Snowboard Strength and Reflection

Me Boarding at Okemo Mountain

Yesterday was a very very long day. Not bad, but long.

I took a few days off for the first time in a long time and we spent the weekend with friends at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. It was the first time my girls were on skis and I was uncharacteristically nervous that it would be a disaster. I spent unconscionable hours prepping, buying snow gear, talking to them about ski school, venting to friends and my SoulCycle riders. Snow, cold, wet, wind, a 5 hour ride in the car, heavy equipment, thick layers of clothing, lots of factors that could have made it absolutely miserable instead of the proverbial slopeside fun. Too much was riding on this first trip and the usual laid back, calm mama that I am turned into a bit of a neurotic mess. Skiing/Snowboarding is just too important! It’s part of the fabric from which I am made. It has shaped who I am. It brings me (and has always) unadulterated happiness. Talk about chakra opening;)

I grew up taking regular family ski trips and have the fondest, most visceral, memories of those times. I so badly want my kids to have similar experiences, vacations that keep us fit as a family, challenging and adventurous times together. I’ve been preaching about the importance of starting early for years…this was the time to call my own bluff.

I’ve been skiing since I was 3 and switched to a board when I was 13. I love almost nothing more than the fresh mountain air, cruising down the slopes, feeling the wind, speed, freedom. It is part of who I am. I crave it. I’m pretty sure I NEED it.

For a handful of years, we skipped the ski trips for warmer climes. Through pregnancies and infant years it all seemed like too much work, arguably too dangerous. We are now though back in a groove. Finally feeling family life (not babyhood) and exploring more . This one was an amazing adventure.

Richie and Avital Skiing Together

Turns out both my kids LOVED ski school. They went with their respective best friends and were such damn big girls about it! Avital, my 6yr old, even spent a morning skiing with Richie. She loved it and I love that she loved it. She was brave and strong and I’m a seriously proud mama. Bar’s teacher said she was pretty badass about it all too. No crying, totally got up on her skis, skated a bit, AND I spied her walking in to ski school from their first run and she even has a swagger to her walk. It was so freakin awesome to see.

Bar's Snowy Swagger

The first morning we went out on the slopes took a bit to get everyone settled. Rentals, ski school check in, lift tickets, all that jazz. So us adults took a bit of time to get up on the mountain. Once up, the first run of the season over (always a bit wobbly), we were cruising. It’s such a special thing to share with Richie. That feeling of freedom, adventure, open air, nature and the world at your fingertips (well, mitten tips).

A calm and invigoration come over me, at the same time, an excitement and nothing else is like it. Happiness.

But here’s the thing, at 33 years old, I felt stronger on my board than ever! My body was capable of so much more, so much earlier in my ride than in the past. I’m pretty sure I’m in the best shape of my life and the prospect of getting stronger and better is exciting. What more can I do, without fear, full of possibility!

I was carving and cruising faster than I ever have on my second run and it felt amazing!! So here’s to strength, in your body, as a family, building healthy strong bodies to let us explore this gorgeous world more confidently! Cheers you guys.

Us and Francesca on the lift

Life. Is. Good.

The world is your oyster.

Around The Internet (feat. Me)

Me and My Craziness

Hi guys,

Things have been busy busy crazy busy around here these days and I’ve been a terrible blogger. Sorry!! I’ve been teaching a ton (like a ton ton), doing a bunch of writing and a couple fun photoshoots, and we moved! Again! Life has been super insane and fast paced.

More posts coming soon, I promise, but meanwhile, I thought I’d give you guys some updates on some stuff I’ve been working on around the internet.

(oh and you can always check in with me on twitter or instagram: @evelynnkess cause I’m updating that stuff more daily).

xoxo,

e

The Sweat Life is an amazing online publication that I’ve had the honor of writing a bunch for. Aly Teich, the founder, is a badass sweatheart of a girl and I love working with her and her team!

http://www.sweatlifenyc.com/foodblog/2014/12/21/reinvent-your-plate-holiday-edition

http://www.sweatlifenyc.com/foodblog/2014/11/23/healthy-homemade-thanksgiving

http://www.sweatlifenyc.com/foodblog/2014/11/9/comfort-food-reinvented

http://www.sweatlifenyc.com/parentsblog/2014/10/5/home-remedies-natural-simple-and-safe

http://www.sweatlifenyc.com/foodblog/2014/10/19/getting-creative-foods-for-hangover-cures

It was awesome amazing when Taylor Trudon from The Huffington Post surprised me by coming to a Taylor Swift themed ride and wrote an absolutely hysterical article about it!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-trudon/taylor-swift-soulcycle_b_6218574.html

One of the most exciting things to happen recently was when the girls over at MarthaStewart.com asked me to be a contributor! Yup! Me. Martha. UhMazing. It’s been really exciting and a major honor! These are a few of my first posts over there:

http://www.marthastewart.com/1098622/ultimate-energy-boosting-resolution-helping-workout-playlist

http://www.marthastewart.com/1099717/clean-slate-challenge-ready-set-go

http://www.marthastewart.com/1100706/clean-slate-challenge-eating-well-when-youre-busy

Oh and then there was POPSUGARFITNESS.COM. Sorry for yelling, but !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/What-Does-Healthy-Dinner-Plate-Look-Like-36564279

Ok, I think that’s it. I don’t think I missed anything, but things have been very very crazy busy in a fantastically fun way and there’s much more in the works.

See you guys soon!

Wander and Lash y’all!

Eve_wanderandlash

Hi guys,

My girl, Jackie Ingall, just launched a supercool new blog called Wander and Lash and featured lil ‘ol moi! Check it out here!!

xoxo

Tips

Eve_Kessner_236

More and more often these days I get asked questions about how to lose weight? Tighten up? Stay healthy? Keep my energy up to work, chase kids, and still cook dinners? Maintain balance?

The answer is: there are no easy answers! But there are definitely tips I’ve picked up along the way and incorporated into my daily life that help the process. Lots of the “crazy” things I do seem strange to friends, were strange to me at the beginning, but have become easy, normal, regular.

I do my best to keep it natural and whole, so looking to other cultures’ traditional ways are often what I guide myself towards. For this list (and I’ll post more in the future!) I’m going to avoid what I believe to be obvious (drink lots of water, avoid processed foods, keep away from sugar…) and focus on what may feel a bit more obscure.

Incorporate any of these, maybe one at a time to see if they are working for you, and definitely let me know how they make you feel!

With a new season upon us, my favorite season of the year!, it’s the perfect time to clean up shop starting from the inside out.

So, with no further adieu:

Chia seeds. Packed with omegas and fiber, they are an easy addition to almost any baked goods, pudding, salad, drink! I add them to my water or tea whenever I can remember to. They give a burst of energy and nutrition without adding any taste.

Turmeric. I add it to my cooking whenever I can. It’s amazing for your immune system and brain! Highly anti-inflammatory, it is also a great compliment to any fitness regime.

Essential oils. Now these deserve a whole post of their own, but I diffuse these in the house, use them in my kids baths, take them internally as remedies. Here are a few ways: lavender is amazingly calming for bath time or diffusing in the house before bed time. It is also a powerful wound healer! I use tea tree for skin conditions of any sort (think rashes, pimples, itchy sun burn). Peppermint is amazing used internally as a digestive aid or in a bath to invigorate tired muscles. Eucalyptus clears stuffy noses and sinuses. Orange is our happy scent. Lemon goes down the drain to make the kitchen smell good! I could go on…

Lemon. I squeeze it into and onto anything appropriate. Water, salad, avocado. It is detoxifying and purifying and also delicious.

Apple cider vinegar. I swig it in the morning and a couple times throughout the day when I’m trying to cleanse or boost my metabolism. It’s probiotic and detoxifying and invigorating! Wakes me right up!

Eat and drink greens. Duh.

When I do eat poorly (cause we all do once in a while), I take digestive enzymes to help my body break down what its not used to eating. This just help the body’s natural processes.

Saurkraut (or anything naturally fermented). Naturally fermented foods contain probiotics which help our digestive system do what it needs to do. Our gut is also the hub for the first stop in our immune system, so keeping your gut healthy keeps you healthy!

Avoid the bread. This one is simple. I avoid bread unless it is really worth it. Don’t all or nothing anything, but in my opinion, bread should be worth it! Wait for what’s good and hold back on the empty calories whenever you can.

Eat enough! Too many people that come to me for help are simply not eating enough. By eating too little we are tricking our metabolism into actually hurting our weight loss goals instead of helping us. This deserves a much longer post, but the short end is this: by eating too little our bodies hold onto calories instead of burning them due to what we call fight or flight mode. Basically our body gets nervous about not knowing when our next meal is coming since we are feeding it so little and it conserves what it’s got instead of burning it off. Got me??! Don’t starve yourself! Ever!

The New Me, On a Tough Day

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I spent a good part of my day thinking of what I was going to write here at the end of it. I remember having some good ideas. I had some good ideas! Yet, in this moment, I cannot remember any of them. It seems impossible to sum it up. Or even just say something meaningful. With so many possible things to say, that I know, that I feel, that are true…few seem appropriate now.

So I’ll tell the facts, as they were, as they are: today was Jonny’s unveiling. It is hard to comprehend that it’s been a year since he died. It’s still hard to comprehend the fact of it at all.

Nonetheless, I was fine. I got up early. Drank some coffee. Taught two SoulCycle classes. Ate some food. Packed us bags. And brought my kids to the mall. That’s where my grandmother watched them while we went to the cemetery. We were late. As usual. And got to the grave site to find so so many people already there. We walked up. Said our awkward, loaded hellos. And I was feeling ok. Aware that all week I was avoiding, but holding it together: OKAY. And I believed it. Though knew the break was coming.

And for some reason, still, I was surprised when it happened. Strange how that it. How it sneaks up on you. It was when I actually noticed the family headstone. And then the footstone. Jonny’s. Immediately I chocked up. Tears welled. But I swallowed it back. And then the rabbi started the ceremony. And again I was fine. But then the cantor started to sing. And the beauty in her voice was poignant. And I cried. And Richie cried. And it was there all over again. The realness. The weight. The truth.

But the ceremony went on. And the day went on. And we all got through it. Lighter than a year ago. In some ways scarier, since we weren’t in the state of shock. But also easier, because we are stronger now. WE ARE STRONGER NOW.

And that is what Jonny Kessner gave us. A softness because he was a softee and always made it his business to bring light and laughter to a situation. But a strength too. A strength that I think none of us knew we were capable of . I certainly didn’t.

On this earth, Jonny was the sweetest and silliest little brother. For all the things he taught me in the time we spent together, there are infinite things he’s taught me since he’s left us.

Now, I take bigger leaps, risks, opportunities. I am not afraid of living my life. I am not afraid of what people think. There is just no time… I push myself harder, farther than I ever would have. I stretch myself to the limits and know pride in what I find. I see the positive. I choose the positive. I try to motivate. I always share my energy. I always keep it real. I always keep it positive. There is no other way to live.

The new me is one I think Jonny would have liked a lot.

Brain Food

This is my gorgeous, smart, sweet-as-hell friend Shira Burstein:

Shira Burstein

Actually, she is my sister’s friend, for many many years (I’ve posted a picture of the two of them from many moons ago at the bottom of this post;)). We have considered her family for a very long time now and I am so proud of the woman she has grown up to become. She wrote me this article and I wanted to share it with you because, well, I love her ideas and insight. So few people connect what we put in our bodies with how they work! Here’s a bit of her story and how she figured it out…and quick!

Recently, during a particularly stressful day I found myself grabbing for my ‘go to’ large frozen pizza and a Ben and Jerrys’ pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. I had been so ‘good’ so healthy and clean in my diet and the way I treat my body…so what was going on? Human beings don’t always eat because we are hungry.  We eat for a variety of reasons.  Food can be the tangential encounter to the entire gamut of emotional experiences.  We can eat when we are stressed, lonely, afraid, bored or even use it as a celebration.  The problem with using food as an emotional bandage is that it doesn’t solve anything. For me, seeing the bottom of that ice cream container really didn’t solve a thing!  In fact the aftermath of the moment caused me to feel guilty and angry leading into unrelenting self-disparagement. I imagine I’m not the only one who has had this experience. The proverbial ‘icing on the cake’ then turns into another round of emotional eating creating an even bigger problem.  The question remains how do we stop this conundrum? How do I stop it and how do I address the connection eating has with mental wellness when my own clients bring these issues up in my professional life as a therapist?

All of us use food from time to time as a source for either comfort or celebration.  It is when food becomes our ‘go to’ tool <like my nightmareish  dairy and carb binge>  for coping that we are create  a multifaceted problem.  The foods that we go to for comfort are usually deleterious to our health.  Either loaded with sugar, refined carbohydrates or loaded with saturated fats.  These foods trigger a part of our brain that is linked to addictive behavior. Pringles, didn’t re-invent the wheel when they came up with the slogan, “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” In fact it should be looked at as a Surgeon General Warning both for our bodies and our minds. There have been multiple studies that have shown that sugar and saturated fats are just as addictive as cocaine. In fact, I find them to be even more dangerous because they are all around us and so easily accessible.

So what is the solution? I started thinking about my training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT talks about changing maladaptive thoughts in order to change our affect and behavior. The use of helping people challenge and replace the tendency to magnify negatives, engage in self-defeating thoughts and distortions. These distortions can be about who we are and what we are capable, or deserving of for example. CBT looks to replace these negative thoughts with more realistic, mindful and positive thoughts, leading then to positive behavioral choices.

Perhaps we need to recognize the potential danger inherent in these foods and work to extinguish the habituated response that is often triggered first by the emotional catalyst.

If I find myself searching in the pantry or the refrigerator at the first sign of being upset, angry, lonely, tired, anxious  I try and ask myself what is truly underlying on an emotional level?  The more frequently I use food as an emotional salve the stronger that behavior becomes and the more unclear I will be as to what the costs and benefits are of using food in place of using my intellect or self-awareness. Maybe the answer is to find alternative thoughts about the food we put inside our body so that we can fully address emotional triggers and not put ourselves in a dangerous cycle. Food is such a powerful part of our lives. It can be the impetus for ill health both physically and emotionally, or it can be the source of vitality and power. The choice is yours as to how you want to deal with it. What are some ways or techniques that you find helpful when you find yourself parked in the pantry or refrigerator?

Shira Burstein, LCSW

Psychotherapist

www.shirabursteintherapy.com

Liza and Shira

Whole Grain Goodness

Mixed Whole Grains

For years and years it’s been brown rice in my house. Brown rice, brown rice, brown rice. Organic, short grain to be specific. This old post is how I make the perfect brown rice every time.

It’s nutty and filling and goes with almost everything. It’s high in minerals and fiber and is everything whole grains are good for.

But, there comes a time in every mama’s life when she has to reevaluate those things she cooks too much.

With all the change in our lives, a new home, new season, new, new, new, it was time for some new recipes.

Sometimes I lose hours on the internet looking for recipe ideas, design idea, kid stuff… It’s a black hole! That said, often I come out with a new outlook, perspective, project list;)

I found this recipe on 101cookbooks.com. I love her site. Clean recipes, gorgeous images, bright ideas.

But you know I never go by a recipe. It’s just not in my blood. So I’ve been making my own varietals of these mixed grains. Most recently this one has been my favorite:

1 cup short grain brown rice

1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup millet

-Rinse all of these and put them in a pot.

-Add a couple pinches of sea salt and (purified) water to about 1/2″ above the top of the grains.

-Bring it to a boil.

-Then down to a simmer.

-Cover and cook for 45 min.

-Turn the flame off, but don’t remove the top for at least 5 min.

-Fluff. Serve.

I’ve been topping it with fresh tomatoes, avocado, marinated tofu, chick peas, gomasio… Fresh summer dinner!

Summer Dinner

Confessions and Transgressions. Perfection is Overrated.

Me and Brooklyn

As many of you know, this year has been particularly challenging for me in so many ways for so many reasons. Making sense of it, finding a silver lining, is easier some days than others. That said, I would not change who I have become for anything.

I believe the best lessons are learned hard. It’s just a little speckle of the truth of life. I am not the person I was before we left Brooklyn. And yet here I am again. With new eyes and new energy.

Once upon a time, I spent so much time trying to do everything perfectly. Perfectly according to my moral compass that is. The world was black and white. Strong lines were drawn. And I always made the right choices.

But here’s what this last year and a half has taught me: life needs to be lived for the day. So I’ve softened my edges a bit, been making bolder choices, drinking coffee;) I have a job. I am back in Brooklyn. I am more actively engaged in my kids’ daily activities. I push my limits. Am growing my collection of tattoos. And I’ve blurred the rules of my veganism.

I want to be more fun. So I choose to be. I laugh more, get home later, order in more. I write when I feel like it, not when I set myself a calendar. I take more classes. Wear wilder clothing. Dance on my bike.

Here are some silly things that I found in a ridiculous email that perfectly reflect how I am feeling these days…enjoy!!!:

Be ThankfulSome people...It's better...

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

This is one of those recipes that I’ve been saying I’m going to try out forever, but was, for some reason, intimidated. I researched a number of recipes online, decided what flavor combination I wanted, gathered the ingredients, and then never made them!

Then, the other morning, with the Verizon guy here, Richie still palling around the apartment, Bar pulling at my pant leg, I decided it would be a good time to try. And they turned out AWESOME! They were actually super quick and easy to make (though a bit messy). No bake! No dehydrate! Just refrigerate! These will definitely be on the menu more regularly and I’ll experiment soon with other flavor options (I’m thinking a chocolate nutbutter option…!).

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

Here’s how I did it:

Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.

In a bowl combine and whisk:

-1c amaranth (or other nutty/neutral flour…I had some raw amaranth flour around so I grabbed that)

-1c oat flour (you can also grind oats in a food processor if you don’t have flour on hand)

-3/4c coconut flour

-1/2tsp sea salt

Add:

-1tbsp vanilla

-5tbsp raw agave

-1/3c room temp coconut oil

And mix until it forms a dough then set aside.

In a food processor (I use my Nutribullet) process until fine:

1/2c coconut nectar/sugar

2tbsp cinnamon

Put the cinnamon sugar into a small bowl.

Take about 2 tablespoons of dough in your hand and roll into a ball.

Place the ball into the cinnamon sugar bowl and roll it around until it is totally covered.

Place it on the sheet pan and start over.

Should make 15 balls.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

ENJOY!!!

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

These are sugar free, gluten free (if you use gluten free oats), vegan, and raw. They are a totally healthy and delicious snack or dessert. Richie love loved them and so did the kids!!

Kitchen Sink Dinner

Kitchen Sink Dinner

Life has been crazy. I mean crazy crazy. We moved. Yes again. Full circle. Back to Brooklyn. Through it all, Brooklyn was home. So we came back. It means new schools, new schedules, boxes packed and now unpacking, and Passover in the mix. Our kitchen has been out of working condition on both ends for a while, so when I went to post something for you guys (from the long list of overdue posts I owe you…), this one seemed the most fitting.

I prepared this dinner a while back one rare evening when I was home alone and not at all interested in ordering the same local Chinese food we were in the rut of ordering from.  I swooped through my fridge snagging whatever fresh and frozen produce looked good together along with leftovers I could quickly and easily reinvent.

I make this meal often, even for the whole family, and almost 100% of the time Richie argues that it’s my best meal. Go figure!

I most often use some greenery as the base for the fresh side of the meal (salad variation) and leftover brown rice for the cooked side of the meal (grain bowl variation). Then I get creative with whatever else I have around. I look for a protein (this time tofu, sometimes egg…), seasonal flavors, good fats (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds…). I try to put together a good mix of flavors and textures.

The only rule is that it needs to be able to be make in under 10 min!

Here’s what happened this particular time:

SALAD:

bib lettuce

avocado

oat flour dusted date pieces

toasted pine nuts

dressing: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, dijon mustard, turmeric, cinnamon, salt (in measures that please your palate)

RICE BOWL:

in a skillet, heat in the following order:

coconut oil

whole garlic cloves until browned

marinated tofu (I love the Wildwood smoked teriyake)

cashews

frozen, shelled edamame

splash with shoyu or tamari and mirin then cook 2-3 min through

Serve it hot right alongside the salad. You can add avocado to the rice bowl too!