Is Yoga The New Coffee? (And My Own Version of Nicoise Salad)

I've been meaning to do my own version of a nicoise salad for some time now because they've been coming up everywhere. Martha Stewart magazines, healthy food blogs, and all over social media. At the same time, I've also heard more and more about people cleaning up their diets and avoiding coffee in hopes of raising their energy levels in more organic ways.

I have to say that I'm both very intrigued and incredibly uninterested. I love the idea of authentic methods to feel energized, whether through healthy eating, more sleep, or bikram yoga (!!!!!!!!). I wish I had tried to form those kinds of habits back in college, but that would have undermined my quest to be the most exhausted, sleep-deprived, and creative architecture student of all times (I held onto that major for three years before switching to Women's Studies, where "self-care" was basically a syllabus requirement). As an architecture major, wearing the same clothes two days in a row was a badge of honor. Sleeping under your studio desk was completely accepted and applauded. At one point, during coffee with a friend around finals week, I fell asleep so quickly and deeply during our conversation that I actually said "Frank Sinatra" out loud to her before waking myself up. There was no concept of "work/life balance" to say the least.

Somehow, between then and now, I've been able to slowly back away from this idea that the most accomplished person is the most hard working, sleep-deprived person. If I couldn't say that I was drinking four cups of coffee a day, then who was I?!?! But now, I've seen how easy it is to go to the other extreme in pursuit of your inner zen. Have you ever tried to emulate the look of a magazine's "Perfect Bubble Bath"? Prepare to take out a second mortgage on your home. Relaxing the right way takes so much time, money, and energy that it almost feels like just another barometer for faux-success. I'd love to be healthier and have more energy - but only in a manner that fits into my budget and mental limits. A really flavorful and filling salad comes to mind...

Unless I'm doing a photoshoot, I wouldn't eat a salad the way it looks above. But I can say that it was still easy to prepare. I bought the smoked salmon fillet and cooked green beans from the grocery store's kosher deli, and I cut and heated up the potatoes in the microwave and then added a little butter. I prefer this without dressing, but feel free to add a simple vinaigrette to the mix. It's a delicious, sanity-friendly lunch.