Say goodbye to low back pain with these simple exercises

yoga low back pain photo 1Most of us experience low back pain at some point or another. Sometimes the cause is easy to identify — you had a long car ride or lifted some heavy boxes. But other times, back pain seems to come and go daily, perhaps during your yoga class, while you’re riding your bike, or sitting at your desk. Super frustrating.

 

If you’re experiencing low back pain in your daily life, in your yoga class, or during other exercises, here is a 10-minute set of yoga poses you can do to strengthen up those muscles and relieve your pain. With these poses, we’re looking to do three things: release tightness in the muscles of your low back, strengthen your lower back muscles so they’re more resilient, and give your low back muscles support from a strong core.

Warning: the following post contains yoga gifs. They’re pretty hilarious, but so useful so you can see the movements I’m talking about! Thank you for laughing along with me.
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Time to start meditating: How finding your personal style will help the habit stick

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Meditation gets a lot of buzz these days, and for good reason – a consistent meditation practice is associated with reduced anxiety and depression, improved creativity, better focus, and legitimately changes your brain.

 

But if you’re anything like me, you’ve resolved to start a meditation practice many times, and subsequently haven’t follow through with it, either because the actual practice of meditation is unfamiliar, or you begin and can’t seem to take the time every day to practice.

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A Question to Ask Yourself

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Happy Sunday!

 

Hope you are all having a beautiful day, wherever you are! I write about eating and living well each week for my Sunday newsletter. This week’s message is particularly powerful for transforming your daily habits and bringing healthier practices into your life, so I wanted to share it with you all here.

Please read, comment, share, and subscribe here to receive exclusive content like this delivered straight to your inbox each week.

Thanks so much for reading and for being part of the Happy Healthy Human community.

 

-Sam

 

Thank goodness- we’ve made it to February! Now we can drop all the stress and worry about “starting the New Year’s right”, and we can get down to the business of simply living well.
How do you stay well without all the guidelines and rigidity of daily diet, workout, and life goals? You ask yourself one simple question throughout your day:
What does this pizza/work task/workout/insert item here give back to me? 
Here’s why this question is incredibly powerful:
Asking yourself this question helps you appreciate all of the things you do to keep yourself well, while weeding out the extras in your life that just don’t contribute to your health and wellbeing.

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Chewy Double Ginger Molasses Cookies

vegan ginger cookie recipe photo

Ginger is potentially one of my favorite foods. So spicy and versatile. (And so good for you!) Between fresh, powdered, pickled, and candied….I am a serious fanatic.

 

Last year, I discovered an amazing ginger cookie recipe: 101 Cookbook’s Triple Ginger Cookie.  TRIPLE GINGER?! They were salty and spicy. Sweet, but with a bright hit of lemon. Simply divine. They became the cookie of 2014.

 

This year, I saw Dolly and Oatmeal’s Chewy Ginger Molasses cookie and knew I had to try them. They are gluten free –using oats and chickpea flour — and have a vegan option, and just looked darn delicious. But I couldn’t help but think of the few extra touches from the 101 Cookbooks recipe that I loved like lemon zest and fresh ginger. So I did a little experimenting, and low and behold —  these Chewy Double Ginger Molasses Cookies combine the best of both worlds, and are a perfect afternoon snack with coffee, tea, or some coconut milk iced cream.  Dreams can come true.

 

Chewy Double Ginger Molasses Cookies
 
Makes 24 cookies
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup chickpea flour
  • ¾ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphered blackstrap molasses
  • 1 egg (vegan: 1tbsp ground flax seed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped up fresh ginger
  • 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Large grain sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix the flax seed with 3 tbsp water if replacing the egg and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, cream the oil and sugar with an electric mixer or by hand, then beat in the molasses. Add the egg (or flax mixture), vanilla, and almond milk, and beat until combined.
  5. Add fresh ginger and lemon zest, and mix together.
  6. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with electric mixer on medium-low (or by hand) until all flour is combined and no lumps remain (batter will be thick and sticky at this point). Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop balls of dough out onto prepared baking sheet, spacing each cookie 2 inches apart (or freeze here and bake them later!!). Bake for 15 minutes, until they darken a bit and are fragrant.
  8. Place cookies on a rack and let them cool before eating. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

 

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.

 


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How to Make Healthier Choices at Restaurants

healthier choices at restaurants

In a perfect world, I would look at a restaurant menu only to find an option that reads

“Local, pasture-raised delicious with a side of healthy sauce, sure to please anyone with Sam’s exact dietary needs”.

Unfortunately…I haven’t come across that offering yet.

Getting a healthy meal at a restaurant is just plain tough because we don’t know the exact ingredients and amounts that go into the dishes we’re eating, even in the meals that come along with a calorie count! What we do know is that most likely, the food we consume at a restaurant is less healthy or contains more calories than what we would make for ourselves at home. That’s because restaurants are in the business of serving deliciousness, and salt, sugar, and fat are incredibly good at making that happen.

Because restaurant menus aren’t custom-designed for our personal optimal health, how do we make healthier choices at restaurants? It can happen with some preplanning, knowledge, and a few Jedi mind tricks to control your portions. Luckily, I have just the info you need to make a healthier choice below!

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Juices and Smoothies: Health or Hype?

are smoothies healthy photo

Hey guys!

I’ve been hearing about green juices and smoothies constantly, and since I finally have a blender to call my own (yipee!), it’s time to talk about them. The way that some articles tout the benefits of juicing, you’d think it was the fountain of youth, the giver of energy, and saver of puppies. But do the veggie, fruit, and protein packed drinks really stack up?

 

 

 Let’s look into the science and the psychology of juices and smoothies, so you can integrate them with your diet in the most optimal way. And, I’ll share some of my favorite smoothie recipes!

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The surprising ways your surroundings can help you be healthier in 2015

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Making our way into the new year, many of us are creating resolutions full of actions: the things we want do or not do to have a better year than the one before. These very “me” centered resolutions put a lot of pressure on us to automate, plan, and perfect our daily routines.

 

But healthy living is not just about you. A critical aspect of living a healthier life is cultivating conditions around you to make it easier to living healthy.

There is a saying that humans are a product of our environment. So why don’t we bring some focus to cultivating an environment that sets us up for success in our health goals?

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Happy, Healthy, and most definitely Human

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In last weeks’ newsletter, I talked about the inevitable mistakes and slip ups we make while living a healthy lifestyle. You’d think it’d be easy to make those decisions that support our health – just think about the sheer number of health articles, books and tips you’re read this year…. Even with incredible amounts of information at our fingertips, none of us manage to act as healthy as can be 100% of the time.  Yet, many of us have the expectation that we have to be striving for 100% health.

 

Even though the holiday season gets a lot of blame from health professionals…

living healthfully is a conscious decision 365 days per year.

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Do I have to eat tofu to be healthy?

healthy soy photo
Photo by Alexandra C. Bertin

When the topic of vegetarianism comes up, the most common complaint I hear is “does that mean I’ll have to eat tofu all day long?” Unfortunately, the idea that vegetarians and vegans live a 90% soy-filled lifestyle is a pretty outdated view of plant-based eating. But even if you do have a meat-friendly diet, should you incorporate soy into your diet for health reasons?

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