Category: Health

A 15-Minute Vinyasa Flow That Eases Neck Pain and Tension

A bad night’s sleep, a killer upper-body workout, a long day hunched over your desk—whatever causes your neck pain and tension, you need relief fast. This 15-minute vinyasa flow will help soothe the sore muscles in your neck and around your upper spine. 

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You’ll flow through a sequence of seated poses—that’s right, you don’t even need to stand up for this one. Just sit back, relax, and use your breath to guide you through each stretch and pose for relief. This practice is gentle and calming, making it a perfect choice for when you wake up with a stiff neck or before bed after a stressful day. All you need is a mat; then hit play to get started. 

Looking for more short and effective at-home workouts? Grokker has thousands of routines, so you’ll never get bored. Bonus: For a limited time, Greatist readers get 40 percent off Grokker Premium (just $ 9 per month) and their first 14 days free. Sign up now!

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7 Struggles Every Extrovert Understands

No Regrets With Susie Moore In our hyper-social culture, which tends to favor outgoing personalities (not to mention nonstop connectivity and networking), there’s an unfortunate stigma that surrounds introverts; it’s generally perceived as less advantageous to be one. But as it turns out, extroverts (myself included) face an entirely different set of social struggles and judgments:

1. You’re apparently not allowed to be sad.    

“What’s wrong with Susie/Clare/Marianne?” people ask if ever we’re not our talkative selves for any reason. The truth is, extroverts need a little down time too. I purposefully choose the end of a table at a dinner party on nights when I feel less chatty or a bit tired. That’s OK! It does not mean we’re unhappy or upset.

2. You’re expected to be the entertainment, everywhere, every time.

It’s an incredibly helpful skill to have a knack for talking, laughing, and engaging with others, especially strangers. So, naturally, extroverts receive a lot of social invitations. But oftentimes extroverts are expected to bring the party wherever they go. We like to do that a lot—just not 100 percent of the time.

3. You’re perceived as superficial and/or insincere.

Vivaciousness has become a synonym for shallow. Extroverts are just as capable of intellectual discussion and complex thinking as introverts are of talking to people. Two extroverted friends of mine are some of the brightest people I know, but sadly, not everyone perceives them that way. In fact, they feel they have to prove themselves or highlight their education or career accolades to dispel negative presumptions. But it’s so important for everyone not make these assumptions. Communication styles are all unique!

Friends Drinking Coffee

4. You’re expected to carry the conversation.

 Just because you are gifted at something doesn’t mean you have to put that talent on display constantly. Introverts are not always expected to just listen to everyone, all the time. Women, in particular, have expressed to me in coaching sessions the pressure they feel to be social lubricants at work and with family. It’s no one’s job to keep an environment light and chatty. Plus, you’d be surprised how often discussions can stay on track without you directing them. So give your vocal chords a break! 

5. You worry you’re a little intense.

A common fear that extroverts have is that they are “too much” for some people. That might be true. But not all people are your people. That’s true (and fine!) too. Extroverts don’t conceal their passion, and it shows. Some perceive this trait as a flaw, as it can appear a little forceful. But we can’t help it.

6. Your friendliness gets mistaken for flirting.

Just because someone smiles, engages, and talks with zest does not mean they’re romantically interested in their conversational partner. My friend Sarah once said to me, “Just because I’m friendly doesn’t mean a man can make a pass at me! Nor should I have to tone down my personality, right?” It feels like a bit of a tricky balance. All that’s important is that you feel comfortable. And remember: You don’t owe anyone a thing! 

7. You’re high-maintenance.

Extroverts love to share a crisis, a win, and everything in-between (with a lot of people). That means we actually need you to pick up your phone! And no, it cannot wait. Sorry. But does being high-maintenance have to be a bad thing? What if it were re-framed as making your needs a priority? That’s a very healthy thing to do.

article divider asterisk asterisks asterix Making the world a colorful and balanced place requires both extroverts and introverts. No one personality type “has it all” or should be celebrated over another. In the end, we all just want to feel heard, seen, and accepted. We may express this in diverse ways and require different forms of support, but at our core, we’re more alike than not. And that simple truth is worth celebrating.

Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!

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A Science-Backed 7-Minute Workout That Hits All the Muscles You Forget About

Don’t get us wrong—we’re all about bodyweight exercises. And quick, high-intensity routines like the scientific 7-minute workout (plus the research that inspired it) prove you can get in a great workout with very little time and equipment. 

But one issue with relying on body weight as resistance is that it can get a little tricky to work the muscles of your back body—you know, your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

“It’s easier to find bodyweight exercises that include squatting and pushing than pulling and hinging,” says Noam Tamir, certified personal trainer and owner of TS Fitness. “These exercises are great; however, they mainly strengthen areas that are already dominant and promote short, tight muscles in the front of the body, leading to poor posture, possible injury, and aesthetic imbalances.” (That’s no bueno.)

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Not to worry. We’ve teamed up with Tamir to create a sister workout for the original 7-minute circuit. This routine is the perfect companion, because each exercise works the opposite muscle groups of the original. “These moves are efficient at keeping the body fit and functioning optimally,” Tamir says. And since you shouldn’t perform HIIT every single day, it’s easy to alternate between the two workouts once or twice a week.  

How to use this list: Perform each exercise in order below at a high-intensity effort for 30 seconds. For single-sided exercises, such as Lateral Squat and Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift, perform the exercise for 15 seconds before switching to the other side. (If you have extra time, perform 30 seconds on each side.) Rest for 5 seconds between each exercise to reset. This circuit can be repeated 2-3 times if desired. All you need is an exercise mat. 

7-Minute Workout: Ice Skater

Ice Skater

Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Hop right leg to the right and swing left leg behind as left arm crosses front of body and right arms swings back. Repeat on other side by reversing the movement with left leg. Continue to hop back and forth (like you’re gliding on ice skates) for 30 seconds. 

7-Minute Workout: Back Widow

Back Push-Up

Lie faceup on mat with knees bent, feet on floor. Bend elbows to 90 degrees with fists toward ceiling (as if you’re holding an imaginary pull-up bar above chest). On the exhale, engage core and press elbows into floor as you squeeze shoulder blades together to lift upper back off the mat. Lead with chest (like a crunch) and keep neck in a neutral position. This should feel like a row, just using body weight (as opposed to cables or weights) for resistance. Inhale and lower back down to starting position. 

7-Minute Workout: Hamstring Curl

Hamstring Curl

Lie facedown on mat. Bend arms and stack hands on top of one another below head to support upper body and maintain a neutral neck. Engage quads and glutes so that lower legs hover above mat. Keeping hips glued down, use backs of legs to slowly bring heels to butt. Resist as you straighten legs back to starting position.  

7-Minute Workout: Shoulder Tap

Shoulder Tap

Start in high plank position, wrists under shoulders, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Engage core and butt for stability. Tap left hand to right shoulder, then place back on mat. Resist the urge to let hips twist or dip; keep them square to mat. Repeat by tapping right hand to left shoulder and continue to alternate. 

7-Minute Workout: Mountain Climber

Mountain Climber

Start in high plank position, wrists under shoulders, core engaged. Maintaining a straight back, draw right knee to chest, then return to starting position. Repeat with other knee. Continue to alternate legs as fast as possible as if you’re running in place. Keep core tight the entire time to prevent hips dipping or piking.

7-Minute Workout: Superman

Superman

Lie facedown on mat with arms at sides. Inhale, then on the exhale, engage core, back, and glutes to lift upper body and legs up off mat as far as possible. Draw shoulder blades together to engage the upper back muscles and keep neck relaxed by keeping your gaze down. Hold for full exhale, then lower back down on the inhale and repeat.  

7-Minute Workout: Lateral Squat

Lateral Squat

Stand with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Take a big step to the left with left foot as you hinge at hips to send butt back (like a squat). Bend left knee and keep right leg straight. Shift all body weight to the left side as you squat back while keeping chest lifted. Push off with left leg to return to standing, then repeat. 

7-Minute Workout: Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunch

Lie faceup on mat with core engaged so that lower back presses into mat. Lift legs to a tabletop position and lightly touch fingertips to back of ears (this will help you avoid pulling on your neck). Use core to rotate at waist, bringing right elbow to left knee as right leg straightens. Then twist to bring left elbow to right knee as left leg straightens, and continue to alternate. 

7-Minute Workout: Butt Kicker

Butt Kicker

Stand with knees slightly bent. Bring right heel to butt then quickly switch legs to bring left heel to butt. Continue alternating legs while you pump arms (like you’re running in place). Remain on your toes the entire time, landing softly rather than stomping feet to protect your knees. 

7-Minute Workout: Press-Up

Press-Up

Lie facedown on mat with neck neutral, elbows bent to 90 degrees, and hands placed next to ribs. Press through palms to lift upper body up off mat (even hips will come up, but only go as far as lower back will allow). Engage upper back muscles to prevent collapsing into your shoulders. Slowly lower back down and repeat. 

7-Minute Workout: Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand with feet together and shift weight to right side to balance on right leg. With a slight bend in standing leg, inhale, then bend at hips to bring upper body and arms forward while left leg shoots back. Keep toes of back leg foot facing the floor and exhale as you return to starting position. 

7-Minute Workout: Down Dog to Plank

Downward Dog to Plank

Start in high plank position. Press floor away as you shift hips back and straight up into downward dog position—you’ll feel a stretch along the backs of your legs and through your upper back. Hold for one count then shift forward back into high plank position and repeat. 

7-Minute Workout
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Jamie Tworkowski Has a Message of Hope for Anyone Who’s Struggling

Welcome to Behind the Confidence, a video series about the real, unfiltered journey to self-belief. We talked to four health and wellness pros who prove true confidence doesn’t stem from a “like,” nor does it magically happen overnight. It’s about finding what makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Take it from Jamie Tworkowski: Confidence doesn’t mean you have it together all the time. It’s not about being perfect. “I think in a way, we find confidence by realizing that we belong to other people, and we’re all in it together,” he says.

His nonprofit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, is set up specifically to let people who are struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts know they’re not alone. Here Tworkowski opens up about how he finds moments of confidence despite his own battle with depression—and how to have hope when life isn’t perfect. 

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The Best Slow Cookers to Buy (Because Not All Crock-Pots Are Created Equal)

Though there are some superheroes who manage to whip up delicious meals from scratch after a long day at work, we can’t all be like that. For the rest of us, there are slow cookers. Throw in some protein, grains, veggies, and sauce before heading out the door, and when you come home, you’ve got a tasty, piping hot meal waiting for you. (OK, so it’s not quite that easy. You should follow a recipe, but you get the point.)

Still, not all slow cookers are created equal. Since you’ll be leaving the appliance unattended for hours, you want to pick one you can trust. Here are our four favorite models:

If You’re on a Budget

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

If you’re looking for a no-frills, top-notch slow cooker, this is the model to buy. It looks nearly identical to the one our mom had 20 years ago—it’s what marketers would spin as “a timeless design.” But, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, its four-quart size makes it ideal for small kitchens where counters and cabinets are a precious commodity.

($ 19.99, crock-pot.com)

If You Like to Party

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker

Need to cook something for a crowd? Let us introduce you to your new best friend, the Stay-or-Go slow cooker. Making big meals—without slaving away in the kitchen—has never been easier. And if you’re leaving the house for your party, you don’t have to worry about spilling your dish in transport. The locking mechanism on top keeps everything sealed (and warm) until you’re ready to serve.

($ 22.49, target.com)

If You Cook Tons of Meat

Hamilton Beach Set-n-Forget

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Now we’re getting to the models with cool bells and whistles. This step up from run-of-the-mill slow cookers comes with a built-in meat thermometer. Next time you’re cooking a full chicken or a roast, poke the meat with the thermometer and set your desired temperature. Once the meat reaches the right temp, the cooker automatically turns from “cook” to “warm”—meaning the meat comes out perfectly juicy every time!

($ 49.49, target.com)

If You Love Gadgets

Crock-Pot with WeMo

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

This model is pricey, but it comes with a really cool feature: If you download the WeMo app and plug in your Crock-Pot before you leave home, you can turn this model on and adjust the temperature from anywhere. But, you ask, isn’t a slow cooker’s selling point that you can turn it on before you leave for work, not worry about it all day, and come home to a perfectly cooked meal? Well, yeah. But there are plenty of slow cooker recipes that require more precise timing, so being able to control the Crock-Pot from a distance can be really helpful.

($ 129.99, crock-pot.com)

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An Ode to Ranch: How I Fell in Love With America’s Condiment

What are your first memories of middle school? Catching a glimpse of your crush’s braces-crossed smile? Straining to remember your locker combination? Half-heartedly digging through your backpack to “find” the homework you knew you’d forgotten at home? My earliest middle school memory took place in the cafeteria, on the first Friday of the month: pizza day. I was sitting across from my friend Allen, mouth agape, as I watched him douse his slice of pizza in ranch dressing. I’d never seen anyone do that before.

“You ever try this?” he asked, grinning.

“No,” I said, trying my damnedest to decipher the swirl of cheese, tomato sauce, bread, and tangy buttermilk. It didn’t make any sense. Ranch was for salads, not pizza. That combination simply couldn’t be good… could it?

“It’ll change your life,” he said, offering me a bite.

Allen was right.

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The marriage of ranch and pizza is said to have begun in the South, when Pizza Hut began offering it as a side with their pies, but we’ll never know for certain who came up with that brilliant scheme. I can only deduce that the person in question was a bona fide genius.

However, the practice of dipping pizza—or even just the crust—into ranch dressing has its detractors. In protest of the growing trend, one Dallas pizzeria famously charges $ 1,000 for a side of the stuff, and more than one publication has sounded off on the matter.

In a recent article published by The Washington Post,Ranch Dressing Is What’s Wrong With America,” Ben Adler suggests, among other insults, that ranch is something other than perfect.

Clearly, that’s an absurd statement, and the article was met with controversy (just scroll down to the comments section). But while there are die-hard ranch fans and people who want to see every last bottle dumped out, if anything I think Adler proved ranch is more beloved than it is scorned.

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Ranch dressing was invented in 1949 by a cowboy from Nebraska named Steven Henson, while working as contract plumber in Alaska. In 1954, Steve and his wife, Gayle, opened a ranch near Santa Barbara, California, and would often serve their guests a special dressing made of buttermilk, mayonnaise, and herbs. Their home was called Hidden Valley, and the dressing would eventually be known as… well, you know.

In 1972, the entire dressing brand was bought for a staggering $ 8 million by The Clorox Company, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the more popular non-refrigerated bottle hit supermarket shelves. Less than a decade later, ranch would become America’s favorite condiment, and by the mid-90s, it had become a staple far beyond salads: Kids would trade anything in their lunch for a snack-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

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As a kid, I was never one to consume ranch with reckless abandon. But after that day in the cafeteria with Allen, my taste for the dressing started to grow. Soon I was regularly using it as a condiment for pizza and fries. The only thing holding me back was the knowledge that my family would ride me out of town on a rail if I polished off the entire bottle the way I really wanted to.

But eventually I left for college, where rules were meant to be broken. In our dorm, my friends and I engaged in what I can only refer to as “culinary experimentation.” Ranch on burgers. Ranch on steak. Ranch on beans. Ranch on pie. Ranch and Diet Coke. OK, we never did the last one, but there is such a thing as ranch soda.

I never considered the possibility that I might take it too far, but in the end, I flew too close to the sun on wings sprinkled with dill and dried parsley, and the inevitable happened: I made myself sick. I know plenty of people who lost their taste for tequila after an overambitious night in college. But me, I overdid it on the ranch. I put the bottle back and didn’t touch it for over a year.

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When my favorite condiment and I got back together, it was—appropriately enough—in the Midwest, where the ranch dressing flows like wine. I was sitting in a bar, waiting for my girlfriend to finish class. We were doing the long-distance thing, and she was finishing a degree from the University of Wisconsin. I ordered a pint of Spotted Cow and the fried cheese curds, which were served with a plastic tub of ranch dressing for dipping. I stared at it with cautious interest, like a bear gazing at an open picnic basket. I knew what ranch had done to me in the past, but I wasn’t ready to pass over a regional delicacy. Gingerly, I dipped the curd in the dressing… and promptly went back in time.

Suddenly, I was in eighth grade all over again, in that noisy cafeteria with Allen. Enough time had passed, and my heart was ready to accept the treasure trove of buttermilk and herbs. I’d rediscovered white gold. Elated, I texted my girlfriend, who responded with understandable confusion. She’d grown up in Massachusetts but had spent enough time in the Midwest to know that ranch was king. Despite being in the middle of her class, she texted me back: What? Yes. Ranch is effing majestic. How could you not know it’s good on cheese curds?! Or like… on everything??

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The question remains: Why is ranch so good on everything? NPR pondered this a few years ago and came to the conclusion that ranch is so good just because… well, it’s delicious. It’s tangy, creamy, smooth, and naturally, full of calories. It tastes good because it makes you feel good, like eating an ice cream sandwich or waking up for work—only to realize it’s Saturday.

I’ll never understand the snobs who think ranch isn’t high-end enough to be delicious. Like other classic comfort foods, it doesn’t require expensive, difficult-to-procure ingredients in order to be amazing, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable to me. However, ranch did end up teaching me a valuable lesson in temperance. It may be delicious on everything—and I do mean everything—but I’ve learned to use the American classic the way it was intended: in moderation, savoring each and every bite.

Show how you ranch out your favorite foods with a dip, dunk, or drizzle of Hidden Valley Ranch. Snap a picture of your Ranched Out dish and then visit RanchOutSweeps.com to enter. You can also enter by sharing it on Instagram or Twitter with #RanchOutSweepstakes. NoPurNec18+ Rules @ HiddenValley.com Ends:4/19/17@11:59am PT.

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The Best Gluten-Free Pastas You Can Buy

Gluten-free pasta is something of a contradiction. You can’t expect mac and cheese made with bean pasta to taste like the boxed stuff you made in college, but that’s actually the best part of cooking with these noodles. With different flavors and textures than your typical box of penne, alternate grain and carb-based noodles allow you to play with ingredients you never thought would go together. Just looking for a GF option to cover with cheese and sauce, you say? Some of these grain-free pastas taste just as neutral as the spaghetti Mom used to make. Open your mind and pick up one of these nine gluten-free pastas at the grocery store this week.

GF pasta: banza

Photo: Amazon

One of our favorite pastas of the bunch, protein-rich Banza gets its power from chickpeas. Toss the subtly nutty-flavored pasta with sautéed veg and sun-dried tomatoes for a bright dinner you’ll want every night this week.

Ready for a chickpea bonanza? Buy it now.

GF pasta: King Soba

Photo: Amazon

These striking purple-black noodles pair just as well with marinara as they do with peanut sauce. King Soba noodles’ best texture is revealed when slightly undercooked and refreshed with cold water.

Go purple. Buy it now.

GF pasta: ancient harvest

Photo: Amazon

The most similar to wheat pasta in flavor and taste, Ancient Harvest is just waiting to help you trick your dinner guests into eating a completely GF bolognese.

Mmm, penne bolognese. Buy it now.

GF pasta: jovial

Photo: Amazon

Throw Jovial pasta into a big grain bowl with sautéed greens, mushrooms, and cabbage—only this time, you won’t be waiting an hour for the brown rice to cook.

Start building your grain bowl. Buy it now.

GF pasta: bionaturae

Photo: Amazon

A blend of rice, potatoes, and soy (all neutral-tasting carbs), Bionaturae pasta is ready to become the most satisfying mac and cheese your GF stomach has ever had. You. Are. Welcome.

GF elbow noodles FTW. Buy it now.

GF pasta: eden

Photo: Amazon

If soba noodles aren’t part of your weekly pasta routine, it’s time to change things up. Toss Eden pasta with roasted broccoli and soy-ginger sauce, and plop a chunk of salmon on top. Ohhhhhhyeah.

It’s better than takeout. Buy it now.

GF pasta: explore asia

Photo: Amazon

Only know edamame as that out-to-dinner appetizer? Open your mind to Explore Cuisine pasta and embrace the green noodles by coating them in kale pesto and sautéed greens.

Go green. Buy it now.

GF pasta: tolerant

Photo: Amazon

Take a break from lentil soups and curries in favor of Tolerant pasta. The red lentil-based noodles are perfect in pasta primavera—just made sure not to overcook ’em so they hold their shape.

Think you can Tolerant it? Buy it now.

GF pasta: trader joes

Photo: Amazon

With a distinct flavor, Trader Joe’s bean pasta is the best choice when you want your noodles to actually bring something to the dish. Refusing to hide behind neutral flavor, this gluten-free option makes a perfect base for a corn, tomato, avocado, and red onion pasta salad.

Just in time for summer. Buy it now.

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9 Matcha Recipes for Those Days You *Need* Extra Energy

When matcha started popping up on everyone’s Insta feed a few years back, some were skeptical it would stick around. But the fragrant green powder, which is made from ground green tea leaves, isn’t going anywhere. You can still find it on the menus of trendy coffee shops and chains, and it’s certainly available for purchase online. But don’t think it stops with matcha lattes. The fresh, earthy powder can be added to breakfast bowls, smoothies, iced drinks, or even savory meals like spaghetti, and adds an instant caffeine boost to your meal (answering our midday prayers <3). Time to jump on the matcha bandwagon, friends.

Raspberry Matcha Chia Pudding

Photo: Le Petit Eats

Is this chia pudding too pretty to eat?! Maybe, but that won’t stop us. Make it before going to bed and wake up feeling like a superstar already. Best of all, it only requires six ingredients and takes around 15 minutes to make. Blend Greek yogurt with coconut milk, raspberries, and maple syrup, then stir in chia seeds. Repeat, swapping matcha powder for raspberries, and layer the two.

Coconut Matcha Energy Bars

Photo: Grateful Grazer

Stash these homemade energy bars in your purse or car for a last-minute energy boost when you need it most. Made with nuts, dates, pure vanilla extract, matcha powder, and coconut flakes, these bars are naturally sweet and way better for you than the store-bought kind—plus totally unique thanks to the matcha.

Iced Matcha Mint Pistachio Frappe

Photo: Gourmande in the Kitchen

Mint, pistachio, and matcha powder are probably not what comes to mind when you think “green juice,” but we are all about this all-green flavor combo. Coconut milk and ice help thicken it up and make it taste like a milkshake. What’s better?

Matcha Spaghetti With Chili and Cheese

Photo: Lady and Pups

Give your usual pasta recipe a break—savory matcha sounds weird, but spaghetti, hot chili flakes, garlic, and fresh Parmesan balance each other out in the best way possible. Serious bonus points if you really make your own noodles like this blogger does.

Matcha Green Tea Waffles

Photo: Plating Pixels

Think outside the box the next time you plan brunch and try these green tea-flavored waffles instead of the plain kind. Don’t worry—they are still plenty sweet thanks to banana, honey, and vanilla extract, and the recipe even comes with a matcha green tea syrup. We’re so into them.

Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte

Photo: Celebrating Sweets

If you’ve had matcha already, there’s a good chance it was in the form of a latte. This DIY version is so simple, you’ll forget about buying it out again… just mix almond milk, honey or pure maple syrup, matcha, and a splash of pure vanilla extract, and you’re good to go.

Gluten Free Matcha Green Tea Banana Bread

Photo: Fearless Dining

This matcha banana bread is just what we need to enjoy a sweet treat first thing in the a.m. and get a caffeine buzz going. Mix almond flour and a gluten-free flour blend, ripe bananas, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, sugar, and matcha powder, and bake for 25-30 minutes in a loaf pan. The color is a little funky, but the sweet, fresh taste more than makes up for it.

Matcha Green Smoothie Bowl

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Is is summer yet? This smoothie bowl has us dreaming of palm trees. Light coconut milk, spinach or kale, matcha powder, pineapple, and banana are an A+ combination, and only get better when topped with chia seeds, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, or fresh berries.

Cold Brew Summer Matcha

Photo: Thirteen Thoughts

If you’re trying to swap out soda or juice for something lighter, or just tired of plain ol’ H20 all the time, this citrusy summer drink is screaming your name. Use a cocktail shaker to mix ice, water, and matcha, then pour it over ice with muddled mint leaves and lemon and lime slices. If you want it to be sweeter, add in a little pure maple syrup and stir well.

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Jenné Claiborne Has Some Awesome Advice for Anyone Who Feels Defeated

Welcome to Behind the Confidence, a video series about the real, unfiltered journey to self-belief. We talked to four health and wellness pros who prove true confidence doesn’t stem from a “like,” nor does it magically happen overnight. It’s about finding what makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Jenné Claiborne’s bright smile is contagious. So when you scroll through her blog, Sweet Potato Soul, or her Instagram feed full of vegan creations and stylish snapshots, it’s easy to assume she never has an off day. But the truth is: No one’s perfect. “When I first started my journey as a vegan professional, it was hard,” she says. “But everything I worked hard for… I’m really seeing the rewards.”

In this video, Claiborne talks about the struggles she faced while following her dreams and the moments she actually lost her confidence. The best part: She’s got advice for how you too can stick it out when times get tough.

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The Guys Finally Making Body Positivity a Thing for Men

We’re finally at a point where people aren’t ashamed of their stomach rolls and are celebrating their mermaid thighs. This is true body positivity. Hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards and #allbodiesaregoodbodies are wildly popular on Instagram, and there are dozens of Facebook and YouTube pages committed to celebrating “real” bodies.

But almost every single body-positive blogger, Instagrammer, and celebrity is female. It’s true that women’s bodies have historically been subjected to more scrutiny than men’s, and that has led to long-term consequences we’re still trying to correct. But men also face pressures—to be stronger, taller, more masculine—and we need to make sure the body-positive movement fights against those too.

We’ve seen the first baby steps: Major fashion blogs like Chubstr and Notoriouly Dapper provide resources and community for men of all sizes. But compared to the size of the body-positive community for women, the representation for men just isn’t there.

The most well-known body-positive bloggers—@bodyposipanda, @plankingforpizza, @yourstruelymelly—post in a universal language. Messages like “love your chub” and “every body is beautiful” apply to women and men, after all.

Still, there’s a lot of value in seeing people who look like you tackle the same challenges you’re facing in real time. It may seem silly to connect with a random person on the other side of the internet, but that’s exactly how many people find the role models they need.

We’ve seen how successful representation can be. As the movement has grown, there have been real, tangible changes in the way society and media treats women. Aerie has sworn off retouching its advertisements, and models Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence walk runways and land the covers of magazines without anyone batting an eye. Actresses who aren’t super skinny—Amy Schumer and Octavia Spencer come to mind—are getting interesting, complex roles in Hollywood, and more schools and parents are teaching young girls about body image from a young age.

It’s time to do this for men too. That starts by building the community from the ground up, and luckily the process has already begun. Here are four men at the root of it all—they’re actively representing different body types for men and calling for more body diversity in the media. Eventually we’ll need more people like them, but for now, following these guys is a good start.

Zach Miko

Miko signed to IMG Models’ newly minted “brawn” division in March 2016, making him the first plus-size male model to join to a major agency. He’s seven inches taller than most other male models, and he’s got a good three or four sizes on them.

Kelvin Davis

As a fashion blogger, body-positive model, and one of the brains behind the @EffYourBeautyStandards Instagram account, Davis is a busy guy. But he believes in what he’s doing: One bad shopping trip made him pledge to never apologize for his body again, and he’s encouraging other men to do the same.

Troy Solomon

Here’s a guy who has cultivated an impressive Instagram following with his style posts and, presumably, totally relatable love of tacos. Solomon isn’t shy when it comes to talking about (or showing off) his plus-size body.

Matt Joesph Diaz

On top of having a really inspiring story, Diaz writes a lot about the importance of expanding the body-positivity community. He believes it needs to be more of a priority, and obviously, we agree.

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