Chips & Yoga

Because I always need yoga...and I sometimes need chips.

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11/09/2017

Why Vegetarian?

Why, I'm so glad you asked!


If you are, or ever have been, a vegetarian, the #1 question you will undoubtedly get asked is "Why did you become a vegetarian?" (The second most common question being, "HOW DO YOU GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?!?!?!?!?!?!") The most surprising thing I discovered about people asking me why I became a vegetarian is that it's a deeply personal question. If someone I'm close with asks me, it's easier to answer. If someone I don't know well asks me, I immediately go into panic mode, my heart starts racing, my palms start sweating, my voice raises an octave higher, and I enthusiastically and loudly start talking about just HOW DARN GOOD IT MAKES ME FEEL! (Not a lie, but certainly not the main truth).

Why do I go on the defensive? Well, while it has certainly lessened over time, there is a sort of stigma that comes with being a vegetarian. You know, one of those vegetarians. And on the flip side, who am I to assume that the person asking me will assume things about me when I tell them the reason I don't eat meat is because I don't want to harm animals? And if I'm assuming that they are assuming, what do I really think their assumptions are (welcome to my brain, would you like to try it on for a while?)? I think my fear is that they will assume that I am in turn judging those who eat meat, which honestly truly couldn't be further from the truth. I ate meat for roughly 28 years of my life for God's sakes, who in the heck am I to judge?! So without further adieu, here are the ins and outs of my plant-based diet - my FAQs if you will - laid out unabashedly for all the world (or maybe just my mom?) to see!


Why did you become a vegetarian?
I've had several vegetarian moments throughout my life, for different reasons. When I was about 6 I became a vegetarian for a week because I had a weird meat experience that freaked me out. After my grandma served some of her awesome ham for Easter, I got over it pretty quickly. When I was in 5th grade, I became a vegetarian for a week again, because Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a vegetarian, and I felt like it connected us on a whole new level. But my heart wasn't in it since he never returned any of my letters (still not bitter), so that fizzled. When I was in college in Miami, I became a vegetarian for about six months as a way to be healthier (read: skinnier. Let's just call it what it was). I lost some college weight, and my skin became glowy and flawless. I went home for the summer, attended a crawfish boil, and lost all control (Texans, you feel me on this). When I was 23 I had another 6 month stint with vegetarianism as a means to be healthier skinnier. I learned quickly though that while chips are vegetarian, eating them for multiple meals per day isn't necessarily the healthiest (though y'all know my love for chips, SO). In the spring of 2014, I started regularly practicing yoga. I was eating more plant based-foods because I simply craved them more, and I was reading up on yoga and its surrounding principles. I learned more about the practice of ahimsa (nonviolence) and started to take a hard look at what I was putting into my body. And I know this may sound a tad insane, but my dog Newton has SUCH a personality (read: pain in the ass) that my relationship with him started to really make me evaluate animals and their feelings.

At first I decided to go pescatarian and ease into vegetarianism. After about a week, I decided I would just go for broke and become a full vegetarian (I'm allergic to shellfish anyway, so it wasn't too rough of a transition). The difference this time was that I was doing it for moral reasons (and not to lose 5 pounds or make a teen heartthrob fall in love with me). Through eating an intuitive plant-based diet,  I did naturally end up feeling incredible, naturally shed (and kept off) some extra weight, and learned more about the other benefits of vegetarianism. Like, apparently it's really good for the environment! Because cows fart a lot, and the gas from their farts is worse than the emissions of like 2,000,000 cars (I totally made that number up, but I know it's something epic). So raising cows for hamburgers creates more farts and more farts creates more bad air. And listen, when people ask me if I became I vegetarian for environmental reasons, I emphatically say no, and I mean, I recycle and all, but I certainly could afford to be more environmentally-conscious for sure. It's just a really really awesome added bonus.


But seriously, how do you get enough protein?
Tofu! Broccoli! Quinoa! Spinach! Beans! Nuts! Seitan! Protein Powder! Tempeh! I could go on!

Do you eat fish?
No, vegetarians don't eat fish, pescatarians do. But good question, there are so many different diets and food preferences out there, it can get very confusing!

Can you eat fish? (different question)
I can! I just choose not to. :)

Do you ever crave meat?
Rarely. Like, maybe once a year I'll crave chicken or something? But I am a firm believer that if you crave something, it means your body is needing more of something. For example, if I have a really intense workout and I haven't had enough sugar that day, I start craving apple juice. I'm not particularly fond of apple juice, and I don't really drink it ever, but I'll start to really REALLY crave it. And then I'm like, huh. This is indicative of something. SO. When I do have a rare meat craving, I associate it with my body needing more of something. Okay, yes, PROBABLY PROTEIN, but again, I get so much protein as it is, I really don't have meat cravings much!

Do you ever sneak a bite of meat?
Nope. Unless I get served it accidentally and don't realize it. And believe me, I instantly can detect if there's meat or chicken broth, etc. in something. Vegetarianism gives you super spide-y senses.


Are you vegan or vegetarian?
I am vegan at home, and vegetarian when I eat out. This is what I have found that works best for me. I tried to be full vegan about a year and a half ago. After a month, I realized it was too stressful for me when eating out. Eating out with friends and family is something I truly cherish. I found I was compromising my experiences because I would spend the whole evening fretting over whether or not there was butter in my pasta, and oh, did you remember to leave off the cheese?! And speaking of cheese, I also adore it, so I like to enjoy it every now and then. Though at home, I generally stick to the cheese alternatives, which can really be delightful!

Is your husband a vegetarian?
Oh, heck no! And we make it work! My food choices are just that - MY food choices. I respect other people's food choices, just as I hope they respect mine. And I even cook meat for my husband from time to time (though tbh it's probably not very good since I don't taste as I go. But he's former military and will basically eat anything, even my under/over-cooked chicken *shrug*). "But Kim, isn't that contradictory that you'll cook meat but won't eat it?" Maybe. But I love food, I love cooking, and I love cooking meals for my husband and me. If he wants chicken, so be it. He also will partake in my veg meals pretty regularly, and that's a lot of fun as well! I realize I don't fit a particular vegetarian mold, but my main theme here is, you do you, baby!

If you have kids, will you raise them as vegetarians?
Probably not. I of course would want to raise my future spawns as healthfully as possible, with a diet full of veggies (though word on the street is, kids hate those), but I don't want to limit what they can eat (and I'm not talking, "Sure, have all the cake you want!" - I'm talking about eliminating entire food groups). I've dealt with having a bad relationship with food in the past, and I wouldn't want to impose restrictions at a young age. When my unborn future children are old enough to mindfully make that choice for themselves, by all means! But again, for those who raise their children as vegetarians, I say go you! No judgments here, especially on child-rearing, as I literally know nothing about it yet, except that babies are squishy and cute and make noises.


Is it hard being a vegan/vegetarian?
Nope! Especially now that I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years. I also think that because I love to cook, and cook creative plant-based recipes, that makes it really easy. I think if I didn't enjoy cooking, it would be more difficult. Also, living in a big city like Houston makes eating out as a vegetarian a breeze!

Do you think you'll ever eat meat again one day?
Anything is possible. I know though that right now I feel healthiest in my body and soul eating a plant based diet. I feel energized, light, and compassionate. It's become a very large part of who I am, and I know that at least for right now, it's really working for me. And if yoga teaches us anything, it's that the present is what matters. :)

So there it is, my vegetarianism in a nutshell! At the end of the day, I believe we should all do what is best for ourselves. Whether it's vegetarian, pescatarian, eating plant-based until dinner, eating locally sourced produce and meats, you name it - You do what's best for you to support your most amazing life. If my vegetarian diet was leaving me feeling awful, it probably would not have been sustainable. But since it left me feeling the best I've ever felt, I embrace it fully!

xo and namaste! - Kim
10/26/2017

The Traveling Yogi: Charleston Power Yoga

Goooooood Morning, Yogis!


Whew, what a week it has been! Between traveling to Charleston, South Carolina for work, to finding out I'll be teaching a class at Black Swan Yoga Houston (Kirby location, 3:00 pm on Saturdays, starting THIS WEEK!!), to fighting a cold, to the Astros going to the World Series, I'm on high emotion-overload here. But these are all good things - Even the cold, which has forced me to slow down and take care of myself in the midst of everything (at least that's what I keep repeating over and over to myself, namaste).

I had a lot going on in Charleston (which, if you've never been to the charming city, GO), and I was able to sneak away one morning for a yoga class at Charleston Power Yoga.


And like everything else in the city, the yoga studio was incredibly charming. Housed in what appears to be a historic building, the space is intimate, cozy, and inviting. That morning, I took a Power 60 class, taught by Beth, one of the studio's co-creators.


I arrived early to work on my splits (I'M ALMOST THERE, Y'ALL), and Beth introduced herself to me. I told her I was from Houston, and she asked if I had ever been to YogaOne or Big Power Yoga. Why yes, I have, many times - What a small yoga world this is!

The actual studio is a long room, painted with soothing colors, and enough space for two rows of mats facing tall, beautiful, framed mirrors. The class I took was a Baptiste-inspired Vinyasa Flow - So if you've ever taken a class at Big Power Yoga (or anywhere else that teaches in the Baptiste style), you'll know that the heated class was intense, sweaty, and POWERFUL. Combined with Beth's super approachable and humorous personality (which, lordy, I needed during those long Warrior 1 holds...that pose is nothing short of my arch nemesis, just bein' real, y'all), the class left me feeling refreshed and empowered! Oh and added bonuses? Another yogi from the studio walked around the room and provided hands-on assists throughout the class, AND we received a cold lavender towel to put over our eyes (or wherever needed cooling!) during savasana....Heaven!

If you're traveling to Charleston anytime soon, and you want to get your asana on, Charleston Power Yoga is a great option for a complete mental, spiritual, and physical practice!


The Skinny

  • Class Type: Power 60 - Baptiste Inspired
  • Cost: $20 for drop-in ($2 for mat rental)
  • Heated? Yes
  • Mirrors? Yes
  • Music? Yes
  • Level: All levels
  • Location: On Charleston's popular King Street
  • This class will make you feel... Sweaty, empowered, strong, grounded
xo, and namaste! - Kim
10/18/2017

Introductions!

Well hello there, friends!


My name is Kim, and as the title of this blog suggests, I love chips and yoga!

*sidenote: alternate blog titles that ended up on the cutting room floor were as follows:

- Wine & Yoga (already taken)
- I Love Chin Stands (kind of mean to the other poses, don't you think?)
- KP Yogi (snooze fest)
- Popcorn & Yoga (I love chips more)
- 80s Dance Party (....I might be renaming it to this...stay tuned)

**second side note: When reversing your warrior, as shown above, make sure that your back foot is perpendicular to your front foot, toes pointed more in, thanks!

So yes, my name name is Kim, and I live and breathe yoga (and sometimes chips). I am an RYT-200 hour Yoga Alliance certified instructor based in Houston, Texas. I received my certification from the awesome Black Swan Yoga Houston. I live with my awesome partner-in-crime husband Jon, and our two maniac wonderful dogs, Newton and Baxter.


(I'm not choking Newton in that photo, he was falling off the bench I swear. And just look at Baxter throwing such shade, these are joys of my heart, y'all.)

I eat a vegan diet at home (when I'm not hungover and in need of mac and cheese, IT HAPPENS), and I am vegetarian while eating out. I plan to do a whole post on this because, a) I LOVE food, and b) people always have a lot of questions about my diet. The Cliff Notes version is, I started a plant-based diet in 2014 as an effort to practice ahimsa (nonviolence), and then after trying it a for a bit, I found out that physically I felt AMAZING. So....animals, plus feeling really frackin' good, I dig it! And while it may seem contradictory, I voluntarily cook meat for my husband all the time, so this is a 100% judgment-free zone y'all! But more on all of that later. :)

Speaking of cooking, I LOVE to cook, and of course, eat. I am transitioning to this blog from a four year stint with a super fun food blog that was my total pride and joy. Also, I'm a book nerd, I will choose outside seating over inside 99% of the time (even in August in Houston at 2:00 pm, those of you from here know what kind of 7th circle of hell that is), I adore traveling, I'm a big fan of baseball (Go Astros!), If I hear "Africa" by Toto I totally lose my mind, and I love love LOVE the people in my life!

From this blog you can expect some of my rambling yogic thoughts on life, meditation techniques, asana (the physical practice of yoga) pose breakdowns, plant based recipes, vegetarian restaurant reviews, travel posts, and much more!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to connecting with you through this little blog, and I am excited to dive on in!

Namaste.

*Photos: Gabby Marsh Photography and my sister Emily. :)