Good morning friends!

How are you today? I’ll start off by saying thank you SO much for all of your comments on yesterday’s post on portion control. To be honest, I was a little worried that there might be some controversy about my point of view, but you guys had some great points to add and I loved reading every one of them. If you missed the post, click here to go back and check it out!

Now, over to the new things  I tried this Tuesday….

1. Recipe of the Week: I know smoothies aren’t the most seasonal breakfast right now, but there’s just this addictive quality about them that I can’t let go of in the mornings. My staple ingredients include heavy handfuls of mixed greens, protein powder, and frozen fruit, but on the weekend I decided to mix things up and throw in some spices. Chai spices to be precise.

Traditional chai spice blends consist of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, coriander, black pepper, and salt. The thought of putting salt and pepper in my smoothie just wasn’t appealing to me at 8am, so I did without those and came up with a modified blend. Blended together with a frozen nanner and a few other ingredients, it made an absolutely delicious Banana Chai Smoothie.

To see what I’m talking about, bust out your ingredients,  your blender, and a tall glass tomorrow morning and whip this baby up. Oh and maybe a blanket or a sweater too, because baby it’s cooooollllld outside. 😉

2. A new tea – Cinnamon Heart. If you’re not a tea lover, you might be a little tired of all my blabbering on about trips to David’s Tea. However, this one is awesome so I just HAVE to tell you about it! Cinnamon Heart is a pu’erh tea, and if you haven’t a clue what pu’erh means, don’t worry – I didn’t either until I started to become educated by the lovely ladies at David’s!

In a nutshell, pu’erh tea is….

  • Named after the city Pu’erh in South Western China
  • Believed to help control weight and aid digestion for over 17 000 years
  • Similar to wine and balsamic vinegar because the older it is, the better
  • Produced by extracting from the Camellia Sinensis plant, ‘cooking’ the leaves, and aging them in burlap bags in cellars for many years. (This is different from other teas, which are consumed after extraction from the plant.)
  • a big secret! Even today, the exact methods used for producing pu’erh teas are kept quiet by the families that own tea plantations.

Back to Cinnamon Heart, its ingredients include Sri Lankan cinnamon, spices, oranges, pu’erh and Chinese black tea.

As soon as I opened the packet, I was reminded of the same cinnamon heart candies that I love to enjoy one or two or fifty small handfuls of when they appear around Valentines Day. I put some leaves into my steeper yesterday morning and let them do their thing in hot water while I prepared the rest of my breakfast. After steeping for about 5 minutes, I took my first highly anticipated sip. The smell wafted around in front of my face in the steam from the water, and the taste, although nowhere near as sweet as anticipated, was light and spicy (as in cinnamon spicy, not cayenne spicy). For cinnamon-a-holics like myself, this is exactly what I like to wake up to in the morning! I think Forever Nuts will always be my favourite, but Cinnamon Heart is near the top of the list too!

3. Yoga for Athletes. This is a new class that I decided to try this week after hearing a great review of it from one of my long-time most loyal readers, Shirley. It was actually on Monday night and therefore not a true Try Something New Tuesday event, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. My relationship with yoga blooms and fades from time to time, but when Shirley suggested this class and I read the description, it sounded like just what I was looking for.

Why should athletes do yoga? Yoga can prevent injuries. Athletes, whether they are amateur or a professional, can also experience better performance by including yoga practice in their training. By practicing yoga, an athlete can build flexibility along with strength and power.

(Source)

I’m all for better performance, especially since one of my 2012 goals is to do another half marathon in the early fall. Lucky for me, I haven’t had any serious injuries to deal with in my running ‘career’ and I’d like to keep it that way!

The class was one hour long and focused mainly on hips, which was ideal for me because this is always a tight spot due to my running and cycling. Normally I feel like I’m the most inflexible person in the room because I’m often the only person using blocks, but this time, SO many other people were as well. If they were also runners and cyclists, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised! Next week is about hamstrings and quads, and I’m looking forward to that one too. There’s definitely a load of room for improvement for me as far as yoga goes, so I can see myself being a frequent participant in this class. And who knows.. if I stick with it long enough, maybe one day I’ll be able to do this:

(Source)

I didn’t say that day was going to be in the near future. 😉

So tell me…

  • Are you a smoothie addict through the winter like me?
  • Any new things for you yesterday?
  • If you run or cycle, do you find that you suffer from much hip flexor/hamstring stiffness?

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂