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NEWS

Filtering by Tag: nutrition

Aligin with nature this spring

Jennifer Oechsner

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Spring seems to finally be here in Portland. I know some of my friends here and around the country had a tough time with the drawn out cold and wet weather. As I write this the sun is coming up on what is sure to be a gorgeous day. Seeing the sun is even more magical when its been hiding for a little while.

The change of seasons brings an energetic shift. Its easier for me to get up when my alarm goes off (even on those 5am wake-up days), I feel more energized for my workouts and the food I crave is lighter and healthier. I feel myself shifting from the sluggishness of winter and I love it. This leo has missed the warm sun!

I believe that part of being our best selves is aligning with nature. Part of this is eating with the seasons. In Ayurveda (yoga's sister science), there is a strong emphasis on the energetics of food, the impact this has on the constitution and how this impact shifts as the world around us shifts. 

Spring is a time of re-awakening, a time to release the stagnant energy of winter. In the winter months moisture builds up in the body and we need to clear that moisture to help rid the body of toxins and reset our health. In Ayurveda, this means eating food that helps to stimulate your digestive system and avoiding food that cause water retention. Here are a few tips to align your nutrition with the season this spring:

  • Avoid sour and salty foods

  • Use herbs and spices that heat the digestive system like cayenne, garlic, ginger, cumin and black pepper

  • Eat warm and lightly cooked meals. Cooked food is easier to digest than raw

  • Include plenty of high fiber foods such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and (soaked) beans that act as a chimney sweep for your digestive track. 

  • Drink herbal teas that include herbs such as clove, cinnamon, licorice, dandelion, hibiscus and cardamom

  • Avoid heavy and oily foods

Yoga can help connect you to the energy of any season. In spring, I recommend emphasizing twists in your practice to help stimulate the digestive system. Twists compress your mid section and limit blood flow. When you release the twist, it stimulates flow of blood and energy to those areas. A short yoga practice is a great way to start your day. Here's a short sequence you can practice daily to to help bring you into the flow of spring. I recommend holding each static pose for 5-10 breaths per side

Need help with this sequence? Reach out to me at warriorflow@gmail.com and we can arrange at time to walk you through it step by step. Visit my Facebook page for healthy lifestyle tips and recipes.

 

Fall into the rhythm of the season

Jennifer Oechsner

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Fall is a wonderful time of year. The vibrant changing leaves, the crip air, and the abundant harvest define the changing season, one that many of us welcome after the heat of summer. I find fall to be such a nurturing time of year. Just like many of us, I LOVE summer and everything that comes with it. But let's be honest, all the activities and heat can be exhausting. With the change of season I feel called to settle in and take action. Time to clean out the closet and drawers and get rid things I don't need anymore. Time to set new goals and determine a plan of action. Time to cook thick, spicy soups on Sunday afternoons. Time to get out in nature and walk rather than run. 

This cold and windy time of year can also bring with it more sickness. According to Ayurvedic tradition this "vata" or air dominant time can be balanced by our diet and lifestyle choices. 

To find more grounding to balance the vata energy of fall establish a routine. Try to wake at the same time and give yourself ample time to set the tone for your day. Moisturize after your shower, spend 10-15 minutes in mediation as many days as you can. If you are new to the practice start with 5 minutes and work up to more. Get your body moving with more gentle exercise.

As you might guess, hearty and heavier foods are great for fall. Winter squash are abundant, delicious and so versatile. Other optimal foods to include during this season are oats, quinoa, beans, beets, carrots, chilis and garlic. Limit intake of raw foods as they are more difficult to digest, particularly during colder weather. 

Follow these simple tips this season and keep your body healthy, strong and balanced.  Contact me for more suggestions or for healthy fall recipes. 

Fuel your body, fuel your life.

Jennifer Oechsner

My private clients and class members often ask me what they should eat in the morning. People also wonder whether they should eat before a morning workout and if so, what is best?

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is important. This doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming but I do believe that certain components are integral to give your body the fuel it needs to thrive.

All too often the go to for breakfast is simple carbohydrates. Pastries, bagels, fruit juice, pancakes and some cereals all fall into this category. These types of food spike the blood sugar and while this can give you a burst of energy first thing in the morning it is a recipe for an energy crash later. Put very simply, over time this cycle can disrupt your body's natural ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This potentially causes insulin resistance and makes weight loss difficult.   

What's the alternative? I recommend always including protein in your breakfast. I get up and go first thing in the morning so I need something quick. Most days I have a smoothie that includes protein powder. I resisted using protein powders for a long time and thought I didn't need supplements to get the nutrients I need. While that might be true, I found that adding protein powder to my morning smoothie kept me full much longer. Here's one of my favorite go to smoothie recipes:

  • organic frozen Cherries (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tbsp ground flax

  • Arbonne chocolate protein powder

  • large handful baby spinach

  • unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Just like any meal of the the day, keep it balanced. Include some healthy fat and complex carbohydrates like whole grains or vegetables and you are good to go. As to the question of what/if you should eat before morning exercise, I think this is an individual thing. Some days I wake up hungry and know I want to practice yoga or run in first thing. On these days I have a banana or a couple of mandarins and save my main breakfast for after exercise.

The body digests fruit quickly so it will give you energy more quickly without spiking the blood sugar like fruit juice does on an empty stomach. Most of the time I just have some water or a cup of tea before morning exercise and I have plenty of energy. If you are exercising in the morning and feel weak or get light headed, this is a good indicator that you should eat before exercise.

Another great breakfast that is easy to make and grab n' go is the omlette muffin. This recipe is grain free and dairy free. Make a batch and they are ready to go for busy mornings. You could heat them up but I thing they are great cold too. 

  • 8 eggs

  • 8 ounces organic sausage 

  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper

  • 1 cup diced onion

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While oven is preheating, brown sausage. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Beat eggs together in a large bowl. Mix cooked sausage, bell pepper, onion, salt, black pepper, and water into the beaten eggs. Pour egg mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake in the preheated oven until muffins are set in the middle, 18 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy! I'd love to hear your feedback. And feel free to reach out if you have questions about other healthy breakfast options (or any other meal for that matter)

Warrior-Flow Fall Happenings

Jennifer Oechsner

Happy Hour....and "Journey to Ecuador" 

Thursday, November 3rd, 6pm

Hello Friends! Want to grab a drink and talk yoga and tropical adventures? Join Kimi Marin and me at the Bye and Bye to learn all about our NEXT yoga, mediation and volunteering trip...."Journey to Ecuador". We will share our plans for the trip, answer any questions you may have and build excitement for our next once in a lifetime adventure. Join us for on November 3rd and you will receive $50 off the price of the trip. Not in Portland? No problem! Kimi and I can set up a Skype call to and we can have a cyber toast.


Warrior-Flow @ Yoga Union

Saturday, November 3rd, 1-3pm

Join me for this very special Warrior-Flow workshop. No experience necessary, just a willingness to try something new and HAVE FUN.
$25 before October 22nd, $35 at the door
 

Reserve your spot TODAY! 


Healthy Appetizers For Your Holiday Happenings

Sunday, November 6th,  4 - 6:30 pm

Tired of bringing the same nibbles to holiday potlucks?
Join me to learn step by step preparation to make simple, fun, seasonal, and healthy recipes with a creative twist that are sure to be a hit for large parties to more intimate ones.

Lots of samples provided and recipes to take home!

$30 @ Rain Meditation and Yoga, 2735 SE Main Street
*RSVP by 10/30 so I can determine food amounts*
 

 

Make Friends with Fat

Jennifer Oechsner

As a wellness professional, I am passionate about helping people navigate their way to better health.  Naturally, part of this process is developing new patterns of eating. I don't believe that a "one size fits all" approach is the way to go and I work with each individual on a case by case basis. Recommendations vary based on age, gender, activity level, dietary preferences and level of health.  Within these broader parameters there are several constants that hold true across the board. One of these is that dietary fat plays an integral role in health.

Even if you are only mildly paying attention to nutrition buzz words, Im sure you are all familiar with the term "healthy fats". Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut and oils derived from these foods. I recommend you include these items in your diet on a daily basis. Focusing on the whole food (avocados versus avocado oil) is the healthiest way to go. Even though you may be familiar with the term "healthy fat" , do you still find yourself shying away from these items when trying to be healthier? If so, there are numerous reasons to adjust your mindset around dietary fat. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be including sufficient fat in your diet.

  • Nutrient Absorption. Fat is essential for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins A,E, D and K. These essential nutrients are important for all of the body's systems.
  • Skin Health. Without sufficient dietary fat our skin can become dry and irritated. It also helps produce collagen which helps keep skin supple and smooth.
  • Hormone production. Dietary fat plays an integral role in producing all of our hormones. Our hormones are responsible for metabolism, blood sugar control, energy levels, quality of sleep and sexual vitality. 
  • Fat increases satiety.  Meals that include fat better satisfy hunger and help us feel full longer. Fat contains more energy per gram and is broken down more slowly in the digestive system so it stays with us longer. 
  • Fat burns fat: For anyone trying to burn through stored fat, dietary fat is also your friend. To put it simply, the liver is stimulated by dietary fat. This organ is integral to burning stored fat.

When looking for ways to integrate more fat into your diet, it is important to keep in mind that not all fat is created equal. There is a lot of debate around this topic, but I do believe that  saturated fat has its place in a healthy diet. Healthy saturated fat includes butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil and animal fat (including eggs) from hormone free/free range/grass fed animals. Steer clear of deep fried foods. 

There is a sea of nutrition information out there and it can be overwhelming to try to navigate through it. We need to find balance. Finding the right balance for you is key. If you need help finding the right path, let me know. I am passionate about helping people become healthy and vital, to become the best version of themselves they can be. Contact me at warriorflow@gmail.com to set up a free health consultation.

What can YOU resolve to release?

Jennifer Oechsner

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own" - Bruce Lee

It's that time of year again, time for resolutions. The time to begin healthy habits, to let go of unhealthy ones, to start fresh. I know Im not alone in the desire to make this year my best. I know I'm not the only one who wants to be the best version of themselves that they possibly can. The question is, what does this mean? We often make resolutions for things like exercising more, eating less sugar, eating more vegetabes, reading more books, maybe watching less TV. These are all great. But this year I need to go big. This year I have a couple resolutions, but my big one is letting go of fear.

Fear can definitely be tricky to let go of. Fear has the power to create so much unnecessary suffering. Fear takes hold of the mind and has the power to keep us in a seemingly endless cycle of self-pity and sadness. The first step to changing fear based behavior is to stare it right in the face. What is the fear? What story do we allow it to give us? How can we change that story? Buddhist teachings stress the importance of mindfullness practice to become more aware when thoughts or fears arise. This helps us recognize that we are responsible for the thoughts our mind produces. 

When fear based thoughts arise breathe deeply and ground yourself in the present moment. You can do this by observing the world around you. Listen to the rain or the birds. Feel the sun, rain or wind on your skin. Let this ground you in the present moment. Fears are often rooted in past experiences or future expectations. Over time, practicing being in the here and now can be an effective antidote to fear based behavior.

In my life, fear rears its ugly head and limits my growth. I feel effecting different parts of my life and it is difficult to break free. As many of you know, I have been studying martial arts for a number of years. It is the first thing I was ever truly passionate about. When I followed my new passion and became a yoga instructor I had the idea to somehow combine these two practices into one class I could share with the community. When I first started teaching yoga I held a couple of classes at a small gym. To my great disappointment, it didn't work out. Maybe it was the wrong time, maybe it was the wrong place, maybe I didn't give it enough time. Whatever the reason,  I felt like a huge failure. Over the past 5 years I have kept thinking about it, trying to figure out how I can make it better. I kept telling myself I would get around to it when I figured that out. But the real roadblock has been fear. And damn is it a big one. The question is, do I have the courage to let it go? What if I try again and it doesn't work out? Well, I've decided there is only one way to find out. 

I have resolved to step beyond this fear. I am at the point in my career, in my life, that I need to take a leap. All leaps are scary but I certainly can't grow if I keep quietly wishing for things. My wish, my goal, is to create my own Warrior-Flow. My own class that combines my passions of martial arts and yoga. So that's exactly what I have done. And it's going to be GREAT!

Each class will consist of a unique blend of yoga and martial arts, drawing from various disciplines I have studied over the years. AND I'm sharing my knowledge as a nutritionist by giving students a weekly nutrition focus and weekly recipe. And do you know how I know it's exactly the right thing to do? My gut tells me. The butterflies in my stomach just can't be wrong.

Here's the class info. Please email me for more information. Classes are scheduled to begin at the end of January.

NE PDX @ Whole Foods Market NE 15th and Freemont: Sundays 11:30-12:30
SE PDX @ 5514 SE Foster Rd.: Tuesdays 5:45-6:45pm


What can YOU let go of? How can you enrich your life experience and grow to become a better version of YOURself?

I would love to hear from you!

Eating with the Seasons

Jennifer Oechsner

Even before the solstice marks the official start of winter, the change of season is definitely here. The air is brisk, the mornings are dark and the heavy rain is upon us. It's time to nest, snuggle under a blanket and take time to prepare warming, nourishing meals for you and your loved ones. 

Eating with the seasons is optimal to be at your best and keep your body in tune with nature. As the temperature drops, I recommend leaning toward more warming foods. These foods include winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. Check out sustainabletable.org for a list of seasonal foods in Oregon. It's a great resource to help you eat seasonally. Eating seasonally nourishes you and our environment. Here are some great reasons to look to mother nature when making your weekly shopping list.

  • Seasonal foods can be locally sourced. Eating locally sourced fruits and vegetables means they have been harvested more recently and at a ripened state. Produce that is picked when it's ripe is more nutrient dense. When we eat produce shipped from thousands of miles away it has to be harvested long before it is at its peak. 
  • Seasonal foods provide our bodies with what we need at that time of year. For example, in winter we need more vitamin C and A to keep out  immune system strong. Winter squash and carrots are great sources of both of these nutrients. These vitamin C rich foods are also warming for the body. Cooling foods such as melon, berries and peppers are at their peak in the summer months, when we need them most.
  • Eating seasonal produce is good economics. Provide financial support for our local farmers rather than buying produce shipped from southern states and countries. And seasonal produce can save money on your grocery bill too.
  •  Seasonal eating also helps to protect the environment. Locally harvested food travels less to get to you, therefore using less fossil fuels. Produce like tomatoes and strawberries are often shipped from Central and South America to fill the shelves in Oregon during the winter months.  Help to reduce your carbon footprint by choosing seasonal items and freezing your summer fruits to enjoy in the winter.

Staying healthy all year round is about giving your body the nutrients it needs. But do you want to merely stay healthy or do you want to thrive and live with vitality? I believe that to being at our best means putting effort into nourishing our bodies. Filling your plate with seasonal vegetables all year round is the foundation of good health. From this foundation, a strong body and spirit can grow.

Fighting Winter Fatigue

Jennifer Oechsner

This cold and flu season seems to have hit especially hard. I feel like everyone I know has succumb to some sort of illness the winter. Just when I thought I was invincible, I too am nursing myself back to health after a run in with the flu.  It was no small feat for me to stay put at home for 4 days sleeping, sipping tea and watching old movies. But I knew that rest was imperative so I settled in and did my best to embrace the downtime.

When I felt illness coming on my first thought was to wonder where I went wrong with my self care.  I'm pretty sure the answer to that is insufficient rest. Sleep deprivation aside, I do make a concerted effort to eat my greens at every meal, drink plenty of water, and stay active. Yet, I still had to remind myself that it's natural for the body to fall ill now and again. When you are getting sick 2 or more times per year, thats when really you have to take a closer look at how your diet and lifestyle may not be properly nourishing your immune system. 

Whether your body is trying to repel this season's virus or fighting an illness that has taken hold, your immune system is hard at work and needs some extra TLC. Avoiding illness all together is part luck. How fast you can kick it out is up to your immune system. 

As you know, it is the job of the immune system to fight off foreign invaders and keep systems running free from interference. But did you know that 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive system? The food we eat has a direct impact on our ability to fight disease and stay healthy. Here are some of the best ways to nourish your immune system simply using your diet:

  • Munch on fermented veggies. Fermented foods including unpasteurized kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and miso are rich in probiotics that help nourish your digestive system.
  • Avoid sugar. Excess sugar encourages growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut and disrupts its natural balance.
  • Eat beta-carotene. Carotenes are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy greens. Foods in this category help activate the thymus gland, an important source of immune protection.
  • Pile on the cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts & kale) help boost the liver's ability to flush out toxins.
  • Serve up some Japanese mushrooms. Enoki, maitake and shitake mushrooms are great sources of antioxidants and boost white blood cell production which help you fight off infection. Add some to a pot of soup or your favorite stir fry.
  • Add avocado. Avocados are rich in antioxidants, amino acids and healthy fats. All essential to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Spice it up with ginger. Ginger is used in Indian traditional medicine to clear toxins from the lungs and sinuses. Make your own ginger tea by simmering a few slices for 10 minutes. Add lemon, honey and echinacea for a tasty immune boosting treat.
  • Stir in some garlic. Eating garlic helps fight infection and bacteria. Garlic is most potent raw but adding crushed garlic to cooked dishes will also give your immune system a boost.

Keeping all of your body's system running strong means eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting 7-9 hours of sleep and drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (150 lb=75 oz)per day. Including each of these elements in your life on a daily basis will help you stay healthy and strong this cold and flu season. For more ideas on how to eat for immune health contact me.