True Life: Kitchen Essentials. Part One.

As a full-time yoga and meditation teacher, I am always on the go, running to and from different parts of the city to get to class and meet students. It’s so important to me that while I do this, I can still maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a healthy lifestyle FUELS me while running around every day! So, how do I do this? Well, I’m glad you asked.

What we put into our bodies is the foundation that keeps us going every day. Food and nutrients energize us in the morning and energize us throughout the day. After years of trial and error, I have found a group of staple items to make quick and easy meals, some of which I can eat on the go and others I can come home after a long day and have ready in 10 minutes.

For someone whose health is very important to her, these are my ride or dies. This post will be broken up into two parts, pantry and fridge, because let’s face it -- there’s too much goodness for just one post.

Having said that, here are my Top 5 PANTRY ITEMS:

*Disclaimer - I am not by any means a nutritionist or doctor. This is just what works for me, and I encourage you to find what works for you.*

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FATS

In my pantry at any given time, you can find more than one jar of almond butter. If I’m feeling frisky, maybe I’ll throw in some cashew butter and/or pecan butter (I’m looking at you, Georgia Grinders). I also always have avocados, oils, butter/ghee and raw cashews.

These GOOD fats (*cue avocado meme, see below*) nourish and satiate your bod to keep you going through the day. They give not just your body energy but your brain (enter: omega-3 fatty acids). Minimal Wellness nutritionist Rebecca Shern, RD said these sources of nutrition also help maintain blood sugar levels and cut cravings. 

PROTEIN POWDER

During the week, I am typically running around and need quick and easy meals to keep me full. Protein powder, specifically designated as a meal replacement, gives me energy and satiety that lasts. I have tried many, many brands but have found love in a hopeless place - with the Garden of Life brand, a raw and plant-based protein with a billion superfoods (the website says 44 - but that’s almost a billion). I use protein powder every day mainly in smoothies or smoothie bowls. Do I need to clarify this isn’t an ad? I just love the stuff, and really feel it gives nutrients my body needs.

GRAINS/LEGUMES

Quinoa, lentils and rice, oh my! I don’t eat many animal products. I try to listen to my body and what it wants, and the past year or so it hasn’t had much of a need for meat. But, I digress, because of this, a lot of my meals come with a heavy helping of grains and/or legumes.

Quinoa is a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids, and has twice the fiber of most other grains. It’s also a great source of iron, which is great for anemic people such as myself. Lentils are great for heart health, digestion and protein. Rice is pretty much just used when I don’t have quinoa or lentils.

SPICES, SEASONINGS

I take my spice game very seriously. Every single meal is spiced/seasoned heavily. I couldn’t even tell you measurements of what I use, because I tend to just dump everything onto food and see how it tastes. This *usually* ends well.

In my usual rotation is turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, nutritional yeast, black pepper and Himalayan pink salt. Sometimes I use these all together, sometimes I pick and choose. These all have a variety of health benefits; they provide a good dose of antioxidants, help with inflammation and more. Nutritional yeast is an amazing source of B-12, which we tend to be deficient in, protein and folic acid. Do your research - for all of the juicy benefits, and the delicious taste combos :).

RAW CHOCOLATE

I have a serious problem, and that problem is an insatiable need for chocolate! I am addicted to Eating Evolved caramel and sea salt coconut butter cups. They satisfy any and every sweet craving I have, and they’re made with real ingredients: coconut, cacao, coconut sugar, cacao butter and himalayan sea salt.

Growing up, my house was always stocked with snacks on snacks. You know that house in the neighborhood all the kids flocked to because of the snack selection? That was us. We had literal cakes for no apparent reason, no celebration (hi mom, I love you, thanks for making every day a celebration). Long story short, I have gone through life unable to shake this sweet tooth I developed. Instead of going crazy depriving myself, I found substitutes, which are arguably better than the real thing, with REAL ingredients. That’s the key, no matter what you’re eating - real, whole ingredients that are nice and easy on your beautiful body.

And for now, this is where I leave you. Leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below, or feel free to connect with me on Instagram or Facebook. Check back next week for Part TWO where we will take a thrilling and riveting look inside my refrigerator! 

Namaste, 

Maggie

5 Companies Crushing The Wellness Game

workplace wellness

Thanks to a growing yoga industry, holistic health obsessions and hundreds of trending articles circulating the internet about living your healthiest life in mind and body, “wellness” is one of the biggest buzzwords of 2016. But meditation advocates and organic farmers aren’t the only ones jumping on the wellness train; companies have begun to mix up their health program offerings to stay up to date on these changes.

So why do companies have a vested interest in workplace wellness? The obvious answer is that they care if their employees are healthy. The other reasons are based on facts proven by successful wellness programs. Companies that have more robust wellness offerings experience lower employee absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs. By offering yoga or group fitness classes, you will not only see an improvement in overall employee health but increased engagement and productivity during work hours.

Obviously some companies have caught on sooner than others. Some organizations are knocking the wellness game out of the park with unique and plentiful offerings to keep employees fit, healthy and productive at work. Check out these five companies who are ahead of the workplace wellness game:

  • Greatist — This wellness publication sure knows how to practice what they preach by treating their employees right. From monthly team sweats to weekly yoga and a fitness stipend, every Greatist employee is sure to keep their body healthy and happy. That way, they know how to write about wellness and set an example for the rest of the world.
  • FitBit — By creating custom programs for tons of other organizations, FitBit has figured out how competitions and gamification can improve employee overall health and ultimately lower company health costs. It’s no surprise that this 9 year old fitness company has fitness and wellness incentives for their employees. Their “Workout Wednesdays” give employees the chance to participate in various workouts throughout the day and you guessed it, they also have step challenges running throughout the year with seriously awesome rewards for winners.
  • Google — No one’s surprised to see this tech giant here. Google is known for being an amazing employer and offering the most sought after employee perks. They surely encompass wellness initiatives such as on-campus fitness classes and gyms, massage stipends and most importantly, free and healthy food options all day every day!
  • General Electric — This age-old corporation might be older than your grandma, but they sure know how to stay up to date with wellness offerings. Besides offering a stellar health coach program and employee and family health counseling, they use social media to create a buzz around their #GetFit competition which has reached over 25 million participants per year.
  • Sprinklr — This NYC-based startup offers a top notch insurance options in addition to gym membership discounts. But why stop there? Sprinklr also offers in-office yoga with a Work From Om teacher on a regular basis. Plus, who wouldn’t want to join a company who calls their employees “Sprinklrites?”

Why Sweatworking Is Replacing Networking

The new age of networking is here and it's covered in a thin layer of sweat.

 

Sick of having to choose between after work networking events and your evening workout? Fret no more fitness-focused professionals, because the age of sweatworking is here and it’s awesome! Meeting new people, forming new connections and keeping your body fit and healthy has never been easier to do all at once. Sweatworking is a term being used to describe networking events that include group workouts, team building exercises and healthy snacks or drinks. Whether your team is sweating through a cardio session or breathing together in a yoga class, sweatworking is beginning to replace traditional networking events.

 

Thanks to the sweatworking trend, gyms and fitness studios are seeing increased bookings. Many gyms, such as Equinox, have even begun to create classes specifically tailored to companies hosting sweatworking events. Some programs include challenges that employees can participate in over time while others are team building exercises built into a fitness class. Work From Om® is bringing mindful sweatworking programs directly to the office by offering on-site yoga and meditation sessions that help companies create more productive employees through breath awareness and mindful movement.

 

So, why sweatworking? What sort of benefits do these programs offer that traditional networking events fall short on? Some companies have begun using Sweatworking as a recruiting tool. When you put potential employees through a rigorous workout or team building exercise, their efforts can often reflect work ethic, willpower and determination. For current employees, sweatworking is a great way to build employees up by putting them through challenging experiences together and getting through it as a group. When you experience this sort of heightened excitement and satisfaction, you’re more likely to form closer and more positive relationships with those you experience it with. And let’s face it, it’s hard to deny the endorphins you get after an intense workout!

 

Most importantly, any healthy or mindful activities in the office are great for overall company health. When you encourage employees to stay active, they tend to lead healthier lifestyles. When you offer a group cardio or yoga class instead of drinking and eating events, employees begin to see positive results in their physical appearance, self confidence and general well being. Ultimately, this can lower healthcare costs for a company and create a more positive work environment with healthy, empowered employees. A happy workplace is filled with employees eager to sweat together at work events rather than nursing a hangover from the networking drink-up.

Not at a company that offers yoga classes or team workouts in the office? Work From Om® has teamed up with The Projective Space on the Lower East Side to bring yoga and networking events to NYC professionals every Tuesday evening. Start with an hour of vinyasa followed by complimentary drinks and networking in the downtown co-working space. Check out the Event Calendar for details on this weekly sweatworking event! 

 

Tiny victories and the power of experiencing achievement - in life, at work and on your yoga mat

Tiny victories and the power of experiencing achievement - in life, at work and on your yoga mat

You’re here! Congratulations! Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re thinking, “Uh, thanks, Sarah, but I haven’t really done anything deserving of self-celebration,” I would beg to differ. You could be watching a cat video. You could be scrutinizing your ex’s new haircut on Facebook. Instead, you’re walking the path of happy, healthy, high-functioning human beings and making the choice to indulge in content that could actually improve your day-to-day life. Well done! I’m not patronizing you here - the power of tiny victories is real and well-documented (though not discussed or promoted nearly enough in a society that puts tremendous value on large leaps and big wins) and applies at both the personal and organization levels.

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Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

This last week has been a blur of airports and cities, cars, buses, metros, etc. Not to be misunderstood, I do sincerely love to travel, but there is no denying that it can be an incredibly grueling, exhausting process on both the physical and mental bodies. The hours spent sitting on planes, trains and in cars alone are enough to cause some damage that even the busiest tourist or traveling business person cannot simply walk off.

You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking, or you may have taken notice of the recent surge in demand for standing desks in progressive offices across the country, but the unfortunate truth is that many of us do not yet have access to these desks, or spend much of our work lives traveling, and cannot avoid the act of sitting entirely.

With this unavoidable health risk facing us as we work and travel, how can we limit the repercussions of a highly sedentary lifestyle? I’ve copied some of the best nuggets of advice that I’ve collected in the following infographic, explained in more detail below it.

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Work From Om - A Word From Our Founders

Work From Om - A Word From Our Founders

It’s official: yoga has reached the tipping point. Long viewed as a light form of exercise for new age hippies, the mainstream has come to embrace the teachings of the 5,000 year-old practice as a powerful tool for self-improvement, overall health and general well-being. Unlike many health and fitness fads that have come and gone over the years, however, it’s not just fitness enthusiasts, celebrities and media personalities that are getting on board the zen train. The corporate world has taken notice of the positive effects that yoga, meditation and a mindful approach to business have proven to have on employees and, in turn, the bottom line.

Study after study has found that these practices reduce stress, improve focus, build camaraderie and contribute to a higher functioning workplace, and our New York City startup is aiming to lead the revolution. Allow us to introduce ourselves: we go by Work From Om, but our goals and intentions are set by myself, Ashley Mancuso, and co-founder Sarah Vaynerman. We’re two certified and passionate yoga teachers here to serve the souls of professionals working in one of America’s most stressed-out cities by providing yoga, meditation and mindfulness training for the workplace.

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