Sunshine Juice (Recipe)

When I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I spent some time with Roshni and Samir. I went over to their place upon arriving in the city and didn’t leave until almost 11pm! We talked, we watched Wheel of Fortune (their latest guilty pleasure!), we ate delicious lasagna, and we drank what I can only call Roshni’s smoothie concoction.

To be quite honest, when she told me what all was in the smoothie, I was skeptical. I didn’t understand how all of those things together in one drink could possibly be edible…never mind taste good. Well, she proved me wrong! Her random mix of strawberries, blueberries, banana, OJ, ground flax, apple, avocado, spinach, kale, almond butter, and ginger was…refreshing! I even asked her to make it again when I went back to their place later in the week.

With Roshni’s smoothie as my inspiration, I set out to create my own drink. The one criterion I had was that it should get Vishnu’s seal of approval. In order to do that, I knew I had to keep things simple.

When we went grocery shopping this past Monday, I bought some kale, OJ, and fresh ginger knowing that I wanted to include all three in whatever I decided to make.

After a little internal deliberation, I went with this combo –> orange juice, a Granny Smith apple, frozen strawberries, kale, ground flax, and freshly grated ginger (a must in Roshni’s book!). And…It. Was. Delicious. Even Vishnu agreed!

Sunshine Juice 2

I named it Sunshine Juice because it’s more liquidy than a smoothie and just a bit lighter in taste. And the ginger and OJ combo takes the whole thing to another tart, refreshing, slightly spicy level.

Even if there’s no sunshine where you are right now, make this anyway. You’ll feel like you’re sipping on a yummy tropical drink while basking in the rays. I promise!

Sunshine Juice

Sunshine Juice
Serves 2

12 ounces of orange juice
1 tablespoon ground flax
½ of a Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger
3-4 kale large kale leaves
¾ – 1 cup frozen strawberries

Add ingredients to a blender (in this order) and blend until smooth and juice-like.

Note: While any blender should do the job, a high powered blender (such as the Blendtec –> what we own and use) will provide the best results.

Have a great weekend!

Ripped in 30 + Back to the Basics

Ripped in 30

I’ve been intuitively exercising since my half marathon. Basically, this means my fitness routine lacks structure. I do what I want when I want.

This also means that my motivation to workout has been anything but consistent lately. Quite frankly, I just work better with a plan. I also work out better when someone else is telling me what to do.

Enter Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30.

JillianMichaels-Ripped-In-30
Source

As you all know, I’m not the biggest JM fan as evident by my open letter to Jillian. I am, however, a fan of her workouts. I really do love them! When I was in Atlanta last week, I did level 2 of Ripped in 30 and was sore for two days. Like so sore that it hurt to get out of bed.

When I thought about it some more, I realized that this DVD is exactly what I need right now. The prescribed program is only four weeks long. The workouts target all body parts and incorporate strength, cardio, and abs. And really, all you need is thirty minutes, some floor space, and a set of dumbbells. Perfect!

Now for the sake of transparency, I have to mention that I’m going to Puerto Rico in a little less than a month for my friend Sweeti’s bachelorette party and wanting to look decent in my bathing suit may be a big motivator right now. It’s not that I’ve completely let go of my healthy habits or anything like that. But ever since our team meeting earlier this month, I haven’t been making the best choices. I’m hoping my plan + my trip will help kick my butt into high gear!

JM’s Ripped in 30 workout plan suggests doing 5-6 days (in a row) of each level before moving on to the next. I don’t like doing the same exact workout (except running) on consecutive days, so I’m customizing it to fit my style.

Here’s a rough outline of what a given week will look like:

  • Ripped in 30 + 20 minutes of cardio on non-consecutive days. Once I’ve done each level 4-5 times, I’ll move on to the next.
  • Running/walking/elliptical on the in between days for 30-45 minutes
  • One longer run on the weekend
  • One full rest day
  • Lots and lots of stretching

If you’re in the middle of a winter workout rut, I highly recommend this DVD. It’s one of her best ever. Quick and effective!

Back to the Basics

As I mentioned in a past post, Vishnu and I are officially “cleansing” right now because we ate a lot last week. And not all of it was healthy.

Our definition of a cleanse is probably different than most people. We’re basically going back to the basics with most of our meals. This means we’re going to be eating lots and lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. I’ve also recommitted (for real this time!) to the dairy-free way of eating.

We stocked up on lots of fresh produce on Monday night, and I’m going to the farmer’s market on Saturday to buy more of the good stuff. And so far this week we’ve enjoyed salads, stir-fries and a new-to-us green juice (recipe to come!). I feel better already!

Are you a fan of JM workouts?  What’s your favorite?

I Was Selected for the…

…Liebster award!

My friend and fellow blogger Heather asked if I wanted to participate, and since I love completing surveys/answering questions, I said yes.

So let’s get started!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who walk super duper slow and then don’t move out of the way when they see/hear people coming.  Actually, just inconsiderate people in general.

How did you come up with your blog name?
I knew I wanted my blog name to incorporate the Indian culture in some way.  As I was cleaning my kitchen one night, I started brainstorming potential names.  This was actually the same night I decided to start blogging.  Almost immediately the word strength came to mind, and then I thought about what the Indian equivalent for that was…SHAKTI which is strength in Sanskrit!  When I told Vishnu that I named my blog Inner Shakti, he suggested adding My to make it more personal.  Done and done!

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My parents are my biggest inspiration.  Not only have the given me and my sister anything and everything we could ever need/want, but they continue to enrich their own lives with meaningful pursuits and experiences.  Even when it’s hard to do so, they have fun and make the most of every situation. 

Mom and Dad

What’s the riskiest decision you have ever made?
In the spring of 2008, my friend Jigna and I decided that we wanted to be adventurous and spontaneous.  So we decided to go skydiving.  Except we didn’t tell anyone.  When we got to the site, we basically signed our lives away (I almost backed out at this point).  It was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life, but looking back, I now realize how risky it was.  Never again!

Skydiving

What is one thing that they should teach in school that isn’t being taught right now?
Two things – personal finance and nutrition.  These two topics need to be weaved into every school’s curriculum across the country.  I truly believe our country’s future depends on it.

If you could hear anyone from history give a speech who would it be?
Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.  Kind of expected I know, but these two men fought long and hard for equality and their messages weren’t as much political in nature as they were human.  Regardless of what anyone says, these two men put their lives on the line for progress, change, and love.  

Gandhi quote
Source

What is your favorite aspect of your blog?
I honestly love how random my blog is.  Not only does that afford me the opportunity to write about whatever I want, but it makes the process of blogging so much fun.  It never feels like a chore because no topic is off limits!

What is your favorite accent?
The British accent.  LOVE! 

Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?
I would rather be able to fly.  Think of all the savings – gas, airfare, time, etc!  Someone needs to get on this ASAP.

If you had to give one object to every person in the world what would it be?
I would give every person in the world a picture of someone else in the world.  On the back of the picture would be that person’s story – who they are, where they live, what they love, what they struggle with, etc.  A twist on Humans of New York if you will!

Happy Monday!

Answer one or all of these!
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
What’s the riskiest decision you have ever made?
Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?

Atlanta Thoughts

1. You guys, it’s so cold in Atlanta.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Parts of the country are literally covered with snow, and I’m complaining about being cold.  I get that, trust me I do.  I’m so grateful that the only thing we have to battle is low temps.  However, I’m not used to being cold.  Live in Miami for a few years, and you’ll see.  It spoils you!

On that same note, we lost power at my parent’s house on Tuesday.  I woke up shivering and ran into my parents’ room.  My dad was still at home, so I asked what was going on.  When they said the power was gone, I figured it would come back in an hour or two tops.  Nope.  It was gone until 5:00 pm. 

Because we didn’t want to sit around in a cold house, my mom and I decided to run some errands and monitor the situation via our phones.  It was quite the day!

2. I feel like all I’ve been doing since arriving in Atlanta is eating.  I tend to overdo it a little when I come home because I love my mom’s food (and Atlanta food in general) and don’t get to eat it that often.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve been consuming since last Saturday.

Gokul
Dosa at Gokul in Decatur.

Shredded eggs and veggies
My mom’s shredded eggs + veggies dish.  Recipe coming soon!

Egg Harbor Cafe
Farmer’s Market Benedict with a Basil Hollandaise at Egg Harbor Cafe.

Kerela dinner

A traditional Kerala meal at Vishnu’s house.  Chickpea curry, bananas, and a rice/coconut/cumin mixture.  SO good.

Not featured – my mom’s green enchiladas, samosa chaat + dahi puri (Indian street food), my mom’s traditional Gujarati food (Indian flat bread, a bean curry dish, mango pulp, lentil soup, and rice), Vishnu’s mom’s dosas and idli, and a few other things I can’t remember.

After a few days at home, I sent this text to Vishnu. 

I ate too much
NOTE: Vishnu spent one night my parents’ house and then went to his parents’ house to hang out with them.  We always split up our time this way. 

3.  I’m so glad we were able to get together with friends this week.  After a day of group texting, my friend Jetan picked the neighborhood, and my friend Farnaz and I picked the restaurant – Tin LIzzy’s in Perimeter. 

Tin Lizzy's
College friends are the best!  I feel like I’ve grown up with all of these people.  They just get me.  The only con…they’re the ones with all the stories! 

4.  My mom didn’t like the tops I brought with me to wear this week (not warm enough), so she went shopping one afternoon and bought me three new sweaters.  I love my mom!

5.  The original plan was to drive to Knoxville tomorrow evening with Vishnu’s parents and brother to visit his uncle’s family.  But because the weather forecast is predicting freezing rain and super low temps, we nixed the trip and instead decided to spend the weekend in Atlanta.  While I’m sad that we won’t get to see Vishnu’s aunt, uncle and cousins (they are SO cute), I’m excited to spend time at home relaxing and hanging out. 

Have a great weekend!

A Q&A with My Mom: The Power of Never Giving Up

Like many immigrants, my parents came to this country with very little.  Two suitcases and $40 between the two of them. 

When I sit back and really think about this and look at how much they’ve accomplished in 32 years, I’m truly amazed.  Talk about starting at the bottom and working your way up!  But even more than what they’ve accomplished, it’s how they’ve done it.  Simply put, they never gave up.  Settling for the path of least resistance (or no resistance) was never an option.  And it’s still not.  In fact, I would say that this is the best unintentional lesson they’ve passed on to me and my sister. 

A perfect example of this would my mom recently getting a new job (same company, new job).  A little bit of background information – my mom has been trying to move into a different department for the last year.  When she realized that most of the jobs she was interested in required two specific financial licensing exams, she talked to her management and signed up ASAP (this is where I get it from!).  Not only did she sign up for the exams, but she studied hard and passed both of them on the first go.  No easy feat!  Then, after applying to numerous positions, going on a ton of interviews, and never making the cut, she finally made a really good connection with a hiring manager and got a job she’s excited about.

When my mom first heard she got the job, she was obviously overjoyed!  One of the very first things she said to me when we spoke was that she wants to share a message with people – a message about not giving up. 

And that is why instead of sharing my thoughts about my mom’s experience, I’m letting her do the talking while I do the typing! 

Me: Hi momma!  I’m so excited to help you share your story with people like you wanted.  Anything you want to say before we get started?
Momma: Hello to all of Parita’s My Inner Shakti readers!  I’m excited to share my thoughts with all of you.

Me: You’ve been trying to move upwards and onwards for a long time.  What kept you going?
Momma: I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.  Also, I knew it was time to try something new and I knew I could do it!  I was going to get there.

Me: Did you ever felt like giving up?  What kept you from doing so?
Momma: Yes, I did feel like giving up, but I did not let that thought stay in my mind for too long.  I didn’t give up because I was confident that I could do what I wanted to do.  Eventually, I was going to get there.  It just required a little bit of patience from me.  Also my faith helped me a lot.  It reminded me that it’s natural to feel frustrated every now and then, but at the same time it gave me the strength to move forward.

Me: What would you say were your biggest lessons learned over the last year or so?
Momma: The biggest one was to never ever give up on something you believe in.  As long as you don’t do that, you will get there.  Persistency is the key to everything in life.  Also, there’s a lot of power in believing in yourself.  No matter how frustrated you get or how hard life gets, look inwards and push outward. 

Me: If you could go back and do things differently, would you? 
Momma: No, not really.  Except maybe be more patient!  Everything happens for a reason.  It’s hard to think this way when you’re in the middle of a challenge, but that’s a fact.  And I guess I would have done more mental reality checks.  Even though I wanted a different job, I wish I had stopped to be a little more grateful that I already had a good job.  Always appreciate what you have, even while trying for new and different things.

Me: What advice would you give someone facing a difficult situation right now who is wanting to give up?
Momma: Think about how you want to feel after the situation has passed and use that to motivate you.  If you give up, you will not get there.  But if you persist and keep moving forward, you will.  One way or another you will get there.

Me: Any last words?
Momma: I don’t believe in giving up!  Don’t ever do that!

What’s the best unintentional lesson your parents have passed on to you?