Food for Thought

Healthy Spaghetti Recipe: Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash

Healthy Tomato Sauce

It’s true – you won’t feel your very best unless you focus on full-body health, which includes both the physical and mental portions. Fitness is an important part of the physical aspect, but did you know good nutrition can help prevent a number of ailments? Studies say eating a healthy, balanced meal can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and more. It can also improve your ability to fight off illness and increase your energy levels.

At Chasing Nirvana Yoga, we LOVE good food, so we’re always looking for healthy meals that taste great! Our studio manager, Kristen Lamarre, is particularly good at cooking up delicious recipes. She is a certified yoga instructor and a vegetarian who mostly cooks vegan. Her blog, Beets and Bare Feet, is a great resource for recipes that taste and feel good! 

Here’s one recipe we absolutely love. If you try it, drop us a comment! We’d love to hear what you think!

Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce Over Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe serves 3-4 depending on the size of your spaghetti squash.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 medium shallots, diced

  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste!), minced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (optional)

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. You can keep the seeds and roast them just like you would with pumpkin seeds!

  2. Rub the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then place cut side up on a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, place the squash in the oven until fork tender, about 30-45 minutes.

  3. While the squash bakes, prepare the sauce. Chop, dice, and mince the tomatoes, shallots, and garlic. In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle about a tablespoon of oil and sauté the shallots until they become translucent. This should take about 3-5 minutes.

  4. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning if you would like. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.

  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Let this come to a simmer on medium heat and then turn the heat down to medium low. Allow to cook until most of the juices from the tomatoes have cooked down. This usually takes around 15-20 minutes.

  6. Clean up any mess left around your kitchen while you wait, because I make huge messes! Or prepare other sides to eat with this. Garlic bread? Salad? Those are my favorites!

  7. At this point your squash should be done. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can safely handle it.

  8. While the squash cools, chop some basil and stir into your sauce. Turn heat to low and cover the skillet.

  9. Using a fork, scrape out the inside of the spaghetti squash, making noodles. Cover the noodles in your fresh sauce. You’re ready to eat!

How to Practice Being Present When Your Stress Levels Seem Impossible to Manage

Being Present

There is a quote that says, “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” This mantra is the perfect reflection of mindfulness, the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the present moment. Mindfulness and being present have many benefits, including stress reduction, positivity, increased focus, and improved memory.

Being present isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. The ability to completely be yourself and to be fully here without distraction is a powerful way to reshape your mind in a more positive direction. If you’ve ever felt stressed at work or about your future, read on! 

Once you become aware of the thoughts, feelings, or moods you are having, or where your attention is, and the content of those thoughts or feelings or moods or where your attention is fixated, you will notice which level of existence, state, condition or mood you are in at any given time. You will begin to also notice how often you are in the past, present or future.
— Knowledgism

Here's a situation we can all relate to. Say you work in an office and you know there is a job opening in the pipeline, one that would be your dream to land. You would have more creative freedom, more managerial responsibilities, and more money in your paycheck, which you may desperately need. You know that you’ll need to put in the work to stand out, and the uncertainty causes you great stress. You may ask yourself, “What if I don’t get the job?” or “If I don’t get the job, how will I manage my current financial situation?” Perhaps you even begin comparing yourself to other candidates, thinking, “Susan has worked hard this year and our manager seems to like her better. How do I stand a chance?”

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” Reflect on this quote again for a moment. If you spend your day worrying about this potential promotion, you may not be spending as much time getting your work done to the best of your ability. You may bring your stress home to your family. You may even take on a palpable negative attitude in the office. However, if you bring yourself back to the present, you can learn to focus on exactly what is in your control at any given moment. You can observe yourself and improve yourself in tangible ways. You can clear your mind, reduce your stress, and adopt a more positive energy to carry you through. Ever heard of the Law of Attraction? This is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life. Always be sure you’re putting out positive vibes, and good things will come!

Here are three ways to stay present:

1. Breathe.

Try the 5x5 Breathing Exercise. Sit with your back straight and your hands in your lap. Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, and breathe out for five seconds. Repeat this flow until you feel more calm, clear-headed, and aware. This will steady your heart rate and give you something else to focus on other than your stressors.

2.  Focus on your surroundings.

Here’s another counting exercise that many people suffering from anxiety disorders use to bring themselves back to the present. If you feel your stress mounting, take a deep breath and look around at your surroundings. Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This works in a similar way to the 5x5 Breathing Exercise but also brings you back in touch with the body’s senses, allowing you to appreciate your being and how it supports you every day. 

3. Let go.

Stay in the present moment by letting go of tomorrow’s worries. There is another saying I like to abide by: “If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes dwelling on it.” Similarly, if your problem isn’t something that can be fixed in five minutes, don’t allow it to cause you prolonged stress. Search for the steps you can take right now and check off those boxes. This will help you feel accomplished and will keep you moving in the right direction in a way you can manage. If your stress is caused by a person, practice forgiveness (this includes forgiving yourself!). And above all, if you’re trying your best, cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself and that energy will flow through to all aspects of your life.

Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga and wellness classes to decrease stress in community spaces and bring individuals back to the present moment. If you’re interested in learning more, or if you would like to speak with one of our experts for a personalized consultation, please visit us online at www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.

Get in Touch With Your Chakras at Work, Right From Your Desk

Chakras.png

Many yoga practitioners pay special attention to the body’s chakras, seven energy centers that serve different parts of the being. These energy centers are pockets of swirling energy that are align vertically down the center of an individual’s body, but sometimes, they can become unbalanced, causing health to suffer.

The seven chakras are:

1.     The Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine. This chakra is in charge of survival. It is often associated with the color red.

2.     The Sacral Chakra, located below the bellybutton. This chakra motivates you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is often associated with the color orange.

3.     The Solar Plexus Chakra, located in the center of the belly button and extending up to the breastbone. This chakra encourages your personal power and relates much to your career. It is often associated with the color yellow.

4.     The Heart Chakra, located at the heart center. This chakra hosts your love, compassion, and kindness. It is often associated with the color green.

5.     The Throat Chakra, located at the throat, helps with communication. It is often associated with the color blue.

6.     The 3rd Eye Chakra, located on the forehead, focuses on your intuition. It is often associated with the color indigo.

7.     The Crown Chakra, located at the top of the head. This chakra is pure light and consciousness. It is often associated with the colors violet and white.

Learn more about the chakras and what you might feel like when they’re healthy or unbalanced at Mindvalley.

Now that you know what the chakras are, it’s time to learn how you can get in touch with them in the office. 

Root

The most important thing you can do to get in touch with your Root Chakra at work is breathe! Take three or four deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed. Get up, stretch, and walk around. If your Root Chakra feels out of balance, take a small break and venture outside. Nature works wonders!

Sacral

Are you still feeling pleasure and pride at your work? If you’re having an off day, try writing down three things that gave you pleasure at work recently. It could be a compliment from a client, a project you were particularly proud of, or simply the way you have your desk set up. Remind yourself to enjoy your work and be proud of what you’ve accomplished!

Solar Plexus

The Solar Plexus Chakra is one that can get especially out of balance at work since it is so driven by motivation and success. If you’re not feeling successful or if you’re in a rut, come up with a to-do list and prioritize. Once you check off a task, give yourself a pat on the back. Even small steps are one step closer to success! 

Heart

Feeling like your Heart Chakra is out of whack? Show your team members a little love! Stop by each of your coworkers desks and let them know why you appreciate working with them. If they seem to be struggling themselves, see what you can do to help. The Heart Chakra thrives when you share your love with others, so see what you can do to be a compassionate team member yourself! 

Throat

The Throat Chakra is another big one that can become unbalanced in the office, particularly if you’re communicating with many different people over email, phone, or in person. As strange as it may sound, try humming if you’re feeling stuck! Humming activates the Throat Chakra and encourages positive movement. If that doesn’t work, try speaking to yourself the following intention: I intend to speak my truth clearly and confidently.

3rd Eye

If you’re feeling like everything is coming at you out of left field without warning, your 3rd Eye Chakra may be unbalanced. This is another chakra that benefits from taking a short walk outside to put your day in perspective. During this walk, turn inward. If you have time, consider meditating for 2-5 minutes. Remember to be kind to yourself – even the most enlightened individuals feel lost sometimes! The best thing to do to get in touch with your 3rd Eye Chakra is to stop, listen to what your body is telling you, and take breaks where needed.

Crown

Many spiritual people find it difficult to connect with their Crown Chakra in a corporate environment. This doesn’t have to be so! You should always make time to connect with yourself on a spiritual level, be it through religion, yoga practice, or even just spending some time in your own head. If you’re feeling out of touch, schedule some time after work to attend a yoga class, shop at your favorite store, eat your guilty pleasure treat, or snuggle up in sweatpants in front of the TV! Then bring that energy into work the following day. You can even suggest your manager bring a yoga instructor on-site to work with your team for an hour. At Chasing Nirvana Yoga, we offer plenty of wellness options for the corporate and property manager landscapes!

If you’re feeling off, remember that it might be your chakras, and it is never, ever your fault as a person. Always be sure to make time to take care of yourself during the work day and beyond. You’ve worked hard … you deserve it!