Layered Mango & Dragonfruit Vegan Sorbet Smoothie – topped with Love Good Fats!

This beautiful layered vegan smoothie bowl is inspired by my time in Bali, specifically at Cassava in Canggu! They make a delicious smoothie bowl there, and I tried to replicate it. Disclaimer – I am NOT a food blogger LOL, so this is totally amateur cooking hour with Vanessa. Luckily, this recipe is so easy, it would be pretty hard to mess up!

Even though this bowl is easy to put together, it takes about 30 min time to prep everything, and then you have to wait for it all to turn into sorbet in the freezer (approx 3+ hours). So make sure to prep the night before you want to enjoy this bowl.

Here’s what you need:
Ingredients:
1 red Pittaya/Dragonfruit (or more!)
3 Ataulfu Mangos (or more!)
1 can of coconut milk (I use Aroy-D brand)
3/4 cup of whole white Chia Seeds (black would work too!)
1 Lemon or Lime
1 Love Good Fats protein bar (mine are plant based)
– optional strawberries
– optional sugar substitute (I didn’t use any in my recipe, but you can add a teaspoon to the Pittaya mix)

That’s it!! How easy, right?!
Now if you’re on a ketogenic diet, here are some facts you should know:
MANGO CONTAINS 16 GRAMS OF NET CARBS PER 3.5 OUNCES (100 GRAMS) – so it fits into a low-carb keto diet
DRAGON FRUIT CONTAINS 7 GRAMS OF NET CARBS PER 3.5 OUNCES (100 GRAMS) – so it’s a relatively low fat fruit to eat on a regular keto diet

First you need to dice up the mango. I haven’t learned an easier way to do this, so I just cut off both sides along the pit. Create lines in each half to easily scoop out the cubes from the skin into a bowl with a spoon – similar to cutting an avocado. Slice off as much off the pit, and then enjoy whatever is left over. YUM! I think you can use frozen diced mango, but I’m sure fresh ripe mangos taste best.

After dicing, place into the blender with a teeny bit of water to get it going. Here is when you add a squeeze of lime or lemon to taste, the acidity really helps cut the sweetness of the Ataulfu Mango.

After the mango is pureed in the blender, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight freezer safe glass container, pressing the puree through to make sure the mango is super smooth – since it is such a fibrous fruit. This step is not totally mandatory, but just do it! 😉 Pop it into the freezer after, giving it a scrape and stir every 2 hours or so.

Now for the Dragonfruit. The red Pittaya is a little harder to find, but I mean the colour alone is worth scouting for. Otherwise you can definitely use a white Pittaya (but it wont be as Instagram pretty HAHA #priorities). The process is fairly similar to the mango sorbet process, except faster.

Cut the PIttaya in half, same slicing process to create cubes, and then use a spoon to scrape it out of the skin. Much easier than mango, BUT the red pittaya will stain clothes, make sure not to get it everywhere and clean up your station immediately after. Dump the bowl of Pittaya into the blender and turn it into a puree. Pittaya is more of a watermelony/cucumber taste so you can add a spoon of sugar substitute to this one to sweeten it up. I didn’t add any to mine, but I added a tiny squeeze of lemon to it. I think the mango layer is sweet enough that the dragonfruit layer doesn’t need to be as sweet, just for contrast. No need to pour the dragonfruit through the strainer, just straight into a glass freezer safe container with air tight lid. You want to check your sorbets and give them a mix every now and then, just so they don’t ice over on the sides.

After the sorbets are in the freezer, move on to creating the chia seed pudding. Super easy – just 3/4 cups of whole chia and 3/4 cup of coconut milk in an air tight container. I also add about 1 cup of water so it’s not all coconut milk and its a smoother consistency. Start with half a cup of water and place the chia in the fridge. In about 30 minutes, take it out and give it a stir. You will notice the chia already expanded a lot. If it is SUPER thick and stuck looking, then add more water until it’s more of a pudding consistency. I always eyeball this process lol. You can also add things like a spoon of spirulina powder to the chia if you want that extra superfood kick.

Now pour the left over coconut milk into an air-tight glass container. The brand I chose (Aroy-D) separates fat from water really well in the fridge, sometimes other brands don’t do that. I need the water to separate from the coconut fat because I will use the thick top layer to create a “coconut whip”. You can always buy coconut whipped cream if you like, since making it this way won’t be as fluffy. But it’s good enough and tasty 🙂 You basically take the top layer that has separated only, and whip it with a whisk until it fluffs slightly.

I did all of this the night before so it was ready for breakfast the next morning. I take it out of the freezer and let it thaw slightly for 30 minutes, mixing it around. I use a tall round cup to put it together. Height is good when it comes to layers.

Add one layer of chia seed pudding to the bottom of your cup or bowl. About 1 inch thick.
Slice a strawberry really thin (this is optional) – Place thinly sliced strawberry around the inner side, because it’s yummy and so pretty.
Add your layer of mango sorbet, about 1 inch.
Add the layer of Dragonfruit, about 1 inch.
Top with coconut whipped cream.
Dice up your protein bar and sprinkle on top! Mine is from Love Good Fats – I used the plant based Choco Chip cookie dough bar – because it’s a tasty addition and I love the added boost of nutrients.

ENJOY!!!!

Let me know if you try this smoothie bowl recipe out. You can also modify the recipe to your needs and the amount you need.
This should make 2 large bowls.

The Most Memorable Balinese Experience at Desa Visesa Ubud!

I can’t even begin to describe the experience I had at Desa Visesa Ubud! But I’ll try. First I must mention that at this point I was in Bali for almost a week, not having the best luck so far, and to top it all off, I lost my debit card right before heading to Visesa Ubud! Needless to say the staff once I got there made sure I was comfortable, and that if I needed anything to let them know and they would help me out! HOW WONDERFUL. I felt so much lighter already and they even had a beautiful welcome ceremony and tropical yummy drink waiting for me. I actually never stopped smiling from this point on, leaving the week I had behind me.

They led me to my One Bedroom Private Villa, which was GORGEOUS! I have never seen a place more beautiful than this. There was a private pool, my own outdoor living space and small kitchenette, with fresh fruit basket. When I went in, there was a big king size bed, and it is so comfy, and so are the pillows. Usually I will miss my bed when traveling, but this bed was WAY better than mine. I finally got some decent sleep that night. But not before taking a flower bath that Desa Visesa had ready for my arrival. I feel like when in Bali, a flower bath is a must haha.

Visesa Ubud is located slightly north of the Ubud city centre on a rice paddy field! There is a shuttle that goes into the city centre every 30 minutes or so, and it’s only an 8 minute ride with beautiful views on the way down. I explored the property a bit more and found gorgeous gardens and learned a little bit more about the rice fields at breakfast time. This definitely is a gorgeous resort and I could have just stayed there all day and relaxed.

My friends came by later that afternoon as we were going rafting in the river, and they wanted to explore the property too so we walked around and stopped for a drink at Lumbung Restaurant. The drink was yummy with luscious green views.

I went back later that night to have a yummy Indonesian Fine-Dining experience. And the food was INCREDIBLE. I sampled so many different things but my favourite was the tuna ceviche and the Binte Biluhuta soup was so yummy. I left feeling full and satisfied, and ready for the coziest bed ever.

The next morning I got up super early to do some yoga, and then take some photos in the beautiful gazebo in the middle of the rice paddy field. I HAD to do it lol. During my time taking photos, some of the lotus flowers opened up and it was magical to see. After yoga photo I packed up my stuff and the staff was so kind to let me leave my stuff at the lobby while I explored for the day. When I came back, they gave me another bracelet from the welcome ceremony, one for my friend. It was so sweet of them, she loves it!

If you are ever in Ubud, Bali, check out Desa Visesa resort! I really loved my stay there, and there were more activities they offered I would enjoy doing next time.  I can’t wait to go back again!

So you want to learn how to headstand?

Headstand / Sirsasana is such a fun pose to learn, but can also be a slow and rigorous process to get to. It takes dedication and time to safely prep for this inversion. Once you feel your feet up in the air and you nail that first real headstand after endless amounts of work – it feels magical. It opens something inside you that wants to learn more about the wonders of the human body, and a strange adrenaline rushes through your senses. It is the ultimate mind clearer – you won’t be thinking about anything else other than your body and how you feel while in headstand 😉

It took me a year or so to really start feeling the hips stack over the shoulders and my core engage, where I could safely pull away from the wall and overcome the fear of getting upside down. I practiced every day, sometimes only for 20 minutes. The key is persistence and commitment to working on the prep poses to properly build the foundations for getting into a safe headstand.

I hope you find this useful : happy headstanding!

BENEFITS

There are some major benefits to Sirsasana other than it being a fun pose to test limits and get upside down! Here are some of my favourite benefits.

Increases Blood Flow

When you are upside down, you are optimizing nutrient flow and sending extra oxygen to the eyes, head and scalp! It is said to aid in nutrient delivery to the hair follicles – but I really can’t promise you less grey hairs by doing a headstand 😉

Strengthens the Body

A major benefit to headstand is the amount of muscle being built in the shoulders, arms and core. Learning to activate those new muscles in the prep poses helps improve your upper body strength and muscular endurance. We use this new found strength to take the weight off of the head and neck, using the forearms and shoulders to push away the ground – it’s a major workout!

Increases Focus

Ever hear the yoga teacher say “clear your mind” and you just can’t? Well, headstand is one of those poses that requires your utmost concentration so you really don’t have the ability to think about anything else other than your headstand and the burn in your abs. Getting comfortable in a headstand will also help reduce fear and worry, while improving your mind and keeping your attention clear and focused.

MISTAKES

Hopping up or donkey kicking

My number one rule when teaching a headstand is to never jump up! Walking the feet closer to the head and pressing in to the elbows to and lift one leg up at a time is much safer than hopping or kicking up, possibly injuring your neck or spine! This also helps train the body into feeling the hips above the shoulders by using the lower abdomen to keep them floating high.

Dumping into the head and shoulders

Distributing weight in the forearms and shoulders is actually what keeps you up and balanced in a headstand safely. Do not dump the weight on to your neck, push the ground away from you using your forearms, releasing the neck and head from the weight of your entire body. It is called a ‘headstand’ but so much of this pose relies on spreading the weight between your arms and not overloading weight on to your head. This helps to build the neck strength necessary to hold unsupported headstands in a more advanced headstand practice.

Head, Hands and Elbow placement

To avoid splaying out the elbows – place your forearms down on the mat, and each hand to touch opposite elbow. That should be the correct distance you need for a strong, supportive base. Interlace the palms together forming a triangle shape and keep the elbows hugging in, placing the head slightly down on the ground with the back of your head settling into the nook of your palms. Keep the shoulders pressing away from the ears or your back will round, allowing the possibility of rolling backwards. If you find the elbows keep splaying out, you can use a strap to keep them shoulder distance apart. If they are too tight then shoulder openers before headstand is always a good idea. 

Below is a video on arm placement for headstand! Also how dumping into the shoulders looks like vs. pressing them away from the ears to create space.

Banana Back

The sway back or banana back is a curved spine in headstand due to the placement of the pelvis and the engagement of the core muscles. Most beginners will load a lot of the weight into their lower back creating an arch, since they are mostly focused on not falling over and aren’t engaging the core. This could lead to spinal injuries and bad muscle memory for your inversion practice.

Holding the Breath

Not much to say for this one other than, practice mindful breathing and don’t hold the breath.

TIPS

Shoulders pressing down and away from ears.

Forearms pressing into ground.

Practice your Prep exercises and poses every other day. Consistency is key!

Always rest for 2 minutes in child’s pose after headstand.

PREP POSES

Downward Facing Dog

Forward fold

Plank

Navasana

Chaturanga

Dolphin pose

Crow

PREP EXERCISES

Plank curls

Using the wall

– To practice pike

– To practice L-stand

A great way to get over your fear of inverting and relying on the wall behind you. L stand builds better form for headstand!

Moving away from the wall

It takes a lot of guts to move away from our handy friend “Paul the Wall” – but moving from the wall early on helps train the muscles to rely on working to keep you up – building proper muscle memory. In the video below are some examples of ways we can start to get into headstand with the wall a lot further away from you.

You can prep for pike without the wall by using a prop like a ball or a block/wheel or anything really like a couch 🙂

In the video below I am using a somewhat deflated exercise ball to prep for pike.

Once you get the hang of holding your balance in headstand it opens up a whole world of poses to play with. Inversions are my favourite things to practice and I love how they make me feel strong mentally and physically!

Here are some fun headstand variations below!

Leg Variations

Tuck, Stag legs, Eagle, Splits, Twist, Lotus, Butterfly, Tuck

Arm Variations

Supported, Tripod, Hands to elbows ,Fingertip, Straight arms, No hands

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Remember to trust the process, sometimes it just takes a little longer than others and that’s ok! Don’t compare your progress to any one else’s – you are doing this for you 😉 The ego has a funny way of making us do things that can possibly hurt us, so don’t rush through and skip the prep. Take your time – it’s actually what helps you move faster than anything else and what has helped me the most.

Hope this helped you in some way! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube – follow me for more posts like this <3

September Yogi Surprise Box – Love of Yoga

One of my favourite times of the month is when I can come home and find a little purple Yogi Surprise box waiting for me! It is always filled with so many hand-picked items with the yogi or health nut in mind. This months September YS box is full of everything I love, and celebrates National Yoga Month – so you know it’s going to be gooooood 😉

The items in this box are meant to enhance our practice and help ground us in this transition to chilly autumn days. For the love of yoga, let’s get to it!

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The best part is opening the box and just seeing past the Packing List at all the goodies inside. Knowing you get to pull each one out, one by one. It’s like a never ending birthday present, but tailored to my lifestyle! Right off the bat I saw food… brownies to be specific… brownie BRITTLE to be reaaallly specific!! Yes, Yogi Surprise, you know me too well.

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You know it’s going to be a good box when you kick it off with Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle! I’m not going to lie, I opened these immediately and started munching on them. WOW. SO. YUMMY. I had to stop myself from eating the whole bag and quickly packed it away, saving it for my Teacher Training this weekend as a good power up snack.

Underneath the Brownie Brittle was a beautiful geometric designed yoga strap from Yoga Design Lab and Scentuals Yoga Mat Spray. Super handy to keep in my Yoga bag for my Teacher training as well. We started using straps like this one so it definitely came at the right time and in an extra long length. Also, it’s so pretty! Next was a 100% beeswax candle in a cute tin from Barefoot Lake. It has a yummy lavender and peppermint scent and it is going to accompany me the next time I take a bath. It is meant to help slow down and soothe creating a tranquil space between body and self.

I kept digging through the box to find an aromatherapy incense sampler made from a blend of natural essential oils and hand rolled by local village women in South India. 25% of Auromere’s incense profits go towards supporting education in rural India, so go check them out!! Also included at the bottom of the box was a book by called Yoga To The Rescue: Ageless Beauty. It talks about some key poses that help keep the body rejuvenated, somewhat slowing down time. Such a handy little book! I always love when there is food and something to read while I eat the food in my Yogi Surprise Box hehe.

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“Is that box empty yet? I want to try and fit”

I went through my Yogi Surprise Lifestyle box, but the fun isn’t over yet! I also got the Yogi Surprise Jewelry box! A cute little box that has two pieces and a snack.

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Opened it up and saw my beautiful friend Alexzandra Peters on the insert. SO that was awesome already. Just after I spotted a gorgeous mala, with deep and dark colours I knew I would love right away.

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Made from African Turquoise and an accompanying Jade beaded bracelet. What a gorgeous set, and the quality feels incredible! Love the matching tassel as well, the pop of colour is stunning.

If you want a discount on your first Yogi Surprise – be sure to use the code YOGILOVE at checkout! You won’t regret this purchase, treat yourself – this one is WORTH IT! <3