Review: Manduka unBLOK

I have a juicy product review for you guys today. I tend to be choosy about which products I will accept for review on the blog, because I want to keep it honest. I do review most yoga products, so when Manduka contacted me about reviewing their new yoga block, I was psyched.

unBLOK_BreezeThunder_In Packaging_Angled (2pcs)

Here are the details about the unBLOK:

  • Made of over 50% recycled material (foam)
  • Rounded shape
  • Slip-resistant

I was skeptical about the shape when I first saw the unBLOK because I’m so used to the normal, rectangular block shape that most other yoga blocks have. But I actually think I preferred using the unBLOK. I tried some supported chest and shoulder openers (supported fish, supported bridge), and this block was great. It’s much nicer to have a slightly rounded curve supporting your back than a straight block.


Supported Fish Pose – put a block under your upper back and let your arms fall open. You can also put a rolled up blanket underneath your knees for extra low-back support. (Image source.)

I also tried out some standard poses that might require a block – Virasana (hero’s pose) and Artichandrasana (half moon pose) and the unBLOK worked very well. It really is slip resistant, and it’s sturdy like a cork block is, but still light, because it’s foam. It’s more grippy than most foam blocks I’ve used, which is good for poses like half moon.

The unBLOK Party:

You can nominate a local studio that helped you “unblock” your practice for a chance to win prizes. You can nominate your studio {HERE}. Be sure to do it today, if you want to enter, because the campaign ends today, May 28th.

I just nominated my studio, Pure. And I got a 15% off discount code at the end after I submitted.

Do you use a block for your yoga practice? What is your favorite local studio?

I don’t use a block that often, but I love using blocks for supported, restorative postures. I have a lot of favorite studios in NYC. The two that I have been to the most are Pure and Yoga Vida (where I did my training).

circuit of change – mindbody bootcamp [review]

circuit of change is a workout studio located at 57 west 16th street (16th and 6th, NE corner of the intersection; 4th floor). i bought a groupon for 10 classes at the studio a few months ago, and i have to use them all up by april 4th. here is the studio:

yesterday morning (sunday @ 11am) i went to the “mindbody bootcamp” taught by the founder, brian delmonico. all of their classes are barefoot, which i think is fantastic – our feet are sensitive and should not be confined all the time. this mindbody bootcamp class had the following format:

mindbody bootcamp sequencing

  • centering exercise at the beginning (less than 5 minutes) – sitting, child’s pose, some hands and knees stuff (i don’t remember it all)
  • yoga-ish flow with extra intensity (10 minutes?) – sun salutation variations with extra workout-y stuff like knee to nose, planks, etc… lots of abs thrown in too.
  • cardio circuits (40 minutes?) – kickboxing, abs, jumping jacks, “hit the deck”s, squat thrusts, plyometric jumps, etc… you change movements about every 15 seconds so if you don’t like what you’re doing, it’s fine because you will switch quickly.
  • centering exercise (<5 minutes) – sitting, breathing, i think i remember there being some light stretching.

i estimated the times; i know that the class is 60 minutes total but i didn’t see a clock so i wasn’t able to be more precise in my breakdown.

i had a lot of fun with the class. my favorite part was the yoga-ish flow. if there was a whole class of crazy sun salutation variations i would be there in a second.

i liked the cardio circuits part as well, but i did feel like a lot of the exercises could hurt your lower back if you’re not careful (bending down to touch the ground for example). i am not a fan of squat thrusts because i don’t think they are good for your joints (unlike chaturanga, you don’t land your feet back with your arms already bent). squat thrusts aside though, the exercises brian did pick for the circuits were probably my favorites out of the standard cardio class moves.

midway through the yoga flow i started to break a sweat, and i kept on dripping all the way through class.

Update: I originally said I would go back, however, unfortunately, I hurt my back at a class later on during this week and I think it was because of bad form during far-too-fast squats and other exercises that could be bad for your back. I didn’t end up using up all 10 classes – I only used 5.

have you ever tried a “mind body” type cardio class?

Simple Lunch Stirfry Recipe and Siggi’s Probiotic Breakfast Review

i made this stir-fry for lunch yesterday (Tuesday, 1/24):

I decided to bring my lunch to work this week. We do have a cafeteria at the office, but it’s not that healthy. This stirfry is made up of:

  • broccoli + broccoli stalk (you don’t have to throw that part out – it’s great sauteed)
  • red pepper
  • can of tuna
  • frozen corn
  • fresh cilantro
  • garlic + chili powder
  • cooked in bacon fat (I save this each time I make bacon)

I had a sesame bagel alongside the stirfry.

I also vowed to bring breakfast. I normally shy away from drinking my calories, but I have found several drinks to be quite delicious as of late, in particular:

This is Siggi’s probiotic drinkable non-fat yogurt in plain (it also comes in strawberry). I don’t like siggi’s greek yogurt (too thick) but I did find this drinkable yogurt to have a good consistency (not too thick, not too thin — just right!) and flavor. I added some cinnamon to mine before drinking up. Only 45 calories in this small bottle which leaves plenty of room for other breakfast goodies like no-sugar scones.

What do you put in stirfrys? Do you drink your calories or save them for chewing?

Pumpkin Porcini Parsnip Soup @ Bis.Co.Latte (Hell’s Kitchen) [Review]

When I used to imagine life in New York, I had visions of Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone, brunches with friends, and lazy afternoons in Central Park. Over the last two years in this city I’ve learned that while those things do exist, New York is also home to thousands of chain restaurants and dirty alleyways, and it can be hard to find those quaint coffeeshops that everyone seems to think of when they think of the Big Apple. I have a few days off this week due to transitioning jobs (!) and I have been trying to find as many of those small places as possible.

My mom came up to visit me yesterday and left a few short hours ago. This morning we took a walk over to the Hudson River (that’s the one on the West Side) and passed by a charming find – Bis.Co.Latte – it’s a biscotti and coffee shop in my new neighborhood.

Upon entering the shop I was greeted with a smiling face and a display of biscotti – there must be over a thousand of these cookies, in a so many flavors. To be honest I wasn’t there for the biscotti though. I’m simply a coffee girl through and through, and I have been avoiding grains lately anyway (paleo* thing).

So instead of a biscotti I picked up a homemade soup.

Pumpkin Porcini Parsnip Soup (vegan)

This was one of about 6 fresh soups they had available. They also had a pumpkin chili that I would like to try and a risotto menu. I asked about the porcini – they are mushrooms with a meaty flavor. My soup was a puree and it came with some multigrain bread that I decided to save for Bobby. They also packed in some pumpkin seeds for me to top it with (I got it to go and ate it at home). I believe you can get all of their soups vegan.

The soup was absolutely perfect – I didn’t need to salt or pepper it, and I finished the whole thing. It’s fairly pricey ($7.75 for just a soup – a fairly large portion) but it’s worth it… at least once in a while. I usually spend around that much for lunch anyway so this was a nice change. The pumpkin soup was surprisingly filling. It’s thick and creamy (they use soy milk) and a very homey fall meal. If you are in the area I definitely recommend checking out Bis.Co.Latte. Let me know if you try any of their baked goodies.

Do you like soup? Pumpkin soup? What’s your favorite fall meal?

I usually don’t eat soup because I don’t think it fills me up, but recently I have been trying to add it into my diet more. I love the way it makes my stomach feel (no bloating) and for some reason a hot soup can be super comforting on a chilly fall afternoon. Other recent soup adventures of mine have included carrot soup and veggie soup (both from Le Pain Quotidien) and a Shrimp Bisque (like a chowder) from Hale & Hearty.

*A note on paleo – I have been avoiding grains off and on (mostly avoiding) for the last year but have kept kind of quiet about that because I didn’t want to say something and then suddenly change my mind later. I think I would like to slowly go more paleo (like avoiding sugar better) but I’m totally ok with this being a verrrrry slow process. Paleo can be very meat-heavy and sometimes I have issues (morally) with eating such large amounts of animal flesh. So there you have it.

Manna Bread Review – What is Organic, Sprouted Manna Bread?

This is not a sponsored post, but Manna Organics did send me Manna Bread to sample and offer to provide bread for a giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Manna is an ancient word meaning nourishment (generally spiritual, or divine). It is usually associated with food since the original “manna” was food from God. That being said, Manna Bread is organic, sprouted bread made by a company called Manna Organics. Its name comes from the fact that their bread is made using ancient techniques – it is sprouted, and happens to be yeast free, organic, free of salt, free of oils, without sweeteners, and uses no leavening agents.

Read on for a brief history of bread and how sprouted breads are bringing back the healthiness that was once associated with it.


For the last 100 or so years, we’ve had the technology to easily make shelf-stable flour from our abundant amber waves of grain. Unfortunately when you start mass producing a food, it often turns into a highly processed food-thing. This decline in the quality manifests itself in nutrient-deficient food-things lining the shelves of grocery stores. The Standard American Diet (I call this the “industrial diet”) is based on these products. Perhaps this is the reason for the decline in the health of the average American and why it seems like 90% of the commercials on TV are telling me to take the latest drug that will solve my myriad health issues.

Bread has been one of the worst victims of industrialized food production. Chemicalized, preservatized, and devitalized, both bread and the flour it is made from lack the benefits that perhaps a traditional bread may have had. Sprouted bread, though, bypasses most of these issues. Sprouted grains are not stripped of nutrients and they seem to be easier to digest (especially for those of us with IBS) than flour. I’m a fan of sprouted breads but they are so dang pricey I don’t buy them that often.

Manna Bread Review

Fortunately, Manna Organics was kind enough to send me some bread to try: yeast-free, salt-free, oil-free, sweetener-free, organic sprouted bread. With a list like that you might think it tastes like cardboard or dog poop, but it’s actually quite delectable. They have two types of bread – 1) regular Manna Bread, which comes in fun flavors like Carrot Raisin, Fruit and Nut, but also the standard flavors like Millet Rice, Multigrain, etc… and 2) a new line of Bavarian Style Sourdough Breads.

I will start with my favorite, the Multigrain Sprouted Bread. It is not presliced and comes in a petite hearty loaf.

This manna bread is appropriately named, because it is divine. It is incredibly moist and soft. It’s dense, but not in the way that many whole grain breads are – it is not dry at all, and reminded me of the consistency of a moist, hearty, healthy muffin. So this bread is basically like an unsweetened muffin. I have only had it plain (it’s just that good) and with butter. The ingredient list includes sprouted organic wheat kernels, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, organic flax seed, organic rye kernels, organic soy beans, organic rolled oats, organic oat bran, and organic cornmeal.

Now for the sourdough breads. The sourdough breads do have organic whole grain flour and salt added, but the sprouted Manna breads do not have either. I much preferred the regular kind but Bobby liked these better! We have very different taste buds. The other morning we had toast and eggs and used one of the sourdough breads. The sourdough breads are pre-sliced. The slices are nice and thin so you can have a couple and not be too full.

Sourdough bread is said to be easier to digest since it is partially fermented. We tried three kinds – the Whole Rye, the Sunny Sourdough, and the Multigrain Flax (pictured above).

If you’re looking for Manna Breads, I think they are found in the freezer section of your grocery store. Definitely check out that multigrain one. I want to try other flavors as well.


This giveaway is now closed.

Winner here.


Manna Organics is also going to let one (1) lucky reader try their breads. You’ll get 4 loaves (either you pick or they will send 4 of their most popular ones). Retail value is $25. Open to USA addresses only. This contest will close next Thursday, June 16, at midnight (EST). Unless I forget to end it, in which case it will end a day or two later 😉 So get your entries in asap.

Here’s how to enter (leave one comment per entry please):

  • Follow Manna on Twitter: @MannaOrganics
  • Like Manna on Facebook: Manna Organics
  • Follow me on Twitter: @TheSaladGirl (leave your handle in the comments)
  • Like me on Facebook: Say Yes to Salad
  • Add me to your blogroll 😉 (I’m sorry again, this is shameless.)
  • Blog about the giveaway.
  • Tell me what your favorite kind of bread is!

Happy Wednesday! I am off to do the 30 Day Shred. I am super sore from yesterday in my quads. Gahhhh squats.