gather my belongings, was to check the clock. 75 minutes! That hour was not an hour at all! I felt tricked.

Something started to happen the afternoon of Day 3. I had an itch on my upper arm and felt something. Not a bug or a loose hair. It was a bump, the beginning of a muscle where my atrophied tricep used to be. I could actually feel my tricep again! Now mind you it was sore to the touch, but it was there! And walking up stairs I had this feeling like a cute yoga butt was in the making.

Day 4. I dreaded this class more than Day 2 and 3 put together, because I felt soreness with every step as I walked to class. Climbing the stairs I felt fatigued and out of breath. But I was also excited. I was getting stronger, and those extra suggestions like “and now you can try firefly” or “pop up into a headstand” or “flip your dog” didn’t cause my eyes to roll. They just hung in the air as a maybe. Not today, but maybe at some point.

Yoga is supposed to quiet the mind. But I find that my mind is still as active as ever. Here are a few things that were on my mind on Day 4:

(In plank) I can watch sweat drip off my forehead and onto my mat directly in line with my hands. I wonder if that means my alignment is on. Or off.

It must really hurt to get a foot tatoo.

There’s an ant crawling on that girl’s mat! (Girl effortlessly jumps from rag doll back to plank.) No! Little ant!! Did she smush him? Oh, there he is under the edge of her mat. Close one, buddy.

“Leg parallel to the floor.” I must be close. (I check myself.) Nope, nowhere near.

Please don’t let me hit my face.


How many of these are we going to do?

Please don’t let me hit my face.

No way! I did it!! (Wobble. Fall.)

How can my heart be pounding like this when I’m just standing still?

Do I feel so good after class because I spend an hour sweating out toxins or because this torture is finally over?

Leaving it on the mat

Interestingly, I haven’t once thought about what I needed to do that day, school, or things I should be doing but have been putting off. So at least my thoughts were truly in the moment even if I hadn’t reached that quiet space yet.

Then today, Day 5, happened. I had to get up summer early to fit in a class before Saturday’s activities. I woke up without feeling debilitatingly sore. I walked the quiet streets of the suburbs, recognizing that my city neighborhood would already be buzzing with dogs on leashes heading to the park, bead-headed dads stumbling into bodegas for coffee, and women in spandex heading to various fitness studios. Here, I was the only person on the street passed by an occasional car.

Laying on my mat before class, already feeling the sweat beads forming, there was no indication that this class would be any different than the 4 previous days. I scoped out a few people with watches and wondered if I’d be able to sneak peeks to gauge the progress of the class.

And then it started. I moved, I embraced the struggle of holding poses, I flipped my freakin’ dog! I noticed things about my movements that weren’t clear before. My balance was more steady. I realized that if I engaged my legs during chaturanga there was no fear of a face plant. Don’t hear me say that it was easy. It was easy like running 10 miles is easy when you’re training for a marathon. But it no longer felt like running 10 miles when I hadn’t run in a year. And at one point I realized that I wasn’t thinking about anything. I even tried to think of something that might distract me, and I couldn’t. Nothing else really mattered in that moment but the practice. Could yoga be the answer to taming the rat on the exercise wheel in my head?

We shall see!

Readers, dish!

  • Do you practice yoga?
  • What kind of yoga do you like?
  • How do you bring your mind back to your practice?
  • What are your summer goals?


Fitness in New York City

Fitness, Healthy Living, New York City

Fitness in New York City

4 Comments 11 May 2016

Staying fit in New York is both ridiculously easy and ridiculously hard. It’s easy because there’s a gym on your way to just about everywhere, racks of CitiBikes line the streets at convenient intersections, a serious bike path parallels the Hudson River on the west side, and there’s this really huge park (you may have heard of it) called Central Park a block and a half from my apartment. Easy fitness, right?

Frisbee in the Park

Frisbee in the Park

Yoga in the Park

Yoga in the Park

But some days the City is your workout. First of all, New Yorkers walk everywhere, and with that comes challenges. Slogging through buckets of slush at intersections that rise unsuspectingly to your knee caps. Carrying grocery bags for blocks on every arm crevice from your elbows and wrists to pinky fingers. Sprinting for the subway station, because the app says your train is arriving in 60 seconds. Walking endless flights of stairs to get, well, almost anywhere, because Manhattan can only expand up or down. All of this exercise is just part of life. And there are days and weeks when just the simple act of living wipes you out, and an extra spin class or treadmill run just isn’t going to happen.

This morning, exercising was easy. Ok, a 6:00 am run before school isn’t ever really easy, but when you have this view the entire time you’re running, the pain is a little more palatable.


The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park is gorgeous any time of year, but Spring is definitely a favorite.

The Reservoir in September

The Reservoir in September

The reservoir while stretching

The Reservoir early this morning

Okay, you can do this.

Psyching myself up

And we're off

And we’re off


Finally in the groove

Reservoir 6_Gluten-FreeCat

1.66 miles of this…as many times around as you can handle


Rounding the bend



Shadow Selfie

Shadow selfie feeling accomplished

What’s the biggest obstacle to exercising that you face?

Almost Speechless (NYC Marathon 2013)

Fitness, New York City

Almost Speechless (NYC Marathon 2013)

6 Comments 04 November 2013

An inspiring event ran through our “back yard” yesterday, and I thought I’d share a glimpse of it with you. The immensity of the event and the dedication of all who were involved renders me almost speechless. The athletes who trained and competed, the police officers who shut down busy city streets, the crowds bringing encouragement… It left me with few words.






Priscah_Jeptoo_Gluten-Free_CatPriscah Jeptoo – Women’s Marathon Winner


Geoffrey Mutai – Men’s Marathon Winner



Readers, dish!

What brought you encouragement or inspiration this weekend?

Pre-Workout Snack at The Balanced Platter

GF Recipes, Raw Foods, Vegan

Pre-Workout Snack at The Balanced Platter

17 Comments 08 April 2013

All around the country we’ve been whining and complaining about Spring being late. We just need to accept the fact that the groundhog was just plain wrong this year. I’m sure he’s hanging his head in shame, but let’s forgive the poor little guy. Now that trees are budding (which means we’re sneezing in the South), the sun is shining, and the memory of a long winter is fading away, it’s time to stop complaining and get moving!

Walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift, join an exercise class, spin, twirl, shimmy… Get out there and move!

Part of a balanced life is finding an exercise regimin that works for you and complimenting it with food to fuel your activity level. Today, I’m excited to share a post at The Balanced Platter, and I’d love for you to pop on over to check out my answer for a balanced pre-workout snack.

Here’s a little preview.

See you there!

This recipe will also be shared with:  Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods ThursdaysHealthy Vegan Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fitness, GF Recipes, Healthy Living

Stuffed Acorn Squash

21 Comments 24 September 2012

I have this strange habit.  I sign up for a challenge, accomplish it, and then stop. Cold turkey.

On Memorial Day weekend, I ran a marathon.  A FULL marathon.  My FIRST marathon.  That was FOUR months ago.  I haven’t run outside since crossing that finish line…well, except to see who just fell off the monkey bars at recess.  Three years ago, I finished an Olympic length triathlon.  I swam, I biked, I ran.  But after finishing that event, the bike sat in the garage, and I don’t think I’ve entered a lap pool since.  While I haven’t miss the pool, I felt badly for my poor bike.

I even loaned it out to a few people for a few races. It’s a great bike, and it seemed such a shame to have it sit collecting cobwebs. But me? I was content to teach spin classes. Inside.

I have no idea why a finish line holds such a sense of finality for me.  Not just for the day. Not just for the season. But for quite a long time. I tell myself that it’s because I pour myself into my training. By the time the event arrives, I’m ready to be done, and I’m ready for something else. During the last few weeks of training, I dream of yoga or lying on a beach somewhere. Maybe I just don’t have the drive of a true athlete.

But I’m happy to say that I’m finally back to riding my bike.  And I owe it all to my friend, Julie. Julie is an inspiration to me. She is currently training for her second century ride. (Yes, that’s 100 miles. My butt bones can’t even imagine 100 miles in a saddle.) And she has sweetly put on the brakes to allow me to keep up with her for portions of her training rides. I am LOVING it!  Despite the soreness, I love riding in the cool of the early morning, knocking off 30-40 miles before church on a Sunday. It has become the highlight of my week.

What does this have to do with acorn squash?

Nothing really, but as Julie and I ride the rolling hills of the Nachez Trace, I find that our conversation always seems to come back to food.  Recently, Julie asked me if I liked acorn squash. My mind instantly went back to the squash memories of my childhood.  The kind that involved the phrase “you will not leave the table until…” But while grocery shopping later that afternoon, the pile of acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash just looked so fresh and inviting. The gourds smiled at me and said, “This is Fall.  Enjoy me.” Okay, maybe I needed a little sugar after that long ride.

But I loved the acorn squash. And I think you will too. Stuffed with a sweet apple and spinach filling, this squash dish ushered in the season of Fall.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

by Heather


  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 1 green apple
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 c. spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 T. grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts


1.  Preheat the oven to 375.

2.  Cut 2 acorn squashes in half, remove the seeds, and place the squash face down on a jelly roll pan covered with foil.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Then turn them over and cook for another 30 minutes.

3.  Core and chop apples and toss the apple pieces in lemon juice to keep them from browning.

4.  Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat.  Add minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

5.  Add onions and apples and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Cook for 5 minutes.

6.  Add spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts.

7.  Season with sea salt, add maple syrup, and remove from heat.

8.  Toast pinenuts in a toaster oven, or wait until the squash is cooked and toast them in the oven.

9.  Remove squash after it’s cooked, stuff each half with apple spinach mixture, and sprinkle with pinenuts.

Serves 4

Thanks, Julie, for your inspiration!  Both physically and in the kitchen!

Readers, dish!

  • Do you like acorn squash?
  • How do you deal with physical challenges?
  • Do you enjoy running or biking?
  • What’s your favorite finish line memory?
This recipe was shared with:
Green Ribbon Salad With a Side of Honesty

GF Recipes, Healthy Living, Raw Foods

Green Ribbon Salad With a Side of Honesty

13 Comments 17 September 2012

I haven’t been feeling very creative in the kitchen, and it’s been bothering me.  It’s taken me a while to figure out why, but I think I’ve finally arrived at an answer. It’s three fold.

First of all, every ounce of creativity I have right now is being poured into my Kindergarten classroom.  I have 21 energetic, imaginative 5 year olds who consume all of my waking thoughts. Even in the “off” hours, while driving, eating, cooking, sleeping, I’m thinking of questions like these.  How can I increase their phonemic awareness? What games can we play that will reinforce sight words and make them giggle at the same time?  How many different ways can I stand on my head to keep their attention longer than 2 minutes?  Are my centers aligned with Common Core Standards?

When I get home, the last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen for longer than it takes to fill the Vitamix with smoothie ingredients.

Second, losing Marcy 8 weeks ago has really taken it’s toll.  Sitting and petting Brother Max just seems more important than thinking of yet another way to make another naturally gluten-free meal.

Watching him stalk birdies

or that pesky squirrel is more entertaining.

While my heart still hurts, I’m more focused on the blessings of Now.

And third, I am no longer a vegetarian. What?  Did I just lose you as a reader? I really hope not.  I started this blog as a “curious girl in the gluten-free world”; an expert in nothing, but a learner and an experimenter in all things gluten free.  Throughout my gluten-free journey, I’ve tried eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, and even had a spell as a gluten-free junkfooditarian.  And while I’ve learned a lot from all of it, I’ve decided that my body just needs more protein.  Animal protein.

Have you read Eat Right 4 Your Type?  I read it eons ago, but since going vegetarian I’ve had this nagging feeling that as a Type O, Hunter-Gatherer, I was not getting all of the nutrients that my body needed.  I’m not a fan of diets or of rigid rules that tell me what I can and can’t eat.  Not eating gluten is rigid enough for me.  But lately, I’ve been eating based on my blood type, and my energy level is soaring.

  • High enough to teach Kindergarten every day.
  • High enough to teach 4-6 fitness classes each week.
  • High enough to bike 70 miles this weekend.

This is working for me.  So why haven’t I felt creative in the kitchen?  I’m not used to cooking meat!  Right now I’m finding lots of paleo recipes from the experts that I’m thoroughly enjoying.  Reviews will be coming soon!

But what about my love for raw foods? It’s just as strong as ever. Does it sound weird to have a meatball and a raw kale salad for lunch?  What about a shredded chicken sandwich on raw apple bread?  Raw salads still make me gaga.

Again, right now it’s working.  I think it’s all a part of my journey.

I’m excited to share that I actually spent some time in the kitchen this week.  I have some raw recipes that will be accompanying several meat dishes this week.  This is one of them:

Green Ribbon Salad
by Heather


  • 4 c. kale, torn from the stem
  • 4 c. spinach leaves
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 T. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


1.  Roll kale and spinach leaves together, burrito style, and cut in narrow ribbons. Place in a large bowl.

2.  Core the apple, slice, and dice.  Then add to the large bowl.

3.  Using a spiralizer, cut 2 zucchini with the flat blade, creating ribbons.  Add zucchini ribbons to the large bowl.

4.  Mix white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, grade B maple syrup, and sea salt in a small bowl.

5.  Poor the balsamic vinegar mixture over the green ribbon salad and mix well.

Serves 6-8

Meat recipes to come!

Readers, dish!

  • How do you define yourself as an eater?
  • How important is it to you that you DO define yourself as an eater?
  • Have you read Eat Right 4 Your Type?
This recipe was shared with:
Watermelon Peach Chia Smoothie

GF Recipes, Healthy Living, Raw Foods

Watermelon Peach Chia Smoothie

11 Comments 09 April 2012

Last week I began sharing my raw foods ah-has from my month of eating 100% raw.  My first ah-ha was that pureeing whole fruit is insanely delicious, and of course incredibly good for you. I shared my Creamy Cantaloupe Smoothie made from just 3 simple ingredients.  Today I have another non-dairy smoothie to share that has only 4 ingredients.  I added protein powder to this smoothie for some staying power, but you can do without, and it’s just as delicious.

I’ve been training for a marathon, and I’ve found that I’m needing to cook a little more, especially the day before a long run.  I can “get through” a long run fueled by raw foods, but I certainly have more energy when I eat more complex carbs like quinoa pasta or brown rice.

I’ve also found that smoothies like this Watermelon Peach Chia Smoothie are incredibly hydrating and energizing before a run and are excellent recovery meals afterwards.

One of the magical ingredients in this smoothie is the chia seed.  Chia seeds have long been known to prolong hydration and help runners retain electrolytes while covering the miles, so I’ve been eating a lot of chia seeds lately.  See this post to read about even more benefits from this amazing seed.

This Watermelon Peach Chia Smoothie is a delightful way to get the benefits of chia as well as whole fruits.

Watermelon Peach Chia Smoothie

by Heather



1.  Place all in a Vitamix or blender and blend until creamy.

2.  Sprinkle a few extra chia seeds on top for a crunch.

Serves 1

Delicious, energizing, hydrating, nutritious, and a little reminder that summer is on its way!

Other posts and recipes you may enjoy:

Readers, dish!

  • Are you a chia seed fan?
  • Have you tried whole fruit smoothies yet?
This recipe was also shared with:
A Month Hiatus…where in the raw has she been?

Book Review, Healthy Living

A Month Hiatus…where in the raw has she been?

24 Comments 28 March 2012

I can’t believe that it’s been a month since I last posted.  It has been an incredible time of living, learning, reflecting, and eating, but I just wasn’t ready to share until today.  Do you ever feel like you need to have everything all figured out before you can share something life changing with a friend?  After a month, I realized that if I waited until I had it all figured out, I’d never blog again!

I started Gluten-Free Cat because of my passion for sharing that living gluten-free doesn’t have to mean living without.  In fact, living gluten-free has opened my world of food so drastically that I’m no longer looking for the perfect bread replacement.  I no longer turn cartwheels in the cereal aisle when yet another company offers a gluten-free bowl of flakes. Finding a gluten-free muffin is a nice occasional treat, but I can take it or leave it.  And gluten-free cookies?  They’re just cookies.  I’m far more excited about the wide array of incredible foods available to us that are naturally gluten-free and incredibly healthy for our bodies.

I’ve found that the more natural and pure my food is, the happier my body is.

I spent all of last month eating nothing but raw food.  I enjoyed rich salads drenched in homemade dressings.  I pureed soups made entirely from raw produce.  I made my own nut milks, nut meats, and nut cheeses.  I’ve eaten a LOT of guacamole and didn’t think twice about the caloric intake.  I’ve even made desserts for dinner without guilt or judgement, because my dessert had the nutritional integrity of a well-balance meal.  I’ve eaten, eaten, and eaten, and I’ve probably lost about ten pounds.  And while I’m very happy that my spring clothes are back to fitting comfortably, the most important part is that I feel fantastic.

Raw Mango Banana Pie with Almond Crust

Raw Apple Pie with Almond Crust

And not once did I ever wonder, “How can I make this gluten-free?”  It was all naturally gluten-free.

I didn’t spend any time reading ingredient lists on packages to make sure things were gluten-free, because there were no packages.  Well, there was one.  The only package that I opened all month long was the package of nori that I needed for nut sushi and raw quiche salad. Package Ingredients: Nori.  Simple.

Raw Quiche Salad

I was a little concerned that switching to a raw food diet would impact my energy level.  I teach 4-6 fitness classes each week, and I have been training for a marathon since January. So I do need to choose my nutrients wisely.  But so far I’ve been able to successfully teach kindergarten, teach fitness classes, and run up to 13 miles at a time fueled by raw foods.  I’ll let you know if that changes.  The next long run is 15, yikes!

This week I’ve been incorporating a little more cooked food into my diet, but I am craving mostly raw foods right now.  And one thing I’m learning is that I need to listen to my body.

So what does this mean for the curious Gluten-Free Cat?  I’ll keep learning and sharing, but you may find that I’m doing fewer product reviews and temporarily even fewer recipes. Right now I’m learning from the experts.  I’m in love with raw food cookbooks like these:

I don’t have it all figured out.  But I’d like to share everything that I’m learning with you. So I hope you’ll stick with me as the focus of this blog changes a bit.  As always, everything will be gluten-free.  And who knows, maybe you’ll try something new along with me!

Readers, dish!

  • What has your experience been with raw foods?
  • Do you have a favorite raw foods dish?
  • How has changing your diet impacted your life?

A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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