{Interview with yoga superstar Alexandria Crow} Client: WorldLifestyle

ImageImageWorldLifestyle: You’ve been on the cover of Yoga Journal, modeled for Hard Tail, and shot a ONE Coconut Water ad campaign with Olympic athletes… but to you, what are your biggest accomplishments, both professionally and personally?

Alexandria Crow: My biggest professional accomplishment is being able to hold a job that I thoroughly love doing and that affects positive change in the students I have the privilege of teaching.

Personally, my biggest accomplishment has been and will always be more willingness to constantly admit that I don’t know everything, that I am a work in progress and always will be, and that I get up every day and work toward being a better person. I am proud that I accept change and growth.

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WL: How did you fall in love with yoga?

AC: I fell in love with the physical practice of yoga because it was exercise and felt reminiscent of gymnastics (I was a gymnast until I was 20) and I dislike the gym so much. Yoga was a pleasant surprise. I fell in love with the philosophy of yoga because I have always been on a quest to find contentment in my mind and life, and when I learned that yoga was about effort toward steadiness in one’s mind and life, I was hooked.

WL: What is your absolute favorite yoga pose, and why?

AC: To be honest, these days, sukkasana during seated meditation. I love teaching all of the arm balances, inversions, etc., and teaching them in a detailed way. But for me, seated meditation has become where I do the most profound work.

WL: OK, you’re stuck on a desert island for eternity — what 3 things do you bring with you?

AC: I’d take my best friend, Jessica; we could have fun in a cardboard box, so I’d be assured the island wouldn’t be lonely or boring. Alkaline water, because I love it and I usually hate water. Lastly, my music collection; I can’t live without music.

WL: You have really lovely hair… what are your favorite products for getting those California-beachy waves?

AC: Thank you! The waves are either from air-drying or from a curling iron, depending on my amount of time. I love Moroccan Oil’s shampoo and conditioner, as well as its oil. My favorite product is Oribe — [it’s] as if hairspray and dry shampoo had a baby. It’s fabulous.

WL: Your go-to easy, healthy recipe?

AC: I have a bunch of food allergies that I have recently developed, so I have to be really careful. I live on spinach, avocado, and eggs. I make this recipe every morning:

Poach 1 egg. Sauté 3 large handfuls of baby spinach in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a handful of chili flakes until wilted. Layer the spinach, 1/4 of an avocado, and a ton of Cholula under the poached egg. Enjoy!

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WL: If someone came to you and said, “I want to start practicing yoga, but I’m intimidated,” what would you say?

AC: Don’t be. As long as you understand that there’s no such thing as “good at yoga” in terms of accomplishing fancy poses, or being flexible. Yoga is about learning how to work hard wisely, [how] to be at ease in the face of discomfort, [how] to concentrate on what’s happening in the moment, and [how] to make wise choices based on the information you get back. That’s all. It’s really simple — not easy, but simple.

Find a teacher who works for you, [and] be willing to take a bunch because we all teach differently and have different personalities. Lastly, try a beginner’s class first — ALWAYS.

WL: Favorite workout other than yoga?

AC: Walking, that’s it. I’m not a workout type at all, but I do love power walking up the beach more than anything. I LOVE downhill skiing, too, but that’s not really a workout; that’s just plain joy.

WL: A quote that completely inspires you?

AC: I have so many, that’s hard to say! My Buddhist meditation teacher says something along the lines of, “Learn to be at ease in the world of impermanence and discomfort.” The understanding of that really changed my life. I love knowing that life is bumpy forever. So now I think of life as if I’m mogul skiing and I just soften my knees and ride over the highs and lows with contentment.

WL: On a lazy Sunday afternoon, we might find you…

AC: Well, I work Sunday afternoons, so they’re never lazy — you can find me at Main Street YogaWorks or leading teacher trainings! Lazy Saturday is a different story. You’ll probably find me sitting on a restaurant patio enjoying some food, drinks, and friends.

{8 Foods That Give You an Afternoon Energy Boost That AREN’T a Cup of Coffee} Client: Women’s Health

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You know the feeling. Your shoulders sag forward, your eyelids are heavier than paperweights, you’ve read and reread the same sentence seven times in a row…it’s the dreaded 3 p.m. slump, and your options for a quick pick-me-up feel few and far between. Impromptu headstand? You’re frightening your officemates. Car nap? Try not to get fired. Instead, you slug another cup of caffeine, only to find yourself tossing and turning at midnight, the cycle beginning again the following day. (Find out 5 other things that make you tired, here.)

Put down the coffee pot. There are other great options for an instant energy upgrade, says Keri Gans, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet—they just take a bit of know-how and planning ahead.

The key to beating the dreaded afternoon slump, Gans says, is being prepared with healthy snacks on-hand, specifically, foods with carbs for quick energy, and that are high in fiber, protein, and/or healthy fats to provide longer-lasting energy, without the jolt of caffeine.

“A lot of times, when we’re crashing in the middle of the day, we’re simply hungry,” says Gans. “What you need is carbs, that’s the bottom line. Then, protein and fat keep you satiated longer, so it’s a win-win.”

Clear out some space in your desk drawer or office fridge for these 8 snacks that pack a true energy punch:

A fresh piece of fruit + a serving of almonds. “It’s perfect: healthy, with quick energy, and so portable,” says Gans. And, you’ll be pleased to hear that Gans chuckles at the notion that we should steer clear of certain kinds of fruit. “The carbs and sugar in fruit is natural,” she says. Oranges, bananas, grapes—they’re all delicious and fair game.

Roasted edamame. Peeking in her own cabinets, Gans spots this favorite energy-boosting food—”it’s very high in fiber and very high in protein.” To make this nutty, chewy snack, simply thaw frozen shelled edamame beans, toss with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, and roast on a baking sheet at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the beans begin to dark and crisp up. Gans recommends a ¼ cup serving.

Baked black bean or lentil chips + The Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges. “It sounds weird, but cheese and chips is a great combo for energy,” says Gans. “Just smear it on!” The baked chips are packed with protein and fiber, and The Laughing Cow Light spreadable wedges boast 7 flavors and 35 calories each. Try the Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle flavor. “Spicy can wake you up!” says Gans. For more foods packed with fiber, check out this list of 15 healthy high-fiber foods that make you feel full and satisfied.

Low-fat chocolate milk. “You could be dragging because you’re dehydrated,” says Gans. “Sometimes, something cold and refreshing is all you need.” Gans buys Organic Valley’s individual drinks; “I love them as a pick-me-up.” For more help in the hydration department, definitely check out these 10 ways to drink more water.

Greek yogurt + fresh berries. Go for the low-fat, not non-fat, version of this go-to snack, Gans offers. “You want that little bit of fat for energy with staying power.”

Grapefruit wedges + cottage cheese. Again, opt for the healthy fats from low-fat (2% milkfat) cottage cheese (Gans likes the 90-calorie Breakstone version). Pair a hearty scoop with grapefruit wedges for an instant pick-me-up, courtesy of the protein in the cottage cheese, grapefruit’s natural carbs, and the aroma of citrus that instantly awakens your senses.

KIND bars. “They’re low in sugar, high in fiber, and easy to take along with you,” says Gans. “I love the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, and a new one, the Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond.” You had us at dark chocolate!

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. You can’t go wrong with a sweet treat that also fights the urge to doze off under your desk. Gans digs the Mint Chocolate Chip Yasso bars—the minty taste wakes up your senses, and you’ll get an energy boost from 13g of sugar (a lot of it coming naturally from the lactose, she says), and staying power from 6g of protein, but all with only 100 calories. Prefer Peanut Butter Cup or 80-calorie Mango? Lucky for you, there are currently 11 flavor choices.

Read the story online @ womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/good-energy-foods

{“Let’s Talk About Love — Body Love”} Client: WorldLifestyle

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Love is in the air this time of year — carefully chosen gifts, fancy dinner reservations, and single-girls’ celebrations out on the town. We put so much kindness and effort into our relationships with other people, but what about how we love ourselves?

For most of us, our internal self-talk is just horrific, on a daily basis. We put ourselves down — “Ugh, I look so fat in these pants,” “I’m such a lazy bum for skipping my workout,” “Why did I eat that cookie? I’m disgusting …” — in words we wouldn’t use to address our most hated enemies.

In fact, stats show that only 2 percent (TWO percent!) of women say they would call themselves beautiful. That doesn’t seem to add up, considering the millions of selfies posted on Instagram daily — which gave me an idea for an experiment in loving myself better.

Where does this hatefulness come from, I wondered? Are self-proclaimed “fat days” or bad hair days founded in reality? Do we feel ugly because we actually look awful — or might we be projecting something else onto the experience?

Here’s what I did: For a week, I decided I would take a photo of myself at least once a day as I left for work or went to meet friends. At the same time, I’d write down how I was feeling about my weight, mood, and appearance at that moment.

Here’s a sampling of what my week looked like:

Monday:

body acceptance
Feeling very frumpy and lumpy. Woke up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight. Ate a breakfast burrito at the airport.

Tuesday:

raising self esteem
Having a fat day (flat shoes are not my friend). My face looks puffy — from the sushi I ate for dinner? Too tired to work out today.

Wednesday:

learning self-acceptance
Walked by the beach this morning. Feeling good and having a good hair day! Plus, this skirt and heels combo makes me feel cute! Breakfast at the hotel — Greek yogurt and berries — was awesome.

Thursday:

gaining confidence
Went for a run this morning. Am feeling pretty lazy that I haven’t cut my hair since moving in September. Yikes. Looking forward to dinner with a friend tonight!

Friday:

cute outfits
I like the color of this shirtdress, but don’t feel the style is the most flattering. Frumpy, again?

At the end of this experiment, I reexamined my photos and my notes, and made a very interesting, very illuminating discovery. My physical weight and appearance did not change day to day. The photo snapshots didn’t lie — I did not actually gain 5 pounds on Tuesday, but perhaps I was projecting the fact that I ate sushi and a red velvet bundt cake on Monday night (it was a Valentine’s Day present!)? While a sodium-packed dinner could contribute to a feeling of bloat, my face didn’t actually appear different.

And is it any surprise someone would feel “frumpy and lumpy” when she woke up at the crack of dawn, flew all morning, and ate a burrito? Odds are, if I’d had a healthier breakfast on Monday, I would have felt better throughout the long workday ahead of me. And, while it wouldn’t have changed my physical weight in the slightest, it could’ve helped my self-love if I hadn’t skipped the gym the next day.

When I thought about it later, my frumpiness on Friday truly had nothing to do with the dress or my weight, and everything to do with the fact that my hair was in serious need of a cut and color. But again, did it help to call myself lazy? It didn’t. It made me feel worse all day about something I couldn’t control right at that moment. Better to take action — throw it in a bun and make a hair appointment right then — than to put myself down, right?

Wednesday was the day I felt the brightest and best about myself — a good hair day, despite it all!

By examining my notes, it’s easy to understand that a little sunshine, a little exercise, and a healthy breakfast set me up for a day that I felt I looked great (a cute skirt didn’t hurt either).

And that was the biggest takeaway for me — the old adage, work to change what you can, and accept what you can’t change, with kindness. Here’s how:

♦  Wear what makes you feel good about yourself, regardless of trend, or your shape or size.

♦  Listen — flats make everyone, even runway models, feel a little stumpy. But you did not gain 10 pounds just because you traded your heels in for a bit of comfort.

♦  Eat what makes you feel good. Don’t eat what makes you feel bad.

♦  However, if you indulge in something that’s not the healthiest, let yourself off the hook. No one became overweight from a single meal or dessert.

♦  If you’re going out for a salty meal — such as sushi or Mexican — drink lots of extra water. Eating clean, green vegetables and fruits the next day can help flush your system.

♦  Exercise makes you feel good about your day. Bottom line. Any amount of exercise, from a short walk to a full-blown bootcamp, is worthwhile. Nothing is insignificant.

♦  A bit of vitamin D goes a long way. Drink your morning smoothie outside in the sunshine. Get out of your cubicle for a 10-minute nature break.

  Travel already dries out skin and saps energy — pack healthy snacks so you don’t squash your confidence further with icky airport food.

♦  Be kind to yourself, in spite of your failures, in spite of any shortcomings.

Here’s the truth — if a friend belittled you the way you do yourself, you would walk away from the toxic relationship and never look back. But as writer John Steinbeck said, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” Time to work as hard on loving myself better as I do on perfecting the details.

{Big News!} Meet WorldLifestyle’s Director of Content Marketing

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Big news — I’ve been promoted from WorldLifestyle‘s Social Media Manager to their very first Director of Content Marketing! I’m now in charge of growing traffic, finding new audiences, managing social, and basically, spreading the health + wellness love!

Come check us out — find something you love!

{Sexy Abs Diet} Client: WS Publishing Group

Check out this excerpt from Sexy Abs Diet, my latest health and fitness title. Sexy Abs combines the top weight-loss secrets in the industry; 60 belly-flattening meals to mix and match, created by a top nutritionist; a calorie-blasting workout program targeting the core; and a nutrition and fitness journal to help the reader stay accountable and on track.

Check out this chapter on maintaining your success!
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{Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks} Client: WS Publishing Group

One of the most useful parts of the book I wrote, Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks, is the healthy eating grocery list. It’s laminated to be reusable and contains everything from beverages and spices to meat and dairy products that are healthy, low-calorie or low-fat, and must-haves in your kitchen. It takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping!

This is an amazing book for weight-loss and fitness help, and I’m not just saying that because I worked on it! Go check it out!

WS Publishing Group authors featured on WebMD: “What’s Zapping Your Energy?”

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What’s Zapping Your Energy?

11 surprising things may be draining your energy without you even knowing it.

8. Not Enough Food

Cutting back on calories helps you lose weight, but not eating enough can leave you feeling drained, say Alex Lluch and Sarah Jang, authors of Simple Principles to Eat Smart & Lose Weight.

If you maintain a diet that severely restricts calories for long periods of time, your body will have the tendency to go into “starvation mode,” they say. Your metabolism will slow down and your energy level will be low. During times of severe calorie restriction the body tends to store calories as fat and burn muscle as a way to conserve energy. Figure out your recommended caloric intake based on your age, weight, level of activity, and the rate at which you want to lose weight.

Waiting too long between meals can also sap your energy, they add. Increase your metabolism by eating enough calories at regular intervals during the day. Try to have something small to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid large gaps of time without food where your hunger completely takes over. If you skip meals, your body starts conserving energy because it lacks nutrients.

9. Stress

Conflict and stress can quickly deplete your energy resources, say Lluch and Helen Eckmann, EdD, authors of Simple Principles to Feel Better & Live Longer. To deal with stress, they advise, communicate, compromise, and problem-solve. Cope with anxiety and stress by meditating, taking a walk, or breathing deeply and slowly. Keep a journal or diary by your bedside and write down the top issues that are stressing you out that day, says Rose Forbes, co-author of 101 Great Waysto Improve Your Health. “By putting your thoughts on paper, you’re giving your brain the approval to let them go for the night.”

{Read the full article at WebMD}