While I’m on my honeymoon in Italy, I have lined up some great guest posts for you. For the next week and a half, I will be posting 1 or 2 “Savvy Spotlights” a day, highlighting some of my readers and blog friends. You may see another fun post or two mixed in there as well.
I’ll start recapping our Italy trip when I return. Have a great week!
Q. Introduce yourself!
Hello Savvy Eaters! My name is Anna and I blog about life (but mostly food) over at Blue Plate Special. Even though Julie and I have never met in person, I have felt like she and I are kindred spirits ever since I first started reading her blog. I love her laid-back and down-to-earth approach to healthy living and I’m thrilled to be writing a guest post for her while she and Dan bike their way through Italy.
Q. Savvy Eats approaches the concept of healthy living from the standpoint of “Smart Food, Smart Fitness, & Smart Life.” What does ‘savvy living’ mean to you?
To me, “savvy living” means raw kale salad and peanut M&Ms. Vegan spelt cookies and grilled tempeh. Quinoa bean salads and a beer. Okay, maybe a few beers. Essentially, it means listening to your mind and body’s desires and trusting in their abilities to balance themselves. Yes, it’s important to educate yourself about sound nutrition and the benefits of an active lifestyle, but I really believe that true health arises from letting yourself internalize and use this information subconsciously rather than obsessing over calories, macronutrients, and hours in the gym. Mental health is equally as important as physical health, and I don’t think that trying too hard to achieve perfection is a balanced way to go through life.
I also believe that there is an ethical component to savvy living. I consider the health of the earth in addition to my own personal health when making food and lifestyle choices. This can take different forms for different people, but for me it entails a pescatarian diet with an emphasis on local and organic food. It also entails my line of study and choice of employment: I am an Environmental Studies major and just spent this past summer working on an organic farm near home. Some might call me a big freaking hippie. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Treading lightly on the earth is important to me and a significant part of how I chose to live my life.
Smart Food Q. What is your go-to meal?
Although I love nothing more than spending hours in the kitchen making huge, delicious messes, I don’t always have the time with my college-student schedule. My go-to meals during the school year are often simple yet delicious, and typically involve handfuls of fresh greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc), some vegetarian protein in the form of egg, beans, tofu, or tempeh, and Franks Red Hot sauce. Copious amounts of hot sauce. Always Franks. When I have more time, I might tackle a pasta dish, a lentil stew, or a roasted vegetable medley.
Smart Fitness Q. There are a lot of ways to stay fit: running, cycling, yoga, Zumba, strength training, and more. Which is your favorite, and what tip would you give a beginner?
I may be a pescatarian, but when it comes to exercise I am an absolute omnivore. I really can’t just choose one favorite exercise. If it makes me sweat and puts a smile on my face, I do it. That being said, my top 3 favorites are yoga, trail running, and biking. I know that yoga has a reputation of seeming inaccessible to beginners, so I’ll cater my first-timer tips towards yoga.
1. Don’t be intimidated! Seriously. You may think you’re not flexible enough, not strong enough, not toned enough, not funky enough, not New-Agey enough to practice yoga but I can promise you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Look around any given yoga class and you’ll likely see people of all different ages, genders, sizes, levels of strength, and political persuasions. Besides, no one is going to be looking at you anyways. They will all be too focused on what’s going on between the 4 edges of their own mats to notice what you’re doing.
2. Believe in it’s abilities to give you a good workout. I know many men and women who like the idea of yoga but don’t ever give it a try because they think it won’t be “worth their exercise time.” Yoga may first and foremost be a workout for the mind, but I won’t deny that it can give you an incredible physical workout as well. If you’re in it for the burn, try a Bikram or power vinyasa yoga class. These fast-paced, heated, aerobic styles of yoga will have your muscles burning in no time (not to mention, you’ll be feeling the after-effects for days…).
3. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. Contrary to popular belief/marketing campaigns, you don’t need $100+ lululemon athletica yoga pants and a $50+ tank top to have a successful yoga practice. Sure, they’re pretty damn comfy, but you don’t NEED them. Just wear whatever you can move, sweat, and breathe in and you’ll be fine. That being said, choose synthetic over cotton clothing if you’re going to be practicing a heated style of yoga like Bikram.
4. Lastly, Remember to breathe! When poses get challenging and things start to heat up, it can be easy to forget to breathe deeply. But the breath is SO important to yoga- indeed, it is the very foundation of the practice. So breathe breathe breathe and you may just find that some of the poses become a bit easier with an added hit of oxygen.
Smart Life Q. Julie and Dan are currently on their dream vacation: cycling through Italy! What is your dream vacation?
I LOVE to travel and have been lucky enough to do a lot of it throughout my 22 years. My passport has seen the likes of countries such as New Zealand, Kenya, Greece, Italy, Estonia, and France, and I’m always thirsting for another stamp. My dream vacation would be to return to East Africa and visit some of the countries I was unable to reach during the 4 months I lived in Nairobi, Kenya. Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda are calling my name!