You can work hard to have your diet, your plate, and your physical pursuits in line with the very definition of healthy, but until you get your self confidence there, too, it can feel like something is missing.
"For me, the ability to embrace my talents and passions, regardless of the noise of others, is aiming true," says Kathryn Budig, international yoga teacher, writer, and avid food lover. "When I let go of that fear is when I always hit my mark."
It's this philosophy that inspired Budig's latest book, Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Budig to talk about the thoughts behind her excellent new book in what felt a bit like a mid-day therapy session with a good girlfriend. She shares tips for how the right food, exercise, and thoughts help her aim true.
CL: Most lifestyle books start with pointing out or trying to fix what's wrong, but you start with self acceptance and celebration. Why was that important to you?KB: I think it's incredibly important in this day and age where it's so common for people to fall into a pattern of self-deprecation. When you're comfortable speaking ill about yourself out loud, you're giving permission for others to do the same. You're projecting negativity. Focus on what's working for you right here and now to put your right foot forward. You won't necessarily feel awesome right away, but you will change your mindset and your inner dialogue.
CL: You've taught yoga for years now. How does your yoga practice help you aim true?KB: It's helped me learn to drop the judgment and be less reactive. I'm definitely a go-getter, so it's very easy for me to think that if I want something it should happen right now. But yoga helps me to keep that energy of my intention strong without necessarily seeking tangible results.
CL: What do you tell someone who is afraid or unsure of trying yoga for the first time?KB: I really want them to enjoy being a beginner. It's easy to feel intimidated, but try to understand that other people in the class started out in the same boat for their first time. Let go of the need to compare yourself to others around you. Look with the wide eyes of a young child trying something new. View falling down as an excuse to laugh at yourself. Failure continues to keep showing up and keep it interesting, so be OK with being new.
CL: What's one quick thing people can do to help get them in the right heart and head mindset?KB: I talk about writing a self-love prescription in the book, and I have "Aim True" written on my bathroom mirror, but it can be whatever positive affirmation works for you ("I am not defined by my body," "Stop worrying, start living") in a spot you pass on a regular basis. Just find a glass-safe marker and go to town. Make it your own.
And, as simple as it sounds, it's all about breathing. Take a moment to stop and breathe. Inhale for four counts, hold for four, then exhale for four counts. It helps make you aware of your situation, puts you in charge of your breath, and lets you calm down.
CL: You mention in your book that growing up, you thought you were making a healthy choice when you bought the "garden vegetable" variety of cream cheese. Tell us how else your healthy eating philosophy has evolved.KB: I think I had a pretty normal childhood--I didn't have a bad concept of what was healthy, but nutritional value didn't start to mean something to me until a little later on. I wound up learning to cook and feeding friends throughout college. Then, getting into the yoga world in California was a huge wake-up call about nutrition, this time to the extreme. There, in the celebrity and yoga world, it was all about content and no taste. I learned that you don't want to take enjoyment out of eating. That leads to resentment and always thinking about where your next meal is coming from. As someone who uses their body as a tool, I need to feed myself well, or I will crash. I want to enjoy every single moment. I don't believe in guilty pleasure because I don't feel guilty when eating.
CL: Do you have any recipes from the book that you'd like to share with us?KB: Yes! My recipe for Grilled Citrus Salmon and Green Juice was inspired by my time teaching Giada De Laurentiis when I lived in L.A. She taught me a lot about cooking, and I had her on speed-dial when I went to the market. She was my phone-a-friend!
Citrus Salmon in Green Juicemakes 4 servings
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorites from my dear friend Giada De Laurentiis. She taught me the importance of using citrus with seafood (and pretty much everything). I followed her lead and added a modern twist of a green juice base and a creamy yet punchy topping.
Green Juice6 celery stalks1 bunch flat-leaf parsley1 bunch mint1/2 lemon, cut into small pieces1 bunch scallions, green parts only1 tablespoon maple syrup1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Citrus Salmon1 orange1 Meyer lemon1 grapefruit1 cup flat-leafparsley, roughly chopped2 shallots, minced2 scallions, whites and green parts slivered6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 (3.5-ounce) bottle caperssea salt4 (8-ounce) fillets of wild salmonblack pepper
Punchy Sauce4 to 5 garlic cloves7 ounces 2% plain Greek yogurt¼ cup fresh mint leaves, juliennedsea salt
1. To make the green juice, run the celery, parsley, mint, lemon, and scallions through a juicer (a blender will work as well if you strain the mixture). Stir in the maple syrup and vinegar. Set the sauce aside.
2. To make the punchy sauce, mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle until it turns into a paste. Scrape it into a small bowl and stir in the yogurt, mint leaves, and sea salt to taste. Set it aside.
3. Zest the orange, the Meyer lemon, and half of the grapefruit and place the zests in a large bowl. Juice half of the orange and pour it into the bowl. Remove the pith and chop the remaining half orange, the whole grapefruit, and the whole Meyer lemon; add the chopped citrus to the bowl. Add the parsley, shallots, scallions, and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.
4. Drain the capers and pat them dry with a paper towel. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the capers and a sprinkle of sea salt, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the capers start to pop. Add the capers to the citrus blend and mix well.
5. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and place them facedown on the pan. Cook them for 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on their thickness and how well done you like your fish.
6. To serve: Pour a small amount of the green juice into a shallow bowl. Lay the fish in the center of the pond and top it with the citrus herb blend, letting the sauce spill over into the juice. Top with a dollop of the punchy sauce.
From Aim True by Kathryn Budig. Copyright © 2016 by Kathryn Budig. Reprinted by permission of William Morow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.