Mom’s Kale Salad Recipe

Mom’s Kale Salad Recipe


Mom can make anything fun and that includes salad.

She enjoys appreciates a nice IPA and she can cook up a mean lobster bisque or seafood chowder (we’re from Maine so perhaps that’s to be expected), but what I’ve always loved most is her ability to turn the mundane into the magical – salad is no exception.

She has two tricks for taking a boring salad and transforming it into a meal that can stand alone.

  • She turns a bland salad-scape into an aesthetically stimulating culinary experience using texture and color
  • She dresses it up with homemade salad dressings

Here is her take on Kale Salad with a quick Lemon & Mustard dressing:

Kale Salad

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 cup of Walnuts (see “toast your walnuts” below for prepping instructions)
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 large bunch of curly kale (see “Massage the kale” below for prepping tips).
  • 1 cup of coarsely cut Parmigiano Reggiano

Take the following two steps - Toast your walnuts and Massage your kale - and then toss everything together in a salad bowl.

Toast your walnuts – preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts one layer deep on a baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool before adding to salad.

Massage your kale – my mom has an advantage here (she used to be a massage therapist), but even if you aren’t formally trained it should take you just 2 to 3 minutes. Remove kale leaves from the thick stem down the middle. Cut leaves into thin strips. Massage (literally just rub the kale). You’re looking for the kale to turn from a light color to a dark color. The process of massaging breaks down the cells so that they are more easily digestible.

My mom picks her kale straight out of the garden. But if you need to know the most cost efficient places in Brooklyn to purchase your kale, check out this article by the Brownstoner: Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices?

Personally, I like to pick up kale from the Grand Army green market on Saturdays. Perhaps not the most cost effective, but I like to think of it as a second best to walking out to the garden and picking it yourself.

Lemon & Mustard Dressing

This recipe makes about 6 servings. The original recipe was modified by Jennifer Segal from a recipe inspired by Bon Appetit magazine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice – that’s the juice of about 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (the higher the quality the better)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and serve over Kale salad.

One last take away – increase the visual appeal…

I’m not one to get too fancy – I’ve eaten my fair share of meals straight out of the pot they were cooked in – but you’ve put a lot of love into this kale salad! My mom usually serves it up in a beautiful wooden salad bowl  - never a bad thing to have on hand if you’re going to be eating salad frequently).

Hope you enjoy!If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments below!


Brownstoner: Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices?

Grand Army Green Market


2 in 2 Fitness Challenge

Tempted by all that Halloween candy? Here’s your chance to lose 2 lbs in the 2 weeks before the holiday.

How it works…

  • Pay $20 into the collection
  • Weigh in
  • Throughout the 2 weeks participate in fitness and nutrition mini challenges
  • Weigh out
  • If you made your 2 lbs goal, get your $20 back on the spot
  • If any of your neighbors didn’t make their 2 lbs goal, we’ll notify you of when to come pick up your share

Last time we ran this challenge, we saw about 50% of people shed 3lbs (3in3) and double their money in the process.

October Field Day!

October Field Day!


Family-friendly field day! Members and non-members of all ages welcome. Come have some fun in the fall weather.

The rules are… THERE ARE NO RULES! Just kidding – we’re playing kickball! There are rules.

Saturday, October 24th at 3pm – location TBD

Sign up here to receive notice of the location when it’s decided

FREE Fitness Assessment Saturday, September 19th

FREE Fitness Assessment Saturday, September 19th

FREE Fitness Assessment

You’ve been coming to class diligently – or maybe you’ve taken the entire summer off – and you want to know if you’ve been getting any fitter – or about to get any fitter. Come in this Saturday, September 19th from 3pm to 4:30pm for a free fitness assessment.

Why is it important to know how fit I am?

I wanted to know how long it would take me to get to Trader Joe’s, so I tried to map directions only to find that my phone thought my “current location” was somewhere in downtown Manhattan when really I was in Park Slope. If you don’t know where you’re starting…

  • You can’t expect to know how long it should reasonably take to get where you’re going
  • You can’t expect that you’ll be taking a route that will lead you in the right direction

Maybe you’re thinking… “but this isn’t a walk to the grocery store, this is fitness – as long as I’m working out, aren’t I moving in the ‘right’ direction?”

Yes and no. Yes, you are probably getting fitter overall regardless of whether you are tracking that progress. But also no. Exercise can often have a compound effect – a good thing if you’re looking to lose weight, a bad thing if you’re stuck in a movement pattern that is slowly moving you toward injury.

My client’s goal was to be his fittest by 40. What’s yours?

Imagine waking up in the morning and feeling healthy. What does that feel like? It’s a little different for everyone, but for most people, waking up healthy involves waking up pain-free. No back pain. No knee pain. No hip pain. No shoulder pain. If your goal involves feeling healthy, waking up pain-free is vital. If your goal is to be your fittest (or perhaps the fittest version of you that might also allow for an occasional brunch day at Tom’s) you want to injury free or address compromised movement patterns that may have resulted from previous injuries.

What do movement patterns have to do with my fitness assessment?

Part of a fitness assessment is looking at movement patterns. We’ll take your weight and body fat; measure your circumference and your strength; but we’ll also take a look at how you move and make recommendations as to how you can get more out of your exercise routine by addressing inefficient postures and movements.

How will I know my workouts are working?

We’ll be having monthly assessment days. They’re free for members. The first assessment is free for non-members, so bring a friend! Assessments take about 15 minutes, but you can come in any time between the hours of 3pm and 4:30pm. We’ll record all your stats so that you can return on any following assessment day to compare.

Sign up now

5 Reasons to Introduce Your Child to Yoga

Yoga for Tots

How would it feel to see your child physically healthy, able to easily concentrate and highly motivated? Even as adults we are often constantly seeking these qualities for ourselves – many yoga skills are transferable to everyday tasks and yoga for kids can give your child a head start on a happy, successful and fulfilling life.

What is Yoga?

Yoga and stretching are not synonymous. Modern westernized yoga boils down to the a practice that combines breathing, moving and mediating (Kaufman). Yoga classes for kids also involve these three elements, but they do so in a way that is often more play-based than a traditional yoga class.

What is Yoga for Tots or Yoga for Kids?

Imagine an adult yoga class, but with pint-sized participants. Yoga mats in a precise line, each child diligently remains quietly on a mat and moves effortlessly through asanas as the yoga instructor babbles namastes and doles out advice about aligning their chakras by rooting their feet to the ground and melting their hearts from their shoulder blades (BuzzFeed). Now imagine the exact opposite of that – children place their mats in a circle, which they occasionally need to be corralled back to by an amazingly patient yoga instructor. This instructor is also incredibly creative – an imaginary trip to the zoo becomes an opportunity to learn baddha konasana and hindolasana (Ippoliti) after which they “pretend” to meditate.

Five reasons you should introduce your child to yoga as soon as possible (hint: it all comes down to awareness!):

  1. Yoga helps children to develop focus: by encouraging children to actively participate in physical posses, as well as to give verbal input and to listen to others for instruction, children develop a greater cognitive awareness and increase their capacity to mentally engage in their present surroundings.
  2. Yoga teaches spacial awareness and respect for personal space: by allowing children to have a set amount of personal space – their mat – and asking that they respect the personal space of others – other children’s mats, yoga teaches spacial awareness and awareness of personal space.
  3. Yoga increases motivation: by introducing children to poses in fun and relatable ways, yoga motivates children to
  4. Yoga brings awareness of breath: using engaging games, yoga brings children’s awareness to their breath and breathing patterns while still managing to keep their attention and interest.
  5. Yoga creates body awareness and supports ease of movement: yoga brings children’s attention to their movements and helps them to develop lifelong muscle memory for movement patterns (Food & Fitness).

Want to bring your child to Yoga at Pura Vida?

Drop-in for a class… see more information on class times and days. Also, learn more about your child’s  instructor Jessica Andersen.


  • BuzzFeed,. ‘Sh*T Yogis Say’. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Food & Fitness,. ‘Why Yoga And Kids Go Together’. N.p., 2011. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Ippoliti, Amy. ’3 Prep Poses For Eight-Angle Pose’. Yoga Journal 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Kaufman, Josh. The First 20 Hours. Print.


Beginner Running Routine

We’re having a relatively mild winter and many of you have come in with questions about how you can supplement your classes outdoors with a beginner running routine. The following is based on NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) standards.

The key to reaching your fitness goals is to push your limits (stress your body), while also staying healthy (avoiding injury). This program provides a Base Run – designed to build endurance and allow for active recovery, as well as an Interval Run – designed to increase your overall fitness levels.

For simplicity’s sake we will have three intensity levels: low, medium and high. This beginner plan includes only low and medium intensities. “Intensity” will be vary on an individual basis, but it can be measured subjectively or objectively – depending on what equipment you have available.

I’ll show you how to measure intensity (or exertion) below, but first, here are the two workouts you’ll be completing. Space them out so that you are running more or less every other day with a day off in between.

  1. Base Run: 30 to 60 Minutes at low intensity
  2. Interval Run: 5 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 5 minutes at low intensity (for a total of 25 minutes).

In order to complete these workouts, you are going to somehow have to gauge the intensity at which you are working. You can do so in two ways. One requires equipment and is probably more precise. The other does not require equipment, but can be just as functional.

  1. If you have a heart rate monitor, low intensity will equal 65% of Heart Rate Max; medium intensity will equal 80-85% of Heart Rate Max. A quick and easy way to get a general idea of your Heart Rate Max is to take (220 – your age) and multiply that number by the percentage you’d like to reach.
    • For example, if you are 35 years old and you want to do the Base Run at 65%, you’d be trying to keep your heart rate around 120 BPM. (220-35) x 65%
  2. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can go by perceived exertion. During a low intensity workout, you will want to be able to run at a pace that allows you to feel your body to feel warm, but also at which you could keep up a conversation. During a medium intensity interval, you would want conversation to be possible, but rather difficult. You should be breathing more heavily than during your low intensity stage. When you get past the beginner stage and into high intensity workouts, you want conversation to be impossible.

Running requires repetitive motion in one plane of motion. You’ll notice that as your heart and lungs become stronger, your muscles will tighten up as well, make sure you maintain proper muscle balance by adequately foam rolling (before or after you run) and stretching (after you run).

If you’d like a walk through of exactly how this beginner running program works, sign up for a membership and come on in to open gym.

A Couple of Useful Resources

Heart Rate Calculator

NASM Stage Training

5 Tips for Holiday Weight-Loss

5 Tips for Holiday Weight-Loss

Bet you read that title and thought, “Mhmmm, right, lose weight over the Holidays? Not I.” Non-Holiday weight loss can be hard enough and you may be skeptical, but we’re sure you’ve noticed that we trainers often expect a little more out of you than you’d normally expect from yourself, and more importantly that you always seem to meet or exceed our expectations. So take it from us – you can lose weight over the Holiday; call it what you will – a leap of faith; a thanksgiving hail-Mary; a Christmas miracle - but be sure to follow these 5 tips we’ve put together for you for Holiday weight loss:

1. Have a plan. Diet and exercise are habitual, but you can’t just wake up one day and expect them to be already woven into the fabric of your Ugly Holiday sweater. Plan around the Holiday mayhem. If you have 3 Holiday dinner parties in one week, then you also have 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 4 regular ol’ meals to eat. Make them super clean (or even cut back a little). Same goes for exercise. Holiday party at night? Schedule a morning workout or plan your rest day around it.

2. Don’t let one off day derail you. The Holiday season is long my friend. Three parties and a dozen Gingerbread cookies later you may be thinking, “heck, I’ll just burn it off in 2015.” No. Let me stop you right there. Don’t wait for “tomorrow” – dust yourself off. It’s not the end of the world and you can get started again riiiiiiight… NOW. We all make mistakes – especially when thrown into social situations and mixed with a little eggnog (not for you though – read tip number 3).

3. You can drink… you know there’s a “but” coming… BUT keep it to a minimum and be smart about your drink of choice. What’s the trick to getting through those awkward Holiday parties with your co-workers? Hard alcohol. Just kidding. Sort of. Unless you’re drinking a Budweiser Select (and yes, I’m judging you), stay away from the beer – high in calories and high in carbs. Vodka, gin, whiskey – mix them with some soda (water that is) and you’re good to go.

4. Find a community. Shameless plug for Pura Vida Urban – come on in! Remind yourself on the daily that you enjoy working out (or at least the mental and physical benefits of it when it’s over). Meet your neighbors with similar interests (you might even make a new friend who you can workout with over the Holidays). Also, even though we’re closed the day before, the day of and the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas, online communities are open 24/7.  Websites like reddit and SparkPeople can provide you with Holiday recipes and workout tips.

Beautiful Day for a Turkey Trot with Family and Friends
Beautiful Day for a Turkey Trot with Family and Friends

5. Make exercise a priority. No ifs ands or buts about it. The days are short and you’ll be spending a lot of time inside. If you make the time to exercise, you will not only feel better about yourself, but you’ll also have higher quality interactions with your family and friends. Schedule it in. Get it done.

Do you have exercise or nutrition tips for the Holiday season? A favorite workout tradition or recipe? Let us know in the comments section on Facebook under this article…

November Fitness Challenge

You’ll probably end up eating half your kids’ candy from Halloween, fully taking advantage of your pants with the stretchy waistband on Thanksgiving, and snacking your way through an endless number of Christmas parties.

“Although the average gain is only one pound, people who are already overweight tend to gain a lot more. One study found that overweight people gained five pounds or more during the holidays…” – New York Times

Before you know it it’s January and you are desperately resolved to get to the gym everyday just to get yourself back to the place you were before the Holidays.

“weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood…” – New England Journal of Medicine

That means you’re adding – and keeping - a pound or two every year!

Jumpstart your fitness before the Holiday season begins. Join the November Fitness Challenge…

Your goal is to lose 3% of your body weight in 3 weeks.

How it works…

  1. Weigh-in on November 1st between 8am and 6pm and contribute $30 cash to the pot
  2. Get moving from November 1st through November 22nd
  3. Weigh-out on November 22nd between 8am and 6pm and split the pot with everyone who accomplished #3in3


3 Fat Loss Lessons from Pura Vida Urban Clients

3 Fat Loss Lessons from Pura Vida Urban Clients

Over the past couple of months there have been some big changes in some of your fellow Fitness Bootcamp goers at Pura Vida Urban Fitness!

I talked with three individuals who lost a collective 90lbs over the last 6 months and they gave me some wisdom to pass on to you.

Here are the top 3 Fat Loss Lessons…

1. Measure. This Fitness Bootcamp attendee was always eating healthy meals, but never shedding fat and dropping pounds. He started to measure out his food – especially when cooking with olive oil – and he started losing weight right away.

2. Move. One Fitness Bootcamp attendee started her weight loss by sticking to a Vegan Diet, but she found that it wasn’t giving her the very best results. She made a commitment to herself and started to exercise on a regular basis – now she’s 30 lbs lighter (and staying that way!).

3. Make a change. Our last, but not least, Fitness Bootcamp attendee keeps her passion for exercise by trying new things and doing exercises that she enjoys. In order to make a lifelong commitment to your health, regular exercise has to be part of your everyday lifestyle. This woman varies up her routine to keep things fresh and is always game to try something new.

Want to lose some extra pounds? Join the “Time to be the best!” Fitness Challenge 2012. Sign up today!

Stand up! Try this simple experiment for you…

Stand up! Try this simple experiment for you…

There have been a lot of articles lately about the effects of sitting on the body. The conclusion that the majority of these articles come to – not only do  we spend too much time sitting, but we also cannot reverse the effects of those hours of sitting with exercise. What you do consistently throughout the day matters just as much as the time you put in at the gym.

A 1999 study by Dr. James Levine controlled the exercises times and calorie intake of the test subjects and then tracked weight and activity over time. Levine found that people who spent more time sitting (on average 2 hours more time) gained weight, while people who were more active in general – they DID NOT spend more time exercising only less time sitting around (which means they were standing or doing “non-exercise” movements – such as light walking).

So today, I want you to try a little experiment. Set a timer for 20 minutes from now. When your timer goes off, get up and walk around for a bit – even just spend a little time standing – you can still work (make phone calls, read documents), but stand up and do it for 3 to 5 minutes. If you have a 7 hour work day, and you spend 5 minutes standing or moving around for every 20 minutes, you’ll be doing just under an hour and a half less sitting – that just about moves you out of the group that’s spending an extra 2 hours a day sitting – and gaining weight! – and into the group that is maintaining – or even losing weight!

Even if weight loss is not your goal, standing up frequently can help your muscles from developing imbalances. Try it out! If you don’t have a timer on your phone, there are several online timers. Leave a comment and let us know how it went!..