Here’s how to stay healthy while blocking those rays.
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It’s back-to-school time and, as a student, you live a busy life. I know I do! Somewhere between back-to-back classes, late nights, due dates (and attempting to fit a fitness class in between breaks), the last thing you should have to worry about is what you’re putting in your body. Choosing—and living—a beneficial plant-based diet can be simple and easily achieved.
Here are some of my favorite tips and recipes that can help you embrace a healthy plant-based eating regimen, giving you that much-needed energy boost to sprint across campus.
Mixing up a filling and nourishing smoothie in the morning will keep you focused throughout your school day. I like to use a Nutribullet—you can quickly take the blender cup to class with you.
- ½ cup granola*
- 1 cup hemp milk
- 2 spoonfuls of hemp protein powder
- 3-4 leaves (purple or lacinato) kale
- 1 banana
- ½ green apple
- 2 ice cubes or a handful of frozen berries
*I like to use granola made with oats, dates, and sunflower seeds. I avoid granolas with added oils and sugar.
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, sip and enjoy!
Tip: If you’re not in the smoothie mood, steel-cut oatmeal served in your school’s cafeteria is a great option, too. Pair it with berries or a banana, and you’re good to go.
For lunch and dinner, the salad bar is your best friend. You can make your own salad and top it with some nutritional yeast, black pepper, and olive oil. Try pairing your salad with a plant-based soup or special the cafeteria is serving. And don’t forget to check out the plant-based options your school is serving—like vegan pizza and veggie burgers.
Have a kitchen in your dorm? Roll up your sleeves and make dinner! Living a plant-based diet can be a lot of fun when you’re looking for new recipes to try and improving old ones.
- 2 Siete Almond Flour Tortillas
- 1 spoonful of black bean hummus
- ½ cup of pico de gallo
- 2 handfuls of chopped kale, spinach or romaine lettuce
- ½ avocado
- 1 handful sprouts
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the tortillas on a large non-stick pan for 4 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove the tortillas and spread the hummus on them. Place tortillas on plate and add the rest of the ingredients (in no particular order). Fold and enjoy!
- ½ sweet potato
- 3 handfuls of your favorite kind of leafy green
- ½ of an avocado
- 2 tablespoons of hummus
- Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes and place into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes (or until tender). Remove sweet potatoes and let cool. Thinly slice avocado, and set aside. Place leafy greens, sweet potatoes and hummus in a medium-size bowl, adding the avocado on top. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Feeling hungry throughout the day? Some good mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks include fruit and veggies, such as carrots, celery, cucumber or plant-based yogurt (like coconut or almond yogurt). My must-have snack is a handful of blueberries with ¾ cup of coconut yogurt—it’s full of probiotics. Plus, blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.
After a long day of classes, I am usually in the mood for a sweet treat. My oh-so-satisfying plant-based dessert option is a few pieces of 72%+ cacao dark chocolate. If I’m feeling more adventurous, I’ll break up two dark chocolate almond butter cups and add them to ¾ cup coconut yogurt. Yum!
Eat better, feel better. That’s my mantra. It’s important to stay focused and plan what you want to eat for the week so you don’t get caught off-guard and indulge in something that might not make you feel good. Surround yourself with people who value living a healthy lifestyle. Get inspired about how much your body will appreciate the nourishment you give it!
Even if what you eat is not entirely plant-based, the most important thing you could do is add greens to your meal to make it more nourishing. Think of a plant-based diet as what you can add to your diet more than what you take away from it.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.