Hi. I’m Abigail and I slouch.

All it takes is seeing an extremely unflattering photo of yourself to realize just how bad your posture really is. Unfortunately, developing poor posture is almost inevitable. Driving, sitting, working at a computer and stress can all lead to poor posture, which basically puts everyone at risk.

Bad posture takes a conscious effort to correct but can make a huge difference in the way you look and feel. Improving your posture can make you look taller, leaner and more confident. In fact, some argue that improving your posture can make you appear up to 10lbs thinner! Who doesn’t want that!? 

My spine rounds, I slouch, I stick out my tail bone and my shoulders tend to tense up around my ears. Sound familiar?

Once I became aware of how bad my posture was getting, I started making conscious efforts to improve it. Here are some simple methods I’ve been using to stay more aware of my body alignment and strengthen the muscles that promote good posture. 

1. REMINDER: Tuck your tail. 

Go to a full length mirror and turn to the side. I don’t know about you, but my back tends to curve and my bum sticks out. Kinda like this cool dude. 

image

Okay, maybe not that bad but you get the point.

Throughout the day I try to remind myself to “tuck my tail” meaning I consciously move my tailbone back underneath my body like this. 

image

2. REMINDER: Release your shoulders down and back. 

Yoga made me aware of how my shoulders tend to creep up around my ears, like this… 

image

I did some research and found that our shoulder and neck muscles are usually the first to compensate for our tension and stress. Throughout the day I remind myself to release my shoulders down, away from my ears - like this:

image

And while we’re on the subject of shoulders, mine tend to roll inwards. So after I release my shoulders down, I always remind myself to squeeze them back as well. Remember: shoulders down and back. down and back. down and back.

image

3. Sit up straight! 

I’m on my feet a lot at work but when I do sit down, I often catch myself slouching in the chair. BAD.

To correct this, I remind myself to move my butt to the very back of the chair, sit up with a straight spine, and release my shoulders back and down. GOOD.

image

3. Roll out! 

I picked up this awesome tip from my good friends at Fuel Training Club. I actually even invested in a lacrosse ball and foam roller for home because I find rolling out my muscles to be so effective in improving my posture. I use these two bad boys to dig into the tight muscles that are causing tension and bad posture - especially my back and shoulders. 

image

I use the lacrosse ball between me and the wall or the floor to get into tight muscles in my back, shoulders, triceps and chest. I also use the foam roller to get into those tight muscles in my back, arms and legs. It hurts, but in a good way.

Here’s Fuel Training Club’s trainer Jamie Snow with a demonstration of how to roll out those tight muscles in your chest. 

4. Strengthen the core and other posture-related muscles.

The core includes your abdominal muscles but also the muscles in your back and hips that help stabilize your spine and keep it in alignment. If your core is weak, it is difficult to maintain proper alignment. So strengthen that core by incorporating exercises like plank, supermans and hip bridges. 

Consider incorporating other exercises and stretches into your daily routine that will help promote good posture. Yoga and pilates are especially great for this. Here’s some good ones to get you started:

5. Be aware of how you sleep.

The way you sleep can have a huge impact on your posture. Sleeping on the stomach can exaggerate lordosis (inward curve of the spine), using too many pillows can cause a forward tilt of the head and sleeping on your side can pull your head and shoulders forward. Sleeping with your hands above your head can also cause muscle tension and strain. Professionals tend to agree that the best sleep position is on your back with your hands at your sides. (Until you start to snore….) 

So to summarize:

  • Tuck your tail and release your shoulders down and back. 
  • Sit up straight.
  • Roll out and strengthen posture-related muscles like the core. 
  • Be aware of how you sleep. 

Posture check! 

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been in some serious #thatcleanlife withdrawal over the past two weeks. The Spring Break Detox Challenge wrapped up two weeks ago and it was a doozie.

In case you are new to #thatcleanlife, The Spring Break Detox Challenge was a clean eating program I designed to challenge people to eat only real, clean food for six whole days. Check out the hashtag #thatcleanlife on Twitter on Instagram to see some of the delicious clean creations. The plan is still available to download here

I really felt like each recipe in that meal plan was a home run, but there was one in particular that really knocked it out of the park and that was the Kale Quinoa Fritters with Tangy Avocado Sauce. So, I thought I would share with those of you who missed out.

image

I was inspired by a kale quinoa burger recipe I had seen floating around but the only problem was that it was packed full of unclean ingredients like processed cheese and bread crumbs. I swapped the dirty out and brought in the clean and voila! Perfection. 

I called it a fritter but really, it could work as a burger. It’s best served on a bed of greens topped with the delicious Tangy Avocado Sauce. 100% clean and so, so, soooo delicious. Packed full of protein, dark leafy greens and topped with a dose of healthy fat with a zing of vitamin C. I like to make up a double batch, cook em’ all up and then freeze them. They are great to pull out of the freezer and reheat when you are running short on time. 

So without further ado, here’s the recipe. 

Kale Quinoa Fritters with Tangy Avocado Sauce

Makes: 6 fritters // Prep Time: 45 minutes 

image

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa, uncooked

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 eggs, whisked

  • ½ sweet onion, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ tsp sea salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

  • 2 cups kale,destemmed and thinly sliced

  • ⅓ cup oats

  • ⅓ cup of almond meal/ground almonds

  • coconut oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 avocado

  • juice of ½ lemon

  • 1 tbsp dijon or yellow mustard

For the salad:

  • baby spinach

  • extra virgin olive oil


Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa by placing ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup water in a sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.

  2. In a frying pan, heat ½ tsp of coconut oil over medium heat. Saute onion until golden (about 5 minutes). Then add kale and stir just until wilted (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat.

  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs. Then add in the quinoa, kale/onion mixture, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well. Let cool for 15 minutes.

  4. Add in the oats and almond meal. Mix well.

  5. With clean hands, form patties with the mixture and place on a piece of waxed paper. The recipe will yield about 6 medium-sized patties.

  6. In a large skillet, heat ½ tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat. Use a lifter to transfer the fritters from the wax paper to the frying pan. Fry the fritters 6 minutes per side.

  7. To make the Tangy Avocado Spread: In a bowl mash 1 avocado with a fork. Add the lemon juice and dijon mustard. Beat with a fork until a creamy consistency forms. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

  8. Serve the fritters on a bed of spinach lightly tossed in olive oil and top with Tangy Avocado Sauce.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out ThatCleanLife.com for all my meal plans. 

image

I’m in some serious #thatcleanlife withdrawal. The March challenge ended over a week ago and the past week seemed so boring and lonely in comparison. 

So what’s next for That Clean Life? Let’s start with the bad news first…

There will not be an April challenge. 

BUT WAIT! There’s good news!

I do have one absolute doozie of a challenge in the works for you guys. I can’t give away too many details right now but I can tell you this challenge is going to be a bit different (in a fun and exciting way) from those in the past. Of course there will be all new delicious, clean recipes among other super fun stuff (*hint* awesome giveaways). This challenge is promised to blow your minds and get that bod all cleaned up just in time for bathing suit season. Are you in?

In the mean time, please hold tight and stay with me! I’ve got lots of resources for you over on ThatCleanLife.com. There are now THREE complete meal plans with tons of delicious recipes to help you keep living #thatcleanlife. Oh, and in case you missed it - I have a deal on right now - all three meal plans for $28, so scoop that up here. (This is perfect for those of you who have missed out over the past three months.)

I will be posting regularly here on the blog and keeping you up-to-date on my Facebook page. Also make sure you are signed up for my mailing list (form below) to be the first in-the-know about the upcoming challenge. 

So stay tuned my wonderful friends, because what I have in store for you is epic.